Following a tradition that I've kept since 2016, I purchased a hobby box of the recently-released Topps Heritage set yesterday, the greatest overall product produced by Topps.
While yesterday's post was devoted to my first pack from the set, I'll be recapping and showing highlights of the entire hobby box today. This includes base cards, SPs, inserts, and any other variation or special card that makes Topps Heritage one of the most highly-anticipated releases every year.
Just in case you didn't know, 2019 Topps Heritage is paying homage to the grey-bordered 1970 Topps set by replicating this memorable Flagship product. Just like the last few years, 2019 Topps Heritage features a 400-card base set, featuring players like Robinson Cano, while the final 100 spots are reserved for short prints which fall at 1:3 packs.
While I haven't directly compared a Heritage base card to a 1970 original side by side, I can't spot any major differences between the 2 sets, proving that, once again, Topps was successful with their replication of a vintage card set, something that hasn't always been the case in a product like Topps Archives.
Although it's become more prominent over the last few years, blue sky backgrounds have always been a staple in a set like Topps Heritage, a product that doesn't feature action shots unless they're variations.
With that being said, the last 3 years or so of Heritage have resulted in a massive increase in sky blue backgrounds. Although the positioning sometimes varies, the fact that these 4 cards are from the first 14 spots in the checklist definitely speaks volume to the lack of variety when it comes to images.
As soon as I pulled my first All-Star card from a pack, I instantly took notice of the fact that these cards, once again, say "The Sporting News" at the top as opposed to what it's been for a few years now, "The Topps News."
In addition to featuring the original title, these All-Star cards also include cartoons on the card backs, another detail from the original 1970 Topps set.
While I'm on the topic of these All-Star cards, I suppose I should point out that Bryce Harper just signed a 13-year $330 million dollar deal roughly an hour or 2 ago. Even though I'm not shocked by the signing, I happen to be relieved that all the Machado and Harper free agency rumors can finally come to an end.
Oh, and FYI, the 2019 MLB regular season starts in exactly a month, making March 28th the motivation I need to get through the rest of this New England winter.
2019 saw the elimination of team cards from the Topps Heritage set, a decision I'm more than happy to see go into effect. In its place, there's room for more players and even championship series playoff cards.
While past sets honored only the previous years' World Series, 2019 Topps Heritage also includes ALCS and NLCS cards, including Benintendi's phenomenal catch to end the 4th game of the ALCS against Houston.
Besides, this is the final year of Topps Flagship to honor postseason games on cards using black and white images. After 2019, we'll start seeing color photos instead, so I'm definitely going to appreciate the black and white photos while we still have them.
Forget Series 1 or even Topps Now to a certain extent, this is how I want Topps to pay tribute to the World Series winners. Seeing the Red Sox's World Series victory moment captured in black and white as a part of the Topps Heritage set makes me excited for what the 2019 MLB season has to offer.
I'm already a huge fan of many of the vintage Topps World Series designs, but it's an entirely different story to see my favorite team on these cards. Even the card commemorating the 1 game that the Red Sox lost is awesome as it featured Max Muncy's memorable walk-off home run.
A departure from the 2018 set, the 2019 Topps Heritage short prints feature superstars once again, but Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich, the 2 reigning MVPs, remain in the base set for one reason or another.
Because there are 100 total SP cards, semi-stars like Jordan Hicks and Stephen Piscotty are part of the short print checklist as well, leading to somewhat of a mix between short prints that include all superstars and those that feature only semi-star players.
Ever since the flashbacks card insert sets were separated into Baseball and News respectively, the 2 inserts have featured the same style and design, only with different colors. I've never had a major problem with this before, likely because of how in-depth each flashback card goes into the topic, whether it's an MLB legend or a historical event.
Each of the past few years of Topps Heritage has featured some sort of special insert card particular to the year that's being commemorated. 2017 included the '68 Topps game, last year showcased the '69 Deckle Edge cards, and in 2019, we have the Topps scratch-off cards.
I must say, I'm more excited to collect the scratch-off insert set than any other part of the 2019 Topps Heritage set. The 15-card insert set encompasses cards that you can fold-out and boxes you can scratch to play a fantasy Baseball game of sorts, just like the original cards.
I'm slightly disappointed that players like Justin Smoak and Starlin Castro were chosen over any Red Sox stars, but I guess I can't complain all too much given how awesome these cards are.
The New Age Performers inserts are undeniably the most colorful and beautiful insert cards of the entire product, and I'm thrilled that the pack odds have made it easier to pull these cards that include some of Baseball's biggest names.
It's hard for me to select a favorite out of all 4 of these cards given how vastly different they all are. The Khris Davis card stays somewhat traditional with the Athletics' team colors, but the Juan Soto card, featuring green, red, and orange, would have to be my choice for the greatest of the 4 inserts that I pulled.
While certain inserts have become easier to land, chrome cards of all colors have become more difficult to pull from a pack. Even if the listed pack odds aren't completely accurate, the fact that the chrome refractors (#/570) are 1:101 packs is something worth mentioning.
Even if I didn't wind up with the biggest name, these cards look absolutely beautiful, especially in person. If I end up springing for another box, I'll hope that it's a purple refractor hot box so that I can end up with even more eye-catching chrome cards.
I've never had the greatest luck as far as box toppers go which made pulling this recreated Topp Super Ronald Acuña Jr card all the more surprising. I was expecting something more along the lines of an ad panel or, if I'm lucky, a 1970 buyback of a marginal player.
To my knowledge, the Topps Super box toppers are a new addition to the 2019 Topps Heritage product, and I haven't even glanced at the checklist for these cards. It marks the first time I didn't wind up with a buyback or an ad panel, something that definitely makes this box topper one of the high points of the time I've been collecting Topps Heritage.
The odds also increased for the action image variations, making it harder to pull action cards that could formally be found at around 1 per hobby box. However, this change did not stop me from landing my first and the only variation from 2019 Topps Heritage thus far; an Alex Bregman action image card.
Not only do I believe that this image was taken at Fenway Park, but Bregman's one of the better names to pull after his breakout 2018 season. After finishing top 5 in AL MVP voting, Bregman established himself as one of the Astros' best players, an impressive feat indeed.
Out of all the Topps Heritage hobby boxes that I've ever opened, I was only able to land 1 autograph card, and even though I've accumulated some awesome hits, I only have 1 autograph compared to numerous relics.
Needless to say, the odds are rarely in your favor to land an autograph when purchasing Topps Heritage.
With that being said, I'm incredibly pleased to say that my 1 hit from this box of 2019 Topps Heritage was a real one autograph of Cardinals' shortstop Paul DeJong. Only my 2nd autograph ever out of Heritage, it absolutely beats a standard Clubhouse Collection, non-numbered jersey relic.
DeJong isn't coming off a fabulous season, but he was 2nd to Cody Bellinger in the 2017 NL ROY race, and he's only 25-years old. Not to mention, autographed cards and Topps Heritage are a superb combination and one that I don't get the opportunity to see all too often.
Yes, I've had better luck before with Heritage, but by no means was this a bad box. After all, I pulled a bunch of stellar inserts and beat the odds on numerous occasions. I even ended up with an autograph, further proving that there's something for everyone in Topps Heritage, no matter what your collecting style is.