Topps continues its tradition of bringing a late-season version of its Heritage set to collectors.
2022 Topps Heritage High Number, scheduled for release some time in November, continues the simple design the original 1973 Topps baseball card set.
Hobby boxes will continue to have one hit and one box loader. The hit could be an autograph or a memorabilia card, and there will be three different possibilities for box loaders.
A typical hobby box will contain 24 packs, with nine cards to a pack. The set itself will be 200 base cards and 25 short prints. Similar to the Topps Update series, the Heritage High Numbers set adds focus to up-and-coming rookies and players that have switched teams.
The card numbers begin at No. 501 and run through No. 700, with the short prints running from 701 to 725. The first 200 cards will feature veterans and rookies.
There are two hobby-exclusive parallels. Black Bordered parallels are numbered to 50, while Flip Stock parallels will be limited to five copies. The Flip Stock cards will have rough fronts and smooth backs, which is opposite from the way the cards are normally printed.
Easier parallels to find include Minis and Chrome versions. Each feature 50 players from the base set.
Minis are numbered to 100. The Chrome card has several parallels, including a Refractor (numbered to 673), Silver Bordered (373), Black Bordered (73), Gold (5) and a hobby-exclusive SuperFractor (1/1). There also will be Hot Box Refractors in selected hobby and retail boxes.
The base set will also challenge collectors attempting to put together a master set with several variations. Action Image and Team Name and Color Swap variations are hobby exclusives. Throwback Uniform variations return, and there also will be a Missing Signature variation.
In its sell sheet, Topps is also promising “additional surprises.”
Inserts for the 2022 Heritage High Numbers set are a combination of familiar and new offerings.
Rookie Performers will showcase 15 of the top first-year players in 2022. Now and Then compares great moments from the 2022 and 1973 seasons, and Combo Cards will be a 10-card subset that features multiple baseball stars. Award Winners will recognize players who received hardware for their 2021 performance.
Making their debut will be 1973 MLB All-Star Game Highlights. The insert will feature highlights from the game at Royals Stadium in Kansas City. It also marked the 40th anniversary of the Midsummer Classic. The National League took a 7-1 victory, and the fame marked the return of some of the surviving stars from that first All-Star Game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park: Lefty Gomez, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Joe Cronin, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Dykes, Dick Bartell and Bill Hallahan.
Gomez, Hallahan and Royals owner Ewing Kaufmann would throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Bobby Bonds would be named the game’s MVP. The game featured 19 future Hall of Famers.
The other new insert is called All Aboard! This subset features the career highlights and milestones of Nolan Ryan. The “Ryan Express” would earn his first 20-victory season and set an MLB record with 383 strikeouts.
Autographs and Relics
The Heritage High Numbers set features several different autograph and relic cards. The standard Real One Autographs are on-card signatures in blue. An ever scarcer version — Real One Special Edition Autographs — is hand-numbered to 73 and is signed in red ink.
1973 MLB All-Star Game Highlights Autographs features signatures of players who created highlights in that game and are numbered to 99 or less. An All Aboard! Autograph card features signatures and highlights from Ryan’s card and are numbered to 5.
Some premium 1/1 autograph cards are also featured, with 1973 Baseball Cut Signatures showcasing player signatures while 1973 Celebrity Cut Signatures contain autographs of people not associated with MLB.
Clubhouse Collection Autograph Relics feature on-card signatures and game-used memorabilia, with cards hand-numbered to 25 or less. Autograph Patch Parallel cards are hobby-exclusive, 1/1 offerings and hand-numbered with a signature and a game-used patch.
All Aboard! Autograph Relic features an on-card signature and a highlight of Ryan’s career. The cards are numbered to 5.
As for “regular” memorabilia cards, Clubhouse Collection Relics feature game-used uniform and bat pieces. There is a Gold parallel that is numbered to 99. There are also Dual Relics, numbered to 73; Triple Relics, a hobby exclusive, hand-numbered 1/1 card; and Quad Relics, hand-numbered to 1/1 and also a hobby exclusive.
Patch Parallel cards consist of game-used uniform patch pieces. This hobby exclusive is hand-numbered to 1/1.
All Aboard! Relics are new and feature a memorabilia piece to go with a highlight from Ryan’s career. Those cards are numbered to 25.
There are three types of box loader cards collectors can pull from hobby boxes. The 1973 Topps Oversized are simply jumbo versions of select base cards. The 1973 Baseball Pin-Ups use the original design from 49 years ago, but use today’s stars. And the 1973 Topps Originals are stamped buybacks from the original set.