The design mimics the 2015 Heritage set for major-leaguers, and the original 1966 Topps set. The difference from the original set is apparent on the back of the card. In the little baseball at the top left corner, the numbers are printed in black; in the original 1966 set, they were red. Curiously, the league leaders from the 2015 set have red numbers inside the baseball.
Another inconsistency is the team colors. The 1966 set’s color scheme was distinct for every team. Every member of the Cincinnati Reds, for example, had a blue bar at the bottom of the front and a blue diagonal bar in the upper left-hand corner.
That’s not the case with this year’s Topps Heritage Minor League baseball. I pulled four different players from the Daytona Tortugas, and each card had a different color scheme. Strange.
The two autographs in the hobby box I opened were sticker signatures of Lake Elsinore Storm pitcher Zech Lemond and Inland Empire 66ers pitcher Chris Ellis.
The relic card I pulled was a Clubhouse Collection gray uniform swatch of Jackson Generals third baseman D.J. Peterson.
The inserts for this year’s set include Minor Miracles, which highlights some of the best min0r-league performances of 2014. The design in horizontal, and Topps has a little bit of fun with some catchy, pithy headlines for each. I pulled three of these cards.
Road to the Show depicts the different teams and minor-league classifications players have appeared in as they work toward landing a spot on a major-league roster.
The Make Your Pro Debut promotion returns. The grand prize winner receives a locker and uniform with the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The winner also will get the chance to participate in warm-ups and batting practice, and throw out the first pitch. This year’s winner was University of Georgia student Tyler Badger, who got to be a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. He also got to meet Astros executive and baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Heady stuff.
Topps Heritage Minor League baseball is perfect for set collectors, since a hobby box gets you more than 90 percent of the base set. I particularly like this year’s set because of the 1966 design, which gives me a nice nostalgic feeling.
Plus, there’s always a possibility that one or more of these minor-league players could become a big star someday. It could happen.