Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

I'm a big supporter of putting players on different card designs. It has to make sense for me though. There has to be a connection.

I get why current players are on designs from the past à la Heritage. The reason is celebrating a past set by releasing it with current players. I can understand the things that I do online with cards; Birth Years and Cards That Never Were, etc.

I can even understand the reason of a mixture of players from all eras being featured on a single set design. I even let it slide a couple of years ago when Trading Card History came out as an insert set and featured all sorts of players on all sorts of different set designs. Why? Because there was a purpose behind it.

Judging by the write up on Thurman Munson's card back, this set features a "What If" approach to players on cards. That was a hit or miss comic book series (although I did enjoy the take on Ben Parker living) and usually a cop out when writers had a mental block.

Sure, we've all fantasized about our favorite players from the past, in their prime, being inserted into a modern day lineup of our favorite teams. Does it really need to be portrayed as a card set? No, it does not.

What exactly is Cy Young doing on a 1987 All-Star card? Steve Bedrosian and Roger Clemens won the award named after him that year. Cy Young died 22 years earlier, in 1955. I can tell you exactly how Cy Young would have performed in 1987. Very poorly. Even if he were alive in 1987, he would have been a spry 120 years young. I know that's not the point of these cards, but what other logical reason would Cy Young be doing on a 1987 Topps card?

How would a 9 year old Reggie Jackson have done on the '55 Yankees? Pretty bad, I suspect. Mel Ott after 31 years of death? Even worse than a nine year old Jackson. An eighteen year old Tom Seaver on a 1962 Topps card may be the most realistic portrayal, but I'm sure that was done by accident. Then again, the Dodgers and Braves both drafted him before the Mets even sniffed their luck of the draw pick of Tom Terrific.

The Beckett blog has a sampling of pictures from this upcoming insert set. They also include a "What If" future series that is still a pipe dream, but still has a shot of coming true, albeit by the slimmest of margins.

I'm sorry if I sound so negative about this insert set. It is a cool idea, probably thought of by a nine year old with a baseball record book in hand. It's the child's logic approach to the set that drags it down based on the preview images. I, too, can take random years from the recent past and assign random players, mostly from the distant past. What exactly does that prove? Nothing, except that I have a fertile imagination and I can throw a dart or pick a piece of paper out of a hat just as well as anyone else.

There needs to be a logic to insert sets like this. Anyone can slap these things together on a whim. Give me a valid reason for doing so.


Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

Well said as always sir

GOGOSOX60 said...

I saw this too...this might be a wait and see...How about a Nellie Fox on a 1975 Topps card...could there be a new Archives set on the way???

Laurens said...

For some reason, the insert set seem a little too anachronistic and it seems like Topps has run out of ideas to showcase 'old school' greats they have rights for.

I do like the 'Topps 2020,' inserts, though we've seen '3D' technology on cards for at least 35 years.

deal said...

Yes, Who would ever desecrate the classic 1987 Topps Design with a bumpkin like Cy Young?

night owl said...

I've been horrified by this trend ever since I saw Jackie Robinson in a Giants uniform last summer.

Clever is one thing. This is just annoying.

Not to mention that Young was never an All-Star because he retired 22 years before the first All-Star Game.

Anonymous said...

I wish they'd just give up sticking retired guys in current player sets. There really isn't going to be a good way to put Cy Young in a set with active players.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm in the minority. The Cy Young doesn't look great, and some of the other cards look a bit wonky, but the Reggie card looks fantastic.

Now, since it's an insert set, chances are I won't get any from packs, because I pretty much hate modern baseball now. I want to go back to the 70s and 80s, as long as I can take Griffey back then with me.

I love seeing the older players on modern (or modern-ish) cards. I'm all about the All-Time Fan Favorites-type sets.

Steve Gierman said...

I've made my peace with retired players sneaking into current year designs. It's happening too much, but I can even see the validity in that if I squint hard enough.

The problems mainly arise when card companies stick a random player on a random card design with no logical connection. Cy Young lived and died well before the 1987 set existed. That "desecration" (LOL) of the '87 Topps set is a desecration because there's absolutely no reason for Cy Young to be placed there in 2010. In 1987, sure. When the '87 design comes up in Heritage, go hog wild. If the entire insert set was based on the '87 Topps design, sure. But none of that is true.

I call shenanigans! I get to roshambo Topps for this one.

Anonymous said...

I get the frustration with the randomness of it all. There should be some reason behind it...birth year, death year, HOF induction year, something. Yeah, I agree on that. But I can't hate them just because they're random. I'd much rather pull a Cy Young than Cliff Lee any day.

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