Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Topps Archives: Roberto Alomar

It's been almost two years since I last did a post for the 2011 Topps Archives Project, and what better time to bring it back again than the day of the 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

For those unfamiliar with the project, let me provide a bit of background.

In 2009, knowing that Topps would celebrate their 60th Anniversary, I proposed that one of the sets they should bring back is the Archives set, similar to their successful 2001-02 product. If you remember, the '01 set consisted of reprint cards from Topps' 50 years of the first (rookie) and final cards of 200 HOF players, fan favorites, and managers, record breakers and playoff highlights. Now the original set consisted of "first" cards ranged from 1952 to 1985 (players last cards reached all the way to 2000 Topps...and there were no cards from 1999 included as either a first or last card). This new project would now include rookie cards of players in 1990's (the cutoff being 1995...give or take a couple of years.  And the kicker is that the player should not have been featured in the 2001 set (so no Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Ryan, al). 

Now, in reality, we know that Topps isn't going to make this kind of set (MLB Properties decreed no full-retired player sets could be produced).  That's why Topps has lovingly mixed them in with current baseball players in almost all of their products, even as SP's in the eponymous Topps set.  But if they could...

Well, to dream.

So today was the day that Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar (along with Pat Gillick) were formally inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.  But Mr. Gillick doesn't have a Topps card (as far as I know anyway), and Blyleven was already in the 2001 Topps Archives set.  So that leaves us with today's subject, Roberto Alomar.

And I'm kinda torn about it. 

No, not because of the player himself, nor do I want to go into a debate about who should or should not be a Hall of Famer (face it, different eras and times call for different ideals of what a HOF should be...and the time of Ruth, Cobb, Mathewson, Wagner, and Johnson is most certainly different than Alomar and Blyleven). 


I'm torn about which design to use as a "first" card.

Now, I know two years ago, when I added Mark Grace to the series, I put on a vote to determine which card should be the end-all "first" card:  his 1988 Topps Traded or his 1989 Topps card (with the Rookie Cup).  And the majority ruled that the Traded card be considered his first card (31 of 48 votes).

So the same situation applies with Alomar's first card.  He did appear in the 1988 Topps Traded set, and his first regular card is the 1989 Topps set (which is my favorite set design EVER...and I'm biased this way anyway).  If I were to follow the ruling of my readers from two years ago, I'd use the card below as part of my virtual 2011 Topps Archives project:

First card:  1988 Topps Traded #4T.  Final card:  2005 Topps #626.

If I went with the four voters who said for me to make the decision, you'd see the cards below:

First card:  1989 Topps #206.  Final card:  2005 Topps #626.

Even though his final card (from 2005 Topps) shows he was a member of the Devil Ray, he never did play for them.  He retired as a player with the D-Rays when he didn't make it on the squad out of Spring Training.

From his beginnings with the Padres, to his rise to super stardom with the Blue Jays (he won two World Series titles), Alomar was truly destined for greatness.  He was an offensive and defensive star with both the Orioles and Indians, before finishing his career with stints with the White Sox, Mets, and Diamondbacks.  He was a 12-time All-Star (from 1990 to 2001...twelve straight years), a 10-time Gold Glove winner (2,320 games played at second base presently ranks third on the All-Time list), a 4-time Silver Slugger, a 2-time WS winner (including a 1992 ALCS MVP), and finally, a 2011 Hall of Famer. 

So now it is time for this humble, little blog, to add Roberto Alomar into the 2011 Topps Archives project.

This should mark the return of the series.  I do hope to have it finished by the end of the year. I still have the list of people who were suggested by the readers, and I do encourage you to throw your suggestions in as well in the comments. Maybe 200 players (the total I originally suggested) was a bit too much.  I think if I can get this series to 100 players, I'd be happy.

So, once again, congratulations to Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, and Pat Gillick on entering Cooperstown.


JayBee Anama

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

I completely missed this post series before, but this is awesome. I wish they would bring this back myself. If nothing else, it could have been a good insert set instead of Topps 60.

I'm biased based on teams I grew up around, and I don't know who's been suggested already. My laziness prohibits me from checking the '01 Archives checklist, but off the top of my head:
Giants: Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky (local hero, nothing else), Matt Williams, Steve Bedrosian, Brett Butler - good on several teams.
A's: Dave Stewart, Dave Henderson, Terry Steinbach, Eck, Canseco and McGwire.
They were all on the national stage with the '89 World Series.

Also on the Giants (and shunned by all): Barry Bonds. But Topps won't touch him now, so he wouldn't be a part of the set.

Head over to the East Coast, and you have a bunch of Braves local heroes. Sid Bream was in the '01 set, I think, but you could do Javy Lopez, Steve Avery, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Glavine, Dave Justice, Otis Nixon, Terry Pendleton, Bobby Cox, Deion Sanders.

Was Charlie Hough in the '01 set? Rollie Fingers? Cecil Fielder...

If you do go all the way to 200 cards, you'd need to include nearly all these guys and a similar number from each other team.

Just suggestions, no idea if they were already made, suggested, or shot down!