For years now, I have stayed away from trying to complete the Heritage set. Although I still love the concept of the brand and enjoy the cards most years, the short-printing of the final 75 cards turns me off. I can't afford to throw that kind of money at what it takes to complete Heritage, therefore it's not up for discussion. And it's like that every year. I don't even consider completing the set a possibility. (And if I do, I look at the want list for my 2008 Heritage set, which is still something like 20 cards).
But since I still like Heritage and because the set pays tribute to past sets that are among my favorite of all-time, there are still temptations. I wouldn't say I have weak moments where I actually consider trying to complete it. But I've known for a long time there would be certain years where Heritage's pull would be harder to resist.
2024 Heritage, for example, is the big one. I don't know if I can stay away from that. Also, 2020 and 2021 Heritage look very exciting to me -- although Topps' recent overkill of the '71 and '72 designs on those mini inserts have dampened my enthusiasm.
Another set that I knew would be tempting all along is 2016 Heritage.
I love the 1967 Topps design. It finished fifth all-time in last year's ranking of Topps sets. And I am pretty sure if I was born earlier than I was, the '67 design would easily finish in the top 3.
So you can see why I was a little skittish when walking into the card aisle this afternoon at Target. I scanned the selections while facing sideways, away from the shelves, as if I was in a hurry to get out. I glanced at all of the 2016 flagship (which can sit there for years before I buy any more), and the Stadium Club, and last year's flagship.
But I didn't see any Heritage. And I was about to walk myself out when I spotted up on one of the gravity feeders, balanced on top, a stack of about 15-20 Heritage loose packs. It's a good thing I saw that red wrapper on the blogs the other day, because the front of the wrapper wasn't showing.
I reluctantly reached up and grabbed three packs. And said to myself, "oh, this is going to be trouble."
And now, here for you, is my first look at what I'm not going to try to complete. I said I'm NOT going to try to complete it. Nope. Not me. No completing.
#206 - Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays
That's what a Blue Jay card would look like if the Blue Jays existed in 1967. Please note that the trademark on the team name is super tiny on these cards, which is much appreciated and long overdue.
#418 - Sean Doolittle, Athletics
The first of three -- that's right, three -- A's in this pack. It's always the A's. Always.
#46 - Marcus Semien, Athletics
I'm not going to get into an obsessive comparison with the actual 1967 Topps set. I don't have the time today and with all of the variations, etc., with '67, I'm just not up on that. I'll just say that the font for the team name doesn't look quite right. It's not Archives-off, but it looks just a tad.
#134 - Bartolo Colon, Mets
Now that Bartolo Colon is the last remaining Expos player, he needs to pitch forever. Do what you gotta do. Turn him into a robot, whatever. I want him out there in 2040 to keep the Expos alive.
#443 - Yu Darvish, Rangers
The only shortprint that I pulled, and the Rangers fan/Target girl's favorite player. Still haven't seen her again because I'm almost certain now she was just a mirage. Or maybe she actually planted this card in my packs .... hmmmmmm.
#66 - Eddie Rosario, Twins
Here is your '67 back, which is so '60s that I can't stand it. I love these backs. I also love the briefest of stats. There is no slugging or walks and definitely no WAR on these. Collectors had to get by with 7 statistical categories in 1967. How did they manage?
#49 - Yonder Alonso, Athletics
Third A. And one of several photoshopped cards that I pulled. Alonso was dealt to Oakland in December, a trade that I somehow missed. Or, more likely, knew about then, but subsequently forgot. Old age is the best.
#249 - Lucas Duda, Mets
Lots of hatless dudes in this set, just like '67 Topps. Not nearly as many crew cuts though.
#298 - Yohan Flande, Rockies
No idea who he is.
Moving on to pack 2. Still not going to complete it.
#239 - AL Batting Leaders
The '67 league leaders cards are one of the better-looking ones of the '60s. But I'm not going to get excited about a Heritage league leaders card until 2025 when they do the '76 Topps podium style leader cards.
#20 - Matt Adams, Cardinals
Backgrounds. Isn't it nice?
#235 - AL Pitching Leaders
You will see the McHugh photo again.
Also, here's a 1967 pitching leaders card for comparison, without commentary.
#260 - Justin Turner, Dodgers
Yay! My only Dodger in the three packs. I just saw this image yesterday and wanted the card instantly.
#NF-RM - RMS Queen Mary, News Flashbacks insert
Denotes the retirement of the Queen Mary.
#370 - Giants card
Like last year, Topps went with celebration photos instead of what appeared on team cards in '67, which was a posed team photo. Fortunately, '67 Topps did not post the team's previous season record on the front, as it did in 1966, which made for some really awkward 2015 Heritage team cards.
The backs for these cards also differ from the '67 team cards.
Here is a '67 team card back:
And here is the back for the 2016 Heritage team card:
It's a set checklist. And not even the checklist for the team, but just a continuation of the checklist for the entire set. I would have preferred to see every pitcher on the staff's won-loss record against opponents, but perhaps with interleague play, that's too difficult to replicate on a 2 1/2-by-3 1/2 piece of cardboard. Stupid interleague.
#321 - Garrett Richards, Angels
#4 - Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies
Wondering if that #58 is a proper representation of the Phillies uniform. I'm guessing it is not.
#291 - John Lackey, Cubs
Lackey's goal is to pitch for every polarizing team in the majors. He will be with the Yankees in two years.
Ready for pack 3. Still feeling pretty good about not trying to complete the set.
#417 - Julio Teheran, Braves
Love the tiny scoreboard in the corner.
#145 - Collin McHugh, Astros
Same photo that was on his league leaders card.
#388 - Jordan Zimmermann, Tigers
Fine-looking photoshopped card.
#100 - Adam Jones, Orioles
#10 - Jake Arrieta, Topps Test Stand-Ups insert
I love these. This is an insert set that can only be found in Target. It is a tribute to the 1967 Topps Stand-Ups, which was a test issue by Topps that year and never released to the general public. Here is a picture of some of the actual '67 cards, which I showed on my blog several years ago:
Aren't those wonderful?
Love the look, love everything about them. But actually owning one is next to impossible since they were uncirculated (and are heavily sought-after). That's what makes the Heritage insert so great -- you can now own some of these suckers!
This Heritage set, I am very tempted to complete.
Unfortunately, the one drawback is the Heritage cards don't actually punch-out and stand up. Sad face.
#72 - Mark Trumbo, Orioles
#402 - Joe Kelly, Red Sox
#219 - Carson Smith, Red Sox
#338 - Jay Bruce, Reds
And that's the end of the three packs. Still not going for the set. Nope.
I do like these cards, but after getting them in my hands, they're just not worth the trouble of all the SPs (and I refuse to collect a 1-425 set when 426-500 are also in the set).
What will probably happen is since I like these enough, and flagship is definitely out of the picture, that I'll randomly accumulate a bunch of them just so they take up space -- kind of like 2011 and 2014 Heritage. But that's OK. I'll still have fun opening them, and I won't go into a rage when I pull the same SP card three times while still needing 47 other SPs.
It would be nice to see how many people would buy Heritage if the SPs didn't exist, if the set completion task wasn't so difficult. Maybe that's not viable enough for Topps anymore, but all I know is Heritage lost an opportunity for a fan of the 1967 set to try for set completion.
I just hope I have enough money saved up from year after year of not completing all those Heritage sets for when 2024 comes.