I received an e-mail from reader Philip Melita, telling me that MLB.com's fantasy preview website is using the 1987 Topps Baseball design to feature all the players. So I went onto the site in question that he included in the e-mail, and yes, that's Albert Pujols in the famous 1987 Topps design all right.
I've seen these before and I've actually spent time looking at EVERY SINGLE PROFILE just to see what each "virtual card" looked like. While this is all great, and I know that I've played with the site MLB put out in previous years, it got me wondering if I could find the past year's sites as well. Well, after a bit of digging, I did find all the previous year's fantasy profiles going all the way back to 2005!!!
So let's flashback to 2009:
The great 1984 Topps design was used here. Nice job of sticking to the original design for the picture on the bottom left (just a headshot in front of a colored background). Here's 2008:
The 1980 Topps design. This is where it gets a bit challenging...2007:
The used the 1980 design here first. And look at how aged the borders are (worn down, just like older cards are supposed to look like over time). Now, unfortunately the pictures won't come up, but this is what we saw in 2006:
For the 26 teams that were around for the 1985 season, mlb.com made sure to use the team's logo from that year, for example, the old Philadelphia Phillies' "P." And finally, MLB's fantasy site from 2005:
They brought us all the way back to 1976 with this one. What's cool is that when you click on the position, the drawing of the player on the bottom left of the card appears above the position list.
Now, I did find the 2004 site, but all the pictures were "x" out and doesn't look like there was a Topps theme used that year.
Did you notice on all of the screen captures that each card had dinged corners and, in the case of the 1980 design, showed a bit of age? How awesome is this? The interactivity of the previews and the use of the Topps card design to frame each player's picture is much better than using a regular headshot or usual action photo. As baseball cards were (and some might still argue) the original fantasy player preview for the upcoming season, it just made sense for mlb.com to utilize the iconic Topps designs that even a non-collector would recognize. Something you couldn't do with the designs from that other card company...
So thanks for the tip, Mr. Melita. Who knows how long these sites are going to be up and around (I mean, I thought they'd have been torn down by now). But as it was once said, "Fame is fleeting, but the internet is forever." So maybe they'll stay up for a while. Maybe.