Friday, November 27, 2015

If at first you don't succeed, 72, 72 again

A month or two ago, I documented how well the Nebulous 9 worked by recounting how four different people had sent me this Maury Wills In Action card in a very short span of time.

Obviously, I needed just one Maury Wills In Action card, so three of the senders didn't meet their objective.

None took that more to heart than one of the senders, Keith, a.k.a., EggRocket.

I received a package from him recently with the accompanying note:

Ah, so you really wanted to send me some cards that I needed, huh?

All right, I'm game, let's see what you've got.

I opened the wrapped stack and nearly 30 cards off my 1972 Topps want list came out.

This is so much better than a single Maury Wills card.

Let's look at these card-by-card from lowest number to highest:

#297 - Claude Osteen

I recently revamped my '72 want list because I discovered I needed several more cards than I had listed there. I'm not sure what happened the first time I wrote the list -- drunken research, probably. Anyway, some Dodgers cards were notably absent from the list.

#298 - Claude Osteen, In Action

A little known fact that Claude Osteen pitched with just one leg. Shame of the internet for not informing you of this.

#308 - Steve Renko, In Action

OK, I confess, I had this card already. Here it is:

Well-loved cards that are from pre-1950 or from my collection are cool. They tell a story. But otherwise, they're kind of creepy. I don't want to know that the gross kid who smelled and farted his way through school kept this card in his back pocket, because I knew kids like that in 1972.

#382 - Joe Gibbon
#407 - Chuck Taylor

These are lumped together because I know I owned both cards at one point. I probably traded them when I didn't have any thought of completing the 1972 set. In other words, when I was a clueless owl.

#408 - Jim Northrup

Northrup stopped to swing a bat after hopping off his tractor. So fantastic.

#460 - Al Downing

Every '72 Downing card I have come across is drastically miscut left-to-right, most so off-center that you can see the "xxxxxxxx" cut marks down the left-hand side. This one has just a hint of that in the upper left (I cropped it out). But it's very welcome in my binder.

#498 - Brooks Robinson, Boyhood Photos of the Stars

This completes the Boyhood Photos subset for me. And at 16 cards that's no joke. 1972 Topps is the king of the vintage subsets.

#547 - Indians team card

This package was filled with team cards. Here is the first.

#582 - Expos team card

Here is the second. Team records are listed on the back and the Expos, entering just their third year at the time, featured Rusty Staub as the leader of all 11 batting categories.

#650 - Sal Bando

The player walking at left appears to be wearing No. 28, which would be outfielder Steve Hovley. I think the man in the white cap is manager Dick Williams, unless A's coaches also wore white caps in the '70s.

#651 - Reds team card

The Big Red Machine is easily identifiable. I'm not going to name the guys in the picture, you can probably pick them out yourselves.

#662 - Stan Bahnsen

When you scan these cards, you focus on the strangest things -- like what is that red garment in the dugout and why is it there?

#663 - Fran Healy

I never knew Healy played for the Giants. He's always been a Royal or a Yankee to me.

#672 - Archie Reynolds

I don't know how Reynolds is able to put his hands over his head when the world is tilting behind him. That's talent.

#682 - Mike McCormick

This card is interesting in that McCormick returned to the Giants after being released by the Royals in June of 1971. But he never played again in the majors, which means this photo is from 1970 (the last time he played for the Giants) or earlier.

#688 - Cardinals team card

This card has a few issues but not enough to prevent me from crossing it off the list.

#698 - Jerry Koosman In Action
#700 - Bobby Murcer In Action

Both of these feature puzzle pieces on the back.

I don't believe I've completed either puzzle yet, but when I do, you'll be the first to know.

#707 - Tim Foli

I am astonished at the pristine condition of some off-center cards. This looks like I pulled it out of a pack today. Honestly nothing wrong with this card.

#713 - Gene Michael

The always on-point Cardboard Junkie mentioned recently that there is no appreciable difference in terms of price or scarcity between 1972 high numbers in the high 600s and the 700s, but there's just something intoxicating about No. 700 '72s that must be what it feels like to be 13, female and at a One Direction concert.

#727 - Jose LaBoy

Flasher at 9 o'clock.

#737 - Len Randle

I'll say one thing about 1972 Topps airbrushing -- they at least perfected it enough that there were few ugly blotches at the center of the cap, like we saw in previous years. This could be a Panini card from 2012.

#749 - Walter Alston

Walter Alston is pointing to the heavens, acknowledging his late grandmother, after a particularly astute pitcher-outfielder double-switch in 1971.

#771 - Giants team card


#764 - Dusty Baker

Wew! This card is a bit of a toughie. I expected it to be one of the final cards I needed. Of course, there's still Rose, Aaron, Seaver and Carew to go.

#781 - Jim McAndrew

Final card. This is a long way down from his card from the previous year.

Well, Keith, you've succeeded. Nobody has sent me any of these cards recently.

And with my modifying of the '72 want list and these crossed off of it, I know for a fact I need 51 cards to complete the set.

I think I have my goal for 2016 already.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vacation ramblings

I'm in the middle of an extended vacation, which if I do say so myself, is well-deserved. One of the interesting occurrences of vacation is how you don't feel like blogging most of the time. While I'm working, all I can think of is "if I only had time to blog, I feel like everything is rushed." And then when I get the time, I'm too lazy. Got to always have that deadline, I guess.

Anyway, because I'm not really feeling it right now, it's a good time clear out some cards that have been scanned but are really going nowhere. Yup, you feared correctly, it's an image dump!

Come look at cards that are too good to toss but not good enough to turn into a clearly defined post.

This is a card concept that I don't believe Topps has used in 25 years. Taking past cards of a significant player and republishing them as a kind of montage-series is pretty cool. You could even turn it into an insert series, if you must. Feel free to steal that idea, Topps. I know how much you like to pay tribute to yourself.

Meet Rick Camp. Relatively clean-cut '70s rookie dude.

Now, watch the progression.

This is the point where you expect me to say that Camp ended up going to prison and dying at the age of 59.

And you would be correct.

More recent Bubbas, like Bubba Crosby and Bubba Trammell, have received more attention on the blogs, but baseball Bubbas go all the way back to the early 1940s.

I particularly like Bubba Morton, the Bubba of the '60s, mostly because on this card you can see that his name is both "Bubba" and "Wycliffe."

Everyone gets stirred up about Topps using the same images on card photos, no one more than me. This little tale isn't exactly that but it is something similar.

This Jerry Koosman card was a popular one in my house when I was a kid. Such an awesome photo. I reserved it as one of my favorites of the 1978 set.

Then 1979 came.

I was astonished. No, it's not the same photo, but, wow, it's awfully close. I believe this was the first time that I questioned just what the heck was going on at Topps headquarters. I put myself out there, Topps. I declared 1978 Jerry Koosman as one of the best. And then this?

Part of the recent completion of the 1987 Topps set is discovering certain baseball factoids from a time when I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the sport. For example, Tony Bernazard was an All-Star in 1986. "That can't possibly be legitimate," I thought to myself. And then I looked up the stats. Yeah, it's legit.

Blurred faces on baseball cards creep me out. When did this practice start? It's killing this card.

In an alphabetical list of all of the people who have played major league baseball, there are exactly 33 players between the names Rusty Kuntz and Pete LaCock. In other words, they're LaCock blockers.

 One of the best parts of these Fleer World Series sets is they include factoids that you never hear about in common recounting of past World Series. Back-to-back 1-0 games to start the Series is pretty awesome.

 Just a reminder: the greatest 100 cards of the '70s countdown is coming. I've decided to start in 2016 at some point. You will see this card on the countdown. Consider this your preview.

Imagine this card falling into the hands of someone who knows nothing about baseball. Just a smiling Italian in a baseball uniform and a single word: "Cookie." It is sublime in its simpleness.

Many years ago, Bill Simmons made a popular list of white baseball players with black-sounding names. Upon hearing the name, you think the player is black and then he turns out to be white. Reggie Cleveland, Marcus Giles, Sidney Ponson, etc. Well, he missed one. I was stunned to learn Nyls Nyman was not black. By the way, not only is Nyls Nyman a cool name, but so is "Nyls Wallace Rex Nyman," which is his full name.

 I should probably reserve this for a '56 of the Month post, but what is the squiggle above Toby Atwell's signature? At first I thought it was a random pen mark, but, nope, it's part of the signature. I am now obsessed with finding out the significance of that squiggle.

Finally, here is a card of Andy Carey. Just a regular hatless shot of a guy most remembered for being one of the least-remembered members of those 1950s Yankees teams, right?

But Carey was also a bit of a ladies man. He was married four times. In 1955, he married actress Lucy Marlow, who appeared in the movie "A Star Is Born," and is seen here, walking a turkey:

Happy Thanksgiving.