Sunday, June 5, 2016

2016 Archives.. my best box ever!

I like Topps Archives a lot. In 2012, I had been out of the hobby for nearly two decades. I took a curious look on eBay to see what has happening in the world of baseball cards. I was immediately drawn to Archives with the familiar old designs featuring stars of yesteryear and today. I ended up buying 2 or 3 blasters over the next few months. Didn't pull anything too exciting besides a Pettitte relic and a Clemente reprint RC. I discovered the seminal 1988 Topps blog, and from there Night Owl Cards.

By 2013, I was fully back into the hobby, picking up where I left off building my collection in the early 90s and starting up his here blog. Again, I bought 2 or 3 Archives blasters that year, with the only hit I recall pulling being a boring Hanley Ramirez relic.

When 2014 rolled around, I was entrenched in the hobby and had made a name for myself in our little corner of the internet. I got serious about Archives that year and ponied up for a hobby box. My 2 promised autos were David Eckstein and Terry Pendleton.. fine players, but both definitely on the common/cheap side of the product's autograph checklist.

In 2015, I doubled down and pre-ordered two hobby boxes of Archives. I figured that would ensure I'd finally score a sweet hit from the product. Right? Nope. I mean, I did alright, pulling a Brett Gardner printing plate and a /199 auto of Jason Kendall, plus base autos of Brady Anderson, Dontrelle Willis, and somebody else who isn't coming to mind. (Had to look it up in my blog's archives: Dalton Pompey).

So it had become an annual money dump for me, but was still fun enough for me to keep it going. I would enviously watch guys like the Snorting Bull blog have excellent boxes every year and think when am I going to get a sweet box like that? This year, I again went the dual-box route... hoping maybe this time I'd finally reach that pot o' gold.

I think I'll be using one of the boxes for an 80s toy "narrative" post like I did a couple years ago, so stay tuned for that one (still haven't finished busting that box). But the other box I tore through Friday evening. It was very, very good to me.

Here's a representative selection of some highlights that caught my eye in the base card department.

I never bother trying to complete the set, just go after guys I collect, any key rookies, and hope for a decent hit or two. I was happy to come up with a nice fat stack of keepers for my collection. The old-timers are pretty much all pictured with the respective teams you'd expect, with Boggs as a Yankee being the only minor "surprise" I came across. Personally I'd love to see a few more interesting choices such as Lou Brock as a Cub and the like, but oh well. I really like how the 1991 and 1979 designs look. Gotta say 1953 is easily my least favorite of the three, featuring boring, often low quality headshots with none of the charm of the original cards' painted portraits.

When I rip a pack and see the back of a 1991 Topps card, the first thing I think is, "Hey, where's the gum?" Haha. I was very pleased that Topps brought back complete career stats on the back this year (not applicable to 1953) after tragically truncating them in the previous couple years of Archives. I love the tiny text on cards of guys like Mays and Ryan who played forever!

Ok, now we're getting into the inserts. I really like these two 1985 insert sets, with Harper clearly being my best pull here.

These inserts almost feel "wrong" being in a modern set, what with the rounded corners. While a tribute to the oversized 1969 Topps Super set, these things are probably closer to overproduction-era Mother's cards in reality. They are pretty cool, though, and I was very happy to pull the Goldy.

I gotta admit the Bull Durham cards don't do anything for me. I watched the movie once or twice long ago. It was fine and all but I wouldn't list it among my favorite baseball flicks or anything. I'll need to Netflix it one of these days to reacquaint myself with it and remember who "Tony" and "Jimmy" are.

A pair of Koufax cards. The 1953 one is an SP, I believe the only one I got in this box. Archives SPs are dumb this year, as they usually are. At least there are only 10 of them. Same ol' designs as the base (I miss when the SPs were in different designs), and why repeat players? I think SPs should be reserved for lesser-known oldies who aren't in the base set (if there's gotta be SPs at all). If you really gotta repeat players, at least switch up which team they're pictured with.

Some parallels. Red (/50) for the Cardinals and blue (/199) for the Cubs.. nice and color coded. Damn Oakland ruining that coordination! Too bad there aren't green parallels. I'm just glad they got rid of the "silver" (gray) and "gold" (rust) parallels from last year.. those were ugly. But I miss the shiny parallels from earlier years of Archives.

And now for the grand finale of the box.. the autos! As a Padres fan, I was happy to pull a Randy Jones autograph. Not a "sick mojo" hit, but he's a PC guy for me, so it's a nice hit for my collection. But that was just the tip of the iceberg for my luck with this box. I already made a quick post about the Griffey redemption the other day after I pulled it.

My thought process was like..
"Aw dang, a redemption" :/
"WAIT WUT? Ken Griffey Jr? NICE!" :)
"Hang on.. Black Border Parallel.. aren't those 1/1?!" =D
Then I proceeded to "Woooooooo!!!" aloud to myself for a few minutes with a huge smile.

And yeah, according to eBay, the black parallels all seem to be 1/1. There don't seem to be many Griffey autos available from 2016 Archives, with only like 4 redemptions popping up on eBay by the time I'm writing this post. And none of those are the Father/Son card. The #1 Draft Pick design seems to be more common. The prices are pretty crazy. I'm sure I could get some ridiculous $$$$ if I sold mine. It's tempting to cash in and put it on eBay right now, but I think I gotta hang onto it. It's just too good of a story.. Archives is the product that brought me back into the hobby. Then I struggled with it for a few years with lackluster boxes (and honestly I generally have bad luck with all unopened product I rip). Until BAM! Finally got my sick mega mojo hit of a lifetime. There's no way I could ever top that. Hell, I even pulled it on the same day the great Muhammad Ali died, to throw a little extra weight into the situation. While it might be nice to sell it and use the funds to land an unattainable dream card for me like a high-grade Clemente rookie or something, I still think I gotta hang onto the Griffey. Like most collectors my age, I'm a big Griffey fan and he's always been a guy I collected.

Here are some images via eBay so you can use your imagination to extrapolate what the card I pulled a redemption for will look like, though with a black border.
not my card
The base version of the Griffey Father/Son card. (Why did they go with the 1980 Topps card for Sr? That's like his worst looking card!)

not my card 
An example of what the Father/Son autos look like. (It'd be cool if they also got the dads to sign, making them dual autos, but hey, minor complaint.) Hmm.. apparently the "base auto" versions of these are /10. So yeah, definitely scare, and even if I didn't pull the black parallel, it'd still easily be my best hit ever.

So now I have to go through the redemption process. Fingers crossed for a prompt redemption with no snags! Redemption horror stories prod at my brain and make me think I should just sell the redemption and let someone else worry about it.. though that thinking already came back to haunt me once when I let a nice Michael Conforto auto slip away. So might as well live a little and risk it.

It's a little stressful, what with it being such a high-dollar card. This is one delivery where I don't mind a signature being required! When it arrives, I'll take a bunch of pictures of it and then get it into a family safe deposit box or something. I might even keep it at work; Sounds funny to say but I work in a very secure room with 24/7 cameras and not even the cleaning crew has access. At least there I could admire it every workday and bask in the glory that is the pull of my lifetime. But yeah, first things first; need to get it in-hand.

Anyways.. I'll keep ya'll updated. Thanks for reading!


  1. Nice score with the Junior redemption!! I've always wanted to rip through a hobby box of Archives, but have always been skittish about the price tag. I'll probably just stick to picking off singles at shows and, of course, living vicariously through good folks like you!

  2. Lou Brock as a Cub would be nice to see, but then also an unpleasant reminder. Nevertheless, it definitely would vary things up a bit. Also, my first thought when I saw the Super inserts was "Mother's Cookies?," so I'm glad I'm not the only one who's brain is wired that way.

    Also, that Griffey pull seems pretty "decent." Congrats on the score!

    1. Eh, Brock was a pretty average player with the Cubs for a long enough period of time that no one really could've seen that a future Hall of Famer was about to break out of him, and it still might never have happened if he'd remained a Cub. Time to let that one go.

    2. Eh, Brock was a pretty average player with the Cubs for a long enough period of time that no one really could've seen that a future Hall of Famer was about to break out of him, and it still might never have happened if he'd remained a Cub. Time to let that one go.

  3. Nice pull on the R.Jones. The 69 Topps supers weren't oversized. Regular size cards with a glossy finish.

  4. Killer pull man, on the way to the store to buy some of these now!

  5. I think the reason the SPs are the way they are this year is because of the full on rebellion last year when, instead of getting an SP every 4 packs (or whatever it was), they inserted them one every three boxes. So count yourself lucky you got one at all. Set collectors, in particular (like me), abandoned Archives entirely. No sense trying to build a set when you'd have had to buy like 250 boxes to do so. So, this year, they kept the odds the same as last year but dropped the number of SPs to ten and made it so someone putting a set together sans SPs wouldn't feel cheated that they couldn't get Kris Bryant or whomever. You'd still have to buy 30 boxes (in theory) to put the set together. Or turn to the secondary market for the SPs (which, with only 10, is almost reasonable). But I have to say the cards look so much better than I was expecting, so, curses, I'll probably end up buying a box myself, again. Not the three or four I used to buy, but still... Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in.

  6. I can't believe I'm saying this because I've always viewed Archives as a train wreck, but the '79s in this set are really pulling at me. I'll have to wait to get some in hand to explore that (in great detail, of course).

  7. FYI, my Kris Bryant redemption last year took only three weeks. Great pull!

    I'm bummed the blue borders aren't shiny... I was thinking about going for a Cubs blue border parallel set before, but now I'm less enthused about the idea knowing they won't glisten.

  8. I think those two Bull Durham cards were the least interesting in the subset - I mean, the guys don't even have last names? Jimmy was the devout Christian player that ended up marrying Annie's friend. Tony was, uh, also on the team? I guess he's in the set because he was around to sign some autographs for Topps. I think the baseball clown Max Patkin would have been a better choice for a card.
    Twins outfield instructor and First Base Coach Butch Davis was in the movie in a cameo role.

  9. Griffey seems to sign pretty regularly so I wouldn't expect it to take too long.

  10. That Griffey pull is just ridiculous. Congratulations! I've got a blaster box coming to me tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up at least one hobby box this year. Archives is one of my favorite products, but the box prices have been crazy over the last couple of years for what you usually get.

  11. Congratualtions, that Griffey 1/1 is insane

  12. I really like the concept of this set. Once again, congrats on the pull! If I actively collected baseball I think this would be one of the sets I did a box of.

  13. Congratulations on the Griff!

  14. Congratulations on the sweet pull. Randy Jones has a sweet looking signature... and I'm sure Griffey does too ;)

  15. Very nice hit with the Griffey! Randy Jones isn't too shabby either...