In the last post, 1963 Topps tied things up, coming from 4 points down. Right now, things are tied, 27.5 to 27.5. This post, I’ll do the 2012 Award Winners (excluding Rookies of the Year, who I did during the All-Star Rookie post).
Card #210 – Clayton Kershaw / Sandy Koufax
Two Cy Young winners from the Dodgers – though Don Drysdale actually was the reigning Cy Young winner when Topps printed 1963. Still, Topps got it right here – putting one of today’s best pitchers with the best pitcher of the early 60’s. I’d have put Kershaw with Drysdale, but either Drysdale or Kershaw would have been appropriate.
I like the Koufax pose better than the Kershaw, but I like the Kershaw inset picture better. I also like the background for the Kershaw card a lot – it’s very colorful and makes for a nice looking card. And I give Topps the credit for getting this comparison correct. I’m going to go with a tie – these are two nice cards!
Card #44 – Justin Verlander / Terry Fox
Here is the other Cy Young winner last year, who also happens to be the AL MVP winner – Justin Verlander. Some people think pitchers shouldn’t win the MVP, but I disagree. Last year was the perfect scenario where I think it’s acceptable – a dominant season by a pitcher and no truly exceptional season by a position player. The 1962 MVP was Mickey Mantle – and Topps correctly matches him up with a Yankee (see a later post for that one).
Topps put Verlander on card #44, which is Terry Fox in the base set. Fox was the team’s “closer” in 1962, notching 16 saves – which was a decent amount at that time.
There were plenty of starters that would have been better choices than Fox (Jim Bunning, Don Mossi, Hank Aguire). But I’m not going against Verlander. I really like this card, and I like the palm trees in the background. I’ve read some folks don’t like that – but to me, it’s kind of different, and in a good way.
2012 Heritage leads, 29-28
Card #276 – Ryan Braun / Barry Shetrone
The 1963 Topps card was Barry Shetrone – of the Washington Senators (who would eventually go on to become the Texas Rangers). I’m not really going to ding Heritage too much for this – the Brewers weren’t around in 1963, and they didn’t even have a predecessor franchise yet. I think they could have put Braun with Hank Aaron for the Milwaukee connection, but they went with a Braves outfielder with Aaron.
One interesting thing about this card – I noticed it’s not the same picture as the Braun card they created on the sell sheet to promote Heritage before it had been released. The inset photo is actually the same picture that sell sheet “card” had for the large picture.
I really hate giving Braun a win, but I have no idea who Barry Shetrone is and that’s an awful card. They went with the hatless photo because he had just been sent across town from Baltimore to Washington.
2012 Heritage leads, 30-28
Card #177 – Evan Longoria / Bubba Phillips
I threw Evan Longoria in here, not because he’s an award winner from 2011, but because he’s the guy featured as the spokesman for Topps for this product. He’s on the side of the box, quoted as saying “2012 Heritage is the finest series ever” – just like Stan Musial was for the 1963 set.
Unfortunately, Topps didn’t put Longoria on the equivalent of Musial. They picked Bubba Phillips, who was a decent third baseman at the end of his career in 1963.
I don’t love either of these photos, though the Phillips card does kind of have the “so bad it’s good” possibilities here. He’s squinting in a really weird way. And Longoria looks like a Hobbit on his card. I like the Longoria inset photo a little bit better. I really wish they had gone with Musial as the comparison for Longoria – that’s some out of the box thinking I could have appreciated. But Longoria is the better player, for sure, and the Rays run to the playoffs was pretty interesting last year. I’m going to go with Longoria.
2012 Heritage leads, 31-28