Time marches on but in the case of a long running baseball card release, it’s always a trip backward. 2021 Topps Heritage Baseball is set to arrive March 26 with its annual salute to seasons past. This time it’s all about the mod design that was 1972.
Sadly, packs are no longer 10 cents, but those who dig the originals usually smile at some of the nods to the past.
2021 Topps Heritage Baseball Configuration and Base Set
Collectors have had no trouble finding the 2020 edition at retail stores or online and Topps will almost certainly deliver there again in ’21, but we’ll focus on hobby boxes, which will contain one autograph or relic card along with a box topper. Each pack will have nine cards and there will be 24 packs per box and 12 boxes per case.
The base set again checks in at 500 cards with #401-500 short printed (look for eight per box).
There will be plenty of base parallels and variations:
Base Card Parallels
Black Bordered – Limited to 50 (hobby only)
Flip Stock – Limited to 5 (hobby only)
Base Card Variations (Select subjects)
Mini Base – numbered to 100
Throwback Uniforms – these will be “ultra rare” according to Topps
Action Images – (hobby exclusive)
Nickname Variations – “Limited” according to Topps
Base Card Chrome Variations
Look for 100 base cards to have Chrome versions with these parallels:
Refractor – #’d to 572
Black Bordered – #’d to 72
Gold Bordered – #’d to 5 and exclusive to hobby boxes
SuperFractor – #’d 1 of 1
Hot Box Refractor – hobby and value boxes only
Look for a new 21-card set called “The Great One.” It will be focused on the life and career of Roberto Clemente, whose last season was 1972, although he was featured on a 1973 card, issued just a couple of months after he perished on a humanitarian mission.
There will also be original Topps Clemente cards from his playing days possible in 2021 Heritage, with each buyback card stamped on the front with gold foil designating it as a buyback card inserted into packs.
Some familiar Heritage insert sets return in 2021 including:
New Age Performers – 25 modern players “whose performances have eclipsed the giants of the past.”
Then and Now – Comparing 1972 stars with their modern-day equivalents.
Baseball Flashbacks – Relive highlights from the 1972 season.
News Flashbacks – World news moments from 1972 receive their own cards
Base Heritage autographs fall under the Real One label, with on-card signatures from current players and some past stars. Red Ink versions will be hand-numbered to 72.
Real One dual autographs will include autographs from a pair of players, which all numbered to 25. Triple versions will feature three players and will be limited to just five copies.
Topps will pay tribute to the 1972 Texas Rangers, who had moved from Washington prior to the season. Players from that first Rangers team have signed cards for Topps, with no more than 100 of each available.
Clubhouse Collection Autographed Relics are back with game-used memorabilia pieces sharing space on a card with an autograph. All will be numbered to 25 or less with 1/1 patch parallels possible in hobby boxes. Clubhouse Collection Dual Auto Relics will be numbered to 10 or less.
Flashback Autographed Relics will commemorate highlights from the 1972 season featuring on-card autographs and game-used relics from greats of the day. 1/1 Patch Parallels will also be on the checklist, when it arrives just prior to release.
Clubhouse Collection Relics are the basic memorabilia cards found inside Heritage. All are game-used uniform and bat pieces. Look for Gold Parallels numbered to 99 or less, 1/1 Patch parallels. Dual and Triple and Quad Clubhouse Collection relics will be numbered to 72, 25 and 10, respectively and also have 1/1 Patch versions.
Hobby-exclusive 1972 Mint cards will pair coins minted in 1972 with current players. Exclusive to hobby boxes, they’ll include nickels (# to 15); dimes (# to 10); quarters (# to 5) and 1/1 half dollars.
1972 U.S. Postage Stamp Relics will pair postage stamps released in ’72 with past and present stars. They’ll be numbered to 50.
Cut Signature cards featuring celebrities from ’72 and past baseball greats will be 1/1.
Topps will turn 50 base cards into oversized versions that will sit atop the inside of each hobby box. They’ll be limited to 1,000 with autographed parallels possible (# to 25 or less).
Other box toppers, found in every other box will include:
- 1972-style baseball posters, inspired by the original set, which was a standalone release. Current and former players will be featured.
- 1972 Topps Baseball Originals – Buyback cards from 1972 Topps Baseball featuring a foil stamp.
The release date is about six weeks after the arrival of 2021 Topps Series 1.
You can check out 2021 Topps Heritage Baseball on eBay here.