Friday, March 15, 2013

Match game

I purchased an achingly boring rack pack of Heritage about a week or so ago. Ever since then, I've been attempting to figure out a way to make the cards relevant so as to justify blowing 6 bucks.

Normally, I dispense with relevance and throw them in a stack or a box and never think about them again. But this time I started thinking about how Heritage works very hard to match the set to the one from 49 years prior, right down to design, player poses, types of photos, card back, etc.

One thing that I've heard that Heritage does, but never tested it out myself, is match corresponding card numbers. For example, if 1964 Topps #200 features a Dodger pitcher, then 2013 Topps Heritage #200 features a Dodger pitcher.

The above example holds true because #200 in '64 Topps is Sandy Koufax, and #200 in 2013 Heritage is Clayton Kershaw.

But is that the case for every card in the set? That always seemed to be a lot of unnecessary work on Topps' part. All that effort could have been placed into finding a way of making common folk like me, who have to save up for two weeks just to buy a blaster, more capable of completing a set.

Oops, that was a tangent.

Anyway, I thought this rack pack should make itself useful and I would test out the numbers that were in the 2013 pack with the corresponding 1964 numbers.

After researching, I found that not all of the cards matched with their corresponding '64 number. Some didn't match in the slightest. Others did.

Here are the ones that matched the best:

#1 - 1963 N.L. ERA Leaders and 2012 N.L. ERA Leaders

#4 - 1963 A.L. Pitching Leaders and 1963 A.L. Pitching Leaders

These are the easiest to match up if you're doing a tribute set. Things may have changed in baseball over the years, but there are still league leaders.

#101 - Walt Alston and Don Mattingly

Mattingly will never reach Alston's stature in terms of being a Dodger manager, but you can't do better matching-wise than manager of the same team.

#133 - Jim Grant and Chris Perez

Grant was a starter and Perez is a reliever, but they are both Indians and both at relatively the same point of their careers, so I'll call it a match.

#53 - Denis Menke and Tyler Pastornicky

Braves shortstop/third baseman just starting out and Braves shortstop just starting out. Match.

#110 - Albie Pearson and Mark Trumbo

The Angels were a young club in '64 and didn't have many stars. Albie Pearson was as close as they got. Both Pearson and Trumbo were at the same points in their careers at the time, and, of course, both outfielders.

#165 - Jerry Lumpe and Omar Infante

Both Tigers second basemen. Beyond that, don't look for any other similarities.

#64 - Ted Abernathy and Brian Wilson

Each noted relief pitchers, although for different teams. You wouldn't catch Abernathy wearing a marmot on his chin either.

#350 - Willie McCovey and Matt Cain

OK, I know there are some Giants fans that thought Matt Cain's perfect game was the most magical baseball moment in the history of bat and ball, let's all go to the coffee house and celebrate. But all of us non "I discovered baseball 3 years ago" fans know that Matt Cain is not Willie McCovey. Otherwise, it's a match.

All right, and here are some that didn't match:

#260 Frank Robinson and Drew Stubbs

Ouchy. Even when Stubbs was with the Reds, this would have been a gutsy call. But the offseason reached out and nipped Topps with this pairing.

#231 - Dick Calmus and Jeff Francoeur

Note the player in the background of the Calmus photo. Is this some sort of commentary on Francouer's fielding?

#245 - Dick Stigman and Jordan Pacheco

What are we comparing here, open-mouthed gawking?

#132 - Milwaukee Braves and Rickie Weeks

Milwaukee Braves team and a Milwaukee Brewer. That's a reach.

OK, now THAT is a reach.

(Upon pulling this Dan Haren card, I made a comment on Twitter about Wendie Malik really letting herself go. I lost a follower for that crack. I don't know, it seemed funny at the time).

So, anyway, that satisfied my curiosity, which really wasn't curiosity anyway, just one of those zillions of unanswered questions that bounce around in my head, nagging and nagging and nagging and nagging ....

At least this one will finally shut up.

And I can throw these cards in the box.


  1. I was thinking of doing this very post... except I don't have a '64 set.

    I noticed Kershaw and a few others got their double 0 numbers. Medlen is #400... who is that in the '64 set?

  2. #400 in '64 is Warren Spahn. Match!

    I don't have the '64 set either. The images are lovingly swiped from

  3. The best match is #300 - '64 Hank Aaron, '13 Jason Heyward. That gave me a baseball boner.

  4. I hate that Topps does the matching numbers thing just because my team and several others are always left out. The Rockies manager has NEVER been included in any Heritage set for that very reason. I'm sure Miami, Tampa, Toronto, and even Kansas City have the same gripes. I'm not the biggest Jim Tracy fan and Walt Weiss is probably gone after one year, but it still would have been nice to get a card of them as Rockies manager.

    Sorry about the bitch fest, but every now and then a nerve gets stepped on.

  5. I had read about the matching thing and was going to buy a pack of Heritage to test it but you saed me the trouble. Thanks