Monday, January 24, 2011

1954 Topps Style Chase Utley

2003 Topps Heritage #179,
2007 Topps Wal-Mart #WM20
One of the themes discussed in the comments section on my 1953 Topps Phillies post is the frustration felt by baseball card collectors when Topps re-uses one of its vintage designs and botches it badly.  In my opinion, the company has done a great job with its Heritage releases.  They've paid attention to quirks and nuances of their earlier sets, capturing the look and feel of the original while showcasing current players.  Then there are the cards that completely miss the mark, such as the recent Vintage Collection insert set issued within packs of 2010 Topps, and the retail exclusives found within packs available at Target or Wal-Mart only.  Such is the case with this Chase Utley card from 2007.  (I'll compare and contrast Phillies cards from the 2010 Vintage Collection in future posts.)

Any schlub can take a current picture and slap it onto a template approximating a vintage Topps design.  Heck, I've been doing it for years with my Chachi sets.  But Topps is Topps, and when they revisit card designs from their own history, they should be spot on.  Anything less is just plain lazy.

I've presented Chase Utley's baseball cards from the 2003 Topps Heritage set and the 2007 Topps Wal-Mart insert set side by side.  Other than the shrunken size, the Heritage card looks and feels like a 1954 Topps card.  And I'm fine with the semi-transparent Topps Heritage logo in the bottom right corner as an identifier for the set.  The Wal-Mart card would be wonderful if I had put it together, but Topps should hold its reproductions to a higher standard.  The modern Topps logo doesn't belong on the card, let alone in the top left corner.  The font is slightly off, and the Phillies logo is too small when compared to the original.  Finally, Utley's facsimile autograph is missing.

With the Wal-Mart card, I always wondered why Topps didn't just go back to the fine 1954 Topps template it created (and presumably still has saved somewhere) when it put out its 2003 Heritage set.  It's your history and your "heritage," Topps.  Do it right, or don't do it at all.


Section 36 said...

I wonder what "templates" topps still has around. I noticed on the Bo Jackson from this year's CYMTO set had a different logo on it than the original did. Do they not have the ability to simply steal a previous card from ther records somehow? Do they need to create them all over again?

Jim said...

I've often thought about the same thing. You'd think they'd be able to just do a high resolution scan of an old card, clean it up a little, and print it out.

I just think a company like Topps should be able to perfectly recreate its own designs from the past 60 years. Once they've mastered a design (as with the Heritage sets) why go to using a different "template?"