Monday, March 5, 2018

More Heritage nitpicking

Piggybacking on the post by The Shlabotnik Report that compared and contrasted 2018 Heritage features with the 1969 Topps set, here are a few repeats of what he said (this post was already on my "to-do list") and some other wonderings.

I've kind of gotten over the fact that there are no people in the background of these photos since my last Heritage post, but it's still a little creepy for someone who grew up with signs of the daily baseball workings on his baseball cards. At least the above card shows a Budweiser sign, even if there's no one in the park to view it.

A word about the all-star cards. Of course everyone loves them. Everyone loved them in 1969, too. The differences between 2018 and 1969, though, give me the squinty eyes.

Here is one of each, side-by-side. The obvious difference is something called "Topps News" to replace "The Sporting News". But the part that throws my brain out of whack is the positioning of the name circles as well as the difference in size for the portrait photo.

The name circles for 2018 Heritage are positioned over the portrait photo instead off to the side, as Topps did in 1969. This is likely for the same reason that Topps made the portraits smaller -- so the black-and-white image could be featured more prominently. In 1969, as you can see, Topps didn't pay much mind to the black-and-white image. It was background. Who cares if you saw the player's face? Or the logo? (probably something very important these days, even more important than the face).

There is much more territory available for the black-and-white image in 2018 Heritage. I suppose that's fine. It's just taking my brain awhile to adjust to the change. I liked the big head shots. I think it draws your eye to the card better.

People have mentioned the deckle-edge inserts in '18 Heritage. These are possibly the first "insert cards" that I ever knew, even though I was too young to collect 1969 Topps.

But aside from the fact that they are "deckle-edged" and black-and-white, they lack some of the notable characteristics of 1969 deckles.

Some more side-by-side comparing.

The big difference -- well, there are two big differences (maybe three) -- is the size. The '18 Heritage deckles are regulation card size. That is bizarre. Topps picked a weird time to suddenly develop an aversion to mini-sized cards. I suppose you're not going to confuse it with a '69 deckle now.

Also, no confusion because the '18 Heritage deckles are not glossy. This is weird, too ... and ominous. As Heritage gets closer to the '70s and '80s we're getting into the glory days of glossy cards. I hope we're going to see them, because I so much prefer glossy to foil.

The final difference is the signature is in black on the Heritage deckles. The '69 signatures were blue. This makes me think there are colored signature parallels of Heritage deckle cards. I hope I'm wrong.

These are pretty awesome. I knew right away what it was, despite the inaccurate description of the insert by Topps as "collector cards." I've seen Transogram cards from the time I was getting baseball card catalogs in the mail.

I've never owned one of the original Transograms. My guess is they are smaller than a regular baseball card (the Trout is not). You'll note that there are no dotted lines around the border as there were with Transogram cards.

My concern about 2018 Heritage, mentioned on this post, has come to pass. As feared, there are no manager cards in 2018 Heritage, which means there are no outstanding cartoons on the back of those manager cards.

This stinks. But what are you going to do. There were no manager cards in Heritage last year either. Apparently, Topps doesn't want to deal with managers anymore, whether it's negotiating with them or whether they're taking up the spot of another rookie. Unfortunately, they picked a lousy time to make that decision as I can't think of a manager card I've enjoyed more (outside of the '78 Topps ones) than 1969 Topps.

Another thing that has returned in Heritage is the shifting of the images on leader cards and rookie prospect cards. This happened last year, too. Note that Giancarlo Stanton (shown as a Marlin while his solo card shows him as a Yankee) is shifted downward when compared with Arenado and Ozuna.

This is what they did in '69:

Much like the all-star cards, '69 Topps didn't care what it was covering up. My guess is this would not fly with MLB, covering up a logo. Or maybe Topps thought it wouldn't look good in Heritage, and they have a point.

Finally, one last stumper.

I mentioned in the earlier Heritage post that the Rockies and Nationals cards feature the team name listed underneath the player name on the back of the card. No other team has this feature, because in 1969 Topps, there was no team name listed under the player name.

Yet, every time, for only the Rockies and Nationals, this is the way:


I thought it might be some sort of tribute to '69 Topps. I looked at my Senators cards to see if the team name was listed under the player name on the back. Nope. I couldn't find it on any '69 team's cards.

Could this be some sort of copyright stipulation for only the Nationals and Rockies? If so, that's more bizarre behavior.

But it's definitely a thing, because:

As you 1969 Topps collectors know, the card backs for players with long careers are different from other cards.

The complete stats left little room for anything else. When I saw these as a kid, I didn't like them because the cartoon was gone. Also, Topps went with a bold player name, much larger than the one on most of the other cards in the set.

Here is another player that has been playing too long to have a cartoon on the back of his card.

Do you see a difference between the Werth card back and the Beltran card back?

That's right! The Werth card wedges in an extra column in the second row of vital stats so it can list "Washington Nationals".

Bizarre. Bizarre, bizarre, bizarre.

But this kind of stuff makes Heritage fun. I realize that Heritage doesn't match the old sets as faithfully as it once did and that's really not a great thing. But I still like picking up packs of the stuff, because they remind me of the way baseball cards were once made -- the right way, according to me.

However, I'm not sure if I'll be able to take all this tinkering when 2024 Heritage comes out.


  1. I had never heard of the Transogram cards... I would have been confused if I pulled one of those.

  2. I rely on your sharp observational skills. Without them, I'd miss the smaller details. Transogram? I would have this this more to be a singing telegram...of sorts.

  3. Durn, I like Manager cards. I did not like the "Burlap" baseball cards so I missed this fact about Heritage last year. Sigh.

  4. Wait, your deckle had a black signature? The three I pulled were blue.

  5. Here's another WASHINGTON NATIONALS / COLORADO ROCKIES thing to throw on the pile... The yellow circle on the front of the All-Star cards have just the team name (ORIOLES, REDS, WHITE SOX) for most of the cards... but Arenado and Harper have "COLORADO ROCKIES" and "WASHINGTON NATIONALS" squeezed in to the circle. It has to be some sort of legal-ish trademark-y thing.

  6. The signatures on the 2018 deckle inserts are in blue. It's hard to tell in your scan but look at other deckle cards and it's clear they are blue.

    1. I guess it is blue, but it's awfully difficult to tell on the two that I have because the pen ink is a darker blue than in '69 and the script is much thinner.

    2. Votto's thin signature definitely makes it difficult to tell

  7. Also: the photos behind the 1969 All-Stars usually weren't even of the player. Looks like maybe Norm Cash behind Rose.
    The use of ASTROS instead of HOUSTON.

  8. On that original 1969 rookie card, leave it to Topps to put the circle over the cap of the only guy who DOESN'T have a terrible airbrush job!

  9. Sad to hear that there won't be any manager cards this year. Those 69T cartoons on the backs are really awesome and one of the best things about the set.

    P.S. Werth's hair is something to be admired.

  10. It's no secret I like the 1966 to 1969 sets. Several years ago I eagerly looked forward to 2015, when the 1966 design would be used for Heritage. But somewhere before 2015 arrived, I completely lost interest in collecting these Heritage tribute sets to the '66, '67, '68, and '69 designs.

    I have not bought a single Heritage card since then, and after seeing all the nitpicky things on these sets over the last 4 years (including the very poor photo quality of the 1967 set), I'm glad I saved my money. I'd much rather work on completing the ACTUAL 1966 (and 1965) sets, than these contrived knock-offs.

    I know I would never enjoy these Heritage sets, with all their issues:
    Crazy position naming.
    Not staying true to vintage team color schemes.
    The annoying TM, (R), or (C) that appears everywhere.
    No manager cards.
    Do they even have cards for all players (or at least 22+ players per team)?
    And why does the 1st series checklist begin with card #173 instead of card #1?