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It's not right but it's OK


First, Topps needs 50 lashes with a wet noodle for releasing a well-known product in late August.

Late August is filled with back-to-school shoppers. On a Wednesday afternoon. When I and retirees normally have the stores to ourselves. And, for some reason, around here, Canadians join the fray, and don't know where they're going, and suddenly I feel like I'm shopping on a weekend.

I couldn't wait to get out of Target. I wanted to shop for a few things for the card room but I picked up the lone Archives blaster and headed straight for the self-checkout.

So, now we're at my annual Archives post.

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a couple of years knows how I feel about Archives. It's a mishmash set, often executed half-heartedly, and usually looks like the creators only read about collecting during the years that featured the selected Topps designs.

For me, that's sometimes enough to buy a rack pack of Archives for the year and be done with it. Other times I get a little more excited, like when Archives chose the 1979 design a couple of years ago.

Design has a lot to do with how much of this set I will buy. The selection of the designs, the execution. Player content is secondary. Inserts are secondary. Autographs don't enter the thought pattern. It's all about the design.

So, that would follow that I should be buying a bunch of this stuff, right? The 1975 design is featured!

Well, I have to admit, it's got to be one of the most colorful years of Archives -- with the '58 design featured, too -- but we'll have to open the blaster to see my opinions on it.

Before I do, let's get these things out of the way:


I have zero interest in these coins. Even more annoyed that the ones I received are two people responsible for each of the Dodgers' last two World Series losses.

Also, a warning: since the '75 design is involved, I will be obsessive. One thing that I want to know is whether all of the color combinations in 1975 will be featured in this set. And for that, I have my handy list:

Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown

I will be tracking as we go long.

PACK 1


#27 - Cavan Biggio, Blue Jays



#51 - Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

With the yellow background, of course. This is the only Dodger that came out of the blaster.



#133 - Nick Senzel, Reds
#156 - Blake Snell, Rays
#108 - Catfish Hunter, Yankees

OK, we're at the good stuff, the 1975 designs. Time to compare:


A few notable differences. The fonts, of course. The most distracting thing for me is that the team name is smaller and narrower than it was in 1975. It isn't anchored to the top frame, width-wise, it's almost floating around up there (with the obligatory trademark symbol).

The player name is smaller and a little too spaced out. The colors are deeper on the Archives card and I don't think that's due to fading of the '75 card. On the plus side -- and I'm sure autograph hounds will disagree -- it's nice to see those facsimile signatures again even if no one knows how to sign their name anymore.


 A quick comparison of the backs. A fairly good tribute although the Archives back is not as easily read. Also, Archives scraps full names -- BOOO! Modern ballplayers have middle names, too! They're not hard to find! Use them!!



The Hunter Archives card is one of those Archive instances where the player appeared in the original set, too.

Obviously, the name is different between the two cards, and the team, and the signature. Hunter's cap looks off in the Archives card and the faded backgrounds that appear on some of these old-timer cards throw off the whole card image.



#75M-55 - Brandon Belt, Giants, mini

My first Archives '75 mini is a Giant. But of course.


There is the comparison so you can see the mini size. The floating team name is even more apparent on the mini card. I do not like. However, you'll notice that Topps appears to have refrained from tinkering with the position listing as it has in the past. It says "1st Base" just like the Tony Perez card I just showed. No "First Baseman" or any other weird nonsense.



#226 - Steve Carlton, Phillies


#273 - Corbin Burnes, Brewers

Those are your '93s. I don't have a lot to say about these because I wasn't impressed with '93 Topps in 1993 (all my energy went to '93 Upper Deck). I will say that some pretty good photos were selected for the '93 representation, even better photos than I remember showing up on the original '93 set.

OK, time to cross off some '75 color combos:

Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown 


 PACK 2


#95 - Hoyt Wilhelm, White Sox
#64 - Rosy-Cheeked Don Larsen, Yankees



#121 - Tony Gwynn, Padres
#109 - Andy Pettitte, Yankees
#172 - Steven Duggar, Giants



Here's another comparison with an original '75. Notice the font differences and the deeper colors. But overall, since it's the 1975 design, I'm pretty happy to see it come out of a pack.



The differences are more pronounced here. For whatever reason, the Yankees team name is orange instead of the '75 red. And now those phantom spring training sites are starting to creep me out.


#305 - Chris Sale, Red Sox, 1958 All-Star design


#248 - Jose Altuve, Astros


#271 - Jose Abreu, White Sox


Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown 


PACK 3


#7 - Roberto Alomar, Indians
#33 - Ramon Laureano, Athletics



#199 - Jacob deGrom, Mets
#158 - Richie Ashburn, Phillies

Too brown-oranges. Let's compare:


The left edge on the deGrom is ragged, which gives it an OPC feel. Weirdly, unlike the previous comparisons, the colors are deeper on the Cleon Jones card. The team name for deGrom is still too small and narrow.


#151 - Al Kaline, Tigers, parallel, 8/175

Archives parallels are strange. The differences I see here are the inner border is all black instead of white with a black line, and someone seems to have turned out the light on the position baseball. I don't know why any of this would appeal to someone.


#265 - Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
#270 - Brandon Nimmo, Mets
#284 - Nomar Mazara, Rangers

The '93 photos do grab ya.

Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown 


PACK 4



#100 - Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves
#70 - Jeimer Candelario, Tigers
#30 - Robinson Cano, Mets

I love the '58 backgrounds that scream late 1950s, such as pink and light blue.




#104 - Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
#197 - Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox



My fear that Archives would use black player names on the purple-pink design as shown with the Ohtani mock-up was unfounded. The names are properly white. But the Goldschmidt lettering looks downright flimsy next to that bold Reggie Smith!



Still orange instead of red for the team name. I think Topps did this with Lineage back in 2011. I'll have to double-check.



#94FS-25 - Eloy Jimenez, White Sox, 1994 Future Star insert

I could've done without these. They bored me in '94.



#292 - Griffin Canning, Angels
#247 - Bobby Doerr, Red Sox

The Doerr shot is somewhat magnificent, although Doerr looks like he was inserted into another image. It's another one of those Archives pictures that doesn't look quite right.

Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown 


PACK 5



#73 - Andrew McCutchen, Phillies
#2 - Patrick Corbin, Nationals



#174 - George Springer, Astros
#132 - Jesse Winker, Reds
#169 - Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks

More spooky spring training sites. Maybe get a person in the background and I'll believe the player was actually there.



#I-6 - Ichiro, Mariners, 2006 stamped reprint thingy

wee.


#243 - Juan Marichal, Giants
#295 - Robin Yount, Brewers

Let's compare the '93 design because there are differences there, too.


Do your eyes go right to the name like mine do? That is so not accurate. Neither is the team name but in the opposite direction.


Back comparison. Topps didn't want to fit in Yount's first five years in the major leagues.

Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown 


PACK 6



#4 - Michael Chavis, Red Sox
#67 - Goose Gossage, Padres (Padres? Come on)




#185 - Jameson Taillon, Pirates
#137 - Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
#126 - Chris Shaw, Giants



#272 - Mike Piazza, Mets
#282 - Kyle Tucker, Astros
#249 - Johnny Mize, Cardinals

Piazza looks perfectly natural on the 1993 design. Johnny Mize on the other hand ...

Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown

PACK 7



#78 - Hank Aaron, Braves
#97 - Bob Gibson, Cardinals
#88 - Chipper Jones, Braves

Ooh, Christmas colors! That's quite the enjoyable lineup there.




#187 - Enyel De Los Santos, Phillies

Ah, ha! They CAN use red in the team name!



#151 - Al Kaline, Tigers



#321 - Eloy Jimenez, White Sox, 1993 rookie subset

I'm on an Eloy Jimenez run lately.



#252 - Carlos Santana, Indians
#223 - Jesus Aguilar, Brewers

Brown-orange
Green-yellow
Pink-yellow
Tan-light blue
Yellow-green
Yellow-red
Red-yellow
Orange-yellow
Brown-tan
Red-blue
Red-orange
Green-light green
Purple-pink
Light blue-green
Blue-orange
Green-purple
Yellow-light blue
Orange-brown

OK, that's the blaster.

As you can see by the color combo tally, six color combos are unaccounted for. I'm a bit disappointed I didn't pull a blue-orange or a red-blue, those were my favorites.

Also, this serves as a Power Rankings blaster, so I need to record the updated team totals:

Dodgers - 32
Yankees - 29
Red Sox - 28
Braves - 27
Tigers - 25
Blue Jays - 25
Astros - 24
Cardinals - 24
Cubs - 24
Mets - 24
White Sox - 24
Giants - 23
A's - 19
Phillies - 19
Pirates - 19
Reds - 19
Royals - 17
Brewers - 16
Angels - 14
Diamondbacks - 14
Nationals - 13
Rockies - 13
Twins - 13
Mariners - 12
Padres - 12
Rangers - 12
Indians - 11
Marlins - 11
Orioles - 11
Rays - 10

I'm not including those stupid coins.

Overall, I'd say that either I'm warming a little more to Archives or it has improved over the last three or four years. Probably a little of both.

It doesn't hurt that Archives included a tribute to my all-time favorite set this year.

It may not look exactly like those '75s, but like queen Whitney once said:

"It's not right, but it's OK".

Comments

Mike Matson said…
The Jays cards are nice. I think I want to buy some just to try to get Expos and Jays
Section 36 said…
Have we ever determined why Topps can't get it exactly right? I mean, they have the originals to copy. Do they not want to? Is it intentionally off so as to emulate without copying? Is it just where they assumed it was close enough? I almost think it would be easier to get it right than to get it close but not quite.
Jeremya1um said…
I think they are just lazy. There is a whole post on the Facebook Custom Card group page where a guy took every Topps set from 1951-2019 and put the names of the (mostly) correct fonts on them. Even if they don't want to do the research, the info to get the cards almost exactly like the originals is out there. I just think the guys in charge of making the designs for Topps are 1: Non-collectors, 2: Non-sports fans, and 3: Millenials. They don't do the research, and we end up with some lackluster copies of old designs when we could be getting some decent work that looks very close to the originals.
Is anyone else bothered by the fact that Topps put Hank Aaron on a '58 card as an ATLANTA Brave?
One issue I had with the pack I got is that many of the cards in the 1958 and 1975 designs are dark and muddy... well, not necessarily the borders, but the photos are dark and muddy. I found it distracting.

Speaking of distracting, I noticed something with the 1975's that I can't un-see, so I'm going to make others not be able to un-see it. The drop-shadow on the position baseball is smaller, which isn't a big thing in and of itself, but in the original version the line between the white inner border and the colored outer border goes right into the shadow while the new version... Jeez, this is hard to describe in words, I might have to do my own post about it. :-)
Oh, I forgot to say.. I think that Catfish Hunter photo is a colorized black & white photo, which is why his cap might look odd.
Maybe Topps will pop up with a variation Aaron with a MIL. uniform.
You got a few more 2019 75's hitting your mailbox tomorrow or Saturday (with those franken-mini's)
Nachos Grande said…
I refuse to add another set to my want list this year but I have to admit that those Archives cards look good to me. I like all three designs this year (yes, even the 1993 Topps set which I think is underrated as it is).
Sean said…
What is with the stupid "TM" marks everywhere? They obviously didn't need them in 1975 (or even 1993), so why the sudden need to put them next to every team name (not just the team logo, but even just the name spelled out in a random font)? Now that I have seen it I cannot unsee it and its annoying because MLB does not legally need to force Topps to put those on there in order to enforce its trademark.

Oh and Canadians flock to Target because we don't have Target in Canada or any equivalent.
gcrl said…
I put a copy of the 75 style kaline in my "final tribute" mini collection, despite the fact that it features a young kaline in the photo. Many have noted previously that Topps has an opportunity with archives to issuw cards that disntbget made when they first used these designs, but for some reason Topps doesn't seem to want to do that. This release was the perfect opportunity for a 1958 style Roy campanella card. At least there is the kaline, I guess.
night owl said…
The trademark symbols on cards has been going on for years. I wrote about it some time ago:

http://nightowlcards.blogspot.com/2012/03/its-ugly-card-but-its-law.html

Basically it's the fault of the memorabilia market. I will say that Topps seems to have made the trademark logos smaller than in the past, which makes them a little less apparent.
Old Cards said…
Although the design is not exact, the 75 Archives look pretty good. What bothers me more are the 58 logos. Would prefer the original logos. Like you, not impressed with the 93 design even though I bought a 93 set in 93. Not sure why.
steelehere said…
Mike Piazza pictured as a Met on a 1993 Topps card when that was the year he won the NL ROY award is pure blasphemy.
you should have some archives 75s and franken minis along with some Dodgers tomorrow
Bru said…
I'm 99% certain that both the Hunter and Doerr cards (The Doerr Hunter cards? :P) are colorized black and white photos, which would point to why they feel "off."

I'll take that lovely Springer coin off your hands, though. I know you'd like to get him out of the house. ;)
AdamE said…
Man I Red Sox hot box. If I ever got that good of results I would buy more modern cards.
Once a Cub said…
The Hunter and Doerr photos are colorized B&Ws, maybe that's why they look off? I didn't look into the others.

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/pitcher-jim-catfish-hunter-of-the-new-york-yankees-poses-news-photo/53239055

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/robert-p-doerr-of-the-boston-red-sox-swinging-a-bat-in-1937-news-photo/173494853
Those dopes even put a "TM" on the words "National" and "American". Bah!
Fuji said…
I've always enjoyed Archives... but a lot of my fanfare revolves around their Fan Favorites autographs. Not sure why they keep doing the coins. Maybe in 20 years I'll find them a unique and interesting oddball.
Nick Vossbrink said…
It's interesting that in the original 75 design Topps used different fonts (same family, just different weights) so that Cardinals and Mets filled the space about the same but in Archives it looks like they picked one font that would fit Diamondbacks and just let everything else get too small.

Also as I mentioned on Twitter, I do like that Topps has 1988'd the 1958 design. I don't mind them changing things but I like it when the changes seem considered rather than slapdash.

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