Skip to main content


I received this card from Cardsplitter a little while ago. He's the same guy who's threatening to throw out cards (don't treat the threat lightly, he's already done it once).

He guessed that I owned about four of this red diamond Jackie Robinson already. It turns out this is the first one I've owned, which is a bit surprising to me as well, considering how well I've done acquiring Jackie Robinson cards lately.

Not a day goes by without a Robinson finding its way to my door. A couple even arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I have a few more cued up and ready to go from recent trades. I landed a handful at the card show last weekend, and went over 100 unique Robinson cards with my purchases there. I fully anticipate acquiring another Robinson today. I don't know how or when, but it's going to happen. It's Jackie Robinson Day after all.

I'm acquiring so many Jackies because Jackies are everywhere. I can be as cynical as I want about it, and I have, but the truth is I've rethought it, and it's a good thing that there are so many Robinson cards. Unlike some of the athletes that Topps is forcing down collectors' gullets, Robinson deserves to be recognized as often as he does. His claim to fame isn't hitting legendary blasts or being able to drink anyone under the table. His claim to fame is taking the viewpoint that everyone had about race and humanity and "can and can't," flipping it in the air with quiet, dignified defiance, and saying ever so effectively, "here is how you should evaluate people now. Please note that skin color isn't on the list anymore."

And just about everyone listened ... eventually.

So, really, Robinson deserves as many cards as Topps, and whoever else is in the business of printing cards, wants to print.

A year ago, I was whining that I did not own a card of Robinson that was issued during his career. I've since landed one of those cards. I suppose if I didn't have one of his '50s cards, I might not be as comfortable with all of the posthumous card releases of Jackie. They would only remind me of the hole in my collection. But envy and want are terrible things to associate with Robinson's legacy, so I'm glad that's behind me.

That leaves me to happy little tributes to Robinson by recognizing his uniform number.

Robinson never played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is the team that I am recognizing with my uniform number series. But if you're addressing the number 42, then you have to mention Robinson. Because going back to the 1930s, when player numbers became common, only three Dodger players have worn the number 42.

The first was pitcher George Jeffcoat. He pitched in 62 games for the Brooklyn Dodgers between 1936-39. He wore No. 42 only in 1939, a year in which he pitched just a single game.

The number was not used for a major leaguer again until Robinson in 1947. He wore it every year through 1956 when he retired after the season.

The Dodgers would eventually retire his uniform number in 1972, 10 years after his Hall of Fame induction and a few months before his death. Nobody for the Dodgers has worn it since, and, famously, Mariano Rivera is the only player in the majors to still wear the number.

But there is one player who wore the number for the Dodgers after Robinson's retirement. I actually picked up a card of the player at the card show last weekend, totally unaware of the significance.

Ray Lamb was a pitcher for the Dodgers and Indians between 1969 and 1973. He threw mostly in relief. He was dealt to Cleveland in 1970 with pitcher Alan Foster in exchange for catcher Duke Sims.

But Lamb is forever recorded in the Book of Semi-Interesting Facts That You Should Know as the only Dodger to wear the No. 42 since Jackie Robinson wore it.

Lamb wore the number only during his first year in 1969. He appeared in 10 games. Who knows why he wore the number only that year. The following season with the Dodgers, he wore No. 34. The No. 42 was retired along with 39 (Campanella) and 32 (Koufax) on June 4, 1972.

So those were the inhabitants of No. 42 for the Dodgers, two pitchers who barely made a dent in their Dodger uniform, and a guy who turned the entire, freakin' world upside down.

Enough of this No. 7 Mantle crap. Topps should be dedicating No. 42 to Robinson every year.

(Other Dodger numbers: 0, 1, 10)

(Happy birthday, Dad!)


carlsonjok said…
Since I got two former Negro Leaguers from the Transmogrifier, I have been toying with the idea of trying to collect cards from the players who made the jump from there to the Majors. But, Jackie Robinson card's are probably a little too rich for my wallet.
1967ers said…
I'm normally not a real fan of modern cards of vintage players, but I like that one. Very nice.

Though I focus primarily on OPC and that's enough to keep me busy, I wanted to pick up a few cards older than '65. I refused to get anything until I could get my hands on the one I wanted most - and that was #42.

I didn't realize this was Jackie Robinson Day. Have to change today's post.
Anonymous said…
Cool post - so he's the only LA Dodger to ever wear #42

(excepting for all 25 LA Dodgers the last couple of years on Jackie Robinson day)
Ray Lamb? That's weird. Usually, the clubhouse guy is the keeper of the "unofficial" inactive numbers.

With all the "good" pitchers (since pitchers usually wear the numbers in the 40s) playing for the Dodgers over the years (Don Sutton, Bill Singer, Ron Perranoski, Claude Osteen, Jim Brewer, Bob Miller, Phil Regan, Stan Williams, who else?) how did they all avoid getting #42?

If the clubhouse guy was holding it back, how was someone of Ray Lamb's stature able to score it?

Popular posts from this blog

The slash era

I'm not sure how many images of Joe Adell on the 2021 Topps design you have seen already. At the moment of this writing (3:42 p.m.), I've seen it several times, as well as a couple of blog posts about it. I'm sure there are more on the way.

These are what people are saying about it ...

Wait, I suppose I need to show you the image one more time:

There you are.

OK, now, the first reference I saw to it when I woke up out of my nest late this morning is that the design has a border. This was met with applause and I'm right there with them. It's the first Topps bordered flagship set since 2015, although you could make a case for 2019.

There is a lot of tinkering with the border but that just continues the theme of the entire design, which is: IT'S AWFULLY BUSY, AIN'T IT?????

How many design elements are on that card? Ten? Twelve? Fifteen? (Also, purple? There is no purple in the Angels color scheme. Are we going back to the random Topps colors of the '60s, …

The weird things collectors do

It is interesting to me how card collectors seem to have so much in common, as far as interests, personality tendencies, how their brains are wired, etc., and still can be so different.

There are many things that card collectors do that confuse the heck out of me. ... Why? Why would they do that? ... And there are many ways card collectors think that don't match my collecting thought process at all.

I think the influence of the time period in which a collector grew up has a lot to do with the differences. And that's what I'm going to chalk up to the excuse I am now giving to whatever lost soul decided to grade a 1982 Topps Burt Hooton card.

Let's go through the reasons why there's no need to grade a 1982 Topps Burt Hooton:

1. The card came out in 1982.
2. It's Burt Hooton.

I'm done.

But, I'm thinking, somebody grew up in a period when everyone was grading cards and that, yes, even commons should be graded because, you know, they could, uh ... they coul…

Thrill of the chase

An old high school classmate asked me this week how to go about selling some completed Topps baseball sets that she had purchased for her sons each year while they were growing up.

I explained how to search for the sets on eBay by using the completed listings option, but because she is one of my favorite former classmates, to help lessen the shock for her, I searched the sets myself and then gave her an average for each of them, along with an explanation of why they weren't worth much more than what she had paid for them originally.

The sets were from 1997-2008 and with the exception of the 2001 set, which at 790 cards is the largest of the bunch and also contains the Ichiro rookie card, it was clear that nobody values completed sets anymore. At least not non-vintage completed sets.

I already knew this. But seeing it underlined in back-lit numbers stunned me a bit. The 2005 complete set sells for only 40 bucks? I like the 2005 set! I'm trying to complete the 2005 set! Why don…