Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autograph #FFA-TWA

Card Review: 9.4
It's been twelve years since Topps last included Tim Wallach in any sort of issue, putting him in the 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set. I'm a firm adherent to the old adage of "not to look a gift horse in the mouth."  Topps including a Tim Wallach card, in any capacity, in a set in 2017 is without question a "gift horse" from my perspective.   I've spent over a decade scouring every checklist of every issue looking for "Wallach" to no avail before this one showed up.  So while I would have liked to have seen Wallach included in the 2017 Topps Archives base set, this card's existence is still cause for a bit of a celebration.  Sure it would have been nice to have hundreds (or thousands) of a new card to chase down for pennies apiece, but this is fine, and I am very grateful to Topps for Wallach's inclusion.

The front of this card is hard to find much, if any, fault with.  But I can still nitpick.  It's a nice action shot, albeit, it would look better without the white fading and autograph, but it's still a good photo on one of my all-time favorite designs.  I could also do without a dreary game from Wrigley, but I guess they can't all be from the preferred Shea location.  The back however, is the real highlight for me.

Wallach's retirement from baseball coincided with a weird time for baseball cards.  In the mid-90's, plain old regular Topps cards were becoming somewhat obscure, and frankly, difficult to find.  I can remember walking into a Target, and not being sure which cards were the standard Topps packs, and walking out disillussioned (no accident that my hiatus from collecting started then too).  In any event, Wallach's final Topps cards should have been in 1996 and 1997.  Instead, 1995 was his final Topps issue.  In an effort to stay relevant, Topps really started messing with the base set in those years. One of the things they did was drastically shrink the size of the set, with the result being Wallach got squeezed.  I can forgive the 1997 omission, that's long been a result of retired players not reporting to Spring Training for Topps photographers to shoot, but I have yet to forgive the 1996 omission.  Active, five-Time All-Stars who were everyday starters for playoff teams the previous season belong in the Topps set. Topps midlife crisis in the 90's resulted in Wallach never having what I call a bookend card of any sort.  "Bookend" meaning, a Topps card showing his full career stats (only Collector's Choice issued a "bookend" Wallach in 1997, to their everlasting credit).  It's really cool to see his full numbers in the familiar Topps format.  In 2003, Topps All-Time Fan Favorites also included Wallach, but it only included his numbers with the Expos, and it also ran a banner along the side designating it as a modern issue.  It ruined the effect to a large degree.  This is the first Topps card to ever show that Wallach played for the Angels.  That's kind of crazy, but better late than never.  This may very well be my favorite card back of any Wallach in my collection.  I'm seriously considering blowing it up and framing it in my office.

Number of this card in my collection: 6
2017 update: 8
2018 update: 9


  1. Wow, you already have six of those in your collection. You don't waste any time! It is a nice looking card for sure.

    1. @P-Town I'm probably confusing some poor guy at Beckett who tracks eBay sales.

  2. Topps is throwing you a bone here, right? They have to know about you and your quest. You've got card companies serving your interests!