Tag Archives: 1971 Topps

what’s more ‘holsum’ than a baseball card trade?

this latest trade post comes courtesy of tony at off hiatus. he sent me the front end of a trade package (i’ll send a return package very soon), and it was chock full of good stuff.  here’s a 1990 holsum superstars orel hershiser card/disc
holsum was a bread company – i would have guessed dairy. this is now the only holsum card i have in my collection, and i didn’t even know it was coming. that’s one of the best things about this whole experience.
here’s another oddball from the package – a 1983 donruss action all-stars fernando valenzuela card

and even more fernando goodness in the way of a 1988 panini sticker

there were more stickers to be found, including the late bobby welch

and matt young

who was traded with welch to the a’s prior to the 1988 season. i was happy to see welch (and young, too i suppose) win a ring in 1989 after the dodgers got theirs in ’88.
here’s a 1986 fleer mini steve garvey card

which we’ve also seen recently in one of the steve garvey binders posts.

it’s pretty cool to find vintage cards in a trade package, and tony came through with a couple of cards on cards from the 1957 topps set – lindy mcdaniel

and bobby gene smith

he also hit one of my needs from the 1971 topps set with this fantastic rodney cline carew card

thank goodness the doctor who delivered carew on the train wasn’t named fester fonebone.

thanks, too, to tony for sending me cards!

A Pair of Bonus Athletics

Last week a few cards showed up in a PWE.  I knew that they were coming, because Bru of the fine Remember the Astrodome blog said he was sending them my way.

Let’s see what he sent…

1971 Topps
Bob Locker (card # 356)
1971 Topps
Rollie Fingers (card # 384)

Rollie doesn’t grow his ‘stache until the 1973 Topps issue.

Bru, I’ve got a package ready for you.  But I’ve been saying that since January.  Patience.  I’m a busy man, what with this flurry of posts and all.

Seriously though, thanks for helping me with my 1971 Topps collection.

Another Listia Win

Last week I picked up a pair of cards from Listia. The winning bid? 503 credits. I’ll do that any day. And twice on Sunday.

I needed the Jerry McNertney for my 1971 Topps set.  The Blasingame was just a bonus.

And now the backside. Love the cartoon on the backside.  Yee-Haw!

vintage – old and new – from the card show

when is vintage old and new, you might ask?  well, when topps buys back its old cards, stamps ’em, and puts them in packs of 2015 cards, they are both new and old.  such is the case with these three cards – 1974 topps charlie hough
1979 topps vic davalillo

and 1979 topps lance rautzhan

i bought them at the card show a couple of weeks ago,  they were twenty cents apiece.

i spent a little bit of time in the vintage bargain bin, picking up some set needs.  i needed this 1971 topps yankee team card

and this al kaline card from the ’71 set

was the lowest numbered card on my want list.

i picked up $10 worth of 1965 topps cards, the best/worst of which was this juan marichal card

fifty cents for marichal.

after paying up one dealer for some of the vintage, he threw a 1957 topps ted williams card down on the table.  did i mention i was collecting the 1957 set?  the card is trimmed and notched, but hey – it’s ted williams and card number 1 in the set.  i bit.

it’s the first williams card that i own from his playing days, and should be the last.  i was stoked to find one that fits my collection for less than the price of something that costs $10.01.

there were more cards obtained at the show, but those were via trade.  i’ll show some of them on friday.

A trade with defgav

A while back a trade was set up with Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown.  I don’t know how it started, but I looked at his wantlist and had a few 1971 Topps that he needed.

He provided me with his address and a few weeks later I dropped them in the mail.  Yeah, I’m never too quick on shipping stuff out.  One of my many flaws.

He sent me a return envelope, stuffed with some 1971 Topps that I needed.  And a few bonus cards.

Here are the Series 1 cards that I needed.

I haven’t studied them but I wonder how many non horizontal facsimile autographs there are in the 1971 set.

1971 Topps
Dave Campbell (card # 46)

Don Money is wonderfully miscut.  Love it.

1971 Topps
Don Money (card # 49)

Tom Dukes isn’t creased, but just worn right there.

1971 Topps
Tom Dukes (card # 106)

And now one of the two bonus cards.  2015 Topps.  Sure, everyone’s blogged about them.  But this is a wonderful addition to my Topps Type Collection.  Now if I could just find the binder.  Seriously.  I can’t find the binder.

2015 Topps
Carlos Ruiz (card # 233)

Thanks for the trade, Gavin.

Some sports cards from Listia

I’ve been ‘selling’ some cards on Listia, mostly duplicate 1971 Topps.  I’ve been turning around and bidding on some cards that I want.  I won this disinterested Reggie Jackson for 3,580 credits.  The seller tossed in the ticked off Andre Dawson.  Reggie filled a hole in my quest to complete the 1971 Topps Series 1 (obligatory wantlist link).

1971 Topps
Reggie Jackson (card # 20)
1981 Donruss
Andre Dawson (card # 212)

Jeff Burton has moved from the drivers’ seat to the broadcast booth. But my wife still likes him.  I bid on this lot and won for 503 credits.  I didn’t even look to see if I need them.  As it turns out, I needed all three of them (obligatory wantlist link, part two).

1999 Press Pass
Jeff Burton (card # 50)
1995 Classic 5 Sport
Jeff Burton (card # 172)
2006 Press Pass VIP
Jeff Burton (card # 2)

I need to do much more sorting and cataloging of the Jeff Burton cards, but that isn’t a priority for me.

OSCARS: "The Grand Budhapest Hotel" – Al Hrabosky

I saw two of the 2015 Best Picture Oscar Nominees. One of those was “the Grand Budhapest Hotel” 

As a Wes Anderson fan I try and see most of his films. Budapest delivers a lot of what Anderson fans want, strange characters, unique camera angles, and favorite actors – like Bill Murry.

It is a good movie and a fun ride but not up to Rushmore or Tenenbaums status. The film doesn’t have a pop soundtrack in the way that my favorite Wes Anderson films do, the music is good, just not my style.

If the film receives the Oscar I believe it is more for Wes Anderson’s body of work than this specific film.

Cardboard Budapest Hotel

2001 Topps Archive Autograph #TAA128 Al Hrabosky

How does one come up with a card to represent a non-baseball, non-sports movie?

You get creative

Budapest is the capital of Hungary which directed me to one of the more colorful ballplayers of my youth, the Mad Hungarian – Al Hrabosky.

Hrabosky pitched 13 MLB seasons, most of which were with the St Louis Cardinals. He tallied 97 career saves including a leading the league with a whopping 22 in 1975. His lone playoff year was 1978 when he was the closer for the Royals who lost to the Yankees in four games.

Today Al Hrabosky works the broadcast booth for the St Louis Cardinals. He has been a color commentator on TV for the team since 1985. Hrabosky is an active member of the St Louis community and is involved with several local charities. 

2001 Topps Archives

2001 Topps Archive Autograph #TAA128 Al Hrabosky (b-side)

Topps Archive featured reprints of popular MLB alums on their rookie and final cards. With Hrabosky we have a bit of a curiosity. His first card was a rookie stars triple photo. For Archives Topps elected to place only Hrabosky’s photo on the front, while maintaining the integrity of the back.

One of the drawbacks of going with the full photo on the front of the card is that apparently the negative for the picture was not detailed enough to fill the frame. While the photo on the original 1971T Card looks ok, it is a bit blurry on the 2001 Archives reprint.

Sources and Links
2015 Phungo Oscars coverage
IMDB
St Louis Cardinals
topps card database
Baseball-ref
Google Maps
Budapest Travel and Tourism Guide
Baseball Cardpedia

Vintage ‘Toons: Redux ’71, ’70

1971
# of Cards: 1
Favorite Card ‘Toon: No Cartoons This Year

The lone 1971 card in the vintage lot was #535 Curt Flood. This man is a hero to workers everywhere. I may be going out on a limb saying this, but it’s possible that the Packers, who play a completely different sport, might not have won Super Bowl XXXI if it weren’t for Flood. No free agency = No Reggie White.

1970
# of Cards: 13
Favorite Card ‘Toon: #485 Jay Johnstone


“Jay has developed an affinity for Hamburger Helper.”

Card identification success

Well, I shipped off an email to Bob Lemke about the Koufax postcard. I am hoping he’ll be able to pinpoint its origins, although I’m sure he gets requests like this constantly.

Meanwhile, I received another package recently that caused me to run toward my Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (yes, run, I like to keep in shape). The cards came from Matthew Glidden at Number 5 Type Collection. He was holding an Easter Card Hunt Giveaway, based on the numbers on the back of the cards (too cool), and I was a winnah! Weeeeeee!

One of the cards I received was the item you see before you. You may think it’s merely a picture from a really old newspaper glued to some ancient piece of cardboard, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. But it’s more than that.

The card is a 1948 R346 Blue Tint of former Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Bruce Edwards, the guy who was kind of forced to the background (and to the outfield) by Roy Campanella.

The SCBC says that the cards were originally issued in strips of six or eight cards and are known for the blue tint of the cards (some of the cards have black-and-white variations). The backs are blank.

Once I figured out the identification of the card, I was excited because I believe this is my first card from a set that is known strictly by its American Card Catalog name as designated by Jefferson Burdick! That is awesome. I may like vintage above any other kind of card, but I have never really gotten into the super older cards, which explains why I don’t have cards from sets with Ts, Rs or Ws in front of their name. It’s about time that I did.

Maybe the best part of receiving the card was the opportunity to research it and figure out exactly what it was.

After the Koufax snafu, I needed a boost. So I set forth ready to identify the other cards in the package from Matthew.

Too easy. A 1961 Topps Dick Hall card. This is the card that I won by guessing a number closest to the number on the back. I guessed 192 and this card is numbered 197.

I’m on a roll now. Two-for-two.

OK, next card:

Ha! Easy as well. This is a 1971 Topps Walter Alston card. I’d know that card any …

Wait, why is there no color on the card? Why is the photo washed out and in black-and-white?

(*slowly turns over card with sense of foreboding*)

Eeek!!!!! It’s blank!!

I am defeated.

I don’t know what this card is either.

Promo card cut off a sign, maybe? Some sort of box bottom card?

Mr. Glidden?

Mr. Lemke?

time waits for no man, and jim hickman didn’t wait for topps

jim hickman turned 74 today.  happy birthday, jim.  he spent one singular season with the dodgers as a result of being part of the november 1966 trade that sent tommy davis to the mets.  hickman was rewarded with a sad sort of card in 1967, featuring a hatless photo of him as a met with the indentation of his cap still visible on his forehead. 
the card says he’s a dodger, and i guess that’s what counts for us team collectors.  and, as a good team collector turned into ttm enthusiast, i sent one of these cards off to mr. hickman for his autograph.  i am happy to report that he complied with my request.

hickman’s stay in los angeles went so poorly (it was easily the worst season of his career) that topps didn’t include him in their 1968 set.  he had hit .163 in 65 games with no homers and only 10 rbi.  he even served up career home run number 553 to willie mays in a mop-up pitching performance.  the opportunity for a proper card of hickman, in a dodger uniform and listed as a dodger, was lost forever when the dodgers traded hickman in april of 1968 to the cubs.  in chicago, he raised his batting average to .223 and hit 5 home runs with 23 rbi in 75 games during the 1968 season.  those numbers were worthy of a topps card in 1969, but topps still had not caught up to hickman, using a photo of him from his days as a dodger.

obviously, hickman signed this one for me too.  if only there were a way to combine this with the 1967 card, it would be halfway decent.  topps finally caught up to hickman in 1970, featuring him as a cub with a photo of him in a cub uniform.  that was the season he hit .315 with 32 homers and 115 rbi and made the all-star team.  it was his base hit that resulted in pete rose demolishing ray fosse to score the winning run.

i didn’t have an extra copy of his 1970 card, but i did have a 1971 card lying around and he signed it as well.

hickman stayed with the cubs until the spring of 1974 when they traded him to saint louis.  topps pulled a 1968 and didn’t bother to feature him in their ’74 set as a cub, cardinal or otherwise.
here’s to you jim hickman!  happy birthday and thanks for signing my cards!

for cinco de mayo, it’s vicente romo, un doble cazo

vicente romo, a native of baja california, found his way to the los angeles dodgers’ major league roster – not once, but twice. this makes him a dodger ‘double dipper’, and he becomes the latest to be profiled as part of this recurring topic. appropriately, today is cinco de mayo!
romo was actually picked up by the cleveland indians back in 1964 from the mexico city tigers. the dodgers selected him in the 1967 rule v draft, and he made his big league debut as a member of the blue in april of 1968. on april 11, romo pitched the 9th inning against the mets, and he face 5 batters. jerry grote greeted him with a single, and then romo made a bad throw on jerry koosman’s sacrifice attempt putting runners on first and second. bud harrelson got grote to third with a fielder’s choice, and ken boswell plated him with a sac fly. tommie agee grounded into a fielder’s choice, and the inning was over. so was romo’s initial stint with the dodgers. not too long after that game, he was returned to the indians. let’s pretend, however, that romo was featured on a 1968 topps series one card as a dodger, just so his first go-around with the club was documented.
romo appeared in 40 games for the tribe in 1968, and had an era of 1.62. the following season, he was traded to the red sox after appearing in 3 games for cleveland. in boston during the 1969 season, he had 4 complete games (including an 11-strikeout performance against the indians) and a shutout to go along with 11 saves in 52 games.
he was back in beantown for the 1970 season, but was traded to the white sox prior to the 1971 campaign. this transaction resulted in the image that i used for the 1968 card that should have been.

after two seasons in chicago, romo was traded to the padres and pitched for them through the 1974 season. the pads released romo during spring training in 1975, and he returned to his native mexico and the mexican league. in december of 1981, the cardinals came calling and brought romo to spring training. he was returned to the mexican league just before the major league season began, but wasn’t there too long, as the dodgers signed him to a big league contract in may of that year. he pitched in 15 games, including 6 starts, for the dodgers in 1982 and had an era of 3.03. after the season ended, coatzacoalcos of the mexican league wound up purchasing his contract back from la.

topps did give romo a ‘final tribute’ card in 1983 which was nice.

so, the dodgers served as true bookends to romo’s major league playing career. as such, they missed out on 31 wins, 51 saves, and 609 innings of solid relief and spot starting pitching.
here’s to you, vicente romo, dodger double dipper internacional!

because nothing beats a vintage double play turn, let’s turn two

cookie rojas is not the only 1971 topps card to feature double play action!  here are ken boswell (with 1978 topps dodger vic davalillo sliding in)

 and dal maxvill

caught in the act.  i am making a couple of assumptions, the first of which is that maxvill is involved in a double play attempt and not just avoiding a slide while covering second on a stolen base attempt or a fielder’s choice or some other situation.  and, since i am going to try to figure out when these photos were taken, i am also going to assume that these photos were taken on the same day in my attempt to pinpoint the game.

let’s start from the end of the season and work backwards.  maxvill played in most of the cardinals’ games in 1970, as boswell did for the mets, so i’ll use davalillo as my least common denominator – he appeared in only 5 games that the cardinals played in new york during the 1970 season.

on september 12, both davalillo and maxvill appeared in the game for the cards, along with boswell for the mets.  in fact, davalillo pinch hit for maxvill, but he flew out and so did not reach base.

on july 8, davalillo pinch-hit in the 9th inning, but he again flew out.

on july 6, davalillo was used as a pinch-hitter, but boswell never appeared in the game.

on may 28, all three were in the starting lineup.  davalillo walked to lead off the first, and advanced to second on a walk.  he then fouled out in the second inning, and doubled in the 5th.  in the 6th inning, however, davalillo reached first on an error by the mets’ third baseman.  he was then erased on a 6-4-3 double play thanks to a julian javier grounder.  i think we may have our play on the boswell card, as he was playing second base at the time.  just for good measure, davalillo flew out in his final at bat of the game.  now let’s take a look at mr. maxvill.  bob gibson was pitching for saint louis, so there weren’t many base runners.  in fact, the cardinals did not turn any double plays during the game, so let’s look at some other possibilities then.  in the first 4 innings, boswell’s double in the 2nd accounted for the only mets’ base runner.  in the 5th, boswell singled and stole second. perhaps that’s boswell sliding in?  i doubt it – boswell wore number 12, and it looks more like a 5 on the back of the mets player (joe foy was number 5 for the mets, and he didn’t appear in the game.  the other mets with numbers ending in 5, jerry grote (15) and tug mcgraw (45), did appear in the game, but didn’t reach base). boswell was later forced at second with maxvill covering, but it doesn’t look to me like maxvill has the ball in his glove. in the 7th inning, cleon jones grounded to first with al weis on base.  weis took second while jones got the sure out at first.  maxvill could have been covering second in case there was a throw from jones, causing weis to slide in.  weis wore number 6 for the mets so it’s plausible.

a quick look at the fifth and final possibility eliminates it, as boswell did not play on may 27th. 

i think i will rule that these cards show images from the may 28, 1970 game and that it’s al weis sliding in on maxvill’s card.  not a double play turn, but a nice card nonetheless.

the 1978 topps dodgers in 1971 – the veterans

i posted the newcomers earlier today.  these are the grizzled vets that are slowly working their way to becoming part of the 1978 topps dodgers.
vic davalillo

was featured as a cardinal on his 1971 card, but he spent the entire season with the pirates. he served as a 4th outfielder, backing up roberto clemente, al oliver, and willie stargell.  davlillo wound up appearing in 99 games for the national league east champs, hitting .285 on the year and .333 (9 for 27) as a pinch hitter with 4 doubles and 8 rbi in that role.  in the postseason, davalillo had just 2 hitless at bats in the nlcs against the giants, but was 1 for 3 with a run scored in the world series against the orioles, earning his first world series championship. 

jerry grote

grote led the league in putouts by a catcher for the second season in a row.  he caught 125 games and hit .270 for the mets in 1971 and had just 2 home runs.  one of those home runs, however, was a walk-off job hit in the bottom of the 11th inning of a scoreless game against the reds.  we know that grote didn’t catch any no-hitters in 1971 because the mets haven’t thrown one yet.  grote did catch gary gentry’s one-hitter on april 17 (a 6th-inning triple by roberto clemente being the only hit) but not tom seaver’s seemingly annual one-hitter on september 26, 1971, which was broken up by a 7th-inning single courtesy of none other than vic davalillo.

tommy john

john suffered through his third consecutive losing season in 1971, as he was 13-16 in 38 games (35 starts).  he had, for the second year in a row, 10 complete games and 3 shutouts.  he had two 5-hitters and two 6-hitters and had as many as 9 strikeouts in a game.  against his future teammates, john wasn’t overly dominant as rick monday was 1 for 5 with a home run but struck out 3 times, and reggie smith was 3 for 5 with one strikeout.

rick monday

monday spent his final year in the american league once again patrolling centerfield for the a’s.  in 116 games, monday hit 18 home runs and drove in 56 runs, although his average was a middling .245.  in addition to the home run he hit at the expense of tommy john, monday hit the 50th long ball of his career, and later hit two in one game against the indians.

manny mota

after being the dodgers’ primary left fielder in 1970, mota gave way to willie crawford in 1971 (as we learned in the recent evolution of the dodgers’ left fielder post).  still, mota appeared in 91 games and hit .312.  he was 6 for 16 as a pinch hitter with 10 rbi.

bill russell

listed as an outfielder on his 1971 topps card, russell would actually spend about half of his 1971 season in the infield, but at second rather than short.  he hit .227 in 91 games with a couple of home runs hit 11 days apart.  the first of his two home runs was a lead off shot, and both dingers came off of the phillies’ ken reynolds.

reggie smith

the ‘other’ reggie had a monster year for the red sox in 1971.  he played in 159 games and hit 30 home runs for the first time in his career while slugging career home run number 100.  his average fell a bit, from over .300 to .283, but he led the league with 33 doubles and 302 total bases.  for his efforts, smith finished 17th in the league mvp voting. 

don sutton

sutton won 17 games for the second time in his career, but still lost 12 despite a sparkling 2.54 era and 1.07 whip.  he had 12 complete games, 4 shutouts, and even 1 save on the year.  he reached double-digits in strikeouts 5 times, and threw a one-hitter against the astros in june, with a 6th inning double by future teammate jimmy wynn being the lone astros hit.  speaking of future teammates, sutton had mixed results when he faced members of the 1978 topps dodgers in 1971.  dusty baker was 0 for 1, but vic davalillo was 2 for 3 with a double while jerry grote was 1 for 7 with a double, rbi and two strikeouts.
so, those were the 1978 topps dodgers, well, the veterans anyway, in 1971.

here’s the tally so far:

12/27 players featured by topps in 1971

total appearances:

baker 1 (1971)
davalillo 9 (1963-1971)
garman 1 (1971)
garvey 1 (1971)
grote 8 (1964-1971)
john 8 (1964-1971)
lasorda 1 (1954)
martinez 1 (1971)
monday 5 (1967-1971)
mota 9 (1963-1971)
russell  2 (1970-1971)
smith 5 (1967-1971)
sutton 6 (1966-1971)

teams represented so far:

13 (dodgers, indians, colt .45’s, pirates, white sox, astros, mets, a’s, red sox, angels, expos, cardinals, braves)

the 1978 topps dodgers in 1971 – the newcomers

because of blogger’s 20-label limit on posts, and my obsessive need to label the heck out of my posts, the evolution of the 1978 topps dodgers posts will now be presented in two parts.
the future roster that would become the 1978 topps dodgers is coming into shape with a few new faces adorning cards in 1971.  first up is johnnie b. ‘dusty’ baker, who happens to share his rookie card with dodger tom paciorek and the orioles’ don baylor.

baker and paciorek would be traded for each other in 1975 in the deal that brought dusty to la.  baker debuted in 1968 at the age of 19 as a pinch-hitter for phil niekro in a september game against the astros.  on the year, he went 2 for 5 (his first hit coming in his third career at bat – a single off of mike cuellar) and was sent to the minors for more ‘seasoning’.  in 1969, he earned a midseason call up, but was hitless in 7 at bats.  1970 was a bit better – he was a late season callup and hit .292 in 13 games and drove in the first 4 runs of his career.  by the time 1971 rolled around, baker broke camp with the big club and eventually made his first big league start and got his first extra base hit.  baker was sent back down in may with a .167 average, but returned to the braves for september and went 9 for 32 to finish out the season.

the second future dodger to appear within the black borders, also on a multi-player rookie card, is mike garman

like baker, garman debuted at the age of 19.  he pitched in (and started) two september games for the red sox in 1969, winning the first one which just happened to come against the yankees at fenway.  in the first inning of his debut, garman gave up 3 walks and threw a wild pitch, but he also struck out roy white and allowed only one run.  he settled down and allowed just 2 more runs in 7 total innings of work.  he spent all of 1970 in the minors, but returned in 1971 for three more september starts.  the first was forgettable – a 3+ inning, 5 run performance against the indians – even though the red sox son the game.  his second resulted in his second big league win, and the third was a heartbreaker, as garman suffered the loss despite giving up just one run (a brooks robinson home run) and 4 hits in 7 innings of work.

steve garvey got a card of his very own in the 1971 set

garvey had made 3 pinch hitting appearances in 1969 (striking out in his first big league at bat), but didn’t appear in the field until 1970, where he played in 34 games, mostly at 3rd base (he spent 1 inning at second base). he did hit his first big league home run that year, a solo shot against the expos’ carl morton. in 1971 garvey hit .227 in 81 games with 7 home runs.  he was used exclusively at third base where he made 14 errors.  1972 would be worse.

finally, we have shortstop ted martinez, along with fellow metropolitans rich folkers and jon matlack

not as good a trio as the baker/paciorek/baylor card, but some serviceable big leaguers nonetheless.  martinez had debuted in 1970 (against the dodgers) and was 1 for 16 in his 4 game trial.  his lone hit, a single, came in his second big league start against the giants’ skip pitlock.  in 1971, the mets brought martinez up in july and he played well, hitting .288 in 38 games while fielding four different positions (second, third, short and a one-time appearance in left).  martinez also hit the first home run of his career – a true leadoff home run against nelson briles and the pirates.

that’s it for the newcomers in 1971.  i’ll do the player tally on the veterans post – coming later today.

Breaking through the ’71 Topps wall

Of all the vintage Topps sets, 1971 holds the greatest mystique. It has been that way from childhood to adulthood for me. The ’71 cards were the first “old” cards I ever knew, possessed by older boys in the neighborhood. They were mysterious.

The look of the cards added to the mystique, the pitch-black borders, and the bright, neon fonts. As someone attracted to dusk-till-dawn occurrences, this intrigued me at an early age.

As an adult, and a collector, ’71 Topps held its aura, mostly because of the great Hall of Famers and all-stars who played before my time and because of the high numbered series, which were difficult to obtain and often way out of my price range. The ’71 set has been like a wall that I have never been able to bust through.

But I am breaking through. Maybe not Rodney McCray style. But much slower.

Over the last few years, I have acquired most of the ’71 set, both on my own and thanks to great collectors across the country. In the last few weeks I have gained a few more 71s, both at a card show and online, where I found some high numbers that were surprisingly cheap and in good shape.

But the defining moment of my ’71 chase may have occurred when I received a package from grogg of Nearly Mint. It not only undermined the perception of a complete ’71 Topps set as unobtainable, it obliterated it.

The first card in the package was the checklist you see above. It’s a mere checklist, but it is the last checklist I needed and a terrific representation of all that is tremendous about 1971 Topps.

But let’s move on.

This has been an iconic card for me ever since my first year of collecting in 1975. Before I even saw a ’71 card in my own hands, this was epic cardboard because of this card, which came out of the first packs I ever bought. Peace, Vida.

Yaz is now in my possession. You don’t know how many times I have looked through one particular dealer’s binder of ’71s and failed to find a Yastrzemski card. The binder skips from #529 to #531. No need to look anymore. Yaz appears desperate to find a way out of Yankee Stadium.

In the great ’71 scheme of things, the Gibson card isn’t that unattainable. But I think I’ve been intimidated all these years. First, there’s Gibby, the master intimidator. Then there is the ’71 set, as intimidating as they come. Then there is the terrific action photo. I couldn’t help but think people would demand a ransom for this card because of the photo. I know if someone wants to obtain it from me now, they’ll have to do the same.

OK, youngsters, break out your shizzle, fizzle words, or whatever the heck you’re using these days. We’ve hit the crossroads of everything that makes ’71 Topps what it is. Hall of Fame player. High number. Frank Robinson is both. He is also a once unobtainable card now obtained. Good golly, I can’t believe it.

That would be enough by itself, right? Vida, Yaz, Gibby, and FRobby?

Sure, if I merely wanted to poke the mystique of ’71 Topps. Bruise it a little. Make it break out the bandages. That would be fine.

But that’s not what I want to do. That’s not what grogg wanted to do, I think. The only mission is shattering it. Breaking that mystique wall into tiny, little pieces.

This might do it …

Say Hey! High Number Willie Mays is now a member of my ’71 collection! WOW! I am without speech.

My hope is that grogg received a great deal on this card only because no one should be spending cash like that on me. It looks in fantastic shape, but he did point out the back, which has some paper loss:

I don’t care one speck about that. There are a few other ’71s in my collection that have similar card back issues. It doesn’t make me look at any of my ’71s in a lesser light.

This is a significantly nice package that I received from Greg. He’s got one hell of a card shop around him. I know I can’t match what he sent (he sent several other great cards, which you will see in part 2 of this post), but I have gotten off to a pretty good start. Hopefully, with a little more poking around, I’ll have something satisfactory to ship off.

Meanwhile, I have now completed 97.1 percent of the 1971 set. Just 22 cards to go. Most of these are high numbers that are a little pricey, but not all that unapproachable. I should be able to knock off most of them by saving a little cash.

The two major obstacles are the Dusty Baker-Don Baylor rookie card and Roberto Clemente. I looked around for a reasonably priced Clemente at the card show the other day. Nothing to be found.

But out of all the sets that I have collected since I have been blogging, this is the one that has amazed me the most, and one in which I now know that nothing is impossible. I have learned to expect the unexpected and am grateful for every last card.

The wall is coming down.

Thanks to all who have shown what can be achieved in this hobby. Card collectors are among the most charitable people I know.

What you can find at a card show

The card show experience for me is pretty much ritual these days. For the most part, I know which dealers I’m going to see, what cards I’m going to find, what cards I’m going to buy. There are some surprises, but I like familiarity, so much of what I experience doesn’t change.

This show was ideal for me because of that. The dealers I liked were there and in places where I could find them. The cards I liked were there. Also, there was no autograph guest, which cut down on the celebrity-seeker element that sometimes pops up when the guest is a big deal. The dealers I talked to were in a good mood and seemed happy with business. It was all very pleasant if not exciting.

So, I figured that without anything to detail besides the cards, I would run down a list of what you can find at your average card show. Or at least the average card show that I’ve attended for the last six or seven years. As usual, your joy may vary.

What you can find at the average card show:

1. Vintage: There is an understanding between vintage and the card show. For every card show, 75-80 percent of the cards up for sale must be vintage. I have no problems with this. Vintage rules. It’s more interesting to me than any kind of modern innovation. Throw all the chrome, printing plates and autographs in a big pot, mix them all together into a super high end stew and it won’t come close to a single 1956 Walker Cooper card.

2. Autos and game-used: I rarely look for autographed cards or game-used cards for myself at a card show. There are two reasons for that. The first is I end up picking up most of my AU/GU cards online. There’s just much more variety there. The second reason is I have a hell of a time finding AU/GU cards of Dodgers at card shows. I do find one or two about every other show, but this time I found none. NONE. Meanwhile I could wallpaper a room with all the Oakland A’s relics I found.

But that was a tangent. You can find autos and game-used cards half the tables. They’re not exactly rare.

3. Current cards: I go to one table every time because I know I can knock off whatever current set I am trying to finish. It doesn’t seem like a lot of dealers feature current base sets at the shows, but there are usually a handful every time, and I’m very grateful. Going to Target is so defeatist.

4. Super, shiny, mojo, patch, sick! Sick! cards: There are lots of tables with these cards. Around here, those tables feature many, many Yankees. And Richie Sexson. Or somebody irrelevant. So I stay far away. When I’m feeling especially daring, I’ll stop at one of these tables and hope I can find something specific to my collection. About half the time I get hit up to check out some crazy card that I can’t afford and don’t want at all. I thank the mojo dealers who keep the hard sell in check.

I suppose I’d find a Dodger AU/GU for sure if I stopped here, but sometimes it just isn’t worth it.

5. Supplies: I really meant to buy some supplies this time. But I didn’t. The tables are always there. Waiting. Sorry dudes.

6. Dollar/50-cent boxes: I abandoned my strategy of hitting nothing but the boxes at this card show. That’s because I have sets to complete, man! But they were there, and that’s where I found the 1962 Al Kaline card for 2 dollars. When I finish off my 1971 set, then you’ll see me hit the boxes with a vengeance.

7. Items of no interest to me: This includes football cards, basketball cards, hockey cards (although I pick up one once in awhile), auto racing items (I never look closely enough to see what’s there), old movie star pictures, blah, blah, blah

Now, what you CAN’T find at my average card show:

1. Cards from the 1990s: Unless they are the chrome variety from the late ’90s or random inserts that you’ll find in dollar boxes, ’90s cards are not available unless you want to buy a box of ’92 Donruss. Have you ever seen a binder of 1996 Collectors Choice? Neither have I.

2. Cards from the 1980s: Again, unless it’s a Mark McGwire/Roger Clemens/Ryne Sandberg rookie or available in a box, usually with the words “1989 Topps Baseball” on the front, I’m not going to find it. Sometimes, I get lucky and stumble across a binder with cards from the very early ’80s, but not very often.

3. Oddballs: Most of the oddballs are see are Jello cards from the early ’60s that I can’t afford. But a little searching usually turns up oddballs that are “approachable.” I can go entire card shows without finding oddballs, or I can find several.

4. Minis: Who is hiding the minis????? I demand answers!!!!! I looked for A&G minis at this card show. Couldn’t find a single one. Same deal last time. They’re sneaky little suckers.

5. Certain, select high-priced cards: I’m thinking mostly of tobacco-era cards, which I assume only appear at the National. But there aren’t exactly Hank Aaron rookies or other cards on a similar level floating around my card show.

OK, so that’s the breakdown. How does that compare to your shows?

Onto the cards I nabbed. I’ll break it up into the above categories:

1. VINTAGE

The reason why I go to these things:

These cards, along with the Don Shaw up top, are all high-numbers for my ’71 Topps completion quest. I am quite close to finishing this thing, and I know what you’re thinking:

How about landing some of those superstars from the set instead of saving them all for last?

Well, you cynical, judgmental people, have I got a post for you! But because you doubted me, I’m going to make you wait a few days.

There is nothing like picking up a couple of early ’60s Topps cards that you swear you have already only to realize you were mixing them up with 2009 Heritage. There is a reason why certain older collectors stick to vintage. We confuse easily!

I spent more on this card than any other one I bought at the show. I don’t know why. I knew it was a high number and that 1963 high numbers play nasty. But the dealer came down on the price and for some reason I just couldn’t let it go.

Yeah, I know, what’s a ’75 card doing here? Didn’t I complete this set years ago? I did, but the thing about having a blog focused on one set is that you become painfully aware of how off-center some of your cards are. So I updated a handful. If you need an off-center Beckert, Don Stanhouse, Pat Bourque, Pete LaCock, Steve Braun or Denny Doyle, I’m your guy.

Leafing through a binder of 1956s is as close to heaven as you will come in baseball card world. There are so many of them that I wanted to buy but couldn’t. I actually had an Early Wynn card in my hand and put it back. I also passed up on a Jim Greengrass. How could I say no to a guy named Greengrass? What’s wrong with me?

At least I left with some Brooklyn boys.

2. AUTOS AND GAME USED

None for myself. The only Dodgers I came across were either way too expensive or looked fake (a very suspicious-looking Andre Ethier auto). But I did  pick up some goodies for a handful of trade partners. So, unnamed people, look for those.

3. CURRENT CARDS

All of these came from two different dealers:

I stupidly ignored the 2010 Bowman Chrome cards that I saw even though I need Dodgers from that set, but at least I finished off this Bowman Throwback insert set.

Final two non-short-print Dodgers from Heritage.

My first green-bordered Dodger Heritage card. Very snazzy, although I can’t get used to how the color stops at the name. I suppose this could give the impression of spray-painting a tree, but it looks unfinished to me.

A bunch of current/retro Robinsons. The Turkey Red Robinson on the top right is my 100th Jackie Robinson card, which shows you how much Topps is trying kill the appreciation of pulling a Jackie Robinson card. If you had said you had 100 Robinson cards in 1994, that meant you had about 40 dupes of his 1956 card.

At one point I started leafing through a binder of Pro Debut before I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I managed to snare 2012 National League Rookie of the Year Jerry Sands before moving on to the big leaguers again.

I was lucky enough to find both Dodgers from the Topps Black Diamond wrapper redemption series. Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier. The guy at the table said those cards were quite popular and had been looked at a number of times. Fortunately, his previous customers weren’t Dodger fans. You can have all the Posey, Pujols and Heyward cards you want, fellas.

When I pointed to this card originally, I thought it was your average 1962 Frank Howard card. Then I saw the buy-back emblem on the front that everyone seems to love. The dealer alerted me to it as I was making the discovery myself. He was very disgusted that Topps puts the buy-back stamp on the cards pulled out of Heritage. For a minute there, I thought he was going to try to scrape the thing off for me.

Anyway, I grabbed it because it was cheap and I can’t resist a Frank Howard card.

4. SUPER SHINY PATCH MOJO THAT IS SICK, SICK! CARDS:

Like I said, things were very relaxed at this card show. I was so not in the mood for these people, so I just kept on walkin’

5. SUPPLIES:

Actually thought about it. Then didn’t.

Well, since that’s all that I’m supposedly supposed to find at my card shows, then that’s it, right? No other cards to see.

Wrong. Card show rules are made to be broken.

1. CARDS FROM THE ’90s:

Just one card from the ’90s. Pinnacle put out about 47 sets in 1997, so I don’t know what this. I can’t find it in my big book of cards for idiots either. I know it is some sort of five-card Brooklyn Dodgers tribute put out by Pinnacle in 1997 in conjunction with the All-Star Game that year. I also know its mahogany shininess makes me happy.

3. ODD BALLS:

Pretty clueless on these two Koufax cards. I think the top one is from Renata Galasso from the mid-80s. The bottom one I should know because I’ve seen these before and thought they were cool, but there is zero info on the back and I don’t have a spare two hours to look through my giant SCD book.

But here are cards that I know plenty about:

Kellogg’s!!!! Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

I made sure to remember to ask for the Kellogg’s binder from one dealer, since I had seen it at the last card show. The selection was OK, although there were a bunch missing from the years that I need from the early ’70s. I was glad to grab ’83 Kellogg’s 3-Ds. For some reason, I never see those.

So, that was the show.

No tobacco cards, no sick mojo hits, no supplies, no Aaron rookies, no people standing in line for an autograph from Scott Brosius. But just about everything else.

I’m happy.

Vintage Fridays: Frank Robinson, 1971 Topps #640

Today marks the 36th anniversary of a momentous day in both baseball history and the life of Frank Robinson. On April 8, 1975, the future Hall of Famer became the first black manager in MLB history when his Indians opened their season at home against the Yankees. Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel threw out the ceremonial first pitch in front of a crowd of 56,715. Frank was still on the active roster as a player, so he penciled himself into the starting lineup as the designated hitter, batting second behind Oscar Gamble. The 39-year-old brought the Cleveland fans to their feet by taking Doc Medich deep in the first inning for his 575th career home run. It was also his eighth career Opening Day homer, a record. With one swing of the bat, the Tribe led 1-0.

In the following half-inning, the Yankees jumped on Indians starter Gaylord Perry for three runs on four hits, with Chris Chambliss’ two-run double serving as the big blow. But the wily veteran clamped down and shut out the visitors over the final seven innings, and the Cleveland batters battled back with a big contribution from another prominent former Oriole. 33-year-old Boog Powell, acquired from the O’s in a trade two months earlier, slugged a solo home run in the fourth inning (#304 of his career) to tie the game at 3-3. Two innings later, he drove in George Hendrick with a double to put the Indians on top 4-3. Boog eventually scored on a Jack Brohamer single to make it 5-3, and that would be the final. Frank Robinson began his managerial career with an exciting win.

Trade Mail from Rhubarb

Ol’ Rhubarb Runner of e rayhahn, rayhahn was kind enough to send me over a fat package of Angels cards pulled from his massive (I imagine) collection of just about everything. He wanted Twin cards, so that I sent him.

We originally intended to make the trade in little chunks of similar cards, but it ended up being a mass dump. I think though that I ended up on the better end of the deal, so I intend to get another stack to him sometime in the future. I added a notation of “I owe” to Rhubs line in my trade log.

I was most interested in the following lot of cards he had to offer, these 1971 Topps. There’s even a few high numbers in there, and adding these cards to my collection puts me 1 card shy of the complete Angels team set (Sandy Alomar). Rhubarb made sure to point out that these 71’s had been in his family for a long time (since ’71?) and are very dear to him, a part of his childhood. I promise to keep them safe and treat them as if they were my own (which they are now). I will love and cherish them.

A nice little stack of ’74s and a ’77 filled in some additional spots in my team set needs. The cards that made the trade lopsided in my favor are those in this 2002 Topps Angels team set. I only had a couple of these, and he wanted to keep the team intact, so together they came as a family. And as a family they shall stay. Several nice Wally Joyner cards I didn’t have were in the mix. I especially like the 1990 SCD Price Guide card with the 1967 Topps theme. An equally nice lot of Tim Salmon cards were sandwiched in the stack. Two more magazine cards and a nifty little 7-eleven disk will now be added to my collection. A multitude of random commons, mini’s, stickers, oddballs, and magazine cards which I love, will find a home in one of my Angels binders. And the icing on the trade cake…

An autographed 2010 Kelloggs Pop Tarts Flavor Card.

The Continuing Saga: 1971 Topps

I haven’t done a “Continuing Saga” post in quite some time…since April 28th, 2010 to be exact. It’s been a while so I thought I would make it a special one. I took out two of the bigger cards in the 1971 set…Tom Seaver and Ted Williams.

This Seaver is not in the greatest condition as you can see and if you held the card on its side it almost looks like a sine wave.

#160 Tom Seaver


Ted’s card is in a little better condition but it has still seen better days. The 1970 Senators finished in last place in their division and one season later the Senators would moving to Texas and becoming the Rangers.

#380 Ted Williams


I also took two more off the Needs List. The first one being a future Hall of Fame member. If Torre stays out of coaching he would be eligible for induction in 2014.

#370 Joe Torre


…and Adolfo Phillips who once hit three home runs in a single game.

#418 Adolfo Phillips

So this bring to the set precariously close to being 86% complete…meaning I’m missing 107 cards currently with most of them being in the short-print part of the set [cards 644-752].

Complete Set: 752 cards
645/752 = 85.77%

The Continuing Saga: 1971 Topps

I haven’t done a “Continuing Saga” post in quite some time…since April 28th, 2010 to be exact. It’s been a while so I thought I would make it a special one. I took out two of the bigger cards in the 1971 set…Tom Seaver and Ted Williams.

This Seaver is not in the greatest condition as you can see and if you held the card on its side it almost looks like a sine wave.

#160 Tom Seaver


Ted’s card is in a little better condition but it has still seen better days. The 1970 Senators finished in last place in their division and one season later the Senators would moving to Texas and becoming the Rangers.

#380 Ted Williams


I also took two more off the Needs List. The first one being a future Hall of Fame member. If Torre stays out of coaching he would be eligible for induction in 2014.

#370 Joe Torre


…and Adolfo Phillips who once hit three home runs in a single game.

#418 Adolfo Phillips

So this bring to the set precariously close to being 86% complete…meaning I’m missing 107 cards currently with most of them being in the short-print part of the set [cards 644-752].

Complete Set: 752 cards
645/752 = 85.77%

let’s turn two with a birthday salute to cookie rojas

cookie rojas turns seventy-dos today, but i prefer to think of him turning two on his fantastic 1971 topps card.  many folks have posted that card and written about it in the past, including me, night owl and dayf, so i won’t go on about it other than to show the version that mr. rojas signed for me through the mail recently.

that’s good cookie!

while on the the subject of ttm and double plays, felix millan signed his 1978 topps card for me a while back.

what i like about this card is that it’s from my favorite all time set, it’s the first double play turn on a card i ever saw, and it’s got dave parker as a lurker barreling in on millan while felix stands his ground. it’s also millan’s final tribute, as he did not play in the majors after the 1977 season.

i contemplated sending this card on to the cobra, but decided against it.  i did, however, send his own 1978 topps card off to be signed, and the 1978 nl mvp obliged.

awesome.  parker was one of those non-dodgers i rooted for as a kid.  it was harmless – he was in the nl east and, after 1974, the dodgers never faced the pirates in the post season.  besides, parker was the guy who helped the national league win a bunch of all-star games, and he made two of the most unreal throws from the outfield in all-star game history – one to ron cey at third and one to gary carter at home – both in the 1979 game.  while neither were double plays, nailing brian downing at home in the 8th preserved the tie and allowed the national league to win with a solo run in the 9th.
happy birthday cookie, and thanks to you, felix and the cobra for signing my cards! 

Terrific

It’s been a crazy, hectic week. Every March I can’t believe that it can get any busier, and somehow it does. People need to tone it down during the third month of the year. Everyone, please take a cue from spring breakers. Use March to go on vacation. You’ll be better off for it instead of the 9,000 things that you do that turns every second of the month into one commitment after another.

When it gets like this, I spend the precious, fleating free moments I have thinking of the abundant time I possessed when I was a kid. I remember when the evening schedule consisted of shuffling through your baseball cards, and then, to make things really crazy, stacking your baseball cards.

The players on those cards back then were always baseball players. That’s how I viewed them. They were never kids, never played another sport, never went to college, never existed before the moment they put on a uniform and played for that particular team. In fact they were never rookies. They were always veterans because they were never anything else.

Reggie Jackson was always there, a powerful slugger with a mouth to match. He was never a rookie. Lou Brock was always there. A Cub? Brock was never a Cub.

And Tom Seaver. Always there. He was the top pitcher in all of baseball. It was just common knowledge. Who’s the greatest pitcher today? Oh, that’s Seaver, of course. It’s always been that way. That was as concrete of a fact as April following March.

Seaver dominated the ’70s so much that I can’t believe I haven’t dedicated a “Best of the ’70s” post to him yet. It’s about time I found out which ’70s Topps card of Tom Terrific is the most terrific.

I’ll be showing all of his ’70s cards and then I’ll be asking you to vote for the best. After all, I must have my polls.

So here are the Seaver cards.

Full disclosure: I do not own the 1970, 72, 73 and 77 Seavers. (I traded away the 1970 Seaver, but I will be targeting the ’72 and ’77 Seavers very soon).

1970: The year after the Miracle Mets. This pose is almost identical as the one on the 1969 Topps Seaver card, except he has more hair here.

1971: Seaver looks to be in the middle of a conversation here. The pitching pose is not very convincing. And that warm-up jacket under the uniform is so ’70s.

1972: Tom is so serious here. Not much of a difference from ’71 except that he’s not in a stadium and there’s that guy kneeling in the middle of nowhere for apparently no reason.

1973: Seaver’s got a half-grin now. But a really boring photo for one of the biggest stars of that time.

1974: Now that’s more like it. Seaver kind of blends in with the crowd in the background, which was a problem for some early ’70s action shots. But it’s an action shot, and those weren’t easy to come by in the ’70s.

1975: I’m a little biased toward this card because it’s the first Seaver card I ever saw, and it was instantly one of the coolest cards in my existence. Besides, you must love that sideways signature.

1976: A backward move by Topps. One of the least exciting Seaver cards as far as I’m concerned.

1977: Seaver’s final Mets card. As kids, we never knew what was coming. Oh, there were rumors, but we never thought the Mets would get rid of Seaver.

I’m not really one to examine signatures, but I always though the “T” in Seaver’s signature looked like a pelican beak.

1978: There it is. Seaver as a Red. Doesn’t look as strange as it did then. I’m sure this card was much anticipated at the time.

1979: Seaver was involved in more action shots once he left the Mets. This one is pretty good, although I hate being reminded of those artificial turf stadiums that were so frequent in the ’70s. I believe this is in Pittsburgh.
All right, I’ve barely got the strength to put a poll up on the right side. But it’s there.
I’ll take the remaining few words I have in me to ask you to vote. Which Seaver do you like the best? I see it as a two-way, maybe three-way race.
That’ll do it. Believe it or not, this night owl is hitting the sack early tonight.

filling in the blanks with the gcrl cards that should have been – 1971 topps ron cey

both steve garvey (rookie!) and bill russell appeared in the 1971 topps set.  davey lopes wouldn’t debut until 1972, but ron cey made his first big league appearances in 1971.  while the penguin would be featured in the 1972 set, i am filling in the blanks, so here is the 1971 topps ron cey card that should have been:
with a back:
quite a september call up.  cey made 2 pinch hit appearances (both against the reds) and struck out both times.  in his major league debut, he pinch hit for jose pena on september 3 in the bottom of the 9th with nobody out, the bases loaded, and the dodgers down by 3.  this is the stuff kids’ dreams are made of – the bottom of the 9th grand slam will win the game!  alas, the penguin struck out against joe gibbon.  no worries, though, since maury wills followed with a single and manny mota won it with a bases clearing triple.
two days later, cey was called upon again.  this time, he hit for joe moeller in the bottom of the 4th with the dodgers down 5-0 and two runners on with one out.  the reds’ ross grimsley struck cey out but then gave up a three-run homer to wills.  still, the dodgers wound up losing 7-5.  mike strahler replaced cey in the lineup, so the penguin never made it on to the field.
based on those two appearances, i suppose one should be thankful topps included cey in the 1972 set at all.  maybe so, but i wish there had also been a 1971 card.
the one thing missing from this card is the facsimilie autograph.  i figure i’ll print it out and send it to cey and let him add the auto himself.  stay tuned.
here’s to you, 1971 topps ron cey card that should have been!

Card back countdown: #13 – 1971 Topps

Even as a youngster, when my world was nothing much more than Scooby-Doo cartoons on a Saturday morning, I knew that 1971 Topps was different.

I just didn’t know why.

I didn’t know that the bad guy wore the black hat. I didn’t know that motorcycle riders wore black for a reason. I didn’t know that black made the Oakland Raiders “outlaws.” I just knew that ’71 Topps had black borders and they looked AMAZING.

The ’71 Topps set came out four years before I started collecting. But like most sets of that time period, I would see a card here and a card there. The thought of owning one ’71 card consumed me. Then, when I owned one, I couldn’t stop thinking about how cool it would be to own five.

Today, I am 36 cards away from completing the set. Something that for years I thought would be an impossibility is getting closer and closer to being reality. Turning the pages of a binder filled with entirely black-bordered cards is still a thrill, believe me.

But there’s something about the ’71 set that doesn’t get enough credit.

It’s the card back:

The complaints about the ’71 card back are familiar.

There is only one line of stats — the first time Topps did that since 1962.

The write-ups are quite often dull. This one doesn’t do what so many others do — recount the players’ American Legion and Pony League stats.

There is no cartoon. There had been a cartoon on the back of every Topps flagship set since 1953.

So, if there are so many complaints, then why is the set ranked so highly?

Of course, it’s because of the photo.

There may be other sets that featured a photo on the back before ’71 Topps, but for me and for millions others, this was the first time a photo had appeared on the back of a baseball card.

Considering how many sets in the last 25 years have displayed a photo on the back, this was a major innovation by ’71 Topps. It is almost a necessity to have a photo on the back now.

I happen to think the back of the ’71 set is very well designed. The information may not be great, but the visual is terrific. It’s kind of the dumb blonde of card backs.

Plus, a lot of the cards feature floating heads on the back. That feature alone is worth No. 13 in the countdown.

Sure they are simple black-and-white head shots, not the color action photos that Upper Deck spoiled us with for so many years.

But you have to start somewhere. And the ’71 Topps set is iconic, front and back.

Best of the set:

I’m going with Jim “Mudcat” Grant:

Those are some spectacular chops, no matter what side you’re on.

(previous card back countdown selections):

50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook
49. 1993 Score
48. 1999 Skybox Thunder
47. 2000 Upper Deck
46. 1999 Skybox Premium
45. 1953 Johnston Cookies Braves
44. 1995 Topps
43. 1997 Fleer
42. 1992 Pinnacle
41. 1989 Bowman
40. 1977 Kellogg’s
39. 2004 Topps
38. 2004 Topps Total
37. 1992 Topps
36. 1992 Donruss
35. 2008 Upper Deck Documentary
34. 1963 Fleer
33. 1955 Bowman
32. 2006 Topps
31. 1961 Topps
30. 1955 Topps
29. 1967 Topps
28. 1970 Topps

27. 1969 Topps
26. 1966 Topps
25. 1963 Topps
24. 1911 T205
23. 1962 Topps
22. 1981 Topps

21. 1981 Donruss
20. 1958 Topps
19. 1977 Topps
18. 1974 Topps
17. 1957 Topps
16. 1988 Score
15. 1993 Upper Deck
14. 2004 Upper Deck Timeless Teams

Autograph request through the mail received: Bill Buckner



Bill Buckner c/o home – signed two cards in blue ink and one of the penny sleeves used to hold the cards I sent him.

Despite my worry about sending $10 to Buckner in order to sign my cards, this autograph request was otherwise successful – particularly when I had to get my penny sleeve signed for my set.

Right now, I think I’m looking to put together autograph requests I’m sending out to spring training sites – I’m hoping to get an initial 20 out this week and maybe an additional 20-30 the following week, just so the requests are ‘out there’ with a chance I might actually get something in the mail box.

mike strahler through the mail success (with a valentine’s day appearance by bobby v)

mike strahler never did get his own topps card as a dodger.  in 1971, he was featured along with bobby valentine, and then in 1972, he shared space with charlie hough and bob o’brien.  by the time 1973 rolled along, strahler had been traded to the angels, and only then did he get a solo card.  he also signed all three of those cards through the mail for me a while back.
here they are, in all of their ballpoint glory.  1971 topps:

i had sent this request out prior to receiving a duplicate of the card back from bobby v.  i don’t think i will bother to send either one out to the other player, though.

1972 topps:

i still have to decide whether to send this to hough or not.  he has been a good signer, so i probably will risk it someday.

1973 topps:

it’s too bad that topps didn’t have a nice dodger stadium shot of strahler to use like they did for the bobby v and frobby 1973 cards.  still, this card is still interesting to me because, not only is strahler wearing dodger gear, but he never pitched for the angels in the big leagues.  he was part of the big offseason trade that sent valentine, frank robinson, bill singer and billy grabarkewitz to the angels for andy messersmith and ken mcmullen.  however, the angels sent strahler to the tigers early in the 1973 season before he had a chance to pitch for the halos.
strahler had an interesting debut for the dodgers on september 12, 1970.  he relieved ray lamb in the bottom of the 7th inning in a game against the giants.  the first (and only, as it turns out) batter he faced that day was bobby bonds.  bonds singled to drive in a run, but a second runner was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.  strahler was then pinch hit for by joe ferguson who was making his major league debut as well (he hit a sac fly).  in all, strahler pitched in 31 games as a dodger over 3 seasons.  he went 2-3 in that time with an era of 2.76.  as a tiger in 1973, he pitched in 22 games, posting a record of 4-5 with an era of 4.37, and while he was picked up by the brewers after the season, he never appeared in another big league game.
here’s to you, mike strahler, and thanks for signing my cards!

Autograph request sent – Bill Buckner

Perhaps consider these as a ‘preview’ of things I’m probably going to blog about, but when I finally got hold of a loose $10 I deemed I could spend – I finally decided to fire off an autograph request to Bill Buckner c/o his home address, hoping he will sign the 1971 Topps rookie card and a 1984 Fleer I enclosed.

Usually when someone requests a fee to sign something through the mail, though not really as part of a bigger, organized signing perhaps there is a risk even though I assume some care will be taken as far as the cards being autographed and returned safely in the self-addressed stamped envelope I enclosed.

I was looking forward to perhaps meandering to my local retail Target store to pick off a couple of $4.99 Value Packs / rack of 2011 Topps – though I’m trying to not be a lemming, especially when I know I’ll end up busting some 2011 Topps one way or the other.

Besides, the novelty of new base Topps wears off [for me] pretty quickly – when these cards will be everywhere.

You can’t stop me (from collecting), you can only hope to contain me

The January card show has been a pain in my ass since 2008. Finally able to attend after being MIA the last two years, I was determined to enjoy it even with very little cash.

But then something happened …

I scrounged up some more money. I don’t know how I did it. I think I have to forgo lunch and haircuts for the next two months. But I managed to go to the card show with more than 20 bucks in my pocket. It still wasn’t as much as I usually bring and the card stack was lower than normal.

Plus, I got off to a horribly late start. I arrived at the show two hours before shutdown time. And you know what some dealers do one hour before shutdown time. They fold up their tables. I hate that. Dealers who don’t fold up their tables one hour before shutdown time get business from me.

But that was one of the few things that I noticed because I was too busy rushing around in a near panic trying to cover as much as I could within the limited window. A few key things that did catch my eye:

1. The show returned to the convention hall that I enjoy. Much easier to find things.
2. My favorite dealer returned. I hadn’t seen him in a year-and-a-half. Yay, me!
3. There were old pro wrestlers there signing autographs. I’m not not into wrestling, so it seemed very sad to me that a 60-year-old guy was wearing a mask over his face all day.
4. Business was good. That’s what the dealers kept telling me. I didn’t really see a lot of people there, but I think it was because I was late.
5. An old Italian guy was there telling Joe DiMaggio stories. He seemed like he knew Joe D. pretty well.

OK, now onto the cards. There is nothing here for the mojo hunters, so move along. But I like what I got.

Several kind people offered suggestions in the comments for what I should do with my limited amount of cash.  So I will try to show the cards as they reflect the comments. That way you can all take credit for my collection.

Collective Troll: The Troll had several fine suggestions, several of which I took. But one of his suggestions was to sift through dollar boxes. This is a time-consuming activity and I had little time, but I did stop at a couple dollar boxes:

 The best part of dollar boxes — if the dealer knows what he’s doing — is they end up being 40-cent boxes. I didn’t find any quarter boxes. There is at least a couple guys I know that have those at this show, but in my rush, I have no idea if they were there.

Greg Zakwin: Greg wanted me to find the super-sickest Kershaw or Kemp card I could. I failed miserably in this area. I tried. There is this one guy who has a binder filled with jersey cards. I found my favorite Kershaw jersey at his table the last show. I asked about the binder. He said a guy came up and BOUGHT THE WHOLE THING. I hate those people.

I then stood and drooled on the glass as I looked at a by-the-letters Kemp patch. If I had the money I usually do, it would be mine. But instead, they just wiped off my saliva on the display case. And I bought this:

It’s a manufactured patch from 2003. I didn’t even know they were doing that eight years ago. There’s a bite out of the left side, which is why I got it cheaply and why it fit in my budget.

Paul: He suggested spending my whole budget on something very cool, like an autographed card of a team legend (he mentioned Tug McGraw, which is fine if you find the Mets appealing). I ended up having cash to buy more than one card, but I’ll show the card that I spent the most money on:

Get well, Harmon. Killebrew’s battle was center in my mind when I bought this card.

Charles @ Hoopography: Charles suggested people-watching. I just can’t do that at the card show. I have to focus, like George entering the Soup Nazi’s restaurant. I go into card-mode. But Charles also mentioned picking up a famous rookie card. I didn’t land any famous rookie cards, that’s not my thing. But I did get a rookie card or two:

Exciting, huh? Andy LaRoche is on like his 11th team now. But I’m a slave to that Dodger uniform.

Deal: He said I should expect to buy something totally unexpected, something not on my want list or even something that wasn’t a thought in my head. I suppose this fits the description:

This card is tremendous. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, and I had to get it immediately. I never go into a card show meaning to buy Upper Deck or Randy Johnson, but there you are. The ’96 UD V.J. Lovero Showcase insert set continues to suck me in.

Mariner1: He mentioned the ’83 Tony Gwynn rookie, which fortunately I do possess. But the Mariner1 is wise and recommended hitting the Nebulous 9 list. For some reason, I forget to do that. But I did knock one card off the list:

I must have a card of Garret Anderson, so I can say: “remember that one time when Anderson actually got on base?”

Matthew Glidden: Matthew was speaking more about his card targets than mine — at least I hope he was. I didn’t pick up anything nearly as old as mentioned. These were the oldest cards I acquired:

These were also the last cards I picked up. I’m liking ’64 Topps a little more than I once did. I think it’s because there is all that stuff about the Dodgers sweeping the Yankees in the set.

Captain Canuck: The Captain had suggestions for him and for me. He suggested finishing sets for him and getting a card of a favorite player for me. Well, finding a card of Ron Cey that I don’t have at a card show is next to impossible. But I did complete a set:

The team set for 2010 Topps Update is complete (although I still need that variation card). I know it’s not exciting, but I hate having 2010 team sets incomplete when the 2011 cards come out. Not a problem now.

Dayf: He also made several good suggestions. As I mentioned, there were no quarter boxes in my immediate vision. I did get some other vintage, which you’ll see. But dayf also suggested wandering around in a zen-like state and waiting for a card to speak to me.

No time for that, but a card did speak to me:

I spotted a binder of Kellogg’s 3-D cards at the very last minute. If I spotted this the instant I walked in the show, my entire post would be about Kellogg’s cards. But this ’72 Kellogg’s card definitely spoke to me.

Chris Stufflestreet: Chris, no surprise, wanted me to get something really, really old. It’s funny, he said that dealers bring out stuff from the early ’80s when they hear him say old. I have never seen early ’80s cards (unless they were stars) at this show. I see lots of junk wax from the ’80s in unopened packs. But I never see commons and semi-stars of early ’80s players.

But that’s cool, because what I really want are ’71s:

This was the first thing on my mind when I walked through the doors: Get ’71s. I’m now down to needing just 36 cards for the set. That’s 95.2 percent complete! But before I get too excited, I still need Mays, Clemente, Tony Perez and Yaz.

AdamE: Adam suggested the bargain bins, too. He also recommended ’60s Post cards, which he said go fairly cheap. I did see some ’60s Post. They weren’t cheap. Not cheap enough, anyway.

This is the last card from the bargain bin:

A numbered card of a guy I don’t like from possibly one of the worst-looking sets of the last 10 years. Don’t know how much of a bargain this is.

Those were all the suggestees and I’m all out of cards to feature, except for one:

Roy in a Los Angeles Dodger uniform. That’s Chicle Hi-Jinks!!!!

Thanks for all the advice. I’ll keep it in mind when the next show rolls around, but hopefully the cash will be more plentiful.

OK, time to brace for a week of peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

1971 Topps Wantlist

I’d try to complete this set, but I’m intimidated by the Munson card.

Series 1  — 96/132
5 Thurman Munson — New York Yankees
8 Mike McQueen — Atlanta Braves
10 Claude Osteen — Los Angeles Dodgers
12 Johnny Callison — Chicago Cubs
14 Dave Concepcion — Cincinnati Reds
21 Dan McGinn — Montreal Expos
27 Cambria/Clines — Pittsburgh Pirates
28 Ron Klimkowski — New York Yankees
45 Jim Hunter — Oakland Athletics
50 Willie McCovey — San Francisco Giants
51 Steve Kline — New York Yankees
53 Paul Blair — Baltimore Orioles
54 Checklist 1-132
55 Steve Carlton — St. Louis Cardinals
62 Carty/Sangulen/Tore
64 Bench/Perez/Williams
65 Howrd/Klbrw/Ystrzski
69 Cuellar/McNally/Pery
72 Seaver/Gibson/Jenkns
73 George Brunet — Pittsburgh Pirates
75 Gary Nolan — Cincinnati Reds
80 Bill Melton — Chicago White Sox
88 Hal King — Atlanta Braves
91 Bob Lemon — Kansas City Royals
93 McRae/Riddleberger — Washington Senators
97 Floyd Wicker — Milwaukee Brewers
98 Joe Decker — Chicago Cubs
99 Mark Belanger — Baltimore Orioles
100 Pete Rose — Cincinnati Reds
107 Roy Foster — Cleveland Indians
108 John Cumberland — San Francisco Giants
110 Bill Mazeroski — Pittsburgh Pirates
113 Jerry Crider — Chicago White Sox
117 Ted Simmons — St. Louis Cardinals
118 Cookie Rojas — Kansas City Royals
131 Curt Blefary — New York Yankees

Series 2 — 100/131
133 Mickey Lolich — Detroit Tigers
140 Gaylord Perry — San Francisco Giants
141 Frank Quilici — Minnesota Twins
143 Steve Blass — Pittsburgh Pirates
149 Mike Hershberger — Milwaukee Brewers
152 Allen/Llenas — California Angels
160 Tom Seaver — New York Mets
164 Duffy/Wilcox — Cincinnati Reds
165 Cesar Tovar — Minnesota Twins
167 Tom Grieve — Washington Senators
178 Dave Duncan — Oakland Athletics
181 Hal Lanier — San Francisco Giants
183 Gil Hodges — New York Mets
184 Stan Bahnsen — New York Yankees
187 Ted Abernathy — Kansas City Royals
190 Bob Tolan — Cincinnati Reds
195 AL Playoff Game 1
197 AL Playoff Game 3
198 AL Playoff Summary
203 Larry Gura — Chicago Cubs
210 Rod Carew — Minnesota Twins
215 Diego Segui — Oakland Athletics
221 Dave Morehead — Kansas City Royals
223 Cecil Upshaw — Atlanta Braves
230 Willie Stargell — Pittsburgh Pirates
231 Colbert/Lowenstein — Cleveland Indians
233 Larry Bowa — Philadelphia Phillies
247 Cram/Splittorff — Kansas City Royals
250 Johnny Bench — Cincinnati Reds
260 Tommy Harper — Milwaukee Brewers
262 Robinson/Williams — San Diego Padres

Series 3 — 62/131
264 Joe Morgan — Houston Astros
265 Jim Northrup — Detroit Tigers
266 Bill Stoneman — Montreal Expos
268 Phillies Team — Philadelphia Phillies
270 Rico Carty — Atlanta Braves
271 Bill Zepp — Minnesota Twins
272 Tommy Helms — Cincinnati Reds
273 Pete Richert — Baltimore Orioles
276 Davison/Foster — San Francisco Giants
277 Gary Waslewski — New York Yankees
279 Lefty Phillips — California Angels
283 Dick Such — Washington Senators
284 Jim Gosger — Montreal Expos
287 Mike Fiore — Boston Red Sox
289 White Sox Team — Chicago White Sox
290 Tony Oliva — Minnesota Twins
291 George Culver — Houston Astros
292 Jay Johnstone — Chicago White Sox
295 Bobby Bonds — San Francisco Giants
296 Tom Timmermann — Detroit Tigers
298 Jim Nelson — Pittsburgh Pirates
299 Ed Kirkpatrick — Kansas City Royals
300 Brooks Robinson — Baltimore Orioles
305 Reggie Smith — Boston Red Sox
306 Jim Nash — Atlanta Braves
307 Don Wert — Washington Senators
309 Dick Ellsworth — Milwaukee Brewers
310 Tommie Agee — New York Mets
311 Lee Stange — Chicago White Sox
314 Jeff Torborg — Los Angeles Dodgers
315 Ron Fairly — Montreal Expos
317 Driscoll/Mangual — Oakland Athletics
320 Dave McNally — Baltimore Orioles
324 Graig Nettles — Cleveland Indians
325 Juan Marichal — San Francisco Giants
326 Richie Scheinblum — Washington Senators
327 World Series Game 1
329 World Series Game 3
331 World Series Game 5
333 Clay Kirby — San Diego Padres
334 Roberto Pena — Milwaukee Brewers
337 Jesus Alou — Houston Astros
338 Gene Tenace — Oakland Athletics
341 Steve Garvey — Los Angeles Dodgers
343 Acosta/May — Pittsburgh Pirates
350 Billy Williams — Chicago Cubs
351 Jim Shellenback — Washington Senators
352 Denny Doyle — Philadelphia Phillies
353 Carl Taylor — Milwaukee Brewers
354 Don McMahon — San Francisco Giants
355 Bud Harrelson — New York Mets
356 Bob Locker — Oakland Athletics
357 Reds Team — Cincinnati Reds
358 Danny Cater — New York Yankees
364 Tommy Dean — San Diego Padres
365 Bob Johnson — Pittsburgh Pirates
366 Ron Stone — Philadelphia Phillies
367 Dalton Jones — Detroit Tigers
368 Bob Veale — Pittsburgh Pirates
373 Tom McCraw — Chicago White Sox
374 Clete Boyer — Atlanta Braves
379 Wayne Granger — Cincinnati Reds
382 Jake Gibbs — New York Yankees
383 Rod Gaspar — San Diego Padres
384 Rollie Fingers — Oakland Athletics
385 Maury Wills — Los Angeles Dodgers
388 Al Oliver — Pittsburgh Pirates
391 Brye/Nash — Minnesota Twins

Series 4 — 51/130
394 Clay Carroll — Cincinnati Reds
395 Roy White — New York Yankees
396 Dick Schofield — St. Louis Cardinals
398 Howie Reed — Montreal Expos
400 Hank Aaron — Atlanta Braves
402 Dodgers Team — Los Angeles Dodgers
403 Joe Coleman — Detroit Tigers
405 Leo Cardenas — Minnesota Twins
406 Ray Sadecki — New York Mets
409 Don Pavletich — Boston Red Sox
412 Jerry Johnson — San Francisco Giants
413 Pat Kelly — Chicago White Sox
415 Mike Hegan — Milwaukee Brewers
416 Gene Alley — Pittsburgh Pirates
417 Dick Hall — Baltimore Orioles
418 Adolfo Phillips — Montreal Expos
420 Jim Merritt — Cincinnati Reds
422 Frank Bertaina — St. Louis Cardinals
423 Marting/Saunders — Detroit Tigers
424 Roberto Rodriguez — Chicago Cubs
425 Doug Rader — Houston Astros
426 Chris Cannizzaro — San Diego Padres
427 Bernie Allen — Washington Senators
430 Wes Parker — Los Angeles Dodgers
431 Tom Burgmeier — Kansas City Royals
432 Bob Didier — Atlanta Braves
436 Wilbur Wood — Chicago White Sox
437 Danny Murtaugh — Pittsburgh Pirates
438 Mike McCormick — New York Yankees
440 Bert Campaneris — Oakland Athletics
441 Milt Pappas — Chicago Cubs
443 Rich Robertson — San Francisco Giants
444 Jimmie Price — Detroit Tigers
445 Art Shamsky — New York Mets
446 Bobby Bolin — Boston Red Sox
447 Cesar Geronimo — Houston Astros
448 Dave Roberts — San Diego Padres
449 Brant Alyea — Minnesota Twins
450 Bob Gibson — St. Louis Cardinals
451 Joe Keough — Kansas City Royals
452 John Boccabella — Montreal Expos
453 Terry Crowley — Baltimore Orioles
454 Mike Paul — Cleveland Indians
455 Don Kessinger — Chicago Cubs
456 Bob Meyer — Milwaukee Brewers
459 Jim Lefebvre — Los Angeles Dodgers
460 Fritz Peterson — New York Yankees
461 Jim Hart — San Francisco Giants
466 Ken Berry — California Angels
469 Bob Aspromonte — New York Mets
470 Bob Oliver — Kansas City Royals
471 Tom Griffin — Houston Astros
472 Ken Rudolph — Chicago Cubs
473 Gary Wagner — Boston Red Sox
474 Jim Fairey — Montreal Expos
476 Dal Maxvill — St. Louis Cardinals
479 Dennis Higgins — Cleveland Indians
480 Manny Sanguillen — Pittsburgh Pirates
482 Padres Team — San Diego Padres
486 Steve Huntz — San Francisco Giants
487 Paul Schaal — Kansas City Royals
488 Jerry Stephenson — Los Angeles Dodgers
489 Luis Alvarado — Chicago White Sox
490 Deron Johnson — Philadelphia Phillies
492 Ken Boswell — New York Mets
493 Dave May — Milwaukee Brewers
495 Felipe Alou — Oakland Athletics
497 Horacio Pina — Washington Senators
499 Checklist 524-643
504 Ken Wright — Kansas City Royals
507 George Stone — Atlanta Braves
509 Jim Grant — Pittsburgh Pirates
511 Chris Short — Philadelphia Phillies
513 Nolan Ryan — New York Mets
514 Ron Woods — New York Yankees
518 Joe Grzenda — Washington Senators
519 Willie Crawford — Los Angeles Dodgers
520 Tommy John — Chicago White Sox
521 Leron Lee — St. Louis Cardinals
522 Twins Team — Minnesota Twins

Series 5 — 19/120
524 Mickey Stanley — Detroit Tigers
525 Ernie Banks — Chicago Cubs
527 Cleon Jones — New York Mets
528 Wally Bunker — Kansas City Royals
529 Buckner/Hernndz/Perz — San Diego Padres
530 Carl Yastrzemski — Boston Red Sox
531 Mike Torrez — St. Louis Cardinals
532 Bill Rigney — Minnesota Twins
533 Mike Ryan — Philadelphia Phillies
534 Luke Walker — Pittsburgh Pirates
535 Curt Flood — Washington Senators
537 Tom Egan — Chicago White Sox
538 Angel Bravo — Cincinnati Reds
539 Larry Brown — Cleveland Indians
540 Larry Dierker — Houston Astros
541 Bob Burda — St. Louis Cardinals
542 Bob Miller — Chicago Cubs
543 Yankees Team — New York Yankees
545 Dick Dietz — San Francisco Giants
546 John Matias — Kansas City Royals
548 Don Mason — San Diego Padres
549 Jim Brewer — Los Angeles Dodgers
550 Harmon Killebrew — Minnesota Twins
551 Frank Linzy — St. Louis Cardinals
553 Kevin Collins — Detroit Tigers
554 Lowell Palmer — Philadelphia Phillies
555 Walt Williams — Chicago White Sox
556 Jim McGlothlin — Cincinnati Reds
558 Hector Torres — Chicago Cubs
559 Cox/Gogolewski/Jones — Washington Senators
560 Rusty Staub — Montreal Expos
561 Syd O’Brien — California Angels
562 Dave Giusti — Pittsburgh Pirates
563 Giants Team — San Francisco Giants
564 Al Fitzmorris — Kansas City Royals
567 Walt Alston — Los Angeles Dodgers
568 Sal Campisi — Minnesota Twins
569 Ivan Murrell — San Diego Padres
570 Jim Palmer — Baltimore Orioles
572 Jerry Kenney — New York Yankees
573 Ed Kranepool — New York Mets
574 Jim Bunning — Philadelphia Phillies
575 Bill Freehan — Detroit Tigers
576 Davis/Garret/Jestadt — Chicago Cubs
578 Ron Hunt — Montreal Expos
579 Marty Pattin — Milwaukee Brewers
580 Tony Perez — Cincinnati Reds
581 Roger Nelson — Kansas City Royals
582 Dave Cash — Pittsburgh Pirates
583 Ron Cook — Houston Astros
584 Indians Team — Cleveland Indians
585 Willie Davis — Los Angeles Dodgers
586 Dick Woodson — Minnesota Twins
587 Sonny Jackson — Atlanta Braves
588 Tom Bradley — Chicago White Sox
589 Bob Barton — San Diego Padres
591 Jackie Brown — Washington Senators
592 Randy Hundley — Chicago Cubs
594 Hrabosky/Chlps/Stnsn — St. Louis Cardinals
595 Dave Johnson — Baltimore Orioles
596 Mike Jorgensen — New York Mets
597 Ken Suarez — Cleveland Indians
598 Rick Wise — Philadelphia Phillies
599 Norm Cash — Detroit Tigers
600 Willie Mays — San Francisco Giants
602 Marty Martinez — Houston Astros
603 Pirates Team — Pittsburgh Pirates
604 John Gelnar — Milwaukee Brewers
605 Orlando Cepeda — Atlanta Braves
606 Chuck Taylor — St. Louis Cardinals
607 Paul Ratliff — Minnesota Twins
608 Mike Wegener — Montreal Expos
609 Leo Durocher — Chicago Cubs
610 Amos Otis — Kansas City Royals
611 Tom Phoebus — San Diego Padres
612 Camilli/Ford/Mingori — Cleveland Indians
613 Pedro Borbon — Cincinnati Reds
615 Mel Stottlemyre — New York Yankees
616 Larry Hisle — Philadelphia Phillies
617 Clay Dalrymple — Baltimore Orioles
618 Tug McGraw — New York Mets
619 Checklist 644-752
620 Frank Howard — Washington Senators
621 Ron Bryant — San Francisco Giants
624 Athletics Team — Oakland Athletics
625 Lou Brock — St. Louis Cardinals
626 Freddie Patek — Kansas City Royals
627 Steve Hamilton — Chicago White Sox
628 John Bateman — Montreal Expos
629 John Hiller — Detroit Tigers
630 Roberto Clemente — Pittsburgh Pirates
632 Darrel Chaney — Cincinnati Reds
634 Phil Regan — Chicago Cubs
635 Bobby Murcer — New York Yankees
636 Denny Lemaster — Houston Astros
637 Dave Bristol — Milwaukee Brewers
639 Tom Haller — Los Angeles Dodgers
640 Frank Robinson — Baltimore Orioles
641 Mets Team — New York Mets
642 Jim Roland — Oakland Athletics
643 Rick Reichardt — Chicago White Sox

Series 6 — 5/109
644 Jim Stewart — Cincinnati Reds
645 Jim Maloney — California Angels
646 Bobby Floyd — Kansas City Royals
647 Juan Pizarro — Chicago Cubs
648 Folkers, Martinez, Matlack — New York Mets
649 Sparky Lyle — Boston Red Sox
650 Rich Allen — Los Angeles Dodgers
651 Jerry Robertson — New York Mets
652 Braves Team — Atlanta Braves
653 Russ Snyder — Milwaukee Brewers
654 Don Shaw — St. Louis Cardinals
655 Mike Epstein — Washington Senators
656 Gerry Nyman — San Diego Padres
657 Jose Azcue — California Angels
658 Paul Lindblad — Oakland Athletics
659 Byron Browne — Philadelphia Phillies
661 Chuck Tanner — Chicago White Sox
662 Mike Hedlund — Kansas City Royals
663 Marv Staehle — Atlanta Braves
664 Reynld/Reynld/Reynld
665 Ron Swoboda — Montreal Expos
666 Gene Brabender — California Angels
668 Gary Neibauer — Atlanta Braves
669 Ike Brown — Detroit Tigers
670 Bill Hands — Chicago Cubs
671 Bill Voss — Milwaukee Brewers
672 Ed Crosby — St. Louis Cardinals
673 Gerry Janeski — Washington Senators
674 Expos Team — Montreal Expos
675 Dave Boswell — Minnesota Twins
676 Tommie Reynolds — California Angels
677 Jack DiLauro — Houston Astros
678 George Thomas — Boston Red Sox
679 Don O’Riley — Chicago White Sox
680 Don Mincher — Oakland Athletics
681 Bill Butler — Kansas City Royals
682 Terry Harmon — Philadelphia Phillies
683 Bill Burbach — New York Yankees
684 Curt Motton — Baltimore Orioles
685 Moe Drabowsky — St. Louis Cardinals
686 Chico Ruiz — California Angels
687 Ron Taylor — New York Mets
688 Sparky Anderson — Cincinnati Reds
689 Frank Baker — Cleveland Indians
690 Bob Moose — Pittsburgh Pirates
691 Bob Heise — San Francisco Giants
692 Haydl/Moret/Twitchel
693 Jose Pena — Los Angeles Dodgers
694 Rick Renick — Minnesota Twins
695 Joe Niekro — Detroit Tigers
696 Jerry Morales — San Diego Padres
697 Rickey Clark — California Angels
698 Brewers Team — Milwaukee Brewers
699 Jim Britton — Montreal Expos
700 Boog Powell — Baltimore Orioles
701 Bob Garibaldi — Kansas City Royals
702 Milt Ramirez — St. Louis Cardinals
703 Mike Kekich — New York Yankees
704 J.C. Martin — Chicago Cubs
705 Dick Selma — Philadelphia Phillies
706 Joe Foy — Washington Senators
707 Fred Lasher — California Angels
708 Russ Nagelson — Detroit Tigers
709 Baker/Baylor/Paciork
710 Sonny Siebert — Boston Red Sox
711 Larry Stahl — San Diego Padres
712 Jose Martinez — Pittsburgh Pirates
713 Mike Marshall — Montreal Expos
714 Dick Williams — Oakland Athletics
715 Horace Clarke — New York Yankees
717 Tommie Aaron — Atlanta Braves
718 Billy Wynne — California Angels
719 Jerry May — Kansas City Royals
720 Matty Alou — St. Louis Cardinals
721 John Morris — Milwaukee Brewers
722 Astros Team — Houston Astros
723 Vicente Romo — Chicago White Sox
724 Tom Tischinski — Minnesota Twins
725 Gary Gentry — New York Mets
727 Ray Lamb — Cleveland Indians
728 Lamprd/Redmnd/Wiliam
729 Dick Billings — Washington Senators
730 Jim Rooker — Kansas City Royals
732 Bob Reed — Detroit Tigers
733 Lee Maye — Chicago White Sox
734 Rob Gardner — New York Yankees
735 Mike Shannon — St. Louis Cardinals
736 Mel Queen — California Angels
737 Preston Gomez — San Diego Padres
738 Russ Gibson — San Francisco Giants
739 Barry Lersch — Philadelphia Phillies
740 Luis Aparicio — Boston Red Sox
741 Skip Guinn — Houston Astros
742 Royals Team — Kansas City Royals
743 John O’Donoghue — Montreal Expos
744 Chuck Manuel — Minnesota Twins
745 Sandy Alomar — California Angels
746 Andy Kosco — Milwaukee Brewers
747 Moore/Sevrinsn/Spink
748 John Purdin — Chicago White Sox
749 Ken Szotkiewicz — Detroit Tigers
750 Denny McLain — Washington Senators
751 Al Weis — New York Mets
752 Dick Drago — Kansas City Royals

Interim Cheapo Break: NL East

Well, we’ve arrived at the end at last. Finally, we all get to see some of the best from the National League East.

Team: Phillies
Claimed By: BS
Best Card: 1971 Topps #233 Larry Bowa
Here’s another one of those vintage cards that snuck into the lot. I love old cards of Phillies in their “longies.” Gotta stay warm.

Team: Nationals/Expos
Claimed By: Mad Guru
Best Card: 2006 Topps Turkey Red #606 Ryan Zimmerman White Parallel
This lot also had a numbered rookie from Donruss Elite or something, but for overall aesthetic value, this Zimmerman takes the cake. A National in a home jersey just looks great with the white frame. The OCD side of me wants to straighten that scan, but what does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?

Team: Mets
Claimed By: BA Benny
Best Card: 2010 Topps Peak Performance #PP-115 Ike Davis
I’m sorry to say, but it was hard to find a best card in this lot. Mediocre from top to bottom, but that’s just to my untrained eye. A Mets fan would probably be able to tell me otherwise.
Why Ike Davis?…
Why not?

Team: Braves
Claimed By: Chris Mays
Best Card: 2010 Topps Chrome #197 Brandon Hicks AUTO
The back of this card uses the phrase “personnel crunch.” I thought that was what happened to Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie in that garbage compactor.
Great card. And not the only autographed card in the Braves lot. I’ll let Chris discover the other one.

Team: Marlins
Claimed By: Derek
Best Card: 2010 Topps 2020 #T12 Chris Coughlan
These 2020 cards are good for one thing, and one thing only:
Looking at.

And collecting.

And, um, to scratch on and pretend you’re a DJ. Okay, I guess that’s three things. That’s three more than Bowman Chrome.

Thanks to everyone who took part. I will be back with one final post showing what was left unclaimed. And I’ll be packaging these cards. About half have gone out, along with about half of the December break proper. Thanks for your patience.

COMC Order #1

Check out my cards had a shipping special over Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend.  10¢ a card.  So I picked up the 77 cards I’d been storing up since about March, for $7.70 instead of over $22.  Well, I had mid-50s, but the $15 I saved on shipping allowed me to pick up about 21 more cards for immediate shipment.  And a few days ago I finally got it all scanned.  So let us check them out, one scan of one section at a time.

First up, we’ll start with vintage, cuz… why not?

1960 topps Gernert, Hobbie and Cunningham AS, 1971 topps Hoyt Wilhelm, 1975-76 New York Nets (featuring Dr. J), 1968 beat up & used Yaz checklist & Manny Sanguillen rookie, and a couple Gaylord Perry's from the latter half of the '70s..

Just stare at them for awhile.  They aren’t all the greatest of players or in the best of shape, but doesn’t staring at old cards just make you feel good?  Doesn’t it just relax you and somewhat put your mind at ease, if only for the moment?

Speaking of condition, the Wilhelm is in spectacular shape, impossibly awful centering aside.  Smooth surface, four sharp corners, and no creases at all.  Can’t ask for more of a ’71.  Only the first five are keepers, Yaz and the bottom row are available for trade.

PS: Nobody has guessed the card right yet.  Everyone that guessed may try again (on that post plz).  We’ll go until someone gets it right.

Until or next…

Fun in the Background

I’m continously amazed by some of the vintage cards I’ve never seen before. The pictures, whether of the main subject, or the background, on some vintage cards are hilarious.

I ran across another one of these yesterday.

How’s that for sheer awesomeness? At first glance, you think that Dalton Jones (circa 1971 Topps) doesn’t realize that Farmer Joe and his tractor are behind him. You are in fact correct that Jones does not notice the out of place farmer and his trusty tractor. That soon changes however.


If you read closely, you see that Jones hit a “Grand-Slammer” (I love that terminology), but was credited with a single when he passed a runner on the bases. I believe the runner was so distracted by the appearance of the tractor that he slowed down and Jones, also distracted by the tractor, didn’t see the runner and ran right past him.

At least that’s what I think happened.

Vintage Fridays: Bobby Grich, 1971 Topps #193

This is Bobby Grich’s rookie card, as he debuted with the Orioles in 1970 three years after the Orioles drafted him and Don Baylor with their first two picks. Not a bad haul, huh? Grich was promoted in late June and appeared in 30 games, batting .211. As you can see here, not only did he make most of his appearances at shortstop (rather than second base, his customary position for the rest of his career), but he was also clean-shaven. When I think of Bobby Grich, I picture his trademark mustache, less a fashion statement than a way of life. He looks very much like an earnest, driven young player here, but you can sense that something is missing – something besides the ball that has yet to bounce into his outstretched glove. That upper-lip-warmer was just lying in wait, biding its time until Bobby was ready to harness its power and realize his destiny as a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover.

just pretend this is a flip book

here comes dodgers’ coach danny ozark with a bag of balls and a couple of bats.
so what if some guy is trying to take a photo of billy grabarkewitz for his 1970 o-pee-chee card? 
next we have ozark preparing to hit some fungoes
as jeff torborg smiles unknowingly on his 1971 topps card

and ozark again sizes things up as an infielder returns a ball to him

all the while torborg is unaware on his 1970 o-pee-chee card.

it’s a shame, really, that topps didn’t select more photos from this session.   we could have had ozark in midswing or even spitting.

the evolution of my oldest card

i’ll take a break from my other evolutionary posts and jump on the ‘evolution of my oldest card’ bandwagon that has been perpetuated by night owl, the vintage sportscards blog and the number 5 type collection recently.

the first cards i ever owned were 1977 topps. i remember being given a pack probably around the world series that year, and opening it in the back seat of our car. the only card i really remember from that pack is this one, a 1977 topps mike schmidt card.

i previously feted this card here.  it was instantly the oldest card that i owned.  a few years later, i would be on the lookout for (and eventually the lucky recipient of) his rookie card, but only because of the presence of the penguin.

sometime in 1978, i came across this beauty, a 1976 topps reggie smith,

the details of which i wrote about here. this card then became the oldest card i owned.

there was some furious trading going on in my neighborhood in 1978, and i somehow landed a small sampling of 1971 topps cards, including this thrashed 1971 topps jim shellenback card

i have since sent this card to night owl as i upgraded it, but i still remember it fondly.

at some point that same year, i vacationed north of the border and was introduced to the wonder that was o-pee-chee. i also accompanied my parents to many a prairie antique barn, and, much like my reward in that 1976 topps reggie smith card, i found a few 1960 fleer cards, including mel ott, cy young, and this tris speaker card.

i told you i didn’t object to antiquing!

in 1979, i was able to trade some giants cards to a guy who lived on the other side of my block. he humored me and gave me a 1955 bowman don hoak card.

for the first time, my oldest card was a dodger, and for a long long time, it was the oldest card in my collection.

fastforward to 2000 or so, and i decided that i would collect one card for each team, subset, and color combination variation from each topps set, from 1952 through 1977. at that time, i had complete sets from 1978 on (since then, i have completed the 1970 and 1977 sets, and am working on the 1971 and 1976 sets). it was fairly easy to do this, thanks to my topps coffee table book and ebay. the first 1952 topps card i purchased was this ralph branca card

it reigned as my oldest card for a couple of years before i purchased a vintage card lot on ebay that included this 1909-11 t206 dick egan card

as well as a 1951 topps luke easter red back. this t206 card was awesome, but i never really connected with it (i had purchased the lot more for the 1953 topps cards that were in it) so i sold it on ebay about a year and a half ago. around the same time, i also sold the luke easter card.

that meant that the 1951 topps gene hermanski

(and 1951 topps gil hodges) cards that i had acquired in the meantime were now my oldest cards.

that was until a couple of months ago when i plucked this 1951 bowman rex barney from the vintage bargain bin at the local card show.

i consider it to be older than the 1951 topps cards simply due to alphabetical order. the bowman card is the first card in my 1950’s binder.

so there you have it. the evolution of my oldest card. i’m accepting new (older) entries if anyone has some pre-war dodgers to offer up!