So here goes, my commitment to myself and some of the notable things that came in this fancy box o'cards.
I should note that I had vowed to finish my 1965 Topps set BEFORE I started the '65 version of Heritage. This might be an anti climatic way to announce this - I had a little fan fare planned - but we will take the no frills approach. The 1965 set - cards 1 - 598 are all safe in my binder. I found the final 3 cards I needed online just a few weeks ago. A trio of Hall of Famers. I had been held up on these 3 cards for nearly a year, but I kept on having the feeling like I had one of them already.
Turns out I was correct. I had found a Phil Niekro rookie YEARS ago - long before I even put the cards in the binder. As I was cleaning up the extra bedroom at Christmas time to prepare for some amazing visitors - I found the Niekro/Clay Carroll card I had long forgotten about.
I guess I can start this post off by offering this little slab as trade bait. Card #461.
So, what could have been a very long story is over for now and so is my quest for '65 Topps. (Arguably) the GREATEST player to ever play this game, Willie Mays drove home the winning run and provided the final card for my set. With it done, I can start on it's great-great-grandchild - 2014 Topps Heritage, so here we go.
After opening the shrink wrap I was greeted by this wrapper. I had no idea there would be a 50th Anniversary stamped real '65 in here. Nice touch, Topps. I wasn't thrilled with Charlie Smith, but the idea of pulling a Mays or a Mantle (1 in 598 odds?) was pretty darn cool.
After I ripped open the very first pack and saw the back of the first card I wondered if I had a "hot pack" filled with vintage cards. I saw this League Leader card and the blue back was dead-on. Once again, well done Topps.
It took a few minutes before I got much more excited. The first 6 packs yielded no inserts or SPs, but did provide me with cards of four of my favorite players - a really sharp looking Desmond Jennings which came in my second pack and stands as my favorite card in the set so far.
He was followed by one of my favorite non-Rays. Former O's second baseman Brian Roberts.
As a fan of his I am glad he has a job and a chance to be a starter AND to have a big role in Derek Jeter's farewell tour, but man it burns me to see B.R. in pinstripes (or NY road greys)...
Speaking of teams I hate and players I like - my third pack contained card #135 commemorating game 4 of the World Series. Ken Boyer's grand slam was on the original and my man Jonny Gomes' 3 run homer gets the modern one.
My 4th pack had my favorite pitcher in it, Alex Cobb on a fairly blah looking head shot.
It also had my first Rookie Cup card featuring an ultra close of up of Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko.
Pack number five contained my first look at the World's Largest Vegetarian (I think Robert Parrish is the tallest, but Prince is far larger) in a Rangers uni. I hated to see Ian Kinsler leave TX, but preseason prediction - I think Prince knocks out 40 plus this year.
Another cool card for me was this Rays dual rookie featuring Enny Romero and Tim Beckham.
Both will be at Durham this year, but I think both of them will be playing in St. Pete this fall...
Pack number six had my first SP and my first chrome card as well. The SP was Prince's former teammate, Mr. MVP Miguel Cabrera on the prestigious card #500, formerly occupied by HOF slugger Eddie Mathews. The chrome featured Mr. Met David Wright.
As I finished the box off, I pulled the appropriate number of SP (1:3) high numbers (8) and I pulled 2 chromes (1:14) and 1 refractor (1:27) of Jon Lester.
The box promised a Real One Autograph OR a relic card - I got neither. That was a HUGE bummer. If I pull 2 in my next box I will be happy, but otherwise I feel kinda scammed...
I did get one "hit", a logo variation SP card of Mets inactive phenom pitcher Matt Harvey, these are 1 in 135. Unless someone wants this, it will likely end up on eBay. I will wait a week or so in case somebody needs it, but please get in touch soon with an offer if you do want it. Same goes with everything - I am not chasing any of the insert sets or saving chromes. I am determined to finish this set sooner than later. There are 75 high number SPs and I have 8 thus far, so I will need to do some serious trading.
Back to my ripping... It was Mike Trout who got the honor of Willie Mays card #250.
The standard insert series' all returned this year as well. I got a few of each - New Age Performers, Then and Now and Flashbacks.
I didn't rip any Heritage last year so i don't know for sure if this is new or not, but this year's set included a MLB Draft First Rounders set (1:12) and I pulled 2 of them.
Aside from the short prints the last few packs were highlighted by a pair of former Rays and a trio of current ones.
I ripped pretty quickly, stopping only to put a few cards in penny sleeves. After waiting for what seemed like forever, about 10 minutes after meeting Charlie Smith i had a stack of wrappers and an empty box.
The good news is that now that I have posted this box - I am free to tear into the next one!!!
PS. The Rays won again last night, Wil Myers led-off and had 3 doubles. They are down the street in Sarasota today against the Orioles.
PSS. Every insert is available, so hit me up if ya need anything. I will have a wantlist up soon...