Category Archives: Ben Revere

Complete 2015 Topps Series One Phillies Checklist and Review

It’s been a quite a while since I posted these type of checklists, and I don’t really have the time to do them in the old format. However, I did enjoy sharing my work, so I’m going to try a new method of posting checklists separately from the massive Excel file I occasionally update on this site. So, in the hopes of making this a regular feature (as far as anything is “regular” in regards to this 2015 Topps Utley Variationblog), here is the complete, to the best of my knowledge, 2015 Topps Series One Phillies checklist, in PDF format.

I feel that it’s much more thorough and helpful than the checklist officially issued by Topps — which actually wasn’t as complete as they would have you believe. I’ve supplemented their information with data from Beckett and with details I’ve gleaned from the cards I acquired and what I’ve seen on eBay. I’d also like to note that I haven’t actually seen everything on the list. This list contains all known parallels and variations for both the main set and all the inserts. I’m not guaranteeing it’s 100% complete, but it’s probably better than you’d find anywhere else — please excuse my lack of modesty on this.

2015 Topps RuizAs for my thoughts on the set itself… For starters, I think it’s the most attractive set Topps has issued in a while, but that may be due to the fact that the player and team names are now in plain white text and not foil-stamped. Topps seems to have also pared down the number of parallels, but given their propensity for adding additional parallels and backfilling when issuing the second series, it’s too soon to say that they’ve cut down on that particular blight. I’m also pleased with the photo selection; in particular, Ruiz’s card and Utley’s variation card stand out in my mind. Having said that, the set vaguely reminds me of 1999 Upper Deck MVP, sans unnecessary foil lines. However, I do wonder if there can ever be a truly unique card design at this stage in the game.

Moving to the inserts… I’m glad to see that Topps has done away with the mini inserts. Some people really enjoyed them, but at the same time they really were kind of superfluous given Topps’s Archives brand. Unfortunately, Topps continued the ridiculously ponderous medallion cards, and because they are a pain to properly store2015 Topps Robbed Revere they can’t go away fast enough for my taste. I like the concept of the Robbed in Center insert set but hate the fact that Topps couldn’t be bothered to use a photo from the April 9, 2014 catch they reference on the back of Revere’s card. It shouldn’t come as a great shock, however — Topps never really has been a stickler for paying attention to that kind of detail. Given the sheer number of Ryan Howard Career High Autographs available on eBay, it certainly appears that Topps is trying to blow out their inventory of Howard autograph stickers while they still can. Speaking of blowing out the autograph sticker stock, Topps issued a Mike Adams autograph card via its Spring Fever dealer promotion, and I snatched up the very first one I saw that hit eBay. There are only 200 of them, which (assuming he doesn’t appear as a Phillie on any future autograph issue) makes Adams one of the harder Phillies to find a certified autograph issue for.

In all, I think it’s a decent start to the 2015 baseball card season. Solid, but nothing spectacular, which is what the Topps flagship brand should be.

Weekend Pack Busting

2014 Heritage RevereI was incredibly disappointed last night after arriving at two different local Targets only to find that neither had any Topps Heritage on their shelves. Thankfully, I didn’t require either store to fulfill my urge to open packs of Heritage this past weekend as I already purchased a few packs on Saturday while visiting a card shop I last saw nearly eight years ago, just before I moved from inside the DC beltway to the northwestern fringes of the Northern Virginia suburbs. Nonetheless, I really was looking forward to breaking open a few retail blaster boxes before the end of the weekend. Now it looks like I’ll just have to be patient and wait another few days before embarking on my quest to complete my own set of Heritage.

Since I didn’t want to come home empty-handed last night, I grabbed a few packs of Donruss. While I really would like to make a stab at completing a set, I don’t know how feasible that really is. The Diamond Kings and Rated Rookie subsets are both short-printed — something I didn’t realize when I posted my Phillies-centric review last week — thus making an inordinate percentage of the set more difficult to acquire. Learning this really cooled the affection I felt towards the set.

Finally, my quest for cheap baseball packs 2010 Topps Attax Lidgeled me to a K-Mart just around the corner from the hobby shop I purchased my Heritage packs from. Over the past couple years, I’ve come to rely upon the chain for heavily-discounted aging product such as $5.99 retail blaster boxes of 2009 O-Pee-Chee. Well, unlike Target, K-Mart made me very happy; I walked out of there with multiple starter packs of both 2000 MLB Showdown and 2010 Topps Attax for $1.99 per box. This was not an effort to expand my collection, however. I had my son with me and we are actually going to play with those cards as they were intended to be used. Oh, I’ll almost certainly slip soft-sleeves over each card in order to minimize the damage, but I made this purchase solely for the purpose of giving the two of us something fun to do together.

2009 O-Pee-Chee DurbinUnfortunately, that particular K-Mart — which I also hadn’t stepped into in nearly eight years — didn’t have any 2009 O-Pee-Chee. I’ve been working on that set in fits and spurts over the past few years and my set is about 75% complete. Coincidentally, most of the packs I’ve opened have come from the K-Mart discount shelves. As much as I like the set, the original sticker price really was far too high, and that cost detracted from the fact that 2009 O-Pee-Chee really was an awesome modern throwback set; a set that maintained the aesthetics of vintage card design without replicating or paying homage to previous sets. Anyway, If you happen to have any 2009 OPC duplicates, please email me so that we can work out a trade. I have plenty of additional material that’s not already listed on my Trade Bait page, so I’m sure I can work out some sort of trade with anyone.

Featured Cards: 2014 Topps Heritage #373, Ben Revere; 2010 Topps Attax (# 133), Brad Lidge; 2009 O-Pee-Chee #146, Chad Durbin

2014 Topps Series One: A Phillies Collector’s Review

Featured Cards: 2014 Topps #4, Cody Asche; 2014 Topps Camouflage #180, Ben Revere; 2014 Topps #296, Domonic Brown; 2014 Topps 1989 Mini Die-Cut #TM-16, Mike Schmidt; 2014 Topps Super Veteran SV-8, Jimmy Rollins; 2014 Topps Before They Were Great #BG-20, Mike Schmidt; 2012 Topps Wal-Mart Blue Border #90, Ethan Martin

2014 Topps AscheNow that I have a complete team set, all of the base Phillies inserts (not including memorabilia and autograph versions), and a few representative samples of the parallels in hand, I’m finally ready to write about this set. Unfortunately, I’m tackling this review about as eagerly as I actually awaited the arrival of the yearly Topps flagship product in recent years. This lack of enthusiasm results predominantly from my feeling like Topps just doesn’t put anything beyond a perfunctory effort into its primary brand anymore.

A lot of other collectors have already mentioned that the design of the set is rather bland and a little too reminiscent of last year’s set, and I am inclined to agree. However, I think this has become the primary feature of the flagship set — the fact is that Topps is now clearly heavily invested the idea that this set should be able to accommodate as many different colors/types of parallels as possible. Thus, blandness is essential. Once again, as with last year, counting the printing plates, you have 17 parallels of the base set. However, it needs to be noted that previously Topps has included parallels not initially produced in Series One into Series Two and the Update Series 2014 Topps Camo Revere and then issued the necessary Series One parallels retroactively (the 2011 Topps Hope Diamond Anniversary parallel immediately comes to mind). When you consider that Topps has also sold 1/1 blank-backed parallels exclusively through it’s Topps Vault eBay account and the hobby factory-issued set usually contains its own orange-bordered parallel as well, it becomes a certainty that the final number of parallels will certainly go up and will easily be a new record for parallels in a Topps set. Blech.

This year’s two new entries, yellow and a clear acetate, only serve to increase my irritation with parallel cards. Although I don’t have any of the yellow cards yet in my Phillies collection, I own a couple in my other collection thanks to my buying packs in order assemble a complete Series 1 set. Thus, I can confidently state that Topps has proven to everyone that the 1991 Fleer set was no fluke — yellow has no business being used as the border to a baseball card. As for the clear parallels, I thought that the overwhelming shrug of indifferene the hobby gave to Fleer’s attempt at acetate-based card sets in the late ’90s was also sufficient to kill that particular idea. Shortening the print run to only 10 doesn’t make it any more attractive whatsoever. I don’t know why Topps is feeling the need to resurrect Fleer’s bad ideas from the ’90s, but it needs to stop before someone decides that Fleer was onto something with its 1995 design.

2014 Topps BrownWhile the parallels just irritated me, I harbor pure disdain towards the two Phillies sparkle variations in Series 1. I didn’t like them the first time when Topps first tried them three years ago — especially since Topps royally screwed the pooch by using a photo on Domonic Brown’s card that had many collectors incorrectly thinking there was a sparkle variation. Well, this time around Brown actually has one, as does Cole Hamels. Although I don’t plan on acquiring either of them, I have been carefully checking the cards I get in packs to see if one does turn up. What I hate most about the sparkle variation is how carefully you have to look in order to determine whether you have the regular or variation. I’d much rather have different photo variations any day — I actually love them, even when they are extremely short printed (well, I love all of them except for that damn Kendrick card).

As for the inserts, the team’s 2014 Topps 1989 Mini Schmidtcontinued downward spiral means that the number of Phillies inserts is down again for another consecutive year. I’m not a huge fan of Topps’s mini insert sets, but I enjoy seeing current Phillies in older Topps designs, so I’ve found them otherwise enjoyable. This year’s twist on the mini inserts — a die-cut, colored-border take on the 1989 Topps set — strikes me as overdone and removes what joy I got out of the minis. The fact that the only Phillie in this set, so far, is Mike Schmidt, only serves to compound the disappointment. However, I will give credit to Topps for the color choice on the border — it works nicely with this particular Schmidt photo.

The updated take on the Super Veteran subset from 1983 Topps helped to offset my disappointment in the 1989 Mini Die-Cuts. When I first saw the Rollins card, I initially felt that it was too modern an update — I really loved the original 2014 Topps SV Rollinsversion of Super Veteran cards and thought that Topps made a small mistake in not being more faithful to them in last year’s Archives set. However, upon further examination and comparison to the ’83 cards, the new version grew on me quite a bit. In fact, it proves that nostalgia for older sets doesn’t necessarily require that we have to replicate them perfectly to create a proper homage. All the primary elements are still there — on the front, a much younger monochromatic photo alongside a current color photo, and on the back, an identical listing of career achievements. I’m hoping we see a couple more Phillies Super Veterans insert cards when Series Two comes out in a few months.

2014 Topps BTWG SchmidtThe other two non-memorabilia original inserts, Ryan Howard’s Upper Class and Mike Schmidt’s Before They Were Great, were rather run-of-the-mill and nothing special. Actually, the Before They Were Great set looks and feels rather similar to last year’s Topps The Elite and Topps The Greats insert sets — thus demonstrating once again that Topps really is putting minimal effort into this set and its inserts. However, there is one final insert set of note, however, and that’s the 75th Anniversary Buybacks, celebrating Topps’ 75th year as a company — not to be confused with their 60 anniversary of producing baseball cards, which they celebrated a few years ago. The 75th Anniversary Buybacks are much like previous buyback sets, only this time with an ’60-’70s era Topps logo foil-stamped onto the fronts. I have nothing against such inserts, per se, but I do wish that Topps would, at a minimum, actually provide a checklist of all the cards included. At this time, there’s no such list available, but I have taken the time to incorporate into the database all the Phillies buybacks I’ve seen on eBay. In fact, they should do this for all their variation cards as well — far too often collectors need to rely on postings on sites such as The Cardboard Connection to get all the necessary information. There really is no good reason for Topps to not be more forthcoming with this information.

2014 Topps WM Blue MartinIn the end, there are really only two things that this set truly has going for it. One, it’s the flagship set; the largest set issued by Topps and the one with 60+ years of history behind it. The other is that for all practical purposes it’s probably the best value for your money as a collector, and that’s even when factoring in the amount of money set builders inevitably waste on packs because of the inordinate number of parallel cards they’ll receive. (All due apologies to Topps Opening Day, which is cheaper, but it’s really nothing more than a derivative of this set.) If it wasn’t for these two facts I’d be hard-pressed to work out any real excitement for this set. I feel that’s only fair though — based on the final results, Topps can’t seem to work up much enthusiasm for this set either.

Click here for complete list of all Phillies cards, including parallels and inserts, from 2014 Topps Series One. A newly updated version of the Phillies Baseball Card Database is going online this weekend.

Wish List for 2014

Featured Cards: 1992 Donruss #94, Tommy Greene; 2013 Leaf Memories 1990 Buyback Autographs #474, Terry Mulholland; 2005 Topps Total #423, Cory Lidle; 1922 American Caramel (E120) no #, Jimmy Ring; 2007 Upper Deck/Majestic Phillies Alumni Night #9, Jamie Moyer; 2013 Topps Emerald #647, Ben Revere

Given that we’re already entering the last week of January and that most of the major card releases for the next few months are already in some stage of production that makes alterations impossible, stating a wish list of Phillies baseball cards for the coming year is probably a futile gesture. However, I’m nonetheless determined to plow through with the idea. So, here’s my wish list of items I’d love to see from Topps or Panini at some point this year, or, failing that, at some point within the next couple years.

1. Combo Cards
These could either be inserts or subsets — I don’t care. However they’re issued, there are plenty of awesome combo cards of just Phillies that haven’t been produced for some unknown reason, and all of them make much more sense 1992 Donruss Greene HLthan producing a dual autograph booklet of Carlos Ruiz & John Kruk. Although autographed and/or memorabilia versions of the cards would be awesome, “plain,” unadorned versions of these cards would be completely acceptable. To whit: Cy Young Award winners with John Denny, Steve Bedrosian, Steve Carlton, and Roy Halladay; any combination of the five living ex-Phillies who’ve thrown a no-hitter; a proper MVP-trio card of just Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Mike Schmidt; a ROY-trio card of Dick Allen, Scott Rolen, and Ryan Howard; an NLCS MVP card of Gary Matthews, Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, and Manny Trillo; & a Ruben Amaro, Sr. and Ruben Amaro, Jr., because why the hell not!

2. Autograph Cards
A couple years ago, I posted my original list of former players I’d love to see appear as a Phillie on autograph card. Since making that list, Juan Samuel and Terry Mulholland finally appeared on one. 2013 Leaf Memories Buyback Mulholland AutoHowever, the six other noteworthy former Phils are still in desperate need of one: Tony Taylor, Cookie Rojas, Dallas Green, John Denny, Art Mahaffey, Tommy Greene, & Rick Wise. To that list, I’d like to add: Brad Lidge, who despite a perfect season in 2008 and retiring as a Phillie has never received a Phillies autograph card; Charlie Manuel, for obvious reasons; Dave Cash, three-time all-star while with the club; Pedro Feliz, the only starting member of the 2008 World Series club without an autograph card as a Phillie; Jamie Moyer, for sentimental reasons; & Matt Stairs, for the same reason as Moyer, only more so.

In addition, there are a few other Phillies who have appeared on autograph cards, but in my opinion could use at least a few more. Curt Schilling and Jim Thome immediately come to mind, but believe it or not, I would also include Rollins as he, comparatively speaking, has not been as well represented on autograph cards as some of the other players on the team over the years. I know that in the future, after his retirement, any autographed cards of Rollins will certainly picture him as Phillie, but I don’t want to wait for those.

3. A Simple, Comprehensive Base Set
2005 Topps Total LidleYes, I’m beating a dead horse with this one, but I really would like to see a base set, from Topps, along the lines of one of the great sets from the 1993 season. Hell, I’d be happy with something that looked like one of the Topps Total sets from the mid ’00s at this point. This set would feature minimal parallels (just one or two), no foil stamping (fine, put it on the parallels if you absolutely must have foil), simple gloss, full-color fronts and backs, and every player on the team. Given that the parallels are limited, I am willing to allow a crazy number of inserts — hell, the manufacturers were already issuing those en masse by 1993, so it’s only appropriate and fair.

4. A New Retro-Inspired Design
I really like the Gypsy Queen line — although it really would’ve been nice to see Topps completely embrace the idea of the original set in the manner I laid out in the early days of this blog — but based on what I’ve seen in the previews of this year’s set, it’s probably time to retire it1922 E120 Ring (and Allen & Ginter, truth be told) and resurrect and/or borrow from some other pre-WW II set. However, the well is admittedly running dry, and there aren’t too many good candidates left. However, the 1922 American Caramel Series of 240 (E120) was an interesting design that hasn’t been revived as a set, and it has the added bonus of being a set where it actually makes perfect sense to make a sepia version! There’s even an historical precedent for parallels with different backs, seeing as many different companies in the early ’20s appropriated the E120 set and used their own advertising on the back. Other than that, the 1895 Mayo’s Cut Plug might work nicely, and, if it’s done properly — that is, a similar style of artwork is used or photos are given a treatment and airbrushed to appear similar — the 1912 T207 Brown Border might be an interesting experiment.

Failing all that, it would be interesting to see a new card design that attempts to look like a set from the pre-WW II era but doesn’t actually look like a previously-issued set. Get some art design experts on it, and I’m sure they could cobble something really nice together.

5. A Standard-Sized SGA Phillies Set
During the 2007 UD Majestic ALumni Night Moyermid ’00s, the Phillies did a great job of working with various card companies to produce exclusive SGA sets. The quality of the sets varied greatly. Some, such as the 2002 Nabisco-Acme Phillies set, were hideous while a couple others, especially the Fleer 2003 Ultra All-Vet Phillies Team, were amazing. Most of the sets, however, fell well between these two extremes. Outside of the Fan Appreciation Day postcard sets, the club hasn’t really issued a set of this type for some time now. It would be nice to see them do so again — especially if it results in the only standard-sized Phillies card for some lucky player on the team — such as Rick White’s appearance in the 2006 Topps Phillies Fan Appreciation Day set.

And finally…

6. Topps Returns to Sanity With the Parallels
2013 Topps Emerald RevereLook, I am fully aware that a significant number of collectors love parallels, and truth be told, Topps loves them for their own reasons. However, 17 different parallels (counting the printing plates) for the 2013 Topps flagship set was way too fucking much. I’d be happy if Topps just cut the number in half (much happier if they whittled it down further, but I’m trying to be realistic).

So that’s my wish list of Phillies baseball cards. I’m going to send a message via Twitter to Topps and Panini and let them know that they are welcome to steal from my list (not that I expect either of them to do anything at all with my suggestions). Anyone else have something they’d like to add? Even if you’re not a Phillies fan/collector, I’d love to see other ideas of what people would like to see on a baseball card.

2013 Topps Archives: A Very Belated Phillies Collector’s Review

Featured cards listed at end of post.

This is only the second year that Topps has issued its Archives set in the current format, and it was already one of my most anticipated sets of the year. I’ve made no secret of my love for cards of current players in vintage designs, thus the very very nature of the Archives and 2013 Topps Archives RuizHeritage brands unquestionably makes them must-own sets. There is very little that Topps can do to actively ruin the experience of collecting those cards — not that they can’t make some very notable mistakes, but more on that I progress in this review.

Unfortunately, the change in performance for the team means a drop from last year in the number of Phillies in the base set. With only six cards (down from last year’s 11), there’s no real way to complain about the player selection. Ruiz was an All-Star last year, Schmidt is now a staple in all Topps sets in which he can realistically appear, and when Topps was first determining player selection, choosing each of the Three Aces was something of a no-brainer. Given Ryan Howard’s status in the hobby since his rookie season, selecting him to round out the Phillies made sense. Having said that, Topps did a terrible job when it came to properly scattering the six players across the four designs in the set — none of them appear in the 1985 design. This really is an unforgivable oversight. There are thirty teams, and each of the four designs in the base set contains 50 cards. So long2013 Topps Archives Halladay as a team has at least four players in the set, it should be represented in each of the designs. I was especially annoyed by this sloppiness in set construction as the 1985 set is one of my all-time favorites. My annoyance only amplified when I realized that both Howard and Halladay appear in both the 1972 design and the Topps 1972 Minis inserts to the regular Topps set. I’m not quite sure why Topps felt the need to give double-duty to the design this year, but as much as I love retro-themed cards, I really would have appreciated more variety in Topps’s efforts this year. (Because of this and the fact Topps does reuse photos quite frequently, I almost feel like I should applaud Topps for managing to avoid using the same photos in both the minis and the 1972 portion of the Archives set.)

Just as an aside, I feel like I have to give Topps credit for getting the color scheme right for the Phillies in the 1982 design. In the 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set, they rather amazingly used the wrong colors for the Bob Dernier card, listed his position as “3rd Base” (a position he never played in his entire professional career), and used a hatless photo to boot — something that typically only happened when a player had just changed teams. It’s almost as if they intended the card to be a Cubs card (it has the correct Cubs colors and Dernier did get traded to the Cubs after the 1983 season), changed their mind at the last second, and couldn’t be bothered to properly fix anything on the card’s border, other than the team name. This may well be Topps’s worst Phillies card ever.

2013 Topps Archives Hamels2005 Topps ATFF Dernier

As with last year’s set, all the retired Phillies in the high-numbered Fan Favorites SPs in the main set are really just non-autographed versions of the Fan Favorites autographs. With that in mind, it’s nice to see Juan Samuel finally receive a Phillies autograph card. By using the 1987 Topps design for it, Topps managed a rather subtle nice touch in that it also used the ’87 design for Von Hayes’s first Phillies autograph card in last year’s Archives set. It’s also nice to see the inclusion of Larry Bowa, 2013 Topps Archives FFA Bowa Autoeven though the slightly blurry, in-action photo on the card looks like it belongs in the 1973 set and not the 1978. Given his long-standing status with the team, I’m actually surprised he hasn’t shown up more often in such Topps sets. Furthermore, with only one other autograph card to his name, having more autograph cards is quite welcome. The same is not entirely true, however, for Daulton’s appearance. Yes, he is the epitome of “Fan Favorite,” but as I’ve stated before, there are a plethora of deserving retired Phillies who have yet to appear as a Phillie on an autograph issue, and Daulton has appeared on over a dozen different autograph cards to date. To add insult to injury, Topps continues to use the same crappy 1992 template it used with last year’s Mitch Williams Fan Favorites cards. The colors are too light — so much so that Daulton’s name is actually hard to read — and the font for the team name isn’t even close to how it looked on the actual 1992 cards.

1992 Topps Daulton2013 Topps Archives Daulton

(2013 Archives card on right — at least they used a picture of Daulton in an era-correct uniform for the card design, as opposed to previous efforts)

In the past, I’ve placed cards such as these in the same binder pages as the original cards. And while I will do so with the Samuel and Bowa cards, I won’t be doing it with this Daulton card.

Unlike the Daulton card, there’s lots to love about most of the other inserts. Understandably, Topps paid special attention to the 1983 set with its 1983 All-Stars and Dual Fan Favorites inserts. The All-Stars subset in the 1983 Topps set is wonderful design, and it’s nice to see it used with Schmidt in an (again) era-correct uniform (the lack of patch of his left sleeve means that it must be from before 1983). The Dual Fan Favorites is a nice tweaking of the Super Veteran subset from the ’83 issue. However, while they look nice, I think I would have preferred to see Topps leave the Super Veteran concept completely intact. It’s hard to believe, but Jimmy Rollins has been a Phillie for a longer period (2000-2013) than Schmidt was when he appeared in this subset back in ’83 (1972-1983). Just imagine how a Rollins Super Veteran card would have looked.

1983 Topps SV Schmidt2013 Topps Archives DFF Samuel Rollins

No slight intended towards the Samuel & Rollins card that Topps issued — it’s a great card — I just think a Rollins Super Veteran card would’ve been even nicer.

In a similar manner, Topps reworked the 1960 design for its 1960 Relic inserts. As with last year’s 1956 Relics inserts, Topps did a nice job of editing the design to make it work as a relic card. The 1960 Relic inserts contain Ben Revere’s first relic card as a Phillie, but it’s something of a stretch — the relic is clearly from a 2013 Topps Archives 1960 RevereTwins jersey. In fact, there’s almost no way it could have contained a Phillies jersey unless Topps somehow placed a Phillies jersey on him sometime during the winter and then used that for the cards (after all, Topps makes no guarantees about the jersey coming from any particular event or season.) Personally, I wish that Topps would just use relics that actually match the team designation on the card. Luckily, some of Revere’s relic cards contain a swatch with a shade of red similar to that used by the Phillies in the ’70s and ’80s, so I acquired one of those. Unfortunately, completing my 1960 Relics insert set looks like it will be a challenge as the Ryan Howard card appears to be super short-printed.

Of the inserts, the most pleasant surprise was the Stadium Club Triumvirates. At this point, Topps possesses a very rich history of baseball set design across its many brands over the past 60+ years, and Archives is the perfect place to celebrate all of them. In fact, there should be more of this in future Archives releases. Stadium Club, Finest, Gallery, Tek, Stars, Gold Label, Bazooka, modern Bowman releases and all of the inserts associated with those sets should be fair game for the Archives set. In fact, Topps is limiting itself by relying solely on designs from the Topps flagship set over the years — some of the other designs should find their way into the base set itself.

2013 Topps Archives Triumvirate

Given the rich history of baseball set designs at this point, I am a little confused and disappointed by Topps’s decision to use its 1965 football design as a basis for the Mini Tall Boys inserts. While there’s no real need to move into the other sports to attempt this kind of crossover, I suppose that the Archives set is the place to try out this kind of experimentation. However, for me it just didn’t work. It probably doesn’t help that with a few notable exceptions I don’t 1983 Topps Glossy AS Carltonparticularly enjoy non-standard-sized cards. Since there was already a focus on the 1983 set, the Glossy All-Star Set Collector’s Edition (the mail-in set of 40) would’ve made far more sense as an insert than the Mini Tall Boys.

In the end, despite all the easily avoidable flaws and questionable choices Topps made with the set and its inserts, I still loved this year’s Archives release. I really do wish that Topps would hire some people whose job would essentially entail being as attentive to detail as collectors such as myself (to avoid really obvious mess-ups such as the details on the 1992 design and using the 1972 design in two different sets this year), but at the same time it’s obvious that Topps has an opportunity to put together a truly special brand for years to come — if they properly leverage their full history. Whether Topps has the desire and/or wherewithal to do so remains to be seen, but I certainly hope that they realize some of the potential the Archives brand truly holds.

Featured Cards: 2013 Topps Archives #162, Carlos Ruiz; 2013 Topps Archives #8, Roy Halladay; 2013 Topps Archives #58, Cole Hamels; 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #115, Bob Dernier; 2013 Topps Archives Fan Favorite Autographs #FFA-LB, Larry Bowa; 1992 Topps #244, Darren Daulton; 2013 Topps Archives #240, Darren Daulton; 1983 Topps #301, Mike Schmidt; 2013 Topps Archives Dual Fan Favorites #DFF-SR, Juan Samuel & Jimmy Rollins; 2013 Topps Archives 1960 Relics #BR, Ben Revere; 2013 Topps Archives Triumvirates #s T-3A, T-3B, & T-3C, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, & Roy Halladay; 1983 Topps Glossy All-Star Set Collector’s Edition #36, Steve Carlton

Today’s Topps Photoshop Fail

Featured Card: 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen #269, Ben Revere

2013 Gypsy Revere FrontI understand that pre-production and layout for a set of cards needs to start months before they hit store shelves and make their way into collectors’ hands. Furthermore, after a trade it’s not immediately disclosed what a player’s potentially new uniform number might be. However, it’s usually a safe bet to assume that when a player changes teams he will have to change his number when it belongs to the longest-tenured player on the team, a four-time all-star, four-time Gold Glove winner, and winner of the NL MVP Award in 2007. Some due diligence is certainly in order. I’m not quite sure if this is quite as spectacular a lack of attention to detail as the 2010 Topps Opening Day Roy Halladay uniform mixup, but it is certainly in the same neighborhood. On the other hand, if you’ve made such a mistake before, you really should have someone in quality control make sure you don’t make the same mistake again.