2011 Heritage vs. 1962 Topps

28 04 2011

For my 2011 Heritage “retro break” from the Topps base project, I’ve already done scans of Reds cards and the ASR Team. This is the post with the rest of the notable cards from the 2 sets.  Sit back and enjoy – this is a really long post – but I think you’ll like it.  I’m trying to compare the 62 card with the Heritage set, and I’m keeping track, too.  Let me know if you disagree!

First, I’ll go with my favorite card of the set.  I mentioned this in a couple of previous posts – the first autograph I remember getting was a Whitey Ford onto a 1962 Topps Card.  The Chairman of the Board still has more World Series wins than any other pitcher – he had card #310 in the ’62 set.  Card #310 from the Heritage set is the pitcher with more playoff victories than any other – another Yankee hurler, Andy Pettite.  Whitey’s great pose beats Andy’s silly look.  In Pettitte’s defense – Whitey doesn’t have to be nervous about testifying against Roger Clemens this summer.

Advantage Whitey – 62 Topps leads 1-0.

Second, I’ll go with the first card in the set.  In 1962 topps, this was reigning AL MVP Roger Maris, who had just broken Babe Ruth’s single season home run record.  For Topps Heritage, it was again the reigning AL MVP – Josh Hamilton.  Both guys made the World Series the year before, though Hamilton’s Rangers lost while the Yankees were coming off of a sweep of the Reds.

This is a tough matchup for Heritage – that Hamilton would beat just about any other card in the ’62 set.  But I’m not putting it over the #1 card from the year after Maris passed the Babe.  Advantage Maris – 62 Topps leads 2-0.

Another very recognizable card in this set is card #5 of Sandy Koufax.  There’s two Heritage cards to show here along with Sandy’s base card from the ’62.  First, Topps included another Dodger star pitcher at card #5 for the Heritage set – Clayton Kershaw.  Additionally, since Koufax is a spokesman this year – Topps included the same photo as a “Real One” autograph insert this year.

If it was just the Kershaw, this one wouldn’t be close – however, getting the extremely rare signature of Koufax onto a reprint of the original card. Advantage Koufax/Kershaw – ’62 Topps leads 2-1.

Next up is card #10 – that of the famous Roberto Clemente. How tough must the National League All-Star Team been to pick in the early 60’s – Aaron, Mays, Clemente and Frank Robinson – all at their peak!  Topps could have done a couple of things here – maybe go with a star from the Dominican, but I’m glad they went with the Pirates up-and-coming star outfielder Andrew McCutcheon.  I’ll give a lot of credit for matching this up perfectly.

But I’m still going with the original! Clemente’s cards are always awesome and 1962 Topps is no exception.  Advantage Clemente – 62 Topps leads 3-1.

Here’s another great parallel between the 2 sets.  A famous Baltimore Oriole shown on his Rookie Card – card #99 Boog (I guess his first name is John) Powell.  Boog has a barbecue pit out on Eutaw Street in Camden Yards – and you can see him roaming there from time to time.  Topps put another Oriole rookie – First Baseman Brandon Snyder – on the same card in this year’s Heritage set.

It’s hard to go against Boog on this one, but that scan doesn’t lie – that Snyder card looks like it’s in high-definition.  Given the Oriole rookie matchup makes perfect sense, I’m giving the advantage to Heritage and Snyder – 62 Topps leads 3-2

Topps had another rookie connection with 2 young pitchers, some 50 years apart.  The 2nd most notable RC in the ’62 set is future spit-baller Gaylord Perry, card #199.  I don’t recognize the card, but it’s pretty cool with the blue background.  Topps put a high-profile rookie pitcher at card #199 for the Heritage set – flamethrower Aroldis Chapman.  Here’s hoping Chapman has half the success in the Majors that Perry did.  My Reds could use it!

Either way, this is the easiest choice in favor of Heritage – the clarity of the Chapman picture dominates the Perry rookie.  Advantage Chapman – 11 Heritage ties it up 3-3.

Another notable RC is that of the doomed Ken Hubbs.  Hubbs won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1962 as the first rookie to win a Gold Glove.  He had replaced Don Zimmer at second, and showed a lot of promise as Ernie Banks double play mate.  However, 2 years later, he died in a tragic plane crash.  The counterpart in the Heritage set is Dodgers rookie Russ Mitchell.  I wonder how Mitchell feels about being that counterpart.  Also – I like that Topps mirrored the white rookie star for the Heritage card. 

I don’t even know who Russ Mitchell is – and I’m not going against a guy who died tragically – Advantage Hubbs, 62 Topps retakes the lead 4-3.

As I mentioned, there was an even more historic RC in the ’62 set.  It’s the 2nd RC of a Hall-of-Famer – in addition to a 300-game winner, this set boasts a 3,000-hit club member and the one-time all-time SB leader.  Lou Brock, who was also with the Cubs at the time, but made his fame as a speedster for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Young speedster Desmond Jennings in the Rays minor league system was given Brock’s card #387 for this set.

3000 hits, 938 SB, and this card is particularly cool because he did most of that after the lovable losers let him go – enough said.  Advantage Brock – 62 Topps leads 5-3.

Moving on from Rookies, let’s do a manager.  Much like the fledgling 1962 Mets, this year’s Metropolitans look to be really bad and to have a new manager with card #39.  Casey Stengel is one of 3 guys with a retired number in Queens – one of the others is another manager (Gil Hodges), while Tom Seaver is the only player with his jersey honored.  Stengel is also the only man to wear the uniform of all 4 New York teams – the Yankees, Mets, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.

These cards are both terrible – I almost want to give Stengel the point for being bad in an old-school kind of way that’s actually good.  But alas, no points awarded!

Speaking of managers – here’s another good comparison.  If you’re a Dodger fan – you’ll love that they got this one right.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the Walter Alston from the 1962 set – with all the bats this is definitely a card I recognize.  But this year’s Dodger manager might be just as big of a deal – the first Dodger card of Don Mattingly as the team’s manager.  He’ll never make the Hall of Fame as a player, but it’s hard to imagine someone who was a bigger sports star than Donnie Baseball in the mid 80’s.

This is a tough one.  The Alston card is very cool.  But Donnie Baseball is cooler, and the Mattingly card is actually kind of a big deal.  Advantage Mattingly – 62 Topps leads 5-4.

Card #200 is reserved for 2 of the all-time Yankee greats – the Commerce Comet in 1962 Topps and the Yankee Captain in 2011 Heritage.  Mantle is the all-time leading home run hitter in World Series history with 18, while Jeter has nearly an entire extra season of statistics if you count his postseason career.  No player is even close to his 180+ career hits in the postseason, and his number is still counting.

This is not one of the better cards of Mantle in his run of Topps cards, but it’s not a great card of Jeter either.  I’ll split this one – it’s cool that they copied the portrait shot in the Heritage set.  62 Topps leads 5.5-4.5

Here’s some more Yankees.  I know, I know – it’s Yankee overload and Topps is worse than ESPN with the Yankee overkill.  But, how could I not include the great Yogi Berra!  Even Yankee haters have to love a guy named after the Jellystone National Park hero from the same era?  And – his counterpart is, naturally, Jorge Posada.  It just fits – both guys are primarily known as a Yankee catcher, but both weren’t really playing all that much catcher by the time they got put in this set.

Though both guys look kind of nervous in this pose (probably wondering how much longer they can hang on in the Bronx) – it is a very cool card of Yogi.  Advantage Berra – 62 Topps leads 6.5-4.5.

OK – there’s some really good cards from some non-Yanks in this set.  Here’s a couple of MVP first baseman from the Twins’ franchise who also had the same card number.  Harmon Killebrew and Josh Morneau both had card #70.  After a number of close calls, Killebrew won his only AL MVP in 1969 by hitting 49 HR with 140 RBI.  Morneau matched “the Killer” with an MVP in 2006 – he had 34 HR & 130 RBI to go with a .321 average.

I went back and forth on this one – both are really great cards.  I like the overcast background for Morneau, but the upper deck in the background and the batting stance for Killebrew are solid as well. I’m splitting the difference here as well – 1/2 a point each – 62 Topps leads 7-5

Staying in the same division – here’s another MVP from the ’62 set.  In 1962, Nellie Fox was at the end of a career that would land him in the Hall of Fame.  His counterpart in the set is an up-and-coming White Sox second baseman.  Gordon Beckham had a solid rookie campaign a couple of years ago, and he’s still more of a prospect than anything.  That said – he’s only 10 behind Fox’s 35 career home runs.

The background in both of these cards is interesting.  But it’s more interesting in Fox’s card – does anyone know what park that is (this is not a rhetorical question – I don’t know the answer)?  Advantage Fox – 62 Topps is pulling away 8-5.

There’s a couple more great “counterparts” to point out here.  In the same division as the last couple duos – here is the best Tiger player from the 60’s along with the best Tiger from today.  The Cabrera was one of the cards Topps put on the sell sheet – and the picture and coloring to this card just really works.  Same is true with the Kaline.  I saw Cabrera at a bar in Orlando once when I was there for a training – he was hammered; unfortunately this was an omen of things to come.  I hope he cleans up.  This card would be my favorite tandem, if not for the next one.

Advantage Cabrera – this card is tremendous, maybe my favorite in the set except for the Hamilton.  62 Topps leads 8-6.

I’ll give you one guess who got the same card number as Stan “the Man” Musial.  Here’s a hint – he’s the other Cardinal with 3 MVP awards.  As of now, Stan is the greatest Cardinal of them all, but Pujols is right on his heels.  It will be interesting to see how the contract situation goes after this year.  Pujols could go down as the best Cardinal ever, but as a Reds fan I’m hoping he goes to another team (and I don’t mean the Cubs!)  As much as I hate the Cardinals – this comparison may be my favorite.  Two noticeable batting stances shown here.

I can’t decide on these, and as a Reds fan, that means I get to subtract a point from both guys for being Cardinals.  62 Topps leads 7-5.

OK, this one is actually my favorite duo.  Braves 3rd Baseman? Check.  All-time great, clear-cut hall-of-famer?  Check.  Card #30? Check.  Awesome card? Check.  Historic Sports Illustrated cover?  Wait – I don’t think Chipper has one of those.  But he should – he’s a great player, love, hate or indifference to the Braves.  I wonder who is considered the greater Braves 3rd Baseman?  I’d have to go with Mathews, but it’s kind of crazy to keep Chipper off the all-time Braves starting lineup – he’s the 3rd best hitter in the franchise’s history.

The Mathews card wins in a landslide – how is it that I don’t remember this card?  It’s a great card of an underrated player.  62 Topps leads 8-5.

I guess they didn’t have any superstar options with the SF Giants to match Willie Mays – but card #300 matched Mays up with Carl Crawford.  I don’t like this choice.  Maybe I’m biased by his awful start with the Red Sox this year, but any Giant would have been more appropriate on the heels of their World Championship.  And, since I put so many Yankees and Dodgers – it’s for the best if I keep from showing any Red Sox!  So – instead of putting Crawford – this is an excellent way to include the Bearded one – without the Beard!?!?!?

Like Mantle, this is not Mays best card in his many Topps options.  The Wilson seems to be a love-hate card for collectors from what I’ve read – but I’m going with the positive side.  Wilson is a good kind of weird for the game.  62 Topps leads 8-6.

Speaking of those Giants, I’ll also include the “World Champs Celebrate card from both sets here as well.  The Yankee card honestly leaves a bit to desire, while the Giants one is very cool.  Advantage Lincecum – Heritage pulls within one, 8-7.

Finally – I wanted to get a scan of this awesome card.  There isn’t a good counterpart to Ichiro (it’s Don Sherry, whose lifetime .218 Batting Average is quite different from that of Ichiro).  But – I just like this Ichiro card so I wanted to scan it.  Advantage Ichiro – Heritage ties it up 8-8.

So – to break the tie, there’s only one place I can go.  A couple of subsets.  Let’s go with 2 sets of historically significant cards – the first 50 home run season completely free of the post-steroid era.  And some guy who hit a few homers in 1961.  Both these duos have the same # in the set – so, again, Topps gets points all the way around for consistency.

Capturing one of the biggest moments in baseball history wins this one for 62 Topps in a blowout.

Final score 62 Topps wins 9-8.




3 responses

20 12 2011
Blog Bat Around – 400th post – 2011 Set of the Year « Lifetime Topps project

[…] Banks).  If you get a chance – read my favorite post I’ve done on this blog – it covers this stuff in more detail.  Also, I know many people don’t like variations – but they do their variations in a […]

6 01 2015
David D.

Re your observation about Roberto Clemente’s cards: I noticed the same thing when I looked through an online collection of maybe 100+ Clemente cards: there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. I think it is the same with Ichiro. Some people just have a natural dignity about them.

7 01 2015

For sure. Ichiro tends to have great cards as well.

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