04/18/08 2:36 PM ET
Neshek: Heritage remains a favorite
This set is a difficult one to complete each year
By Pat Neshek / MLBPLAYERS.com
The Topps Heritage concept is pretty cool. Each year they make the Heritage set by using a popular old Topps design. This year it's the 1959 Topps design. They've basically gone back almost 50 years for this year's card design. Next year we will be seeing the 1960 design with all the players from today. In 2057 they will be using the 2008 Topps design -- pretty cool to think about.
The main reason I like this set is that it's nearly impossible to put together. They have these things called "short prints" which, for baseball-card illiterate people, means cards that are placed in packs at a much lower rate than the normal cards. It creates scarcity and high-demand for those "short-print" cards and makes it more challenging -- even a little irritating -- to try to complete a set.
This set also has other weird variations. Last year they had cards with the player's name in yellow and others of the same guy in white and one of the variations was an extreme short print. This year some card backs have "Black Backs"
Here's a link to the variation/short-print list if anyone is starting to build this set.
Also Topps uses a lot of players in this set, so it's also a favorite of autograph collectors who collect the set and then try to get it signed. The non-glossy surface is great for getting signed, so it's one of my personal faves to get my teammates to sign.
Here's what happened when I opened two boxes recently to get this fun and emotionally grueling set started:
Specs: 24 packs per box, eight cards per pack along with a Relic card or Real One Autograph in every box.
Here's how I did:
Two Box Toppers Advertising Panel: Greg Maddux, Carlos Ruiz, Nick Swisher, Eugenio Velez, Akinori Iwamura and Yuniesky Betancourt
Black Backs -- Box 1: 23
Black Backs -- Box 2: 23
Short Prints -- Box 1: 8
Short Prints -- Box 2: 8
Chrome Numbered to 1959: six
Chrome Numbered to 559: Manny Ramirez, John Maine
Chrome Numbered to 59: Joba Chamberlain
Relic/Autoraph: John Smoltz, Ivan Rodriguez
Well, I got the big hit in the Joba numbered-to-59 Chrome Card. I also knocked off a bunch of short prints. In some odd way in both boxes my short prints were the exact same, so it looks like I'll be trading these on my Web site to try and put this set together. I also noticed the Black Backs were in nearly every pack.
If you are looking for the fun challenge of putting together a tough baseball set, then Topps Heritage is for you. This was my favorite set to collect last year and I think any fan who wants to get into baseball cards would like this set.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.