Saturday, June 22, 2024

Fielder's Choice

 

I took a quick break from my ongoing 2024 Heritage collecting the other day, and picked up some of the brand new Series Two to check out. I was hypnotized, instantly, by that first card you see there.

I love the occasional card of a First Baseman about to catch the ball. The eye is completely drawn to the ball and the glove, and held there. Despite it being one of the most routine and common plays in Baseball, the impending culmination of the "play" — the glove closing around the ball — hasn't happened yet, and that always gives such a photograph an extra bit of dramatic tension.

For some time now I have been considering putting together a small mini-collection of this image. This card ices the decision, except for one small thing: horizontal. I don't think I have any other horizontal Baseball Cards with this image, or at least none are leaping quickly to mind. It seems such a common image that I probably do have one. But that would get me all the way to 2 whole ball-on-the-way-to-glove, horizontal-edition Baseball Cards. Even on the regular vertical image Baseball Cards I don't think I will have a full 9 of them, yet. So I have some more Baseball Card collecting in my future. :)

That was a nice card to open up Series Two for me. As I ripped a half-dozen packs (actual regular packs, purchased singly from a Hobby Box @ my LCS), I noticed the various Fielding cards were routinely catching my eye in this quite visually appealing set. I think the Topps Set Editor on this one really upped the game on the Fielding cards, which otherwise sometimes feel like a do-we-have-to? deal on their set inclusion. 

There were still plenty of the standard tropes, of course:

Ugghhh. The Tigers' latest Free Agent Albatross

Rojas is such a contrast with Baez right now. Acquired as back-up insurance, Rojas has rejuvenated his career just as the Dodgers need him. Another successful roster decision for their front office, who seemingly can do no wrong in these things, a near mirror opposite of Detroit decisions lately.

And how about those socks? There is a better cardboard look at those, but methinks Topps likes this new Team Socks trend:
The Neon is looking good here - reflecting in the sunglasses even. These socks also will need a better look on a future card but overall this is a nice late afternoon Baseball Card of Bichette playing the game hard. His cap is a bit of a mystery though - looks a bit green like perhaps one of those various Military Appreciation type days of some sort - except this should be a home game in Toronto where the apropos holiday is a different day than in the USA. But I'm not sure if I really just found my first green Jays cap, or the lighting is just odd, here. Will just need some more Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Cards I guess.

Cool socks, though, let's look good out there -
Hypnotized, again

Well I am now one card closer to the Nifty Nine of the-ball-on-the-way-to-glove, vertical-edition Baseball Cards. But this card has all kinds of cool things going on; I will need another copy for my page of the Ray sailing along on a Baseball Card and this is a great look at Tampa's special cap, as well as being a "Throwback" card of the Devil Rays uniform, though not the clearest such ever. The Ray on some socks, though? That too will make a great Baseball Card in some future pack.

I can't say I can recall a Baseball Card of a Shortstop about to catch the Baseball like that. A nice fresh SS image. Like, this one:
Wouldn't be a set of Topps Baseball cards any more without at least 2 or even 3 Pirates SS cards; 2024 features the full trifecta.

This new Liover Peguero card is one of those Baseball Cards where the action kind of narrates itself when you see it. A nice choice by Topps, as is this next card -
Can't say I can recall all that many Baseball Cards showing a Fielder in the "set position." This card makes me feel like I am watching a live Baseball game a fair bit more than the average Hitter hitting card. 

It wasn't even the only such card I found in my first half-dozen Series Two cards:
More cool socks. Another tense look at the game of Baseball, in progress. Though this card does have a slight recall of the GOAT RC that answers the question of just where all those Rookie Card cards come from, anyway. It's Okay, Topps, you really can move the RC logo around on the Baseball Card sometimes. We won't mind.

I am looking forward to see what else Topps decided for some 3B cards in 2024 Topps Baseball; these are making me look forward to getting more familiar with Series One, which has seen little sorting and reading time ever since both Heritage sets arrived. Should be an enjoyable few days later this summer, when the Complete Set appears and I can assemble a new Baseball Card binder.

2B did have some good representation in the little stack of cards, with a standard to start -

But more careful picture shopping was quickly discovered:
The casual/careful/deliberate hand toss, as opposed to a pure "throw" is more commonly done by a Pitcher fielding a grounder but regardless, this is a rarely cardboard captured bit of Baseball action.

Soon enough though, Topps quickly delivered another classic, usually one-per-set Fielding image -

Although I did not (yet) find any of the always very rare cards of a Pitcher doing a Fielding activity, the other defensive positions also seemed carefully chosen this year:

A Catcher still wearing the cap the way you expect to see a Catcher wearing the cap. Nice.


Whoever framed this one so well needs to teach the Heritage 'peep how to properly construct a horizontal Baseball Card, though I don't think there are many (any?) in late 70s Topps anyway. These have generally been poor in recent Heritage sets.

And that card has the most detailed image of a 21st Century Catcher's mitt that you might ever see.

The ultimate Fielding card is also a de rigueur part of any "action" set and one such also made it to my 20% sample size look at S2. I don't know why, but these cards are often from Cincinnati, and rarely disappoint:
Topps Baseball 2024















Sunday, June 9, 2024

Lots

Purchasing Baseball Cards should be lots of fun. You decide which Baseball Cards to collect, and at some point in between when they are somewhere between a few days to many, many decades old, you find them available to purchase at an agreeable price. You smile, some endorphins are released, and your individually curated collection of Baseball Cards is that much more pleasing.

Sometimes, however, purchasing Baseball Cards can be more like a chore. That is the position  I found myself in attempting to complete a set of Heritage 1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

The quest began pleasantly enough. Whenever I was between tasks at work or at home, I would simply pick up the surprisingly small device holding all human knowledge ever discovered, and ask it if any new copies of the Short Prints in 2024 Topps Heritage had been listed for sale, say in the last few minutes maybe? Often, there were.

I quickly bulked up my collection of the ugghhh, Short Prints to about 80% of the checklist. Prices were reasonable - so reasonable that I passed on any card offered for more than $5. At first, anyway.

An initial decision point became the uggghh, Short Prints offered in, yay, lots. These would be even cheaper, on a per-card basis. The catch was they would include some duplicates. I soon owned lots of them.

Duplicates, however, were agreeable to me as I had several dark clouds of pessimism hovering over me that second week of May. Surely these yay, cheap Short Prints wouldn't be somewhat not-intelligently sold so cheaply for very long. This is Heritage 1975 Topps, man. The Minis. Don't these sellers know what is going to happen to these cards? That fed my deeper fear - the supply of these would dry up, suddenly, when I still needed several cards, which would then be truly expensive.

The yay, lots, with duplicates held some bonuses though - to help alleviate my fear of reaching 80-ish cards and then needing lots & lots of $20 Baseball Cards, I figured owning several extras could eventually help me find those inevitable last few cards, via trade.

The other bonus was even more significant - finding lots with the Superstar cards on the checklist within, making the price of the expensive cards quite reasonable, as sellers hope the star card will help sell cards of players they doubt will sell that well. I had already seen that with my first lot which brought me the delightful Gunnar Henderson card for essentially less than $2.50 back in early May. As I write this in early June, that is now a $30 card, but that is jumping the story a little.

The lots coughed up the worrisome Mike Trout card, and the even more worrisome Shohei Ohtani Highlights (#7) card. This project was going along swimmingly. The lots are also how I ended up owning 11 copies of the #82 Nathan Eovaldi card seen way back up there at the top, even though only 3 copies had appeared in the boxes I opened. So many sellers didn't know that little checklist quirk in this year's Heritage. This was a very good sign.

The poor decisions by sellers seemed numerous, to me. Selling Baseball Cards online is clearly often a hectic activity. Mistakes were occasional. You want to game the keyword lexicon a little and label one of these uggghhh, Short Prints an "SSP" (double uggghhh Super Short Print) - & thus the hawks searching for the "SP" cards don't see your Newly Listed Baseball Card very quickly? I include SSP in my searches for this reason. Forget to include "SP" or "Short Print" in your individual card listings? I eventually remember to search for one player last name at a time.

If I had to/could do this project over (a very common desire amongst collectors), or wanted to purchase some other brand new checklist I fell in love with, as quickly and cheaply as possible ... well then I would simply create a set of searches for the product and card # and another of the product and player last name, and nothing else. Let the listing errors flow directly to: me. A pity no one ever misspells "Short Print," unlike "vairiation." 

All's fair in Baseball Cards. At all times I vividly recalled those $9.99 sales of the first uggghhh, Short Prints to be be listed — as I clicked Buy It, Now — always as fast as possible. That was the key to this - these Baseball Cards would never be this cheap, ever again. This has seemed completely obvious to me ever since the LCS where I purchased a box of regular Heritage told me they would have a case of this arriving in a few weeks. Heritage 1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

At some point right about a week into all this, several inflection points arrived, all right around the same time. By then I was keeping a running list of the < 10 singles I needed perfectly memorized, as I watched for each one amidst the still-steady arrival of Newly Listed and cheap, so not-so-ugghhh, Short Prints on the ole 'eBay.

This kept me examining the lots of cards that still appeared on offer. As the needs on a checklist becomes an ever smaller total, lots become more of a conundrum. There's that card I need - mixed in with 5 cards I don't need. Ugghhh. But when the 6 cards are priced at $30 and you feel they will each be worth $20, eventually, the Buy It, Now, button is still an easy decision.

Then an interesting online offer appeared, not on eBay — the almost complete contents of 3 boxes of Minis, for $125, or the price of 2.5 boxes of this product. Perhaps one of the color parallels had been "cherry picked" out of it, or 1 or 2 "key Rookie Cards," or maybe an autographed card. But all of the ugghhh, Short Prints and all of the inserts were still included, including this key card on the checklist:

However I already owned this card. On the other hand, I knew it was already occasionally selling for $50. If I valued the inserts and uggghhh, Short Prints @$10 each, I would have 12 of them for the price requested, plus 8 color parallels & > 100 base cards from the 101-500 checklist, while the real price would be $85 if I later realized even just a $40 sale of the Ohtani #7 card. Leaving me with eleven $10-$20 cards plus 25% of a, yes, base set and some random value on those ever so random parallels of the set that just doesn't really need parallels, 1975 Topps.

I pulled the trigger. Now I was buying cards I didn't really need, but still might be useful if finishing the set were to became difficult. A big part of my thinking right then was that the inserts would appreciate as fast as the uggghhh, Short Prints, as many collectors of Heritage in particular look to complete "Master Sets" of all the cards, including the inserts. So 6 more chips to use in future transactions seemed useful as I didn't yet have a copy of the Carlton Fisk Game 6 card, nor either copy of the 2 Bob Gibson Baseball Flashbacks cards I still greatly desired.

I have swung around to thinking that while Master Sets of this product will be done by collectors, those will be a little more uncommon as completing the #1-500 checklist is quickly becoming a > $1,000.00 challenge for anyone who tried to board the Heritage 1975 Topps, man, The Minis train too late. So I don't think the inserts will later hold the value that the Short Prints will, because completing the Short Prints is already such a costly goal.

I do think a fair amount of people will attempt this set. Some might be subtly drawn in by a quirk new to the Heritage 'brand' in these Minis - that's the now triple digit ( /265 ) availability of the Throwbacks, as compared to the usual low single digit ( /25 or /35 or so) print run of these cards in full-sized Heritage. Those, along with the now discontinued "Action" variations, brought the high-rollers to the Heritage brand. For me, that was always one of the big turn-offs to collecting a set of essentially pretty dull, card-after-card-the-same Baseball Cards - knowing that all the best looking cards in the product were only available for $100, $200, or even more, and would rarely ever be sold, anyway.

Now in these Minis, Throwbacks are just low two digit priced cards. That has probably made a lot of Heritage collectors happy, is my guess. But simultaneously, the historical scarcity of the Throwbacks compared to the casual, not-so-scarce supply of the uggghhh, Short Prints likely made some people chase the Throwbacks, and their less exciting cousins the Color Swap and the Image Variation (though some of these are quite excellent), first - before worrying about the #1-100 cards - which are almost as scarce as the variation cards in the /320 run for each.

But after completing a set of those nifty Throwbacks - who wouldn't want to move on from that to the full 500 card set? That's part of my thinking on the long-term price of these cards, just a random theory, but one that did inform some of my next decisions here.

Quite near the time I suddenly/casually became an investor in the Ohtani #7 card, I read a description of the fateful #407 card for Leody Taveras. Anyone interested in 2024 Heritage knows all about this card at this point, whether their interest is the full-sized card or the Mini. I already knew the wtf? checklist quirk, but hadn't looked into it yet. It's just an early career Baseball Card of an everyday MLB Centerfielder, unlikely to ever be an All-Star, and although it is a handsome, quite well color-coordinated Baseball Card it is just another uggghhh, Short Print, right? 

Nope. I read it described as "pesky" so I figured I should check into why someone would call it that. Turns out - it is the most expensive Short Print in Heritage this year. !!! Here in early June the full-size version is still selling for $20, each. It may not have been quite that high a month ago, but it was a surprising discovery to find it selling for so much.

The implications clicked in my head instantly. I needed to get one of the minis, ASAP. Whenever it was I discovered this, one was still available for $8 or $9, though that annoyed me as I mashed the button as it was well above my $5 price point for buying the low-numbered cards otherwise, outside of the star power cards. The craziness of this set never ceases to be an "smh" (@ myself) - annoyed about a single digit price for what is now a triple digit card.

I set a search just for the pesky #407, "Heritage Taveras," which is still coughing up Bowman Heritage singles from 15 years ago, but that's OK, just in case I miss one listed with any other possible quirk. Watching that search in particular quickly landed me a $13, second #407 — that I also didn't technically "need." I just, wanted it.

I can't really say which particular purchase marked the turning point in "collecting" this product, and one which has somewhat changed some of my future trajectories with Baseball Cards. I now owned "extra" copies of two of the most key cards in this whole set. I also owned, thanks to lot purchases, around 40 extra copies of the uggghhh, Short Prints while I now needed just a simple amount of them I could count on one hand.

What would I do, now? I recalled a phrase I would use having fun with my friends, seeing live music in large cities in my younger days, when I was more consistently near large cities:

Double Down

To use another vernacular, I would "go for two" as what's better than a set of Heritage 1975 Topps, man, The Minis? That's an easy one: two sets.

This has a lot of implications. So did the decision to keep purchasing the uggghhh, Short Prints. I now had 9 boxes worth of, yes, base set cards, i.e. > 900 regular print cards so one full set was nearly assured and probably 75% or more of a second. Reports on collation in these boxes were generally favorable though it turned out I only had 399 cards for the first set. Tracking down up to 100 of the regular minis for a second shouldn't be challenging, though one of them is that pesky Elly de la Cruz RC, uggghhh.

But the uggghhh, Short Prints would still require attention. My faith in trading did secure me a key single for the first set, and a pair of trades for the second one netted me 8 SPs in one trade and 3 SPs and that super cool Gibson insert in another. Another trader generously offered me 4 SPs just for 50 base cards to complete his 400 card set, but I accepted only one for the 40 cards I could help with. That was when SPs were still less than $10 cards but I was already quite sure of the outcome on these cards.

The required attention soon became different, however. < $5 SPs were very rarely found. And more significantly, they disappeared from ebay basically, instantly. By that I mean I would refresh a "Newly Listed" search, and have some luck as a new listing slowly loaded - but by the time I could mash that sweet BIN button - the card had already sold. Someone, or almost certainly, multiple someones, had reached all the same conclusions as I had about these cards, and was watching for new listings as intently as I was.

These competitors usually had a clear price point every day. For the middle weeks of May, most SPs listed for $10 or more did not sell, at least right away. But first anything at $6 went quickly. Then, $7. And so on. It wasn't hard to see how it worked - a couple sellers that had previously supplied me a card or 2 would have a fresh small batch available every 3 days or so. 

Baseball Cards are a business, after all, and that's how collections get completed. I ever so slowly realized: I was now in business. I have been in business for a long time, i.e. have been self-employed for a long portion of my life. But never before in the Baseball Card business. May is one of my busiest months - when you work with biological products, Biology (& Weather) run your schedule, not silly things like social interaction with your fellow Humans. I frequently work all-day, every-day, because the date on the calendar often determines results. Messing with Baseball Cards at all would just make that all last longer.

Whenever I had a spare moment pretty much from the end of the first week of May until, hmmm, right now I guess, I have been watching ebay listings about these cards. At this point it is just a habit, and a bit of curiosity as I continually need to learn more sales results to make best decisions on what to do with all these Minis. 

Soon, I became the one making mistakes, though most of them turned out OK. I didn't always check my remaining need list carefully; sometimes I was doing this in some parking lot somewhere. Several times I purchased regular sized Heritage cards, though that had a perfectly understandable reason - the Minis were priced essentially the same as their full-sized cousins in the low single digits, and I didn't notice the lack of the word Mini in the listing. Sometimes, that was the ebay algorithm deviously mixing in listings without the word Mini as I had typed/saved, with correct Mini listings above it and below it. This, I do not appreciate.

Several other times, 10 to be exact, and from 3 different sellers, I received full-sized cards that were clearly labeled "Mini" in the keywords and description, multiple times even. One seller claimed "I didn't even know there were minis in this product." Uhh-huhhh. Those created a mish-mash of Refunds, Returns, and Partial Returns, and p-i-t-a annoyance, which is the very last thing I want when I am busy "collecting" Baseball Cards.

Obviously I was no longer collecting Baseball Cards, I was dealing them. Eventually, anyway. The full-size cards I mistakenly bought or were given free by the (devious? over-worked?) sellers who just gave me a full refund, don't bother me - those will help me, going forward. However most of those incidents cost me some extra dollars as each card had to be purchased again, generally for $5 or more in additional expense each time as the prices of these cards kept accelerating so quickly.

I have "finished" both my first, and the second set of these, several different times, due to either my own purchase errors managing a spreadsheet of all the "incoming" cards, not always 100% accurately after a long work day, and those certain sellers, too.

I even joined a few online breaks, straight gambling on lucking into additional copies of certain cards. That was something I have never done before, and don't plan to ever try again. I am soooo looking forward to returning to my slow lane of occasionally spending a couple quarters on those delightful $0.00 value Baseball Cards.

I would say that using your spare bits of free time to look up Baseball Cards on ebay is on balance more rewarding than reading about some trial of some politician in New York City every day. However it is also a chore, particularly once you begin to suspect shenanigans by the sellers.

But the chore had to be completed, and as quickly as possible. Remember this card from my previous post, which was a key find luring me down this tumultuous path:

The caption was "$2" -- a copy of this card sold for $50 a couple nights ago.

Those sales are about a month apart. And a $50 price point on these is an outlier that is likely only going to happen when two people launch a bidding war. Most SPs are still selling on offer in the mid-teens to $20 as I write; but not always. Auctions can end with plenty of variability. A market feature known as volatility, of course. Never thought I would use that word in a sentence when it comes to Baseball Cards.

Now you probably have noticed I have been scanning all these uggghhh, Short Prints in toploaders. Seems prudent for $20 Baseball Cards.

Before I even saw my first of these Minis, I was content in knowing I had those now discontinued binder pages that could triumphantly display these purdy, but little, Baseball Cards. Those pages are still available, if you would like some, either a couple in trade for a couple pages that hold the "cigarette" size cards, or even as a full set of 55 pages needed for this set, though for those I still hope to find the last two 2011 Lineage Minis I still need, Reggie Jackson and Tom Seaver/Mets.

My extra Minis pages will be sold or traded eventually, because I won't need them. Those uggghhh, Short Prints will never be leaving their toploaders, most likely, even though that is not how I ever wish to collect Baseball Cards, given the prices. And plenty of collectors are suspicious of card binders, worrying that they might somehow damage their Baseball Cards, even when 99% of all Baseball Cards are essentially worthless. And so many of them, particularly sets of Heritage, will just end up in special little cardboard boxes often never again opened until the prep work for the Estate Sale, if even then. Sad.

Hopefully you noticed my aside about the accidentally acquired full sized SPs. I am still quite looking forward to completing a regulation set of 2024 Topps Heritage; along the way with those ever random "Lots" I already acquired the full size Mike Trout and the full size Ohtani Highlights SPs as essentially throw-ins by sellers selling them in pairs of each size, for lower than their current value anyway. I do have the SPs checklist memorized, and don't quite savor completing it a 3rd time. But I will have to do so because: I no longer plan to keep these fun little Minis.

Yep.

The card that first began this realization for me was this one, from my 3rd pack:


This is one of the most fun autographed cards I have ever "pulled," because of the great Baseball picture on it. At some point in May, however, I realized that overall, it would look even better on the full size version, which is exactly the same aside from the card dimensions.

And really, this is true of all the cards in this set, which after all is the set of Baseball Cards that probably most visually appeals to me of all the many Baseball Card designs I have contemplated throughout my life. The Minis are cool and all, but I have concluded that a binder full of their larger cousins will be more enjoyable to keep on my coffee table, some future day when I actually have a coffee table.

Almost all the way through this experience, dollars were on my mind. And that's not how I want to think about Baseball Cards. I was essentially "Prospecting," a concept known to all collectors, even though none of the cards I was purchasing individually were Rookie Cards. I was buying a card expecting it would be worth yet more, later. Which is a near-irresistible idea to oh so many human beings. I rarely dabble in the activity and a few super low leverage (as in, less than one whole dollar at a time) attempts have failed (card still worth 75¢) as often as they have modestly worked (card now worth $2).

But here I'm not gambling on an individual Rookie/player, I'm rolling the dice on 1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

However, I think I did pretty well, and an even better plan, with a few different necessary steps, began to come into focus as this "collecting" rolled along.

First, I will sell my 3 sealed boxes of these Minis. They are already worth about $150 as I type. That's each - a 300% price increase, in a month. Maybe I will carefully see if I can get a full $525, which is about what I paid for 9 boxes, making my 6 opened boxes free.

Next I am going to sell some singles. Those 2 Leody Taveras cards seen above are actually my 3rd and 4th copies, which I snagged for about $14 each (expensive at the time). I haven't kept detailed records of this whole affair, though I could total up all the spending, if I needed to, but I will probably be too lazy to "go there." That Mini card is now selling for $250. Those should cover everything spent on the first set.

I also straight invested, no air quotes, in extra copies of another card, #100. I noticed early on that it hardly ever sells and saw a request for two of them being needed to finish 2 sets. I expect a portion of them will be lost for quite some time in basically ignored small lots of those ever worthless "base" cards, sigh, as the sellers who just bought boxes of this to rip and sell singles from will likely have sorted the cards largely by looking for just the 2 digit cards to set aside, not any 3 digit cards. Some of those sellers even throw base cards in the trash as not worth their time to handle. The, ugghhh, Short Prints arrived in the same spot in every pack like the parallels & inserts - the last card in the pack - but that leaves 3 packs in the box without a "hit" card, further increasing the ease of missing the #100 card during sorting by all those sellers who had no idea how Heritage Short Prints work. Such as the many who have attempted to sell that #82 Eovaldi card way way back up at the top of this installment of the tale.

I don't know if that minor gamble on the #100 card will pay off much. I doubt it will cost me anything, anyway. Selling the Taveras cards, some #100s, and a handy stack of 3 dozen or so extra, no-uggghhh-now Short Prints will easily cover the costs of my first completed set of this, certainly. And, probably, much of the cost of the second one, also, which did require occasional double digit priced cards to complete, though not many.

At this time a full set of these cards has not yet sold on ebay, that I can see at least. So I am unsure of my final bottom line conclusion about this project. The two sets will be worth a fair bit more than I paid for them, I fully expect. After all these years of looking at cool Baseball Cards priced more than I could ever afford, I put all those sometimes mildly bitter lessons about the often rapid rise and fall of Baseball Card prices to use, to my advantage.

I will never forget parking in front of my LCS just before it opened, just to buy Baseball Cards - rather than concert tickets, frex. I never expected much of this experience to come along, so I have written out this too long tale for myself, for that distant day when I have forgotten how I have acquired that -one- binder of Topps Baseball Cards.

As I have been mostly enjoying these brand new 1975/2024 Baseball Cards, the original 75s are never far from my mind. Perhaps another recently acquired card helped lead me to the end of this project, one my LCS gave me last year for free when they let me salvage some originals from a largely otherwise superbly thrashed (i.e. quite un-sale-able) small lot of 75s that had arrived in a bulk purchase from a walk-in customer:
A card I was fascinated with as a youth, and of a man I occasionally enjoyed listening to on the radio, once the Internet delivered broadcasts of all 30 teams ot me, simultaneously, in the 21st century.

I still do not know if my childhood collection of 1975 Topps Baseball cards might be in the basement stuffed full of stuff at my parent's house. It's a Schr√∂edinger set of cards at this point. I hope it is there, but I still do not relish the coming search for it, given that it will involve untangling my parents' lifetimes of acquiring their own treasured, or just seemingly useful possessions. 

But dealing with essentially dealing these 2024 Heritage Minis has taught me that I really don't have the patience for purchasing Baseball Cards, one at a time, while staring at a screen. I do that far too much, already. Staring at a screen that is. I want to spend my limited amount of free time with Baseball Cards curating the binders to flip through in years to come, and reading the backs of the cards — not endlessly haggling over a couple quarters or a couple dollars to buy each card that I desire, especially since I know there is still a fair amount of staring at a screen to purchase a Baseball Card in my future, anyway. I would surely enjoy using the positives of the Internet (i.e. you-all still reading this far) to meet collecting goals by trading Baseball Cards, but I am away from home so much that trading is rarely a viable option in my life.

I have purchased a set recently - for a whole $10 - and that is an ongoing, enjoyable project to handle, much more so than online shopping is. It will occasionally now be a preferred strategy for filling the binders I want on that coffee table; I have begun occasionally pricing a set of 1983 Topps, for example.

So at this point, I know what I am going to do with the likely "loot," i.e. the profits above costs from these Minis. It looks like I will eventually, in the months to come, cash these cards in and use the proceeds to finally, after a full 50 years of Life knowing the pleasures of Baseball Cards, obtain the one Baseball Card construct I have most wanted that entire time: a Complete Set of 1975 Topps Baseball Cards.




Monday, June 3, 2024

uggghhh, Short Prints

 


We all know how a Heritage checklist works. 20% of the list will be the "Short Prints" that one has to laboriously track down, often one at a time to 'complete the set.' I despise this concept. I just want a set of Baseball Cards, not a set of yet more middle-man profit-maker objects.

Alas, I am not in charge of Baseball Cards. So if I want to complete a set of Heritage, I have to deal with the Short Prints. Little did I know, as I began opening some boxes of the 2024 Heritage Minis, how the Short Prints would come to define the product for me.

Before I conclude my tale of this product, I must detour to one other product component, seen right above there - which is a Short Print card # in the checklist, but is not actually a Short Print. That's a "Throwback" — and a nice enough one, in my opinion. The photo is a nice look at the old timey Devil Rays uniform though of course the facsimile signature obscures it significantly. No escape from that on the 1975 Topps design, particularly when the software drops the signature imagery in precisely the same spot on each and every Baseball Card, quite unlike how humans did it manually back in the 1974 off-season. 

I pulled that card from the 2nd box of Heritage Minis I opened the day they went on-sale at my ever friendly LCS. A hot case? Two Throwbacks in two boxes? Unreal - it seemed.

I opened a 3rd box that morning, and pulled a "Color Swap." At that point it was clear that these cards would have a much, much higher print run than they do in full size Heritage. In each little box of Minis, turns out there is one Throwback, Image Variation, or Color Swap. Baseballcardpedia estimates 265 copies of each card though the checklist of cards runs 15/20/25 of the 3 types of these .... inserts? Short Prints? Hits? Gimmicks?

That compares to 35/1475/500 of the Throwbacks/Image/Swaps in full size Heritage.

I like this, hmmm, "opening up" of the concept here in the Minis. I know I would never see a copy of that Arozarena Throwback in real life, in real Heritage. And now I own one. I have a hunch on what that simple structure change might do with this product, which I will return to later.

It was a confusing morning, and day, really. I'm not completely sure when the box contents became definitive information for me: 3 serial #'d color parallels, 1 white border parallel, 2 inserts, 1 gimmick, and uggghhh, just 2 Short Prints — with the same 100 card checklist as found in full size Heritage.

And therein lay the ultimate dilemma with this product. 100 cards, but just 320 copies of each one.

Now that Wednesday morning, I had purchased my LCS's entire inventory of 9 boxes. I passed on ordering additional boxes that afternoon. This meant I could start out with 18 Short Prints, if I opened all of my boxes.

That night I did not open any more of my balance of 6 boxes, while I thought over what to do with all these Baseball Cards. Did I want to dive into the pool and finally complete a set of Heritage? 

It is something I have never attempted. Although my love of Topps designs begins to increase dramatically with the 1971 design, my view of the Heritage product fizzled each year with the steady decline of any attempt at much craftsmanship in the product. 2020 Heritage did have some nice "re-creations" of the famous 1971 cards. 2021 faithfully executed the 1972 "In Action" cards, which I quite liked, but the rest of the imagery in each set was yet more of each player standing in the same place each team had stood in for years upon years. 2022 had many great moments but also had some of the fake backdrop cards that just angered me to the point that I would not want to flip through a set of binder pages and continually see a possibly fully fake future for Baseball Cards. 2023 really brought up the use of 1974-esque action imagery but still had a few of the fake cards and a few other demerits that also led me to decline declaring it "binder worthy."

Now here at long last I was looking at my favorite historical Topps design. On the historical Minis. What should I do?

That Thursday night I ripped another box. Aside from the Short Prints, I wanted to see the color choices for the 1975 parallels. The next night I opened another box, my 5th, and found my lowest #/d parallel yet, an Orange. It also pushed me over 500 cards of the yes, base set, of 400 cards, so that would surely be in easy completion range.

The next day was Saturday and I headed off to work, like I did on 29 of the days in May. Boxes of this product ordered online had begun arriving that Friday, I knew. I can take breaks whenever I wish while working. So I started to look at the Short Print cards newly listed on ebay.

The concept looked bleak indeed - pick-your-card listings were selling out already, at $10 / card. If I opened all my boxes, I would still need 82 cards of the ugghhh, Short Prints. $820 to complete just a simple set of 500 Baseball Cards - after already "investing" $550 into this product. Uggghhh. 1975 looked closer than ever before, and still farther away than ever before.

Late that morning, I threw in the towel. Too rich for my blood, as the expression goes. I knew this wouldn't be a product where people, including me, could just casually purchase some more in the weeks ahead, look for trading partners, maybe someday find some discounted packages, etc., like most sets of Baseball Cards. The whole print run, had essentially already been sold, as in, Out.

I began to mentally search for collecting concepts to use. I probably had a near-complete, yes, base set. But does anyone truly want a set of Heritage Baseball Cards that is just 80% complete? I know plenty of people own such sets. And I can easily collect just 9 cards from any set and call it - Good. But, I really really like the 1975 Topps design. Not finishing a set of it - Bad.

What would I do with these Minis, then? What 9 cards should I pick? 9 parallels? What else?

Maybe, I thought, I could do a Tigers Team Set to go with my sweet Riley Greene Throwback and my Reese Olson /15 RC. That would be a nice, yes, mini collection.

The Tigres best player right then was budding young slugger Kerry Carpenter. I was vaguely aware from my so-far (uggghhh, work) limited interaction with regular 2024 Heritage that he was, uggghhh, on the Short Print Checklist.

So I picked up the "phone," again, and looked up "2024 Topps Heritage Mini Kerry Carpenter" on the oh-so-easy eBay "app" to see if a $10 memento of this set was available, or, would it cost even more? And there it was:
$2!

I couldn't believe it. Did that really say "Mini" in the keywords? It did. Two Bucks? I "mashed the button" = Buy It, Now. 

Well, that was easy. eBay likes it that way, trust me. I decided to look into this concept a bit more.

Saturday is a great day to find brand new Baseball Card listings online, since selling Baseball Cards is a simple enough "side gig" for plenty of folks. And that particular Saturday, eBay was steadily filling up with 2024 Heritage Minis, For Sale.

At amazing prices. Yes, some Short Print cards were still selling at $10 each. But many, oh so many, were not.

After so many years of passing on expensive Baseball Cards I desired to own, but did not desire to pay for, I knew what to do. I have learned a lot from my 2013 All-Parallel set project, particularly when it came to purchasing a necessary card of a Superstar. That project didn't even start until 2014 — far too late to do it, cheaply. The longer you wait to pull a trigger, the more it is probably going to cost.

For many years I have read online commentary from people selling Baseball Cards, as well as people buying Baseball Cards. Intelligent sellers will explain how to intelligently sell the cards, in ways that make the side gig profitable. They will frequently do so by explaining How Not To Do It.

Their advice came in quite handy, that Saturday afternoon. I have never wanted to sell Baseball Cards, or become a Dealer. It sounds like a nice gig, if you love Baseball Cards. But for me, I love them too much — I would be terrible at selling them — I would just want to keep all the cool cards and would thus be a not-very-successful Dealer. 

I am always extremely grateful Dealers exist though. If no one sold Baseball Cards, no one could collect Baseball Cards. It's that simple.

I knew from reading Dealer stories there are always, and I mean always, people selling Baseball Cards in ways that limit their potential returns. Generally by straight "rip-it-&-list-it" activity, as it's called. There are lots of ways to sell things to human beings. Some people opening boxes of cards are just straight gambling on finding things like an on-card autograph from a Hall-of-Famer, on a reproduction of his one (& only one, imagine that) official Rookie Card from 50 years ago. Everyone knew George Brett autographs were in this product.

Other online sellers aren't gambling so much as just operating a business. Boxes to cases of sports cards arrive, are sold off as singles, all in a steady thrum of activity because another product is arriving quite soon anyway. Volume of sales can be as profitable as price maximized sales.

All kinds of Baseball Card sales were happening that Saturday. I quickly found a bunch more Minis Short Prints, without an uggghhh attached, as they were all priced at just $2 or $3. The seller name clinched my decision. The eBay store bragged on being essentially the online Wal•Mart for: Hockey Cards. It was becoming more clear by the minute that a lot of sellers didn't know what they were looking at in this product.

I dived into the pool.

Let's review: 100 cards. 320 copies each. 1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

Anyone who knows much Baseball Card history could see where this would go, in my opinion. A lot of collectors would want a copy of this particular set. Only 320 exist, even though 4,000-&-some copies of the 400 card set exist.

I don't particularly care for that reality. Topps could have easily made this a much simpler set that several hundred more happy collectors could happily assemble, by simply printing 640 copies of each Short Print and then inserting 4 of them per box, placing it in the same ratio of Base:SP as in full-sized Heritage. Or they could have also just printed a bit more of this product.

How much would "a lot of" collectors pay to own one of these? Knowing that plenty of initial listings of the Short Prints had already sold for $10 / card, I already knew that buying one for $3 was a very easy decision.

And the easy decisions kept right on appearing, whenever I picked up the phone and clicked "Newly Listed" in the search options.

I couldn't believe the collecting territory I was entering. I could actually own a Complete Set of Heritage 1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

Now the Short Print checklist in Heritage has had a helpful trade-off when it moved up from 75 cards to 100 cards a few years ago - less Superstars are Short Prints, lately. But there are still some "tough" cards included in the uggghhh, Short Prints. Including a player named "Mike Trout" — & another one known as "Shohei Ohtani." Uggghhh.

Knowing those cards wouldn't be cheap, I opened my 6th box of this. Nothing particularly memorable, nor valuable, appeared, though I now owned 12 Short Prints I wouldn't have to purchase, singly. But, none of the likely-to-be-expensive ones.

Meanwhile, box prices from online Dealers (just individuals, not the usual big Distributors) were rising quickly; in fact they had already doubled. My remaining 3 boxes were already worth $300. I could make this set even cheaper.

After that initial weekend of online sales activity, more purchasers started receiving their product over the course of the next week. Then, another handy concept for a collecting project like this one began to appear: "Lots."

I lucked into a very helpful listing. 22 Short Prints, $50. No uggghhh, there. It included this one -
This is a great Baseball Card.

Thank you, Kind Reader, for making it this far with only 3 pictures of Baseball Picture Cards. Although I find 2024 Topps Heritage to be a less-than-perfect product, with the abysmal printing of the backs and plenty of dubious checklist decisions, there are a whole lot of Baseball pictures I do quite like.

I haven't quite absorbed the whole set yet; the arrival of these Minis did completely upset my apple cart plan to delightfully open packs of these cards all through the Summer and absorb it a few dozen cards at a time. The craptastic backs had already diminished the allure of that simple goal somewhat, but with these Minis and the realities of how I could assemble a Complete Set, most pretense of not seeing the whole set, all at once, has just about disappeared. I did largely sort the 400 cards in the regular-print set upside down, so there will still be an occasional surprise amongst them, I hope.

Amongst the Short Prints, I now have the checklist memorized, by necessity, as we shall see. But first, let's see some Baseball Cards already!

A great thing in 2024 Heritage is the use of "candids" - not posed/portraits, and not-quite action images either:
That is how a lot of Topps Baseball Cards, in the long, yes, heritage of the brand, have worked. No stiffness. Just, a Baseball player. That's the whole point: a Baseball Picture Card.

Another thing I have noticed this year, not just in the Heritage brand, is an increasing fondness there on 1 Whitehall St. for including sunglasses on the cards, as on that Gunnar Henderson card, up on his cap, or being actively worn -
Rowdy Tellez is a quick Fan Favorite wherever he goes, but go he does as he is just a bit outside of being a serviceable, truly everyday MLB Slugger. Fans like him, particularly at first, obviously because of the name but probably also in part because it seems he would absolutely destroy the opposition in a Beer League game, and that would be a hella good time. Andrew Chafin was quite initially popular in Milwaukee last summer too. A pity it appears there won't be any Baseball Cards of them in the best "City Connect" uniforms to date:
The shoulder patch on these is the Greatest. It was captured well on cardboard at least once in 2023, we'll see that here soon as insanely Busy Season has just ended for me, and now, it's Baseball Card season.

Two First Baseman cards for Milwaukee? Nothing much changes there; neither of these veteran sluggers are manning the position for the Crew this year as Santana continues his tour of the Central divisions, now in Minnesota, while Rowdy is picking up new fans at Santana's previous stop in Pittsburgh. 

But such is the way she goes, boys, in the Heritage checklist any more. I'll be wandering around on that again soon, and finally soon wrapping up the tale of 1975 Topps, man. The Minis. It has a delightful ending.

To Be Continued...





Sunday, May 26, 2024

maths

 

1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

Baseball is a game with a fair bit of mathematics involved. And there is yet more math involved in Baseball Cards. That's just the way it is, and that's not a big deal.

But that last word I just wrote - "deal" - is a big part of Baseball Card math. Because that revolves around dollar$. And that is the hardest part of Baseball Card collecting - you are never going to own a T206 Honus Wagner. If you are reading this and you do own a T206 Wagner, I'd love to shoot the breeze sometime. I could probably help you with the Timber out on the Estate you must surely own as well, for example - I work for wealthy landowners all the time. We never discuss Baseball Cards.

And the whole Hobby just cascades on down from that particular root level Baseball Card. How much will you really spend on this particular recreational activity?

That is not always a pleasant question to ponder. I generally don't ponder it often, nor do I become particularly unhappy knowing I will never own that Wagner card. That's because I know I will someday own a nice little reprint of it that I will enjoy a whole lot, with no cares at all that is not an original copy. I spend most of my Baseball Card collecting time enjoying Baseball Cards that are worth precisely $0.00, something a whole lot of people can't seem to do, from what I continually read on this here Internet. I feel sorry for them.

But I am far from immune from desiring expensive Baseball Cards; I am just lucky that there aren't a whole lot of such cards I truly desire. The greatest exception to that in my trading card dreamscape is most certainly 1975 Topps Baseball, man, though there are a few others bobbing around in my noggin from time to time.

Unfortunately such concerns were foremost in my mind back on May 1st, when I set out to simply enjoy opening some packs of 2024 Heritage in the historical "mini" format launched way back in 1975 - something I never saw until the summer of 1978, in the "trade it" boxes of the other kids on my street, after a family move during my childhood. Nevertheless I knew I would quite enjoy opening some such packs, maybe even a whole box, seeing as they were appropriately even "mini" priced at exactly half of what I paid for a full box of regular sized Heritage back in March.

Within about 60 minutes of opening that box, I found myself owning a whopping 8 more boxes of the product, after pulling the trigger on the highest amount of money I have spent on Baseball Cards in a single transaction in my entire life.

What was I going to do with such a seemingly gi-normous purchase? I wasn't really sure.

I did know what the online chatter about this product was like - I was reading some of it simultaneously with opening it, and also simultaneously with reading the checklist for it, all in the last hour or so before it went on-sale on this here Internet.

I fully expected it would sell out fairly quickly; most "on-line" Topps releases do. If this one hadn't also been offered to Friendly Local Card Shops (the friendly part does now seem to be a requirement, on the part of Topps/Fanatics, which seems a good thing, to me), well then I doubt I would have ever ended up owning more than 9 or 18 cards from this product, some day. That's because I'm just not into competitive online shopping and expensive merchandise sitting around on a porch later. And I didn't know if the whole thing wouldn't be just co-opted by "bots" anyway, as was the case with on-line sales of sports cards a few years ago.

Turned out, most anyone who knew these cards were going to be sold could have purchased excellent amounts of them, from 3 possible options, though for only about a half hour or so in each case. For whatever reason, Topps Baseball Cards are sold on the Fanatics website separately from the Topps.com website. And more understandably, Topps products are also sold on a Topps UK website. 

So a small upside to this experience I am re-living for you (and, me, as I write it down) is I am now a bit less pessimistic on buying these special "on-line" Baseball Cards. But I am also more determined than ever to stay with collecting those wonderful 100% worthless Baseball Cards, because that is a much more low-key activity — and that's important, to me, in a recreational activity.

My first thought on buying 9 whole boxes of Baseball Cards (at the same time!) was that it was highly likely I could later sell a few boxes and make the cards I kept a bit cheaper that way.

I did not at all expect for just one Baseball Card product to so thoroughly illustrate the contemporary Baseball Card Hobby and lead me to carefully re-consider my participation in it. But with these 2024 Topps Heritage Minis, that's what happened. After all, it's 1975 Topps, man. The Minis. 

We are getting pretty far from that delightful Reese Olson /15 Purple RC up there at the top of the post. That is one of 5 parallels in the Minis, after the regular sized Heritage release basically punted on the concept, in my opinon. White border cards of the most colorful set of Baseball Cards ever made? Really?
Yes, really.

The parallels I ended up owning treated me OK, I guess. Reese Olson currently has the 5th best ERA in Major League Baseball though he only picked up his first "W" just this afternoon as the Tigers seem as lackluster as ever this year. But we do got Olson going for us, and I have an extremely rare - only 15 copies made! - Rookie Card card of the young phenom. Which is nice.

And that Jasson guy there, that's a card with some actual buzz, unlike that around brilliant Tigers rookies, which are exceedingly rare. The 5 parallels in the Minis are Black at /50, White at /32 although without a stamped s/n proof of that, Blue at /25, Purple at /15, Orange at /5, and of course a /1, of Pink. And without any Chromes or other "gimmicks" as Baseballcardpedia snidely (and, correctly) labels them, so no Superfractors. Just 5 color parallels, 3 per box.

Which does make this product seem exciting - every Baseball Card product absolutely must have a card that might be somehow more valuable than all the other cards, or no one would want the product. But these products with a long checklist and s/n stamped cards of players you have never heard of, which are chock-a-block in 2024 Heritage Baseball Cards, aren't ultimately that exciting, as you realize later.

I basically understood that ahead of time; I had a different goal in mind. I simply wanted to see what parallels could be created with the 1975 Topps design. All of them. While held in my hand. Buying some whole boxes of the product should certainly help reach that goal.

There is an odd result with all those parallels in this product - all those limited edition, stamped serial #'d, hard-to-get Baseball Cards worth just a couple or maybe even a few dozens of dollars, each - are almost all universally: not "Gem Mint." Worthless. 

That's because the "special" card in 9 of the 12 packs in each box is always the last card in the pack. In a tightly wrapped pack, in a box that feels just a touch too small to hold the packs without, well, bad things happening, like this:
once you see it

in case you can't see it, let's zoom in:
Horrors.

I think I quite like this turn of affairs, actually. It will likely make these parallels far more easily collectable, for people, like me, who don't care one whit whether a card will "grade." Condition freaks best stay far, far away from these cards.

Which is especially delicious because all of this terrible damage - is on the back of the card. Let's review:
purdy

but in the interest of fairness, -that- corner, again
Horrors.

This situation on parallel after parallel probably leads to lots of strife on the ole ebay, where plenty of listings for 2024 Heritage Minis include the "*READ" note in the keywords as sellers attempt to get buyers to understand that these cards are not Gem Mint, before they purchase them.

Thus if you'd like a colorful miniature parallel of your favorite player in the 2024 Topps Heritage 1975 Topps Baseball design, they might not be as pricey as you might expect, if you can manage to avert your eyes from that horrible damage to each corner. Good luck.

So how did my quest conclude, to see one of each of the 5 parallels? Fairly well. I will be working up a just exactly perfect collection of a set of 9 fine examples of the concept; I will wait until that's complete to show off my nifty picks to represent the black and the blue parallel in my special binder of 2024/1975 Topps Baseball, forever and ever.

And I did luck into "pulling" one of the more difficult parallels, the /5 Orange. That happened in box #5, and overall wasn't a remarkably "tough pull" as only 16,000 boxes of this product were made, and with 500 oranges or 2,500 cards, that's 1-in-6 boxes, I think. Maths. Uggh. 

Anyhow, my Orange experience went like this:
Hmmm.

I've never owned a /5 Baseball Card, ever before. I can't say I plan to own any more of them, either. So it seems just exactly perfect for a collector of usually totally worthless Baseball Cards to end up with a quite rare version of what is effectively an "Error Card" of a Baseball Player that history is quite unlikely to ever remember.

Devin Sweet has never in any way been connected to the San Diego Padres organization. Kind of amazing really, considering how much that club wheels and deals players, much like I did with Baseball Cards in my Topps childhood. 

Sweet pitched exactly 2.0 innings in just 2 games for Seattle last year before being waived; so an authentic picture of him in Mariners garb is itself a pretty rare thing. Maybe there are only 5 of them in existence.

After that teaspoon of coffee he did get a further try-out down in Oakland (still a real MLB team, I think) in 5 more relief outings last September, before technically joining a "San -" team, as in Francisco, not Diego. Maybe that confused those hard working Topps Baseball Card miners, down in the mines. But that was in December 2023; within a month the Giants had cut Devin and he has currently "latched on" with my very favorite team, the Detroit Tigers. And despite listening to more pointless innings of Spring Training Baseball than I could ever be able to remember, I have never yet heard anyone discussing Tigers baseball in minute detail ever mention Devin Sweet to me. He currently works in the bullpen at their AAA affiliate in Toledo, so I guess I might hear his name again, some day. Thanks, Topps.

That incredible "pull" did make for an easy decision regarding a small disappointment with these minis - I did not luck into even one of the 1/1 Pink ones. (I saw a card numbered 11/11 at my LCS this morning; I should probably purchase it for an upcoming 1-1 project). 

I had a particular plan for the Pink card - I wanted to obtain one with a blue team name. Because I am now certain that my favorite color combo in 1975 Topps is the pink-yellow - but mostly for when the blue is added, as on the delightful World Series cards. Which in turn probably explains falling for the pink parallels in 2013 Topps.

My plan was to lay in wait for a 1/1 Pink of the scrubbiest scrub player with a blue ink team name, and then pounce. This plan faced an immediate challenge when the 1/1 Pink with the correct blue top was posted, fairly cheaply — of George Springer. Ugggh. 2019 Astros, cya. Easy pass, even at only $30. That cost me some money, a few days later.

Once I had that sweet Sweet card, the appearance of this next card was an instant must-have, as soon as I saw it, despite being twice as expensive as the Pink Springer. This will be the centerpiece in my eventual Nifty Nine of 2024 Topps Heritage Minis parallels:

1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

My 2nd new favorite who-are-you-talking-about footnote-of-a-footnote MLB reliever has, like Sweet, never ever been connected to the team name printed at the top of his parallel 2024 Heritage Baseball Card. It's hard work, down in those Baseball Card mines.

Felipe has almost twice as much MLB experience as Sweet - 15.0 IP! And is also no longer with the AAAA team called the Athletics. He owns a delightful 4.20 ERA so I somewhat hope that remains his career mark at the, yes, highest level. But really I do wish him well and a potential return to The Game as he is now in the Angels organization so some Angel Felipe Angels Baseball Cards would be kinda neat, don'tchathink? Until then, I own his #1/1 very best ever Rookie Card card. And you, don't.

We'll see that Sweet, and Angel card again here someday. That about covers the 3-per-box #'d cards, which every collector dreams about. But that's not all that is in this product.

In each box you also get 2 inserts. That means there aren't very many of these little doo-hickeys, either. 320 of each, to be exact, although they aren't stamped with proof of that, but it is in the maths, trust me. 

At first it seems the mini inserts are just re-runs from regular Heritage:
You rang?

That one is certainly a best-of-24 pick for my collection, although I wish they would have used this photo in Big League somehow instead.

But upon further review, the insert checklists have been expanded in the Minis, I think by 10 cards in the New Age Performers. Also appearing are the "75 Baseball Sensations" which are only in retail versions of regular sized Heritage, and again with an expanded checklist as compared to their bigger brothers, with some more 1975 stars on the Mini checklist that don't appear on the regular sizes.

One altogether new insert appears, the "1975 Fall Classic." I just had to buy this one:

I had a minor reservation here - it feels near certain that this card will appear as a regular sized insert in the Heritage High Numbers release, which has recently featured a Playoffs themed insert. And it would surely help out those hard-working Baseball Card miners to simply re-run these.

But, what if they don't? I saw that game live. It was the first time I ever got to watch a night-time Baseball game all the way to the very end. I was rooting for the Red Sox. I will never forget it. I can't pass up a Carlton Fisk Game 6 Baseball Card, ever. 

Almost. I do have no particular interest in the Fisk Baseball Flashbacks card in regular sized 24 Heritage, which titles itself "Waves Home Run Fair" and then uses a picture of Fisk batting in the daytime. Wrong.

Which might help explain another checklist anomaly in the Minis, amongst the Baseball Flashbacks. The Mini checklist is both 5 #s longer, but actually 7 cards are different. Two of the regular sized BFs are not miniaturized, including the Fisk card. (You'll have to figure out the other one as a homework assignment.) Maybe the baseball card miners were horrified to notice that picture and caption anomaly on 1975's most iconic Baseball moment. I somewhat doubt that, but nevertheless the Minis have more Flashbacks than the bigger cards.

Including, this one:
None more 70s?

I already went ahead and used a bit of my trading stock to pick up an extra one of these for Mr. Night Owl, don't worry.

This is another one I absolutely had to have for my modest Bob Gibson collection. There is a tiny chance I saw Bob Gibson pitch on a Saturday afternoon Kubek/Garagiola Game of the Week in 1975, but my memory is not quite -that- good, sigh. What really got me into setting aside my Bob Gibson cards was this book, which I quite recommend:

Every time I find a new Bob Gibson or Reggie Jackson Baseball Card, I want to read it again.

Once again these Minis delivered another just-had-to-have Baseball Card there in the inserts.

But those discoveries are somewhat jumping the tale of base_set vs. maths that is my 2024 Topps Heritage Minis experience. That's because the key part of any Heritage adventure is of course, the Short Prints, uggh. Particularly, this one, a single card (with all the just exactly perfect colors I could ever want) which will have an extensive blog post dedicated mostly to it, coming soon, right here:
This is now a > $100 Baseball Card.

1975 Topps, man. The Minis.

...To Be Continued