The checklist for 2015 Topps Heritage came out yesterday and, like always, I search out the Dodgers as well as which ones are short prints.
I'm not too enthused about Heritage this year because the 1966 design is another one of the '60s borefests. The yellow-on-red used with the Dodgers (and the Yankees) makes it seem more of a food-issue card than a Topps card ... hey, wait ... maybe the design isn't so bad after all.
But I'm also not looking forward to chasing another round of Dodgers short prints. For the fourth straight year, the Dodgers have three or more SPs in Heritage. This year, it's four.
I went through the checklist and counted up the SP totals for each team. Here is what I found:
Baltimore Orioles - 1; Boston Red Sox - 4; Chicago White Sox - 3; Cleveland Indians - 3; Detroit Tigers - 6; Houston Astros - 2; Kansas City Royals - 4; Los Angeles Angels - 4; Oakland A's - 1; Seattle Mariners - 5; Tampa Bay Rays - 1; Texas Rangers - 3 ; Toronto Blue Jays - 3
Arizona Diamondbacks - 1; Atlanta Braves - 2; Chicago Cubs - 2, Cincinnati Reds - 3; Colorado Rockies - 3; Los Angeles Dodgers - 4; Miami Marlins - 4; Milwaukee Brewers - 3; New York Mets - 3; Philadelphia Phillies - 1; Pittsburgh Pirates - 1; St. Louis Cardinals - 1; San Francisco Giants - 1; Washington Nationals - 6
I did that quickly because there's no time, so I may have miscounted. But after reading that, the first thing I feel like doing is sending sympathy cards to Tigers and Nationals collectors. Six cards each is just obnoxious.
Also, there are three teams with no short prints. They are the Twins, the Padres and the Yankees. The Padres kind of get screwed because three of the players they acquired in trades -- Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and James Shields are listed with other teams. Or maybe it's a good thing because two of the three (Upton and Shields) are SPs.
The fact that there are no Yankees SPs is bizarre to me. That's because my theory on the SPs is that they are loaded with teams that possess a large and faithful collecting base, the Dodgers being one of them.
That's why in 2015 there are four Dodgers SPs, in 2014 there were three, in 2013 there were four and in 2012 there were three.
But no Yankees SPs with all the Yankees collectors. That's strange.
The other aspect of Heritage SPs that highlights Topps' cynical side is how much they've gone over to loading the SP portion of the set with desirable players. Since 2013, virtually all of the Heritage SP cards are established stars, hot young players, or veteran notables traded to new teams.
Just look at the Dodgers for contrast:
2011 Heritage Dodgers SPs: Rafael Furcal, Russ Mitchell
2012 Heritage Dodgers SPs: Dee Gordon, Jerry Hairston Jr., Aaron Miles
2013 Heritage Dodgers SPs: Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez
2014 Heritage Dodgers SPs: Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez
2015 Heritage Dodgers SPs: Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Kenley Jansen, Yasiel Puig
A definite cynical shift between 2012 and 2013.
I know why Topps does all this SP crap. Obviously, with all the player collectors out there, they will have no problem paying a little extra money to get an SP of their favorite player. A Heritage SP is nothing compared with some high end hit of that same player.
I also know why Topps loads the SPs with certain teams. All you have to do is look at the blogosphere to know there are a lot of Dodgers collectors (although I think the star power is a lot more a priority with Topps than teams).
The main problem with it is the problem I've had all along and the reason why I stopped attempting to complete Heritage sets over six years ago.
SPs are the antithesis of what Heritage should be. Heritage is a brand that harkens collectors back to the time when there was a set to chase with no wacky gimmicks. Sure, some cards ended up being short-printed, but that was only because Topps thought that collectors weren't going to buy the sixth series late in the summer, not because they're trying to get a collector to chase a Bryce Harper card all over God's green internet.
Heritage should be free of this stuff. Save the SPs for more modern-styles sets if there are now so many collectors who have grown up with them that they need them in sets.
I know it's pointless to say, with SPs being a standby for years now, but SPs in Heritage is just wrong.