Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why I don't bother with Heritage minor league sets

Until a couple of weeks ago, this green-tinted parallel of Dodgers prospect Zach Lee was the only card I had from the debut set of Topps Heritage Minors in 2011.

Although I enjoy minor league sets, it's more for their kitsch value. The old cards, the wacky poses, the ball girls and trainers, spotting some well-known major leaguer just starting out in the bowels of professional baseball.

But Heritage Minors I'll probably never understand and definitely never purchase. The cards come at a bit of a premium because they're on Heritage card stock, yet they're still a bunch of nobodies. They don't deserve that fancy stock. That's for major league players.

Along with that, I'm being asked to spend my hard-earned money on a bunch of guys who will probably never amount to anything on an MLB level. Yeah, I know, prospecting is about finding that needle in a haystack, but I'm much too poor for that nonsense. So, all I've got then are guys who played ball pretty well but not well enough for the league I watch on TV and follow semi-religiously.

To help me demonstrate why Heritage Minors is not on my radar, Scott Crawford On Cards sent me several Dodgers prospects from that initial set from 2011 (he's probably going to wonder why he sent them to me after this).

Let's see how these guys are fairing these days:

Chris Withrow, Chattanooga Lookouts

Withrow is the most notable Dodger from this group, although he's in medical limbo now. Elbow and back surgery means it'll be midseason before anyone will see if he can recapture the overpowering stuff he showed in 2013 with L.A.

Nathan Eovaldi, Chattanooga Lookouts

Eovaldi is an established major leaguer but with the wrong team. He was traded by the Marlins to the Yankees in the Martin Prado-David Phelps deal a couple of months ago. The Marlins got him from the Dodgers in the Hanley Ramirez trade.

Allen Webster, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Webster has spent the last couple of years with the Red Sox, moving back and forth between the big-league team and the minors. He hasn't fared that well in the majors. I have a number of nice Webster cards from the heady days before he was sent to Boston in the big Adrian Gonzalez mega-trade. They don't mean a heck of a lot now.

Jake Lemmerman, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Lemmerman was dealt to St. Louis for Skip Schumaker back in 2012. Lemmerman last played in the Padres' organization last season, but he wasn't able to hit above .200.

Garrett Gould, Great Lakes Loons

Gould is still making the slow, slow climb in the Dodgers organization but was sidelined by Tommy John surgery in November and probably won't pitch this season.

There are still two Dodgers prospects from this set that I don't have. Brian Cavazos-Galvez is a career minor league in the Dodgers organization, finishing his sixth season in the minors last year. Kyle Russell last played independent ball in 2013.

And Zach Lee -- still need the regular old base card version -- remains the Dodgers' pride and joy, a potential spot starter for L.A. this year after his first season in Triple A a year ago.

If Withrow never returns, Lee could be the only guy from this set who settles in with the Dodgers, everyone else having moved on or even given up on pro baseball. Heck, even the Chattanooga Lookouts are now a Twins affiliate (the Dodgers' Double A affiliate is now Tulsa).

Fortunately, Scott also sent me some established Dodgers:

Of course, there's not guarantee with those guys either.

In four years I might be talking about Ryu's career as a Mariner and Kershaw chucking it all to become a missionary in Africa.

There are no guarantees.

But at least if they're in a Dodgers uniform, I feel better about the whole thing.


  1. Lemmerman could not hit .200, but did manage to score a degree from Duke. Fun player to watch in college.

  2. Ironically I bought three hobby boxes of '11 Heritage Minors way back when.

  3. Wait til you find out where allan webster and rubby de la rosa are now. We get to see them way too often

    1. Did Webster come over to Arizona in that deal, too? I can't keep up, baseball dealing is getting as active as the NHL.

  4. There are people who like these cards for IP autos or TTM because of the card stock.

    1. Agree. Perfect for those who live in a town with a minor league team. The San Jose Giants and their opponents are always willing to sign for fans before the game and the 2013 (1964) design looks pretty nice when signed in black Sharpie.

  5. And then there are people who like them for having those great minor league team names paired with a classic design. How can you not love the Quakes, the Loons, and (my personal favorite) the Richmond Flying Squirrels? That '62 design wasn't the greatest for this, but the '64 and '65 designs were outstanding when paired with those wacky team names. And then there's the occasional player name that throws the whole thing into higher Cubs "prospect" Rock Shoulders.

  6. I'm a fan of the minors sets for a lot of the reasons Stubby mentions. It's just a nice change of pace to buy every once in a while.

  7. I love minor league sets, but I hate when they are pushed out of the budget realm. I was annoyed when companies like Best, Just and TriStar started pushing more high-end minor league sets with all the autos and game used junk as it took them out of my price range. Same goes for the Topps Heritage Minors. The set concept it self makes no sense, especially since they're just coasting along with the same design as the major league set instead of using any kind of throwback minor league designs. Minor league sets absolutely should not be about lame modern trading card gimmicks and should be all about covering the teams and making sure all these guys get cards. I'll stick with the team sets from Choice, Grandstand and Brandt/Multi-Ad, they seem more honest and respectable to me as to what a minor league set should be.

  8. To me, the concept of sports cards is to document the history of the sport. I'd rather get a card of some obscure guy who didn't make it than a superstar any day. Those are a dime a dozen. But the rare guy who gets maybe one card? That's what I like.