The Next Fifteen Years Of Heritage

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.
1967 Topps Dave Johnson

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.
1968 Topps Mike Marshall

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.
1993 Baseball Cards Magazine Darren Daulton

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).
1968 Topps Game Pete Rose

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.
1969 Topps Mike Epstein

What I would like to pull from a pack: Deckle-edge cards would be kinda nice, but not 100% necessary.
1969 Deckle Edge Tommy Davis

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*)
1970 Topps Dave McNally

Baseball  Cards Magazine also did their custom card magic on this set, this card coming from 1992.

1992 Baseball Cards Magazine Tony Gwynn

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.
1970 Topps Booklets Cleon Jones_0005

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.
1971 Topps Bob Spence

Here’s the “miscut 1971” UD Vintage version.
2002 UD Vintage Jay Payton

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.
1971 OPC Duffy Dyer back

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.
1972 Topps Bob Bailey

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.
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Giancarlo Stanton

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”?
1972 Topps MVP Award

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.
1973 Topps Terry Forster

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?)
2014 Archives Freddie Freeman

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.
1973 Topps Don Zimmer

2023 Heritage (1974 design)

Another basic design, so one would think that they shouldn’t have too much trouble replicating it…. one would think.
1974 Topps Dwight Evans
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.
1974 Topps font comparison 2

What I would like to pull from a pack: Traded cards, 1974 style.
1974 Crowley Traded

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.
1974 Colbert WNL

2024 Heritage (1975 design)

Come on, who isn’t looking forward to 2024 Heritage?
1975 Topps Jim Rooker

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.
1975 Topps 1965 MVP Versailles Mays

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?
1976 Topps Skip Lockwood

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.
1976 Topps Bazooka Champion

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.
1977 Topps Ed Kranepool

What I would like to pull from a pack: Big League Brothers… if we have any brothers to highlight in 2026.
1977 Topps Big League Brothers - May

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.
1978 Topps Don Baylor

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.
2014 TSR 1978 #4 Tsuyoshi Wada

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.
1979 Topps Keith Hernandez

79T is an easy set to replicate.  No excuses, Topps!
1979 Joe Maddon

What I would like to pull from a pack: Updated “All-Time Record Holders” cards would be tres bien.
1979 Topps All Time Ks Ryan Johnson

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.
1980 Topps Steve Garvey

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 .
1980 Burger King Ron Guidry

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).
1981 Topps Dave Cash

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?!?
1981 Fleer Joel Youngblood

What I would like to pull from a pack: Food issues!  Drake’s!  Squirt!  Coke!  Do it, Topps!  DO IT!!!!
1981 Drake's Dave Parker

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?

14 thoughts on “The Next Fifteen Years Of Heritage

  1. I’m probably looking most forward to 2024 Heritage (’75 Topps), but I’ll go nuts over 2022 Heritage (’73) if Topps keeps those quirky action shots intact. And I’d love to see a Fleer Tradition/Topps Heritage showdown once the “tribute” year hits 1981.

  2. The ’67 design is either my favorite or my second favorite (the other being ’65). Loved those growing up so I imagine I’ll be very excited about 2016 Heritage. For my money, Topps can skip right by ’68. ’69 was cool, but I’ve always loved ’70 and ’71. After that, nothing much excites me. ’72 and ’75 were OK, but just OK (to me). I was never nostalgic about the ’76 design, but the ones in this year’s Archives looked really good, so they could probably win me over on that one.

    Cardboard “coins” would be pogs, basically, and that’s been done, and there are currently the plastic Chipz. For me to care, you either have to do the real coin coins or don’t bother. What I suspect is Topps would do coins as either a box or case topper and they’d be unaffordable on the secondary market. I don’t see them putting those in packs since they’d tend to leave impressions on the cards and we can’t have that.

    And I like your ideas for the ’75 MVP subset. I think either one would be awesome.

  3. Thanks for putting my entire childhood and adolescence into one blog post, lol. Each year and subset has a significance or set of memories attached to them. Just as an aside, I like some of the retro cards but there was something about the original releases that all the good intentions cannot replicate. Plus I don’t know who half of the new players (kids) are today even though I follow baseball.

  4. You work too hard. Or is it play too hard? Anyway, I do love the 1967 design. Next year may be the first time I buy more than a pack of heritage. If I were only a year older I’d be sitting on hundreds of the 1967’s. My serious collecting started in 1968. Damn!

  5. The only thing duller than the late 50s League President cards are the ‘award trophy’ cards.

    I like the ’67 design as well. Probably more for the nostalgia than anything else. It was probably the last set I tried to complete by the pack. That was the summer we first moved to Houston. I didn’t know a soul and hiked every day through the horrible heat to the store to buy a pack or two.

  6. This is a great post. I bought some Heritage this season but Archives trumped them for me because I am not a fan of the 1966 Topps design. It’s true that some designs age well and feelings change about them over the years. ’66 isn’t one of ’em (for me). ’15 Archives has two of my favorite designs, 1976t & 1983t (and 1957t was nice too).

    “Koffee” for the 1970 Topps font? I went looking for that font and could not find it. :(
    I have been using “Alako-Bold”. What you say about the 1974 Topps font is true. And if you look close at cards of the 1960’s and 1970’s Topps was (at times) subtly inconsistent in their font work.

    Whoa, the UD Vintage set. I forgot all about them. Over the last 20 years or so I wasn’t buying baseball cards much, but I did try to put a set of those together. 1971 was my first complete set as a kid and I loved seeing the UDvintage cards. I haven’t thought about that for years. They are all in a box somewhere. I’m going to have to dig that out. Any valuable cards in that set?

  7. Pingback: A Goofy Custom Which Was Inspired By A Typo | The Shlabotnik Report

  8. I am looking forward to 1967 heritage, good design. Also 1969 thru 1972, 74, 75, 77, 78 & 80. The 1976 & 79 designs look too much alike. The 73 is nice but bland. The 68 design should be most challenging due to front of card. The 81 should be fun if they use different caps for the same teams. All of fleers baseball cards are garbage not worth collecting.

    • I like the 83-87 Fleer sets well enough. 82 and the 91 “Yellow Card” though are the 2 worst ever made IMHO. Had that 91 been black with yellow, it might have worked.

  9. I’m a huge heritage fan. I was thinking about your comic idea. Why not have them as box toppers! I’m actually looking forward to the he 70’s editions. I started collecting in early 80’s my dad stopped in mid 60’s. So that whole era will be “new to me” so to speak. I’d also love to see the food cards! That’d be awesome! BTW, fantastic article

    • Thank you, John! I appreciate the kind words.

      I think the main thing which would keep Topps from doing the comics is that I suspect that they wouldn’t have anyone to draw the comics. It doesn’t seem like they have anybody on staff, or anybody that they regularly work with, who could draw those. Otherwise, I’d love to see “The Shohei Ohtani Story” as much as the next guy.

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