In 1990, when Topps released what may be their ugliest set of baseball cards, I was 7 years old. I had no idea how ugly the cards were that I was buying; I didn’t care. I wanted to collect my favorite players, and ’90 Topps cards were affordable, $.50 per pack. I would help my brother with his paper route, getting paid like a sweatshop worker, then ride my bike to the card shop and buy cards until my pockets were empty. I just didn’t know how ugly the cards were: ’90 Topps, ’90 Donruss, and ’91 Fleer were the ugly girls that I could afford to take out.
So imagine my surprise when I came across ’13 Topps Archives and saw that ugly design from ’90 Topps used once more. I began to wonder if the public had on something akin to beer goggles: Topps goggles. Could people really want to see this design once more, and at $2-3 a pack?
Well, I came across a card that features this design that I kinda like. I mean, I don’t know if I want to start a relationship, but I certainly wanted to take it home.
#170, Joe Mauer
Before you judge me, let me explain why I like this card. First, Joe Mauer is an amazing baseball player. Though no longer a catcher, Mauer is a talented, classy player and is the face of the Twins franchise. Second, he is in his catcher’s gear, and as a bonus, he is wearing the traditional style two-piece mask. Finally, for once, the purple border actually goes well with the image. Yes, I know the Twins aren’t purple. But whether it was by design or accident, purple is associated with Minnesota, and surprisingly, it doesn’t clash with the image.
No, this isn’t my favorite card, so this won’t be a long-term relationship. My feelings for this card will diminish, and eventually, I will forget to call it; it will feel ignored, and it will end up in a black book with all of my other past relationships. But for now, I kinda like it.