Topps Venezuelan – 25 cards (1:12)
Continuing on with my comparisons for Topps Lineage – after the All-Star Rookie team, I’m going to go chronologically. Topps Venezuelan was first issued in 1959 and continued on in some format in the 1970’s. The sets from 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966 and 1968 are parallels of the first few series of Topps cards from the same year. The 1967 set features 3 groupings – first, Venezuelan Winter League players, next, retired American baseball All-Stars, and last, active American baseball players in a similar design and the same photos as the base Topps set.
The 2011 Topps Venezuelan set from Lineage is a 25-card set comprised completely of current players. The fronts look the same as the regular set, with spanish writing on the back instead of the english on the regular card. there is one player included in the current year’s Lineage set. That would be 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. I’d have loved to show the Hernandez next to the Concepcion pre-rookie from 1967, but I can’t find a picture of it anywhere. So, instead, here’s one of the two cards added to the 1962 Venezuelan set (which I’ve shown before on this site) – that of Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio. One of 2 Venezuelan born players in 1962 Topps Venezuelan next to the only Venezuelan born player in 2011 Topps Lineage Venezuelan.
I’ve got to say, I’m a little disappointed in Topps creativity here. In addition to Hernandez, there are a ton of Venezuelan-born players in the game today, including the current dean of baseball (Omar Vizquel), a Home Run Derby champ (Bobby Abreu), the all-time single season save leader (Francisco Rodriguez), a 2-time Cy Young winner (Johan Santana), 2 MVP runner-ups (Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez). I haven’t yet mentioned Victor Martinez, Carlos Zambrano, Freddy Garcia or a host of the others out of 23 current All-Stars!
I found a good picture comparing the difference in fronts from the Venezuelan Topps 1967 set alongside the regular version. Brooks Robinson – I could pick an Oriole or a 3rd baseman to compare him to from this year’s set. No Orioles included, so Ryan Zimmerman seemed the best option – same position, 30 miles away from where Brooks used to play it. But I don’t have Ryan Zimmerman for this year’s Venezuelan set, so… I’ll just go with a future HOF-er whose spanish-writing card I do have, Ichiro.
Finally, here’s another good comparison of the 1967 set, both front and back. Mr. Jeter just passed Mr. Mantle on the list of games played for the Bronx Bombers – so here’s the front and back of both guys cards. After not even covering it in my previous post on Topps Venezuelan cards, the ’67 set seems the best to compare to this year’s Lineage insert – because the card backs are completely different from the regular set, and the fronts are slightly different too. Topps could have gone with the full-bleed option for this year to differentiate the insert set. And how cool would it have been if they had included some “Retirado” cards!