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First look: 2014 Topps Archives baseball cards — the home of Major League autographs & more

DualML

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Lou Brown would be proud.

Topps offered the first looks and basic product information for 2014 Topps Archives on Tuesday afternoon, and there are some notable new inclusions that have never been done before with major leaguers.

It’s including Major Leaguers.

That’s right, stars of the 1989 movie Major League will be among those signing for the product — cards styled with the 1989 Topps design and with character names and studio licensing that allows for use of the film’s logo as well as images as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. So far, Tom Berenger and Corbin Bernsen have signed on for this one. (Could past Topps signer Charlie Sheen be far behind?)

Henderson

As with other releases in the three-year revival in this line, Archives will include designs and stars from the past and present in this one with every 24-pack hobby box including two on-card autographs when it arrives on May 28. The base set will be comprised of 200 cards capped by 50 short-prints. The 1973 Topps set gets the nod for the first 50 cards, while 1986, 1989 and 1980 round things out. (The short-prints were not announced and are likely to be a mix of all years’ designs based on past releases.) Each card will have printing plates, a new Silver parallel limited to 99 and Gold parallels limited to 199.

Fan favorites autographs will lead the way here with two per box. This year, though, there are four parallels as well as printing plates for each auto. There will be Silver (/25), Purple (/10), Sapphire (/5) and Ruby (1/1) cards using varying designs. Originals autos — actual cards from the past — also will be signed with just 10 cards per player. Also part of the chase will be 1/1 cut autographs, triple autos and signed 1981 Minis limited to just 25 copies.

The Relics in this one will utilize the 1968 Topps design.

The Major League cards will be inserts first with a standard version and then five types of parallels to chase. Gold (/25), Red (/10), Purple (/5) and 1/1 Worst to First and printing plates will be found. Autographs will have a standard version as well as parallels of the Worst to First version, which will be limited to just 10 copies per player. Another movie will be noted in this one — The Warriors — a 35th anniversary nod that brings some added non-sports elements into the fold as well. These cards will be limited to 79 copies.

>>>RELATED: Olds details what he would do with a Major League set and creates cards, too.

Also among the inserts in this one will be 1971-72 Hockey cards, which can also be found with autographed versions limited to 25 copies, a 1997 Stadium Club Firebrand re-do, a Topps Mini Deckle set and 1987 Topps All-Stars cards. Each will have autographs numbered to 25 or fewer copies. The Firebrand cards will be hobby-only inclusions.

Other inserts in the mix include unsigned Originals buybacks and printing plates, while box-toppers will take us back to 1967 with “The Winners Celebrate” cards limited to 99 copies with signed versions limited to 10. Case-loader inserts, as in past years, will include signed player contracts straight from the Topps Vault.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

 

35 Comments

Jarod

I think these look like garbage. Topps seriously needs to slow down. The sheer mass of new releases is causing collecting fatigue. I truly see another mid 90′s coming. Slow down the presses, consolidate the product lines, focus on quality and customer service. They are getting greedier and greedier and all bubbles will pop sooner or later.

Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
FQ

Yikes! A very weak design lineup for the 2014 Archives set… the Junk Wax edition. I know this set tries to appeal to the ‘younger’ old school collectors like the Heritage product is aimed at the truly old school collectors but the 1980, 1986 and 1989 Topps flagship set designs are all net-minuses on looks with the latter bearing the burden of being the all-time ugliest. And 1973′s design, the far-and-away cutest of the quartet, should only be viewed in dim light after midnight making next year’s Archives offering the Beer-Goggles Set.

Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

I agree! You don`t even get a chance to catch your breath or recoup some money before the next release is out!! This goes for all the card companies. The average collector can`t shell out 300 dollars a week to grab a couple boxes 52 weeks a year. It`s one after another after another. No buildup to a next release, no break before more stuff comes out. It`s relentless

Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

You must not have been around a decade ago with all of the card companies pumping out 4-5 baseball products a week.

Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
Matt

I’ve never liked Archives, and 2014 looks to be no exception

Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink
James

For everyone whining about too many card releases: where is it etched in stone that youHAVE TO buy all the new product that comes out? I have been collecting for decades and have never felt that I had to buy every new product that comes out. People need to chill out. Find 3 or 4 brands you like and stick with them. Its not a must that you buy a box of every new product.

Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
rick

One word for the Major league cards….. Awesome!

And this product looks sweet!

Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
David Hollingsworth

Who said you have to buy every product that comes out?

Posted October 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink
Larry

All these Topps releases are starting to mirror each other year by year – probably the same active/retired player checklist over and over [add maybe several of the rookies] – and likely weak hits for most who can by per pack, per blaster or per hobby box with pie in the sky redemptions for those ‘lucky to pull one.’

Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink
Bob

Blah … Like Gypsy Queen, the first year of the product was fun, but now it’s too watered down.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink
David Brewer

Looks pretty good! Hope they have Vince Vaughn Wild Thing auto. There is nothing wrong with the 80s and 90s design, there is something wrong with the 80s and 90s cards being in every Tom, Dick and Harrys closet. Are they suppost to never use them again? No. I personally like the design

Posted October 30, 2013 at 1:36 am | Permalink
Frank

Isn’t Topps still producing the 1989 cards ?

Posted October 30, 2013 at 1:50 am | Permalink
Jason Kaul

I love the “Major League” addition. Dislike the “Warriors” addition. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why there are 3 years of ’80s and only one year of ’70s with no ’90s representation at all. On top of all that, they picked 2 of the ugliest ’80s sets (’80 & ’86) and probably the ugliest of the ’70s sets to include. I hope somebody buys it, because I typically like the Archives set and don’t want Topps to stop doing it because of poor sales. Plus, I’m hoping to buy some of the “Major League” cards on the secondary market.

I thought I was going to be all in when I saw the “Major League” inclusions, but I sont think that will be enough to get me to buy this product.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 1:53 am | Permalink
heyyo

It’s not so much about the amount of new releases to me, it’s the constant repeats. Sam photos, same predictable inserts, same everything. I’m trying to find one innovative thing Topps put out in 2013. It’s looking like 2014 will be exactly the same as 2013 and 2012.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 2:03 am | Permalink
robert

love me some archives base set cards so looking forward to buying a h/c set and not having to break boxes to build the set since the inserts are meh for the second year in a row.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink
Thomas A. Slowey

In 2013, it was noticable that Topps used thinner print stock in Archives and Heritage, presumably to cut costs.

This is a flawed concept. Each of those products is intended to be nostalgic, get collectors to reminisce (even if that is about the junk wax era) and spend money to obtain the “same” product as the old days with new images and players.

I would encourage Topps to stick with basic cardboard stock on those two product lines. . I am not going to allow nostalgia to overwhelm my concept of what should be used to create a decent baseball card. Topps can still try the thinner stock play in other types of releases where a “new look” might be more acceptable.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink
Paul

David……It’s Rick Vaughn, not Vince Vaughn.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

Didn’t Topps use the 1980T design for the 2012 Archives base set? And now, two years later, it’s using it again?

Posted October 30, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink
chrisolds

Clarification on the Major League cards noted in story.

The 1980 design is among the best of the decade … use it every year!

Posted October 30, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink
phillies_joe

eh…I’ll get a box or 2 to swap out for the phillies in the set. Keep the non-sport stuff in A&G. Why Hockey in a baseball product? Get ready gang…BB, football, Hockey & Basketball hobby boxes/products to be arrivibg soon……..sheesh

Posted October 30, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink
RJ

Holy cow, Major League is basically my favorite movie ever. How crazy would that be if Sheen or Bob Uecker (“Harry Doyle”) actually had a card or an auto?

Posted October 30, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink
J.R. Lebert

Here’s my take on 80′s cardboard… I actually like the 1989 design, and am very happy they chose that for the Major League cards. 88, yuck. 87, the Future Stars design as featured on the Wil Myers is fantastic, and I wish they would use it a bit more. Throw out the entire 86 design. 85 is clean, and I am a fan, particularly because of how big the Mets is inside the rectangular team name spot. 84 is growing on me, but I can take it or leave it. I’m a bit partial to 83, as it was the year of my birth, but in terms of design, its very middle of the pack. There are some great cards in 82 (Rickey’s base is fantastic, Ripken) but the best part are the Future Stars tri-cards with three players from the same team. More of those too, please! 1981 and 80 are both classic designs, but don’t do a whole lot for me, to be honest.

All in all, I think this one is going to be solely driven by the Major League cards, which doesn’t bode well for 2014 Archives. Pretty sure I will just cherry pick the ones I want off the bay…

Posted October 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
Jarod

I understand what people are saying about not needing to buy them all but that doesn’t help or apply to me as a player collector. This has been made worse by the huge increase in parallels as well. I PC three players and can’t even begin to get all from each product before the next one hits. I fall further and further behind. I am at the point of giving up and letting it go as it has gotten to be so frustrating. I am sure I’m not alone. When people like me that actually collect go away that dries up business for the breakers and sellers. When they go away the market crashes. Pretty simple really.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

I’m sorry, but it’s really lame they’re using the 1980 design again. And I’m saying that as a huge fan of this set. Love the “Major League” inclusions – would love to see them continue to add a different baseball movie each year.

Since the first issue, though, I’ve really wished that Topps would do an online poll to let collectors pick the four major designs to go with. Pick one each from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and don’t use them again until all designs from each decade have been used (or maybe then go into 1990s and 2000s). Just so many other great designs they could have gone with instead of 1980 again.

Basic (non-mem) insert sets have gotten less desirable since that first release, too. So many great vintage inserts over the years they could re-create, and all they do is All-Stars (done that), deckle (nice, but done that, too) and some Stadium Club thing I’ve never even heard of before? How about some throwback “white back” glossy box toppers, mirroring the jumbo set from 1980? Just one thought …

Posted October 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

I’m willing to concede that the 80T design is one of the best ever. However, did it ever occur to anyone at Topps that someone attempting to collect the 2014 Archives set might confuse the 2012-80s for 2014-80s?

Posted October 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
Robert Braxton

I’m going to have to find a whole ‘nother closet to store all these throwback (Archives) cards in.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
Yankees4671

I agree with Jarod, slow down. Too many sets in the 90′s led to the collapse in my opinion. Have a basic set and then limited yourself to one-two other sets. Heritage can go. Too high & not visually explosive to the eye. I think they could do alot better with the basic Topps set. The look has been so close over the past few years. Go with another border color other than white (or black). Get creative. Have more sub-sets within that set like Topps used to in the 60s & 70s; i.e. In-Action, World Series & Playoffs, Team Photos, All-Time Greats, Father-Son cards, etc… Take a page from Fleer’s ’87 release. The card with the ’86 Mets pitchers were pretty good, (Magic Mets); and the great Youthful Power Incaviglia & Jose Canseco were nice additions back then. It appears that they are back to doing those with some of the All-Star cards from the 2013 set. Maybe a mascot card once or twice a decade would not be a bad idea.

The 80s design was great but too much of a good thing can turn on you.

I loved the Archives in 2012, not so much in 2013, & 2014 is not exciting me at this time. It just seems tired after three years. Maybe it should be a every four years release.

At least they are not taking the ’55 Bowman look & replacing it with a flatscreen outline. LOL.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
Jason K

Looking at my previous comments… I confused ’80 Topps (good) with ’81 Topps (bad). It was late, gimmie a break :)

Y’all are right, ’80 was a great design. But, it was done a couple years ago, so why do it again already?

I also forgot to mention something that was brought up by somebody else… Why are we including different sport designs in a baseball set. I disliked the basketball and mini tall boy designs this year. I’ll dislike the hockey design this year.

I also agree with the comment about keeping the multi-sport and non-sport stuff in A&G.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
Richard

I might buy the Major League autos, but that’s about it.
Not even sure about that since I did not chase the bad news bears autos because they
were a tad too pricey.

I wish they had used the pics they did for the promo set for the Major League cards.
Not sure what to think about the warriors, unless they happen to have signed Deborah Van Valkenburgh.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
Pete

I hope Topps Archives get a little more creative with the autos. As a long time Mets fan it would be great to see some true “fan favorites” like George Theodore, Duffy Dyer and Rusty Staub.

Posted October 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
Jared

I collected in the card boom of the late eighties till 1993 and then got out. I just got into collecting cards again a few years ago. One of the things that ruined cards back then were too many companies and too many releases. I thought this would be over now and things would be simpler. Boy was I wrong. There are too many releases. I’ve read some comments on here saying you don’t have to buy every release that comes out. The problem is if you are a true collector and not a speculator then you have the collector gene. That gene makes you want to own one of whatever it is you collect. So even if you focus on one team or player the card companies make it impossible to own every card released that year of your team or favorite player. I like collecting to be a little bit of a challenge, the thrill of collecting is the hunt or chase, but it shouldn’t be impossible. These companies need to do less releases and less parallels.

Posted December 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
Mark

Does this imply that I will finally get the Touched by Greatness, Axl Rose auto, or Scorecard redemption they still owe me from 2013 Archives product. I remember the same kind of comments about last years Archives when the images came out. What possibly makes you think the cards exist ? Look at eBay for any of the recent Topps releases, and sort it by highest price first. Inevitably the first doZen listings are redemptions. Your darn right they need to slow down and probably join a therapy group for compulsive liars.

Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink
Mike

By this new Major League the movie coming out…Does this mean the value of the originals will go up ?

Posted December 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
Charles

I’d really like the Archive sets to focus on using classic card designs from the other three sports and not rehash older baseball designs except for reprint autos. Topps already includes one “off-sport” design as an insert, so why not focus on that? I think using one specific year’s designs would be great, like using 1985 Football, 1984-85 Hockey and Basketball, for example. Of course this wouldn’t work for the 1990′s when muliple sports shared similar designs, but it would be great for 1970′s-80′s.

Posted January 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
Mary

I just saw a set of the Original Major League the movie baseball card set of 11 on ebay.

Posted March 9, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

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