Up next in the Great Heritage Comparison – the Multi-Player Combo cards. I’ll compare what Topps put together in 1963 to what Topps combined for Heritage this year. There are 12 cards – which is too much work for me to do in one post, so I’ll do two posts of 6 each (still a time consuming part of this project).
Each card is going to be worth a point – but I’m going to do it in a way that’s worth two half-points. The first half-point is like the other cards that I’ve done – my opinion for the best card overall. The other half-point will be based on the total of a combined statistic applicable to the players pictured on the card. I’ll try to use the statistic highlighted on that card, as best as I can determine – and I’ll go off the season before.
Card #18 – Buc Blasters / Red Sox Smashers
OK, so right off the bat, I’m going to say I’m disappointed with Topps. And I’m gonna have to make a decision on my “rule” from above. The 1963 card is the “Buc Blasters” – or the solid run producers that the squad had led by Roberto Clemente in his prime. Also pictured are Smokey Burgess, Dick Stuart and Bob Skinner.
This card is better than awesome; they got the 4 guys to line up in the on deck circle with the same pose with their bats shown. What would Topps do to match this in 2012? They created an abomination called the Red Sox Smashers, with David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez:
Winner – best card: Easy selection here, the Buc Blasters from 1963 Topps.
Here’s what I propose for Topps here!
Stat comparison – RBI:
1962 – 274 RBI (Burgess 61, Stuart 64, Skinner 75, Clemente 74)
2011 – Zero. I’m making them walk the plank like I said here. Heritage gets disqualified for not using a correct parallel here.
2012 Heritage leads, 18.5-17.5
Card #43 – Veteran Masters
Back to a good representation of the idea of Heritage. The 1963 card featured Mets manager Casey Stengel and Gene Woodling, who played his final half-season in baseball for the ’62 Mets. He actually played pretty well, hitting .274. Woodling had been an outfield starter for Casey back during the greatest success the Yankees (or any other franchise) ever had – from 1949-1953, they won 5 straight World Championships.
Here’s the Heritage card – Joe Girardi and Mo Rivera. This card is even more awesome – Topps got it right here. They took Girardi, who was essentially Rivera’s first battery mate, as he was the Yankee catcher in their first World Title of the 90’s dynasty. Since that 1996 season, Rivera has gone from set-up man to John Wetteland to the greatest closer of all-time. Girardi has become the Yankee skipper and led the team to another title a couple of years ago.
Winner – best card: Like I said, Topps got it right with Heritage here. I’ll give them credit for sticking with the original concept – and even one-upping it compared to the original concept.
1962 – Woodling hit .274 with 5 homers and 24 RBI in (81 games) after being traded to the Mets mid-season, while Stengel guided the expansion Mets to the worst record in modern history – 40-120.
2011 – Rivera saved 44 games with a 1.91 ERA. Girardi guided the Yankees to the AL East title and the best record in the AL with a 97-65 record.
Not much of a comparison here!
2012 Heritage leads, 19.5-17.5
Card #138 – Pride of the NL
The card below of Musial and Mays focused on the guys batting exploits – particularly average and home runs.
Topps went with two teammates here – Dan Uggla and Chipper Jones. Chipper is a really good comparison to Musial, who played his last year in 1963, while Chipper is a future HOF-er about to play his last season. Uggla to Mays isn’t that good.
Winner – best card: Easy selection here; that would be 1963 Topps. Musial and Mays, enough said. Like I said, Uggla just isn’t a good comparison. It would have been cool if they found a guy like Pujols who was still one of the better players in the game, but at the latter part of the prime of his career. Maybe Carlos Beltran? Ryan Braun? Instead they took the easy way out and just went with a teammate. Plus, the photo of Mays and Musial is really cool.
Stat comparison – HR:
1962 – 68 HR (Mays led the majors with 49, Musial 19)
2011 – 54 HR (Uggla 36, Chipper 18)
Mays and Musial would have won batting average by a lot more – Uggla hit under .240 last year while Musial hit .330 in 1962.
2012 Heritage leads, 19.5-18.5
Card #173 – Bombers’ Best / Bronx Bombers Best
They went with a slight name change here, but not enough to bother me. Here’s the 1963 card – surprisingly the statistic they discuss the most for this “Bombers” card was batting average. Mantle was the reigning MVP and Richardson was a mainstay, but Tresh was a surprise for the Yankees in 1962, taking the Rookie of the Year award.
As with most of these cards, that’s a really cool photo up there. I’m surprised, though, that they didn’t include Maris on there – he hit 33 homers in 1962 and was still probably the Yankees 2nd best hitter. Make no mistake – they really went with the best 3 options here, at least from a career and hobby perspective!
Winner – best card: I’m going with the Heritage card here. Despite the annoying “TM”, this is an even better photo. Somebody did a post a little bit ago that was pretty funny – what do you think they’re saying to each other! Alex is rattled about something (who knows – could be on or off field with him). Jeter is like “c’mon man, quit whining” and Cano just looks like he’s laughing at the whole thing internally.
Stat comparison – Average:
I had to bust out the calculator here. 1963 makes this card an overall split in a close one.
1962 – an even .300 (Mantle .321, Richardson .302, Tresh .286)
2011 – .294. (Cano .302, Jeter .297, A-Rod .276)
2012 Heritage leads, 20-19
Card #218 – Tiger Twirlers
I have no idea who Frank Lary is, but you’ve got the biggest ears ever in Don Mossi and a future Hall of Famer and Senator (not the baseball kind) in Jim Bunning. They talk mostly about wins on the back, but do cover some other highlights.
The Tigers had a unique combo in 2011. They had the best starting pitcher in baseball and the best closer in baseball. So while it doesn’t match the 3 starters above, I like what they did. This is another interesting photo – Valverde looks pensive while Verlander looks like he’s got no pressure. Maybe he pitched a gem the night before and can just kick it during this game.
Winner – best card: I like them both a bunch, and when I like both cards this much, I go with a wash. This is trouble, because now I have to go down to quarter points!
Stat comparison – Wins:
1962 – 32 Wins (Bunning 19, Mossi 11, Lary 2)
2011 – 26 (Verlander 24, Valverde 2)
Lary only had 2 wins in 1962, though he’d had 23 the year before that. I’m actually breaking my rule above – going by Wins only doesn’t make sense here since Valverde saved a perfect 49 games in 49 tries. That’s worth much more than the 6 wins above to me.
2012 Heritage leads, 20.75-19.25
Card #242 – Power Plus
Nothing needs to be said about this card:
I also think I don’t need to say much for this card, but going in the other direction…
Winner – best card: I think we’re gonna have a clean sweep here. Aaron and Banks, obviously.
Stat comparison – HR:
1962 – 82 HR (Aaron 45, Banks 37)
2011 – 63 HR (Bruce 32, Upton 31)
Bruce and Upton had more than I thought, but like I thought – clean sweep. 1963 is slowly bridging the gap.
2012 Heritage leads, 20.75-20.25
Come back tomorrow – I’ll look at the other 6 cards (and hopefully get rid of that quarter point thing).