March 08, 2014

Ben's First 5 Thoughts on the 2014 Topps Heritage Checklist

In anticipation of the release of 2014 Topps Heritage (now since delayed to March 14th), Topps made the set's checklist available on their website. Because I enjoy deconstructing checklists in my free time, here are my first five thoughts:

1. It's weird to me that Topps didn't follow their own checklist from the original 1965 set. In the original, the reigning NL MVP (Ken Boyer of the Cardinals) was put on card #100, and the reigning AL MVP (Brooks Robinson of the Orioles) was put on #150. Instead, the Heritage checklister went the straight team-to-team route, assigning #100 to Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright and #150 to the Orioles' current third baseman, Manny Machado. If they had followed the script of the original, reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates would be #100 and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers would be on #150.

By deviating from the original, the meaning of the set changes. It's no longer a retelling of the original 1965 set, but rather an ode to the idea of the 1965 set. This is especially weird considering...

2. Topps has hinted that there will be base-set errors and variations in the spirit of the original set. What's especially odd about that is that two of the most well known variations in the original are on checklist cards themselves. Checklist cards aren't even assigned checklist numbers in the Heritage base set, so I'm guessing that these variations won't be included in the new set.

3. There are no team cards, and only 17 managers are represented. Also, teams are not represented equally. The Cardinals clock in with 19 individual cards (18 players plus manager Mike Matheny). On the other side of the spectrum, the Astros have 10 players and no manager. The highest-numbered Astro is Dexter Fowler at #394, which means there are no Astros in nearly a quarter of the set, including the desirable on-checklist chase SPs.

4. The high-numbered on-checklist SPs (#426–#500) are all big-name players, including Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, and Yasiel Puig. As far as Topps went to deviate from the original 1965 set, they went even further away from the spirit of previous Heritage sets with this move. Honestly, I'd be surprised if future Heritage sets don't go the full Allen & Ginter rip-card route for the final 75 cards.

5. Finally, when did the idea of the "Real One" autograph subjects list change to include retired players not represented in the original set? Around 10 years ago, when the Heritage brand was a fresh idea, the autograph checklist was made up of players from the original set from that year, with only two or three current players. But guys like Bo Jackson? Bret Saberhagen? Rafael Palmeiro? Dave Concepcion? Isn't this why Topps rebooted Topps Archives? These players should not be all together in a Heritage set until the year 2036, for Topps Heritage '87. (I almost forgot: not one but two different Keith Olbermanns.... Sheesh.)

1 comment:

Mark Aubrey said...

I think that it is Olbermenn.