Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Heritage Hysteria: It's HERE and we're LIVE!

Yessir - for me, the 2nd most anticipated release of the year is here!   A blaster, some racks and some loosies have me on my way.   I do have a question for the audience at the end, as I feel like I have betrayed my set-builder's code of honor with this release....but no worries.   We'll call it an experiment and adjust accordingly.   I'll explain more later.   Let's see some cardboard!   Here's a quick sample of Topps Heritage 2012:

Awkwardly AWESOME!

This card is awesome and may be one of the most hilarious cards I have ever seen.   THIS is my Mystery Science Theater 3000 take on card #173:

Jeter:     "Psssst!  Alex!  Hey, bud....we really need you to pick it up at the plate this year - alright?"

A-Rod:  "(sniff)....I know, man....I'm sorry, Captain.   I've got a new knee now, but I could never be
               you!   This is like Mantle and Maris ALL over again!"  hangs head in shame

Robbie: "Listen to these clowns!  I'll keep doing what I do.....where's my Dad sitting, anyways?"

 I love it.   And you know what else I love about Heritage?   The backs.   Topps seems to spend a lot of time on the backs of this release and I, for one, appreciate that.   I'll show more shots of the backs for these cards than I normally do and here is the first:

Love 'em or hate 'em - they are pretty solid.

Let's break away from New York and cover some Braves action, shall we?   I wasn't able to pull a Fab Fivin' Freddie this time but you can never go wrong with a Jonny "Play Me Every Day" Venters SP and the best catcher in baseball - Brian McCann.   I'm hoping the Cobra Kai Dojo Sensei Gonzalez gives Jonny more of a break this year and fingers are crossed that McCann can stay healthy.


See what I mean about the backs?   Venters retired the two batters he faced in the All-Star game AND he led the Majors in appearances.   BOOM - now you know!   Thanks, Topps.   Let's check out some inserts:


It doesn't get any more '63-ish than a Baseball Flashback Koufax!   Other than having to come to terms with how well he MOWED down the Yankees in the Series, this card is a great tribute to his Pitching Triple Crown achievement.   Time for the News:


As a student of history, I think these inserts are pretty cool.   As a baseball fan, I could do without them - but I would have to think that I would dig them, and learn something, if I were a young buck again.    As a Dad of a couple kids who might be 'sponging' this type of knowledge up in the years to come.....it's a great addition to this 'HERITAGE' set, yes?   As for present-day me, this card made me smile and think about trying for a TTM request to this guy:

Welcome to the ROCK!
On with the countdown!   Here are some more highlights:

It's still cool to leave the stickers on your hat?!
My first fantasy draft pitcher selection?

Look up 'baseball' in the dictionary and you'll see THIS guy!

Got thrown out of a bar by Kate Upton; +2,000 COOL points!

And some more Yanks (bare with me, you guys).......



3,088 and counting!

A real quick comment - full stats on the back here.   Another thing I really LOVE about Heritage.   Even the TEAM cards (which, by virtue of their team pictures are COOL anyways!) have a full line of stats for each entry on the roster on the back.   How great is THAT?  

Let's do some more inserts:

I'd smile too, if I were on this mini peel-off!
Welcome to the American League, Hombre!

Love the bleachers and palm tree behind Spahn!

This is what a "Then & Now" card should look like!

Another great thing about Heritage?    Manager cards!   Yep - my chance to grab a card of my favorite all-time baseball player (and now manager), Don Mattingly.   Did I snag one?   You betcha!

It's great to see him smile - I'm rooting for ya, Donnie!

I think Mattingly's place with the Dodgers has given me a reason to cheer for the boys in blue.    SHHHHHH!  Don't tell anyone......a lot of inner turmoil going on with just writing that statement.   But loyalty to heroes runs deep, my friends.   I'm sure there's an Owl out there to help me deal with my feelings....

OKAY - if you're still with me, here's a few more to chew on with a NY theme to act as my Dr. Drew after that last confession:

Speaks for itself.   Really epic card for us Yankee fans.

C-Grand & Floating Heads!

I'm hoping that Granderson has another great, powerful year.   Did you know that he is 30:1 to lead the Majors in home runs?   The Rookie Stars 'floating heads' cards are as trippy as ever.   This one caught my attention - not only because it displays some great Yankees talent but because it gives me the feeling that Topps is still coping with Montero's departure from New York.   Three Yankees and one Mariner?   A Mariner who just happened to be traded late in the off season from the Yankees?

My guess is that they could airbrush 'ol Jesus but didn't have time to swap his head out for another Yankee rookie.   Whatever the case, it is a little peculiar and a great card that tells a story of what might have been.   I wish Jesus the best in Seattle, though.   I think he is going to be a great slugger for the M's as they try to return to greatness.   I think this card shows a lot of confidence:

Boy, do I remember THOSE 2 home runs!
Fare thee well, Jesus.

AND FINALLY - let's end this post with #1, shall we?   THE first card in the set and some more floating heads:

Thanks for sticking with me.   Hope you enjoyed this quick 'first-take' on '12 Heritage.   The set still gets it right, in my opinion.  That thick stock and less-slippery finish just feels right to me.   The cards even smell like baseball cards to me......I know, that's a little weird.   The design of the front and back of these cards are delightfully easyon the eyes.   I don't even wear glasses, but they just seem brighter to me, like a soft-white light bulb.

(record scratch)  Errrr.....what was that?!

Um, anyways - the design is very pleasing to my eye.   The layout, fonts and color all mesh well together.   I even think the card numbers themselves build on the already successful card-number placement/design of the flagship set.   I know, I know - the design is pretty much half a century old.   Well, it still works!   The inserts aren't the greatest and I have carried my streak of ZERO hits in Heritage packs forward from last year, but I believe this set is ALL about the base cards.   It's a great set to collect and enjoy.

Which brings me to my question.

I am still struggling with the completion of 2011 Heritage and I'm not even worrying about the 75 SP's.   I faced some severe duplication in the packs I picked up last year and, as I mentioned - complete NADA on relics or auto's.   SO....I wanted to try something new this year in an effort to save some money.   I pre-ordered a base set from @brentandbecca.

That's right - a self-proclaimed set-builder just up and ordered the set!

It should be here in a week or so and I can't wait to rifle through every card for some edu-ma-cation from the card backs.   @brentandbecca has a great reputation, great prices and was a pleasure to deal with.   This set will be a fine addition to my son's growing collection.

Did I do the right thing, though?   How do you like to collect this release?   Have you ever gone back and forth between set-buying and set-building?

Have I forsaken the challenging fun of piecing this release together, card by card?   Did I take the easy way out?   Only time will tell.   I will soon have these cards sorted and listed for trade, so check back often if you're chasing this one!   Perhaps this will be a good way to claim some Yankees and Braves inserts, via trades with you all in exchange for helping you to complete your Heritage needs since I don't have to build a set anymore. 

I know.  There's no right or wrong.  As my friend Brian over at 30YOC always says, "Collect What You Like".   I think he would also say without hesitation, "Collect How You Like".   I know I like to collect Heritage.   This will be a great litmus test as to how I like to collect it.   Stay tuned!

Grab a Gatorade, my friends.   You made it.   Thanks for reading!


  1. I really liked collecting it last year through trades, etc. - but it sure can be hard to finish. Especially the SP's.

    Will be interesting to see what you think. I'm sure it will be fun to go through the set after you've bought it. It also alot of fun to put the set together a piece at a time - and when you do finish it, I love to go back through the set. But if it's too difficult, then it can become frustrating. Heritage can definitely be a big challenge - maybe too big.


    1. Well put - you just captured my two conflicting sentiments!

      And by the way - a long overdue 'thanks' for your inspiration to pursue my own lifetime topps project. Thank you!

  2. I just bought a blaster and a rack pack, I'm excited to open them. Seeing your pulls got me even more hyped!

    I don't really build sets, but I usually worry about the base cards first before I go after any of the SPs I need. Seeing as how hard those SPs are to get sometimes, you are probably better off buying the set as you did.

    There's a ton of other sets out there to build, now you've got one less to worry about. :)

    1. I like the way you think, Nick. A lot of folks would look at my haul and feel like I didn't have ANY 'pulls'. Nice cards are nice cards, yes?

      Good luck with your ripping!

  3. I attempted the Heritage set last year. SPs dried up so fast and I didn't want to shell out a couple bucks per card to grab them. I gave up and sold it online. Let someone else deal with the hassle of Heritage. I'm not doing it again. I'll buy a box or so but I won't chase the set again, so I think you saved yourself a ton of frustration and money by buying it outright. You do lose out on the fun of set building though but in the case of Heritage, I think it's for the better. Plus how many bloggers are still trying to finish up 2011, never mind anything else before then?

    1. Great point on the SP's. I've just chosen to ignore them. Which is hard, because you miss out on those cards and if you build through packs - you'll end up with that batch of SPs at the back of the box that is just sitting there incomplete or you trade them away.

      Tough one and as you know - I'm one of those still chasing '11 (no SPs even)!

  4. I have told everyone that asked (and some who didn't) to buy RETAIL boxes instead of hobby boxes. You will get the same # of SPs and one hit per box. You will save 20-30 dollars per box and you can use those extra funds to buy a hit or two that you want or, like I did, another box. I completed 2011 Heritage by mid-May.

    1. Whoa - I had no idea....what's the big difference? Is it the "guaranteed" stamp on a hobby box for that ONE hit? Very interesting strategy - thanks for sharing!

      (was SO tempted to use a 'thinking outside the box' cliche)

    2. This is a great idea if one does decide to chase Heritage. The hits aren't much anyway, a plain jersey swatch from a semi-star player. There's no shame in retail!

  5. Personally I'd take Verlander over Kershaw but that might be just because I am a Detroit fan. Love the shout to Leyland as well. Happy collecting!

  6. Great write-up Ryan. I got a big laugh out of Upton's hat still having the price tag on it. Maybe he returned if atfer the photo shoot.