Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yeah, I get writer's block, too

I may give the impression that I have endless ideas for this blog. But I don't. I've gone into  "what am I going to write, what am I going to write?" panic mode many times.

Writer's block can be quite stressful in my job. But on the blog, it's not an issue. I don't get paid here. I have no boss here. So I do what I want here.

For instance:

You've seen those polls vegetating on the sidebar for months, right? The ones in which I encouraged people to vote for Topps' biggest one-year improvement and biggest one-year bust? I said I'd do up a fancy post once all the votes were tallied, and I arrived at a suitably snazzy idea.

Well, I'm sick of trying to come up with an idea that isn't there. And I'm sick of staring at the polls. They've been sitting there for almost five months. So I'm just going to list the results, scrap the polls, and I will have one less thing hanging over my head.

Sound good?


Too bad. You want me to subject you to another trade post?

Here we go.


6th place: 2002 to 2003

1 vote: This should have received more than one vote. At right, you have the best shade of the best color in the world. At left, you have a color most appropriately described as "vomit gold." There is a reason why I've traded away almost all of my 2002 Topps cards.

5th place: 1958 to 1959

8 votes: I think this may have received a few more votes if the 1959 Charlie Neal featured a color other than yellow. At any rate, the '59 Topps set is an absolute classic, and would have been an improvement over virtually all of the Topps sets from the '50s.

4th place: 1970 to 1971

10 votes: This is the one that would have received my vote. The 1971 set is as funky, jazzy, cool as the 1959 set. The 1970 set features full-color photos, obviously. But it feels like they're in black-and-white.

3rd place: 1990 to 1991

13 votes: The 1991 set is a "photo-over-design" set, which had to be Upper Deck's influence. But Topps was chastised for its '91 set, probably because it featured the familiar gray cardboard as opposed to Upper Deck's slick playing card feel. I'd rather have the cardboard. But you can't fight progress.

2nd place: 1982 to 1983

15 votes: I don't have any serious issues with 1982 Topps. In fact, I like it more and more over the years. But it can't match up with the '83 Topps set. Opening those first few packs in 1983 was an eye-opening moment. What do we have here?

1st place: 1952 to 1953

29 votes: As I was saying, you just don't speak ill of the '53 set. Lots of people love it. I don't find much different between 1952 and 1953, although I agree that '52 is overrated. But it's obvious that this is considered the biggest comeback in Topps card history, so I will accept it. Grudgingly.

Congratulations, 1953 Topps. Don't let it go to your painted head.


6th place: 1965 to 1966

6 votes: 2015 Heritage is going to set records for unpurchased product. Just sayin'

5th place: 1995 to 1996

7 votes: I'm biased toward the '95 set -- I think it's Topps' best work in the '90s (base set category). The 1996 set is distracting and nonsensical. It even riffs on an Upper Deck set ('94) that doesn't deserve any praise.

4th place: 2007 to 2008

10 votes: This kind of surprised me. I don't know anybody that really likes the 2007 set. I guess that's how bad the 2008 set was. As flawed a design as Topps ever produced.

3rd place: 1957 to 1958

11 votes: The 1958 set is the only one that appears on both lists. Those were some roller-coaster years in the late '50s.

2nd place: 1956 to 1957

12 votes: As you can see by the last two entries, Topps was on a downward slide between 1956-58. Thank goodness 1959 came along, or this whole card collecting hobby might be just a silly memory.

1st place: 1967 to 1968

27 votes: This was no contest, just like the Biggest Improvement category. It's pretty much a consensus that the burlap set was not a good idea.

Congrats, 1968 Topps. May Topps never dedicate one of its base sets as a tribute to you.

So, there you are. My blog is completely devoid of polls for the first time in awhile.

I'll have to do something about that soon.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to do one of these Best Improvement/Best Bust things for Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss, etc.

I might get around to that sometime. I'll just have to wait for inspiration not to strike.


  1. I demand a recount. 1995 Topps is the best eveerrrrrrrrr! If it were followed by 1953 Topps it'd still get votes!

    (Okay, not really. But 1996 is ho-rendous. And 95 is pretty neat.)

  2. For some reason I really like the 1995 set too. I gotta pick up a cheap box to bust just for fun sometime soon.

  3. Funny, I think '57 is the best set they've ever made. Great photos, simple fronts.

  4. I'm clearly in the extreme minority in both liking 1968 and being iffy on 1971. (1971 is just a warmed over 1970 hockey - I'll do a post....)

  5. I still say 1989 to 1990 was the biggest bust of all time, but then again, I'm biased. I started collecting in 1989 and Topps was my favorite set that year. Additionally, 1990 Topps is, by far, the worst base set Topps has ever produced.

    1. I agree fully here. The 1990 Topps cards stunk right out of the box. Over 25 years later, all the 1990 baseball issues still leave me scratching my head... What the hell were these cardmakers thinking?