I'll admit, I didn't like last years product. The designs weren't exactly my favorites and I found the cards just sort of generally boring. Plus, there were unnecessary reprints and Sandlot cards. I didn't mind the Sandlot cards, just not my thing.
Anyway, this year Archives returns with 1958, 1975, and 1993. I grabbed two jumbo packs and a blaster. I'm not going to go through things pack by pack as that would take way too long. I will say that the jumbo packs had nearly the exact same collation. Nearly half of the second pack was dupes of the first one, with cards in the exact same order. That was the same issue with last year where the some packs from the blasters were nearly identical. Now, that could've been luck of the draw as I grabbed a pack from the back and the front but I doubt it. I came across one pack in the blaster that had several of the same cards in the same order from the jumbo packs. That's definitely something that needs to be improved on.
Anyway, collation issues aside, let's see what I got.
I'll start with the 58s. One thing I never really did like about the original 1958 set is that the background is just a standard color. That's not to say I don't like the set in general, it's just not something I'm drawn to. Anyway, these are my favorites of the 58s included. I do like the fact that it's a healthy mix of retired greats and current stars. Pretty happy to get a Larry Doby card as well.
The only Reds card from either the blaster or jumbos, that being of Reds closer Raisel Iglesias. Even though the Reds playoff chances at this point are nearly shot, they've still improved a lot from the past few seasons. Iglesias this year has done his role well 26 saves out of 30 chances but his ERA needs some work at 4.16.
1975 is next. I love the color schemes of these cards, especially how bright the Andrelton Simmons card is. I do have a few 75s in my duplicate stack that are already earmarked for Night Owl.
Since I had more old school players than new players, I decided to split the 75s up. The backgrounds on these seem a bit off, especially the ones with in stadium photos. Maybe they were intentionally faded? Regardless, I still like them. Also, when was the last time you saw a Tigers pitcher Hal Newhouser card in a Topps product? Not only that, but he's shown with a bat.
The last set featured was 1993. I've always liked the 1993 Topps set as it's one of my favorites from childhood. I got several guys in Yount, Piazza, Brett, and Raines that definitely feel at home on a 1993 design. One minor nitpick is that maybe the Expos colors should be red and blue, other than that, I like these a lot.
Current guys. Carlos Santana seems really happy to be back in Cleveland after a one year sojourn to Philadelphia. They definitely hit the 1993 Draft Picks design perfectly with the Rowdy Tellez card.
Horizontal cards. Some good shots here. With the aforementioned collation issues, I think I would up with two or three of the Trea Turner card.
More Hall of Famers. With the 1993 cards, it seems as if cards of old-timerslike the Gehrig card have gone through the colorization process. To me, I think that definitely adds to the card. That also leads me into my two favorite cards I pulled...
First, we have this absolutely brilliant looking Johnny Mize card. Everything about this is great, the image, the background, the color of the picture, and the design fits perfectly.
But my favorite base card I pulled is this truly magnificent looking Bobby Doerr card. It's a beautiful picture of Doerr admiring a hit but the background it was does it for me. This looks like a practice game of some kind on a makeshift field with the bleachers and the giant skyscraper in the background. Plus, Doerr himself looks like he's kind of jumping out of the picture. This to me just seems like something Norman Rockwell would've put together and it's absolutely stunning. Probably my pick for card of the year so far.
Now come the inserts. First these Future Star cards with Michael Kopech and Alex Rodriguez. This design was featured in 1994 Topps (a set I really enjoy). Nice to see that set get some recognition.
All-Star selection cards. I like these but I think they would fare better with some vintage stock.
Some more miscellaneous inserts. My "hit" of the break, if you want to call it that, is the Hunter Dozier blue parallel. The Kyle Hendricks card is a 1975 mini variety, and despite the Ichiro being a reprint, it makes sense as Topps is paying tribute to his career with these cards.
My favorite of the inserts though has to be these Topps Magazine cards. I never read any Topps Magazine as a kid but I'm discovering it now through old oddball cards from the magazine I'm getting in trades and through cards like this. I would like to go back and see if I can maybe find some old issues somewhere.
Overall, aside from the collation issues I mentioned, I really like this year Archives offering. It's a heck of a lot better than last year and I managed to pull two outright amazing base cards. While I did feel like a lost six bucks on a jumbo pack that was nearly all dupes, I'd say I definitely got a lot of fun and enjoyment out of this.