Sunday, September 09, 2007

Topps Kids

I've been a fan of this set for years, and only recently did I find a reasonably priced unopened box online. They are fun, pop/comic art to the hilt and a victim of being a distinctly weird product positioned to an audience that was clearly not interested (Topps was gunning for young collectors; young collectors were gunning for Stadium Club and Upper Deck). I can see this set finding a cult following. That at least would give me other people to talk to about it.

The Cards
Bret Saberhagen: This set came in 1992, well before the steroids scandal. So that's what makes the artwork of ballplayers with comically oversized muscles seem unintentionally funny and innocent at the same time. Saberhagen, in one of his last cards as a Royal, was a lean strikeout machine (and guaranteed to be a charter member for the 1980s class of the Bert Blyleven Forgotten Master Pitchers Broom Closet of Fame), not the ballooned-torsoed boardwalk strongman this card's artwork would lead you to believe.
Orel Hershiser: Here's another guy who seemed destined for the Hall of Fame only to ... not quite get there.
Doc Gooden: Topps did that for a while: put players' nicknames on their cards. 'Doc' Gooden looks so happy on this card.
Bobby Thigpen: Remember Bobby Thigpen? Here's a fun way to spend an hour: ask anyone under the age of twenty why what he accomplished in 1990 is still unbelievable.
Robin Ventura: Another fun thing about this set is the variety of bizarre comic splash backgrounds used. The hypnotist's wheel behind Ventura is an especially nice touch. Too bad he didn't have it when he tried to fight Nolan Ryan. That probably could've lulled the old man before he slipped Ventura into a headlock.
Bobby Bonilla: Remember when the Pirates were dismantled in the early Nineties? Who did you think was going to better on their new team: Bonds or Bonilla? Me, I always thought they were dumb to let Bonilla go.
Frank Thomas: I can count my favorite players on one hand: Eddie Murray, Fred McGriff, Kirby Puckett, Marquis Grissom (I had a ton of Grissom cards) and Frank Thomas.


Offy said...

I remember these. I don't know if I actually have any in my collection. My favorite player of that time (Dwight Evans) was on his way out of baseball and I don't think he got a card in that set of his last season with the Orioles.

I am still a big fan of the two Upper Deck Fun Pack sets. I think those sets did a better job appealing to young kids than the Topps Kids set did.

Anonymous said...

Topps should really think about doing this kinda thing again. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a variety store or gas station and just wished they'd had a box of cards (any cards) next to the register so I could spend my change. Now you have to go to card stores or card shows. It kinda bugs me.

dayf said...

Sweeeet. I have two sets of this stuff somewhere. I remember seeing this stuff in Wal-Mart in '92 and thinking it was the cheesiest thing imaginable, but now I love it. I'd kill for a PSA slabbed stick of gum with that goofy cartoon in Gem Mint 10 condition.