Wednesday, April 1, 2015


It's been a couple weeks since my last post, and there's been a lot going on in that time between work and family matters. That doesn't leave much time for cards, let alone blogging, but I've still been the recipient of numerous trade packages, which I'll get to in due time.

Shortly before I visited my sister and brother-in-law one Saturday in mid-March, I ran into the Target by their home and picked up a pack of 2015 Topps Heritage. What I found inside was, you know, fine.

2015 Topps Heritage #40 Phil Hughes
I have to admit that I'm rather bored by Topps Heritage these days. In 2001, the idea of digging 49 years into the Topps archives and releasing a full-sized set of modern players on a vintage design was novel and refreshing, especially after the absolute craziness that was the late 1990s. But by now, it's gotten to be old hat.

My enjoyment of Topps Heritage has started to tie directly into my fondness for whatever vintage design existed just under a half-century ago. Last year's was a winner, and I was counting down to the 1962-themed release ever since the brand's inception.

2014 Topps Heritage #302 Adam Eaton
2011 Topps Heritage #194 Jordan Walden (RC)
But this year's release, which is based on Topps' 1966 product, didn't wow me, especially after their strong efforts with the 2015 base set and last year's instant classic 2014 Stadium Club.

2015 Topps Heritage #403 Adam Lind
The Hughes at the top of this post and that Photoshopped Adam Lind card above are the only two base cards I found interesting enough to include in a post. Lind was involved in one of the many off-season transactions this winter, but he's yet to appear in a regular season game as a Brewer. Digitally-altered uniform or not, he's still on board with the beard craze, as well as a slightly fuzzy-looking bat.

Can you even imagine what it would have been like to have Photoshop in 1966?

I do hope Topps continues making the product, as there are sure to be some fantastic sets once the theme gets to the early- to mid-'70s, but we're going to be in a bit of a dull period for a while. At least in my opinion, the 1968-based set two years hence will likely be the only sort-of highlight for the remainder of the decade. Assuming Topps can weather what I expect to be five years of weak sales, the early 2020s promise a slew of great designs.

Topps doesn't have much choice in the matter. It's an odd thing, the design choices made fifty years ago being directly tied to a product's current success. But this whole hobby is heavily influenced by the past, so a product like Topps Heritage really is a fitting thing to have in the marketplace.

Like the use of Photoshop, there are still some modern touches on the set, including the "New Age Performers" insert set that's been printed for several years.

2015 Topps Heritage New Age Performers #NAP-5 Mike Trout
Not that I'm a huge Mike Trout fan, but this was the highlight of the pack. This insert set can be found in 1:8 packs, so I did pick well off the shelf at Target. And Mr. Trout is probably the best player in baseball right now, as he was selected first overall in my fantasy baseball league, which held its draft on Sunday. I had 4th pick this year, so I selected McCutchen after the true elites like Trout and Kershaw were taken, but more on my fantasy team in a future post.

I'm sure I'll eventually end up with most of the Rockies team set from 2015 Topps Heritage thanks to my numerous trading partners, but for now, a pack of 9 cards pretty much satisfied my desire to have a look at the product.

Until about 2020, that is.


  1. Lind certainly has an aura about him. I noticed it too. How could you not? I too was initially unimpressed with Heritage this year. It's grown on me a bit due to its simplicity. Bring on the 72s and 75s!

  2. I am actually looking forward to the 67 design... I think it will look pretty good. But I agree that 66 just doesn't quite do it for me.

    I have (probably) a full Rockies team set for you Adam - I had the Rockies in a Group (Case) Break, so I should have doubles of all of them.

  3. Odd you'd single out the '68 design as the highlight of the late '60s. As someone who began collecting in '64, I have to tell you that everyone I knew absolutely HATED the '68s. The corner market where I used to buy my cards couldn't give them away (literally; they tried--"nah, that's OK. I'll just take some candy, please"). Meanwhile the '67s were the highlight of the decade for any collectors my age. They were preferred, even, to the also then popular '65s. The consensus of the kids I knew was that the "clean" and "sharp" and "sleek" '67s were "the best baseball card design EVER" (mind you, our experience didn't extend back any further than, say, 1960). And, after the godawful '68s, we kids were thrilled by the '69s (and happy, too, to have our horizontal stats back). Truthfully, the '66s weren't massively popular in the neighborhood, but they were always one of my favorites. As a Mets fan, I thought the choice of purple and yellow for the team was pure genius. And the photography was very snappy--fewer big heads, more full bodies (it is the part Heritage didn't quite get right). I dunno, its just weird to hear people who weren't collecting at the time dis the '67s and '69s (and to even half-heartedly praise the '68s? I thought I would never see that day).

  4. The '67 design rules. I'll have to hold myself back next year. As for 1968, yuck.

    The one I'm really looking forward to (besides 2024, of course) is 2020. If Heritage does it right (and Heritage always does it right), that will be an amazing set.

  5. Most of the late '60s sets never really interested me that much. Love it or hate it, 1968 is definitely distinctive, and in my mind, is associated with Nolan Ryan's rookie card, one of the dream cards of my childhood.