Monday, July 8, 2013

2013 Topps Archives Baseball Cards Box Break Recap And Review

I am compelled to write a disclaimer for this review along the lines of “Hits contained in this box are not typical, your individual results may vary” simply to combat the cries of “loaded box!”  All one has to do is look at the odds to know this was a special box.

Mind you, I feel this is more of a case of beating the odds rather than a collation error as all of the cards were part of the normal box structure.  While not typical, it could easily be repeated.  There are probably even better boxes to be found.  But once the excitement of hitting a box like this settled a bit, I returned to take a critical look at the set over the entire run.

The one thing that a product like Archives has going for it is that Baseball is timeless.  While there might be slight styling changes, over time the look remains, for the most part, the same.  This allows for seamless interchangeability between players photos and card styling from different decades.

2013 Topps Archives Baseball Cards comes in with a different flavor from last year’s release, moving out of the ‘50s and early to mid ‘60s, mostly settling between the ‘70s and the ‘90s, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to a younger collecting crowd. It still provides a reasonable challenge for set builders, while also servicing hit seekers looking for pulls that can’t be found anywhere else all with a wisp of nostalgia.  The one draw back for me is the change from 1970 styling to 1972 styling only because 1972 min are included this year in Topps Series Baseball cards.  When I pulled the 1972 Yu Darvish it felt as if I had already pulled that card before.

For collectors who were around during the original releases of these cards, this redo will feel familiar while, at the same time, seem current and should bring back feelings of when you first opened these packs. Unlike the popular Heritage line, collectors won’t have to wait 50 years to see their favorite releases get the updated treatment.

Archives Baseball falls under our classification of trading cards. Hobby Boxes contain 24 – 8 card packs with 2 Fan Favorites Autographs Per Hobby Box and the potential for some amazing and rare finds.

Here are some of the cards we pulled from our hobby box.

Base Set
1972 Styling
 Mariano Rivera, front and back
 Miguel Cabrera, Yu Darvish, Matt Kemp
 Dwight Gooden, Mike Schmidt, Gary Carter
 Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs, Manny Machado

1982 Styling
 Jackie Robinson, front and back
 Ozzie Smith, Eddie Mathews, Joe Morgan
 Reggie Jackson, Brandon Phillips, David Wright
 Jered Weaver, Jesus Montero, Shelby Miller

1985 Styling
Josh Hamilton, front and back 
 Ted Williams, Willie Stargell, George Brett
 Robin Yount, Eddie Murray, R.A. Dickey
 Jurickson Profar, Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Moore

1990 Styling
Felix Hernandez, front and back 
 Stan Musial, Rod Carew, Jim Palmer
 Evan Longoria, David Ortiz, Buster Posey
 Joe Mauer, Jose Altuve, Homer Bailey

Gold Parallels 
 Hyun-Jin Ryu #/199, Coco Crisp #/199

Fan Favorite Short Prints
 Darren Daulton, John Mayberry, Lee May
 Travis Fryman, Sid Fernandez, Juan Samuel


Gallery of Heroes
Buster Posey

Mini Tall Boys - 1965 Topps Football Styling
 Clayton Kershaw, front and back, Robinson Cano
 Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Dylan Bundy

Vintage Pack Redemption
front and back

1983 All-Star Styling
 Robinson Cano, Mike Trout, Stephen Strasburg
 Buster Posey, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols

1972 Basketball Styling
 Tony Gwynn, front and back

4 in 1 Stickers - 1969 Styling 
 Bob Feller & Tom Seaver & Nolan Ryan & Justin Verlander
Babe Ruth & Reggie Jackson & Don Mattingly & Derek Jeter
Warren Spahn & Sandy Koufax & Steve Carlton & Clayton Kershaw

Stadium Club Triumvirate - 1998 Styling
 Ken Griffey Jr., front and back

Print Plate
Bronson Arroyo base card yellow printing plate 1/1

The Hits
 Travis Fryman Fan Favorite on-card autograph
Ryan Braun Mini Tall Boys Autograph Redemption #/25 

Box Topper
Scorecard Redemption


Received the scorecard and its impressive.
17" x 11" - Phillies / Brewers September 25, 2009 game, MLB authenticated.

Overall Look
Topps has selected some of the best and most loved designs from their past. The 1969 “4 in 1” sticker are really nice.  The Gallery of Heroes cards are quite impressive.  The Autograph cards are done really well with some smart choices for the years selected for each fan favorite.

Quality and Variety of Players and Subsets.
200 base and 45 SPs make for a tight checklist.   There are excellent choices of players from the past, present and future

Do the Hits hold up?
Some of the bigger names have been removed from the fan favorite autographs but they are still included in different versions of autograph hits, such as the framed auto mini cards, but on a somewhat limited basis. With huge pulls like Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr, Nolan Ryan and a select number of the hottest younger players like Mike Trout, there is plenty to please. The fan favorites that remain will resonate will the more mature collecting crowd with names like Al Hrabosky, Dave Parker, Fred Lynn, Greg Nettles, Larry Bowa and Tim Samon.  The Heavy Metal autographs from rockers like Axl Rose, Dee Snider and Scott Ian seem slightly out of place as do the Celebrity Cut Signatures and the very limited Pele autos but are very desirable and fit into the 80’s theme.  Luck into a Touched By Greatness or any of the Topps Vault items and you could wind up with one the best pulls of your entire collection.

Will you want to collect them all?
Absolutely.  Topps has put their best foot forward with Archives and you will want to get your hands on as many packs as you can manage.

4 1/2 out of 5

If it weren’t for the repeat of the 1972 styling, 2013 Topps Archives Baseball Cards would have received a perfect score because it is a wonderfully mastered set of cards with lasting appeal.  It reminds you of why you started collecting cards in the first place.

Review box provided by Topps

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