Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Heritage Favorites 9/9/09 Edition

Here we are on the 9th day of the 9th month of the 9th year of the new century, well actually it is the 10th year of the new century, but topps heritage is in its 9th year. That made me think of the number 9 and what it means to heritage. I immediately thought of all the famous baseball players who wore the #9. Of course Ted Williams comes to every ones mind. He has appeared in several heritage releases, from then and now cards in 06 and 07 to a cut in 2006 which to my knowledge has never been pulled, to one of the more famous cards in the heritage run, the Korean War time capsule card in 01, which featured a piece of military uniform (not from Williams). I always thought of Teddy Ballgame as the best hitter who ever lived, you have to wonder what his stats would of been had he not gone to war twice!

Yankee fans will think of Roger Maris who has only appeared as a cut autograph back in 2007. If heritage makes it to 2010 (1961 issue), they will most likely have to put Maris in the set somehow. You can't ignore the magic of that season, Maris versus Mantle versus Ruth. Hopefully the Upper Deck exclusives will be long gone by then.

Two other famous 9's have also appeared quite a bit in topps heritage. Enos Slaughter was one of the original guys appearing in the first 01 autograph set. Bill Mazeroski would also have plenty of jersey cards and autograph cards in various sets starting with 2006. Pirate fans had something to shout about back then!

However, none of these guys have appeared in more heritage products than the #9 heritage champ, Minnie Minoso. Saturnino Orestes Armas MiƱoso Arrieta, or Minnie as he was called, was a fountain of youth. He is only the 2nd player ever to play in 7 different decades, a feat that will stand for ever. Starting in the negro league, Minoso would go on to play for the Indians, Cards, Senators and on and off with the White Sox where he was called Mr. White Sox.

Minoso was also featured in the first 2001 heritage set. He had an autograph, a jersey card and a dual jersey card with Frank Thomas. He would sign again in 2002 and have an insert card in 2003. After a short break he would again be featured prominently in 2008. In 2009 he would appear with Chipper on a then and now card. If topps continues in the next decade and feature the players of the 60's and then 70's, Minoso should be right there!!

Have a happy 9/9/09!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Heritage Favorites Part II

In our second installment of heritage favorites I visit another active player. Alex Rodriguez's heritage rein has spanned three teams. He was a featured autograph back in 2001 heritage with the Seattle Mariners. The next year he would be traded to the Texas Rangers and then again to the Yankees. Arod has of course been a heritage staple appearing in the autograph set both in 2001 and 2002. He also has appeared heavily in the insert sets being paired with HOF'ers from Mantle to Jackie Robinson to Yogi Berra. In 2009 a surprise double GU card of Mantle and Arod was on every ones wish list. Arod has also appeared in every chrome set except 2007 including the very popular black refractors. Rodriguez has been a very good signer with topps over the years but it looks like those days are gone, he doesn't sign nearly as much as he once did.

The card you see above was pulled at a target, an amazing feat for the highly searchable 2001 packs, what would be even more amazing is that I would pull the 2002 heritage Arod auto the very next year at the same target! They are still two of my more favorite heritage cards.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Heritage Favorites

In the next couple of posts I will be revisiting the most popular heritage players over the years. These players year after year provide heritage with the bang that has us coming back for more every year.

The first of those players is 10 year vet Chipper Jones, now I know he has played longer than 10 years, but he has appeared in every heritage release since 2001. He has several autographs in the 2001 release including a rare classic renditions autograph. He is also on a bat card with Eddie Mathews twice, once in 01 and once in 03. These cards are the crown jewel of Chipper collections. Chipper has been a mainstay in the chrome set for every year except 2007. Topps tried to go cross-branding with the chrome set in 2007 hoping that collectors would buy lesser products in order to chase the heritage chromes (it did not work).

If you are a Chipper collector you can count on great looking cards every year. Sadly Chipper doesn't sign a lot of cards today, but the old ones are beautiful, my favorite is this black chrome from 2008, the colors are amazing. Anyone out there with an 01 autograph? I would love to post it here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Time to say goodbye?

All good things must come to an end and it looks like one of the greatest baseball products is coming to an end. Topps just released the presale info for their 2009 Heritage High Number series and it has collectors scratching their heads. The presale material shows "big hits" as they always do, but what we see is a Jay Bruce autographed jersey card and a Dick Burwell real one autograph.

Jay Bruce is a popular player with collectors but he has appeared en masse recently in topps products including 2009 topps heritage. Dick Burwell is, well, I don't
really know. So I went to the baseball reference site and looked him up. Dick Burwell played with the Chicago Cubs for the 60 and 61 season, he pitched a total of 13.2 innings. He had "retired" at the age of 21.

If you collected topps heritage in the past then you have seen this before. The 2009 edition was chalk filled with these 3-inning career guys. Most of the players on the autograph checklist didn't play even a month. Is this what topps new game plan for heritage is?

Let me remind you all who appeared in last years product. Guy like Kaline, Snider, Frank Robinson, Kaat, and Cepeda, with minor stars such as Skowron, Muary Wills, and Tommy Davis. They also added in some of the hottest current players in the majors, guys like Pedroia and Soto.

I have to ask myself why topps is opting to cheapen the heritage brand so much? Do they really think the base set alone can sell this product? The autograph odds already make this product a 2 per case venture, but what fun is pulling a Dick Burwell autograph as your case hit?

Yes all good things must come to an end and this might be the end of topps heritage. In todays economy this lack of effort will not fly, even with your
most loyal collecting base, and I dare say that no other product, save for bowman
chrome, has had a more loyal following. I had hoped after seeing the presale info
that 2009 topps heritage would have some nice surprises in it, well it did, an even more watered down autograph checklist and players missing from the set that were actually pictured on the promo material. Topps also made a "mistake" by putting 80% of the super SP's into a few boxes of retail cards.

I know many heritage collectors like to pre order this stuff, but if last years product is selling for way less a box than it did when it came out, then what is this stuff going to be selling for next year? 35 a box? It might be worth the wait.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

7th and Final Heritage Super Short Print Found

The 7th and final super short print in 2009 topps heritage has just shown up. It features Adrian Gonzalez with the the Rangers logo on the front of the card. These super short prints are not numbered but appear to be very very rare. Most of these
commanding 150 to 250 dollars in ebay auctions. I think many of these will be missed by casual pack rippers and many may be found in the commons box. The 7 super short prints are:

#58 Conner Jackson with the Rays Logo on front
#70 Tom Glavine with his first name spelled "Thom"
#102 Adrian Gonzalez with the Rangers Logo on front
#346 Fred Lewis picture on front is Randy Winn
#407 Randy Winn pictured on front is Fred Lewis
#445 John Smoltz pictured in Red Sox uniform
#488 Hanley Ramirez AS pictured in Red Sox uniform

Caution to all, there are people on ebay attempting to pass off the Aramis Ramirez
card as a variation, while his chrome card has his complete name on the front the regular base card only has Aramis. There is NO VARIATION of this card.

Good Luck checking your commons box!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Topps Confirms Heritage Super Short Prints **Updated**

Topps has just told me that there are a total of 7 super short prints in the new
2009 Topps Heritage. 4 of them have already been found by collectors and a 5th
Randy Winn is assumed to match the Fred Lewis variation. I will add more information as it becomes available!

We have gotten conformation from topps that there is a Randy Winn variation and also a Conner Jackson Rays variation, to date we have not seen either of these. The 7th and final variation should show up soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Smoltz Variation Take II

I was just informed by my friend Brent that he just pulled another variation. This one of John Smoltz in a Red Sox uniform. It features the lighter back just like the
other ones. He should have it on ebay soon. It appears for now the key to the
super short prints are the light colored backs! Check your cards!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Heritage Variations

I learned about two possible super short prints today in 2009 heritage. The first which has shown up on ebay is a name variation on card #70 Tom Glavine. The variation lists his name on the front as "Thom". This apparently duplicates an error card in the original 1960 set (see the card list above). It looks like this one might be just as rare as the Santana and Smoltz variations. Stay tuned for more on this card!

I also learned from my friend Brent that it appears the Hanley Ramirez All Star
short print card is featured as a regular back AND a light back. I have noticed
several light variations in regards to the olive back, but none have been apparent
enough to call variations. I have been informed that this light back SP is very
noticeable. These light backs were also present in the 1960 set.

The first retail has also made an appearance. The walmart packs will have Mayo
inserts in them. It will be up to collectors to decide if these belong in the
master set, as they do not have the word heritage on them.

Stay tuned for more information. I would like to thank Brett (brettandbecca) and my pals over on the collector's universe message board for breaking this info.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Then & Now

The main idea behind topps heritage is to pay homage to the older topps sets by using the old design but with modern players. Even though these are modern sets,
the vintage players still take on a big role in the sets. This is no better shown than with the insert set called "now and then". This set matches a star of the vintage set with a current star, usually a star at the same position or with the
same team. These comparisons also haunt the base set, as the card numbers usually
match up too (a trait that only hardcore heritage collectors will notice.)

However as this set goes on there is becoming another kind of now and then...a
now and then within the actual heritage set!

Take the career of Gil McDougald. Gil came up the same year as Mickey Mantle and even won the rookie of the year that year barely edging another heritage mainstay, Minnie Minoso. He would play almost every infield position for the Yankees and would lead the league in double plays turned. He is perhaps most notably known for hitting a ball that struck pitcher Herb Score and ended his career, it is almost ironic
that Gil would be hit with a ball years later and that would lead to the end of
his the age of only 32!

Gil signed in the first heritage set back in 2001, the card above was his rookie card. He has also signed for the 2009 set being the only vintage player who has spanned so far the entire heritage run in autograph form. There are other heritage mainstays also. Duke Snider comes to mind, also Yogi Berra even though he wasn't on the checklist in 2001.

Gil's playing career was over in 1960 and his last appearance was in the famous game that Maz beat the Yankees in. A true now and then, heritage has now span the lifetime of some players. Gil will most likely never sign another heritage card and
as times goes on and more players retire "again", they will leave their legacy behind in the topps heritage autographs of the past.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Incredible Disappearing Checklist!

So we enter day 2 of topps heritage and as the clouds lift, we start to see more product, and are learning more about the checklist. What might be remembered more about this product isn't what is in the product, but what isn't!
Topps has once again promised us great cards only to change course at the release. Take the card above. This is what topps heritage is about...pairing a legend with a current star. Ryan Howard is coming off a championship season and everyone knows Sparky Anderson...mostly as a manager. Now where it gets confusing is that this picture is not from a box bust, but from the presell sheet that topps had on it's
website. It shows some nice cards from the new 2009 Topps Heritage, but the only problem is that several of these cards are NOT in the product, as a matter of fact large parts of valuable cards that showed up on the presell sheets and checklists are now gone!

We have seen this before, mostly recently with Topps Mayo football. The autograph checklist promised was amazing and what came out with the product after all the presales were made, was less than great, and in the case of topps heritage, really not that great at all. I don't see any autograph on the checklist that should break the 80 dollar mark, and if you know the history of topps heritage then you will know this is very unheard of.

I will be contacting upper managment at topps over this and see what they say. I will post a response here. I would caution anyone who is doing this set, to avoid paying a high price because a dealer says this stuff is limited. We have already seen popular websites selling this stuff in the 840+ range for a case. I have estimated the hobby print run at half a million packs and retail will hit very soon!

I estimate the price of boxes and packs to take a huge dive over the coming weeks as people will realize just how weak the value is. I know there are plenty of you out there who do the master set every year (as I do) and the prices for boxes can go up as demand gets higher, but I can tell you that there is plenty of product out there and there will be few other collectors buying this product who won't collect the set.

In the mean time, find a good price on a box, sit back and enjoy the simple elegance of this set but pay close attention to the team cards and their checklists on the back and maybe ask yourself..."where did all the good cards go?"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!

2009 Topps Heritage is finally here, I am excited to say that it appears I am one of the first people to open it. I was able to get 6 boxes only, but I think that is enough to review it. Here we go!

First off these cards are amazing. They really have a lot of eye appeal this year. The bright colors of the 1960 set have been duplicated here very well. Many of the cards give you that 60's feel. Philly fans will be happy to know that there are several cards chronicling their world series run. There are also Tampa Rays cards, including one of them "kicking" the ball around the outfield! OUCH. Other sub sets include award winners, player combo cards, team coaches cards, managers and the very popular All Star cards.

It appears through my 6 box rip that cards #'s 426 and higher are short printed, they are also printed with a darker back, so there will be no mistaking short prints this year. Im sure there will be some other surprises too. Chrome cards were quite plentiful and refractors were one
per box. The black refractors are top notch.

If you are looking for value I am afraid you are looking in the wrong box. What topps lacks in value they make up for in the looks of the base set, but that doesn't provide bang for the buck. A 12-box case will not even guarentee you an autograph card. It appears that topps went with a much smaller checklist of ink this year. You are most likely going to pull 12 game used cards in a case of this product which is unheard of in todays market, but topps knows they can sell this on name alone. Also gone from the checklist are retired players game used cards. Only the much rarer dual relics have the big names in them. The entire game used checklist is comprised of a few stars and mostly semi stars.

Here is a breakdown of what I pulled from these 6 boxes. All 6 boxes were from the same case.

Dark Back Short Prints (expected: 48) Actual: 47
Chromes /1960 (expected: 24) Actual: 27
Refractors /560 (expected: 6) Actual: 6
Black Refractors /60 (expected: 0) Actual 1 D. Uggla
Blue Autographs (expected: 0) Actual: 0
Red Autographs (expected: 0) Actual 1 F. Carmona
Clubhouse Collection (expected: 6) Actual: 6 Buchholz,MaybinX2,Crawford,Podsednik, Baldelli
1960 Box Toppers (expected: 3) Actual: 2
Ad Panels (expected: 6) Actual: 6


Stay tuned for much more information including possible surprises!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Collecting Heritage 101

So you are now interested. Hopefully you have visited some websites and seen some product and have now decided that this is for you. Where do you start? What do you collect? Where do you get it? I will attempt to answer all your beginning heritage questions.

First off we need to decide what we are going to collect. A master set of topps heritage is considered every base card with all the short prints and the three insert sets. These three insert sets are the now and then cards, the new age player cards and the flashback sets. The later of the three is divided into baseball flashbacks and historical flashbacks. This is the kind of set that most collectors build. It will require a good 5-8 boxes and plenty of trading partners. In the past two years topps has done a great job making sure that boxes within cases didn't have a lot of doubles in the short print set. The short print set is a group of usually 100 cards that are rarer to pull than the other "base cards". These and the insert sets will be the hardest part of putting a master set together. This is where it becomes essential that you have a few trading partners.
There are other ways to collect. Some try for all cards from a certain team, some build only the chrome sets (the chrome set is 100 cards and are inserted a few a box). Some collect the rarer game used sets and then some try to get all the cards including dual relics and autographs.
Once you have decided what you are going for then it is time to track down some product. Your first stop should be your local card store. Check and see if they have gotten any in and buy a couple of packs to see if you like it. Better test it first before you commit to a box or case. A box of topps heritage in hobby stores can run you from 50 bucks to 90 dollars. There are also online stores and ebay in which you can buy boxes, these boxes are often cheaper than you local store, but remember you have to play taxes and shipping and you can't test a few packs if you don't like it. Boxes that are found at target or walmart, which are called retail boxes, are found in several forms..per pack for 2.99 or jumbo packs for 4.99, in boxes of 24 for 72.00 and in smaller 8 pack boxes (called blaster boxes), for 29.99. Look for retail wax to be available a week or so after you see it in the card stores.
So you have the what...well for starters open them. If you are keen you will notice that the cards have a certain order. In the past the rarer cards are inserted in a certain part
of the pack, sometimes the second card in the pack, sometimes the 2 to last card in the pack.
If you keep all the cards in the packs in order, you might be able to then go back and pick out the cards that might or might not be short the beginning no one knows what the rarer cards are. At the end when you sort them, you might have a better idea of which ones are rarer.
You will of course find other cards in those packs, you will get either one game used card or an autograph in each box of 24. Of course in retail packs of less than 24 packs, all bets are off,but usually retail has the same odds as hobby. There will also be chrome cards, these will easily stand out and will be numbered on the back...1960 for regular chromes, 560 for what is called refractors, and 60 for black refractors which are the rarest of the chromes. The game used set is very large representing dozens of players. In the past the retired players have been the rarer ones. The autographs speak for themselves, they are rare and they are beautiful. Ones signed in blue ink will have a print run of 200, and those signed in red ink will be three times as rare and will be numbered to only 60. Any game used card or autograph card that is numbered is a true great pull.
I have always sorted my cards the same way. First I sort out all the inserted cards, then I go through and sort the remaining cards by 100's....that is 4 stacks...0-99, 100-200, 200-300,
and 300-400. After that I break them down into 10's and then put them in order. There will usually be a few checklists in the boxes too. You can use this to keep track of what you have for your set, and what extras you have for trade. Topps website at has a great
checklist for this product. You may wish to put your set in a binder or in a box. I have usually found that a 3 inch binder works for a master set. A few rigid holders are good for the game used and autographs. Penny sleeves are a good idea for the chromes, so they don't get scratched.
If you are ready to trade the best place on earth to trade is the collectors universe message board. It can be found here: All you have to do is find the 2009 heritage post and you will be able to make contacts. You will have to set up an account (free) to begin trading. I suggest that you introduce yourself first and list what you need. It is also the best place for information regarding topps heritage.
Whatever your set building goals are, topps heritage is an amazing collection of cards. The great part is that you can collect an easy set, or one that will take years to collect. Start small and see what is out there. The message boards are a great place for any questions. So grab some packs and get ready to chew A LOT of gum!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Return of the Game Used Card

1997 marked the year of the first game used card. There were three of them total and they were very hard to pull. Today, game used card are everywhere, sometimes several per pack. It is no wonder that collectors have fallen out of love with these swatch cards.
Along the way the card companies have tried to up the ante with what is game used. Today there are game used uniform cards, game used bat cards, game used hats and gloves, just about anything a ball player would get rid of has been on a card.
The excitment around pulling a game used card has been gone for a while. It is now common to throw to the side the game used pulled in a box. They are after all a dime a dozen...right?
Hold the phones though, topps has stuck a great balance with what they use in topps heritage. Sure there are plenty of game used cards, but there are also some very rare offerings. Usually the past stars have short printed game used cards. These cards always remain hot, as master set builders scramble to put their set together. In many products a jersey card of a guy like Bob Gibson might not be that great but in topps heritage you have just paid for several boxes! I have seen many times where a game used jersey card from heritage has outsold its autograph!
There are also the dual game used cards. These usually feature a retired star with a current player. There have been some amazing combinations over the years- Mays and Bonds, Eddie Mathews and Chipper Jones, Mantle and Arod and of course two fan favorites, Musial and Pujols. These cards have always been numbered low. They will be numbered to 60 this year and will feature some interesting pairings. Also look for dual autograph relics, those will be very hot this spring.
So don't be disappointed when your box of heritage only yields a game used card, you never know it might be worth a bunch!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Birthday Wishes

So it just so happens that my Birthday falls around the same day that Topps Heritage is released. A few years that has meant actually seeing the product on my Birthday. Back in 2004 I had a special surprise. I had been to my local Walmart almost everyday trying to find topps heritage. The first spotting of retail product is usually a big deal to us heritage guys. It was my Birthday and I hadn't seen any topps heritage for days. I walked into this store at around midnight and sure enough topps heritage was sitting there like presents under the Christmas tree. Blaster boxes, and packs and everything.
I often have wondered what the cashiers think when you bring a bunch of boxes of baseball cards up to the register to buy. Do they wonder why anyone would spend that much money on cardboard? Over the years I have gotten some funny reactions when the total price comes up.
Well I had bought my stuff for the night and parked myself on one of the benches inside the store. As you can imagine there isn't a whole lot of action at midnight, so I wasn't bothered at all. I began to rip and marvel at this new set. Taking in the aroma of gum and cardboard. Seeing the white of a game used cards that contrasts the dark base cards.
All of a sudden there it first autograph of the year, none only than Don Newcombe! Don was an important cog in the Dodgers championship run. He was one of the better autographs in the set and I was very happy to pull one. Sometimes I wonder what someone walking by would of thought of a grown man sitting at midnight on a bench with wax packs all around him greatly smiling? I really didn't care, I had a memory that will be with me forever.

Friday, February 13, 2009

February for most is still the dead of winter, but for some it is the true start of baseball season and it's spring training schedule. For collectors, February brings us the new products.
Topps heritage is always one of the early year products and around January there is always buzz on what the new product will look like and who will be in it. There are also those "surprises" that come with any product, but especially with heritage.

Many people opened up 2008 Topps Heritage and did a few things, first they opened every pack and pulled out inserted cards, these included chrome cards, game-used cards, autographs cards and sub set cards. These are considered the true gems of the products. What is left is a massive stack of base cards. These are cards that make up the base set and some of them are rarer than others. Most of the time these base cards are not that sought after, but on occasion topps throws us a curve ball.

The Johan Santana card above, was one of those surprises. A special insert card that had no markings on it. It looked at first like all the other base cards, but the true heritage collectors, those set building maniacs, spotted that this card pictured him with his new team...the New York Mets. Collectors then realized that this was a rare card and instantly the search was on. Suddenly that stack worthless commons could contain gold!

The anticipation in 2009 is in the air. Could it be a back variation, or team variation? Could their be a corrected error card on the checklist? You never know what is going to be out there. The next time you are sitting down with a pack or two of topps heritage, keep your eye out for the shinny cards yes, but don't forget that some of those other cards might be rare too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Here is where it all started, some 9 years ago. I opened my first packs of 2001 topps heritage baseball. I though the design (based upon the 52 topps set), was bad. I remember looking at the Mark McGwire card and it looked like he was a space alien! Then all of a sudden my first big hit...a Warren Spahn real one autograph
I had never really seen cards from the original 52 set, but this one was beautiful. The players were somehow etched in time. The backgrounds were bold colors which made the players stand out even more. These cards were true works of art.
I would later pull my second real one autograph, Gil McDougald, the ROY from the 52 season. I was hooked and made it my goal to get all the retired autographs from the 2001 heritage set
I of course built my set how any collector would..lots and lots of packs! Along the way the 2001 part of the set grew on me. Topps did a great job making the 2001 set feel like the 1952 set. Famous players in the 52 set had current star mirrors in the 2001 set. The first 90 cards could be found in both red backs and black back.
My autograph set was built slowly. I was able to pick up the cornerstone of the collection from a fellow message board user over at Collectors Universe (more on them later!). His name was Craig and back then it was he and I talking about how the set looked. He had 4 of the retired autographs I needed and we made a deal. Several years later, when I thought Craig was gone, he appeared again and we made some more deals. There were so many collectors like Craig that helped me out.

My last autograph was the tough Duke Snider. Duke is still today a very popular ball player and of course this card was red hot. I had to bite the bullet and pay a lot for the Duke I have. It was well worth it
This set contains 24 cards. The original set was supposed to be 26 but Eddie Mathews died soon after the release and Larry Doby never signed his cards
Hello All

Welcome to my Topps Heritage blog site. I am new to this so please check back soon
for more info!