Last year, for example, I liked the 1960 designs and tolerated the 1982 look. But putting “1992” and “Archives” in the same sentence still seemed rather foreign. I realize that those cards were 25 years old in 2017, but still …
However, I do like the choice of Topps designs for the 2018 set. Split into 100-card sets are designs from 1959 (cards 1-100), 1977 (101-200) and 1981 (201-300). The cards do come with parallels, with purple numbered to 1975, silver (99), hobby-box exclusive blue (25) and gold foil (1/1).
This year’s Archives set also pays tribute to the 25th anniversary of the 1993 film, “The Sandlot.” If you remember “The Beast” behind the fence and the autographed Babe Ruth baseball that was put into play, you will relive some nostalgic moments with this. Topps put together an 11-card insert set featuring the actors, and even put five of the actors in its 25-piece coin subset.
The blaster box I opened had 16 cards featuring the 1959 design, 18 from 1977 and 18 from 1981. Overall, the design was nice, but I had to question two photographs used in the 1959 set. Red Schoendienst is featured wearing a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, but the second baseman played for the Milwaukee Braves from 1957 through 1960. Interestingly, Schoendienst only played five games in 1959 because of his battle with tuberculosis, so including him in the set was a puzzling choice.
One other photo caught my eye, and that was a 1959 design that featured Carlton Fisk — in a White Sox uniform. Yeah, I know he played 13 of his 24 seasons in Chicago, but I’ll always remember Pudge as a member of the Red Sox.
The base set does have some subsets. For 1959 it is a 10-card Combos set, and I pulled a Bashers by the Bay card of Buster Posey and Andrew McCutchen. The 10 special cards from the 1977 mimicked the “Turn Back the Clock” cards from that set, and the card I pulled featured Nolan Ryan setting the all-time strikeout mark in 1983. Do you remember victim No. 3,509? It was Montreal Expos hitter Brad Mills, who whiffed at a curveball to help Ryan pass Walter Johnson on the all-time strikeout list. The 1981-style specialty cards showed 10 rookie combination “Future Stars,” and the card I pulled featured Austin Hays, Chance Cisco and Tanner Scott of the Orioles.
On the insert front, I pulled one of the 25 Topps Rookie History Set cards. The guy I pulled was featured on a 2008 design of Dodgers’ star pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
And from “The Sandlot,” I unwrapped a card of actor Chauncey Leopardi, who played the role of Michael “Squints” Palledorous. It was comforting to know that Squints was still happily married to the former Wendy Peffercorn.
Another alumnus of “The Sandlot” was included among the two coins in the blaster box. That was Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. The other coin featured Mets’ shortstop Amed Rosario.
Overall, the Archives is a pleasant set to collect. Other than a few photograph choices, the set has a clean look and this year provides enough nostalgia for collectors who remember the original runs of Topps cards in 1959, 1977 and 1981.