It Just Seems Like A Day For Random Cards

I had a themed post ready for today, but I just didn’t feel like posting it.  Today seems more like a “random cards” sort of day, whaddaya think?

I’m slowly working through a wax box of 1992 Stadium Club Series 3… It didn’t start out slow, I enjoyed the heck out of it for a while… but it’s’ a 300 card series and a 540-card box, halfway through the box I hit the “doubles wall”.

This card might be the one I’ve enjoyed most, mainly for the “What the what?!?” factor.  Kirk Gibson… with the Bucs????
1992 Stadium Club Kirk Gibson
Gibson was with the Royals in 1991, got traded to the Pirates early in 1992 Spring Training, but only played 16 games for Pittsburgh before getting released.  Batting below the Mendoza Line will do that to a guy.

Also from 1992 is this O-Pee-Chee Premier card of Ozzie Smith… Familiar player, familiar team, but in this case unfamiliar set (to most, anyway).
1992 OPC Premier Ozzie Smith

Kellogg’s Keith Hernandez from 1981.
1981 Kelloggs Keith Hernandez
In 1979 and 1980, the Cardinals put the “TV numbers” on the uniform sleeves so that it wouldn’t take away from the beautiful chain-stitched birds-on-a-bat logo.  This photo gives a good demonstration of why that look only lasted two seasons.

It’s been a while since I posted a 1956 Topps card…
1956 Topps Ray Jablonski
As with pretty much all of the 1956’s in my collection, it was cheap, it had a good action shot, it was 1956, I bought it.

Remember when Chris Davis rookie cards would set you back a few bucks?  I’d been wanting to buy this Heritage High #’s card for a while, but it was always too expensive for my budget.  That’s not the case now, so I struck while the iron was… um… cold.
2008 Heritage Hi Numbers Chris Davis

This past Friday was “Force Friday” for those who are into Star Wars merch.  I hear that this is what happened to retailers who didn’t comply with “Force Friday”:
1977 Topps Star Wars #237

I think this post might need one more card… What do you say, one more card?
1975 Hostess Tony Oliva

Finally, on Saturday I posted about a PWE from Shoebox Legends, but inadvertently left out one of the cooler parts of the PWE… the stamp!
Jimi Hendrix stamp postmarked

I love a cool stamp when it comes along, it goes back to high school when I spent a couple of years collecting stamps (contrary to the general perception at the time that I was a nerd).

I appreciate the hell out of Jimi’s guitar skills, but I’ll admit I’m not much of a Hendrix fan… guess I’m not experienced, nor have I ever been experienced.  That’s not to say I don’t love me some Hendrix, just not the Hendrix that most other people love…

Favorite Hendrix songs:
Manic Depression
Crosstown Traffic

Favorite Hendrix covers:
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble (from the album “Couldn’t Stand The Weather”)
Hey, Joe – Buckwheat Zydeco (from the album “On Track”)

Favorite Hendrix parody:
Holidaze (S’cuze Me, I’ve Got Gifts To Buy) – Bob Rivers (from the album “More Twisted Christmas”)

Ranking 15 Years Of Heritage, Part 3: 9 through 7

For those of you who missed parts 1 and 2 of this series, I’m ranking all 15 Heritage sets from 2001 to 2015, rating them based on a number of factors, including the original design being “Heritaged”, how successful Topps was in replicating the design and feel of the set, and whether the Heritage cards changed my feelings towards the original cards.

Part 1 is here;  Part 2 is here.

For those who didn’t click the links, here’s a list of #15 through #10:
#15 – 2001 Heritage (1952 design)
#14 – 2011 Heritage (1962 design)
#13 – 2009 Heritage (1960 design)
#12 – 2010 Heritage (1961 design)
#11 – 2004 Heritage (1955 design)
#10 – 2006 Heritage (1957 design)

Once more, into the breach…

#9:  2003 Heritage (1954 Design)

It sounds kinda stupid on the surface, and almost a little heretical, but I prefer the blatant “homage” of 2000 Fleer Tradition…

2000 Fleer Tradition Bo Porter

Yes, this is the guy who used to manage the Astros.

…to the legitimacy of 2003 Heritage.
2003 Heritage Pedro Martinez
I suppose that part of that is because 2000 Tradition came first and I really enjoyed it, but when 2003 Heritage came out just a couple of years later, I ended up with sort of a “Meatloaf again?!?” attitude.  Not Topps’ doing, but it still bit them in the butt.

It might also have something to do with the colors.  It’s a little hard for me to say definitively, since I only own two cards from the 1954 set, but some of the Heritage colors seem a bit dull and muted compared to the original (and absolutely dull when compared to 2000 Tradition).  What looks to be pea green in the original is more or less olive drab in Heritage;  what’s a reddish orange in the original is cantaloupe in the Heritage set.

The backs are nicely done and colorful.
2003 Heritage Pedro Martinez back

One thing I didn’t realize about 1954 Topps until 2003 Heritage came out was the fact that the color background goes off the top of the card, and the white border is only along the sides and bottom. It’s a little detail that I kinda like, even if I’m not 100% sure I understand it.

Like it’s two predecessors, 2003 Heritage has no subsets other than the checklist cards which aren’t really part of the set.

How Heritage affected my opinion of the originals:  It wasn’t until a year ago that I said “Hey, I don’t own a single baseball card from 1954, what’s up with that?”  Part of what’s up with that is that I don’t often spend much time hunting for cards from before my Mets existed, but the Heritage set gets a tiny bit of blame for not igniting a fire underneath my butt.

2003 Heritage cards in my collection: 56 cards out of 430 in the set (13%)

#8:  2015 Heritage (1966 Design)

I don’t think there’s any question that this year’s Heritage set suffers from following a set based on the classic 1965 design. It’s not like I don’t care for the 1966 design in use this year, but it still suffers by comparison.

Even so, the design is still one I appreciate in a “Less is more” sort of way.
2015 Heritage Neil Walker

…And I do think that Topps did a decent job of re-creating the original, with some notable exceptions like inexplicably changing the color of the lettering on Cubs cards. They did fine on most of the other teams, and the backs are pretty nicely done …even if the card numbers are a little hard to read, but that’s a mix of the pink being a shade too light and it not being a great idea to begin with.
2015 Heritage Neil Walker back

I think one of the reasons why this year’s Heritage is a little more “meh” than it had to be is because of the photograph selection. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the photographs used are bad, they’re largely fine taken on a case-by-case basis. My problem is that, as a set there’s an awful lot of sameness to it. Candid shots of players, “Photo Day” poses, the occasional standard action shot. Someone in the MLBPA needs to train these guys on how to strike appealingly fake-y baseball poses like this:
1992 Stadium Club Gary Scott
Maybe they should buy a few pizzas and have a “lunch and learn” on the subject.

Team cards were a somewhat controversial subject with this set; The original team cards featued a photo of – imagine that! – the team. This year, they have subsituted generic crowd shots which remind me of the Fleer “NFL In Action” cards of the 1970’s.
2015 Heritage Cardinals Team card

This Cardinals team card has a halfway-decent photo, but several of the others have a shot which is basically just the backs of several players.  If it were something they could get away with, it’d be kind of fun to feature the 5th place teams as dejectedly walking off the field after yet another loss… that’s probably just the downtrodden Mets fan in me doing the talking.

Anyway… If this is the future of Heritage team cards, I’d just as soon they be done away with.  Some of you might be saying that they can’t axe the team cards because they were in the original set.  I say that ship has already sailed… You don’t see any Heritage checklist cards, do you? Huh? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to call attention to this particular card (Wainwright/Kershaw).
2015 Topps Heritage NL Aces
It’s not a tremendously great photograph, but it is a notable 21st century combo card… Both players are more or less facing the camera, and both players were photographed in the same place at the same time.  It’s not two different photos digitally combined into the same image, it’s not a photo of two players who were brought into proximity of one another during the course of a game, these guys are actually together… on purpose.  It happens so infrequently anymore that I felt I had to bring some attention to it.

How Heritage affected my opinion of the originals:  2015 Heritage made me doubt my fondness for 1966 Topps, and that can’t be a good thing. I did go back and spend some quality time with my cards from ’66 and yeah, I still like them.

2015 Heritage cards in my collection:  This is kind of pointless in that the numbers will change as soon as I buy another pack or blaster, but… 121 / 500 (24%)

#7:  2008 Heritage (1959 Design)

For the longest time, I’d never really thought of 1959 Topps as my kind of set… I prefer cards where the photo takes up a larger percentage of the real estate.
2008 Heritage Mike Piazza
By the time 2008 rolled along, I’d gotten into something of a Heritage habit, plus there wasn’t much in terms of non-foil-y, non-glitzy 2008 sets to compete with Heritage. That turned out to be a good thing, because it gave the 2008 Heritage set time to grow on me.  The more packs I bought, the more cards I thumbed through, the more I understood their appeal.

I grew to appreciate the colorful borders, the “friendly” lower case lettering at the top, and the fact that the “spotlight” design necessarily limits the type of photos that Topps could use…  The border draws the attention to the player while only allowing space for a portrait, or maybe a fake swing of the bat.

I like the backs, but I wish I’d scanned a card which had a cartoon.
2008 Heritage Mike Piazza back

Too late, I’m not going back.  You should’ve thought of that before we left the gas station.

The subsets in 2008 Heritage fall into the category of “A little busy for my tastes, but damned if it doesn’t work”.
2008 Heritage Carlos Gonzalez
It would’ve looked a little better if they came up with a fake name that’s longer than “Topps News”… it doesn’t fill up the card as nicely as “Sporting News” did… but that’s a minor quibble.

Take everything I just said about the Rookie Stars subset and apply it to the All-Stars subset.
2008 Heritage Justin Morneau AS

Last-minute update:

I also very nearly forgot to include these, but I like the combo cards in this set, even if they do illustrate the very “Photoshopped together” combo card I was kvetching about above:
2008 Heritage Young-Zimmerman combo

How Heritage affected my opinion of the originals: This is kind of a tricky situation.  I really like the Heritage set quite a bit, but I never went back and bought large quanties of 1959 Topps as a result.  I have just 6 cards from the original.  As with all sets from before 1962, it suffers from not having any Mets to chase and no large wantlist that gets me diving into that section of my favorite “Bargain Bins”, but I also think that this is a case where I like the Heritage set better than the original.  Maybe at my next show, I should go through the 1959’s from my favorite dealers and pick up some Orioles and “Guys who would eventually be Mets” and see if it even things up a bit.

2008 Heritage cards in my collection: 326 / 722 (45.2%)

Coming Attractions

We’re coming down the home stretch, next week will feature #’s 6, 5 and 4.  I’d tease it a bit more than that, but that would require my being able to remember which sets those are.  Don’t remember, I’ve got it written down… somewhere around here…