Friday, March 3, 2017

Failure to launch

It's a good thing for Heritage that it is released around the time that I do the majority of my birthday shopping for the year.

The 1960s Heritage designs do not appeal to me, but I can't resist grabbing some shiny new Heritage when I'm out buying other things that I find much, much, much more boring.

It's also a good thing for Heritage that it's almost through with the '60s designs, because more of my shopping has migrated online and I see a day when I may never appear in a big box store again!

So, yesterday, I grabbed a hanger box of 2017 Heritage whilst doing my birthday chores. The '68 design is not attractive to me, I have no intention of collecting the set, but here we are with a 35-card box of Heritage to show.

While I am not launching a quest to complete the '17 Heritage set, there is still a lot of launching involved in this set.

As an example, the first two cards I pulled:

#265 - Michael Taylor, Nationals

#339 - Alex Gordon, Royals

As you can see, the players, or Heritage, or both are continuing with the fantasy of launching big bombs in their photo poses. This was not a thing in 1968, nor through the '70s. The posed swings were straight and true, eyes forward, not upward. This underlines the difference in the modern ballplayer as well as anything else. And it's not the last time we'll see "posed launching" in this box.

#69 - Reds Rookie Stars

All cards under No. 100 feature the wider-spaced pattern just like in the 1968 set.

#135 - Phil Gosselin, Diamondbacks

That's the look at the back. There are all kinds of weird "back variations" with this set, which I care about even less than completing the set. The cartoons (the '67 and '68 cartoons were much too small) focus on the team that is featured on the card.

#296 - Jurickson Profar, Rangers

#280 - Chase Headley, Yankees

That's a more traditional pose in keeping with the time period.

#283 - Pirates team card/set checklist

It's a 1968 night card! Freaky!

#224 - Matt Szczur, Cubs

One of what I'm sure is 57 Cubs in this set.

#357 - Mark Reynolds, Rockies

More launching.

#399 - Sean Manaea, A's

Here is an example of something I mentioned last week: seeing tattoos on a 1968 design. Odd. Not as odd as the blue border variation cards in this set (Wuuuuuuh?), but still odd.

Also, in the '68 set, the Athletics were referred to as "A's". I don't know why it's Athletics here. Licensing requirement?

#37 - Mike Napoli, Indians

Some players are with their new teams in this set. Napoli, who rejoined the Rangers, is not. His Feb. 16 signing date was too late.

#377 - Bryce Harper, Nationals, NL All-Star

These All-Star cards were the most attractive cards in the 1968 set and they're the most attractive cards here. If I had less restraint, I'd be collecting these.

And they're very collectible because there's the puzzle on the back, just like the '68 set. As I surmised, the two puzzle subjects are the MVPs from the previous year, Mike Trout and Kris Bryant. What you see here is Kris Bryant's hand. Be still my heart.

#90 - Billy Hamilton, Reds

This is a nice-looking card. I always associate the Reds with the '68 design, possibly because I owned a handful of Reds from this set way back when.

#361 - David Ortiz, Red Sox, AL All-Star

#71 - Pat Neshek, Phillies

Perhaps you have noticed, if you're familiar with the '68 set, there have been almost no head shots so far (and there won't be in this post). This is a departure because pick your favorite online card search image site (COMC) and type in "1968 Topps baseball." What will pop up is a bunch of cards of tightly cropped heads. Many have no caps or blacked-out caps.

I don't expect the no caps/blacked-out caps to appear, but I did expect more head shots. Topps did that for sets like 2011 and 2012 Heritage.

#391 - Matt Moore, Giants

#5 - Kris Bryant, Cubs, 1968 Game insert

Dreamy. A quick check on ebay and you can buy this card for between $6 and $13. This is the only time of year I wish I was a seller on ebay.

#430 - Carlos Correa, Astros

My short-print. The last 100 cards in the set are SPs (gag) and there appears to be one SP per hanger box.

#26 - Howie Kendrick, Phillies

The former Dodger photoshopped into a Phillies uniform.

#352 - Kevin Kiermaier, Rays

More launching. I also notice a lot of puffy clouds in the background. Are there a lot of puffy clouds in '68 Topps? If I had more time today, I'd figure it out.

#12 - AL Strikeout Leaders

One thing I noticed right away is the extra air above everyone's head. My guess is that was created to squeeze in the "American League" circle. In the '68 set, the circle dips over the category leader's cap. I bet covering up team logos is against the licensing agreement.

#64 - Russell Martin, Blue Jays

More tattoos.

#256 - Matt Harvey, Mets

#307 - Yordano Ventura, Royals

Really crushing card.

#373 - Nolan Arenado, Rockies, NL All-Star

#30 - Tyler Flowers, Braves

Launching underneath the puffy clouds!

#353 - Zach Britton, Orioles

Appears in Buck Showalter's nightmares. Extra credit to the writer who used the word "diabolical" in the back write-up.

#244 - Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox

Night card!

#152 - Game 2 of 2016 World Series (Kyle Schwarber)

It just occurred to me that the Dodgers MUST make the World Series this year because if they do, they will appear in a tribute to my favorite World Series subset of all-time -- the 1969 newspaper Series subset.

#356 - Huston Street, Angels

#45 - Scott Kazmir, Dodgers

Well, it's about time I get a Dodger.

I am looking forward to Scott Kazmir not making the starting rotation, then being put into the starting rotation when Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu go down with injuries, then producing three straight starts of 6 runs in 4 innings before he gets injured himself.

Yeah, never mind on the Dodgers showing up on the '69 Series subset.

#15 - Logan Morrison, Rays

A straight and true swing and more puffy clouds, dammit.

#9 - NL Pitching Leaders

Heads are down too far again. I love the backs on these though as the leaders go all the way to 7 wins. Joe Blanton appears on the leaders list!

#92 - R.A. Dickey, Braves

Dickey appears in his updated uniform. This seems like a prime opportunity to replicate the tight head shot. Oh well.

#82 - Leonys Martin, Mariners

And that's what a hanger box of 2017 Heritage looks like.

My purchasing of 2017 Heritage will resemble other years in which I didn't enjoy the design much (2015 Heritage, 2010 Heritage, etc.). It'll be something nice to grab during those spring doldrums when Opening Day, Gypsy Queen and Bowman show up. Otherwise, I'll focus on more pressing card needs.

But for now, it's birthday season, and I happened to be in Walmart today.

Here are the highlights from that box:

OK, now I'm done.


  1. All-Star set appears worth building if they are not SPs.

  2. Good analysis of the leader cards. As I sometimes tell my wife when she points out some error I've made, "Too many rules."

  3. These '68 designed cards would be a lot more authentic looking if every 3rd one was off centered. ;)

  4. 100 SPs, I think the Braves have 3.. I'll wait till November to pick those up.

  5. Agreed on the All-Star cards. I love those and the WS Highlights...and the Game inserts they brought back again this year.

  6. 100 SPs instead of the usual 75? I guess the public demanded more SPs.

    1. Perhaps a nod to '68 being The Year of the Pitcher.

  7. Two quick thoughts on your questions...

    I know that at some point in the 1970's, the Oakland baseball team's name was officially the A's... one of those "Charlie O." things. I don't know when that became the case, perhaps 1968 was the year it went into effect. At any rate, I think Topps is required to use the full team name and primary logos when applicable, so no "A's", "D-Backs", "Cards" or "Phils".

    The cropping of league leaders might be because their licensing agreement prevents them from covering up the logos, but it might also be something they avoid simply because it's something Panini would do. "We paid good money for these logos, dammit, we're gonna make sure they're visible!"

  8. $6 to $13 for the 68 Game Insert of Bryant? It's a great looking card... but I give it two to three months before I start seeing it in dollar bins.