August 14, 2014

The Wrong Kind of Star: Quirks in 2014 Topps Heritage


2014 Topps Heritage Mini - Zack Greinke
If you're collecting Topps Heritage this year, here's something you may not have realized. Just like in the sport it depicts, there are varying degrees of star popularity within the set. Here's what I mean. There are 13 different non-relic/non-autograph cards of superstar Mike Trout in the set. There are nine cards of Zack Greinke. By comparison, there are seven different cards of Alfonso Soriano. And just one card of guys like Mark Teixeira, Tim Lincecum, and Alex Rodriguez. And others, too. Paul Konerko has only one card. Matt Holliday and Shin-Soo Choo? One card each. Same for Jose Altuve, Anibal Sanchez, Josh Donaldson, and David Price.

Asking why there need to be so many different parallels and inserts for a set like Heritage is a question with no good answer. Instead, here are the different versions of non-relic/non-autograph cards:

1. Base card (500 cards)
2. Chrome (100 cards)
3. Chrome Refractor (same 100 cards as Chrome set)
4. Black Chrome Refractor (same 100 cards as Chrome set)
5. Gold Chrome Refractor (same 100 cards as Chrome set)
6. Purple Chrome Refractor (same 100 cards as Chrome set)
7. Walmart-exclusive Blue Border (25 subjects)
8. Target-exclusive Red Border (25 subjects)
9. Retail-exclusive Black Border (same 100 cards as Chrome set)
10. New Age Performers (20 subjects)
11. Base Action variation (25 subjects)
12. Base Logo variation (25 subjects)
13. Base Uniform variation (25 subjects)
14. Mini (100 subjects)
(I'm not counting the Black Back version of the base set, as every card on the base-set checklist is included.)

Some cards are easier to find than others. For instance, base-set SPs are seeded around one per three packs, while Mini cards show up one per case. And only some players are in some of the insert sets. For example, there are three cards in the Chrome sets that do not appear in the Mini set—Alfonso Soriano, Xander Bogaerts/Jonathan Schoop, and Nick Castellanos/Billy Hamilton. They are replaced in the Mini set by Jason Grilli, Austin Jackson, and Derek Holland.

So what gives with all this? Why are some players included in nearly every insert and parallel set, and others not represented anywhere? Well, Teixeira's been hurt. A-Rod's a pariah, banished for the season. And Lincecum has been mired in middle relief, a star in name only. But for the others—like the new-to-the-national-spotlight guys like Altuve and Donaldson—there are no good reasons for their exclusion. It's just a quirk of this year's set, one that will probably be corrected in 2015's edition.

1 comment:

Douglas Moore said...

Great pictures and content,all a welcome reminder of the old days when I bought them from from a candy store which most likely no longer exists.