Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A "fun rip"


I didn't really know what I was in for, ahead of time, back on May 1st. That lovely morning I rambled on down to my Friendly Local Card Shop to purchase a box of 2024 Topps Heritage Minis. 

The owner had told me previously they would have just a single "case" (10 boxes) coming in. He had also passed along that they had a customer come in back in March to purchase and rip a whole case of regular 2024 Heritage on the day it was released, something I had considered doing, to finally have a chance at maybe seeing some of the "cool cards" in the product that I have otherwise never seen. Ultimately I passed on the idea in favor of enjoyably collecting 2024 Heritage all baseball season long.

My LCS further informed me they had recently finished selling out of a "case" (40 boxes) of 2024 Topps Heritage "Megas" or whatever they call those things.

And this was all taking place in the state of Michigan, where 1975 Topps Minis have the most, yes, heritage, after all. So I expected I wouldn't be the only 1975 Topps Baseball devotee arriving at the LCS that sweet spring morning.

I was wrong.

I had the product almost all to myself - the LCS owner(s) had ripped one of the 10 boxes themselves, the night before, and then placed the other 9 boxes available for sale that morning. I was definitely in for a single $55 box - but I could purchase 8 more, if I wished.

So I had to rip, right away. The actual online on-sale time of the boxes was still a couple hours away. And there was no official checklist yet released by Topps. Some confusion surrounded the whole product concept. Should I buy more than one box? They were all there, just waiting for me to insert my VISA card. No one else was coming in the door.

I was quite looking forward to having a second "first card" for the 2024 Topps Heritage season. I already forgot what it was, sigh.

The first pack had my first "color" - a serial numbered parallel. Most often a black border card numbered to /50. I already forgot what that one was, too.

On my 3rd pack I "hit." That was the autographed card shown above. I love it so much, let's look at it again:

I am fully aware of the major change at the top of the card. I like it. It seems like it would be a good way to make some Baseball Cards - lead with the city name in the design. Has that ever been done, in the long history of Baseball Cards? I doubt it but possibly/probably.

It would make for a neat way to make some parallels; a concept I will explore in a future post.

And here I was, ripping a box of cards and right away I hit a cool - ON-CARD - autographed card. With one helluva very real Signature.

I like Dennis Eckersley. I am also fully aware that his Rookie Card card is in the 1976 Topps Baseball set. But until I came to possess this awesome Topps Baseball Card, I did not know that his actual Major League Debut came in 1975.

And how about that photo? Is there a better Pitcher Face card than this one? Show me.

Later on I realized this photo is the same one used on the Baseball Flashbacks insert in 2024 Heritage. But on the "auto," it is zoomed in, far more wonderfully.

I kept ripping - of course.

In the next pack, I "hit" this card:

This was so exciting the LCS owner asked to snap a picture.

I 100% definitely have a new favorite Riley Greene Baseball Card. Perhaps the best current Tiger, fully decked out in a Detroit Stars Negro Leagues Appreciation Day uniform, likely from his Rookie Debut day, with a great focus on that great single Star on the cap - I need one of these caps, methinks. I seriously doubt Topps has any chance to supply me with a better 2024 Detroit Tigers Baseball Card than this one. 

I also quite like that the orange&blue color combo, from the 1975 Topps palette options, is basically as close as one can get to a "team color match" for the Detroit Tigers, a distinctly monochromatic team in most respects.

I never dreamed I would ever possibly own a Heritage "Throwback" - they are insanely not great "tough pulls" in regular Heritage, which is just one of many things I dislike about the whole product. I have seen pictures of the creatures some over the years, and many of them are the typical lazy Topps creation - the player is technically wearing a Throwback uniform, but on many of them, that can just barely be discerned. But, nobody cares. All that matters in modern Baseball Card collecting is the number of cards printed, not the overall quality of the Baseball Card. Never would I ever desire to attempt to complete a set of Heritage "Throwbacks."

But suddenly, I owned one. Of the best player on my favorite team. And I was only 4 packs into a box of 12 packs.

The rest of the box held the requisite / pre-announced ratio of "hits," including one "white" parallel, two more "color" cards, two (just 2) inserts, and two (just 2) "Short Prints."

On that last portion of the contents, there was some confusion. The day before, the LCS owner had passed along that there was some speculation about the checklist - maybe there wouldn't be the same 100 card checklist for the Short Prints.

But that very morning, the Official Checklist finally appeared on the ever handy Internet. And some realities began clicking into place. There really were just 2 Short Prints, per box of 120 cards, of the full checklist as prepared for regular sized 2024 Topps Heritage. With the announced and remarkably consistent insertion ratios in the product, there were 110 or 111 base cards in each box of 12 packs of 10 cards. And just those 2 "SP" cards.

That meant: for each forgettable "base card" Nobody really wants, the ratio of Base:SP was .... get ready for this one: 55, to One. I thought.

I looked this up later on Basebaballcardpedia.com, something I have wondered for a long time about Heritage - how many regular sized cards exist, for each "short print?" The answer: about 7.

Later I realized my minis math was wrong. Each box had 110 or 111 base cards (110 if an "auto" was included), and the 2 "SPs." But the 55 base came from the 400 card checklist while the 1 SP came from a 100 chard checklist. So the real ratio is 13.75 base : 1 Short Print, or roughly twice as few as in regular Heritage.

I am drawn to Heritage Baseball Cards like a moth to a flame, particularly this year. But I have a general distaste for the product. The Short Prints are just the tip of a substantial iceberg of complaints, for me, a boring old collector of usually, yes, base sets.

Here I was, now also owning 111 fun little "mini" 2024 Heritage 1975 Topps Baseball Cards - & also two of the infernal "Short Prints" - while 16 more of them were perched on the shelf just above me.

I did some thinking about what -might- be in those other 8 boxes. Aside from a delightful little set of 2024/1975 Topps Heritage Baseball Cards. The online sale was still an hour away, a process I had zero desire to participate in. I could simply purchase 8 more boxes of these wonderful little Baseball Cards, with one swipe of the credit card.

I looked down at my sweet new Dennis Eckersley & Riley Greene Baseball Cards, surrounded by the piles of brand new 1975 Topps Baseball cards. I pushed the chips in to the center of the table. I'm in.

"Give me the other 8 boxes, too..."

...To Be Continued

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