Beginning in 2001, Topps began producing Topps Heritage - a set completely based on a baseball card design from its past. The 2001 Topps Heritage set used the 1952 Topps design, and each year after has chronologically tracked the Topps' designs through its early years. For its 2010 offering, Topps is now up to its 1961 baseball card design.
The reason we're not collecting the set isn't because I don't appreciate the 1961 Topps design. To be clear, I think this is a gorgeous set and the scans I've seen of some of the base cards and the various insert sets are impressive. Topps has taken the extra step of including players who switched teams over the winter in their new uniforms, even though they've never actually worn those uniforms. As such, the set includes the first official Roy Halladay as a Phillie baseball card.
We're not collecting this set because Topps insists on including short prints within the set. Topps would tell you this is an effort to replicate the collecting conditions in the '50s and '60s when the high-numbered series were always more difficult to find. By the time Topps released its 6th or 7th series of baseball cards back then, kids had already moved on to the next year's football card releases. But I'm not buying it. (Pun intended.)
From 2002 through 2008, we bought several boxes of each year's Heritage sets. To date, we've managed to complete master sets of the 2002, 2003 and 2007 offerings, but we're still tracking down several elusive short prints from the 2004-2006 and 2008 sets. Last year, I made the call to stop the Topps Heritage set-collecting streak and the decision stands again this year. All this could change of course if Topps decides to forgo the short prints in 2011, or if it decides to fast forward 14 years to 1975. At that point, all bets are off and I'd probably buy a case of the stuff.
The Real One: In lieu of collecting this year's Heritage set, I'm going to focus on collecting the actual Phillies cards from 1961. I have 14 Phillies cards from the set, including this Jack Meyer card, but I need 16 more to complete the team set.