Thursday, March 21, 2013

Heritage 2013 and Topps 1964 Side By Side

I've been doing a comparison of Heritage with its Topps counterpart for years.  Today its time to look at Heritage 2013 and Topps 1964.

Since the 1964 design was so basic, coming up with a Heritage version shouldn't be too hard.  The one unique thing about the '64 design is that it was the first time Topps cropped the players's pictures outside of the picture frame.  Almost every card features a bit of the player's head extended into the team name banner.  Heritage was able to duplicate that feature.

I showed in an earlier post that Topps didn't do an exact match...

...with the team name font.  Close, but no cigar.

The bottoms of the card were fairly close.

The big question for me before the release was about the back side. The '64s had the scratch off trivia question.  Would Heritage match it?

And the answer was YES!  I'm sure that there was some extra expense to add this, so kudos to Topps for going for accuracy instead of profits.  Only three of my '64 Cubs have the backs scratched off.  I would have thought they all would have been scratched.  I haven't done anything to the backs of my Heritage cards.  Should I scratch them off?

So what is Heritage missing?  The biggest omission for me is these... pictures.  It's been a couple years since they've been a part of Heritage.  I know that with 30 teams, the cards would take up a bit of the checklist.  If Topps only had team cards for the teams that existed in the '64 set, we are now talking 19 (or 17 if you want to eliminate the Milwaukee Braves and KC A's).  That would leave more room for other players.

And what did Topps really mess up?  For me, it's some of the rookie cards.

Only one Cub was on a rookie card, so he got a shared card.  Here is a shared card...

...from 1964.  Notice that its labeled "N. League."  But here is how Heritage handled the cards with players from two different teams...

...with two team headings.   It looks bad.  They should have combined the Cubs player with another NL player and put the Indian with an AL team.

Now let's put the cards side by side.

There was only once instance of a '64 and Heritage Cub player sharing the same card number, pitchers...


....Dick Ellsworth and Matt Garza were both #220.

Here are the position players...






Here are the outfielders...




...and the pitchers...






....and finally....


....the managers.

As I looked at the cards side by side, I noticed another flaw--the Heritage pictures.  One of my favorite features of older cards like the '64s would be the ballpark backgrounds.  I love to look at them and see the Polo Grounds, Candlestick Park, or Connie Mack Stadium.  But most of the Heritage cards are cropped so tightly that you see very little in the background.  Or if there is a background, its boring blue sky.

With today's technology, here's what I'd love to see:  put today's players into the old parks.  That would give the cards a more authentic, vintage look...

Using my limited Photoshop skills, I took these two cards....



....put Starlin Castro in the Polo Grounds?  And yes, I know that Castro is wearing a home uniform in New York, but none of the '64s were shot at Wrigley Field.  Ignoring the wrong uniform, what do you think?


  1. As I was scrolling down through your post I was actually having the same thought about the backgrounds when I came to your comment. There's a little more "life" to the 1964's.

  2. Lifeless perfectly describes the 2012 Cubs.

    Any ideas on the setting of the Scott Baker and Edwin Jackson cards? I'm pretty sure the uniforms are photoshopped but would they do that for backgrounds too? I was trying to find the source photos but no luck.

  3. It looks like the Nationals' spring home, Space Coast Stadium, behind Jackson..... the Twins' spring home, Hammond Stadium behind Baker..

  4. Paul- I like the photo-shop work you did. Very cool.

  5. Actually, these Heritage Cubs cards are better than many teams'. They have a pretty good photographer as opposed to the photos used in the Red Sox sets. Take a glance at some of them - they are shown in the last few seasons directly in front of a chain link fence or back a little further to 2008/'59 when they are shown in front of a shiny dark wall. Good for the '58 set but awful for the '59s.

    Topps DID edit in some old backgrounds in the 2011/'62 set. A few can be seen with the old Polo Grounds in the background. Check out the Youkilis #425 card, among others. Don't know why they stopped. It looked great!