Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here's your top 60, part 3

Sadly, my own little diamond anniversary party is coming to a close. That went by awfully quick, didn't it? That's the way I like it. No long, drawn-out affair like that Awesomest Night Card thinga-ma-role. When's that ending?

Anyway, I have cards 41-60 coming up in a second. I'm just showing ol' Don Mossi here to illustrate that there are many, many, many cool cards that I do not have that would be just as worthy contenders for bumping out half the Mantles that Topps has nominated as anything else I'm featuring. It's just that my collection is focused mostly in the '70s and '80s so that's what I happen to think is the best. Feel free to nominate your own top 60. Then Topps can take credit for spawning a thousand lists and everyone will be happy.

OK, the final cards on the list. Again, these are in total random order.


41. 1975 Topps Steve Yeager: First Dodger card I ever pulled from a pack purchased with my own money. A "big boy" moment. Simple as that.

42. 1974 Topps Steve Garvey: This card deserves to be hanging in an art gallery somewhere. It's surrealistic and awesome. It's surrawesome!

43. 1974 Topps Paul Lindblad: More cardboard art suitable for framing. Can a baseball card be profound? Let me think about that for awhile, while I stare at this card some more.

44. 1982 Topps In Action Carlton Fisk: For the most part, I thought Topps' In-Action revival in '82 was lame. But not this card. Tilting the card was a wise move. Putting the card on its edge puts you on the edge. Will he catch it? True action in action.

45. 1971 Topps Thurman Munson: Speaking of action, this might be the card that spawned a thousand play-at-the-plate cards. One of the few cards that Topps got right on its voting site. Shockingly, it's a Yankee.

46. 1980 Topps Gorman Thomas: If you view Thomas' cards through the years and note his grooming habits, you'll realize that all of the cards lead up to this one. This is Gorman as we remember him. Bad-ass and using a bat like a sledgehammer. Not even the baby blue uniform can bring him down.

47. 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero Showcase Hideo Nomo: Final Upper Deck card of the bunch (See, Topps? There wasn't that many). It is a chore picking out "the best" Hideo Nomo card, but I think this one does the job.

48. 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken: I like that I obtained this card merely because I wanted the traded set. I sent away for it, received the tidy little blue box, and before I knew it, the Ripken card had blossomed into this monster rookie card. And I didn't even have to lift a finger. It was like owning a Chia Pet, except you don't ever want to water a box of cards.

49. 1957 Topps Dodgers Sluggers: Card companies today feature a lot of combo cards in homage, I guess, to these old cards of the '50s and '60s. But they rarely achieve the effect that Topps did back in the day. I guess that might be a reflection on today's cynical society. But really, objectively, this card beats the shit out of any "combo card."

50. 1976 Topps Jerry Reuss: This was already a childhood favorite before Reuss answered my TTM request and then commented on my blog. Now I have a reason to carry this card around in my wallet.

51. 1973 Topps Luis Alvarado: Several months ago, I knew nothing about this card. Today, it represents a snapshot of my childhood. Minus the palm tree.

52. 1988 Score Reggie Jackson: Oops, here's another non-Topps one. This card comes from one of the best subsets of the '80s. But that's not why it's here. It's here because there is (or was) so few cards of Jackson as an Oriole. The card is endlessly fascinating. It makes me want to read up on everything about Jackson and the Orioles.That is the pinnacle of what a card should be.

53. 1975 Topps Ron Cey: Favorite player when I was 9. Favorite player now. Favorite card when I was 9. Favorite card now. The photo does have a "last batter on earth" vibe to it.

54. 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Clayton Kershaw: From one favorite player to another favorite player. I've got to have a current card in the top 60. This is a great one.

55. 1977 Topps Frank Tanana: From an early age I favored the pitcher over the batter. Especially when one appears to be literally throwing smoke on their baseball card.

56. 1971 Topps Rookie Stars Pitchers: Now, this card is funny. Much funnier than putting a squirrel on a card and short-printing it to kingdom come. This shows you a card company is having fun, that they are almost one with the collector, not trying to put their hand in the collector's pocket.

57. 1961 Topps Sandy Koufax: Yup, that's a card with an autograph. I tried to keep it to cards only, since this is about "the card." But this card represents a milestone moment in my collecting career. It was the first time I bought a card because it had an autograph. Still have no idea if it's real (my hunch is that it is), but that doesn't bother me.

58. 1991 Topps Roger Clemens: As someone who is constantly sending photographers out on assignments for portrait shots and hoping, hoping that they'll come up with something good, I say, "well done" to the person who took this. There are a lot of great cards from '91 Topps that I left out, but I can't leave this one out.

59. 1962 Topps Walter Alston: Alston received just one at-bat in his major league career. Yet I count at least 18 bats in this picture. I think somebody is making fun of him.

60. 1955 Topps Jackie Robinson: Jackie ends it! Yes, this one is on the Topps voting site, too. I think it's one of five that I selected that are also on the site. But don't hold that against those cards. Topps just got lucky.

Topps thinks a card must feature a superstar, a rookie or be gimmicked up to be one of "the best."

I hope most collectors don't think that, but some of them probably do. Probably more than I want to believe.

But to me, you can be Luis Alvarado or Dal Maxvill and achieve true greatness on cardboard. They may be listed as commons in the price guide, but they're actually as rare as they come.


  1. Wow. What 7-year old drew the hat on Archie Reynolds?

  2. I just picked up the Fisk In Action in a Million Card Giveaway trade - all I had to give up was a lousy 1981 Topps Graig Nettles!

  3. The 74 Garvey is beautiful and exactly why I love the older cards. Now it would show every detail of every fan in the stands. I'm a sucker for simplicity.
    I never saw the Score Reg card.
    Instead of this garbage Topps thing, they should have put out a 100 card set of players in uniforms who never appeared as such on a card, like Reg with the Orioles. How fast would that set sell?

  4. Owl, what makes that 1971 rookie pitchers' card funny? Is it that there are 3 Reynolds on the card, or that Topps used the word "stars" when referring to these guys?

    As for the Don Mossi card, Halloween was LAST month!


  5. The 74 Garvey, 74 Lindblad, and the 91 Clemens are amazing for their photography... simply amazing.

  6. Love the Munson and the Ripken. And that first card is hilarious!

  7. As the person who showed you the Alvarez card, you're welcome.

    That '61 Koufax is great, particularly if you look at the career stats on the backof that card. For a guy who'd been in the majors for 6 years, his stats were mediocre at best. He had a lot of strikeouts, but still had a losing W/L record.

    Of course, THAT would change beginning in 1961.

    Maybe there's a future post idea there for you.

  8. Thank you Thurman Munson...that's one card I'll be adding to my wantlist.

  9. Another great mix of cards. For a set from overproduced times, 1991 Topps included a lot of nice composition.