As I have been doing these Heritage Comparisons I have to give Topps a lot of credit. They have conciously matched up Cutch's Heritage numbering to Clemente's original card numbers very often. They have done similar things with Koufax and Kershaw too. Dodgers fans: Get On This!!!! It's a fun exercise!!!
Today I am only going to look at one card from the 2013 Heritage release.
2013 Topps Heritage is based on the 1964 design.
Looking at the National League Leaders card #7 we see Cutch finished second in the batting title race in 2012 and Clemente finished second in the 1963 batting title.
Before we get started let's take note that 14 players finished the 2012 season with a .300 or higher average. Some surprising names on that list include Marco Scutaro, Jon Jay, and Allen Craig. In 1963 only 11 players finished above .300 for the season.
It was ruled during the final month of the season that Melky Cabrera who was suspended for part of the season as a result of failed PED testing would not be eligible for the batting title per his request. You can read the article here.
Normally what I do for the Topps Heritage Comparisons is look at many facets of the players previous seasons and compare them. What I thought would be fun instead is to see how close both players came to actually winning the title and what months they made the most ground up in achieving that.
So we know that Buster Posey and Tommy Davis, two west coast players would win the 2012 and 1963 titles respectively.
How did they do on Opening Day compared to the Pittsburgh Pirates stars?
Posey: 2 for 4 batting .500 after day 1
McCutchen: 0 for 3 batting .000 after day 1
Davis: 1 for 4 batting .250 after Day 1
Clemente: 0 for 3 batting .000 after Day 1
I know I've talked about how Topps matches Clemente and Cutch cards up regularly. I was shocked to see they both had the same at bats to begin the season.
Let's move on to May 1st, shall we?
At this point teams have been able to get 20+ games in.
Posey batting .353 on last day of April
McCutchen batting .302 on last day of April
Davis batting .286 to close out April
Clemente batting .250 to close out April
Both Clemente and Cutch started out slow to begin their campaigns.
The weather is getting less cold and more of the spring temperatures. Will that have an impact of the Pirates superstars as they chase down the eventual batting title winners?
Posey is now batting only .294 for the year after a rough May
McCutchen kept getting hot and finished the month with a .331 average to finish the first two months of the season
Davis stepped up and was now batting .317 for the season at the close of May
Clemente who missed the last few games of May after being replaced by Stargell in the 6th inning of a game vs Phillies on May 28th was batting .307 prior to injury.
June is here and Cutch is ready to take the NL by storm!!!
Posey is still hovering around .300 (.296 to be exact)
McCutchen is now batting .346 and leading the league in hits. He would go on to win Player of the Month for his June performance
Davis was raking at the plate raising his season average to .335
Clemente in search of the title has raised his average to .324 and appeared to have recovered from his injuries.
Another hot month of baseball. Another hot month of Cutch as he takes the 1st Place Pittsburgh Pirates into the All-Star break.
Posey is back above .300 now hitting .317 and getting lots of reps at first base to keep his legs fresh while still keeping the bat in the lineup.
McCutchen won his second consecutive player of the month award and raised his average to .371!!!!
Davis being extremely consistent kept his average at .321 to close out July with just two months left in the season
Clemente overtook the batting title with a .331 mark to close out July.
In the dog days of August both Pirates superstars take a slight step back as the West Coast hitters gain momentum.
Posey with only a month left in the season has closed the gap and is batting .329 to finish out August as his Giants look to make another postseason run
McCutchen after two months of being the best player in the game is returning to just being a Superstar instead of Superman. His average dropped to .344 and the Pirates who were once 15 games over .500 at end of July now remain only 9 games over .500 and are fighting for a Wild Card with, yup Buster Posey and the San Francisco Giants.
Davis remains consistent as maintains his .322 average heading into the final month of the season.
Clemente with a slight dip in August production has now dropped to .320 for the year with only a month left.
As the final month of the season approaches teams are fighting for playoff opportunities and the 2012 Pirates are desperately trying to get to a winning record for the first time since 1992. Rather than resting Cutch more and just giving him extra days and time off to clinch his batting title, Cutch will play everyday as the season winds down and the Pirates clinch their 20th straight losing season. Thanks a lot Jerry Meals and your blown call in 2011.
We already know that Posey wins the batting title, but with only 7 games of baseball left he was hitting .331 on September 26th.
McCutchen was batting .334 on September 26th.
It would be the last day Cutch would have control of the title with only 6 games left to play for the Bucs.
Davis and Clemente would face off each other in LA as the final week of baseball approached they were at .323 (Davis) and .319 (Clemente) respectively. Davis in anticipation of the postseason would only get another dozen at bats to finish out the year and win the title.