For this exercise I put some limitations on myself. Here are my rules for this particular set.
- Only cards from Topps Heritage years 2001-2009.
- 500 cards in the set.
- Each binder page will have at least one card from each Heritage set.
- For pages above card #407 where cards no longer exist for a set, a card from any set can be used to fill the empty space.
- A player's base card can only be used once in the set. (no 2008 Jerry Owens situations).
- Players can be used more than once for All Star and special Combo cards.
- There has to be at least 10 cards representing each team (Expos/Nationals count as one team).
- Only cards from my personal Heritage collection can be used.
Unless I goofed and put a player in twice and didn't notice it I followed these rules pretty well. There are some head scratchers in here due to the realities of finding one card per set for each page. There were also a few players I felt kinda bad for leaving off but that's how the cards fell so to speak. Team distribution is kinda skewed in certain directions (Twins fans won't like this set) but part of that is due to the team distribution in the actual Heritage sets. So many Phillies and Red Sox! If I had it to do over again, I'd probably plan it out a little better - especially with the variation cards - but overall I'm pretty happy how it came out.
Here's basically how I built the set: I pulled all the pages out of all of my binders, organized them by page numbers (1-9, 10-18, etc.) then started on the last page (496-500) and worked my way backwards. The reasoning behind this is that high numbers are usually short prints in Heritage and cards on those pages were in short supply. I didn't want to use up a player in the 100's and then find out that he was the only card on a short printed page for a set. I worked my way backwards until I got through the short printed mid series for 2006 Heritage and then flipped the stack and started with page 1-9 and worked my way forward through the rest of the set until I finally finished up in the middle. There was a reason behind this too - I didn't want to get all the way through this project going back to front only to find that the only cards left for the front page were a bunch of scrubeenis. I figure if you get invested enough in this series, you won't mind the leftovers that pop up in the early '200s when I started running out of players to use. I suppose I could have put all my cards into a spreadsheet and scientifically determined the best possible player for each and every page slot, but if I did that this set never would have been made. Sorry, I just like doing things by the seat of my pants better! You may make your own perfect Heritage FrankenSet if you wish, just kindly show it off when you're done.
Ok, it's time to show off my first page.
Card #1 - Ichiro
Ichiro's first Heritage card and as far as I'm concerned the most iconic card in the Heritage brand. I knew even before I conceived of this project that Ichiro would be the #1 card of my all-time Heritage set.
#2 - Roger Clemens
No, I'm not excluding players from this set because they're cheaters or juicers or douches or all three at once. Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame and he belongs in this set. I have absolutely no qualms about choosing cards for a player specifically because it has a very unflattering photo however. And boy does Roger look like a bloated frog staring down oncoming headlights on this card!
#3 Alfonso Soriano
Right now everyone thinks of Alfonso as a vastly overpaid Cub, but in the mid '00s he was a vastly underpaid Yankee, Ranger and National. Dude was freaking amazing for a couple years back then. Ok, so his skills declined in his mid 30s. That's how it's supposed to work. Otherwise you end up with card #2.
#4 Edinson Volquez
Edinson had one fantastic year for the Reds and has been trying to get back to that level ever since. This card shows off that '08 season where he had 17 wins and an ERA in the low 3s. I'm not sure what Reds fans remember more though, his rookie season or the guy the Reds traded to get Volquez.
#5 Trevor Hoffman
I really Really hope Trevor doesn't become the new Lee Smith. Yes, yes, yes. Mariano Rivera is the best reliever in the history of ever and when he retires it's very likely that Rivera will announce that he's actually been the second coming of Jesus the whole time. Well, Jesus Saves and so did Hoffman and it was hard as heck to get Padres in this set so I'm happy to have Trevor in the center square of my first page.
#6 Paul O'Neill
The gritty '52 set design needed a gritty guy like Paul representing on the front page. It's hard to hit home runs.
#7 Joey Gathright
The heck is Gathright doing here? Here is the reality of a FrankenSet such as this: When you are really happy with 7 or 8 cards on a page, very likely that 9th card is going to be a guy like Gathright. Every card can't be a star. To be fair, Joey was a pretty decent prospect in the early aughts and might have panned out had he not gotten stuck in the black hole of Kansas City.
#8 Dmitri Young
Da Meat Hook! Everyone loves fellow card collector Dmitri. One thing I didn't realize until just now though... I am a year older than Young and he played his last major league game in 2008. Ulp.
#9 Sean Casey
It's a bit of a travesty to feature The Mayor in this set as a Pirate and not a Red. However, this card was the only one on the 2006 Heritage page that didn't look gloomy as hell. That's right, Sean Casey is so awesome that he even makes the 1957 Topps design look good.
Here's the back of the page for your enjoyment. Upon upload I realize that maybe I should rotate these things counter clockwise to the text is more easily readable on future posts. Unless someone says different that's what I'm gonna do. The plan is to show off about 4-5 pages a week until the end. Don't worry, I'll throw in some other posts too, don't want to make you all get sick of Heritage. Or if you are already sick of Heritage I don't want to get you too nostalgic for it and go out and buy back all the sets you just dumped on eBay.