I was not expecting to find this at the card shop yesterday. I went in specifically to get a monster box to try to organize my doubles for trade and to pick up a pack of Timelines for a post I'm working on. So I walk in and a box of blue packs are staring me in the face. Dammit. I don't have the money for a box. I wasn't expecting this for at least a couple of weeks and it really took me by surprise. I ponied up for 6 packs and went on my merry way. The first pack I ripped can be found here. I did pretty well actually, with a Jermaine Dye jersey and what I think is a short print. I haven't seen an official Short Print list, but the indispensable ToppsHeritage.com has both a checklist and a short print list up on his site. If that's correct there are no Braves in the short prints, hooray!
Here's the lowdown on the set. It's a 220 card update to the main set, numbered 501-720. There are 35 short prints and 35 black back variations. There are three insert sets: 10 Flashbacks, 10 Then & Now and 15 Rookie Performers. There are also 100 more Chrome cards numbered C201 to C300. These can be found in regular, refractor and black border refractor versions. There are also autographed Real One cards and Clubhouse collection relic cards. Box Toppers are the same as the fist set, 3 card advertising panels in every box and a foil stamped buy back card in every other box. Other than the smaller set size and the two Topps cards per pack, the setup is pretty close to the original Heritage set. The checklist is filled with rookies and not-quite-star players though, dont' expect any Howards orA-Rods or Pujols in this set.
Here's 5 hobby packs, I guess retail packs will be out in a couple of weeks. I'm crossing my fingers for T205 mini cards in the Target packs again. Topps Update & Highlights cards will be marked in blue in these rips so you can easily ignore them.
516 Salomon Torres
552 Jose Castillo
561 Mike Aviles RC
581 Gabe Kapler
665 Texas Rangers
612 Jeff Baker RC
UH100 Jay Bruce
UH11 Matt Holliday All Star
Aaaaand we're off. This was a good Milwaukee pack with Salomon Torres and Gabe Kapler. The Giants damn near ruined Solomon in 1993, I'm glad to see his career's back on track. Gabe Kapler is another good story from this year. For some reason Mike Aviles is in the Rookie Stars design and Jeff Baker is not. I'm not sure why Topps didn't just use that design for all rookies this year, unless they are saying that those other rookies suck. I'd go after Eisner with a baseball bat if I were you Jeff. Admittedly, Aviles had the better season, he just won a Topps Rookie Cup. One thing that gnawed at the back of my brain about the Heritage, um, Low Numbers set was that some teams didn't get Team cards. I guess Topps had it planned out the whole time to put some of them in the high series. the card has a checklist on the back and looking it over there is NOT much to speak of in this set other than the rookies. From cards 679-720 the biggest name I see is Kenny Rogers. The checklist also shows the Rookie Performers inset set. Since I have nothing better to do, here it is:
RP1 Clayton Kershaw
RP2 Mike Aviles
RP3 Armondo Galarraga
RP4 Joey Votto
RP5 Kosuke Fukudome
RP6 Chris Davis
RP7 Jeff Samardzija
RP8 Carlos Gonzalez
RP9 Max Scherzer
RP10 Evan Longoria
RP11 Johnny Cueto
RP12 Hiroki Kuroda
RP13 John Bowker
RP14 Justin Masterson
RP15 Jay Bruce
I was about to mention I've pulled my fourth Jay Bruce U&H card, but no one wants to hear about them, do they? Let us speak of them no more.
684 Jo-Jo Reyes
568 Damion Easley
521 Angel Pagan
679 Erick Aybar
629 Dennis Sarfate
592 Mike Hampton Black Back
UH45 Eric Hurley RC UH227 Carlos Quentin All Star
Ahhh crap. I thought we were done with the back backs after I didn't get one in the first two packs. At least it's Hampy. So is this a parallel or what? I guess I'll have to do some research this weekend on the short prints and black backs. Other than the two Braves there is absolutely nothign exciting about the rest of this pack. EXCEPT... Dennis Sarfate's cartoon. Best Cartoon In The Set. This cartoon will be incorporated into the ambiance of the blog eventually.
647 Matt Macri RC
578 Carlos Gonzalez RC
611 Max Ramirez RC
613 Houston Astros
TN3 Then & Now Larry Sherry & Mike Lowell
C235 Vicente Padilla Chrome #1862/1959
UH75 Matt Treanor UH105 Dan Giese
Three rookies, one team, a Then & Now and a Chrome. Interesting mix there. I've never seen two inserts inside a pack of Heritage ever before. Not that I can remember, anyway. Max Ramirez doesn't get a Rookie Stars card this time while Macri and Gonzalez make fun of him. Topps is just cruel sometimes. Adding to the strangeness is the fact that teh Rookie Stars are scattered all over the checklist instead of being put all together like in the low series. Second Checklist pops up here, this time of cards 501-560. A couple of names really pop out on this checklist: Cliff Lee and Mike Mussina. I also spy Jair Jurrjens which makes me happy and a Curtis Granderson which will make the gals at Dinged Corners happy. I'm 0-for-3 on short prints according to ToppsHeritage.com's list. They are supposed to be in every third pack so I'm getting scrooged. Alo one in three packs are Chrome cards. Lord help the poor sap who decided to build that set back in February. He gets to chase 'em in three sets now, Heritage, Chrome and High Series. No 2008 stats on the back, but Padilla's card does mention his double digit wins in '08. The Then & Now card is pretty neat, it features the 1959 and 2007 World Series MVPs. Maybe we'll see Maz and Hamels on a card next year?
656 Pablo Sandoval RC
604 Fernando Tatis
564 Chris Burke
658 Arizona Diamondbacks
643 Jeff Mathis
594 Joe Mather RC
UH201 Travis Denker UH192 Craig Hansen
YES! Checklist trifecta! Zona has the checklist for cards 621-678 on the back. Eeecch. This set has NO ONE in it. Joe Crede is the best on this list and Moose is the King of the Set. Yeah, ok, fine. Rookies. Longoria, Bruce, Cueto, Flopudome. Whateva. I sure hope that SP checklist is wrong 'cause I suck at pulling short prints right now.
510 Joe Saunders
720 Ivan Ochoa RC
678 Alex Romero RC
545 Justin Masterson RC
672 Taylor Teagarden RC Black Back
C212 Ryan Ludwick Chrome #1393/1956
UH143 CHIPPER JONES 400th Home Run UH57 Ramon Castro
Four rookies, one trick card #720 that looks like it should be a short print but isn't, a Chrome and a Chipper. Not a bad pack although I still don't know what's up with those damn black backs. Ludwick came out of nowhere to hit 37 bombs this year and the Braves are reportedly giving him a look over to man left field next year. The rumor is that the Braves would trade Kelly Johnson for him, but if the Peavy deal truly is dead I wouldn't be surprised if Escobar goes to the Cardinals. He seems to be in Bobby's doghouse and the Braves have their eye on bringing back Rafael Furcal as well. I don't know who the hell is going to pitch if we don't get Peavy though, but interesting stuff is happening at least in the Hot Stove. I don't have much to say about the rest of these guys other that Teagarden's cartoon is unique in that it continues the story in the text to its left. It actually doesn't make sense without reading the story, something I haven't noticed on any other card in this set. I said I wasn't going to discuss the U&H cards, but......
That is all.
Totals from 6 packs:
28 Base cards
1 Short print (?) - Seth McClung
2 Black back parallels - Mike Hampton, Taylor Teagarden
2 Chrome - Ryan Ludwick, Vicente Padilla
1 Then & Now - Larry Sherry & Mike Lowell
1 Clubhouse Collection Jersey - Jermaine Dye
So... it's Heritage. Looks like Heritage, smells like Heritage, tastes like Heritage but with a little bitter foil aftertaste that rubbed off from the Topps cards. If you've never opened a pack of Heritage in your life and were interested in trying a pack, RUN! RUN FAR AWAY!! RUN AND HIDE! YOU DON'T WANT THIS!!! If you've already got a binder full of the stuff and two monster boxes filled with the 2001-2007 Heritage sets then yeah, you'll buy it. If you have the binder full of Heritage and just bought two boxes of Updates & Highlights to finish that set, you'll still buy it anyway and will mutter curses under your breath when opening every pack. Dennis Sarfate's cartoon sums up how I would like to express my feelings about the Updates & Highlights cards to Topps.
Someone out there will understand.