The name of this blog is dedicated to my mother. Back in little league, my mother used to stand back behind home plate and give me that one, simple batting instruction: "get the bat off of your shoulder!"

Friday, May 27, 2011

2011 Topps Heritage Ranting

I am not really sure what made me want to start collecting this year's Heritage set. It could be that it mimicked the 1962 design. I've always liked the wood grain look of the 1962 set, and it was the first real year for Angels' baseball cards. Yes, there are L.A. Angels cards in the 1961 set, but none of those are actual pictures - just a bunch of hatless guys in some uniform that is clearly not an Angels' uniform. I think Topps photographers required one picture with your hat on and one without just in case you got traded and they needed to use your picture again.

Anyhow, enough about the hats, on to this 2011 Heritage set. I just have one thing to say: They're ugly!

No, seriously.

They're really ugly. They are some of the ugliest pictures I've ever seen.

To make it worse, there is clearly some attempt at photo-shopping these pictures to look old, or to mimic what someone thinks a 1962 card looked like. And, if that was the intention - I have news for you - you failed and failed horribly.

Here's a good example, look at card of Aaron Harang. Aaron clearly didn't get the message that Topps was coming by for pictures today. He's been out all night as we can see by the dark circles and bags under his eyes. The photographer had poor Aaron pull off his hat, because, "Hey that's just how they did it back in 1961!".

So what we get is a sweaty brow, a bad hair day, skin-dentation where the hat dented in his brow.

This scan here isn't mine, I pulled it off e-bay - my card actually looks worse. He looks even more pale, and the black around his eyes even more pronounced. No joke - my 9 year old daughter who collects "weird" cards, thought it so perfectly fit her collection that she was willing to give me two 2011 Opening Day cards in exchange for it! Ryan Howard and Howie Kendrick, if it matters. She used the word "ghoul" to describe Harang's picture.

Runners up for ugliest card:

Vernon Wells - looks like Tweedle Dee, maybe it's Tweedle Dum, not sure.

Jonathan Sanchez - I don't know why, but I find the fact that professional athletes trim their facial hair to be discouraging. Where is Gorman Thomas when you need him?

Aroldis Chapman - What made them intentionally take a picture and mess with the coloration so badly that I can't tell the color of his hat from the color of his face!

Now besides the ugliness - let's look at the insert ideas they came up for in this set. The green tint idea is an OK idea, in principle, because it goes along with what the original 1962 set had due to some kind of inking problem. But then there's these other tints, like one color for Target cards, one for Wal-Mart cards, one for cards that come from hobby stores instead of Mega stores... and so on. What the hell is the point of that?

Next is the pointless "short print".
What used to be something unintentional is now made intentional to add some kind of artificial rarity to a card that is no more rare than the million others in your shoeboxes other than they just chose to make fewer of them. Why? Was that supposed to make it exciting?

Well, I'm not excited. I'm just annoyed.

Pissed that I have to pay $3 and up for someone like Matt Garza or Aubrey Huff.

Finally it's these black refractors that suck the most. What is normally an OK idea, looks crappy in this set. Reason being that the set has a thin wood border all around, except the lower right corner. Down there, the design is made to look like the picture peels up a bit and the Player/Team/Position text is there on the wood. But in these refractors, it's like they used the "airbrush" tool in photoshop to avoid colorizing the text. Double-ugh-ugly!


  1. I 100% agree with you! I've never cared for the Heritage sets, but this year's was positively awful. And don't even get me started about the short prints in Heritage and A&G. I've got my own soapbox for that (

  2. I hate artificial scarcity. Honest-to-goodness scarcity is bad enough. I don't know whether it's the same in baseball, but in hockey, the short-prints are generally rookies, 90% of whom will never be impact players but still cost $5 a pop.

  3. Back when they printed baseball cards in releases over the summer, and *supposedly* printed fewer of the higher numbers... I sometimes wonder. I haven't done anything scientific, mind you, but just looking through something like checkoutmy cards, there is no shortage of high-numbered 60's cards available. There's just many as low-numbers. I think it's a conspiracy.

  4. I never really notice anything with the high numbers, but there's really only one OPC baseball set where it would really apply, and those are indeed nasty to find (1971). For whatever reason, 1952 Topps high numbers were ordered here in the same quantities as the lower series. Not that it matters - the second anyone finds a bunch they immediately list them on eBay and send them south of the border.... :)

    The hockey sets didn't ever have that the same way.