Saturday, March 29, 2014

Often Imitated, but Never Duplicated

Use Grammarly's plagiarism checker because you never know when you have an actual vintage 1965 Topps card in hand. 

I know the authors of the baseball card blogosphere don't have any trouble spotting true vintage from a block away, but I have a feeling Average Joe might find it a bit more problematic, especially with 2014 Heritage on the shelves.

Let's take a look shall we?

Exhibit A: An actual 1965 Topps card (aka: Cubs Goodness)

Exhibit B: Actual 1965 Topps vintage cardboard, but dressed up with a 50th Anniversary foil stamp. Technically vintage, but now it's been slightly updated with foil.  Sigh.

 Exhibit C: 2010 Topps "The Cards Your Mom Threw Out" - Way too glossy to be legit vintage.

Exhibit D:  2005 Topps "Fan Favorites" - Nice knockoff, but more gold foil. 

Exhibit E:  2005 Topps "The Legendary Years" ...  Oh, shiny!  The general template is still in use, but the cardboard stock curls and it's super shiny.  This isn't fooling anyone.

Exhibit F:  2014 Topps Heritage - Pretty darn close, but I wish they would have used the bear head for the logo.  Bummer.

Exhibit G: One of the ten Cubs baseball cards decorating the exterior walls of Cubs Park in Mesa, AZ.  Each card was probably around eight feet tall and sans the Topps logo. I'm sure the Cubs received permission for this project. Right?

Exhibit H: 2003 Upper Deck "Vintage" - Oh boy. 
I don't know if Grammarly's website can decipher a true knockoff baseball card from an original, but it can check full bodies of text for plagiarism against 8 billion web pages.  For those of you looking to polish up your resume it can provide context-optimized vocabulary suggestions.  Ready to turn in your next big report? can instantly find and correct over 250 types of grammatical mistakes.  Nice.  As a teacher this is something I can get behind.

I don't know the history behind it, but I think Upper Deck stole/plagiarized Topps's design for their 2003 "Vintage" set.  Too bad Upper Deck didn't have somebody from Grammarly advising them.  Pilfering Topps' design is a no-no for sure and it's probably part of the reason Upper Deck doesn't currently possess an MLB license.  For shame.


  1. Topps may have granted permission for the Castro card but I don't think they designed it. Its not so zoomed in that I could see Castro's earwax!

    1. And nice breakdown by the way. I've seen all those different versions but never really put together how many there were.