Monday, January 26, 2009

Card That Make You Go...What??! of the Week: 2001 Topps Archives Ozzie Smith #81 of 450

This installment of the What??! of the Week features a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest (if not the greatest) defensive shortstops of all time, Ozzie Smith. I'm definitely nitpicking this one because the purpose of the set this card is in was to reprint a player's first and last card. Let me rephrase that, FIRST (99% of the time, a player's rookie) and LAST Topps card.

To celebrate Topps 50th anniversary in the baseball card market, Topps created a set that consisted of the reprinted first and final cards of 200 players called 2001 Topps Archives. Five decades worth of legendary players, MVP's, World Series Champions, fan favorites, and Hall of Famers (some HOF to be's) were included in this set. Every Topps design from the previous 50 years was represented (except for one, two if you want to nitpick, at that point). They even included four players who appeared in only one Topps card. Because of the enormity of the set, and the number of players and cards involved, the set was broken into two series. Ozzie Smith was included among the players chosen in series I.

As many of us know, the Wizard of Oz's first Topps card came out in 1979 Topps (see below). That's the set with had an even more blah design than the one from 1978. It was basically a large picture above a baseball with the old Topps logo, the player's name and position, and a banner with the team's name on it. There couldn't be a simpler (and to be honest, duller) design than this one that the Topps Company could have chosen to close out the 70's. Ozzie was a member of the San Diego Padres at the time, and his rookie card shows the wizard-in-training in a brown and yellow (think hamburger and mustard colored...did somebody say McDonald's???) uniform with sideburns that were oh-so-70's. He's not even staring at the camera, as his gaze is focused to his right, showing of those mutton chops for the world to see. Looking back, I'm sure if he had a chance to do the picture over...(then again, see his 2006 Topps Rookie of the Week card...)

Anyway, if his rookie card was from 1979, why was this card used as his "first" card for the 2001 Topps Archives set???:

This card looks like it's from the 1980 Topps set. Meaning this is Ozzie's second-year card. For accuracy's sake, this should be considered an uncorrected error card. And while, yes, this does look better than his rookie card, it still should not have been used.

Did Topps not have a copy of his 1979 card? Did the designers of this set think that the '79 card look so bad that this was the next best thing? Did they think that people wouldn't notice? Was Ozzie himself involved in the decision??? Topps, what were you thinking???


JayBee Anama

P.S. This is what Ozzie Smith's 2001 Topps Archives card should have looked like if they could just have used the right card:

Not a bad MS Paint cut and paste job if I do say so myself...jba


TDLindgren said...

It never made since to me as well. At the time, I thought it would be cool to have a reprint of Ozzie's rookie card, but then when they reprinted his 2nd year card instead, I decided not to get it. It does make you wonder about the process sometimes and the story behind their thinking.

dinged corners said...

Not sure why they chose this one, but any card of Ozzie *not* fielding is pretty neat.

Dave said...