Friday, January 6, 2012

All-Time Fan Favorites 2003

Excuse my stupidity, but it took me a while to figure out the difference between the Topps Archives sets of 2001 and 2002 from the All Time Fan Favorites set of 2003-2005. I'm a bit slow but eventually I catch on.

The Topps Archives sets are just reprints. 2001 focused on the player's rookie season while the 2002 set zeroed in on their best season. Since they were reprints, and I already had the original cards of all the Cubs, there was no reason to collect them. I just ignored them.

When I saw Fan Favorite cards, I just assumed that they were Archives cards, but something always seemed different about them. Then I finally decided to check the sets out and I discovered that I liked what Topps did (for the most part...).

There are two basic concepts for the All Time Fan Favorites set
1...The cards feature a player's time with just one particular team, not his entire career.
2...Though using a Topps design from one of the seasons the player was with the featured team, the picture on the card is different from the picture on the original card. To me that makes the cards collectible. I'm not just getting a reprint of a card I've already got, I'm getting something different. My only complaint: as with most of Topps' recycled designs, they are not exactly like the original. Usually the fonts are off. To me, that's distracting. I know exactly what a 1967 card looks like and when the reprints don't match, it bugs me.

The 2002 set had a checklist of 150 cards, with eight of those being Cubs. I'll show the Fan Favorites card on the left, with the original on the right. You can decide which picture you like better, and you can also spot the design differences.

Ernie Banks, 1958...the hatless card looks worse than the original. The FF card also has a much smaller Cubbie bear. How could they get that wrong?

Bill Buckner, 1981...two different action shots of Billy Buck in the Cub's road pinstripes. The FF card gets points for having Herman Franks in the background. But that points out a flaw: the 1981 card is using a picture from 1978 or 1979.

Andre Dawson, 1987 Neither of these look particularly good.

Fergie Jenkins, 1971 Fergie always seems to be looking away from the camera.

Bill Madlock, 1975 Nice to have two pictures with the home unis. Check out the trophy on the FF card: its smaller.

1966 Ron Santo The 1966 style card has a picture from 1969 -1971 on it. Both are at Shea, so that ruins them for me! Plus it looks like the same photo shoot as

the 1971 card.

1983 Lee Smith...

1979 Bruce face on the left, long fingers gripping the ball on the right.


  1. There is nothing bad to say about Fan Favorites. It returned me to the current collecting addict that I am today. Fantastic set. Whenever the question is asked: what set do you want brought back? Fan Favorites is always my first response. Too bad MLB had to mess up the possibility of that happening in any way that resembles the 2003-05 issues.

  2. I picked up all three sets for just a little over the price of a blaster each and I love them. All of these Cubs are pretty OK. I'd say the Santo is the best and the Sutter is a little weird.