Inserts 1 News Flashback (1:12 packs) Berlin Wall 1 New Age Performers (1:15 packs) J.Mauer 1 Then and Now (1:15 packs) L.Aparicio, J.Ellsbury
The Review Without any question the highlight of the hobby season for me is the annual release of Topps Heritage. I know that many other collectors feel the same way about Allen & Ginter but for me I can't get nearly as excited for A&G as I do every year for Heritage. I think it's because more than any other product on the market today these cards remind me of what baseball cards used to be. Yes, it would be even better if the gum wasn't wrapped, wasn't made in China, if the packs were wrapped in wax instead of plastic, if it was one series of 792 cards, if there were no inserts, no autogamers, no serial numbered chrome thingys, if they were closer to 99 cents rather than $2.50 a pack, but this is as close as we will probably get in an era where Topps is enslaved to Joe Collectors.
I am particularly pleased with this year's set. I was really worried when it came time to mimic the 1961 set because I feared Topps would be compelled to meddle with the boring design. Instead these cards are plain and simple, just like their '61 counterparts. Many collectors have complained that this design is just too plain boring but I absolutely savor it's simplicity. Topps deserves credit for remaining faithful. Better yet, the entire base set is printed on gray cardboard stock.
One thing I'm not too crazy about is that the photos have been tinkered with a tad too much in Topps' compulsive zeal to approximate 60's era cards. It seems that they've really softened the backgrounds on a lot of the photos and tried to embellish the players. Rather than look like 1961 baseball card photos they look really "touched up." But that's a minor quibble in a set that in all other respects is very pleasing to the eye. Like always, the many subsets mimic similar ones found in the original '61 edition. One feature that I think is really neat is that the league leader cards feature old timey head shots on the front and the backs list the past fifty years of league leaders in each category. Every back is worth at least five minutes of wonderment at names you heard of and many one year wonders you haven't while you recall summers long past.
The team cards are here again but the ridiculous backs with "every player's stats against every team in the league in agate size type" are so impossible to read that Topps really should have just put something else on them. I'm guessing the '61's had something to do with this but I doubt seriously they had to list stats against 18 teams on the back.It's also a bit disappointing that with the rookie cards, Topps was forced to use that ridiculous Official Rookie Logo AND the '61 Star Rookie logo. MLB really needs to loosen up. Especially now that there is only one licensed manufacturer. On a positive note, the return of those gorgeous early sixties Topps Rookie Cups are more than a welcome sight.And did I mention that I absolutely love the MVP, All-Star, Baseball Thrills and checklist cards?With all the pluses and minuses considered I have to give Topps an overall thumbs up. I can't wait to break another blaster.