Friday, July 04, 2008

1994 Topps Archives - The Ultimate 1954 Topps Set

Here's an old scraggly already opened pack for your enjoyment this holiday. This is the pack I found in my Lost Box of Total Awesomeness. As you can see, Archives cards cost $1.99 a pack back in the day, but I got this from Eckerd on clearance! Around 1996 or so every Eckerd store near me blew out all their cards on clearance. I loved those pink price tags. The pack was open, but I haven't seen it since the Clinton administration so it's kind of like opening a brand new pack.

58 Bob Wilson - Red was an All-American center for the Wisconsin Badgers and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. He chose baseball instead and caught ten years in the bigs.

45 Richie Ashburn - Hall of Fame Whiz Kid who was a master at getting on base. His lifetime on base percentage is .396, his lifetime slugging percentage is only .382.

209 Charlie Thompson - Nondescript backup catcher whose card get a premium due to 'Brooklyn Dodgers' being printed on it.

205 Johnny Sain - Won 104 games with the Braves, only 35 more after being traded to the Yankees. Sain is concidered one of the best pitching coaches ever.

249 Wilmer "Vinegar Bend"Mizell - He not only had one of the best nicknames ever, he was also a congressman.

67 Jim Willis - A Rule V pick of the Cubs who pitched well out of the pen for a couple of years.

210 Bob Buhl - A workhorse for the Braves of the 50's, Bob was also one of the worst hitters of all time. He once went hitless in 87 at-bats, including going 0-for 1962.

215 Ed McGhee - He was traded from the White Sox in the deal that brought them Bob Wilson.

224 Dick Weik Gold Foil - His nickname was "legs" for God knows what reason.

34 Jim Rivera - "Jungle Jim" Rivera was a scrappy player for the Sox who won a stolen base and triples crown in his career.

151 Alex Grammas - His rookie year in '54 was his best in his 10 year career, but Alex stuck around baseball as a long time coash and manager of the Brewers.

163 Frank House - "Pig" House helped create the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the state legislature, and was later inducted into said Hall of Fame. Dang politicians, always looking out for their own interests.

I didn't like this set as much as the 1953 Archives set. The original '54 set had the color go all the way up to the edge, and the card above it on the sheet was flipped so it could be cut with both cards sharing the background color. As a result, the backs of half the cards are upside down. So Topps went and put a normal border on these cards, but kept the flipped backs. Hey, I'm picky about these kinds of details, plus a set with half the backs flipped is a pain in the butt to sort. They also added a parallel of Topps Gold cards to the set which I despised. They ruined the cool old-time logos by turning it into a mess of gold foil, as you can see on the Dick Weik card. It's still good looking stuff if you like the '54 design but don't want to break the bank.

Topps added a handful of additional cards to the end of the set including 'rookie' cards for Roberto Clemente and Harmon Killebrew. Unfortunately, Upper Deck owned the rights to Ted Williams cards so Topps wasn't allowed to include cards 1 or 250. They were inserted in packs of 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes packs along with a Mickey Mantle card in the '54 design. Boxes of this stuff are hard to find and kind of pricey nowadays, But there's an autographed Gold Foil version of the Hank Aaron rookie card in the set inserted at about 1:62 boxes. It's almost worth picking up a box for a shot at that card. Scans of the rest of the cards in this pack, plus a 1991 Topps Traded pack can be found here if you haven't had your fill of archives cards today.

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