by Rich Klein
In 2011, Topps has the exclusive license for not only the combination of major league players in full uniform but also has an exclusive license for minor league players. That combination has worked well in giving Topps a pipeline to feature younger players as they make their way up THE LADDER. This year, Topps has featured many cards of “uber” prospect Bryce Harper and since he has yet to play in the majors, the more chances one has of featuring him (and other future major leaguers) in cards the better chance the product has at the hobby level. 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League Edition is now in hobby shops and we’ve just opened a box of this new/old addition to the Topps line.
Using the same general design as the 1962 Topps set (the one that the 2011 Heritage set was based on), Topps produced a set featuring players who as of the printing had not yet made their major league debut. Without checking card by card, I did see players such as Brett Lawrie and Mike Trout in this set, both of whom have played a role in the pennant races this year.
The Heritage Minor League product was released in 24 pack boxes with nine cards per pack. My local store (Triple Cards in Plano, TX) sold five cases immediately at the $68.50 per box level and says sales continue to be decent at that level. On-line retailers are currently at the $60-65 per box level. Topps promises two autographs and one relic card per box.
Like the regular big league Heritage line,the minor league Heritage set includes short prints–50 of them. There will be one in every four packs, making the set a challenge to put together. Heritage, though, has a loyal and strong following and we suspect that’s part of what has maintained the collector fascination.
Here’s what we pulled.
Base Set: 197 of 200 with 1 duplicate. Not bad, almost the full base set.
SP: (Cards numbered 201-250) Sean Coyle, Zack Cox, Travis D’Arnaud, Luis Heredia, Tyler Matzek, Matt Moore. As an FYI, all the SP’s are “All-Stars”
Tints (#d to 620) — As far I can tell, only one “color tint” per player. Jesse Biddle, Angelo Gumbs, James Jones, Edinson Rincon, Tommy Shirley, Mike Trout, Josh Zeid
Black Border Parallel (#d to 62): Matt Moore AS
Clubhouse Collection Relic: Adam Bailey
Autographs: Chris Gloor, David Kopp
Autograph Blue Tint (#d to 99) Justin Marks
Pretty impressive debut for the Minors Heritage product line. Good player selection. We did get a Bryce Harper base card as well as some of the other players mentioned and the added bonus of the third autograph. According to the owner of Triple Cards, the third autographed card has been coming out of boxes about fifty percent of the time. In the long run, Topps has a chance for continuing success with this product between the goodies coming out of the boxes and the price point
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]