Over the past fifteen years or so, Topps has put a lot of emphasis on their vault, their heritage, and their archives. They've trucked out old cards in new permutations, from straight-up re-issues in the Archives format, to All-Time Fan Favorites, to swapping in active players in the Heritage sets. Any sane person would say that they've really beat this horse into the ground and that they should move on to something else.
But baseball card collectors are not sane people. We get locked in on an idea and we ride it with the same gusto and fervor as Topps does in making it for our consumption. Therefore, I'd like to present an idea that may be able to breathe new life into the withering 'vault raid' products of the past few years.
I'm calling it Topps Decades. There would be five separate sets, one for each decade that Topps has produced cards: the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties. Each set would consist of the best cards at each checklist number from that decade. For example, the set encompassing the Eighties would be called Topps Decades: The 792, because there were, on average, 792 cards per Topps set in that decade. The set for the Seventies would be called Topps Decades: The 660, and so on.
It's not exactly the same idea as the Archives Best Years set, simply because they'd have to include commons in Topps Decades. Also, it's not the same idea as the one I proposed earlier this year (or was it last year?) about the 'average' set from a given decade.
The beauty of Topps Decades is that there wouldn't be any confusing checklist changes, because every included card would use their checklist number, in their original style (with possibly a special logo, a la Archives). In fact, an 'alternative' set like this could launch a whole division of 'fan sets,' simply because a collector doesn't necessarily need Topps to officially create this set; it's one they can put together on their own. Wow, I like this idea more and more.
Of course, a set like this invites a collector (or company) to simply turn it into a starfest, and devoid the checklist of as many commons as possible. Should there be rules, like setting quotas for 'x' amount of players on each team, or should it be a free-for-all?
After I hear your thoughts, I will put together a checklist for The 792.