During one of the Topps Company visits to Beckett headquarters during the mid-1990’s, I remember a meeting in which one of the executives mentioned just how important brand identity and loyalty was to their customers. Nearly 20 years later, that concept still holds true but one product that I thought carved out a great identity for the company was Stadium Club. A lot of collectors still look with fondness at that brand and many of us would like to see it return. What Stadium Club did for Topps in the 90’s, Heritage has done here in the 21st century. In recent years, they’ve expanded the concept and among their newest releases is 2013 Topps Heritage Minors, which takes the Heritage concept and moves it to the game’s best prospects thanks to the company’s license with Minor League Baseball. This year the Heritage design was based on the 1964 Topps set.
I have to admit, I was never a great fan of the ’64 set but looking at it in a more modern light makes me appreciate just how nice the old designs can actually be with an injection of modern technology. The font is easy on the eyes and void of any funky, unreadable script. Topps has included several different insert sets, photo variations, short prints and other gimmicks. Bazooka and Venezuelan throwback cards are among the more interesting inclusions.
Heritage Minors come nine cards to a pack and 24 packs to a box. Each box promises two autographs and one relic. Currently leading on-line retailers are between $55-60 per box while my local card store (Triple Cards, Plano TX) is at $68.50 per box.
The owner did mention sales were slower than usual because he received this on a Friday and within a week both Bowman and Topps Chrome ca,e pit. which severely limited the sell-through time. He said that overabundance only gave him four business days to sell 2013 Heritage Minors. I asked one of his regulars who happened to be there at the time and he mentioned that he was out of town when these came in, saw Chrome had come in during his next trip to the store and never even gave Heritage Minors a second thought. I would wager his experience was not unique among collectors. That’s unfortunate for shop owners but it could mean this will wind up being a sleeper product.
Here’s what I pulled from the box:
Base Cards: 189 of 200 with no duplicates. That is nearly 95 percent of the set. So, with a few key purchases, a collector can finish a set out of one box with a little help from his fellow traders. This is a ‘set builders’ sort of product, so that’s a strong selling point.
Short Prints: Adam Conley, Courtney Hawkins, Addison Russell, Carlos Sanchez
Photo Variation: Byron Buxton Venezuelan Parallel: Mitch Brown
Commemorative Hat Patch Logo: Austin Hedges
Real One Autographs: Brett Bochy (yes Bruce's son), Mike Freeman
Not really a bad box at all. We almost finished the base set, got the correct number of SP's and even pulled perhaps the best player as a photo variation. The Buxton variation has been selling for $30-40 online. (You can see what else is available on eBay here).
To me, the overall concept goes well in some ways with the real tradition of vintage set 'high numbers' in which many players issued late in the year were newcomers.
If you think about Heritage Minors as a logical extension of the basic Heritage set, it reminds you a little of the late series issues of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s and that’s really what Heritage is about.