Monday, January 26, 2009

Topps Heritage Side by Side: 2008 / 1959

When I returned to collecting baseball cards, the first "modern" set that I started collecting was Topps Heritage. I guess "modern" might not be appropriate since the cards are based on 50 year old cards. But after the brands that I was familiar with-Topps, Fleer, and Donruss, this was the first new card to catch my eye.

From time to time I will present the Heritage Cubs cards side by side with the originals. I'll start with the 2008 Heritage and their model, the 1959 Topps.

One big difference I noticed between the originals and the Heritage cards is the uniforms the players are wearing. The Heritage cards show the Cubs in their home pinstripes. The 1959 cards have the players in their road unis. It wasn't until the early 1960's that a Cubs player was shown in a home uniform. Otherwise, you will notice a remarkable similarity between the originals and the Heritage cards.

The Team Cards: These cards are nearly identical, although the 2007 team picture must have been taken in spring training since there are many more than 25 players in the picture. The two teams shown had very different results. The 1958 Cubs finished in 5th place while the 2007 Cubs were division champs.

Team Stars: Alfonso Soriano and Ernie Banks. I chose these to compare since they are both team superstars and they had the same green background. Ernie Banks won the NL MVP in 1958 and would go on to repeat in 1959, the first NL player to win back-to-back MVP's. He was the only bright spot in a fairly dismal Cub lineup. Soriano is the Cubs $140 million dollar man. I wonder how much Ernie Banks would have earned in 2008?

All Stars: Derrek Lee and Ernie Banks. The Banks card has the Sporting News at the top, while the Lee card has "Topps News." Apparently the Sporting News wouldn't pony up the cash to get their name on the Heritage card. Notice that the '59 Banks card says "'59 All Star Selection'. The card is number 559, which means it was from one of the later series put out by Topps. That also make the Banks card more valuable.

Rookies: Kosuke Fukudome and Lou Jackson . Lou Jackson is one in a long line of hyped Cubs rookies that don't pan out (see Corey Patterson of Felix Pie). He hit .140 in 30 games for the Cubs in 1958 and 1959. The jury is still out on Kosuke Fukudome. He had a great start, made the 2008 All Star team (thank you Japanese voters) but slumped badly in the second half of the season and saw his playing time reduced.

Cubs Clubbers:
Lee-Ramirez-Soriano and Long-Banks-Moryn. Well, on the 1959 card it was one out of three that scared NL pitchers. I would have to say all three of the 2008 Clubbers cause some concern to pitchers.

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