Mets Card of the Week: 2011 Matt Harvey

2011 TOPPS HERITAGE MINOR LEAGUE MATT HARVEY

I know I shouldn’t lead with the doom and gloom, but let me just get it out of the way: baseball cards are a dying art.

Card collecting is now largely a pastime pursuit of the middle aged (see: yours truly), who thumb through their cardboard stacks while all around them physical media wither and turn to dust.

And as with many terminal scenarios, the death throes of baseball cards are attended by much nostalgic self-reference…

Topps began creating annual Heritage sets back in 2001. That year, they produced a simulacrum of their iconic 1952 set, utilizing a roster of current players. While they did not print the cards in the larger-scale 1952 format, they did make every effort to replicate the 1952 experience.

The cardboard stock was uncoated and rough, and low-numbered cards were printed with either black or red text backs, as was the case in the first series of the original 1952 issue. High-numbered cards were short printed, in homage to the scarcity of the final 1952 series.

Even the wrappers were reproduced faithfully, although the inserted stick of gum was clothed in plastic to prevent top-card damage.

Topps has released a new Heritage set each season since, moving forward one year on the historical continuum as appropriate. The 2011 Heritage set was done in the style of the 1962 issue, with tint variations and short prints to match the source.

The new wrinkle for 2011 was these Heritage Minor League cards.

Now, I have a natural aversion to minor-league cards, having encountered some of the sketchy sets that were issued back in the ’70s and ’80s in particular. But I have to hand it to Topps here– these cards are extremely well-done.

I mean, with this high quality, and the focus on young, upcoming players like Matt Harvey, one might even think that baseball cards had a future…

*****

Editor’s note: This card was sent to us by friend of the site Grubby Glove. You can check out his site here

4 comments for “Mets Card of the Week: 2011 Matt Harvey

  1. Brian Joura
    January 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Even seeing Matt Harvey can’t make me like the 1962 design…

  2. Dan Stack
    January 26, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Hey Doug,

    I have to say your right about the dying card business.

    I was an avid card collector. I really doubt that any Mets/card collector has the extensive Darryl Strawberry collection that I have. But, I digress.

    I said I was an avid card collector. I just didn’t like the mid-90’s card explosion where the card industry was becoming so over-saturated. I just couldn’t keep up with all the new kinds of cards that were being printed. Growing up in the 80’s I only knew of Topps, Fleer, Donruss and then Score and Upper Deck were ok. Then it just became a hassle to keep up with all of it, and I all but lost interest.

    Do you think that’s an accurate assessment? Nowadays, how many rookie cards does a player have anyway?

    • Brian Joura
      January 26, 2012 at 8:24 am

      There’s been a lot of contraction in the card business and I believe Topps is the only manufacturer to have both MLB and MLBPA contracts.

      • Doug
        January 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

        You’re right, Brian– Topps is currently the only fully licensed entity producing baseball cards. (Panini, which purchased Donruss, is going to release an MLBPA-licensed set next month– no MLB logos or team names allowed.)

        And I think you’re right as well, Dan– oversaturation was pretty lethal. It got to the point where prominent players had literally hundreds of cards issued each year, some of which were practically or essentially impossible to attain.

        But I do think the bottom line is that the world is changing, and the card manufacturers (like Tower Records or Borders Books before them) are struggling to find a viable business model. I don’t suspect that the card-collecting interest level of the next generations will support the licensing, manufacturing, and distribution expenses of large-scale releases, so I’d expect it to become even more of a niche hobby over time.

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