Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cardboard appreciation: 1974 Topps Steve Garvey

(There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that you will be acquiring old cards by the end of the week. So, here's to optimism and town-wide garage sales. I'll be sure to show the goodies after I get them. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 67th in a series):

I'm not ready to call this the best card of all-time. I don't think there can be a best card of all-time, even if it's just one person's opinion.

But I do know that, out of all of the cards that I have seen in my lifetime, this card has never ceased to be amazing longer than any other card that I've seen. It is the "Dark Side of the Moon" of baseball cards as far as I am concerned, continuing to chart this very day even though it is more than 30 years old.

I've mentioned a couple of times that when I was first collecting cards in the mid 1970s, I considered this the most awesome card ever, even though we didn't use the word "awesome" then. I couldn't wait to acquire it, and when I finally did, I preserved it the best way I knew how, although the card ended up suffering some scuffing and a slight crease in one corner (I still have that card).

I appreciate the Garvey card in a different way now. To me, it is unique among the cards in the 1974 set or even cards of that era. Not only were there very few horizontal cards in the 1974 set, but the composition of this photo gives it a look unlike any card of that time.

It's almost like a Monet painting. ... OK, maybe that's going too far. Let's say it's almost like an Upper Deck Masterpieces card.

The photo quality may not be the greatest -- strictly 1974 standards -- and some may be spooked by the blurred-out fans in the background. But I say that this card is beautiful, not in the way of a typical baseball card, but in a way that a piece of art hanging in a museum would be beautiful. It is photographic art.

It is an iconic card, and one I definitely appreciate.

Since I first posted this card last summer -- it was a scan of the Garvey card I obtained as a teenager --  I have obtained two more versions of the card. The most recent one was from Dave of 1st & Goal. Thanks to his genorosity, I will put this Garvey in my 1974 Topps binder, and move the other one to my Dodger binder. I really can never have enough of this card.

I also received several other great items from Dave, including:

A Maury Wills Hygrade card. (I always want to say, "Hydrox") Did I mention that he beat out Willie Mays for the 1962 MVP award? I like mentioning that.

Two more Hygrade cards of Jackie. I know Robinson smiled, because I have cards of him smiling. But not on these cards.

Hmmm, something about this pose is familiar. This is from the TCMA early '80s set that featured all-time greatest hitters, pitchers, etc.

See? Greatest Pitchers. Drysdale has that familiar "looking-in-the-distance" pose, like he's tracking his pitch, which just ricocheted off the head of the batter.

Like fans of the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals, there sure are a lot of old-timey Dodger guys to collect. It gets a little daunting if I think about it too much. So I don't.

Oh, and I just checked the Billboard album charts. "Dark Side of the Moon" is still there. At No. 191 this week -- 763 weeks on the chart.


  1. Huh...I don't even remember sending that Garvey card. I thought all I had to offer was some worthless junk era stuff or "baseball's greatest" sets.

    Granted, even if I did remember, I still would have sent it to you. Even Dodgers deserve to be loved by loved by someone. :)

    Glad you enjoyed the cards, even the perforated ones...

  2. i used to carry a copy of that garvey card in my wallet a la bob costas and his mickey mantle card.

    the 74 kingman is similar but not as cool since he's a giant.