Thursday, February 22, 2018

How To Spot 2018 Topps Heritage Baseball Error Cards

With 2018 Topps Heritage Baseball releasing next week, collectors will be opening packs trying to find the error cards that mimic and parallel the errors made in the 1969 Topps Baseball release. Because these new Heritage error cards are unannounced, the hardest part, most of the time, is spotting them.

In 2011 we were the first to spot one of these cards. We did an article about it called Mysterious ARod 2011 Topps Heritage Card Surfaces on eBay. At the time the card was on its way to being sold for a little more than $10. That auction was ended early and relisted. When it was understood to be an error card it sold for more than $300.

In 2015 we released an article, How to spot 2015 Topps Heritage Baseball Error cards, where we provided a guide with a checklist of cards that could potentially contain errors.  It was one of our most visited articles that year. We’ve decided to do one for the upcoming release of 2018 Topps Heritage Baseball.

Before we get to the potential error cards, here a little history about the 1969 set. 

1968 and 1969 were particularly tough years for Topps, putting together their Baseball card sets. 

The newly formed (1966) players union, MLBPA, had been advising their members/players to boycott Topps because they felt Topps was not paying enough for the use of the players’ images. By 1968 the boycott was in full effect and the players refused to pose for Topps photographers. That left Topps without new photos by the time they had to start production on the 1969 card release. 

The problem of not having new photos was compounded by the Kansas City Athletics move to Oakland in 1967 and the MLB’s decision to add four expansion teams for the 1969 season. The Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots in the American League. The Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres in the National League.

In November of 1968 Topps reached an agreement with the MLBPA that increased player payments and added a percentage royalty payment to the union, but it was too late for taking new photos to meet production deadlines for the first part of the 1969 release, the low numbers. Topps was forced to recycle older photos, hand paint on images of traded players and contract with outside photographers for images of certain rookies, Reggie Jackson for example.  Some of the errors from the 1969 release can be directly attributed to these challenges, some of the more likely error cards to be mimicked in the 2018 releasee.

We've divided potential errors into three categories: High Alert for cards that are almost guaranteed to have error variations; Likely Errors for cards that look like good candidates for error cards; and Longshots for cards that have an outside chance of being included as an error card.

All of this is based on what we know about the original error cards from 1969, what we know about the just released 2018 Topps Heritage Checklist and how previous releases of Heritage have handled errors. Until these cards are discovered and confirmed, check these card numbers very carefully.

To find 2018 Topps Heritage Baseball cards for sale and available on eBay, click on this link as soon as the cards are released.

To find any specific confirmed error cards for sale on eBay, click on that players name.

All error cards in the past have had a Topps code that ends differently than the base card code. As soon as we have that code, we will share it with you.  For now what we know is the last 2 digits of codes;

We will also be updating this post as error cards are confirmed. 


These have their own code so we don't consider these an error card like a Clendenon mimic.
Maybe they should just bring these uniforms back permanently. Throwback uniforms make their return.
This popular insert set returns. Most are pretty easy to spot. This is also where you will find Shohei Ohtani cards.

This has a different code too and is not based on a mistake in the 1969 release, so we don't classify these as errors though most on eBay have. It's a cool idea though.

Another easy set to spot. 


High Alert

These 2018 Topps Heritage cards already match teams, player positions or both, of their 1969 Topps Baseball counterparts.  

Card # 50 
This is the type of error Topps loves to use for Heritage cards, small detail, easy to overlook.  Clemente’s 1969 card is an UER, error card that was not corrected in later printings. On the back of the card where it should state which side Clemente bats from and throws, it says “BATS: R  BATS: R." For 2018 Heritage, Cutch is still listed as a Pirate either to accommodate this error and possibly due to advanced production timelines not being able to correct for his trade to the Giants. Either way, this seems like a strong candidate for an error card.

Card # 99
This could not be more of a match. It is a well known corrected error card.  Be on the lookout for a loop above the Twins circle on the upper left of the front of the card. 

Card #107
OK, team and player position are not a match for the faces on the card, Gibson and Bryant, but the players on the checklist where the error occurs are a match. In 1969 John Purdin, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was card #161 and listed on the checklist as “Jim Purdin” This year card #161 is Yu Darvish, pitcher who is listed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you have card #107 and the checklist says card #161 is “You Darvish” or something along those lines, congratulations on pulling an error card!

Card # 209 - CONFIRMED Different card
Freshly added to the expansion Pilots, in their lone year playing in Seattle, combined with the player photo boycott, it’s no wonder Larry Haney’s card was a production error. The card was a flipped (mirror) image, just like the ARod error card we spotted in 2011. For 2018 Heritage, Dee Gordon is listed on his new team, the Mariners, so be on the look out for any signs that his image has been flipped.
Card #230
Rusty Staub was traded from the Houston Astros to the newly formed expansion Expos early in 1969. More details about the trade can be found in the description of the Donn Clendenon error card below. Though known mostly for his time as an outfielder with the New York Mets, Staub also played 1st Base and that’s the position listed on his 1969 card with the Expos. On the back of the card his 1966 stat line lists him as playing for “Huoston.” The Expos became the Nationals in 2005. Ryan Zimmernan is their current 1st baseman.  Be on the lookout for any year, perhaps 2015, listing Zimmerman playing for “Wahsington” or some misspelling like that.

Various Card Numbers - CONFIRMED & MORE
In the 2018 release these may or may not be error cards, they could be an SP insert set, but either way they should be included. Towards the high numbers in 1969, 23 of the cards had low production White fonts used for last names where there should have been Yellow fonts. There is some mystery that surrounds where these came from, why the change, etc.  It is such an integral, well know part of the 1969 release, it would be hard to imagine 2018 Heritage without them. If it is not an error card, it most likely will be the replacement for SP color swaps.

This doesn't follow the white for yellow pattern last name exactly, but the last names change color so we consider this the error card. 
This follows the Yellow font changes to white for the team name, so this is what we would consider the color swap cards. As more details come in we will update this information. In the mean time, be on the lookout for both.

This 1969 card is iconic. It would be a shame NOT to mimic the error. Card # 653 in 1969 was of Aurelio Rodriguez but the photo on the card was not. This UER had a photo of Angels bat boy Leonard Garcia. There is no card # 653 in 2018 Heritage, but I hope Topps had some fun with this one somewhere in the set. If Topps got Jon Teig (Google it!) for Mike Trout, that would be awesome. This one is a true mystery that we will have to wait and see.

Your eyes do not deceive you. That is not Mike Trout. It's Ramon Flores, who used to be with the Angels. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in January of 2018. Before that he was with the Brewers, the Mariners and the Yankees.

Likely Errors

These 2018 Heritage cards aren't exact matches for their 1969 Topps counterparts but are still the type of error mimic cards that have been done in the past.

Card # 49
This would have been classified as a Longshot because the 1969 and 2018 cards are so different, but the error is so well known it's been placed here. Royals rookie Eliseo Rodriguez’s name was misspelled “Rodriquez” on front of the card. The back had the name correct. It was later reissued with the fix. “Vogt” is an easy enough name to get wrong so make sure to double check the card.

Card # 184  - CONFIRMED different card
This UER is on the back of the card. Pena’s date of birth was listed as 1940. The actual date should be 1937. This would have been in the Longshots too, but this is a very typical, small error that gets used in Heritage. Pena was on the Phillies before being moved to the expansion Padres and both players are from the Dominican Republic, so it gets bumped up here.

Not ruling out Neris or Pence, but this error kind of mimics 1969 Romo more than Pena, as there is only a one year difference. This was expected so we will bump this up here. Bryce Harper was born in 1992, his error card lists him as born in 1993.

Card # 208
This one would be hard to count as a Topps error, but it is considered one for the 1969 release. Clendenon was taken by the Expos in the expansion draft. Shortly after that he was traded with Jesus Alou to the Astros for Rusty Staub. Topps produced a Houston card of Clendenon. In the process Clendenon refused to report to the Astros because he had a personalty clash with their manager, Harry Walker. It wasn't until April of 1969 that a deal was worked out that sent Clendenon back to the Expos at which time he returned to play. But the card of Clendenon as an Astro had already been produced. A new card with him on the Expos was later released. Both Clendenon and Yuli Gurriel played/play at first base, and Gurriel is on the Astros. While he hasn’t refused a trade, be on the lookout for a card released of Gurriel on the Expos, the Nationals or some other team.

Card # 278 
It would be hard to draw parallels between Geiger and Judge. Geiger’s personal story is interesting and somewhat tragic health wise if you feel compelled to look him up. But it is an interesting error, perhaps motivated by the boycott, and Judge is… well… Judge. It's tough to exclude Judge from the possibility of an error card. Geiger appears to have posed batting from the incorrect side. He is a righty and the picture has him batting lefty. I don’t see any signs of the image being flipped. The same thing appears to be happening with Mack Jones on card #625.  If a card shows up with Aaron Judge posing as a lefty hitter it might just be an error card.

Card # 319 
This should be in the Longshots too, but this error sooooooooooo Heritage. McMullen’s card correctly lists him as playing 3rd Base on the front of the card but his batting stats on the back are mislabeled for that of a pitcher. So if the back of Brandon Belt’s card lists the categories of his stats as “IP W L PCT SO BB ERA’ instead of “AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG.” you have an error card.


Card # 47 or # 77
This error has to do with the airbrushing of their caps, and the ability to see logos of the teams they were no longer on. Trout has always played for the Angels and McCann has already been with the Astros for a full year. Doubtful this one will be used.

Card # 151
Same issue as the Donn Clendenon error above but with less drama. be on the lookout but our guess is Card # 208 will cover this error.

Card # 267
Same issues as card # 184, Roberto Pena, below. UER with wrong date of birth, 1944 when it should be 1943. 

Card #500 
Mickey Mantle’s card was one of the 23 players with the Yellow font printed White, but this UER also had no Topps Copyright statement, the stats took up much of the card. The 2018 Pirela card is already a High Number SP. Mimicking any Mantle error might make the Pirela card as rare as the Mantle card in white lettering.

Card # 560
2018 - ? - perhaps an Indians pitcher.
This just seems like an easily overlooked error and has no corresponding card number. Tiant's UER card has his Major League Totals W/L Percentage at .950 which is an amazing percentage considering his record at the time was 66 wins and 44 loses.

Card # 582 
2018 - ? - perhaps another checklist
This 1969 high number checklist had some cards released with the circle on the back colored in and some with white or no color in the circle on the back of the card.

Card # 625 
2018 - ? 
As mentioned above, this UER has Mack Jones batting the wrong way. Card #278 will most likely cover this error if its even done.

As cards are confirmed we will update this guide. To find other cool Topps Heritage cards that are already being sold and available for purchase on eBay, click on this link.

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