Friday, November 12, 2010

Baseball Card Spotlight: Topps Fan Favorites

One of my favorite sets of all time was the Topps Fan Favorites sets. Topps had been doing Archives for a couple of years and then decided to take things in a slightly different direction. The decision was to continue with the idea of Archives, but to feature cards of players who were fan favorites and put new pictures on old card designs. The idea was fresh and original. The company also decided to include autograph versions of most of the cards. The players were a collection of stars, minor stars, and players who were beloved by the fans.

2003
As I mentioned, I really liked this set. I bought three retail boxes of the 2003 set and eventually compiled all of the Red Sox from the set in those boxes, not often that I can do that. The Red Sox that year included:

21 Carlton Fisk
48 Dwight Evans
54 Luis Tiant
73 Jim Piersall
77 Fred Lynn
78 Jim Rice
121 Carl Yastrzemski
147 Wade Boggs

All of those players also have autographs in the set. But then there was a card that did not have a non-autographed base version, Bill Lee.There were also game-used cards of Jim Rice and Fred Lynn in the set.

The only disappointment I had was that the original autograph checklist included Oil Can Boyd and Mike Greenwell, who were never actually released.

2004
The next year, the company released another set. That year, the team set for the Red Sox was not nearly as large, only four cards this time.

17 George Scott
75 Carl Yastrzemski
103 Dennis Eckersley
112 Jim Rice

I bought a hobby box of this product and it was pretty easy to get all of the Red Sox this time. I also managed to get the George Scott autograph card in the box.

2005
2005 was the last year Topps produced Fan Favorites. It was the only year I did not pick up any packs of the set, so I bought all the cards myself. The set was more varied for the Red Sox this year, and there were more than in 2004, but not as many as 2003.

The Red Sox team set was:
69 Jim Lonborg
78 Carl Yastrzemski
97 Johnny Pesky
101 Marty Barrett
125 Wade Boggs
141 Theo Epstein

The inclusion of Epstein was definitely interesting. I bought the autograph card of Marty Barrett.

Unfortunately, Topps stopped doing Fan Favorites the next year. I would have liked to see them continue as it was a great set.

Some players I wanted to see:
Mike Greenwell
Oil Can Boyd
Bruce Hurst
Ellis Burks
Reggie Smith
Jackie Jensen
Ted Williams
Frank Malzone
Dick Radatz
Dom DiMaggio
Ken Harrelson
Tony Conigliaro
Rico Petrocelli

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