By: Jon Waldman
March 25th, 2008
Having not opened a heck of a lot of baseball within the last four years, I was very curious to see what awaited me when I broke open a box of Topps Heritage 1959.
After all, the game had changed so much since my last box, which was somewhere around the beginning of 2006 and that one had only been preceded by two or three boxes since 2004.
And if 1959 Heritage is considered to be emblematic of what the baseball hobby is today, then I have really been missing out on something fun.
You see, Heritage is the kind of set that really puts everything together in one neat little package that appeals to every collector, in one way or another. Letís break it down a bit, shall we?
The set builder
Like the original, H59 has a huge checklist, weighing in at 500 cards. The first box you bust certainly wonít be your last, as youíll need 2-3 boxes to complete the set that features all the classic elements from cardback cartoons to full playing statistics.
The subset enthusiast
Some unique cards come out of base set inclusions such as Baseball Thrills, which look at major accomplishments during the í07 season, trios cards that look at a group of three players from a team, team checklist cards and others.
The RC chaser
Want first yearís? Then youíve come to the right place. Between base and subsets, youíre virtually guaranteed to get a plethora of RCs in your box. Some packs we pulled had as many as four.
The SP grabber
Be sure to check the backs of your cards for variants. These include black-text backs and short-printed cards, which were recently announced by the company. These tend to fall at average one per box.
The insert fan
Thereís plenty to go around here. Whether you like to chase cards of modern players or baseball legends, thereís an insert here for you. If you like something different, look for News Flashbacks, highlighting major events of 1959. Also be sure to keep an eye open for Chrome and Chrome Refractor parallels.
The value seeker
Each box of Heritage will yield an autograph or relic card, which is decent value for your buck. There are some spectacular prospects here, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
The retro collector
One of every two boxes contains an original 1959 card stamped with a special gold seal. This is very much appreciated for the collector who likes to have something different coming out of his or her box.
The oddball hound
The second box-topper coming out of Heritage is a three-card advertising panel, similar to what retailers used to get in their stores. Itís a nice nod to history and is unique enough that it should draw some attention on the secondary market (and a new type of Ultra-Pro holder).
Need any more reasons to pick up Heritage? Then check out our box break below (after you log on to your favourite storeís web site and put in your order. Hesitate and you may miss out).
Thoughts on my box
Itís hard to say what was my favourite pull from this box.
My 1959 card was Gene Freese, who was an NLCS winner with the 1961 Reds. HJe wasnít a spectacular player by any stretch of the imagination, but for all I know this could be a 1:1 based on the stamping.
My value card was Lee Tateís signature, numbered 50/59. Tate only had a couple years in the majors, not doing anything really of note. However, to get what is likely his only signature, especially at such a low number, is a nice little treat.
My ad panel definitely carried more star power with Eric Chavez. Carlos Guillen and David Weathers may be closer to Tate than Mickey Mantle, but itís a cool piece overall.
From the base set, getting Rich Harden and Justin Morneau cards are always at the top of my list, so Iím not going to complain. I also got a truck load of RCs as alluded to earlier, and my inserts ranged from cool (Alaska becoming the 49th state) to a solid collection addition (Juan Marichal).