Monday, October 7, 2019

Archives, Indians, And The Awkward Seperation Phase

I debated if I wanted to do this post. It touches on a sensitive political issue*, and I avoid discussing politics online. Still, I'm genuinely curious how things will play out here withing the baseball card industry and MLB in general.

I was going through a pack of this year's Archives and appreciating each one in turn. The 1958 design in particular is noteworthy since it 's a design from before I was born. The design is simple, so one of the things that sticks out the most is the team logo on bottom. Archives does a fairly good job of recreating this. When it doesn't, it sticks out like a sore thumb:

2019 Topps Archives #7 Roberto Alomar

Alomar's card has the "Cleveland" script where the logo should be. (It's not well-done either: It's too compacted within the small space, and the dark background works against it.) This is obviously done by Topps to avoid using the controversial "Chief Wahoo" logo that was used exclusively by the Indians during the time Alomar played. Jim Thome's card is also treated this way, but the other Indians players are given one of either two alternate "C" designs that have been used at that time.

Topps is obviously following the Indians organization's lead and committing to not featuring the racist caricature on any new product. Topps also seems to be struggling on how to properly handle this. Despite the design change, the Chief Wahoo logo is still prominently displayed on Alomar's and Thome's caps. It makes the effort seem superficial.

Therein lies the rub: Baseball celebrates it history, especially on cards. Removing the logo may be the correct path going forward, but the history of that grinning cartoon can't be erased. How are former Cleveland greats from the turn of the century to be depicted? There are plenty of images showing Alomar hat-less, or wearing sunglasses on the brim that cover the logo. Perhaps Topps goes forward simply with more careful photo selection. It will be interesting to watch. For now we'll have to deal with that awkward separation phase.

*My personal opinion on the whole matter: Don't wipe away the history like it never happened, but move forward. To be honest, I think they should revive the Spiders name!


  1. That's actually a brilliant solution, bringing back the Spiders name.

  2. Don't wipe away the history like it never happened, but move forward. Agree 100%