I showed this 2019 Archives Aaron Judge card during the recent end-of-the-year spectacular to note that I had completed the 1975-themed portion of the Archives set.
I consider these Archives "partial sets" as sets unto themselves and I'm spending the next couple of days dedicating a small binder to them.
I'm also reserving a binder for another small set. I received two of the final three cards that I need for that set from Jeffrey of Cardboard Catastrophes.
Just need the Christian Yelich from wonderfully over-the-top 2019 Holiday to complete it. Anyone have it?
But anyway, back to the Archives partial sets.
Three years ago, I completed my first Archives partial set when I collected all of the 1979-themed cards from 2016 Archives.
I am going to place those in a binder in which they'll share space with the 1975-themed Archives cards.
I gathered the cards together for paging and I noticed one interesting thing right away:
My first instinct was to wonder whether the 2019 set had more cards in its 1975 portion than the 2016 set had for its 1979 portion.
But, no, they both are 100 cards each. The difference comes in the thicker cardboard used with the 1975-themed cards. Archives' switch to thicker cardboard for the vintage-themed cards in their set was one of the best moves it's made in the seven year history of the product.
That was just one thing I spotted about the 1975s in 2019 Archives, but, oh, there are so much more.
This is the reverse of a page of 2019 Archives '75 cards. Note the cartoons and the repetition of the cartoon images.
This runs throughout the set. There are just 11 cartoon images for the '75 portion of the set. Six of the cartoon images -- batter crossing home, batter socking ball with star effect, batter catching ball in mitt, batter watching ball go past him with cap flying off, pitcher in wind-up on mound and full-length image of batter swinging at ball -- are used 10 times. Five of the cartoon images -- batter preparing for ball that reads "hit me," batter getting hit on arm by ball, batter with black bat, batter swinging with big upper-cut and pitcher pitching -- are used eight times.
Another note about the back:
If you look at the top where the vital stats are, you'll note that Topps lists the player's team at the bottom of the vital stats. That is on every 1975-themed card. But that wasn't on the backs of cards in the 1975 Topps set.
But that wasn't the case in the 1993 Topps set either.
I can only guess that this is some weird licensing rule with MLB that Topps must list the team name on both the front and the back of the card.
But why aren't team names on the back of the 1958-themed cards in the set?
OK, let's go to the front:
A lot of this I discussed before when Archives first came out back in August, but some quick repeating:
The design, in general, makes me happy and reminds me of those wonderful days collecting cards in 1975, but there are definitely issues.
The large team name is not exactly right, it's too small and seems to float in space with some teams with shorter names. The typeface for the player names also isn't as robust and seems a little condensed north to south. The faded backgrounds creep me out and downright ruin some cards.
Also, I know that the big-and-bold facsimile signatures bother some collectors. It's definitely different than the '75 signatures but I don't much care, not enough for me to even notice.
And as I said prior, I appreciate Topps matching the position reference to what was used in 1975. For example, 1975 Topps wrote "3rd Base," not "Third Base" or "3rd Baseman" and Archives holds true to that. That's a biggie because it hasn't done that in the past.
All right, now for the borders, which is where I nerd out the most when it comes to the '75 design.
1975 Topps used 18 different border combinations in its set. The one above is the "day baseball" design (blue sky, green grass) because, yes, I named all the border combos back on my old '75 blog.
Obviously, with a 660-card set all of the color combos had enough cards to fill at least one nine-pocket page.
The 1975 portion of the 2019 Archives set is just 100 cards so when you put the cards together with the same border combos, you get this:
Pleasing, of course, but not quite complete.
Seven cards is the most for any color combination among the '75s in Archives. In fact, every color combination has either six or seven cards.
As I mentioned when Archives came out, I wanted to see whether it could cover all of the color combinations that were in 1975 Topps. I determined that it got to most of them, but not all of them.
But I"ll give you a visual review right now.
Here, again, are the color combos in 1975 Topps:
I've already shown the light blue-green cards in Archives so that's off the board. Here are the others:
Green-light green (6 cards)
Green-purple (6 cards)
Orange-brown (7 cards)
Pink-yellow (7 cards)
Purple-pink (7 cards)
Yellow-red (7 cards)
Brown-orange (7 cards)
Green-yellow (7 cards)
Red-orange (6 cards)
Yellow-light blue (7 cards)
Blue-orange (6 cards)
Red-blue (7 cards)
Red-yellow (7 cards)
Yellow-green (6 cards)
Archives used 15 of the 18 color combinations in 1975 Topps. The three they did not use are:
I previously guessed that those were the combos not used in an earlier 2019 Archives post and I still think that the tan combos weren't used because of some sort of inability to replicate the tan color.
I have no idea why orange-yellow wasn't used. It was used when 2011 Lineage created a set of 1975-themed minis.
Those of you who were reading the blog back then know that I broke down the Lineage '75 minis by color combos, too, and obviously have done it for the actual 1975 Topps set.
It's just something I have to do.
But the good news for those who are sick of it is you probably won't see it again until 2024 Heritage.
Which is when you will see it A LOT.