Friday, May 25, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - Visual Guide to Base Cards

I have opened my first eight packs from my Hobby Box of Archives, and thought I would share some of the base cards for anyone who hasn't seen them yet (or perhaps just wants to peek at some of what I found).  The interesting - or perhaps decidedly UNINTERESTING fact about these scans is that these are all cards that many people know of and are quite familiar with.  To be honest, I am not very familiar with the 1954 set, so that becomes a good place to start my tour:

I've decided to take my favorite current card and my favorite retired player from each of the sets, so you can get a sense of some different examples.  The photos are nice, crisp and clear.  I have seen a lot of negative reaction to the card stock.  And I have to admit, I see why.  It seems flimsy, and is definitely not close to the classic cardboard feel that Heritage does a good job of replicating.  But what I will say is that the cards have a neat "shine" to them - and this effect helps the photos really jump off of the card.

The backs of these cards are cool, as well.  One thing I love about Heritage is re-connecting with the old-style card backs - and this one has it all:  cartoon, short bio in a very traditional font, personal details in the upper left corner.  A simple and great design.

That takes us to 1971, and guess what?  I think I recognize that picture of Verlander - seems like the exact same photo shoot, judging by the background, that they used for Heritage.  Even the pose looks familiar.  Am I being overly picky?  Oh, and for my retired player, I was going to select Rizzuto, but it just felt wrong not to pick Gehrig.

Like the 1954 card, I don't have much of a recollection of 1971 cards.  I've seen some - I probably own a few - but I don't have a "collector's" memory of the set.  The pictures are pretty big, and that's a nice touch, but this is not a great card back in my estimation.

Well, it didn't take me too long to break my rule of selecting one old and one current player, huh?  Ozzie Smith and Darryl Strawberry really take me back to my early baseball fandom.  I was just old enough to truly obsess over baseball during their careers, and these cards probably do what Archives is best at - making guys my age drool over the first cards and players they remember collecting.

And finally a card back that I remember!  Who could forget that color?  What is it?  Sea foam?  A return of a cartoon for these backs adds some appeal - as well as the full career stat line.  I remember being so disappointed when Straw left my Mets, but looking at his numbers on this card, I don't think I remembered that he really only had one good year away from them.

I had baseball cards before 1984.  But I feel like these are the cards that made me feel like I was building a collection.  This is Mattingly's rookie, right?  (I may be wrong, but I remember that card.)  And a Gooden, but I think that was Topps Traded.  I think '84 might be Straw's rookie card, too - but now I'm really guessing.  This is probably the year I first put baseball cards into plastic sheets.  Great plan for collecting the later 80's, right?!?

Seeing Stephen Strasburg on a 1984 card brings up a memory from that year.  I remember watching all of Dwight Gooden's starts and being mesmorized by his dominance and by the way the ball seemed to explode out of his hand.  His curve ball, falling off the table, seemed unhittable when teamed with his heat.  When Strasburg made his first start, I think I caught his last few innings on MLB network, and was equally transfixed.

That brings me to the end of my base card tour.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll share some of the "special" cards I pulled - including a couple of autos!

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