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My unfocused collection means I'm focused

Release date for 2020 Heritage is tomorrow. I always considered March as being "Heritage month" but apparently Topps has moved it up because nobody can buy packs of any new release for more than a couple weeks without being distracted anymore.

My warning to anyone contemplating completing Heritage this year is the Felipe Lopez card right here.

I bought this Lopez card, which arrived at my home yesterday, in my continuing attempt to get out from under that contract I signed with Topps 12 years ago to complete the 2008 Heritage set. It's one of the many blasted short-prints in the set and I've been buying like two a year for the last 10 years because I'm cheap and annoyed and indignant and all those things that Heritage has made me. Oh, and Lopez stopped playing in the majors nine years ago. So, bang-up job, night owl, on timely completion of that set.

Because I still need seven more short-prints to finish the set.

I've mentioned several times that my experience with the '08 Heritage set has kept me from attempting to complete another Heritage set. It's been pretty easy resisting the urge lately. Other than 2014 and 2016 Heritage, sets that paid tribute to the only two '60s sets that I really like, Heritage has been worth a few packs here and there and nothing more.

But starting tomorrow, the temptation grows.

We're in the '70s now, my friends. These are my boys here. Starting with 2020 Heritage -- which trots out the entrancing 1971 Topps black beauties -- every year of Heritage will be devoted to some aspect of my childhood for the next decade. It's not going to be easy to avoid the Heritage cards using the '71, '72, '73, '74, '75, '76, '77, '78 or '79 designs. There are levels of interest there, though, and I think the Heritage sets that showcase the '74 and '78 designs will be particularly tough (mostly because Topps hasn't buried either design in Archives or inserts yet). 1975, forget it. Everything tells me I'll be trying to complete that, no matter how much a pain in the ass it is.

But to combat Heritage's entry into my very favorite period of Topps designs, I'm actually starting to take action.

Today, I ordered a team set from brent & becca for the very first time. It's just the 2020 Heritage non-SP Dodgers. But I wanted to get those quickly because I know it will prevent more than one (or two) trips to the retail aisle to look at new '71-style cards. And it will signal, to me, that I'm not trying to complete the set.

That will ward off the Heritage temptation this year. As for the other sets being issued this year? I'm not worried.

Did you know that Allen & Ginter Chrome is something this year? It was just announced today. That shouldn't make me like A&G any less, but instinctively it does, and means I'm pulling away from the brand (just as Topps is, too) even farther. I still haven't completed an A&G set since 2014.

There's nothing else on the horizon -- Stadium Club, GQ, Big League, Archives, Chrome, Series 2/Update, Bowman -- that will make me want to complete it. This means I can continue to be as focused as ever on what I really want.

And that is my very unfocused collection featuring various collections!

Guys, another COMC package has arrived.

Oh, don't act all surprised. What do you think that Felipe Lopez card was all about?

But true to my way-too-many interests, that was the only 2008 Heritage card I picked up in my COMC lot. (Mostly because half of the SPs I want are either not available or stupid pricey).

Instead, I went in many different directions, trying to eat up as much territory as possible as cheaply as possible.

This is my first significant dive into the 1977 O-Pee-Chee set, the greatest O-Pee-Chee baseball set of all-time. But you can't get a good idea for how great it is (unless you have the '77 Topps set memorized as I do), without seeing the OPC card side-by-side with the Topps card.

The greatness of the Bob Grich OPC card is self-explanatory, although it still doesn't address my desire in 1977 to see Grich in an actual Angels cap that year.

The Bill Greif card is fantastic because although OPC landed Greif in an actual Expos hat, unlike Topps, he still never played a game for the Expos!

The Burleson and Jorgensen cards interest me just because I don't know why OPC cropped them so closely. These are the mysteries that I continue to contemplate all night in my nest.

"Staying focused" means borderline dumb buys like this. In 2014, Topps' border color parallels jumped the shark and issued retail border colors in many unasked-for shades.

Some of these, like the yellows, were a bit difficult to find. I thought I'd see if the prices had gone down six years later. My answer: not really. That's why you see people who are notoriously low-priced, like Uribe and Gonzalez here. That's what I could afford.

I had better success with inserts and parallels from last year. Some nice cheapies here, which is damn well appreciated because Topps has gone as out-of-their minds with inserts the last couple of years as it did with parallels in 2014. It seems to have reined it back just a little in 2020 Series 1, but, of course, the card collecting season has just begun.

The Ebbets Field Evolution card has eluded me for much too long. I desperately needed a card that shows my two favorite stadiums on one card.

Even with all this 2019 insert territory, there is still plenty left to cover. That 150th Anniversary set is so out of hand, there are about five too many Jackie Robinson cards in it. Nothing should make me think "too many Jackie Robinson cards."

Let's travel back to the '80s and dawn of the '90s for some terrific oddballs.

The Hack Wilson Baseball Wit card completes the Dodgers in that set that I didn't even know existed two or three years ago. The Furrillo is from the 1987 TCMA Greatest Teams set, which I continue to neglect because my '70s TCMA fan boys ways hasn't traveled into '80s TCMA sets.

The 1982 Cracker Jack Duke card is so spectacular that I scolded myself for learning about it, then forgetting about it for YEARS and then rediscovering it. Please note that in 1982, Topps (which created this set for Borden) was not yet frightened to duplicate its 1978 script style.

All right, see why I'm not caring about 2020 Heritage or Allen & Ginter Chrome? My unfocused focus has me digging up minor league cards from 1980!

This continues my quest to finish off my all-time favorite minor league set, the 1980 TCMA Albuquerque Dukes set. Starting to get into players even I don't know, although Del Crandall and Ron Roenicke are familiar and fantastic. I still need 12 more cards (want list is officially up!). Dodger fans from this time period will wince and then nod knowingly when I say I still need the Jack Perconte and Bobby Mitchell cards.

Farther and farther off the map, 2020 card product fans! Here are more vintage Wacky Package stickers from my childhood. Apes parodying products will never not be funny to me, and that Ivery Snow sticker (I Very Snow!) is just frigid.

I remain quite focused on 1975 buybacks. These nine get me officially under 300 needs for the set. I own 364 total. The best ones here are the Felix Millan, of course, because that card meant a lot to me back in '75. Also, the Bob Montgomery because that card has been 11 bucks on COMC for-EVER and then someone put up a buck fifty Montgomery and -- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA -- enjoy eternity on the COMC site, 11 dollar Monty!

Even though all of the above cards are exactly what I want, I still will never convince some collectors of my focus (and those cards' worthiness of being purchased) unless I show off a "serious" set like 1956 Topps.

OK, fine.

I added the above three to my collection with this order. I'm about 3 or 4 purchases away from having nothing but Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Aaron and the Yankees team card on the want list. Yeah, that's scary, but it's not as scary as I thought it would be back when I still needed 100-plus cards to complete the set.

Down to 26 cards now, plus two checklists (plus whatever "extra Dodgers" I want to get).

I'm going to need a LOT of focus for that.

However, it's only just a little bit more focus than what I would need to complete a Topps Heritage set all in one year. I honestly don't know how collectors do it. I would need to put my all into just collecting that set, and most of my cash, too. I wouldn't be able to buy anything else, or even think of anything else to avoid temptation.

Oh, I also added this card to my collection:

Another Heritage cautionary tale.

My 2018 Heritage Dodgers set is finally complete -- @#&*$%$$$$$$ short-prints.


Sean said…
The best 1977 Topps/O-Pee-Chee side by side comnparison is Steve Rogers. He grew a moustache over the off season, so his (Topps photo just has him clean shaven, while his O-Pee-Chee one shows him with the new stache.

Its kind of like having a Traded set that records off season personal grooming changes.
Nachos Grande said…
For what's it is worth, I am refusing to buy another pack of Topps Heritage until I complete the various Heritage sets I've been working on for a long time. In my case, that's 2014, 2009, and 2008. Of those, I'm only close to completing the 2008 set (I'm still missing five more short prints).

As for A&G chrome, I'm going to play the "wait and see" game. I can't say that I'm overly excited for the set but it's possible that it'll be kind of neat.
Justin G. said…
To paraphrase the great Joey Tribbiani - "2009 Heritage - you are my Everest!" Officially more than a decade into chasing down cards for that set. Have I learned my lesson? Nope. Heading to actual brick and mortar store to buy box number one of 2020 Heritage.
Fuji said…
Wow... super impressed (and jealous) of your 75T buyback and 56T set build progress.
bbcardz said…
Good to see that COMC (or at least some of the sellers) came through for you. I began collecting Heritage starting with the 2018 set. Now I realize how tough Heritage is to complete with a small budget and so many short prints.
GCA said…
Ironically, I just put a bunch of stuff in a COMC cart yesterday. I want to hold off buying another stack of cards so close to a couple shop trips and several trades, but I couldn't help it. Still have to vet them to make sure they're not cheaper on SportLots.

For the first time since 2008, I'm going to dive into a Heritage set while it's new. I've picked up several base starter sets over the years which may or may not include inserts or many short prints, but this will be the first one that comes from packs. We'll see if I do any of the other 70's sets. The designs appeal, of course, but I'm discovering that I care about current player less and less.

There are tons of minor league cards on COMC that I want, but they're usually at least $3 each if not more. There can't really be that much demand for them, can there? The sellers must be banking on rarity.

I can see me substituting vintage 70's OPC sets for future Heritage ones. How much better will it be to get the actual fonts, texture, and players, but with such fascinating different features?
Bo said…
I had never seen a Stadium Evolution card before. Really nice Ebbets Field photo on that one.
Brett Alan said…
I bought the 1977 OPC set from an ad in Baseball Hobby News many many years ago. Don't know what I paid, but it's one of the best hobby purchases I've ever made!
Mark Hoyle said…
Team set from Brent & Becca. You have gone to the dark side
Jafronius said…
I've noticed many 2019 Heritage boxes (both blaster and hanger) in the Wal-Mart discount box. Don't know if folks bought less of it or Topps overproduced.
John Bateman said…
Never bought a pack of 1971 Topps but they became my second favorite set of the 70s

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