Thursday, May 27, 2021

I’m ‘Yearbook Style’, are you?

 I recently did a post where I made some custom 1969 Topps Detroit Tigers in celebration of the 1968 championship team. Reader Jim commented that it would’ve made more sense to do the cards in the 1968 design since many players were on different teams or even out of baseball in 1969. I responded why I prefer the ‘yearbook style’, but I figured I would make a post about it with a longer response and ask everyone their opinions. 
Well, first of all, since we are talking about the 1969 Topps set, I just wanted to point out that the World Series highlights sunset showcases the 1968 World Series, NOT the 1969 Series. 
See?!  1968 Series on a 1969 card.

Not that a subset from the set really means anything, but look at the first 2 sets Topps produced. 

(You can't really tell on the '51, but it doesn't mention anything about the 1950 season at all)

The ‘51 set really doesn’t give us much to go by, but ever since 1952, Topps showed us stats from the PREVIOUS year, the 1951 stats in the 1952 set, and so on up through now. If they want to now change everything so the 2021 set has players pictured with the team they play for in 2021, they will have to flip the schedule upside down and really release Series 1 in October, Series 2 in November, skip Update altogether since everyone IS updated, and then just have filler sets from December through September. Sounds like fun to me. 
Now I realize that a player or 2 in the 1951 set and a number of guys in the 1952 set are pictured with their updated teams. I think this was just a byproduct of the sets being released in a few different series and the lack of a Traded set. I think the reason that so many guys are hardcore against yearbook style is that Topps made cards like this from 1951-1971 basically, providing cards of guys updated (or airbrushed) into their latest teams uniforms and no Traded set. That all changed In the ‘72 set where they added some ‘traded’ players in a late subset, and then in 1974, they released the first official traded set. I’m probably wrong about this since I’m not too knowledgeable about vintage (pre-1980) sets, but I believe Topps started going to a true yearbook-type set around the 1979 set. You didn’t see guys updated to new uniforms, and in 1981, the Traded set was a yearly staple. 

Your basic Traded card. You can see Freddy played with the Padres in 1992, but the trade is notated in the bio at the top, and since he has a Padres card in Series 1 and this is a Traded set, it's ok for this card to not be yearbook style. Understand?

The 1983 set was nothing of note to this topic, but it was the year I was born. I first started collecting in 1989, getting my first packs, and I think this explains why I am so stuck on yearbook style being the best. From 1979 up to 1997, Topps was 100% yearbook style, with a Traded set updating trades, free agents, and rookies. I think just growing up in those formidable years with it being yearbook and traded, I thought it was normal (it is).  Topps did break away from all yearbook in 1993 to showcase the new expansion Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins players, and I’m glad they did. They could’ve put the whole teams in the Traded set, but I was itching for cards of the new teams and so was everyone else in the 4th grade at my school. 
1993 and 1998 Topps cards of some expansion guys. 

A similar thing happened in 1998 Topps, but it kind of started what Topps is now. We got more expansion teams, with some prospects actually getting pictured in the 1997 set (and Buck Showalter got a card in the ‘96 Stadium Clun set), and Topps included the guys selected in the draft, as well as free agents, in Series 2 of 1998 Topps. The Traded set had been gone since 1996, and in Series 2, they also gave us something we hadn’t truly had since 1978, guys pictured in their teams from the year of the set that weren’t in a traded set. This has basically been the way it has been since ‘98. The Traded set came back, but it has turned into a rookie-themed set now, and most of the big-time guys who changed teams in the winter are featured in Series 2. 
Abreu was with the Astros in '97, selected by the Rays in the November '97 Expansion Draft, and then traded to the Phillies minutes after the Rays drafted him. His 1998 Topps Series 2 card pictures him as a Phillie.

The highlight cards are even more of a puzzle. Up through the 2004 set, the main set featured highlights from the previous year, and postseason highlights from the previous year. The 2005 set started off great, putting in highlight and playoff subset cards from the 2004 season and postseason, but in the Update set, it jumped off of the yearbook style train, bowing to the ‘I want it now!’ camp. They not only put highlight cards in from the 2005 season, but also did it with the playoffs, leaving you with highlight cards from 2 seasons in the same design with different colors being the only way a (knowledgeable) collector could tell what series it was from by only looking at the front. Imagine trying to explain that to a flipper nowadays or to a kid just starting to collect. 

You have a 2005 card of Ichiro featuring a highlight from '04 and a 2005 card of the Sox winning the '04 Series.  Then there is a 2005 Update card of Maddux featuring a highlight from the '05 season, and a 2005 Update card of Pujols hitting a HR in the '05 NLCS. What a mess.

There have been highlight cards since forever that show highlights from the previous years' season. 

1978 Topps card with a highlight from '77
1987 Topps card with a highlight from 1986
1992 Topps (Gold) card with a highlight from 1991
And finally, a 1998 Topps card featuring a highlight from 1997. 

It has got a little more confusing lately, where TOPPS will put a highlight card in the update set highlighting something from the current year, and then make another card for the same highlight in Series 1 of the next years’ set. It is just way too confusing for me. If you are going to put the previous years’ stats and team on the back, put the players picture on the front that matches the year on the back as well. Same thing with the highlights. Put the traded guys and free agents in new cards in the Traded set. It shouldn’t be too hard, and you can please yearbook and non-yearbook collectors. 

So that is basically a history of Topps being non-yearbook, yearbook, and back to non-yearbook style, and why I am so passionate about yearbook style being right. I’m not against non-yearbook style cards, I just think they should be included in the Traded set and not Series 1 or 2. 
What about you?  Are you yearbook or non-yearbook?  Any reasons why?  If you feel like it would be too long to put in the comments, I would love to see a post on your line of thinking. 
Also, Johnny from Cards from the Quarry did a post today highlighting the rules of something he wants to try, basically getting a flat rate box of about 1500 cards to be passed between 6 different people, with each of them taking cards they want and putting new cards in and sending them to the next person. I’m going to try it out. Sounds like fun, and there are a few spots left if you want to check it out. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

More old customs

 After doing about 5 customs today, I have finished the 1951 Topps missing Tigers (yearbook style). That means every person who played for the Detroit Tigers during the 1950 campaign has a 1951 Topps set. I am still missing 5 guys from the set who played in the 1951 season, but I will try to finish them tomorrow, as well as the guys from the 1952 set who played for Detroit in '52, but to wet your appetite while waiting for those, here are the ones I previously mentioned from the 1951 set, all of which I did.

Let me tell you, these were a pain in the butt to make. There were 3 different fonts, each card number had to be rotated at a -45 degree angle, and I had to do a bunch of research on a number of scrub guys from 70 years ago who I had never really heard of. But the good news is that it is done, and I can put this Tigers set (basically) to bed. and I think it looks pretty sharp. It was actually easier to find pictures for this set than the '52 set since all of the pictures in the '51 set are in black and white. 
I should have some cards coming in the mail pretty soon. The '21 Bowman break I am participating in is a little delayed, but that should be done in a week or two. I have done a ton of customs for Brainiac Baseball Breaks for his '81 Detroit Tigers season replay (check it out, I made a sweet card of Reggie Jackson as a Tiger), and I should have some cards coming from him pretty soon, and it's about 3 weeks from my birthday, so who knows what that will bring. I'm actually hoping for an Amazon gift card, because I have really been wanting to pick up a 2020 Bowman Spencer Torkelson rookie and a 2018 Bowman Casey Mize rookie before those start going through the roof, or before those guys fizzle out and I could've found them in dime boxes. Either way, I want to buy them right now at current market value. I guess we'll know if I get them in a couple of weeks. 
Thanks for checking out my lastest post.