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Topps Heritage Minors Through the Years

This week Topps releases its Minor League version of the Heritage brand. The 2018 set marks the eighth release of the product, which debuted in 2011 which featured Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.

Last week I reviewed the checklist for 2018 Topps Heritage Minors and my thoughts on this year’s release. Despite not buying any boxes or cases this year, it remains a top three favorite release each season, and I’ll be stocking up on Cubs singles in the weeks to come.

Now it’s time to reminisce looking back at each year of Heritage Minors with the Cubs checklist.

2011 Heritage Minors

Playing off the prospecting hype Topps released its Minor League version of Heritage, following the same vintage design as the flagship set (1962 in this case). I didn’t buy any in 2011, but did take advantage of a Blowout Cards Black Friday special two or three years ago when boxes were marked down to $60. I picked up 12 boxes and ripped six. I hit a couple Bryce Harper Relics, but no autographs. Outside Harper, the autograph checklist is really weak, but there was great value here in a $60 box. I sold the other six boxes for about $100 each.

There are five Cubs cards on the checklist, with Brett Jackson getting a Sporting News All Star card (short printed) along with his base card.

Michael Burgess was featured as a Daytona Cub.

Josh Vitters was one of my favorite Cubs prospects during this time. While he did get a cup of coffee in the big leagues, he didn’t quite live up to his prospect hype.

Ryan Flaherty was also featured here in a Tennessee Smokies uniform. Flaherty has logged 530 MLB games over seven seasons (currently with the Atlanta Braves). He was left unprotected in the 2011 Rule V draft, and was picked up by the Baltimore Orioles.

2012 Heritage Minors

Only four Cubs are on the 2012 checklist, and two of them are short printed. For two reasons, though, this is my favorite set for the Cubs checklist. It’s my favorite design. The 1963 Topps design is an all-timer. Second, three of the four Cubs are pictured with the Peoria Chiefs, and it’s the season I worked for the Chiefs.

Plus, it features a young Javier Baez. Unfortunately, it is short printed, and not too many pop up on eBay. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on one on the cheap a couple years ago.

Zeke DeVoss is another Peoria Chief.

As is Paul Hoilman.

The fourth Cub is also a short print. It’s Matt Szczur, the former Cub and current San Diego Padre.

2013 Heritage Minors

Eight Cubs made the 2013 checklist in the 1964 Topps design. My local card shop would sell half boxes of packs years after release when demand was down. I picked up a few of the 2013 Heritage Minors. Not expecting any hits out of these boxes, I was surprised as each one had either an autograph or relic inside.

Arismendy Alcantara made his Heritage Minors debut in this set as a Tennessee Smokie. He was a hot hit back in 2013 and 2014.

In a Daytona Cubs uniform was Jorge Soler. He, along with Javier Baez, were the main attractions in 2013 Heritage Minors.

Baez, in his second run of the series, was also featured with the Daytona Cubs.

One of the best minor league names of 2013 was Cubs prospect Rock Shoulders.

It’s been a long road to Wrigley Field for Dillon Maples. Going back five years he was a Kane County Cougar. He made his major league debut on September 3, 2017.

Gioskar Amaya was another one of the five Kane County Cougars in this set.

Dan Vogelbach was short printed.

The other short print was 2012 first round pick Albert Almora. The first draft pick of the Theo Epstein Cubs era.

2014 Heritage Minors

The Cubs count in Heritage Minors doubled from 2012 to 2013. From 2012 to 2014 it tripled. That’s right, there are an even dozen Cubs in 2014 Topps Heritage Minors. This set brings all the big hitters. Five of the 12 are key contributors to the Cubs, while others were used as trade chips.

Kris Bryant leads the way as a Tennessee Smokie.

This year’s potential National League MVP, Javier Baez, checks into the set for the third straight year.

During this time Pierce Johnson was the Cubs top ranked pitching prospect.

Dan Vogelbach makes another appearance. While never contributing in the big leagues as a Cub, he was shipped out to Seattle for Mike Montgomery.

Here’s another Heritage Minors card of Albert Almora.

Billy McKinney has reached the big leagues, but never with the Cubs. The team sent him to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal. McKinney has been involved in three big trades. The first was when the Oakland Athletics sent him to Chicago with Addison Russell and Dan Straily for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Then there was the Yankees trade, and in 2018 McKinney went from New York to Toronto with Brandon Drury for J.A. Happ.

I’m very happy that Manny Ramirez appeared on a Cubs card. He spent some time with the organization first as a player on a minor league deal with the Iowa Cubs, and then stayed on board as a coach.

Christian Villanueva sent to the Cubs with Kyle Hendricks from the Texas Rangers in the Ryan Dempster trade. He signed with the San Diego Padres in 2016.

He was then known as C.J. Edwards, now it’s Carl Edwards Jr. Edwards has had a much better career to this point than what the odds said he should have been up against as a 48th round draft pick. The “Stringbean Slinger” was sent to the Cubs with Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, and Neil Ramirez for Matt Garza.

Arismendy Alcantara makes another appearance in the set for the Cubs. He logged 70 games with the Cubs in 2014.

Another Jorge Soler sighting. Soler also debuted in 2017, on August 24th. Of course, he hit a home run in his debut against the Cincinnati Reds.

Addison Russell is the final Cub. He along with Soler and Alcantara are short prints in the set.

2015 Heritage Minors

Another dozen Cubs made the 2015 checklist with some new names. This was the first time I bought Heritage Minors when it came out. I think I initially ordered three or four boxes. It came at such a low price point (about $45 per box), that I decided to make it my first case purchase for 2016.

Billy McKinney was here again pictured with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Albert Almora was now in double-A with the Tennessee Smokies.

Duane Underwood Jr. made his Heritage Minors debut.

Dan Vogelbach had moved up to the Tennessee Smokies for the 2015 set.

Kyle Schwarber, the team’s first round draft pick in 2014, was already in double-A.

A hot young prospect named Gleyber Torres was featured with the South Bend Cubs. Now he’s a hot hitting rookie in 2018 with the New York Yankees.

Carson Sands gets a card with the Arizona League (AZL) Cubs.

Mark Zagunis is a Myrtle Beach Pelican.

Jen-Ho Tseng also appears on a Heritage Minors card for the first time.

Pierce Johnson gets another card. This time with the Tennessee Smokies.

Jake Stinnett is the second South Bend Cub of the set.

Finally, Carl Edwards Jr. gets a short printed card.

2016 Heritage Minors

Ahh, my most nostalgic year of Topps Heritage Minors. I purchased my first ever case of baseball cards and this was the product. In total, I bought a case and a half. At $450 a case it was a can’t miss. How I yearn for those days again (2018 cases have skyrocketed to $750, hence my sitting out).

Ten Cubs were part of the 2016 checklist. Down from the past two years with 12 each, but 10 is still a large number. The big hitters had already graduated out of this product, and it was released just under two months before the Cubs won the World Series. There was a new wave of top prospects, however.

Jen-Ho Tseng appeared in the set for a second time.

One of the big hitters of this year’s checklist was Eloy Jimenez. Depicted with the South Bend Cubs, he would be traded to the White Sox a year later in the Jose Quintana deal.

Ian Happ was a first round pick and debuted in the set. He wasn’t long for the minor leagues as he made his Chicago Cubs debut on May 13, 2017.

Ryan Williams had a spectacular 2015 season in the minor leagues. He was named the franchise’s minor league pitcher of the year.

Duane Underwood was starting to climb the organizational ladder as well.

Billy McKinney made one last appearance as a Cub.

My favorite Cubs prospect Dylan Cease gets a card. He was later dealt with Jimenez in the Quintana trade.

The face Mark Zagunis is making on this card is wonderful.

Jeimer Candelario appears in Heritage Minors for the first time.

And the last card of the 2016 is a beauty. Gleyber Torres received the short print treatment.

2017 Heritage Minors

The 2017 release went back to the early days in terms of amount of Cubs on the checklist. Just four Cubs minor leaguers made the cut, and this was the year I bought the most product. I was in for three cases.

Trevor Clifton gets a Minors card for the first time.

Oscar De La Cruz is featured for the first time as well.

A third Cub also gets his first Heritage Minors card and that’s Jose Albertos.

The final Cub is Dylan Cease in his second year in Heritage Minors. By the time this set was released he was already in a White Sox uniform.

It’s been a great journey down memory lane, and I now have some new Cubs on my want list in some of the certified autographs and relics from years past.

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