The set is a little bit smaller this year. Like last year, there are 200 base cards — but there are only 15 short prints in the 2016 version, as opposed to 25 last year. There is also one autograph and a relic in a hobby box; for the past few years, Topps was promising two autograph cards and a relic. The good news is that this year’s autograph is an on-card signature.
A hobby box for 2016 contains 18 packs, with eight cards per pack. Price for a hobby box will be in the $50 range, depending on the retailer.
Unless you are a prospect geek, many of the names in this set will not be familiar ones. The one thing I do enjoy is the team names. There are so many interesting ones. Here’s a sampler: the Hartford Yard Goats, Akron Rubberducks, Modesto Nuts, San Antonio Missions, Jackson Generals, Augusta Greenjackets, Louisville Bats, Lehigh Valley Ironpigs and the Montgomery Biscuits.
In addition to players in the base set, there are also League Leader cards. Parallels include blue borders, numbered to 99, peach borders (25), black (1/1) and printing plates (1/1). There were three blue bordered cards in the box I sampled.
The autograph card I pulled was of pitcher Kolby Alland, who played for the Gulf Coast League Braves when the photo was taken. He has since been promoted to Rome of the South Atlantic League, where he went 5-3 with 62 strikeouts and 20 walks.
The relic card I pulled was a Clubhouse Collection, gray uniform swatch of Memphis Redbirds pitcher Alex Reyes, who went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA when he got called up by the St. Louis Cardinals.
One of the insert sets — the 50-card Topps Stickers — is a mirror image of the original 1967 sticker set, although the 2016 version is not a sticker. I pulled six of these cards. The other insert is the 15-card Minor Miracles, which highlights unlikely efforts by players. I pulled three of those cards.
For collectors who dream of pulling on a uniform, the “Make Your Pro Debut” promotion is back. This year, the winner will be able to sign a pro contract with the El Paso Chihuahuas minor-league squad, and take batting practice with the team. Also, the winner will get his or her own baseball card for the 2017 Topps Heritage Minor League baseball set.
The 2016 Topps Heritage Minor League baseball set has a clean, crisp look — just like the original 1967 set. It’s a nice way to collect cards of players who might make it to the majors someday.