The Mets’ magic number is down to three, so it seems likely that they should clinch at some point this weekend. (Let’s keep our fingers crossed.)
This week, Topps released its High Numbers update for the Heritage set. While the product has been sold in sets as an online exclusive for the past couple of years, this time it’s available in packs that you should be able to find now wherever you buy baseball cards.
The checklist includes 1312 Mets, but it’s an odd mix. (Thanks, Stubby, for providing the checklist information.)
We get rookie cards for Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Kevin Plawecki, but apparently Michael Conforto came up too late to make the cut. We get a card for Late season acquisitions Tyler Clippard (acquired July 27), but not for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe (acquired July 24) or Yoenis Cespedes (acquired July 31). Late season acquisitions Tyler Clippard and Kelly Johnson are in the set, pictured with their old teams, even though Clippard appeared on a pre-release checklist as a Met.
We get guys who you probably thought were already in the original Heritage series like Jeurys Familia, other guys who’ve been around all year like Ruben Tejada, Sean Gilmartin, and Hansel Robles… guys you probably forgot played for the Mets this year (Jack Leathersich, Alex Torres and Danny Muno) and guys I feel better about when I’m not watching them play too often (Bobby Parnell and Eric Campbell.)
Poor Anthony Recker has now appeared in 138 games for the Mets over the past three years and still has not been recognized on cardboard for his efforts. (At least, not that I’m aware. It’s entirely possible that Topps and/or Panini finally gave Recker a baseball card this summer and I missed it. I’ve really got to figure out what I got and what I need when it comes to 2015 baseball cards.)
But the good news is that there are no Mets in the short-printed portion of the Heritage High Numbers series, though Syndergaard has an action photo variation and a color swap variation that completists can chase.
2014 Topps Heritage card #497 is the first time that outfielder Curtis Granderson appeared on a baseball card as a member of the New York Mets.
If I’d gotten it in March or April, I’d have found it a little bit more exciting than I do now… but it is one less card I have to find for my 2014 Topps Heritage Mets team set. I certainly got a good deal – I won the card for 510 credits on Listia, which almost amounts to getting it for free.
The 2014 Topps Heritage High Numbers set is expected to show up next week (though the final checklist remains a company secret, apparently.) But that’s ok… see, I just recently picked up the two Mets cards from last year’s Topps Heritage High Numbers set.
John Buck was already a former Met by the time this card came out last year. Buck got off to a hot start to the season and then was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with Marlon Byrd to obtain Vic Black and Dilson Herrera on August 27th, 2013. You couldn’t ask for much more from a player who was essentially a throw-in in the R.A. Dickey trade. Buck played in a handful of games for the Mariners and Angels this year, but also spent time in the minor leagues.
Zack Wheeler‘s rookie card was the more in-demand of the pair of Mets in this set. Wheeler has the stuff to be a frontline starter in the major leagues, but he’s still trying to put it all together. He went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in his first full big league season, and he improved on his strikeouts per nine innings, walks per nine innings and home runs per nine innings numbers from his rookie year. Wheeler’s combination of major league success and potential (he’s just going to turn 25 next season) have made him the subject of trade rumors, but I find it hard to believe that the Mets will let him go now.
Topps Heritage fans – do you get the High Number update series, or do you count your set complete with the pack-released cards?
I was probably annoyed to see Johan Santana on the checklist this spring – he hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2012 and he’d signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles right around the time Heritage came out. Now, it could be Santana’s last baseball card (well, until Topps signs a contract to include him as an “all-time great” or “fan favorite”). Seems fitting to have a portrait photo with Santana smiling and a stat-filled card back with the “complete major league pitching record” of his great career.
Hopefully David Wright will have more to smile about next season. This is the more common of two photo variations on Wright’s card #284. I should have the other one by the end of the week, too.
I’m still working on the Mets team set from the regular release of this year’s Topps Heritage set, but that’s probably not stopping Topps from giving me a few more cards to chase next month.
For the third consecutive year, Topps will release a limited edition 100-card Heritage High Numbers update set in October. For approximately $100, you get the update series plus a random autograph – last year’s checklist of signers included exciting stars like Yasiel Puig and Jose Fernandez, as well as a bunch of players like Brandon Maurer and Darin Ruf.
I don’t have the cash lying around to play the Topps Heritage lottery, but I imagine you can do pretty well if you’re lucky and can turn the cards around quickly. Team collectors will want the base set singles, and rookie cards of players like Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka should attract a larger pool of buyers. Get a decent autograph in the set(s) you buy, and you’re looking at a nice potential profit.
Topps hasn’t released a checklist for this year’s set yet, but I imagine it will be more interesting to me as a Mets fan than the first two releases were.
I still need to track down last year’s Zack Wheeler card (I think I did get John Buck‘s at some point last winter.) I’m pretty sure I got Jon Niese, Andres Torres, Jordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis from 2012.
With the exception of Wheeler, who already had plenty of rookie cards by the time Topps Heritage High Numbers came out last year, none of the featured Mets players have been all that exciting and some weren’t even Mets by the time collectors had the cards in-hand.
This year might be a different story. Aside from a digitally-manipulated prospect card in this year’s Bowman set, Jacob deGrom has not appeared on a nationally-issued baseball card yet. A rookie autograph redemption in this year’s Topps Finest Set is selling well out of my price range and is limited to 100 copies. (Who knows when the actual cards will be delivered.)