May 21, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage Red Herrings

Though it's been off primetime network TV for a few years now, Law & Order can still be felt in pop culture. A great example is the hype and trickery surrounding 2014 Topps Heritage. A lot of noise has been made about the many hard-to-find variations in this set—found in three tiers: action, logo, and the mega-rare "throwback" uniform—so much so that collectors have become attuned to looking for them. To make things more difficult, Topps threw a handful of red herrings into the base set.

Like the slumlord who shows up at the courthouse in minute 35 can't possibly be the murderer (there are 25 minutes left in the episode, for crying out loud), these red herrings look like the variations we've all been chasing, but in fact are just these players' regular base cards.

Below are five red herrings, with a little explanation.

Derek Norris, Oakland Athletics - There are two throwback uniform variations featuring A's players—and both are shown wearing yellow jerseys—but neither of them is named Derek Norris.

Ricky Nolasco, Minnesota Twins - The action variation set features 25 of the best and brightest in the game, guys like Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish, and Clayton Kershaw. To make things a little more interesting, there are at three regular, base set cards that also feature action photos: Kevin Gregg, John Lackey, and Ricky Nolasco. These three are not part of the action variation checklist.

Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins - Cards with logo variations are a bit harder to notice, but again, they feature just top stars of the game. Guys like Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano, Andrew McCutchen, and Giancarlo Stanton. But it's the fact that Stanton is included as a logo variation that makes the logos on the other Marlins in the base set interesting. Some are shown with a white M with "Miami" below, and some are shown, like Ozuna, with a black M and "Miami" below. Stanton's logo variation has just a white M, no "Miami."

Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds - If you're an avid Topps Heritage fan like me, you spent more than your fair share of time studying the sell sheets for this year's set. And if you did, you'll remember that the throwback uniform variation of Joey Votto was prominently featured. What make's it a throwback uniform? Votto's cap's logo is the same old-timey "Running Man" patch seen here on Ludwick's sleeve. Yes, the logo is featured on other Reds' players' base cards as well, but no other card has it featured front and center. Well, except for the mega, ultra rare throwback uniform variation of the team's biggest star.

Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox - Eaton is not one of the game's brightest young stars. But his teammate Chris Sale is. So what gives? Well, although Eaton is definitely shown here in a throwback uniform, he's a red herring: it's his regular base card. This is important because it's a cue to collectors to be on the lookout for another player who is shown in the same throwback uni style (Sale).


BaseSetCalling said...

The extra irony of the Eaton card is that they photoshopped him into the throwback uni, as the picture was taken in the same spot as most of the other Diamondbacks cards … and Eaton has never worn that uniform before this season, if they've even worn it this year, yet.

Captain Canuck said...

now my head hurts