Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Best Pack of Baseball Cards in a long time

I wanted to title this post "It Was Hard, But I Did It," which is a title of some posts in my never posted drafts.

But what I did wasn't all that hard when one lives without internet service, which is usually the case for me this summer here at 4,000 feet of elevation in West Virginia. And I highly recommend trying this simple thing yourself...

Last night, I purchased a pack of 2019 Archives. I carefully pulled a rack pack from the peg, without looking at a blaster box sitting right adjacent. It helped that the brand new display had already been pawed over some. And so, I was able to open a pack of baseball cards without knowing what design style would be on the cards.

The only product you can't really do that with is Heritage. And even though Archives is kinda like Heritage Lite, if you are careful to avoid any web pages that might display the "sell sheet" for a new set of cards months in advance, Archives can surprise you too, though of course you will recognize the designs.

Some years I fail at not "seeing" the cards before they come out - one year I was sunk by the Fritsch card catalog. I was checking in on the price of some sealed 1970s wax they still hold, which makes me drool in anticipation of being able to afford some day, when I stumbled across an ad for a set of the coming year's new cards. Cards not even for sale yet, revealed to me in the Fritsch catalog of all places!

I have been doing this for several years with Series 1 each winter, though I haven't been able to write about that process much on the blog. Even this post finds me parked on that one special spot on the mountain where the cell phone works, up past my bedtime. But I enjoyed this pack of cards so much, I wanted to share it with y'all before I wander around the web a little to see what the rest of you think of this wonderful new set of cards, so - let's rip a pack!

I have no idea who this player is. But that's perfectly OK with me - this is why I buy baseball cards. I am even somewhat in Pittsburgh Pirate country here in eastern WV, where I grew up as a Pirate fan. So I was quite happy to pull this card at the beginning of the pack. I know everyone wants Roooooooookies, send moar Rooooooooooookies, Topps!, but I like Rookies. You have to meet the brand new baseball players, somehow.

And I was surprisingly happy to hold a retro 1958 card in my hand. I was vaguely aware that a 1950s design would be included - I couldn't block out some of the images on the blaster box that perfectly. But I was thinking it would be another go at 1954.

I suddenly like 1958 so much more, holding some of these in my hand. Bright primary colors, a clean white border, efficient clean text, and a team logo. 

I apologize that I am many hundreds of miles away from my scanner right now, and also did not take a photo of the back of this card. It notes that Cole Tucker had a big highlight game in April - of this year. Topps is including baseball player news from the current season more and more lately, with their mid-season and onwards releases; it is most noticeable on the card backs in Update and is nice to see now in Archives, too.
I am a big fan of Anthony Rizzo mostly because - Topps routinely hooks me up with Anthony Rizzo cards. Quite often, really good ones like autographs, relics, and low numbered parallels. And Rizzo is one of the best human beings in the game right now, with his charity work. So although this is just a regular "base" card, I was very happy to get it. 1958 looks even better on this card than the previous card. And one does expect to pull superstar cards from an Archives checklist, like...

This one! You can't beat pulling a Mike Trout card in a pack of baseball cards. I was especially happy to get a Trout in my first pack of Archives - now the inevitable doubles or triples from randomly buying retail packs might give me an extra Trout for my eventual collect 'em, trade 'em endeavors with these. And I really like how the 1958 design meshes with the otherwise ho-hum posed photos taken at Photo Day every year at the beginning of Spring Training. Without any background at all, I actually prefer the clean portrait approach quite a bit more. This card had me wondering who else might be on the checklist this year, hmmm...


Perfect! A player from 1958 on a 1958 style baseball card. I like this card so much it makes me want to randomly buy 9 1958 Topps baseball cards just to enjoy them on a binder page, and hopefully one with that clutch "B" logo, something I have never owned on a baseball card that I can recall with certainty. And it is a good thing I liked that card so much, cuz -
Maybe the "B" stands for Bazinga! Two 1958 Brooklyn baseball cards, in one pack!

I have long thought I could collect Honus Wagner cards until I ended up with the same picture of him on 9 different baseball card designs, but this card made me realize that will probably be easier with this photo of Jackie Robinson, which has adorned many a Topps baseball card over the years. But that's OK - it's Jackie Robinson after all. 

Here I did my due baseball card blogger diligence and took a photo of the back for yas:
It might be a little hard to see here in just a photograph, but what I really liked on this well executed card back is that it works in some perspective on Robinson's career using the modern WAR stat - a very nice bit of work put in by a Topps researcher here. 

Now it has been a year since I picked up any Archives baseball cards; the 2018 edition just, well, I can't remember much about that one, except a nagging feeling that I really hated something about it that I am suppressing somehow. But I had a feeling that after about 5 cards, it would be time to see a brand new, err, old, baseball card design:
Now here is the real Bazinga! in this pack. 1975!

I had a feeling we were due to see this beloved design return. It has been 8 years since it was used in the original 'Archives' product - 2011's generally under-appreciated release called "Lineage." And maybe that was a part of my careful effort not to discover the 2019 Archives line-up until I was able to carefully rip this first pack. And that certainly paid off - I will be buying a lot more packs of this stuff.

1975! The card backs on these are very well done too, with some pretty good trivia questions. I look forward to reading all 100 of them. (Presuming the checklist is 100 cards/style? Maybe I should figure that out sometime soon, now.)

And a 1975 player on a 1975 card, err, well close enough, since all lovers of 1975 Topps know there was another team's cap on Nolan Ryan's head that year. So using one of his other teams for a new '75 Ryan is a nice way to go here.
Now there's a baseball card - how about that background. History just oozes out of this card in every way; even though Gil Hodges was not a 1975 Dodger, that is perfectly acceptable on an Archives card, too. And the photo is nice and bright - it seems like Topps skipped using any kind of weird filter to recreate weird old analog photo and printing technology like they have done on some recent retro releases. This card looks very nice, in hand. And I really look forward to absorbing every tidbit on the back - it was a way too long busy day for that. By this point, I was really looking forward to each card...
Finally a card that everyone wants in their pack of baseball cards - a card from their favorite team! I have some pretty serious doubts about whether any member of the 2019 Detroit Tigers might even make it onto this checklist, and it has been a long boring summer with no access to baseball and then  a pretty sad summer discovering just how totally bad my favorite team is this year when I do check in with civilization once in a while.

But this card sure helped on that front. It also made me remember why I hated 2018 Archives - that horrible white-on-yellow positional pennant on the 1977 style cards that totally ruined an excellent Hal Newhouser card/photo I had never seen before. Now here is another brand new Newhouser baseball card for me, and that totally makes up for last year's flub. Thanks, Topps! And you can't beat a card of a Pitcher with a bat in his hands — I'm pretty sure this is the first posed Pitcher <> Batting card I have ever pulled. Unique.
Now for me, following Chris Sale's career is a little like following Anthony Rizzo's - I mostly connect it to the many unique Chris Sale cards Topps has sent me over the years. Normally, he gets excellent cards; his 2013 card is one of my faves that year (and will finally make it onto the Sea Turtle blog late this Fall or in early Winter).

On this card, he looks like a dork. But that's OK. It's a Red Sox card, with hardly any color red on the card. That's how 1975 works - glorious. Primal.

And that signature - can't recall seeing a Chris Sale "signature" before this card. No wonder no one can hit his pitches.


Hi there Kids, I'm National League slugger extraordinaire Cody Bellinger. Nice to meetchya. Another perfectly executed baseball card, and I have also never seen a Cody Bellinger signature before either. I actually do like the "facsimile" signature on a card, and I like how Cody signs his name in that - he really signs it, though that is not all that apparent in this picture of a baseball picture card. Baseball cards are meant to be enjoyed in your hand, not on your computer screen.

And I think this pack was supposed to be delivered to upstate New York, rather than to Elkins, WV. I hope Night Owl gets some packs like this one, though it might be time to turn the page to style #3, perhaps?
Nope, a bonus 1975. Nice light tower, too. I am so looking forward to buying my next pack of Archives, that I can tell you. But after 6 trips down favorite baseball card set memory lane, it surely must be time to see what is behind door #3, Monty -

Ahh well, I was so giddy to be wonderfully back in 1975 there (for a good ten minutes or so last night, with just 6 baseball cards), that I forgot - Inserts! There were no inserts in 1975, silly rabbit.

Now my main memory of Topps magazine is something completely different:
Which is from 1991 Wacky Packages. So that Lindor insert card is nice enough I guess, but these will mostly make me just remember to keep an eye on the shelves for brand new Wacky Packages. Oh well, it wouldn't be Archives without some trips through esoteric Topps insert efforts, too, sorta like this one:
Which I don't think was actually an "insert" card back in the day the iconic Jeter card came out with an ordinary checklist number. But since I was starting to go through Rookie Card withdrawal a little bit in this killer pack of baseball cards full of classic designs and classic players (not really), OK, well, if you had to pick a 2019 Rookie to get a cool retro-esque Rookie Card of, well, Pete Alonso is a pretty darn good choice here. As I have never owned one of the '93 Jeters, I was kinda wondering what might be on the back of this card, and how it might compare to the famous DJ card (a future research project I guess). So I took a photo of the back to see how you might remember _the_ card of 1993 -
But who cares about that question, because

Miniiiiiiiiiiis!

I had to take a picture of the next card, with a regular size card, to correctly illustrate the super-Bazinga! I found in this pack. Did I use Bazinga! yet in this post? I forget.

1975 minis. Whoa. I did not see that coming.

Now I am working on the 2011 Lineage 75 minis, but then there weren't 2 versions of the 75 style in that set, just the mini version. And I actually don't expect to collect these new 75 minis, so if you are, yes, I will trade you this Bob Feller one if you need it.

Unless.... the 75 minis in 2019 Archives are actually unique cards, different than the regular size 75s in the product. Then, I would be in trouble. Because at 1:37 packs, I don't expect completing a set of those would be a very cheap proposition. But I would have to have them. So I guess I will find out when I buy a couple blasters and see what falls out of them - unique minis, or simple "parallel" minis. And, ut-oh I guess there might be "parallel" 75s in different colors? I actually hope not. When I get "home" to where the wrapper of this pack is, I guess I need to research a few more things in that list of odds, which is always so complicated.

And surely now, Monty, it is time to see what is behind Door #3 this year:

1993. I have always liked 1993, though I only bought a couple packs of cards that year I have been thinking about collating a set out of it out of a couple vending boxes perhaps, some day. I do enjoy all the 93s I pull in repacks from the dollar store.

And this Xander Bogaerts card is a very good one. I especially like how the distance on the outfield wall is so perfectly included, and the amount of red around the card is just exactly perfect. That old-time faux photo album picture corner thingies probably means nothing to anyone born in 1993 or later, or even 1983 perhaps, but I have just always liked it on the 1993 Topps baseball cards.

Now these 2019 1993s are the first ones here that seem a little odd in the hand - my memory of the few 93s I own is that have a little more heft to the card stock than these do, these '19s are also more 'slippery' somehow. But they look very nice, and I won't notice it later on once the cards are in binder pages anyway.
I always like a good "empty seat" card, they are kinda trippy, really, and they frequently appear in my little stack of favorites from recent Topps vintages. I doubt there are as many such cards in the 1993 set as there are in those recent sets, which is a sad little clue to the state of Major League Baseball today with it's slowly declining attendance figures.

This card is also a little sad because Hamilton's career with the Royals has ended before this card ever appeared - I do hope he has some success as a pinch runner for Atlanta's run to and into the playoffs this year - maybe someday Topps will make a new Herb Washington card somehow, though I doubt Hamilton will still be accruing MLB service time when 2024 Heritage comes out.
Now there is something I really like about the 1993 design - the horizontal cards. This is not Miguel Andujar's greatest photographic moment though, but I do look forward to pulling more horizontal '93s, like this one:
That's more like it. 9 of these will look quite nice on a binder page, as that is how I binder up horizontal cards nowadays - all horizontals together, rather than strict checklist order mixed with the verticals. Try it, you'll like it.
Now this card actually made me feel a tiny bit sad - only because it was the last card in this most excellent pack of baseball cards. And a little sad that I didn't buy a whole blaster of this stuff, but then my joy at discovering that 1975 Nolan Ryan card up there wouldn't have been quite the same.

This card is actually the best George Brett card I have pulled in a long long time. A base-running card - a perfect addition to a George Brett collection.

Well there you have it folks, probably what will easily be my "Pack of the Year", which I can't think of ever having designated before. I am really looking forward to my next trip to the big city with the whole four stoplights that are so damn annoying every time I go there...but will be so worth it, next time, when they lead to me more new, err, old, err new — Topps Baseball Cards.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Things will never be the same


A few days ago, I was given some baseball cards by a family member. This has never happened to me before, even though my family has observed me flipping through stacks of baseball cards semi-routinely for most of my life.

But these baseball cards are pretty different from any I have ever been able to collect before.

I still can't really believe that I own this:
Of course, that is not THE baseball card of all-time. But it is a Honus Wagner baseball card.

I own a Honus Wagner baseball card! Like, one actually issued while he was still actually playing baseball. I own a Honus Wagner baseball card! Pinch me.

I have been collecting Honus Wagner casually for several years now. Mostly just via saving his cards that fall out of the packs I open. But those are all 21st century issued cards. My goal is to collect nine different baseball card designs using the same picture of him, which I think I will eventually reach, but has nothing to do with these cards.

My interest in Wagner was piqued by a biography of him I read a few years ago, one that I can't seem to locate right now to share a cover image with you. It was rather breezy, and barely touched on THE baseball card of all-time, but it was a fascinating look at the early days of the sport.

Reading that probably lead me to read this excellent book:

And now, I own this baseball card:
And this one:

You think the "baseball vest" the Colorado Rockies can't seem to ever un-like is strange, check out the baseball button-up ... sweater?

And I own a Christy Mathewson baseball card! Pinch me.

I now have a clear image of some of the greats of the game, one far more clear, to me, than most photographs and such photographs used on standard sized baseball cards. I will soon be re-reading those two books, and, yes, I know there is a book all about every player in the t206 "set." Unfortunately some of that reading will be on top of a mountain in West Virginia, where I might not have any access to baseball at all (nor any of you fine folks) - I think I might actually go shopping for a portable radio that can accept an external antenna, so I can rig up at least a few innings of a radio call in the evenings - hopefully.

I have never dreamed that I would end up owning some "t206" baseball cards. It just didn't seem like I would ever have the spare cash to purposely collect these, and still don't, and don't ever expect to. The luxury of collecting things I don't really need ends at an occasional $20 'blaster' of new cards, or a $5 single card from eBay. Pulling the trigger on a $20 card once a year or so for my 2013 parallels project is always a fraught decision. I need so many things in life more than I need more baseball cards.

I have been inching closer to the idea of buying a reprint set perhaps, just to enjoy the original artwork by tacking them up on a wall. I still might do that, though that would probably be with a 1933 Goudey to start.

But now suddenly owning these - don't wake me up - 
Is making me re-think a lot of things, collectible.

And historical. Eventually, most long time baseball fans learn this name:
And that it connects to this name:
But there is one missing in the middle. I don't know much about that historic radio call, just that it exists, and is, or now, to be honest, was...pretty famous. I know what card I must add to this collection, though I have quite a fear of discovering the price of that brand new collecting goal.

In total, I now own 36 of these cards -
And I know some of them are not actually "t206". Few are in any sense approaching what we would consider in acceptable condition for a 'modern' card.
Though I know very little about card grading and have neither ever seen a "slab" in 3D daily life, let alone held one in my hand, I think I would be lucky if any of these cards graded as high as a "2", perhaps?
Perhaps some day, I will find out, though for my purposes and overall happiness with these, that matters little. Already, I figure I could spend about one whole day on each and every one of these cards, learning about the player, trying to web crawl my way through the oldest audio recordings of the radio call of a baseball game that might mention any of them (seems doubtful), and just generally oooh-ing and ahh-ing over every little color change of the shading of the > 100 year old printed object I am actually afraid to actually touch with my fingers.
It will be a very enjoyable pursuit, I can tell already. It will help distract from the daily following of a team with not a single batter sporting an .800 OPS or better this year, and no eagerly awaited Rookies arriving any time soon. A team of non-star veterans aging out of the game, and similarly aging "AAAA" players just not quite capable enough to win more than 2 out of 5 games in MLB. Yes, detouring into the statistics and careers of baseball players from over 100 years ago will be quite a bit more enjoyable.

These cards were originally purchased in the 1970s, in an auction in a deeply rural county in eastern WV - the county with the highest average elevation on the east coast, though not the highest peaks. They were not purchased deliberately. The remains of an old man's possessions from an old farm house were simply assembled together in boxes, and sold one box at a time. For a few dollars, the winning bidder got just about anything - some cutlery, some pillow cases, copies of Reader's Digest, whatever random items weren't worth selling individually. A rubber banded stack of old baseball cards was included in the bottom of one of the boxes.

I knew these cards existed but never expected to see them again. The owner of them had no interest in baseball, or any sports at all. Now, they have a good home.

I have no plans to ever sell these, considering the 'provenance' of them. But I do have one quite enjoyable problem to have, with such an amazing little assemblage of baseball cards. In grand baseball card tradition, my first acquisition of such wonderful cards includes one ...
"Double."











PostScript: I received an inquiry on one card I haven't clipped out of the high-res image yet, which turns out to be an E97 B&W, so to share a better image I am hosting it here:





Friday, March 1, 2019

Sure, I'll Scratch One

Interesting baseball card day today, as you can see. I have no plans to assemble much 2019 Heritage, but I wanted to try my luck at pulling the fun new Pat Neshek card, and maybe some NLCS cards, and, yeah, I would like to flip through one of those 1970 Topps Player Story Booklets.

I have been wondering which exact kinds of "packs" they would be in, as Topps promo materials promised. My first thought would be classic 'loose' packs, that are a bit of a tough retail find for Heritage, usually seen only at Target. But those would probably make for incredibly obvious packs to purchase.

So today on the shelf I found the above "hanger box" of 35 cards for $11. And it promised I could "look for" one of those Story Booklets. The $22 blaster box did not.

The $6 "rack pack" also promised to possibly include the Story Booklets. But I quickly discerned that every one of those on the peg had the front cards oddly pushed up quite high into the packaging - someone else had already searched for one with a Booklet. It seems even in my little burg of 8,000 souls, there is one pack searcher at least.

And thus I set aside my original plan of picking up just one $6 pack to try my luck at hitting one of the Story Booklets in an un-searchable hanger box. Turns out, the odds on that were 1-in-297.

I have had a pair of moderately good minor hits in Series One, so I can't complain that the hanger box I selected was one of the 296 without a Story Booklet.

But it did have 35 other brand new 2019 Topps Heritage cards. Let's take a look:
First card, best card? No, not really. I like this card well enough. I like how some of the netting at the spring training complex there make it almost seems like there is a mountain off in the Florida distance.

And this is a classic baseball card pose. I just wish all the details on the baseball could have been in focus, too.

One thing I don't understand about 1970 cards is when there will be a | horizontal line between the player name and the position, and when there won't be...
This card really intrigues me. I now wish I had some Blue Jays Heritage cards to compare it to, as on Photo Day 2018, Josh Donaldson would have had his official Topps portrait taken at Toronto's spring complex.

But this does look a heck of a lot like it was taken in the same spot as the Biddle card. Let me see if I can get them to display side-by-side. Blogger is not always as agreeable as it might look, later on -
Sometimes, neither is my scanner, which knocked Donaldson off-kilter a little, it appears. Sorry, Josh.

But that sure looks like the exact same vantage point for the photographer, to me.

The reason this particularly intrigues me has to do with Josh Donaldson himself - he is a big fan of baseball cards, and has been on Topps / MLB Network webcasts / cable programming, hanging out in that weird glass on-the-street studio bubble MLB Network had for a while in NYC somewhere, ripping packs of Topps and talking cards. I haven't watched one of those all the way through, but now I sure want to.

Donaldson signed with the Braves on November 27, 2018 - and he is from Florida. Was he enough "in to" the creation of this card that he hoofed it on down to the Braves spring training facility to pose for an authentic baseball card picture in an authentic Braves uniform, taken from the authentic Atlanta Braves™ Photo Day Baseball Card Vantage Point, to be used on all authentic Topps Baseball cards? All in time for Topps to use the photo in these brand new Heritage baseball cards?

It is possible.

Or, Topps could also now be photoshopping both new uniforms _and_ matching backgrounds onto the cards, so all the players on a team can be seen standing in the exact same spot on their Heritage baseball card, season after season after season - even the players who weren't able to stand on that exact same spot on Photo Day the previous season, because they were on another team at that time.

Be that as it may, I did not find any other Braves cards to compare - but I have seen my share of such cards in Heritage and Archives throughout this entire decade, so I am pretty darn familiar with that particular vantage point already, anyway.

Let's see a card from a brand new vantage point:
I have some pleasant memories of watching the NLCS last fall. In Wisconsin. So, this was not one of them. Pretty classic Topps construction though.

I learned the other day that the 1969 season was the first with a League Championship Series. I probably should have known my baseball history a little better there I guess, but that is a big reason I collect baseball cards.

So the 1970 set is the first to feature coverage of the LCS results on the baseball cards. I have to wonder how many more sets have a card for each game of an LCS. I guess I will learn in coming years via Heritage cards, perhaps.

Some other day on the blog I will type out a long story about the sometimes goofy concept of "manifestation" that involves a moose, and no baseball cards at all. But that card was a good example of the same results as that long story. I wanted to manifest the appearance of an NLCS card in my new Heritage cards, and I did. Just not the one I actually wanted the most.

Oh well, 50¢ of COMC credit will sate all my desires on that point eventually, easily enough. Let's see what else I can find in this 'pack'
Bazinga!
That's much better. A Brewers card, as I was hoping to see. The more Freddy Peralta cards I acquire, the easier it will be to keep him straight from former Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta. And a nice, young Brewer, who is quite happy to see the Topps photographer. This always seems more likely to me with the younger players than the older players. And though I had hopes to also find a Tigers card in this pack, I have my doubts many smiles would be found amongst that team set.

I also like the background on the Peralta card. It says "Baseball" of course, but I would worry about what might happen if I found too many other Brewers cards. 

I wonder what other backgrounds can be found in this set...
Sweet! I hit an "Action" card! Those are tough pulls, worth a lot of money!

Oh, wait. Always check the back.
Nope. Just a regular card. The glorious blue-on-yellow bright 1970 card backs. Perhaps the last ones I will ever read, really, really, easily, in a Topps baseball card product, 'cept for maybe those really boring ones on Stadium Club cards.

This year, you don't need the eyes of an optometrist to read the little production codes on the cards to figure out the valuable artificial scarcity cards - your non-winning lottery ticket is revealed instantly by looking at the card #, which will print the appropriate winning term in the card # circle - no scratching required!

Special "Action" photo variation cards are reserved for the super-stars of MLB of course. Just regular players - it wouldn't be a 21st century set of baseball cards without Fernando Rodney in it - don't make that exclusive checklist, reserved largely for baseball card customers who drop a full $1000 or more on an entire case of Heritage baseball cards, or are lucky enough to get the one lucky Hobby box holding such a card.

Still, it was good to see the Rodney card in a couple ways. I like those durable old veterans. I like how it always seems like Heritage cards are the ones that show off that great left shoulder patch the A's wear. And I like that Topps has no choice but to use images from well beyond Photo Day, for players that changed teams the previous season, like this one:
Another live action image, not part of the special made-up "Action" short-prints. And has Heritage ever had a night card in it before? Did 1970 Topps? I doubt that. But I suspect Heritage probably already has, for these team-changer players.

Wait till you see the extra-specially expensive "Action" RC cards....amazingly, in a pack of 35 cards of 2019 Topps baseball cards, I did not pull an RC card. Or did I?
My first thought on seeing this card was - the 2019 Houston Astros have some Rookies? Why?

A little later it sank in that here is another one of these "Rookie" cards without an RC logo, like the ones in Archives last year. Topps plasters the RC logo on every possible card they can - except these. Weird.

What else is in a Heritage set these days?
Sweet! I hit a "Throwback" card! Those are tough pulls, worth a lot of money!

Oh, wait. Always check the back.

Though Yoan Moncada is sporting some type of sweet powder blue throwback White Sox uniform here, this is just another Heritage card. And even though this card doesn't really show off the throwback uniform all that much, neither do many of the special 'throwback' cards Topps creates, which semi-routinely obscure all the nifty graphic features of the old unis.

Still, I like that Moncada card. He didn't change teams last year, and Topps still ultimately used an image for him not from the the authentic Chicago White Sox® Photo Day Baseball Card Vantage Point, but from an actual MLB dugout, during some sort of actual baseball action, with eye-black and mussed-up hair and everything, like a real baseball card. Perhaps the 1970s are starting to arrive in Heritage after all.

Yet sometimes, the posed, official portrait approach to creating a baseball card works perfectly well:
And back in 1970, this technique was really exploited for some nicely memorable All-Star cards Topps created then, and of course, here again -
Of note on this card is a new ability by Topps to use "The Sporting News" rather than "The Topps News" likely-copyright-shortcut they have been using. Let's hope that between Topps and whatever legal heirs of the old Sporting News publication might remain, well maybe some new agreement is in place, and hey, how about if Topps got access to a probably pretty impressive photo archive over that way. We can dream, right?

But ultimately, a set of Topps Heritage is about baseball players posing for a photog during Spring Training, and largely, though not completely, will be for many years to come. So let's check out a couple more of the bread-and-butter cards in this set:
This guy just never seems to get very exciting cards. But I "collect" cards of the players who use the "Hickory" bats, something easier to see in-hand than in this scan. Baseball cards, particularly Heritage baseball cards, should be about pawing through a stack of them in your real hands, not via digital hands.

At least with the Mariners, I haven't come to memorize their Official Photo Day Baseball Card Vantage Point, like I have with so many other teams now. Which is also true of the Twins:
Now there is a baseball card. All the outfield advertising, seems like a palm tree off way in the distance, a classic baseball card pose, a simple colorful team name, a nice classic script approach to printing the payer's name, a simple frame organizing everything, what's not to like?

Will this 35 card 'pack' of Heritage baseball cards pull me in to collecting this set? I would say the idea does grow on me as I paw through my little stack of these cards.

But ultimately, I remain discouraged by one card I did pull, which I will leave for a future blog post - I did get one Short Print from this set. Not a special 1-in-hundreds-of-packs card, but one of the "high number" cards, of which there are 100 now. Which somewhat calls into question why there is also a "Heritage High Numbers" set too, in my opinion. 

But such is the structure of the Heritage release. This 'hanger box' says I have a 1-in-2 chance of pulling a Short Print from it, but I expect every such box will have one, and the official 1:2 odds are just to cover an occasional collation mistake. In Series 1/2/Update, these $10-$11 hanger boxes always have the exact same common inserts, and some chance at some of the others. Now, I could be wrong, and perhaps only every other hanger box has a Short Print, which would be really bad.

But assume I am right on this hunch, and every 'hanger box' does have one. I don't think that will be the case with the 20 card 'rack packs'. I have read of 'blaster' boxes having 2 Short Prints each, @ $20 or $22 per blaster. And various reports of how many SPs in 24 pack boxes, hobby boxes, etc.

Either way you pick up the cards, I think each of the Short Prints will cost about $6 or $7 to acquire via purchasing retail baseball cards. Each. And there are 100 of them. Yes, you will get the regular 1-400 cards along the way. But it just doesn't look all that possible to assemble the Short Prints via retail really, even via pulling doubles/dups and trading them. 100 cards, 2 per $20 pack, or 1 per $10 pack. Each.

The more I see of the evolution of the Heritage brand, and the more I have been looking forward to a run of set designs I really like, starting next year, well, sadly, now, the less I am actually looking forward to collecting what has now become a "premium" set. As I type tonight, the full 1-500 card set is settling in at a little more than $300 on eBay, a considerable savings available vs. trying to assemble the set yourself.

But if this 100 short-print all-star set structure remains, and I think it will due to the 100 card sheets I believe Topps uses now, I'm not sure an extra set of baseball cards costing 6x what a normal set costs......sigh