As many of you know, last weekend I finished ranking the fifteen Heritage sets that have been produced by Topps to date (and if you missed it, you can see those posts here: (#15 – #13), (#12 – #10), (#9 – #7), (#6 – #4), (#3 – #1) ).
All along, I’d intended to do a follow-up post that was forward-looking… but the more I worked on it, the more it changed.
It was originally a ranking of the next ten years of Heritage, but well into the writing of the post I realized that it was a fairly pointless ranking. I am a child of the 1970’s, so ranking the sets based on 1967 through 1976 ended up being the same as if I’d listed them chronologically, and it went something like this:
cool. cool. cool. COOL! COOL! COOL! COOL! AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!
So I abandoned the ranking and expanded it to 15 years to match the number of years I just covered. For each upcoming Heritage set, I’m going to talk about what they could do, what they should do, previous attempts at re-creating the same sets, any graphical challenges Topps faces, blah blah blah.
Before we get started, I just want to mention that the next time you’ll see a team logo on a Heritage card will be in 2034. By then you’ll be taking your self-driving Googlemobile over to the Teleport Station to pick up the wax box that was beamed down from one of Amazon’s geostationary orbiting distribution warehouses.
Anyway, let’s get into the discussion. It all starts with next year’s set…
2016 Heritage (1967 design)
A “Less Is More” design that I like… it really puts the emphasis on the photo.
I didn’t realize until I was researching this post that the little dot between name & position didn’t appear until the 2nd series. Perhaps they realized that some impressionable youngsters thought there was a baseball player named “Phil Linz Infield”. I would think that this dot/no dot difference should show up in 2016 Heritage (FYI 1967 Series 1 went to card #109)
I’m curious to see how they jam some of the team names in when they do the Minor League Heritage set… RUBBERDUCKS and CHIHUAHUAS could give Topps fits next year. Maybe they’ll just avoid players from those particular teams…
What I would like to pull from a pack: Back in 1967, there were cards in Venezuela that came in three series; one series was a sort of “Spanish O-Pee-Chee” that featured Topps fronts with narrower borders and different backs featuring Spanish text; one series featured players from the Venezuelan Winter League (i.e Caracas, Lara, Aragua) and one short series featured “Retirado” (Retired) players like Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson. It’d be cool if they had some Retirado inserts.
Beyond that, some version of the 1967 pin-up inserts would be fun… but unlikely.
2017 Heritage (1968 design)
I can never decide whether or not I like the 1968 design. It’s kind of a weird design with the burlap pattern and the colored circle. On the other hand, 1968 was about as old as anything I was going to get when I was a kid (in those days you only got old cards through friends, family and garage sales), therefore it had a certain awesomeness about it.
In 1993, Baseball Cards Magazine tried their hand at making their own version and did a pretty decent job, even if they did use tan speckles instead of a burlap design.
What I would like to pull from a pack: You bet your burlap I expect to pull 1968 Game cards out of these packs, I don’t care if Archives is doing them this year (poor planning on Topps’ part, if you ask me).
2018 Heritage (1969 design)
1969 creates a sort of “Late Sixties Trilogy”, with 1969 being the the answer to “If 1967 and 1968 had a baby…”
I like this design, even if the big ol’ colored circle gets in the way.
What I would like to pull from a pack: Deckle-edge cards would be kinda nice, but not 100% necessary.
Some of you might like the decals, but they’re just really really mini 1969’s so I wouldn’t bother chasing them (just as I did not when they were an Archives insert).
2019 Heritage (1970 design)
As much as I like the 1970’s in general, I suspect that when I open my first pack of a Heritage set based on a 1970’s design I will squeal and giggle like a little girl.
1970 is a design that really hasn’t been done much in various Topps tribute-y sets over the years. True, it’s not a classic design, but it’s also not a done-to-death design (*cough* 1952 *cough*)
Baseball Cards Magazine also did their custom card magic on this set, this card coming from 1992.
For those who want to make their own customs of this set, the font used for the player names is called “Koffee”. I would give credit where credit is due, but I cannot remember nor find where I learned this.
What I would like to pull from a pack: It would be cool to pull little comics along the lines of “The Troy Tulowitzki Story”, but doing such a thing well is probably beyond the resources and budget allocated by Topps.
2020 Heritage (1971 design)
UD Vintage already “paid homage to” this set, but I loved it so, so very much that I can’t imagine that I won’t be excited by Heritage five years from now.
Here’s the “miscut 1971” UD Vintage version.
What I would like to pull from a pack: Parallels with the far-better-than-Topps OPC backs…. or they can just do the entire set with the OPC backs, I’d be cool with that.
Coins would also be cool, but I don’t know how problematic something like that would be. They didn’t do them for 2013 Heritage, I can’t see them doing it in 2020… But I did have an idea: Die-cut cardboard “coins”. How do you think something like that would go over? I think it would fall into the category of “Dunno, I’d have to hold one in my hand first”.
2021 Heritage (1972 design)
I’ll be frank, the idea of a Heritage version of 1972 Topps makes me nervous.
Teams like the Marlins were poorly done in recent attempts by Topps (Mini inserts, Archives), and I fear that’s not going to change by the time 2021 rolls around.
If they’re still doing Minor League Heritage in 2021, I see two possible mindsets involving the graphics department at Topps:
1) We, the employees of the graphics department, welcome the exciting and career-defining challenge presented to us by the need to adapt the 1972 design to names like “GRASSHOPPERS” and “BLUE WAHOOS”
2) We, the employees of the graphics department, have given our two-week notice to our supervisors and wish Topps the best of luck in its future endeavors.
What I would like to pull from a pack: “In Action” cards, absolutely… But what do you think about the subset featuring the different awards? “Fun” or “Boring”?
2022 Heritage (1973 design)
A basic design, but it has its appeals and I’ve always loved the color-coded position icons on the bottom.
I really enjoyed when Archives did these, even though they got some off the fonts and colors wrong. I’ve come around to the idea that Topps intentionally makes the Archives designs noticeably different from the actual design (maybe to differentiate from upcoming Heritage sets?)
What I would like to pull from a pack: I hope that they include the coaches when they do the manager cards, and don’t just put the managers on a vertical player card.
2023 Heritage (1974 design)
Another basic design, so one would think that they shouldn’t have too much trouble replicating it…. one would think.
This is the first set I collected, so I’m going to be beside myself when we get around to the Heritage version (and I’m going to try very hard not to think about the fact that the sets being “Heritaged” are 49 years old).
One thing custom card makers often get wrong when doing 1974 is the font on the player’s name. Some don’t realize that there’s actually two related fonts used, and not just one solitary font.
What I would like to pull from a pack: Traded cards, 1974 style.
Here’s what I would do if I were in charge: Unlike current Heritage sets where they make an effort to update player movement via photoshopping (think Pablo Sandoval and Jeff Samardzija in this year’s set), what I would do is leave the base set un-updated, and put the big free agents and trades from over the winter into a 33-card Traded insert. If you want to get pedantic about it, then photoshop the free agents in the base set, but leave the players who had been traded for the Traded set.
Washington “Nat’l Lea” variations also seem like a given.
2024 Heritage (1975 design)
Come on, who isn’t looking forward to 2024 Heritage?
What I would like to pull from a pack: Minis, of course.
I had another idea that could be potentially cool. The idea is concerning these cards from the originals.
I would love to see these updated, and there are two ways they could do it.
1) Update the original subset and feature the Topps cards of MVP’s from 1975 to 2023 using the designs from their respective years (which results in a 49-card subset).
2) Re-do the original subset, make it “25 Years Of Topps Heritage” and feature the same designs, only the Heritage versions. In other words, the card above would be “2014 MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS” and would feature Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw in last year’s Heritage design. I think this would be pretty darn cool, and I’d like to think that someone at Topps is already on top of this.
2025 Heritage (1976 design)
Color-coded bars, little cartoon men on the front, what’s not to love?
They’re doing a decent-enough job with this year’s Archives that I’m not worried about the 2025 Heritage… My main concern is whether they spend the next 10 years coming up with a better color combination for the Nationals than red and brown (Yech!). Just go ahead and use the Expos colors for the Nationals… What’s the deal, anyway?
What I would like to pull from a pack: A Bazooka Bubble Gum blowing champion card, even if a special event has to be staged in 2024 solely for the purpose of having someone on the 2025 Heritage card.
Oh yeah, and also Traded cards.
2026 Heritage (1977 design)
I love 1977, it was the 4th set I ever collected, but I’ll admit I can’t think of anything to say about it in this context. Me like 77T. Me look forward.
What I would like to pull from a pack: Big League Brothers… if we have any brothers to highlight in 2026.
Also “Turn Back The Clock” cards.
2027 Heritage (1978 design)
As I’ve mentioned before in my custom card diatribes, this set has the potential to cause problems for Topps, given that the team name was originally done by an artist and is not a font.
Just for the heck of it, here’s a custom I did last year to highlight the throwback unis the Cubs wore in a game.
What I would like to pull from a pack: As long as they correctly replace the baseball graphic with the little red, white and blue All-Star shield when appropriate, I’ll be a happy man.
2028 Heritage (1979 design)
This is my least-favorite 1970’s baseball card set, but that’s kind of like saying that “Beatles For Sale” is my least-favorite Beatles album.
79T is an easy set to replicate. No excuses, Topps!
What I would like to pull from a pack: Updated “All-Time Record Holders” cards would be tres bien.
2029 Heritage (1980 design)
I wasn’t a huge fan of this design at the time… partly because I was a teenager with other things competing for my attention, but I also felt like it was a little too similar to my beloved 1974 design.
I’ve come to appreciate this set a lot more over the last 10-12 years, and I’m about to make a push to complete the 1980 set… but that’s a subject for another post.
What I would like to pull from a pack: Burger King Pitch Hit and Run inserts, even if you pull a “Topps News” type of switch call them something else .
2030 Heritage (1981 design)
This set is just the opposite of 1980… I liked this design just fine in 1981, but it honestly hasn’t aged well for me. Of the fifteen sets covered in this post, this is the one I’m most likely to take a pass on (depending, of course, on what it’s competition is, whether they’re still doing Heritage and whether I’m still alive and collecting).
If someone resurrects the Fleer brand by 2030, I would look forward to a Fleer Tradition revival… How cool would it be to have 2030 Fleer Tradition challenging 2030 Topps Heritage for the throwback card market?!?
What I would like to pull from a pack: Food issues! Drake’s! Squirt! Coke! Do it, Topps! DO IT!!!!
So there you go… Hope you didn’t find it too much for one sitting, but I wanted to just get it out there and over with. To use another Beatle reference, it’s sort of my “All Things Must Pass” post.
I promise I’m done with Heritage for now… Except for some upcoming customs of cards that I’d wish had made it into 2015 Heritage… and, of course, my thoughts on 2016 Heritage… and… Oh, never mind. No promises from me.
…But I’d like to know what you think!
Which upcoming Heritage set are you excited about?
What would you like to pull out of a Heritage pack in the next 15 years?