Thursday, December 16, 2010

You called it ... it's poll time!

Don't you love it when you find out that for at least some card collectors, it's not about super-sick hits and cut signatures and jersey pieces carved into the shape of an antelope?

The previous post showed that y'all still like a good picture and a pleasing design. Bless your cardboard hearts for your comments. Thanks to your rabid insight (yes, I'm talking to you Scott Crawford), I can now officially ...



Thanks to dayf for suggesting that polls can still be achieved by narrowing down the options based on the comments. He's a sharp one there.

So, after going through what must be a word-count record for comments on one post (ahem, Mr. Crawford again), I have selected the candidates for the biggest year-to-year improvements in Topps card history and the biggest year-to-year busts in Toppity Topps history.

I have set up two separate polls with six choices each underneath the OTHER poll I already have going on the sidebar. Sheesh, I am the Gallup of the card blog world.

But you all need pictures, so I am displaying each of the finalists in living color.

The nominees, please:


1952 to 1953

Summation of comments: The '53 drawings were pure works of art and beloved by many. The '52 set wasn't as good as Topps wants you to believe EACH AND EVERY DAMN YEAR THEY TROT IT OUT YET AGAIN!

1958 to 1959

Summation of comments: The 1958 set was created by purchasing colored construction paper and letting a group of school children glue magazine cut-outs of ballplayers to it. The 1959 set is iconic and beautifully sums up the era in which it appeared. And that set knew how to spell Mr. Neal's name, too.

1970 to 1971

Summation of comments: Look, even Lou Brock is saddened by the uninspiring gray border of the 1970 set. Meanwhile, the 1971 set is cool, quirky, classy and jazzy.

1982 to 1983

Summation of comments: Nothing against 1982, it was just meh-ish. But the '83 set was definitely not. The most loved Topps set of the last three decades.

1990 to 1991

Summation of comments: What the hell was THAT in 1990, followed by some amazing photos in 1991.

2002 to 2003

Summation of comments: Some people like the '02 set, some people don't. But generally, the '03 blue border is believed to be an improvement from the previous year. As a Dodger fan, I can't possibly argue.


1956 to 1957

Summation of comments: The 1956 set, according to the Official Bureau of Historical Cards and Gum Parts, is the best damn set in all creation. The 1957 set is smaller, inconsistent, and, lordy, you can't read the lettering on the front of some of the cards.

1957 to 1958

Summation of comments: Hey, we didn't say the '57 set was ALL bad! At least it's better than the scrapbook set (I think I've just stumbled upon a Define the Design name).

1965 to 1966

Summation of comments: Probably not the greatest side-by-side comparison as I'm convinced that both of these cards came from the same photo shoot. But what we have with the '65 set is that terrific pennant. What we have with the '66 set is the most unimaginative design since '61 and the only people wearing hats in this entire set are on the Alston card.

1967 to 1968

Summation of comments: Some consider the '67 set boring, but I was thrilled by the comments that others consider it one of the finest sets ever, too. The '68 set is possibly the strangest idea put to cardboard until 1990 came along (no, I don't know why the Drysdale card is cut off on the right side).

1995 to 1996

Summation of comments: Some folks don't like the 1995 font. That doesn't bother me. I'm with the group that thinks it's the best Topps set of the 1990s. The 1996 set, I think we call all agree is just wrong. Shrunken heads, anyone?

2007 to 2008

Summation of comments: Wow, it's been a whole year and Melky hasn't even moved an inch! ... I'm removing myself from this entry (I don't like '07 Topps). But some think the 2007 black borders are rad and the stupid 2008 photos and logo bump are sad.

There you are -- the best and worst one-year turnarounds. Vote away!

After the voting is done, I'll expound/elaborate/regurgitate on ... something. I don't what it will be yet. But it will be ... uh, something.


  1. I vote for 1965 to 1966 as the biggest bust. That 66 design is awful. Also, my vote for biggest improvement is 90 to 91. The 91 set is great, even if its at the height of overproduction, and the 90 set is probably the worst in the 60 year history. The only thing that's kind of neat is the Frank Thomas no-name thing.

    By the way, this will be quite interesting for Upper Deck. Tough to put any busts early on, then all the designs from the last 7 or 8 years seem exactly the same.

  2. Why is everyone always hatin' on 1990 Topps? At the time I was confused by it, but over the past 20 years (holy cow that set is 20 years old???) I've not only come to appreciate it, but to love it.

  3. Glad my ranting led to something productive!

    OK, you got me to narrow down biggest improvement to two sets, '59 and '71. Both had a similar feel, even if the aesthetics are very different; Owl, you called '71 a "jazz" set like I did '59, and you're right. I went, just barely, with '70-'71.

    I'm stickin' to my story with '67-'68 being the biggest dropoff.

    As an aside before I end this sub-8000 characters (this time...), my CAPTCHA word for this post is...


    Say it to yourself, it feels good. No other significance, just...nutchaz!

  4. 1990 to 1991 was by far the biggest improvement. There are some truly brilliant shots in the 1991 set. The biggest bust for me is 1965 to 1966. '65 Topps is pure magic as a whole compared to '66. The Orioles go from an orange pennant on the 65s to puke green stripes on the 66'd. It only makes me wonder what my Jim Palmer RC would look like on a 1965 design...

  5. 95 to 96 for biggest bust! I'm glad you agree 95 was the Topps set of the 90's. I feel like I'm the only person collecting it, but it's definitely cool!

  6. You're absolutely right about the Alston photo. You can see the guy with the black jacket (or is it a blanket) wrapped around him in both photos. I also believe Topps decided after 1967 they had to reset the bar really, really low. Thus, the '68 design.

  7. Biggest improvement is definitely 70 to 71. I'm sure I'll finish the 70 set sometime because I have a bunch of the stars. But they're just so gray and dull. The 71 is THE iconic design to me.
    Bust goes to burlap 68s. 67's are rather elegant and simple. 68 burlap is just bizarre. They're like the 69 design that wasn't unwrapped yet.

  8. I'm going with 90-91 for most improved. 1991 was overproduced but it was very nicely done. And I don't fault any red-blooded, capitalist-driven company for producing more supply when the market has created more demand.

    I would have gone with 70-71, but I've got a strange fascination with 1970 since I'm trying to finish it now. (I finally finished 1971 when I acquired the Don Baylor/Dusty Baker rookie...that one had eluded me for years.) And as much as I like 1971 I just can't get past the fact that the names are in all lower case letters. (I LOVE the black 2007 by the way, except that "Topps" is so much bigger than the team name). I don't hate 2008 as much as some people do, but I'll vote for 07-08 as the biggest bust.

  9. On the "Biggest Improvement", there are two where I greatly prefer the first (unimproved) design.

    Not saying which ones though. Don't want to get laughed at.

  10. That 53' set is so nice and 56' is one of the greatest ever as well. But I'll have to disagree with some of the critiques here on 1970 and 1990 Topps. I love the 1970 set. Might be my favorite. I think that it's one of the most unique sets because of it's gray boarder. I like that it has no facsimile signature, is simple with where the name and position is on the front of the card, and that the back is yellow. Gotta love the yellow. I wish that Mickey Mantle played in 1969 so that he had a card in this set. That would be awesome!

    And as far as the 1990 set, I just like it. No particular reason why, I just like the flashy design of it. The Griffey in the set, in my opinion, is one of the best portraits on a card ever.