One of the big things for the Topps Heritage product is all the card variations. It’s always done in a way also a throwback to the relevant set (in this case 1963). I have been / will be trying to collect the JFK Special below, and some Reds variations here and there.
A Cub without a position
In 1963, card #15 was of the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, Ken Hubbs. And while Hubbs had the RoY trophy, he didn’t have two things on his card. The first thing – he didn’t get put on the Topps All-Star Rookie Team and thus didn’t have that trophy there. The second thing – he also didn’t have a position on the front of his card.
Darwin Barney got the equivalent card #15 in 2012 Topps Heritage. His regular card has the 2B as his position on the front. But the Super SP error variation matches Hubbs card by omitting that position.
Rookie Stars in the wrong year
There were 2 cards from the 1963 Rookie Stars subset in series 1 that had the same mistake. The year was supposed to match the set year – “1963 Rookie Stars”. But instead Topps accidentally put the previous year (“1962 Rookie Stars”). This was an error that was corrected at some point in the production run.
From what I’ve seen, the corrected version had a yellow font for the year (1963). These were cards #29 and #54 in the set. Dave DeBusschere, a future NBA Hall of Famer, was on card #54.
Heritage had a Super SP for both of these card, though I don’t really think what they did was the right way to parallel this difference. I’d have expected to put 2011 Rookie Stars on the Heritage set – go one year earlier. But they took the 1962 thing too literally, and put 1962 as he SSP error variation.
That’s not me!
A couple of cards in 1963 Topps pictured the wrong player on the front of the card. The first one was card #113 which was supposed to be Don Landrum of the Cubs. But Topps instead had a picture of Ron Santo on the card.
Kerry Wood’s SSP variation got the error treatment here – they replaced the Cubs’ reliever with former 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez. This was an interesting one in particular. They went with Ramirez as he was the previous year’s Cub 3rd baseman – just like Santo. But the picture of Aramis shows him with his new 2012 team, the Brewers. I think Heritage kind of missed it with the inset photo on this card. That looks to be Landrum (and not Santo) in the circle inset photo in 1963 Topps, but the Heritage card has both photos as pictures of Aramis.
Card #231 was an error card for Eli Grba, whose card actually pictured Ryne Duren. Now this was a more egregious error by Topps for the ’63 set. At the start of the 1963 season, Santo was a young player, not quite the super star he would become. And Landrum does kind of look like Santo. But Duren was a notable name and a recognizable by this time. He’d pitched for the Yankees for a number of years, he was a bit of a character, and he wore very distinct, thick glasses. Grba did not wear such glasses – no one else did for that matter. Duren, who passed away less than a year ago, was the inspiration for “Wild Thing” in the movie Major League.
For this year’s Heritage product, Topps put Mark Trumbo on the SSP variation for Dan Haren. Like the ’63 Topps Grba card, which had Grba in the circular inset photo, they did keep the picture of the listed player in the inset photo on the SSP variation.
Earning your stripes
Card #341 in 1963 Topps featured Jack Baldschun, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. The first version of the card had a white stripe in the inset photo (see left, inset photo enhanced). Then Topps tried to correct it by basically coloring in that stripe, but they didn’t do a very good job. Basically, you can tell that they tried to fix it – so it looks like there’s a kind of red stripe there (see to the right).
This is an “error” that has been recognized that usually doesn’t meet the criteria for getting recognized as an error. Usually, printing errors don’t qualify as variations that get recognized. In fact, I don’t think this one is listed in Beckett, but is in some other price guides or checklists. Clearly, there was an effort made by Topps made to correct this, and there’s two separate versions.
It really isn’t the greatest reproduction of the error, if you ask me. Plus, Madson isn’t even a Phillie any more (though he’s never going to pitch a game for the Reds). Add to that the fact that this is only “arguably” a valid defect, and this is one I think they could have passed on reproducing. I’m a fan of all the others, just not this particular one.
A Minors infraction
The next one was Ernie Banks card #380. I actually did a comparison of these cards – the Cubs’ first baseman from last year, Carlos Pena was the card number match for Heritage. The 1963 Topps card for Banks showed only Major League statistics, but the writing at the top said “Major and Minor League”:
It’s interesting; since Banks started in the Negro Leagues and was a good player by the time he got to the Majors, he never actually played in the Minors. Pena certainly has played in the Minors, in fact he had an entire season 5 years after his Major League debut where he didn’t get called up to the Yankees. But they have an SSP variation for him with this mistake.
Another variation gets into the Short Print section of Heritage. Card #454 in 1963 was of Art Fowler. Basically, the box at the top with the card number got colored in, but was eventually fixed later in the production run.
Julio Tehran is card #454 in 2012 Heritage. He has an SSP variation that has the colored-in box.
Wuns or Rins?
The last card was an uncorrected error Topps had on the back of Jim Owens’ card #483 in 1963. The pitcher’s Win column was incorrectly labeled with an “R”. Bear with me on the effects I’m using here – I’m trying out some things with this editing program I’ve got. Kind of cool, I think.
Mike Stanton of the Marlins (now going by his real name of Giancarlo Stanton) has the 2012 Heritage card #483. Stanton is most certainly not a pitcher – so they did the reverse here. His “Runs” column has a “W” on the SSP card.
Topps created a couple of different variations where they played with the 1963 card design.
Image Swap – 25 cards (no stated odds, appearing ~1:48 from what I’ve read)
The first swap variation were 25 image swap variations where the black and white image from the inset is swapped with the regular photo. Here’s an example of Lincecum.
Image Swap Relic – 25 cards (no stated odds, #/63)
The Image Swap variations have a relic version of the cards, where the relic is inset into the circle in the bottom right.
Color Swap – 25 cards (no stated odds, appearing ~1:200 from what I’ve read)
There are also 25 color variations where the background color from the inset photo is swapped with the background color where the player name – obviously these are a little harder to tell by just looking at the card.
JFK Story subset – 10 cards (no stated odds, appearing ~1:200 from what I’ve read)
There is a 7-card “JFK Story” that is designed the same as the World Series subset. Unlike the Jackie Robinson Story subset from 2011, which was numbered the same as the Babe Ruth subset, this “variation” has its own numbering – #JFK1 to #JFK7.
JFK Story Stamp Relics – 7 cards (1:2,950 – #/63, Hobby only)
JFK Story ’63 Mint – 49 cards (1:26,520 – #/1, Hobby only)
There are inserted unique JFK Story ’63 Mint cards. Each one will have an embedded JFK Half-Dollar – one for each year these coins were issued (1964-2012). These were inserted as redemption cards.