Whenever I am about to start a player-collection related post, I first consider whether it's worth it.
My collection isn't organized by player. It's organized by sets or teams. So if I want to dig out a specific player through multiple sets, it's a process. It's a project taking the cards out, and it's a pain putting them back.
But for this post I make an exception, because it's a terrific idea brought to my attention by Brian at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.
His goal is to obtain a card of the Twins' Joe Mauer on every Topps flagship design.
How cool is that?
With Topps' headlong plunge into current players on classic designs, starting with Heritage and then ramping up in the post-2011 Lineage era, the star players are featured on numerous old designs. Brian has accumulated quite a few for Mauer, with only a few suspect designs from the '70s and '80s (Topps is petrified of trying '78) and a bunch from the '90s, which just can't match the nostalgia of earlier designs.
I decided to figure out how close I am with the current player for which I have the most cards, Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw hasn't been around as long as Mauer so I already know he's not going to match up. Also, I'm not making this an objective like Brian, so it's just a fun exercise.
First, let's cover the obvious ones, all of Kershaw's flagship cards since he started his career. I also threw in the Update card from 2008.
The 2015 Kershaw remains my favorite, followed by the 2009 and 2010, back when Topps selected some photo variety. Honestly, Kershaw's flagship cards are getting monotonous.
But that takes care of 2008 through 2018.
Next up are the Heritage cards. Kershaw started appearing in Heritage in 2008 with the high numbers set, so he's shown on the 1959 design.
And for those of you who want to see the knothole/jazz record design, he's on one of those, too:
Then Kershaw covers the complete run of the '60s, since that's where Heritage is at these days.
Plus, add the '69 card shown at the top of the post:
That wraps up the 59-69 designs for Kershaw.
Next, we turn to Archives, which takes a scattershot approach to design selection, but does fill in some blanks for Kershaw:
Those are the designs for 1957, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1990 and 1991.
If you want to include this Archives alternate reality 1958-themed card in the mix, then '58 is taken care of, too.
Unfortunately, Archives could have been a bit more efficient and included Kersh on a design from 1973 or 1986, both designs that have been used, but instead we got this:
Kershaw on the 1980 design again. Two years apart. Oh, boy!
The fun doesn't stop with Heritage and Archives, though. There have been plenty of inserts and other one-off cards on past Topps designs and they almost always have to include Kershaw.
That's him on 1951 and 1952.
Double trouble on two different versions of the 1975 minis.
Two different takes on the 1987 design (as much as Topps has thrown the 1987 design at us, I still don't have Kershaw's regular '87 insert card from last year -- actually I think there's multiple versions).
That's all I could find in my collection and in an extremely brief online search.
There is a 1983-themed insert of Kershaw in this year's flagship set, which I don't have yet. He also appeared on one of those online "Throwback" sets on the 1976 design. Also, I'm sure that Kershaw will spring to life in the new online "Living Set" that will feature him on the 1953 design.
If I eliminate those three from the group, this is what Kershaw has not appeared on yet for Topps flagship designs:
1954, 1955, 1956, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992-99, 2000-07
I'd say Kershaw has a good 8-to-10 years left of appearing on Heritage, so that should take care of '73, '74, '77, '78 and maybe '79.
Topps hasn't said much about the Archives set this year. It seems like the release date has been pushed back to late summer. I'm hoping some new, different designs are used this year, or at the very least Kershaw doesn't show up on a design that he's already appeared on in the Archives set.
But this was fun to do. Best of luck to Brian. Hope Mauer hangs on for a few more years.
Now I have to put back all these cards.