Skip to main content


We are approaching that time of year on the television schedule when prime time programming slips into "reruns."

I don't know how much that means to people anymore, given the many different ways we now have to consume entertainment. I don't even know if people say "reruns" anymore. I don't even know if it's a big deal. It's nothing to watch the same movie over and over and over and over again these days.

And then there is baseball card collecting, where we clamor for reruns. This never used to be the way. I can only imagine if I was collecting in 1980 and Topps threw a design from 1957 at me. It would instantly be my least favorite card because this wasn't NEW.

Now there are entire sets devoted to reruns, none more obvious than Archives, which is rerun after rerun after rerun. Archives even does reruns of its reruns (i.e. using a past Topps design that it's already used). This is both very annoying and probably testament to how reruns don't matter anymore.

I'll give you another Archives example.

A couple of weeks ago I grabbed a discounted box of 2013 Archives from Target. I figured it'd be good for the short-prints, which are always a pain for team and set collectors.

My goal was to get one of those snazzy '70s basketball cards:

Mission accomplished.

The rest was the usual half-assed retro stuff that I've complained about with Archives for the last three or four years (I can't even tell you how long it's been around).

So I turned the cards over and started looking at them.

I gravitate toward the cartoons because that's the kind of guy I am. The only design in 2013 Archives with cartoons on every card is the 1972 design. So I started looking at those -- even though the '72 cartoons might be the worst cartoons ever to appear on a baseball card.

But leave it to Archives, they made them even worse.

This is what I saw:

Yes, the repeat cartoon image is bad enough, but I've been dealing with that since 2006, so, whatever. But the repeat cartoon question? What the hell?

There's another one. Tommy Henrich hit the first World Series walk-off, in case you didn't read it the first time.

Here, the question is the same, but the cartoon is different. You're not fooling me, Topps, I know it's the same question.

Here, we're asking the same question, but with three different cartoon figures. I suppose the Giants have a pitcher, batter and fielder all in the Hall of Fame, so that works. But, again, SAME QUESTION.

Another trifecta of the same question. This one is interesting in that only one of the cartoons reflect that the question is about a catcher. The cartoon on the back of the Pagan card makes zero sense.

You're wondering whether there are four cards with the same trivia question? Of course there are. Troy Glaus is the answer to all of these because it's the SAME QUESTION. The Manny Machado card mixes it up a bit by showing a cartoon pitcher. Glaus was not a pitcher.

Here is another quartet of rerun. Steve Carlton was the career strikeouts leader before Nolan Ryan. Steve Carlton was the career strikeouts leader before Nolan Ryan. Steve Carlton was the career strikeouts leader before Nolan Ryan. Steve Carlton was the career strikeouts leader before Nolan Ryan.

And, what the hell, let's pretend Steve Carlton is a batter in one of the cartoons.

The fact that there's so many repeats is amazing because the '72 design makes up just 50 cards in the set. It's not like we're talking 660-792 cards in which there's a cartoon.

But this is what happens when so many sets are issued and so much emphasis is placed on inserts and hits. The base cards suffer, in many different ways. There's not enough time to be thoughtful and creative. Even with 150 years of baseball knowledge, there's apparently not even enough time to come up with 50 different trivia questions.

That's the life of a card collector these days, dealing with reruns.

Thank goodness we have eBay, the cardboard version of Netflix.


Cardboard Jones said…
I will ad this: the base cards suffer when Topps places a great amount of time designing 'inserts' for Topps Bunt. They would be better off dedicating the time and resources to the base set.
JediJeff said…
I clicked, thinking this was going to be a post about "What's Happening". Disappointed.
Zippy Zappy said…
I was looking through old cards of Bowman Draft from 2012 the other day and noticed that Topps managed to screw up the DOB, home town, round drafted, year drafted, etc... on a lot of guys. Clearly they're more focused on making sure the masses have more Wil Myers and Salvador Perez sticker autographs than caring if people actually read the back of their cards.
Kevin Papoy said…
It's funny because I opened a box of 2013 Archives a few months ago, and I thought the exact same thing about the backs/cartoons/repeats. I sell comic books for a living, maybe I should hook Topps up.
Fuji said…
You sir... are one helluva cardboard detective. Great post.
Commishbob said…
I don't buy more than a pack or two of these types of Topps issues so I wan't aware of them being so darn lazy with it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised though.

Popular posts from this blog

That was easy

   My approach on 2021 Topps, after seeing the cards, empty shelves and the tales of inflated prices, was that I could last the entire year without buying any.   The effort wasn't worth it. I'll just take my Dodgers and go home.   I went to Target once after the release date a couple weeks ago, I don't really remember what day I went, and saw empty shelves and shrugged.   So, move forward two weeks and it's birthday season. Those who have read this blog for awhile know I have a lot of birthdays in my family in March and it's the primary shopping time of the year, besides Christmas. I went to Target yesterday for a few items and I made sure to check the card aisle, just in case. I didn't expect to find anything, but I think you know me by now, I have to buy my first packs of the season if I have the opportunity. It's worth a look. The shelves seemed fairly empty as I approached. But they weren't. When I got there, I saw maybe six or seven 2021 Topps baseb

Reliving my childhood isn't easy

  My favorite part of collecting cards doesn't have to do with collecting current players, rookie cards or prospecting.   Although I pay attention to and buy modern cards and also seek out cards from before I was collecting or even before I was born, none of those cards are why I'm doing this.   The best part of collecting for me -- where the warm fuzzies reside, what I'd save for myself after chucking the rest of my collection -- is any card that was released when I was a child or young teen. I don't think I'm special in that way. A lot of collectors probably feel that way. But, unlike, say, the adult who grew up during the junk wax era, who can open pack after pack of 1990 Donruss and get that nostalgic rush without fear of packs ever disappearing, it's a little more difficult for me. I can go to a discount store a couple of miles away in town and grab some 1988 Donruss packs (I think I can still do that, who knows with the hobby weirdness lately). But there&#

G.O.A.T, the '80s: 20-11

  Big news at the night owl nest today. I subscribed to MLB.TV. Finally, I can watch any game I want this season. I no longer have to suffer with seeing the Mets play the Marlins for the 197th time or grit my teeth through Michael Kay because there's no baseball to watch anywhere else. I can ignore the Yankees for 162 games if I want! And that's what I plan to do. The Phillies-Orioles spring training game is on right now and then I'll search out something even more obscure later. I know, I know, I'm late to the party. That's the way it's been when it comes to entertainment viewing for most of my life. Taking years to land an MLB subscription was more of a cash-flow issue, but when I was younger, I'd miss out on the popular movies all the time because of a relatively sheltered existence. While high school classmates were quoting lines from Caddyshack and Stripes in the lunch room and on the school bus, I knew mostly Star Wars movies and E.T. HBO was the big t