Monday, January 1, 2018

Pack Break Week: 2017 Topps Archives


How about we start 2018 off on the right foot by presenting "The Return of The Return of Pack Break Week." For those who have joined us for the first time (welcome, first of all to this humble, little blog), the concept is simple: opening packs of cards after the baseball card season ended. In this case, the packs I had bought for Pack Break Week were from the three Hobby stores I visited during National Baseball Card Day.

Now a month ago, I opened and showed off what was inside packs of 2017 Topps Series 1 and 2017 Stadium Club. Today, we'll open up a pack of 2017 Topps Archives, also known nowadays as "Topps Heritage Lite." Let me explain.

Archives as a product used to be about reprints. Reprints of cards of legendary players cards from Topps' library. The first instance of this was 1983 when Topps created a set reprinting the legendary 1952 Topps set. Sets later from the 80's and 90's honored the 1953 Topps set, the 1954 Topps set (with some help from Upper Deck), and the 1952-55 Brooklyn Dodgers. In 2001, Topps brought back the Archives product in honor of the company's 50th anniversary to their first baseball card product. The set consisted of two series, featuring the first and final cards of 200 hall-of-fame and fan favorite players. Other than the hard-to-read card numbers, it was a big hit. In 2002, Archives returned, featuring reprint cards of 200 players from his "best year." It was a good set, with easy to read numbers, but some players' best years were with a different team than what he was depicted (Andre Dawson's 1987 reprint was his Expos card, not his Cubs Topps Traded card). Topps also added the stats of that best year on the card backs. Unusual, yes. But hey, there was a point behind it.

The following three years, Topps mixed things up a bit, creating a run of cards called Topps All-Time Fan Favorites, combining Topps library of designs with never-before-seen pictures. Most of the cards made sense aesthetically, but then you had an old Tommy Lasorda on his 1954 Topps card, or a young Kirk Gibson on an 1995 Topps card. It was hit or miss on the images matching the card designs.

In 2011, now 60 years into the baseball card business, Topps introduced Topps Lineage. A unique set that featured a basic base set design that had not been used in Topps catalog. But the hook on this set were the inserts that honored Topps unique inserts: 1968 Topps 3-D, 1964 Topps Stand-Ups, 1975 Topps Minis for example. Cloth stickers, 80's designed Rookie sets, and card backs written in Spanish, honoring the 50's and 60's Topps Venezuelan sets, were also included in packs of Lineage. The product was a hit, thanks to the nostalgia factor Topps was pushing. The following year, the concept returned, but instead of Lineage, it was called...

Topps Archives.

But thanks to the MLB Properties rules, Topps could no longer create a set featuring retired players. There had to be current players as well. So instead of reprints, Topps picked 4 classic designs (in this case 1954, 1971, 1980, and 1984) and matched 50 players with each design. The insert sets once again came from Topps library of products (1977 Cloth Stickers, 1967 Stickers, 1968 3D, 1969 Deckle Edge, 1982 In-Action, and 1958 Classic Combos. There was an insert set of reprint cards that used the Archives logo. Since then, Topps has continued the Archives line, featuring 4 classic designs with their classic insert sets.

The problem:

Didn't some of these guys have Heritage cards using some of these same designs? I haven't done a study, but I'm sure if it hasn't happened yet, it will happen soon. Heritage is a product that has a strong following (not me, but I know people). To me, it just doesn't seem right.

But anyway. I do own the first two sets of this new incarnation. But for some reason, I had no interest getting the last four sets.

That was until the Derek Jeter reprint retrospective that was added to the 2017 set. Well, I did get the Jeter set, but I still have no plans to go after "Topps Heritage Lite."

On to the point (if I haven't bored you to death already...)


So what's inside this pack of 2017 Topps Archives?

Opening pack now...

Here are the eight cards that were in the pack above:
  • #60 Catfish Hunter, P, Athletics, 1960
  • #74 Corey Kluber, P, Indians, 1960
  • #206 John Lackey, P, Cubs, 1992
  • #252 Evan Gattis, C, Astros, 1992
  • #236 Braden Shipley, P, Diamondbacks, 1992
  • #45 Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs, 1960
  • #122 Willie Stargell, OF, Pirates, 1982
  • #193 Tony Clark, MLBPA Executive Director, 1982


Thoughts: Two Cubs cards. That makes up for the first two packs. No inserts, no short prints, no Jeter anything. Ehhh. You can call the Stargell card an ATFF because he does have an 1982 Topps card (could be a future "What Card is This?" subject). But still...TWO CUBS CARDS.

Tomorrow's pack will be from 2017 Topps Series 2. Want to know what's inside? Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama