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