A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Best Topps Set Countdown - #'s 30-26

Last week, I wrote about how time can affect how we look upon a particular set.  This week, I want to take note of how sets from the prior year (and the next year) affect our perception as well.  For example, was 1991 Topps really that good of a set or was 1990 Topps so bad that it made it look that good?  For that the answer could be both, but sometimes you really have to think about it.  There are several instances of this phenomenon that pop up among the 61 (major) Topps sets and the next group of five will highlight a few of them.  One follows a particularly memorable set, one comes before a memorable set, and one comes after a string of very forgettable sets.

30. 1988

PLUSES - Good photography, particularly for the era.  The 3-D effect of the photos is cool when the player overlays the team name, such as above.  For my tastes, this is the best set with regards to implementing the rookie cup into the design.  I also enjoy the "This Way to the Clubhouse" feature on the back.

MINUSES - Color schemes are off quite a bit for most teams, sort of a throwback to the 70's.  The baseball designs running throughout the personal info make it hard to read.  Overall, the backs are arguably the worst of the "overproduction era."

29. 1958

PLUSES - Bright and colorful which are both nice descriptions for a set in my opinion.  The large logo on the front is also appealing.  I like the large letter "first word of a chapter" treatment of the first and last name.

MINUSES - The design is a bit simplistic.  The personal info box seems strangely out of place.  The decapitated head of a scarecrow ballplayer serving as the card number is an odd choice as well. 

28. 2003

PLUSES - The best of the six year colored border run at the turn of the century, the blue has nice eye appeal for most teams.  The mini photo in the diamond shape is a nice touch although a tad too small.  A logo on the back for only the third time ever.  A simple touch that was not used nearly enough.  No back photo is actually a good thing for this set.

MINUSES - The card number at the bottom is a big pet peeve of mine.  It makes box collation very difficult.  The free-standing front logo seems odd as well, perhaps a small box, circle or wedge would have improved it. 

27. 1972

PLUSES - The star marquee font is an iconic team label for cards.  I like the bubble nameplate as well.

MINUSES - Generally an overrated set in my mind.  Way too many airbrushed or "look at the sky so we can't see the cap logo" photos.  The back coloration makes the stats hard to read.

26. 1973

PLUSES - Really memorable photography, not good in all cases but definitely memorable.  The circled silhouette as a position identifier is a nice touch.  One of the few uses of the black card back.  It works in this case.

MINUSES - The yellow/orange on the back does not work though.  White would have been better.  This set has another of my big pet peeves, a vertical back.  It displaces the card number to a large degree. 

Some of the questions surrounding this group that I had to contend with were hard to answer.  Did 1987 Topps (like it or not it is an iconic set) make 1988 seem a bit simple by comparison?  Has 1959 Topps (a great design) overshadowed 1958 in the years since they were released?  Is 2003 really that good or did it just look good compared to the previous seven offerings?  Is 1972 really overrated or just a product of my disdain for popular things?  I think there are definitely solid arguments to be made for both extremes on those questions.  I feel I was fair in their placings, but feel free to voice your own opinion in the comments below.  Either way, these sets are definitely worthy of being noted as above average Topps sets.

1 comment:

moremonkeys138 said...

I'm a big fan of 2003 and yes, it's mostly due to the border color. The design is good also though and I feel it stands out on it's own in terms of looking at the sets released prior. I also don't have an issue with vertical backs so 1973 ranks pretty high for me. Don't know why but I've always liked vertical backs. Maybe more room for full stats?