Now we enter the average Topps set phase of the countdown with the middle third. Average is a word that has been under-appreciated in general. Average generally means you are as good or better than half of your peers, but it has always seemed like average was much worse than half. I consider myself a fairly average blogger and I do not consider that a bad thing. I can both learn from the above average bloggers and inspire or help the below average bloggers. It's the best of both worlds.
The two big averages in baseball, Batting Average for hitters and Earned Run Average for pitchers, have taken quite a large hit in popularity since the Moneyball stat-head era began in the early 2000's. Most new-school thinkers are of the opinion that those averages which had worked in baseball for 100+ years are also worse than half, batting average especially. I am fairly old-school in my thinking that those averages are still a useful tool for judging baseball performance, at least half the time anyway.
With that being said, let's take a look at the next 5 sets on The Best Topps Set Countdown.
PLUSES - A lot of people do not like the "burlap" border of this set, I like it. It has character and is a bit different which is usually a good thing. The back is fairly well put together and pretty easy-to-read.
MINUSES - Despite the character of the border, the front design is relatively mundane otherwise. The color, which I refer to as "stomach acid orange," of the back is just awful. I still don't like vertical orientation on card backs.
PLUSES - A simple front design which has sort of a minimalist appeal. I really like this card back. It is arguably the best of the "overproduction era." Team colors were stuck to much better than previous years.
MINUSES - Generally boring photography, even for the era. I am not a fan of the mixed script/printing font of the team name. Pick one and go with it.
PLUSES - A return to a larger base set (790 cards) after 6 years. One of the better border colors from the "colored border era" of 1998-2003. I really like the card number location. It changes the usual upper left position while still keeping it visible for box storage.
MINUSES - No player position on the front and very little information on the front. The player name and position on the back is really weird and should have been formatted differently.
PLUSES - I love the You're the Ump on the card back. One of the best card back features of all time. I generally like the card front with a couple of exceptions detailed below. I like the full player name on the back as well. Middle names are always fun.
MINUSES - The front is a bit busy. I think the card would look better without the smaller action picture or the signature, preferably the picture.
PLUSES - I like the linkage of the tilted team name box on the front and the player name box on the back. It ties the design quite nicely. I enjoyed the trivia questions on the back of most of the cards. Naturally I scanned one without the question.
MINUSES - Normally I like logos on the front, but on this design the logo makes the front seem cramped. I think position should have been in that bubble. The red writing on the back is not really appealing.
So there you have the beginning of the average Topps sets. I would imagine that some of you would consider a couple of these sets (1968, 2001) to be rated too high and some (1955, 1985) to be rated too low. Feel free to make your case in the comments section. I always enjoy more information and feedback to make me take a second look at my opinions. I do not claim that my opinions should be considered doctrine. After all, I am simply an average blogger.