September 23, 2011

Hobby Box Break and Review: 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League

This year Topps decided to put a twist on the Heritage craze by issuing a minor league set with the 1962 design. While the set is one of the best releases for the major league player sets, it's a little lack luster to me as a minor league set. I can see the appeal to collectors for sure, but if you aren't a prospector it probably won't do much for you.

(For the record, my scanner cropped all cards on the left side- no idea why but they are not all that off center.)

Let's start with the base set and take a look at those cards.

The hometown boys including phenom rookie Jesus Montero
The Killer B's: Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos
Some of the bigger stars from the box, Manny Machado, Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper

Obviously I am a big fan of the Heritage series each year and this year was no different. It is odd to see non-roster players and young kids on this design but there is an upside to it. The one thing that these cards will be great for are TTM's. They will look amazing autographed on card for your collection. If you know of a prospect you would like to send cards to sign to, I would buy a lot of 5 or 10 on eBay and use them to get TTM's.

The parallels of the base set come in a variety of tints much like the pro set released earlier this year. Here are the ones we pulled:

Blue Tint /620
Red Tint /620
Green Tint /620
My only problem with the tint parallels is that they are all serial numbered to the same amount of prints. If the green ones are 1:14 packs as opposed to red and blue 1:9, shouldn't the serial numbering be different? I also think they should be different for each color just to make the chase a little more challenging- especially for people fighting for those Harper and Montero cards on eBay.

There was one black bordered parallel, Andrelton Simmons, it is numbered /62.

Instead of the New Age Performers or All-Star News cards, this set features Baseball America cards with some of the top prospects in the minors.

While I like the idea behind the Baseball America inserts to mirror the big league version, they just don't so as much for me as something like the Topps 100 in Bowman or the other subsets from Bowman. Bowman has become the be all end all of draft picks and rookie cards. Whether or not that is a good thing for Topps is debatable in another post, I suppose.

The box states there are two autographs and 1 relic per box. We ended up with 2 autographs and 2 relics. Loaded box!

Andrelton Simmons game used jersey card

Adam Bailey game used jersey card

David Kopp /861 stealth sticker auto

Chris Gloor /861 stealth sticker auto

While I love the Heritage design, I don't really feel like minor league players work with it. I know that these will be great for in person signings and TTMs, but in the long run I don't see collectors going for this when they can pick up a box of Bowman and get an on card auto or two.

Also keep in mind that this is a hobby only product so you won't be able to run out to Target or Walmart to grab a blaster, so if you like them order some boxes or grab singles on eBay.

2011 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball Report Card:

Design: A

I love the Heritage design every year (until the get to the 1980's then.... I'm done) and this year is no different.

Value: C+

With current prices of hobby boxes ranging from $50-$65, I don't really see an upside to this set. Most prospectors don't build sets, they look for their player and that's it. While you are guaranteed (on average) 3 hits per box, I don't see anyone picking this product over Bowman with on card autographs. You do get a variety of the tint cards, but is that enough value for the money?

Quality: A

The quality has improved very much in the last couple of years in this product specifically with the centering of the cards. While the original sets were never centered, times are different now, packs are more money, and people expect a clean mint card when they open a pack. The cards are mildly off center in some cases, but nothing that makes you want to be mad at Topps. These aren't really cards people grade anyway so it isn't a big deal when a card is a hair off center. The autographs are on stickers, which we all hate. I would think it would be easier to get minor league guys to sign on card than big league guys.... Then again, what do I know?

Overall: B

I think this set is great... for major league baseball players. I think it leaves alot to be desired by the casual collector or a prospector. The autographs are lackluster and people are over pulling plain gray and white swatches. The upside to the set is that you can put together team sets of your favorite teams affiliate clubs and not spend a ton of money. You can grab two sets even, and use one for TTM's or spring training autograph signings.

For my money I would buy a box of Bowman before this, but that's just me. Do you guys like the idea of Heritage minor league cards or do you think this set should be reserved for the big league players? Any opinions of this set you would like to share?


  1. Each of the 200 base cards has one, and only one, Tint. 50 of the cards are Green, 75 Red and the remaining 75 Blue. In other words, there are no Red or Blue Tints for Casey Kelly.

    This is why the pack insertion ratios are different, but the production run is the same.

  2. I like minor league cards.

    I like Topps Heritage.

    I don't like this set.

    Unless the box price sinks through the floor, I won't be buying any.

  3. I'm impressed the photo looks more photo-realistic than I expected.

    I don't like it enough to buy it unless the box price drops quite a bit.

    Pro Debut is still #1 to me.