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A closer look at 2019 Topps Heritage baseball cards

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In the style of 1970 Topps

I finally got around to checking out the 2019 Topps Heritage baseball cards. These are usually a fun set, a mix of modern players but in old designs. It’s been a gimmick that has worked for Topps for nearly two decades, helping to keep many of its older sets relevant.

This year the design is equivalent to the 1970 set, which is good since it stops a run of pretty boring cards in the late 1960s. The 1970s brought a change for the better in Topps cards, both in creative card designs and better photos.

While the cards in 1970 were an improvement over its immediate predecessors, with a new font and crisp, gray borders, the photos themselves were still quite boring. Almost all are posed shots, many in what seem like the on-deck circle at Shea Stadium. The action shots would come a few years later.

These 2019 Heritage cards use the same methodology in photo selection, keeping in style with the 1970 set. The result is a few modern cards that look very much like their Dodgers predecessors from nearly five decades ago.


The card backs often include cartoons with some sort of fun fact about the player. I did not remember this about Austin Barnes, for instance:

When there’s room, there is also text about a player’s career, including this three-homer fact about A.J. Pollock (sorry, Melvin Upton, you don’t count apparently!):

There are some specialty cards, just like in the 1970 set. Individual games of each League Championship Series and World Series are included, with game box scores on the back.

Matt Kemp was recognized as a Sporting News All-Star, and the “rookie stars” sharing a card in 2019 for the Dodgers are Dennis Santana and Caleb Ferguson.


There is an error on a few cards. Normally the major league teams on the back are denoted by city, so “Los Angeles” for the Dodgers. But on three cards (Ross Stripling, Kiké Hernandez, and Rich Hill), it was mistakenly labeled “Angels.”

It’s close to “Angeles,” at least.

In the case of Hill, he actually played for the Angels, back in 2014, so the back of his card makes it look like he played for both the American League Angels and the National League Angels. Oops.

Topps Heritage is a fun set, and a way to collect different cards of modern players, while also taking a page out of the classic Topps catalogue. Photos with game action increased year by year in the 1970s, so beginning next year we might start to see more actual game action in the Heritage set.

We are only four years away from Heritage getting to the 1974 Topps set, which is the earliest year I saw in my youth when I collected cards in the 1980s (thanks in large part to a shoebox full of cards handed down from my brothers). The Heritage set is a fun new tradition that takes me back to my more ardent card collecting past.


Any card with a number under 400 is relatively easy to come by. The cards from 400-500 — which for the Dodgers include Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Kenley Jansen, among others — are short prints, and less common. The 500s and 600s are almost the equivalent of an update set, with rookies and players acquired during the offseason. We get A.J. Pollock, Joe Kelly, and Russell Martin as Dodgers here, along with Rule 5 picks Connor Joe and Drew Jackson, both of whom were returned to the Dodgers in April.

Checklist

  • 5 — Alex Wood
  • 34 — Cody Bellinger
  • 54 — Ross Stripling
  • 97 — Rich Hill
  • 131 — Dennis Santana / Caleb Ferguson rookie
  • 157 — Kiké Hernandez
  • 174 — Justin Turner
  • 195 — NLCS Game 2 (Turner HR)
  • 196 — NLCS Game 4 (Bellinger walk-off)
  • 197 — NLCS Game 5 (Kershaw)
  • 198 — NLCS Game 7 (Puig HR)
  • 212 — Hyun-jin Ryu
  • 304 — Chris Taylor
  • 307 — World Series Game 3 (Muncy HR)
  • 341 — Corey Seager
  • 366 — Matt Kemp All-Star selection
  • 390 — Joc Pederson
  • 420 — Kenley Jansen
  • 427 — Walker Buehler
  • 443 — Matt Kemp
  • 444 — Kenta Maeda
  • 446 — Max Muncy
  • 490 — Clayton Kershaw
  • 522 — A.J. Pollock
  • 528 — Joe Kelly
  • 540 — Alex Verdugo
  • 596 — Russell Martin
  • 597 — Austin Barnes
  • 602 — Connor Joe
  • 621 — Drew Jackson
  • 690 — Scott Alexander
  • 691 — David Freese
  • 696 — Josh Sborz