I’ve never understood the hobby’s fascination with Topps Heritage.
There, I’ve said it.
While much of the blogging and hobby world seems to swoon when the first of the Heritage packs hit retail shelves and hobby stores across the country, I grab a handful of packs or a blaster and wait for the greatness to wash over me. But it never does.
Because seriously, that is one boring card. And to me if feels like I see that pose – sometimes closer, sometimes at a different angle, but always the same pose three hundred-fifty times in the set. Leafing through a stack of these is like watching someone sleep. It is the baseball card equivalent of Andy’s Worhol’s “Empire.“
Look, there’s Johnny Cueto looking like Scott Baker, only without his glove hand in the picture. And these are almost dynamic compared with the portrait shots that dominate the set. I understand that this was what baseball cards looked like in 1963, but looking at these in person does not make me think Topps did a great job. Sure they did a nice job with the design, but they need to find a filter for those photos to make them feel more authentic instead of just washed out.
I guess the problem could be me. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time truly appreciating the original design. I admit I don’t pull down my box of ’63 Topps very often these days since I’ve put most of the vintage sets on hold. Perhaps I just can’t reconcile the image of a modern player on a card from fifty years ago. Or maybe I should have immersed myself in the culture of 1963 before opening the blaster that I bought. You know, fired up some Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs or Bobby Vinton on the hi-fi, watched some old Lassie or Patty Duke episodes on the old black and white, or cracked open a six-pack of Tab. Because what isn’t better with Tab?
Despite my disdain for the set itself, I did enjoy pulling one of these:
Case hits from a blaster are always awesome, especially when they are of a hot young rookie. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Montero was still in New York. It’s no longer in my possession, though. I’ve learned from reading message boards over the years that being one of the first to sell on eBay can improve your profit margin. So far, it seems like the right call.
That leaves me with a number of base cards and a handful of inserts that I will be happy to trade away.
Now, I haven’t given up hope for Heritage quite yet. I’m actually looking forward to Topps efforts to recreate those awkward action shots that began to appear in the 1972 and 1973 sets. If they can do that well, then maybe ten years from now I’ll be a full-fledged fan. Until then I’ll keep scratching my head.