There are lots of things that collectors would like to "fix" about the card collecting hobby.
They range from too many parallels and high priced sets to lackluster designs and using the same pictures over and over again. I'd say that I'm tired of these things too.
However, my biggest complaint since getting back into collecting has been the lack of Padres in sets.
They're fairly represented in the Topps flagship, and it's not too bad in Heritage, but everything else is a complete joke. In some sets, the only Padre that they'll include is Tony Gwynn, who hasn't played in over a decade.
Don't get me wrong, I love a Gwynn card as much (if not more) than the next guy, but give me a break! He's not the only Padre to ever play the game! They still have a team, with real players and everything.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised that there were four whole Padres in the Heritage High Numbers set, after having only two in the previous two years. DOUBLE THE PADRES! I can get on board with that. But before I get too excited, let's see who they added to the set.
1. Jesse Hahn: Grade A+
Great move adding Hahn to the set. He's a rookie, which is right in the wheelhouse of a set that comes out at the end of the season. Hahn had a stellar rookie season, though he was put on an innings limit and was shut down the last part of the season. A 7-4 record with a 3.07 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) is not too shabby, especially on a bad Padres team. If he had kept pitching (only had 73.1 innings), I think he could've rustled up some rookie of the year votes. Not enough to win or anything, but a few, at least.
2. Tyson Ross: Grade A+
The Padres had two All-Stars this year in Ross and closer Huston Street, though neither played. A Padre hasn't played in the All Star Game since Heath Bell came running in from the Bullpen in 2011. That is depressing. That said, shutting an All-Star out of the Heritage set shouldn't happen, so good to see him included here. Plus, the "tossing the ball in the air" is a pretty badass pitcher's shot. Good job Topps.
3. Tommy Medica: Grade B-
If Tommy Medica is known for anything, it's playing with a mostly unbuttoned jersey, hitting majestic home runs, and striking out in almost a third of his at bats. This move would've made more sense at the beginning of the year, when it was unknown how he would do. Adding him to this set, however, seems like it was done just because he's been signing for a few of the sets (this one included). I love ya Tommy, but I would've gone in a different direction here.
4. Yangervis Solarte: Grade A-
The pictures of Hahn, Ross, and Medica were taken during Spring Training, but Solarte was a trade deadline acquisition, so his photo is more recent. Notably, it features a pretty good shot of the patches that the Padres wore this year to honor the passing of Jerry Coleman (star on the sleeve with the initials "JC") and Tony Gwynn (home plate design with the number "19"). Solarte is one of my favorite Padres now, so it was good to see him included, but I think he was included because Topps has a crush on him after a hot streak in a Yankee uniform.
Maybe I'm being picky, but I am still waiting for my first Topps card of Nick Vincent.
I know that collectors might not be enthralled with cards of set up guys out of the bullpen, but Nick Vincent is awesome. He had a rough May/June last season that inflated some of his stats, but he was pretty lights out the rest of the season. Make it happen, Topps.
Odrisamer Despaigne has an even bigger case for inclusion. He was also a rookie this year, being his first year in the majors after coming over from Cuba. He has developed a reputation for being a junk ball pitcher, throwing a huge array of pitches, but it's pretty fun to watch. Plus, HIS NAME IS ODRISAMER.
Still, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I'll take my four cards and be happy with it. Good job on this one.
I mean, the set comes in a box, not packs, for $100, but thankfully there are people who buy it and break it into pieces, and these were mine for less than six bucks. But no parallels.
That's a plus, right?