I have no idea how to create pages but I'll figure it out eventually godammit

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I come to praise Heritage, not to bury it

Well, the past post was kind of a downer but it had to be done. One does not simply have a shelf full of Heritage binders and quit 'em all in a day. And yes, I have quit Heritage, but unlike some of the commenters I'm not dumping them all into the ocean to live with their '52 Topps High Series brethren. I had a plan and I stuck to it. Quite successfully actually. I had freed myself from the Heritage monkey on my back. I was done with it. 

Then the very next day, 2013 Heritage popped up in Wally World. 

Come on, I had to get a look at it.

So I looked at it. A few times. And went back for a second look. Maybe a third. 

Goddamnit, I finally had gotten over my Heritage fixation and I went and liked this stupid set. 

I should probably start to explain my future Heritage collecting plans going forward before I get into the meat of this post which is basically defending 2013 Heritage like a deranged fanboi. So up until recently, I was seriously trying to complete ALL the Heritage sets. Not actively, mind you, but I had all the wantlists posted somewhere up through about 2010 or so. Here's the thing: other than 2002 and 2008 I didn't have any set even close to complete. I think I had all the non-short prints from 2002. Other than that, disaster. So I finally came to the decision that I just needed to pick some sets and focus on them and screw the rest. My three favorite designs from Heritage are 1953, 1956 and 1960. Maybe I should focus on those? Well, no, because I needed 200+ cards from the '05 and '09 sets. I had a healthy chunk of the '07 and '08 sets but neither really did it for me. I finally settled on focusing on the 2002 set with the 1953 design, partly because I kind of want to steal a Ben Henry idea for the hundredth time. The other sets I would harvest for Braves team sets and also embark on a special project. 

So there I was, happy that I had finally focused my Heritage collection into one set, a bunch of team sets and a you-know-what that was actually completed Monday evening. Then I saw the 2013 Heritage set and fell in love with the damnable thing. I have an odd relationship with 1964 Topps. I didn't pay attention to it much when I was a kid but I've still managed to accumulate quite a bit of it. And it is a great set, the design is simple but effective. There are tons of extreme close up portraits in the set and a large amount of them are extremely goofy. The orangey pink backs are a little eye-bleeding but every beautiful thing always has a flaw. And damned if this Heritage set didn't just nail those '64s. Nailed it in a a way that Heritage hasn't nailed anything in a long time. 

Now I know there are a lot of people out there who aren't happy with this set at all and that's cool, I can respect that. This is not a normal Heritage set. The 2013 version of the set doesn't resemble the one that came out in 2001 at all to be honest. That doesn't mean it's not any good though, and here are some reasons why I like this thing. 

The photos are ludicrous but awesome

One thing that has turned me off of Topps flagship sets in recent years is a complete lack of portrait cards. Flagship has had an awful lot of pics of the pitcher in the windup and the batter at the plate since 2008. Topps hasn't completely ignored them though, you see a lot of portraits in Heritage and other retro sets. The '13 Heritage set has a TON of em, and many are extreeeeeeeeme closeups in awkward poses like Ol' Busted Elbow here. As you can see from an Actual Colt .45 card this kids of crazy eyed closeup is common in the '64 set and I like it. A lot. 

The card stock is absolutely perfect

There has been much discussion on the interwebs about the 'flimsy' white card stock that the cards are printed on. I don't want to be rude but... well, Applejack says it much better than I can.

This set is not printed on flimsy card stock. It is printed on the exact same stuff Allen & Ginter is printed on. Allen & Ginter is not flimsy and I will fight anyone who says differently. It is absolutely printed on different card stock than all other Heritage sets (except maybe '12 Minors and High Series, I haven't actually seen those yet) in that it is white card stock unlike the traditional gray card stock Heritage is usually printed on. Even the Heritage sets that have white/light backs like the 2006 and 2010 sets with the 1956 and 1960 designs had gray stock clad with white on the back. This is pure white stock and it makes the set look really clean and brilliant. It is different from the other sets? Yes. Can I see how this could be a big shock to a hard core Heritage collector? Yes, I can. Do I think the white card stock is going away? NO. Every Topps set from 1963-1970 used white card stock. I have a feeling you'll be seeing this stock in Heritage for a few years to come.

Like Applejack says, this card stock is not flimsy

In the center is one hundred 2013 Topps Heritage cards with the white stock. on the right is one hundred 2011 Topps Heritage cards with the gray stock. The white stock is flatter and a tiny bit thinner than the gray stock. About two or three card thickness' difference in a stack of 100. That's not flimsy. Whatever junk they printed Archives on last year, that's flimsy. The stack on the left is one hundred original 1964 cards. I wouldn't call those flimsy either.

The scratch off trivia on the back ACTUALLY WORKS

Yes, yes, this is an idiotic reason for liking a trading card set in this day and age of SUPER SERIOUSNESS. My post yesterday almost started a blood war between the hardcore set collectors and the super Mojo chasers. SERIOUS BIZNISS. Fuck that shit, this is at heart an ephemeral bubblegum card set that's supposed to be fun and educational for the kiddos. There was a scratch off trivia question on the original set and Topps managed to reproduce the same thing on a modern card. How freaking cool is that?? Nickels actually work too. Try it! Ruin your cards! Ensure that your Drew Storen common card will never be graded Gem Mint by PSA and find out who the 2nd man with a 50-HR season was! DOOOOO IT! When I build the set I will probably scratch off at least one of every unique trivia questions (there are a bunch of duplicated questions in the set) just for the dang fun of it. Remember fun?

I got this card in my first pack so I won't be chasing it for years

This is a legitimate reason to love a set for a person who has still not found a 2002 Alex Rodriguez low numbered short print for a reasonable price. Chasing high dollar cards for a set sucks, especially in a modern set where cards are either near mint or in the garbage instead of the bargain box.

Topps put these silly things in there

This is an original, the 2013 parallel is down below. Most everybody probably knows that the cards with the black and red backs are the Venezuelan parallels. I will say this much about the set: There are too many frickin' parallels in the set and they're all too hard to find. Besides the many layers of Chrome with even shorter print runs, there's Red, there's Blue, there's mini numbered to 100 and probably a few more that are off my radar. And half are skip numbered so you need a database to know what to look for. These I like though, because they're not too impossible and I actually have a couple of originals. They are very nice but very weird looking in person. A weird parallel for a weird set. How can a weird collector not like this?

Although, sometimes bizarre stuff like this happens

All three of these came out of packs from the same Wal-Mart in Georgia. How in the hell? There's probably a mini and a gold still at the store waiting for me to come get them. (they'll be waiting a long time, I'm broke) I have no idea how this happened but I do know that Night Owl and gcrl probably want to kill me right now. If anyone covets these Kershaws, just know that I am absolutely desperate for a Kris Medlen Mini. Start searching, Dodger fans.

Mojo? FUCK Mojo.

After the card stock complaining the number one issue most collectors have with this set is the sheer number of ridiculously rare chase cards that are in this set. Heritage has always had difficult pulls with dual autographs and relics and such, but this year they've taken it to a different level. There's minis and coins and gold refractors numbered to 5 and stamps and coins and tattoos and Beatles and book cards and Senators variations and action variations and error cards and... and... and I don't even know all the crap that Topps has stuffed in this set to get the case breakers to buy more product and help keep the box prices from plummeting six weeks from now. It has gotten a tad ridiculous, and the set is suffering from the insert bloat that has been making Allen and Ginter less fun to collect recently. Even the traditional Flashbacks, New Age Performer and Then & Now insert sets have more subjects than ever before and Topps seemingly tried to hide that fact by replacing the numbers with initials so it wasn't immediately obvious how many cards were in the set without consulting a checklist. All this stuff crammed into what was once a simple set collector's dream set, and most of it the average collector will never ever see in a pack.

And you know what?

I don't give a shit. At all. Not just about the chase cards themselves, or the gimmicks or the whatever. I just don't care. They don't mean anything to me. If I happen to stumble across one in one of the limited number of packs I buy this year, great. If not, so be it. I don't like this set for all the inserts and bells and whistles and gimmicks and nonsense. That's not the set. I like the set for THE SET. All those base cards and short prints that are numbered 1-500. That set. That set that was very well done with some close attention to detail. Something that Topps has neglected in their fixation on gimmicks in the past few years. But not this year. This year Topps got it right with the base set at least.

So I'm probably collecting this set along with the 2002 Heritage set. I'm not going to worry about the variations be they error, action or Senator. (although I wouldn't turn down a Jonny Venters with the wrong birthdate) I know that in the past, variation cards were about as scarce as regular short prints in Heritage sets and I had fun collecting them, but they aren't anymore. That's just a fact. Topps has short printed them to the bejeezus belt to appeal to the gamblers. That's fine, they are neat cards but I like the set and I will collect the set. Because in the end, no matter what Topps does with their products, we are ultimately in charge. We buy the packs, we collect the cards. And no one can tell us what to collect. Not Topps, not Beckett, not eBay, not a certain editor we all know and love, not Bud Selig, not the Pope, not your parole officer*. Your wife may have a say in what you collect. I'd listen to her, but none of those other people.

You collect what you wanna collect be it cheap or expensive, new or old, mainstream or oddball. Here's what I wanna collect as far as Heritage is concerned going forward.

The 2002 set with the 1953 design.
The 2013 set with the 1964 design.
All Braves team sets from 2001-2013.
And a completed FrankenSet of Heritage cards from 2001-2009.

sample page - actual contents of the FrankenSet subject to change

This particular set is complete, scanned and in a binder. Starting tomorrow (actually today since this post took longer to write than I hoped) I will be showing it off one page at a time. This is a direct rip off of Ben Henry's Best of the '80s set that I attempted to show off card images for in the early days of this blog and failed. The FrankenSet idea itself is a ripoff of that idea to be honest. All the pages are scanned and ready to post so maybe, just maybe I'll actually finish something I've started for once. Expect the first page Wednesday evening and yell at me if it doesn't get posted in time.

Here's to collecting the way you want to collect.

*maybe your parole officer. I don't know the circumstances of your incarceration.


Captain Canuck said...

amen brother!

I unfortunately missed out on the '02 set... but I'm working on '03. Team sets for the rest.

and like I said before... seriously looking at this years. Or maybe last years? The boxes are cheap, even here.

hiflew said...

I finished 2011, because 62 is my 2nd favorite set of all time so it was a no doubter. I am most of the way through the only other one I love, 2008. The rest I am just going for team sets, although I may eventually work on 2003 just because I like that one.

2014 might be the only other one that I go for before the 71s in 2020.

night owl said...

Yup, I collect the way I want ... which means not trying to complete Heritage ever again, except maybe in 2024.

(I still think card stock is slightly flimsier than A&G, but not as disturbed by it as I was initially).

gcrl said...

a to the men.

also, kris medlen mini located and targeted.

Mark Kaz said...

Preach on!

I wish I had hopped on the Heritage train a lot sooner than I did. I'll never attempt to build the sets from the early '00s, as that'll be too daunting a task. But, I'm on board from here on out.

Totally agree with you on the card stock -- the orginal '64s weren't printed on double-corrugated cardboard.

Frankenset looks like an amazing project. Can't wait to see more pages.

GCA said...

Thought card stock was going to be a problem, but bought a blaster last night and lo and behold, they feel just fine!
Still sick of the same old inserts and still don't get why there are chrome parallels to a retro set, but I'm coming around to collecting theses.
Would really love to try for the Venezuelan set if they weren't going to be $10 each on dealer tables....