by Rich Klein
Each year, there are the obvious tributes to past sets and many times subtle tributes to the set honored are made as well. This year, it’s one of the most popular Topps sets of all-time in the Heritage spotlight–1961.
Here are a couple of examples of the easy to spot tributes and one that requires some thought.
Card #25 in the 1961 set was “Reds Heavy Artillery” and the same card name was used in 2010 Heritage. If the players turn out as well as Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson did over their long careers, then Dusty Baker and Reds fans will be very happy indeed (Bruce, Francisco and Votto are featured).
A more subtle tip to the original set comes with card number 360 Vladimir Guerrero. Vlad the Impaler was for years one of the best right fielders in baseball and the 1961 counterpart was the aforementioned Frank Robinson. If you’re a Texas Rangers fan, you are probably hoping that Vlad repeats Frank’s success of 1961 and wins the MVP award.
The cards, of course, are styled in a very similar fashion to the 1961 Topps baseball set. The boxes contain 24 packs with eight cards per pack. As this review is written, the boxes are being offered for sale online pretty steadily in the $75-80 range.
packaging states that collectors will receive one autograph or relic card per box but this is one of the few products where the “hit” becomes secondary to all the other goodies one gets out of a box.
Let’s see how we did:
Base Set: 160 of 425 with 4 duplicates
Short Prints: Casey McGehee (#433); Edinson Volquez (#440), Corey Hart (#454), Michael Young AS (#467), Miguel Tejada MVP (#473), Jimmy Rollins MVP (#478), Derek Jeter (#486), Ryan Braun AS (#492)
Dice Game Back: (Front is the same as base card, back mirrors the extremely rare 1961 Dice Game test set): Vladimir Guerrero
Chrome (#d to 1961): Roy Halladay, Nyjer Morgan, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, Adam Wainwright
Chrome Refractors (#d to 561): Chipper Jones
News Flashbacks: Peace Corps, Venera 1
Ruth Chase 61: #’s 1, 3, 6, 10 , 11 and 14
Baseball Flashbacks: Candlestick Park, Whitey Ford
New Age Performers: Justin Upton
Then and Now: Whitey Ford/Roy Halladay
Clubhouse Collection Relics: Kevin Millwood
Box Topper three-card advertising strip: Clayton Kershaw/Billy Butler/Micah Owings
Even if it requires multiple boxes to put a set together, Topps Heritage is always fun to open, both for the tribute to the original set and figuring out the quirky odes that connect past and present.
Rich can be reached at