It's billed as the halfway point of the season, but in reality it's about a week or so past that. The Rockies have predictably begun their July slide, winning only three of their last seven, though somehow they've managed to hold onto third place. They're an even .500 in the four games I've attended this year, and I witnessed them trade blowouts with the Phillies this weekend, stopping by Coors Field twice over a four-game set to enter the Break. Thursday's 11-2 win was plenty of fun to watch, with Trevor Story hitting two home runs, including one monster to deep left field, almost to the concourse.
Sunday's game was much more in the Phillies' favor. The Rox dropped the contest 10-3, despite Carlos Gonzalez crushing one to the third deck in right-center. I've seen him hit more than a few that direction this year, though none quite as far as that. I hope it bodes well for his appearance in tonight's Home Run Derby, where he's matched against the defending champion, Todd Frazier. Like Cincinnati last year, this year's home crowd in San Diego also has a hometown participant to root for in Wil Myers.
This year's field is heavily weighted toward the NL West, which is sending three participants—Myers, CarGo, and Corey Seager. The other five divisions have one representative each. Fortunately for the Derby, Petco Park is less of a pitcher's park than it used to be, which may not matter much anyway with batting practice pitches.
|2016 Topps Archives #104 Evan Longoria|
|2016 Topps Archives #57 Charlie Blackmon|
Usually it doesn't take this long for me to start talking about the cards, but I've seen a lot of baseball in person this weekend, which is my idea of a great summer. Blackmon gets the 1953 Topps treatment, one of three classic designs found in 2016 Archives, along with the 1979 design used for Longoria's card, and another you'll see later.
Longoria, by the way, was one of the players the Rockies passed over in the 2006 Draft, along with Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and a few other now-obvious selections. The Rockies did draft Blackmon two years later, though this 1953-style card doesn't provide that level of detail.
|2016 Topps Archives #130 Tom Seaver|
This card of Tom Seaver represents a common gripe about Topps Archives. From 1977 through 1982, Tom Terrific pitched for the Reds, yet he is shown as a Met on this 1979 design. There are lots of factors going on here, since he played for several teams throughout his career, and Topps only chose three set designs for the base set this year. He's probably most well-remembered as a Met, the team he played for when he won his only World Series championship in 1969.
I suppose we're a fickle bunch, us card collectors. But let's be honest here; Evan Longoria wasn't even born in 1979. And Charlie Blackmon certainly wasn't born in 1953. His parents might not even have been. But here we are, complaining about Tom Seaver appearing as a Met on the '79 design instead of as a Red. Which is fine with me. Isn't the whole point of this set to see players as they weren't pictured?
|2016 Topps Archives #12 Robin Yount|
Like Yount, quite a few players now in the Hall of Fame hung up the spikes in 1993, including Nolan Ryan, Carlton Fisk, and George Brett. Other than the inaugural ballot in 1936, 1999 marked the first time that at least three players were elected on their first ballot in the same year. Fisk needed a second ballot to get in, but Yount, Ryan, and Brett all got in during their first year of eligibility. That's becoming less rare, as both 2014 and 2015 each saw three first-ballot players enshrined in Cooperstown, primarily the Braves' 1990s rotation.
|2016 Topps Archives '85 Father/Son #FS-GG Ken Griffey Jr. / Ken Griffey Sr.|
|2016 Topps Archives #279 Josh Donaldson|
Twenty-five years really zips by. Seeing a set you collected as a kid in an Archives set is the baseball card equivalent of hearing songs you listened to in high school on the Oldies station. Still, these 1991 cards might be my favorite ones yet to appear in any Archives set.
|2016 Topps Archives #271 Ted Williams|
In case you were wondering, Williams went 185-for-456 in 1941. Interestingly, he had exactly one more hit in the following season, but somehow worked in 66 more at-bats, good for a still-awesome .356. Those early-'40s years helped him on his way to a .344 lifetime average, which stands as sixth-best in baseball history.
I find it interesting that Topps chose the 1991 design for The Splendid Splinter, as Williams started up his own card company in 1993, though he was a bit late to the party, closing up shop during the strike of 1994 after just two sets.
|2016 Topps Archives #282 Lou Brock|
|2016 Topps Archives Blue #61 Kolten Wong /199|
|2016 Topps Archives #141 Stan Musial|
Your category is Baseball Dates. The question is, "What happened on June 2nd, 1925?"
Nothing in particular jumps out at me, but the upside-down answer gives almost any baseball fan more than enough information. That was the day "Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp—and the rest is history."
Lou Gehrig appeared in last year's Archives set on a 1983 design, and he's in 2016's set on the same 1979 design as Musial. Not sure if there's a connection there in how Topps chose its trivia questions, but a reference to Gehrig's amazing streak of 2,130 consecutive games played on a card of the 1988 Donruss Puzzle guy from Donora, Penn. shows how awesome this set is. When you look closely at a pack like this, it's not even a disappointment that Target was out of Stadium Club.