Wednesday, March 8, 2017

There's a Lot to Like About Topps Heritage

And a few things that are not so much full of awesome. 

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this year's Topps Heritage product, and was recently considering what the end point might look like for my collection of this product line. (The '70s does seem like a good time to get out.) As I lunged forward into my first serious baseball card purchases of the new year, I wasn't prepared to like this set as much I ended up liking it. For as much as I've hated on Topps in recent times (flagship set, all things BUNT), the 2017 Topps Heritage set seems great to me. I was not a fan of the original design this is based on exactly, but it feels great to have substantial cardboardy cards in my hands before the arrival of the new baseball season.

What I like!

Cardinals! Of course, there's nothing more satisfying than pulling a healthy batch of players from your favorite team. I have a feeling I'm going to be acquiring a lot of Dexter Fowler cards in the coming years. Tyler Lyons has no Topps or Bowman cards to speak of, so it was a shock to see his card fall out of a pack even though he is expected to see time in his 5th major league season at some point this year.

Game Card Inserts! I will always be a sucker for things like this. By the way, I seem to have an extra Machado card. Hmm, maybe collation should be under the "Things I Don't Like!" section.

There's apparently a Target rookies-only (red backs instead of blue) version of the '68 Game set. I have no idea who this guy is. His signature is not helping matters.

Relevant Historic Inserts! It's altogether too eerie, not to mention sad, to read about a "controversial gesture supporting civil rights" at a sporting event in 1968. It's a reminder that things are not great right now.

What I Don't Like! 

Low Print Run Unnumbered Stealth Parallels! Seriously, what the hell is this? The back of the card is more yellow than the standard off-yellow card backs in this set, and that's about it. Not even the "Code" number is changed from your garden variety Javier Baez card. And yet, this is apparently a variation with a print run of just 25 cards. I guess these will be card show fodder for people with keen eyes for color variations or something.

Ugly Inserts! This has no single design element in common with the base set. They may as well have put some lava lamps in the background with some "groovy chick" with tinted glasses and called it good.

More Short Prints! Q: What do we all like about Topps Heritage and just can't get enough of? A: Short Prints! Okay... maybe not? This has been a 500 card set with 75 short prints for quite awhile now, but Topps jacked up the SP number to a full 100 cards this time around. Great?

What I Am Fairly Ambivalent About! 

Reduced Odds For Inserts! As a casualty, perhaps, of additional short prints and an additional insert set, the chances at pulling all of the usual inserts (New Age Performers, Then and Now, Flashbacks of both Baseball and News variety) have all been significantly reduced. In the case of the News Flashbacks, I think this is probably a good thing as the market for non-baseball cards in a baseball product seems to be limited. It's going to be hell trying to complete some of these sets without cheating (i.e. buying single cards online), though.

Chome-d Heritage! Yeah, I never really care about these. Hunter Pence here is up for grabs.


  1. I need to get some of these in hand to judge them for myself. I know I'm not going to be chasing the whole set like I did with 2016 Heritage, but I am at least curious.

    On a different note, I like the idea of Short Prints... I just don't know why 75 wasn't enough. I think A&G does it right. They're Short Printed enough to be more rare, but they aren't obnoxious.

  2. I think I agree on all counts here. Some ugly inserts in this set and 100 SPs is way too much, but I like the definite vintage look and feel of this set. It may not be the most visual appealing set that Topps ever produced, but they look like baseball cards.

  3. I am up-in-the-air with short prints. I like numbered parallels, but if a short print is required to build the set and too rare, it just prevents me from wanted to build the set.

    Nice post.

  4. The Phillies rookie on the Game card is pitcher Jake Thompson, one of the prospects obtained in the Cole Hamels trade. I only know this because I looked him up after pulling the same card and saying "So who's this guy?"

  5. i love Heritage, but the SP's do make it hard to complete a set...

  6. I agree about the New Age inserts. And what the heck makes DJ "New Age". Does he chant or something? The yellow really makes Cardinals cards pop.


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