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Opinion: Not All Sets Created Equal, and That's What Makes the Hobby Great

It was around 2015 that I was introduced to Topps Heritage. I didn’t understand it at first. In fact, I probably stuffed some gum stain backs, short prints, and other variations in team trading boxes.

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After really immersing myself into the hobby throughout 2015, I gave Heritage another try with the 2016 release. By then, the Blowout Forums thread had me clicking refresh several times a day following any news on the release. I bought a case, and it was the most fun I can remember opening packs.

Following card collecting Facebook groups, there’s always a set that complain constantly about Topps Heritage. “You don’t even get an autograph in every box,” “I hate all the variations,” etc.

This is what makes the hobby great. Because for every person that hates on Heritage, there’s a few, like me, that absolutely love this product and its quirkiness. Heritage isn’t a hit-based product. It packs about three autographs per case and the guaranteed “hit” in each box will likely yield you a plain-colored jersey relic. The “hits” will probably net you less money than eight or nine other cards in the box.

Hey, I get it. If you want hits in terms of autographs and serial numbered fancy jersey swatches, Heritage isn’t your product. But, guess what? There are a dozen (way more) other products out there that can quench your hit thirst.

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If you’re looking for high-end hits, there is always Topps Triple Threads, Tier 1, Topps Inception, Topps Definitive Collection, among others.

Do you like the quirkiness that Heritage has? Allen & Ginter kicks it up a notch. This is another product that gets ragged on constantly because people want to buy “baseball” cards and not pull a skater or President. That’s cool. If you want baseball only, skip A&G.

Are you a prospector? Bowman is the king of the prospects. Plus, at the end of the year you can buy boxes of Bowman Draft that feature cards of that year’s draft picks. Topps issues Pro Debut and Heritage Minors that feature players still in development.

What about the kids? Another complaint is there isn’t a product geared toward kids. There are plenty. You can start with Topps flagship releases for series one, series two, and update.

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There is the newly released (2018 was its debut year) Big League, which impressed me. And for a really cheap break, the always kid-friendly Topps Opening Day.

If the hobby only offered products that I wanted, or that you wanted…it would be very, very boring for a lot of people. If you don’t like a product, just wait a week. There’s an endless stream of new baseball card releases almost year round.

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