Here's the thing. I really want to like Archives. I really, really do. But it's pretty obvious that Archives can't be what I want it to be. What it should be. It's not going to happen. And I don't want a product that can't aspire to that.
But still there is this waaaaaaant. It's current and retired players on OLD designs! I love old designs! Current players? Meh. But old designs??? Can't get enough. This is why Fan Favorites worked so well a decade ago. Of course, back then they had the better cardboard. And no short-prints. And a wide variety of designs instead of just four. And autographed cards that one could actually pull (I know, I pulled two in 2004 out of common ordinary blasters).
And this year, Archives made it worse. By repeating one of the designs it just used two years ago. And by announcing that the 1989 design needed to make a comeback. And ... AND ... by keeping the shortprints -- but making them the same designs as the base set. Arrrrrgh!
It just keeps getting better and better.
But still. Waaaaaaaaaaaant.
It's very limited want, mind you. Even unrealistic expectations know when it's hopeless. It's a "quick pass by the card aisle" kind of want. In fact, if Target had any single packs of Archives (do they even make those?), I would've gladly taken one of those. But all that was available was a $5.99 rack pack of 18. So, for 33 cents per skinny notecard, I grabbed one.
Here is what was inside:
Archives isn't worth the individual-card treatment, so I'm showing you nine cards at once. This is the bottom panel. I opened the bottom first, because I thought it would be good luck. Obviously, that failed. There are three Giants there -- proof that I should never open a pack of modern stuff again. Also, that Mattingly looks very odd -- like Mattingly was cut out from some other image and placed on the photo.
Also, the page is a tribute to junk wax. Six cards honoring 1989. I almost fell into a coma shuffling through these. May I stop enjoying current cards before 2038 Heritage arrives.
Here are the backs:
I can go up to my dupes box and view the same thing. Damn dull. I just can't get over this 1989 thing.
Let's move on to the top panel of cards:
This is a little better.
First there is a Dodger card. I don't really need another modern-day Duke Snider, but at least it's not another Nationals card.
This also gives you a good look at the only design selected by Archives this year that interests me in the least -- the 1973 Topps design.
And, I found an insert. It's a deckle-edged Canseco. The deckle-edge cards aren't as big as the actual deckle-edge cards from the late 1960s. They're also not glossy at all. But ... um ... insert!
Those are the backs. The 1973 and 1980 card backs have some of the most interesting cartoons in Topps history. But these ones are pretty dull.
You will notice I didn't pull a single shortprint. Anybody who is chasing this set I hope is buying boxes, because collation at the retail outlet is insanity.
This is the third consecutive year that I have bought these cards and instantly thought "now, what do I do with them?"
As usual, the Snider is staying with me. A couple others I imagine will interest someone. The rest will go in a box, to sit forever -- wishing they could be in a binder, with the Fan Favorite sets from 2003-05.
But they can't. Because they're inferior versions of what could be. Of what should be.
And that's why this set is the most disappointing thing Topps has produced in the last five years.
Yet, I had to check it out.
Old designs, man.