Saturday, December 15, 2007

'52 Topps Rookies: A Solution

Okay, the trading has been slow of late, and I've been distracted by holiday revelry anyway. But when I started this blog, I promised to share my thoughts and remembrances on the hobby during periods of downtime. So consider this the first in an indeterminate series!

Although I don't buy them very often, I'd have to say that I'm a sucker for "vintage" card designs. If I had been serious about collecting over the past five or six years, I'm sure I would have pumped some hard-earned money into Topps Heritage, and maybe even Bowman Heritage. This year's Allen and Ginter and Goudey series have caught my eye, though they're too rich for my blood. But I'd have to agree with my esteemed colleague that this year's '52 Topps Rookies cards are an exercise in laziness. While Dayf (among others) has suggested simply bumping up this year's design to mirror 1953 Topps and following the sequencing of Topps Heritage, I've got another idea.

Let's be fair. I love some of the 1950's Topps designs as much as the next guy (especially the aforementioned 1953). But haven't we seen enough of them for a while? For that matter, hasn't an entire vintage set based on one year's style been done to death? Well, maybe it has, you say. But what the hell are they supposed to do, Kevin? I'll tell you what...

Produce each rookie's card in the design from his year of birth.

Think about it. While card designs from the 80's may not seem "vintage", they still strike a nostalgic chord with many of today's collectors (yours truly certainly included). They haven't been seen for 20-25 years, and even if you assume that Topps is keeping up its Heritage line in sequential order on into infinity, they wouldn't be seen for another 20-25 years. It would be the best of both worlds - something old, but in a mostly new format. And as a neat twist, you'd always know how old a certain player was with a single glance at his card.

Take this year's checklist for example. You'd have a 1982 Michael Bourn, a 1983 Jacoby Ellsbury, a 1984 Troy Tulowitzki, a 1985 Joba Chamberlain, a 1986 Homer Bailey, a 1987 Justin Upton, and a 1988 Phillip Hughes. With Japanese imports, there's even a few oddball older designs, like a 1975 Hideki Okajima, 1979 Akinori Iwamura and a prized 1980 Daisuke Matsuzaka. Then there are journeyman rookies like Jon Knott (1978) and Josh Hamilton (1981). Now THAT'S variety. Sure, this also means we're right on the cusp of the hideous 1990 Topps design, but you might as well admit that you've missed those bright and fuzzy squares and dots.

If, after all of this, Topps still felt the need to throw in those Debut Flashbacks, you've got even more styles to look at. Try on a 1976 Vlad Guerrero or a 1971 Pedro Martinez.

So that's my best stab at telling Topps what to do. If they're looking to hire, I wouldn't say no. ;-)

By the way, if anyone is more graphically talented than I am (chances are pretty good that you are; refer to my banner design if you doubt it) and wants to email me some designs based on this idea, I will of course post it and give you full credit. A 1983 Nick Markakis or 1984 Adam Loewen would be sweet.


  1. About two years ago I started a collection of the 1965 Topps set for more or less the same reason you have. That is that I love the set, it looks great. I would add that I have also had a lot of fun studying the 1964 and 1965 seasons (64 because those are the stats that the 65 cards show and then 65 because the cards sold during that season)

    In 64, the Phillies had their famous late season collapse and there are at least two good books about that season that I have read. in 65, the Twins and Dodgers played in the series and there is a great book atbout that season

    Good luck in the hunt, i took me one year to complete the set and since then I nearly have completed a second set. Fun cards....

  2. Very cool and original idea for the Topps Rookies line. I'd buy into that!

  3. I agree. Makes me wish I knew Photoshop -- I could have some serious fun with that.