My first box of 2010 Topps HeritageFebruary 25, 2010 at 8:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments
Ever since I started collecting cards again in 2008, Topps Heritage has been my favorite product to collect. Sure, you have worse odds of getting a good autograph or relic card than with literally any other baseball card product in existence, but I strongly believe that it is the most fun product with which to build a set. As time has gone by, I’ve become much more of a player collector than a set builder, but Heritage is the one set that I will continue to build every year. I absolutely love it.
As much as I loved 2008 and 2009 Heritage, the 2010 edition has the potential to be even more meaningful to me. That’s because it’s a tribute to the 1961 Topps baseball set. My dad was 9 years old in 1961, and it was the peak of his card collecting days. He had more 1961 cards in his collection than any other year. It was also the most memorable baseball season of his youth due to Mantle and Maris’ race to break the single-season home run record, and I believe that he attended his first game at Yankee Stadium that year. I only saw my dad’s cards during one weekend of my childhood before they were placed into a safe deposit box where they remain to this day. But I still remember seeing all of the star cards that he had – Mantle, Maris, Mays, Banks, Killebrew, Gibson, Koufax – just about every star from that era. I used to wish that I could own cards like those, and now that I’m an adult, I do own some. But when I think about the 1961 Topps set, I’ll always think of my dad as a kid amassing a great collection from that year.
In early February, I pre-ordered two hobby boxes of 2010 Heritage from Blowout for the price of $55 per box. I made sure to pre-order them, remembering how the price of Heritage hobby boxes skyrocketed last year after the product was released. And sure enough, the price today on Blowout is up to $68.99 per box. So the lesson is to always pre-order your Topps Heritage boxes early. I’m glad that I did.
On Tuesday, February 23, I received the email stating that Blowout had shipped my boxes, and since I fortunately live within one day’s shipping time from Sterling, VA, they showed up on my porch on Wednesday. I opened the first box Wednesday night, and I’ll probably open the second one on Thursday night.
Since the product just came out, I figured I’d share some scans with you…
First up is my box topper. According to the wrapper, it could be a “Topps Stamp Collection Team Page” or a “1961 Advertising Panel”. Knowing how boring the advertising panels are, I was glad to get the stamp thing. I got the Tigers team, and here it is:
This too is pretty boring, especially since the stamps aren’t actual stamps; they’re just pictures of stamps on the card. I’ll probably throw it on eBay and see if anyone is willing to pay a few bucks for it. The back lists facts about Comerica Park, the years that the Tigers have won the A.L. pennant and the World Series (not many for a team that’s been around for more than 100 years) and their all-time season batting and pitching record holders.
I also received an original 1961 buy-back card. As usual, it’s a card of a guy that I’ve never heard of, Bob Purkey:
Judging by the stats on the back of the card, Purkey was a pretty mediocre pitcher. But he had “a curveball which drives hitters crazy”, he held “the N.L. record for most putouts by a pitcher in an overtime game”, and he was a “sportsman during his time off, too. Fishing is his favorite hobby”. And of course, his name rhymes with turkey, which is kinda cool.
So obviously, I got a ton of base cards, and I’m sure that just about everyone already knows what they look like. But here’s Carlos Pena anyway:
On a side note, I absolutely love Carlos Pena. Every Rays fan on earth (which is a small number, I know) loves Carlos Pena. And really, every baseball fan should love him too. The guy is the most ridiculously positive person on the planet. For example, here’s a quote from him that was published by the St. Pete Times yesterday, regarding the fact that he’s in the last year of his contract with the Rays:
“This is the best place on Earth to play baseball. I think I’ll always keep that idea regardless of where I’m playing for the rest of my life. This is really the best place on Earth to play baseball. I also realize that it’s not going to last forever whether I stay here or I go somewhere else, there’s going to come a day when I retire. And God knows I wish it could be here. But I realize that sometimes you don’t have that say. It just makes you appreciate every single moment here more. I’m cherishing every single second I get around these guys, that I get to wear this uniform because I wear it proudly. This organization has done so much for me that I’m just extremely grateful. I’ll always be thankful for the Rays regardless of what happens.”
I’ll always be thankful for Carlos Pena being a Ray. And I’ll be even more thankful if he’s willing to sign a reasonable contract extension with the Rays despite the insane amount of money that the “big market” teams will likely throw at him after the season.
Anyway, let’s get back on-topic. Here’s what the back of the base cards (1-425) looks like:
It looks good, just like the actual 1961 card backs. But take a look at the short print card backs (426-500):
It’s a totally different type of card stock. When you get a short print in your pack, you can tell immediately because it is a completely different color from the other cards. This is basically the same thing that Topps did with the short prints in 2009 Heritage, but I’d say that the 2010 short prints are even more different than the base cards. And that sucks. It also sucks that they’re all numbered in a group, 426-500. It sucks because it makes the short prints more like just another type of insert instead of part of the base set. It would be very easy for a collector to decide to just collect cards 1-425 without the short prints and call it a day. There would be no missing cards from their pages, and besides the short prints look different than the other cards anyway. And the short prints are really what makes Heritage such a fun set to collect, in my opinion. I liked it much better in 2008 Heritage when there were some short prints mixed in with cards 1-425, and some non-short prints with card numbers above 425. And the card backs all looked the same.
OK, moving on. Here’s another base card that I want to highlight:
Why would I want to highlight a seemingly boring Jason Marquis card, you wonder? Well, Jason Marquis didn’t play for the Nationals last year. He played for the Rockies. He signed with the Nationals as a free agent in December. So this is a total Photoshop job. And there are many Photoshopped cards in Heritage, with players pictured in the uniforms of their new teams. The Photoshop jobs are so good on many of them, like this one, that you can’t even tell it’s a Photoshop job. And I think that’s very cool. It’s one of the best technological innovations in the card industry in recent years. If only Photoshop had existed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, we would have been spared some horrendous airbrushed cards!
Next up is a “rookie” card of Buster Posey:
I have to agree with the many people out there who have observed that the MLB RC logo looks very much out of place on the rookie cards with the “2010 Rookie” star logo that mirrors the original “1961 Rookie” star logo already there. Buster Posey is going to be a great player. I wish that I could take Doc Brown’s time machine back to June 2008 and hold a gun to Andrew Friedman’s head to make him draft Posey instead of Tim Beckham with the #1 overall pick. Picking Beckham over Posey was one of only two mistakes that Friedman has ever made since he took over baseball operations for the Rays in the fall of 2005. The other one involved not protecting a certain former drug addict with lots of tattoos during the December 2006 Rule V Draft.
I really like the huge “All Star Rookie” cup, like the one on this Andrew McCutchen card:
McCutchen is another guy that the Rays almost drafted and should have drafted, in 2005. There’s an interesting story about why they didn’t, but I won’t bore you with it here. Another thing that I really like about this card is how hilariously out of place McCutchen’s hairdo looks on a 1961 vintage card.
The checklists all look pretty good, with all of them featuring photos from the 2009 World Series like this one:
Also included in the base set are several cards featuring multiple players standing next to each other. The photos on these that I have seen are all from the 2009 All Star Game. Here are the “Beasts of the East”:
I also got a few “League Leaders” cards like this one featuring the 2009 N.L. home run leaders:
And once again, there’s a World Series highlight subset. Here’s one of the Yankees celebrating the championship that they bought:
And my favorite subset, by far, is “Baseball Thrills”, which all feature memorable historic baseball accomplishments. I love this one of Walter Johnson:
From the back of the card:
“Not only did Johnson know no equal in his time (or perhaps ever) for sheer effectiveness, he is also in the books for his unmatched feat of zero-slinging durability. In September of 1908, he shut out the New York Highlanders three times in four days, allowing only (in order) four, three and two hits.”
That truly is an amazing accomplishment that will surely never be matched again. And I love that he did it against the Highlanders. If you’re not up on your baseball history, that’s the original nickname of the Yankees.
Among the short print cards are the All Star cards, and I absolutely love the 1961 All Star design:
And there appears to be a new short print subset that commemorates MVPs of the past few years. This one is of 2005 NLCS MVP Roy Oswalt:
I hope there’s a card of 2008 ALCS MVP Matt Garza in the set.
Anyway, I got a total of 8 short prints in my box.
Now let’s take a look at the inserts. The New Age Performers, Then & Now, Baseball Flashbacks, and News Flashbacks are all back once again. I pulled 2 of each.
The New Age Performers design is pretty cool:
Then & Now looks pretty much the same as it does every year, and there are some odd choices for pairings such as Luis Aparicio and Jacoby Ellsbury:
Frank Robinson is one of the Baseball Flashbacks:
And this News Flashback card commemorates the establishment of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961:
So that happened less than two months after President Kennedy was inaugurated. See, some Presidents actually fulfill their campaign promises during their first year in office, instead of continuing to just talk about them and making excuses for why they cannot be accomplished.
And finally, there’s a new type of insert this year, apparently named “Ruth Chase ’61″. I pulled 6 of them in my box. Here’s one:
All of the cards feature Babe Ruth and the back of each card highlights a home run that he hit during the 1927 season. I think that an insert set based on the 1961 home run record chase is a good idea, but why doesn’t it feature Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, the guys who actually hit their home runs in 1961? Ruth’s record season was in 1927, not 1961. This insert set would have been much more appropriate with Maris and Mantle, instead of Ruth.
In addition to the inserts, I pulled 5 chrome cards #/1961. None of them are especially noteworthy and I didn’t scan any of them. But I received Prince Fielder, Ian Kinsler, Josh Johnson, Brian McCann, and Neftali Feliz. I also got one refractor #/561. It’s Denard Span:
The card looks much better in person than what it looks like in this scan. I think the Heritage refractors look great, as they always do. They look much nicer than the non-refractor chrome cards. I didn’t pull any black refractors, which are #/61.
As for my “hit”, well, it was nothing special at all, which is pretty much what you expect with Heritage. Last year, I wound up with a dull jersey card of Kevin Millwood. And this year I didn’t fare any better:
Topps must accumulate game-worn jerseys of the most boring players in MLB throughout the year and dump them all into Heritage. Oh well, nobody buys Heritage expecting to get good hits.
The last two cards that I’m going to show you were surprises to me…
First, I got a card of A-Rod that appeared to be a normal card until I looked at the back:
This is a type of parallel with some sort of dice game on the back. The back of the packs tell me that these are only inserted into 1 in every 72 packs, which is basically 1 per every 3 boxes, so I guess they’re relatively rare. Sounds like something for me to throw on eBay…
And the coolest card that I pulled was this one:
Unlike the box topper, this card includes actual stamps in it. It’s serial numbered 12/50, and the back of the card says:
“The stamps contained in this frame are inspired by those produced by the Topps Company in 1961 featuring all the biggest stars of the day.
This new Topps Stamp Collection features 208 different stars of today in multiple combinations.
Collect them all!”
Well, I won’t collect them all, and I may put this one up on eBay too, depending on how much these things start selling for. Unfortunately, I think that the demand for stamps of Shin-Soo Choo and Francisco Rodriguez will probably be pretty low, so I might just hold on to this. The pack back tells me that these cards are inserted into 1:193 packs, so I guess I was pretty fortunate to get one.
So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed a look at some of the interesting cards from my first box of 2010 Topps Heritage. My goal of keeping my posts short that I set when I started blogging again has just gone totally out the window! I’ll post something to let y’all know if I get anything noteworthy in my second box…