10 June 2014

Pack of the Day 72: The Second Box of 2014 Topps Archives

This is the breakout of the second box of 2014 Topps Archives I opened, starting as usual with a selection of my favorite base cards. My commentary will probably be pretty sparse as it is late and I haven't been feeling great today.

First out of the gate are a couple of hairy pitchers in colorful uniforms. That's a combination that can very rarely go wrong. I like pretty much everything about those photos, like the bats in the background of Catfish's card. I will usually go out of my way to fit a Starling Marte card into a post, although his usual grin is missing in this photo. And I also will usually try to scan any hint of an Astros rainbow uniform when I get a chance.

I promise this wasn't by design, but I picked two pairs of players from different eras of the same teams for the 1986 and 1989 card designs. They were just some of my favorite shots from this box. The Cliff Lee card fits into a themed idea I've had for a while but never acted on in which I use MS Paint to replace baseballs on cards with poorly-drawn apples. Doesn't it look like he could be about to bite into an apple? I think so.

Schmidt looks to be all business in his photo. In Rizzo's card I notice that there is an errant dog hair that shows up in several of these scans. It seems like no matter how much I wipe the glass on the scanner I always miss one dog hair. I guess that's something you have to accept when you bring dogs into your life. I think it is a nice touch that his name is visible on the barrel of the bat his arm is resting on. I also like how his card pays homage to the photo on Jenkins' card. I am going to pretend that Topps did that on purpose. I also love the look on Jenkins' face in his card.

I got a decent group of short-printed cards in this box, with Valenzuela and Rivera probably being the best. I think the David Price card would make a great 'apple' card. I still wish that Topps had kept up the pattern of making the SP cards in a variety of set designs instead of sticking with the same set designs the rest of the base cards feature.

I got decent grouping of All-Star cards. I think I've seen that Hernandez photo on another card recently.I could be wrong, though. I am 99% sure that I am too lazy to research it. Machado was at the center of a couple of little altercations this week with the A's, once over a too-hard tag from Josh Donaldson and once over being thrown at by Fernando Abad. He 'accidentally' let go of his bat mid-swing and it flew out past third base.

Five Deckle-edge minis came out of the box, this time featuring all current players. Troy Tulowitzki and Yadier Molina get the first scan. Maybe the blue-printed signatures are authentic to the originals, but I would like these a whole lot more without them. They are distracting to me.

Rounding out the group are Buster Posey, Jose Fernandez, and Miguel Cabrera. 

I got three Gold parallels in the box, featuring Will Middlebrooks, Jose Bautista, and Khris Davis, who should not be confused with Chris Davis. They are different people, although they have never been photographed together.

All are numbered out of # / 199. It looks like I placed the Jose Bautista / Khris Davis pairing too low on the scanner bed and cut the bottom of the image off. It's a good thing I'm the main guy on this blog, or I'd probably get fired.

The previous box had two Silver parallels, but this box just had one. I think the seeding on these is 1:14 or 1:15 packs or something a little odd, so you get that occasional box with two in it. The Gold cards retain the same 199-per card print run as last year, but you get more per box because Topps supposedly reduced the overall Archives print run by quite a bit. Trevor Rosenthal was the Silver card in this box, numbered to # 61 / 99. I am putting the Gold set together, but putting the Silver set together seem like a bit more of a challenge. I don't feel like doing it, although it seems like the Silver cards aren't that much pricier than the Gold cards given that the print run is essentially half. Silver is probably the better value proposition and I think they tend to look better than the Gold cards, but putting the Gold set together is:
  1. Already over 80% complete.
  2. Pretty much a tradition by now since I built it last year. (I didn't build the 2012 set, but let's not nitpick).

I've got triples of these two Major League cards, and haven't got any of the other two in the set. All of my boxes came from the same case, so maybe Topps only packed two of the cards per case to encourage trading.

Getting into the 1 per box insert sets, here is the wooden Firebrand card in my box, Ivan Rodriguez. Through eBay and packs I have acquired 7 / 10 of these, so I am pretty close to finishing the set. Those die-cut letters at the top make me really nervous when handling these cards. They seem like if you handle them wrong or bump them up against the side of a sleeve or card page they'll split right off. I also wonder how well the ink will stick to the wood over time.

My '71-'72 Hockey design card was Willie Stargell. I seem to pull a lot of Stargell cards. I'm not complaining, but he is one of those guys who seems to follow me around. Everyone has a few of those players that they don't collect on purpose, but seem to accumulate based on the whims of pack ratios. 

My first of two promised autographs was this David Eckstein Fan Favorites signature on the 1990 Topps design. Just like with the short-printed base cards, Topps reined in the number of set designs used for the Fan Favorite autographs this year. There are one or two exceptions, but the majority of them come in the 1986, 1989, and 1990 patterns.

And finally, I pulled a St. Louis Cardinals triple autograph, featuring stickers from Allen Craig, Carlos Martinez, and Matt Adams. These fall 1 in every 2,137 packs, so they are pretty darn rare. I still haven't decided what to do with it. I will probably wind up putting it on eBay at some point, as I have no particular affinity for the Cardinals.

I am 2 for 2 so far in pulling pretty big autograph hits from my 2014 Archives boxes. Obviously the Charlie Sheen autograph from box 1 is the bigger pull, but this is no slouch either, with the odds falling heavily toward getting two standard Fan Favorites Autographs per box rather than one Fan Favorites auto and one bigger hit. In the continuing Charlie Sheen eBay drama, the buyer of my card has been unresponsive, so I have had to open a case to cancel the transaction so I can relist the card. The case won't close for several days, so this nincompoop has effectively wasted a couple weeks of my time by creating an eBay account specifically to post a bunch of sham bids on my auction and then disappear. It's frustrating, but I suppose the card will eventually sell and I will (mostly) get over it.


  1. You are on quite the hot streak. Congrats on another great pull!