30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Fan Favorites Autographs

Year in and year out... the one set I look forward to building is the Topps Archives Fan Favorites autograph set.  This set combines some of my favorite things in our hobby:

1.  Old School Topps Designs
2.  On-Card Autographs
3.  An Interesting Checklist

This year inflated box prices have prevented me from pulling any of these autographs myself, but thankfully there are plenty of other people out there who are willing to sell theirs on eBay.  So far, I've been able to add over thirty cards from this year's set for around four dollars each (shipping included).  One one card cost more than $20 (see #3 below).  And the only other card I paid $10 or more for was the Wally Moon from one of my flea market finds.

Tonight I wanted to show off my five favorite autographs from this year's set, but before I begin the countdown to #1, here are a few honorable mentions...

Honorable Mention #1: Rusty Kuntz

One of the greatest names in the history of sports.  Yes.  I know I have the maturity of a twelve year old boy.  That's probably why I still find baseball cards entertaining.

Honorable Mention #2:  Mark Mulder

I'm not sure why Topps has decided to flood our hobby with Mark Mulder autographs the past few years.  Don't really care either.  He's a member of The Big Three and his cards will always be treasured in my household.

Honorable Mention #3:  Billy Bean

The first certified autograph of MLB's first Ambassador for Inclusion.  Kudos to Topps for having an open mind

Honorable Mention #4:  Wally Moon

Another great card that proves that someone over at Topps has a great sense of humor.  I'm keeping my finger's crossed for a Don Mossi signature in next year's set.

Honorable Mention #5:  Bill "Spaceman" Lee

Rounding out the honorable mentions is one of the strangest baseball players I've come across.  It's nice to add an autographed card of his where he isn't wearing a spacesuit.

Now let's get to my favorite five...

#5: Tim Wallach

When I think about the Montreal Expos... Gary Carter, Tim Raines, and Andre Dawson will always be the first names to pop into my mind because of their accolades.  Wallach played more games with the Expos than any of them.

#4:  Dave Stieb

Stieb and I attend the same high school... although he graduated over a decade before I attended.  Anyways... it's been thirteen years since he had a MLB licensed autographed card.  The wait is over.

#3:  Tommy Lasorda

I love it when managers sign cards.  Over the years, I've added guys like Sparky Anderson, Billy Martin, Dick Williams, Bobby Cox, and Earl Weaver to my collection.  This year's Archives allows me to cross Lasorda off the list.

#2:  Mark Langston

I've been waiting for a MLB licensed autographed card of Langston for years.  It's nice to finally be able to add him to my Lefty PC.

#1: Tony Pena

Pena is one of my favorite catchers of all-time.  I absolutely loved his unique catching stance.  I'm not sure why it took this long for Topps to finally sign him to an autograph contract... but I'm glad they did.

Well there you have it.  Ten of my favorite autographs out of this year's Archives Fan Favorites set.

What are your thoughts on this set?

Favorite cards?

Who would you like to see sign for next year's Fan Favorites set?

Personally, I'd love to see Terry Steinbach, Willie McGee, Orel Hershiser, and Tony La Russa sign again.  I could also use Mike McCormick, Willie Hernandez, and Mark Davis autographs for my left-handed Cy Young Award Winner project.  A collector can dream, right?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!


  1. This is such a great concept. I'm glad you baseball guys still get to chase them. They only did one year of them for the NBA, and they are not cheap to try and pick up.

  2. Lots of good dodgers in the set this year - lasorda, moon, Manny mota and Ron cey. I'm hoping for Reggie Smith and Steve Yeager next year.

  3. I want to get the Wallach and Stieb at some point.

  4. A Giant, any Giant would be nice!

  5. That's awesome you go for the whole set! I have been lucky to get two in packs this year- John Smiley and Manny Mota.

    Do you go for the non-baseball guys in the set, too?

    As a Royals fan, I love the card of Rusty, their first base coach. The guy is a class act and it was good to see him on some new cardboard. He is so popular in KC that they gave away a bobblehead of him this year.

  6. I would drop everything and run to Ebay if Topps were to ever issue a Fan Favorites Dick Allen autograph.

  7. That Pena card is sweet, need to find one of those Wally Moon cards. The unibrow is pretty incredible.

  8. Billy Kingsley - Although I don't really collect basketball anymore, I will still pick up any cheap 2005-06 Fan Favorites basketball autographs I find. But like you said... they usually aren't very cheap.

    gcrl - Yeah. They hooked Dodger fans up. I'd love to see both Smith and Yeager autographs as well.

    Mike Matson - I've actually been trying to build the rainbow of both of those guys. Wallach for my Expos PC and Stieb for my Hometown Heroes PC.

    jaybarkerfan - Agree. Assuming fierce means totally awesome.

    arpsmith - I'd love to see Krukow, Kuiper, (Robby) Thompson, and (Benji) Molina autographs next year.

    zman40 - Well technically... I go for the entire "affordable" set. Either last year or the year before, they started putting in superstars and short prints. I don't really chase either of those unless I can find a bargain. Since I pick up most of these in "lots", I end up getting a non-baseball player here and there. That's awesome to hear about Rusty. Good to know he's still around the game.

    Nick - Nice call. He doesn't have a lot of autographs. Had to pay $20.50 for his GOTG signature.

    Snorting Bull - As soon as I laid eyes on the Moon, I knew I had to own it. Too bad I overpaid for it.

  9. Great stuff! I loved the product more for football cause I know more of the names but baseball is fun too.

  10. Love the FF Autos-Tony Pena and Wally Moon-on my want lists.

  11. sport card collectors - i bought a lot of the 2012 archives football autographs too. there were several seahawks in that set i needed.

    b man - good news is you can find both probably at serramonte for $4 to $5 each... maybe less.

  12. After Vin Scully had autos in a few high-end sets late last year, I was hopeful he'd also pop up in reasonably-priced sets this year, like Archives and Ginter.. so I'm bummed he isn't.

    I agree with Nick that Dick Allen needs some new certified autos on the market.

    Nate Colbert, Dwight Evans, and Julio Franco are some other names I'd love to see pop up on the checklist next year.

    The ultimate would be if Topps could work out a deal with Fox to do an insert set of Simpsons cards from the "Homer at the Bat" episode (similar to the customs I made). Imagine if they did that and had autos of all the players (Griffey, Strawberry, Canseco, etc)?! They wouldn't be able to keep Archives on the shelves!

  13. defgav - vin scully would have been an excellent choice... along with colbert, evans, and franco. the simpsons idea is great too. you're totally right... those signatures would be more popular than aaron judge.

  14. Lasorda and Pena were great choices.
    From a Pirates fans perspective I would like to see the following included in future releases (wearing Pirates uniforms obviously).
    Bobby Bonilla, Omar Moreno, John Candaleria, Jack Wilson, and Jay Bell.