Grand Cards: Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Heritage

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Heritage

This year's Topps Heritage comes from the bare-bones 1961 design that many people call "simple" and others call "boring." Personally, I like it, although a lot of that stems from the fact that '61 cards were the first ones that have a notable presence in my Dad's childhood collection (although the bulk of them are '62-64). I dig the colored boxes, the non-intrusive design and the big, close up pictures. No surprise then, that I like this year's Topps Heritage offering. It's got what I need--a big base set for team collectors, and a couple of cards that take a little bit of work to track down. This year Topps has also spared us the indignity of another Dontrelle Willis or Jeremy Bonderman jersey card, tacitly admitting that no relic cards are actually better than ones that we just don't want at all. The inserts, which I have not put effort into collecting in my brief Heritage-collecting life, are take it or leave it, and many claim that they are getting stale with little differentiation from year to year. How many times can we see Whitey Ford after all?

The highlight for me, and I've felt this way since my early Granderson-collecting days, are the chrome refractors, which take some effort to pick up. I'm still looking for my first one. Add on a nice Al Kaline Tiger Stadium seat relic and this is a set that is certainly worth tracking down. If nothing else, do yourself a favor and feel what a baseball card is supposed to feel like. Real cardboard.

Base Set This is the end-all for me. Some sets can get away with fancy inserts or hits and the like, but Heritage is nothing without a solid base set. Personally, I think that this does the trick. A solid team set, plus three very nice "League Leaders" cards--which look great though they screw with my gallery formatting--make things formidable. There is only one Tigers Short Print (SP) in Carlos Guillen, which makes life easier. What's more, none of the "Dice Game Back" variations or super-short prints are Tigers, thank you very much. We get the benefit of a new Tiger (Max Scherzer) but lose Granderson, Edwin Jackson and Placido Polanco to photoshopped new Jerseys. I do have one gripe though. There is an "All Star Subset" in Heritage. Am I mistaken, or did the Tigers not have FOUR All-Stars last year? And did Curtis Granderson not have the huge triple that led to the winning run? Indeed he did. I would have liked to see Topps give a little Tiger love instead of, you know, none, but what can you do, I guess. Also, get Jarrod Washburn the hell out of my Tigers sets.

#13 Ramon Santiago

#42 Mauer/Ichiro/ Jeter/Cabrera

#48 Hernandez/Sabathia/ Verlander/Beckett

#50 Verlander/Greinke/ Lester/Hernandez

#51 Detroit Tigers

#67 Brandon Inge

#83 Rick Porcello

#95 Miguel Cabrera

#112 Adam Everett

#171 Justin Verlander

#192 Gerald Laird

#223 Jim Leyland

#232 Max Scherzer

#251 Jarrod Washburn

#285 Wilkin Ramirez

#317 Brent Dlugach RC

#340 Magglio Ordonez

#392 Jeremy Bonderman

#407 Ty Cobb

#425 Marcus Thames

#448 Carlos Guillen (SP)

Inserts I'm not sure how I feel about Heritage inserts. Sometimes I like them (the Kaline jumping shot), some times I appreciate them (Ty Cobb memorial card), and some times I just don't get them (two Whitey Ford/Justin Verlander cards? Why?). I pretty much feel that way every year and am actually yet to pull the trigger on collecting the inserts. I'll probably take the stance I usually do: if I can get them cheap or package them in with shipping or get them in trades, then I'm happy to have them, but I won't break a sweat over them. Then, once I get enough, I'll probably start pursuing them. Still, base cards and SPs get all my attention first. Still, with not many Tigers in this year's set, they're a pretty easy addition for those who feel like picking them up.

#BF9 Al Kaline

#NF10 Ty Cobb

#NAP13 Miguel Cabrera

#TN3 Kaline/Mauer

#TN7 Ford/Verlander

#TN9 Ford/Verlander

Chrome Parallels I'm putting these in a special category because I love them. They are a partial parallel set of the base cards, chrominated and refractorized into awesomeness. I'm actually never thrilled with how the Chromes turn out but the Refractors are a sight to behold. They are numbered to 561 copies each and are shown below. Not shown, the regular chrome versions (#/1961) or the black refractors (#/61).

#C25 Rick Porcello Chrome Ref. (#/561)

#C47 Justin Verlander Chrome Ref. (#/561)

#C64 Max Scherzer Chrome Ref. (#/561)

Stamp Cards Well, these are new. For Heritage at least. They are, in fact, quite old. You see, stamps of players were released back in 1961 and Topps has decided to recreate the concept here (and insert some of the original stamps as 1/1 cards--not sure what Tigers, if any, are included). Player stamps are either green or brown and paired with no apparent rhyme or reason and put into a single card numbered to 50 copies. They are fiendishly hard to pull and are going for nice amounts on ebay. What's more, with no numbers on the cards, I'm having a hard time finding what is actually out there, and whether players have multiple cards. As such, I'll show what I've seen, and if anyone knows of some more Tigers (and has pictures to prove it), just let me know.

Guillen/Harden (#/50)

Verlander/McCutchen (#/50)

Cabrera/Hernandez (#/50)

Ordonez/Oswalt (#/50)

Cabrera/Reynolds (#/50)

Francour/Guillen (#/50)

Scherzer/Hill (#/50)

Porcello/Allen (#/50)

Relics & Autographs We are spared? Heritage is notorious for churning out rather crummy relic cards, and it appears as though the Tigers were mercifully spared of this in this release. At the same time, we get the benefit of an Al Kaline Tiger Stadium seat card--again--which I will continue to be a fan of until the day when the supply of Tiger Stadium's old wood seats is entirely exhausted. Keep 'em coming. Also on the list? A super-rare Kaline and Roger Maris Dual Relic card numbered to 10 copies. When I see one, you'll be the first to know.

From what I can tell, there are no Tigers autographs in the set that I've seen, but I'll continue to keep my eyes out.

#FSR-AK Al Kaline

#FSDR-MK (?) Maris/Kaline (#/10)

Box Toppers Every year there are box-toppers, called "Ad Panels" that show three cards from the set, with some random combination of players and a description of the set on the back. I do not care about these. They are cumbersome and difficult to store and even more difficult to track, considering they aren't numbered and a Tigers player could be on one or many of these cards. So, I'm not going to worry about them and will not include them here (unless I can find a reliable checklist of Tigers cards). Just know that they exist. What I WILL include are new this year--team Stamp Books, which large, cumbersome box toppers, but with a different design and a nice team description on the back. Here's the Tigers one:

Neat, right?

With that, I'll sign off on 2010 Topps Heritage--I've got some cards to track down.