Heritage tends to have a bunch of players in their new uniforms. In fact, since Topps series 1 comes out so early, Heritage is often the first card set each year featuring offseason free agents in their new garb. But I’ve noticed a trend in previous years where Topps linked the Heritage card up with a player from the old team. They get the photo taken (or photo shop done) in time, but I guess moving the checklist around is more difficult. We’ll see what the case is with a few free agents from the 2012 offseason.
Note that the trivia questions are all from the 1964 Topps set, as all the Heritage trivia questions for this post are ones I’ve already featured.
The biggest free agent name this offseason was Josh Hamilton. And, for the second year in a row, the Angels landed said huge free agent signing. Also, Hamilton followed CJ Wilson (last year’s biggest pitching name) from Rangers to Angels in an inter-division coup. Somehow, I think the Rangers will still be pretty good, but at some point you’ve got to think the sheer amount of talent on the Angels roster may prove to be too much.
Hamilton is card #246 in 2013 Heritage. Now, in fairness, the Rangers weren’t even around in 1964, so there isn’t a team parallel for his old team. But the Angels were. Unfortunately, Topps didn’t link this up – they put him on the same card number as Pirate outfielder Manny Mota.
Mota had a solid career for the Pirates and Dodgers as a 4th outfielder and a pinch-hitting specialist. He had over 1,000 hits and finished with an average over .300.
Trivia question – When was the first all-star game played?
Trivia answer – 1933 in the original Comiskey Park.
I really like Hamilton’s card. I definitely like it better than a close-up hatless shot of Mota.
2013 Heritage leads, 21-15.
Greinke sure looked good in his first start, making it seem like he might actually be worth that big contract the Dodgers gave him. I’d be willing to bet he’ll be a better all-around signing than Wilson was for the Angels last year.
Greinke is card #149. He gets paired up with a pitcher from Los Angeles who had come over the year before – but with an Angels pitcher, not a Dodger. Paul Foytack was a decent pitcher for Detroit for just under a decade, but was traded to the Angels part of the way through the 1964 season. But Greinke has already done better than Foytack did after these cards were produced – Foytack only pitched two more games in 1964 (and in his career) for the Angels going 0-1 with an ERA over 15.
Trivia question – Who hit safely in 56 consecutive games in 1941?
Trivia answer – Some guy named DiMaggio.
These are fairly comparable poses. Greinke looks pretty intense, and he’s got some crazy looking contacts here. So I’ll go with his card. Heritage is really starting to pull away.
2012 Heritage leads, 22-15
The Angels had to let somebody go. A few players actually. There are only so many positions on the diamond! One of those was Kendrys Morales, who went within the the division to the Mariners. Torii Hunter was another free agent who left the team. Basically, Hamilton is replacing Hunter. They needed to let Hunter go, and I’m surprised how much he got from Detroit. But, somehow, for the price, I wonder if losing players like Hunter and Morales over the past 2 years is worth it. Yes, they’ve gained Hamilton and Pujols – but for so much more cash!
Hunter is card #256. I really like this card. I feel like this is what Topps should do to get guys pictured in their new uniforms – show them at the press conference where they announce that they’re signing.
Johnny Weekly is the corresponding player here. The position is right, but not the team. Weekly was a prospect for Houston back in the 60’s – he never panned out. This was the last of his 2 Topps cards.
Trivia question – Who led the Dodgers in batting in 1963?
Trivia answer – Tommy Davis hit .326, which actually led the entire National League.
This one’s actually a wash. As I mentioned, I really like the Torii Hunter card. It’s the right way to do these team changes in my opinion. And Torii is flashing that million-dollar smile. OK, 26 million dollar smile. But I also really like the Weekly card. It’s got the Colts at the top, and his cap with the “.45s” on it goes really well. Plus, I feel like I should again ding Heritage a bit since this really isn’t a good comparison. So I’m calling this a tie.
2012 Heritage leads, 22.5-15.5
This one isn’t quite as notable as some of the other offseason moves, and it’s actually the only one of the 4 that was a trade as opposed to a free agent signing. But getting Choo could be one of the bigger moves in baseball this year. It keeps Dusty Baker from being able to play Drew Stubbs too much, and Choo really fills a hole in the Reds lineup. Yes, the Dodgers have all the high price players. But the Reds might be the best all-around team in the National League. They just took 2 out of 3 from the Nationals – the other team that I’d say could claim that title.
This is card #105. It matches up with Choo’s old team – Woodie Held who was an outfielder for the Indians. Held was a decent player for over a decade – he doesn’t have a trivia question on the back of his card.
I like the Topps card better. I can’t tell for sure with Heritage, because of the way Topps alters the photo quality anyways, but Choo’s card sure looks photo shopped. And the Held card shows off a cool old school Indians cap, and I like the number on the sleeves of his uniform.
2013 Heritage leads, 22.5-16.5.