Friday night was an fairly exciting night by my low standards… I discovered that the Target store near my house had put in self-serve checkout lanes (meaning I can buy nothing but a pack of cards while not feeling self-conscious), and 2016 Topps Heritage High Number packs were in. For the record, I also bought some soap, but that’s because that’s what I was there for in the first place.
I’ve gotten to the point where I like High Numbers a bit more than the regular Heritage set, and that’s mainly because the player selection is a bit more wide-ranging.
As it turns out, the hanger pack I bought was something of “hot pack” in the way it had been when I started in the hobby. The biggest conventional “hit” I got was a Tanner Roark refractor (#’ed to 567), but the pack was loaded with base cards which made me happy.
I’ll start off with the card that got the biggest “OOH!”
Right off the bat, I got Matt Wieters’ Topps wax debut! You can see the Orioles logos! He’s not wearing full catching gear which covers the logos but also covers his face! He’s not listed as being a member of “BALTIMORE BASEBALL CLUB”! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He’ll be a free agent this winter and I suspect that I’ll be photoshopping him into another uniform for this Winter’s “Hot Stove” custom set – A hand-collated 1990 Donruss set says he ends up in Atlanta – but we shall see. After 2015 I fully expected him to be elsewhere in 2016, but he surprised a number of people by accepting the Orioles qualifying offer.
Brad Brach was an All-Star this year! I’ll bet a lot of you don’t even know who Brad Brach is, much less that he was an All-Star.
Brach is having as good a season as you’ll see from a pitcher who isn’t a starter or closer. He’s 10-3 with 2 saves, but more significantly he has a 1.67 ERA and a 0.991 WHIP.
I did get a Met in this pack; I’ve gotten to appreciate James Loney, but I expect he’ll be elsewhere next year.
Even if Loney weren’t a Met, I’d like this card because of the in-game shot. The posed shots are fun, but they can be a bit much after a while.
MUNI!!!!!!!! Everybody loves Muni!
By the way, a quick way to identify this year’s High Numbers cards without looking at the card number: There’s that dot between the player’s name and position. In the original 1967 set, the dot appeared between Series 1 and 2, but for 2016 Heritage they decided that High Numbers was Series 2 for dot purposes.
Mychal Givens is one of those guys I was talking about when I mentioned the more diverse checklist.
Givens was drafted as a shortstop but was still in A-ball after three seasons. He converted to pitching and his path to the Majors lead to the O’s bullpen.
Like me, Marcus Stroman is 5’8″ and from Long Island. Sometimes that’s all I need to become a player collector.
At first it seemed surprising that he wasn’t in the regular Heritage set, given that he was the Jays’ opening day starter, but I’d forgotten about how he lost most of 2015 to a knee injury.
We’ll finish up with Tommy Joseph, who is a guy I collect after having seen him play in the minors.
Joseph was a big catching prospect when the Giants traded him to Philadelphia in the Hunter Pence deal, but concussions and other injuries led to a position change and a major drop in his stock. After 2015 he was left off the Phillies 40-man roster and he went unclaimed in the Rule V draft. This year he got his chance after Darin Ruf got injured, and Joseph went on a tear. He’s currently got 21 homers, 47 runs and 47 RBI after making his debut in mid-May.
In someone else’s hands this pack may not have made much of an impact, but for me it was a lot of fun to open.