Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Against my better judgment

There are literally double-digit reasons for me not to buy Topps Heritage this year.

Let's see if I can spell them out:

1. I'm not crazy about the 1964 design. It's better than '61, '66 and '68, but that's not saying much. I'm not a fan of many '60s card designs and color choices.

2. There are four Dodgers in the 426-500 SP set. Four. Of star players, too. The SP set is one of the most annoying things about Heritage even when I have to chase only one or two SPs of my favorite team. But four? So uncool.

3. The minis. The mini-lover is mini'd out. Heritage and minis do not go together at all. I don't want to see them coming out of my Heritage packs.

4. Last year's fiasco. The online-only High Number set in particular. That soured me on Heritage and modern cards in general.

5. My commitment to vintage. How can I stay focused on vintage if I keep buying new cards?

6. Rumors of inferior card stock. After last year's Heritage High Numbers set and Heritage Minor Leagues, there was concern that Topps would go with thinner card stock for subsequent Heritage issues.

7. Money issues. One of the most cash-strapped times of the year is almost over. But not yet.

8. I don't need to start any new trades. Everytime you buy new cards, there are new opportunities to trade. People WANT to trade with you. They seek you out if you show a new card. I know this and I make use of it. But I'm still behind on trades and almost a week or two away from catching up. I can't fall behind again.

9. Running out of space. I'm almost at the point where I need to start storing cards in another room. I'm not sure if this will get approval, if you know what I mean. And I'd rather go to bat for vintage cards than knocking out a wall for another damn modern set.

10. I'm in a Heritage break in which my team is the Dodgers. Then I signed up for a random team for a second box. My random team? The Dodgers. Yup, two boxes. All the Dodgers. Why would I buy anything off the shelf?

11. It's someone's birthday tomorrow. And since that person isn't me, I should be spending cash on someone else.

But a funny thing happens when you are shopping for someone else's birthday. Sometimes other people suggest going to Walmart for a gift. And sometimes you don't dissuade that person from going there because of ulterior motives. And sometimes you wander over to the card aisle because -- hell, I might as well not half-ass this thing I shouldn't be doing -- and, lo and behold, Heritage has made it to my tiny corner of the world before street date ... again.

Will wonders never cease?

I can't let that opportunity go past, so I grabbed an evil blaster and a single loose pack as has been my 2013 tradition.

After going through it, I can say that I will not be doing that again. First, I have too many issues with Heritage now. But secondly, there is no way I am going to top this blaster as far as what I pulled, especially in terms of Dodgers. Everything that followed would be a disappointment.

So, let's see what caused me to quit while I was ahead, hmmmmm?

Single pack first:

#294 - Liam Hendriks, Twins

First Heritage card of the year. Now, if you're freaked out about super large head shots, then 2013 Heritage is not for you. The 1964 set is filled with giant craniums -- it's one of the reasons why I don't like it. Since Heritage stays true to the original, prepare yourself for more giant craniums, but this time with lots and lots of hair.

And if you think this card is disturbing, turn away now.

#405 - Brendan Ryan, Mariners
#129 - Ruben Tejada, Mets

#65 - Carlos Quentin, Padres

That's the back. Mucho orange. I feel like a creamsicle.

The '64 cards are known for the scratch-off trivia question on the back. This particular question interested me, so I got out a coin and scratched.

It was a little difficult scratching it off. But later (I showed a bunch of these cards on Twitter already), I discovered that you don't have to scratch off the answer.

Sunlight streamed through the window onto the backs of several cards and I could see the answers without scratching. I suppose that falls under (*gasp*) Trivia Card Searching! (*scandal*). But I don't care. I'm recommending you don't scratch off. Just shine a light on the card.

#329 - Drew Pomeranz, Rockies
#195 - Alex Rios, White Sox

#TN-KC - Harmon Killebrew/Miguel Cabrera, Then & Now

#389 - Frank Francisco, Mets

#175 - Alfonso Soriano, Cubs


That was the single pack.

Time for the blaster.

And it's full of Dodger greatness.

Pack 1

#404 - Barry Zito, Giants

OK, not yet. Got to get through the layers of Giant stink before reaching the goodness.

#248 - Jim Leyland, Tigers

Manager cards always amuse me.

#11 - National League RBI Leaders

One thing 1964 Topps DOES have going for it is one of the better league leader designs in history.

#146 - Indians/Cubs Rookie Stars

The rookie cards interchange between cards with multiple teams and cards with rookies on the same team. I'm assuming that's the way it was in '64 Topps. I just haven't paid much attention to the set in the past.

#21 - Joe Girardi, Yankees, manager

#1 - NL ERA Leaders

The first sign of Dodger goodies to come. And on the first card in the set, too. I especially like this because Sandy Koufax appeared all over the 1964 league leaders cards.

#441 - Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals

First short-print.

#388 - Rookie stars, Ali Solis, Pirates/Casey Kelly, Padres

#202 - Luke Hochevar, Royals

I've come to the very hasty conclusion that the best-looking cards in the set are for the teams that weren't around in 1964. Topps basically went with team colors for those teams and the Royals, Rays, etc., luck out. Nice, pleasing cards without all that horrible green that was all over the 1964 set (*ahem*, Cardinals).

#73 - Steve Lombardozzi, Twins

Giant rookie cup whispering in his ear.

Pack 2

#81 - All-Star Vets, Matt Kemp/Clayton Kershaw

I'm almost certain that this is the best card in the set. My 20 bucks were totally worth it by the time I opened pack two. Why go on?

Oh, right, there are more cards.

#209 - Kyle Seager, Mariners
#103 - Gordon Beckham, White Sox
#323 - Danny Espinosa, Nationals
#212 - Edinson Volquez, Padres

#132 - Rickie Weeks, Brewers

If Topps really wants to be historically accurate, it should tell Weeks to lose the dreads.

#NAP-JM - Joe Mauer, New Age Performers, Twins

Next to Dodgers, I had the best luck pulling Twins and Rockies (you'll see later).

#117 - Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays

The close-ups. Just killing this set.

#424 - Logan Forsythe, Padres

Pack 3

#425 - Joey Votto, Reds

"I want his head to take up the entire space! All of it! I just want to see CRANIUM!"

#274 - Justin Morneau, Twins

Terrific shot.

#36 - Ben Zobrist, Rays
#199 - Greg Dobbs, Marlins

#231 - Jeff Francouer, Royals

Wow. I've never wanted an action shot more.

#64 - Brian Wilson, Giants

#435 - Carlos Santana, Indians (SP)

#134 - Daniel Descalso, Cardinals
#142 - Daniel Murphy, Mets

Pack 4

I should have addressed the cardboard by now. So let's do it here.

The cardboard is -- as feared -- thinner than last year's Heritage. This is not good at all. I'll get into why at the end. But suffice it to say, I think some Heritage collectors will be turned off by this and not come back.

#367 - Jeremy Guthrie, Royals
#97 - Erick Aybar, Angels

#88 - A.J. Ellis, Dodgers

First Dodgers individual base card! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

#74 - Rookie Stars, Brock Holt, Red Sox/Kyle McPherson, Pirates
#379 - Nyjer Morgan, Brewers
#229 - Jed Lowrie, Astros

#NF-J - News Flashback, Jeopardy

#366 - Jason Castro, Astros

OK, this freaked me out:

If they turn towards me does that mean they're going to kill me?

#235 - Jhonny Peralta, Tigers

Pack 5

#198 - Gavin Floyd, White Sox

#45 - Brandon Phillips, Reds

So many hatless photos.

#317 - Lance Berkman, Rangers

Photoshop on display.

#336 - Nolan Reimold, Orioles

#CCR-JCH - Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies, game-used relic

I can't remember ever pulling a hit out of a Heritage blaster. I'm sure it happened a long time ago, but wow.

OK, so it's a Rockie.

But I like the look of the relics. Everyone keeps ragging on the fact home plate pointing at the player. They want it facing downward. This doesn't bother me. I'd rather focus on that Topps stayed true to colors used in the '60s. Even that ugly green.

#TN-KC - Killebrew/Cabrera Then & Now

Yup. An insert double.

And you're too late. Both are spoken for.

#109 - Zack Cozart, Reds (rookie trophy)
#49 - Brett Jackson, Cubs
#325 - Rafael Betancourt, Rockies

Pack 6

#327 - Heath Bell, Diamondbacks
#24 - Anibal Sanchez, Tigers
#265 - Lorenzo Cain, Royals
#166 - Dustin Ackley, Mariners
#360 - Mark Teixeira, Yankees
#402 - Will Venable, Padres

#450 - Matt Kemp, Dodgers, blue-border parallel


Super elated to pull this card. Not only is it of Matt Kemp, in the wonderful blue parallel that goes so well with the Dodgers, but Kemp is a shortprint in this set. No telling what I would've had to go through to get this card.


#315 - Rajai Davis, Blue Jays
#171 - Derek Holland, Rangers

Pack 7

#246 - Josh Hamilton, Angels

Your first photoshopped Hamilton as an Angel.

#396 - Jeff Karstens, Pirates
#102 - Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks, manager

#5 - National League Strikeout Leaders

There's Kershaw again! Same photo, I see.

#94 - Reds Rookie Stars, Henry Rodriguez/Tony Cingrani

#204 - Gregor Blanco, Giants

#475 - Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays, SP

#316 - Aaron Crow, Royals
#26 - Angel Pagan, Giants (this card almost makes me puke)

Pack 8

#197 - Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays

More photoshop fun.

#40 - Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
#400 - Kris Medlen, Braves

#180 - Carl Crawford, Dodgers

Will he ever play for L.A.?

#275 - Kevin Youkilis, Yankees


#91 - Chris Nelson, Rockies

#BF-SK - Baseball Flashback, Sandy Koufax

Got an idea now why this was such a terrific blaster for me?

No regrets at all.

#58 - Austin Jackson, Tigers
#403 - Luke Gregerson, Padres

And there you are.

Yes, this blaster was terrific for me.

But as far as the set goes, it's not an encouraging sign.

For a lot of collectors, Heritage is the set to collect, not Topps base. They turned away from Topps base because of the foil and the flimsy card stock. Heritage -- I believe -- is above all things, card stock.

As an example, I didn't plan to collect the 2011 Heritage set. The 1962 design was OK, but not all that thrilling. Then I pulled a few cards and saw that design on wonderfully thick cardboard and bought a lot more than I ever expected.

It was all the cardboard. I still smile when I see those cards all stacked up together.

All of that is gone now. The cards are thin. There's almost a sheen to them. They have the feel of last year's Topps Archives.


If I am going to try to complete 2020 Heritage, when it's time to pay tribute to 1971, or 2021 for the '72 design or 2024 for the '75 design, I NEED a return to the original cardboard. Or I'm not going to collect it. Save the cheaper stuff for when you get to the homage to 1993 Topps.

Now, what do I care if I hadn't planned to collect the set this year anyway?

Because I know others care. I've seen Heritage collectors. I know how fired up they get about the look and the feel of the cards. Plus, I like to see quality workmanship.

This just feels like cutting corners.

Heritage has never been about cutting corners.

That's a shame.

No matter how nice this blaster was for me.


  1. There is a Jeopardy card in 2013 Topps Heritage.


    Pix in this years edition seem better then years past.

    Did they have hanger packs or just blasters?

  2. nice of you to remember my birthday, but don't spend too much...

  3. Thanks for the review. I wish Topps would just get rid of the Heritage line once and for all if they are going to keep up with this Archives shenanigans. Then again I didn't buy any of the reprinted garbage last year nor will I this year either. Bring on Opening Day!

  4. I'd be surprised if no one has mentioned this yet, but I noticed they screwed up the "Then & Now" inserts. For some reason they all say 2012 on them. For reference, last year's also say 2012. Why?

    That's really disappointing to hear about the card stock. That might be enough to be a deal breaker for me.

  5. It is odd that Kershaw has the same photo in the "Leaders" set, but Dickey has a different one.
    Guess those are the perks of being a Cy Young winner...

    Oh, and I have something I want to send you, can you send me your address?

  6. I just got home with a couple Heritage rack packs a few minutes ago. I'll probably post them tomorrow.

    After reading this review, I'm not expecting to be blown away by much. I'm not huge on the '64 set, either.

    Perhaps 2013 Heritage should be dubbed "The Cranium Set".

    I do like that Morneau, though. One of the better cards of 2013 thus far.

  7. Thanks for the review. That is such a shame about the card stock. I was pumped about last years Archives until I actually opened up a pack and felt the thinness. Topps is skimping on its card products while the price stays the same. Garbage!

  8. I agree that the closeups are ridiculous (especially Youklis!). The Zimmerman card is about as close-up as it they should get.

    I rate the 1964s' as a poor design also, but not better than the 1966.

    My best-to-worst:

    (big gap)

    1969 (more airbrushed nonsense puts it below the 1968 "burlap")

    (smaller gap)

    1962 & 1964 (equally bland)

  9. After some experimenting on Twitter, I should adjust my opinion a little:

    2013 Heritage is not as drastically thinner than 2012/2011 Heritage as I thought. It's only slightly thinner.

    That apparently comes from the fact that Topps went with white cardboard instead of gray for the 2013 set to allegedly match what was done in '64.

    Still not crazy about it. Still think it's flimsier than past Heritage issues. But if Heritage is staying true to the set right down to the type of cardboard, then I guess this is what will happen.

  10. What's that, Rookie Cup? Kill who? Him? Are you sure? No, no, I'm not questioning you, you're the boss!

    One thing I noticed from your sample is that the photoshopping is a notch or two below what they've had in the past... it doesn't look much better than what I've done myself. I wonder if Topps had layoffs in their graphics department or something.

  11. So, suddenly I feel like I'm somehow trapped on Easter Island.

    Great post.

    I don't think these cards are for me either, although I am quite partial to the Mets...I can't see myself opening a whole lot of this.

    Might have to save for Ginter or Gypsy Queen.

  12. I'll sink my Target Blaster coupons into a couple of boxes and then donezo.

    Like about 10% of this set. But Heritage and I do not get along, and Gypsy Queen is the longest damn month ever...away.

  13. I know you are in a trade moratorium (and I am too for a bit), but I'd be happy to give the Chacin a good home when the time comes. No rush whatsoever.

    That Youkilis is so bad it is wonderful though. Is it the biggest head ever on a card?

  14. Am I the only one who didn't realize Heritage was out? I feel so ashamed.

  15. That Youkilis makes me want to vomit. That said, I'm already commited to a few group breaks so might as well complete the set. I just hope the card stock isn't as plasticky as it sounds.

  16. I think the Morneau card has a sad irony to it. It makes you feel a little dizzy. Of all the players in the set to choose a picture like that one (I can see it is a welcome relief to all the pure head shots), they pick the player who has been battling concussion issues and resulting dizzy spells?

  17. After reading some of the comments, I think I might be the only person on the planet who loves the '64 design.

    If it hasn't already been promised to someone else, could you set aside the EE SP for me?

  18. Great review. I really love Heritage but I'll likely skip it this year based on everything I'm reading.

    I'll search for Reds, Tigers, Cubs (and - long story - Clayton Kershaw and Adrian Gonzalez) but otherwise here's hoping 2014 Heritage is done right. Love, love the 1965 set.

  19. Humbug! I thought about doing Heritage this year since I'm skipping flagship, even though there are way too many shortprints and the same old inserts. But if they've gone away from the stock like they used in '08 for the '59s, then they'll be cheesy. Archives was OK, but Heritage used to imply more of the "feel" of the old sets instead of just the look....

  20. That Francoeur is beautiful. LOVE it. It's also great that there is a Jeopardy card. I will have to get my paws on that eventually. Now we just need to get an Alex Trebek card into Ginter....