...now hear me out.
I consider myself to be someone who revels in the minority of a widely-believed opinion. Yes, I am the guy who thought Iron Man 2 was pretty good. I am the guy who liked the finale of Lost. I am the guy who doesn't really care for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
So honestly, I'm used to going against the current. Which explains why after a week of basically every blog I've read saying that Topps Archives is, once again, an unoriginal, contrived disappointment, I'm coming out and saying that I don't think it's that bad.
Does it have anything to do with the fact that for five years now I've been making cards very similar to the ones in these packs? Marginally. But while the idea isn't exactly original, it's still executed rather well, and pays enough homage to earlier sets, while still keeping the focus on newer players.
Now, the thing about it is that the set is...alright. I'd give it a B-, if not a C+. Yet everyone else keeps saying that it's horrible, and dull-looking, and lazy.
Just so you know, here are the two packs I opened today of it.
197- Ryan Zimmerman
185- Doug Fister. Starting off with two Nationals in the 1989 design. Again, people think using the 89 design is unnecessary. It's not terrible! The recreation isn't perfect, but it could be much worse.
54- Marco Scutaro. Jeez, are any of these players active?
53- James Paxton. Two straight 1980 cards. Both are faithful, even if the back isn't perfect. See, here I am pointing out flaws. These flaws are not ruining the set for me, unlike most everyone else.
180- Chris Archer. Another 1989.
117- Mike Mussina. Here's what I like about this set. I like that it's creative enough to use someone like Mussina, who isn't exactly an A-list retired player. I'm glad they picture him with Baltimore, too. But they have his career stats UP TO 2005. Mussina played until 2008, folks. If you're gonna pay homage to a player, list his full stats, guys.
89- R.A. Dickey
63- Austin Jackson, who hasn't been relevant since 2012.
93- Xander Bogaerts. 3 straight 1980 cards.
75- Ken Griffey Jr. AGAIN WITH THE STATS UP TO 2005! Jeez, go the extra mile and give us everything, guys!
81- Todd Frazier. 5 1980's in a row.
129- Phil Niekro. Great photo, and I like how it contrasts with the design. The stats are still pissing me off, though. It just lops 10 seasons off his career.
141- Pablo Sandoval. They definitely did the 1986 design right.
172- Albert Pujols. There's a very nice star card. Like, well posed. SEE! THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!
62- Matt Moore. Two middling Tampa Bay pitchers in one pack.
145- Sammy Sosa. I think I like the 1986 design on these, because this Sosa card looks like one of my customs. HOWEVER...in the 1986 design, the CUBS lettering was RED, not BLUE.
133- Yovani Gallardo. And the BREWERS lettering was YELLOW, not GOLD! I am trying to praise your set, Topps. Stop pissing me off!
161- Johnny Bench. Curtailed stats aside, the retired players look pretty good on these.
106- CLIFF LEE! There's a Phillie!
A 1987 FUTURE STARS insert of Jose Fernandez, who...isn't active. Still, the insert looks pretty good.
149- Madison Bumgarner and his facial hair.
164- Stan Musial. Great card, but his stats end before he hits 3000 hits. That's kinda weak.
156- Phil Rizzuto. Again, I'd be more pissed about these retired cards if they didn't look so good.
76- Josh Hamilton. Great to see a well-posed shot of him.
6- Marcus Semien. The first 1973 of the rip, and they look pretty good.
41- CATFISH HUNTER! I know, he's in an A's uniform, but there's a card of Catfish Hunter in this! That's awesome! Plus, because his career ended so soon, all of his stats are on here!
80- Hiroki Kuroda. YAAAY! YANKEE STARTER!
183- David Wright. I really, really like this card. Even if it looks like Wright's standing in front of a wall of tin foil.
165- Willie McCovey. Again, a great shot!
169- Kolten Wong, who really helped the Sox win it last year.
37- Wilmer Flores.
7- Dustin Pedroia, who is really helping my fantasy team this year.
116- Alex Guerrero, or as dilapidated backup catchers know him, Mike Tyson.
So there. I think the 2014 Topps Archives set, while flawed, is still pretty good, and worthy of at least some respect. I also think the last two sets are pretty good.
So, here's what I'm going to offer. If you don't like Topps Archives, of any year, and you want it to go to someone who will at least treat it well, then give them to me. I am collecting all three sets, and I will be posting the wantlists for them momentarily (they'll likely be below this post). So if you have Archives you want to get rid of, let me know, or shoot me an email (it's on the sidebar), and we'll work something out.
Bottom line: If I'm the only one who likes something, I should at least benefit from it.