As Julys go, this one has been just about the worst in my experience. It hasn't been terrible, because it's impossible for July to be terrible, what with the birthday and the vacation and everything. But the problem is that my job thinks it's February. So it's throwing the workload that I deal with in February into July.
That has translated into lovely incidents such as getting called in on my vacation, getting called in on my day off, tension-filled meetings and frustrating work shifts -- stuff that NEVER happens in July.
But what does this all mean to you?
Well, as I might have mentioned, my blog posts ain't up to my satisfaction. I've had to postpone or discard lots of ideas that take too much time and research. Also, putting together trade packages for people is down to a once-every-two-weeks affair (I hope to get a few together today because I'm going to try to land some comp time -- we'll see how that goes. EDIT: It actually worked!).
Also, if you arrive at September and my posts are really, REALLY, REALLY CRANKY then you'll know that the busy season has hit, I haven't received my proper summer rest, and I'm taking it all out on you.
So, mark that on your calendar.
Fortunately, a few kind souls are still sending me cards. They must be having a proper July.
For instance, Greg A., found the 1972 Walter Alston card that I have had on the Nebulous 9 list for awhile, and sent it to me. What a guy!
That phenomenal Alston card is a high number card and was the last that I needed to complete the '72 Dodgers team set. To me, this is quite an accomplishment, because nothing in the '72 set is easy to complete. The set is monstrously large, has several subsets that can be confusing to a team collector, and, most of all, has those really pain-in-the-booty high numbers.
But '72 is done, meaning I can show all the cards here on the blog. For posterity.
Jim Brewer. The Dodgers longtime closer -- although they didn't call them that then -- and one of the earlier '72s that I landed.
Bill Buckner. The very first '72 Dodger that I acquired. Believe me, Buckner's clean-shaven look was as strange then as it is now. He didn't look anything like I knew Buckner to look like (Buckner and his chest hair were working for the Cubs at that time). The card emphasized how "long ago" the '72 set seemed to a youngster like me.
Chris Cannizzaro. I bought this card at a card show along with the '72 Steve Garvey when I was a teenager. Cannizzaro is a high-number card, but I didn't realize it at the time. It turned out to be a good move, because I don't know if I've ever seen another Cannizzaro card in person.
Willie Crawford. Another high number and the second-to-last '72 card that I obtained. Greg from Nearly Mint sent it to me. Dig that batting cage apparatus in the background.
Willie Davis. One of my favorite cards in the '72 team set. Not only is it a nice shot of Davis having a great time in the on-deck circle, but cards like this seem to sum up the '72 set very well. The photo has a very early '70s vibe. Far out.
Al Downing. I didn't think I'd ever get a card of Downing's that didn't have the "cut on the 'xxxxxxxxx'" strip traveling down the left side of the card. Every card of his I encountered was so severely miscut. This one is off-center, but much better.
Joe Ferguson. Ferguson's rookie card. Isn't it a great one? This is a semi-high number, but I think I have two or three of this card.
Steve Garvey. I felt like a big shot after I bought this card as a teenager. It was the most I had spent on a single card to that point. I've never managed to land a second version of this card as it's also a high number. I guess I have to stir up the courage I did as a teen.
Billy Grabarkewitz. Another '72 card that I owned as a youngster. This has always been one of my favorite cards.
Larry Hisle. The future Twins standout never played for the Dodgers, not even in the minors. That makes me sad.
Tommy John. The stupid scanner (I really hate my scanner once again, by the way), cut off this card on the right and I didn't realize it until now, and now the cards have been returned to their binders and there is no way I'm going to go find the card and rescan it. Anyway, Tommy John is pictured as a White Sox on this card.
Jim Lefebvre. Did you know that Lefebvre played the part of a cannibal on Gilligan's Island and was one of the Riddler's henchmen in Batman? That is tremendous.
Manny Mota. If you haven't noticed, a number of the Dodger cards in this set are taken in front of batting cages or fences. I like the look.
Claude Osteen. My favorite part of the Dodgers is always their starting pitching. I feel like I missed out on the years when they had pitchers like Claude Osteen and Bill Singer. You don't hear much about either of them today, but they were very, very good.
Wes Parker. Another Dodger who did some acting in his time. Parker famously appeared on the Brady Bunch as the boyfriend of Greg's math teacher. Greg was struggling in his studies because he had a big crush on his teacher. In the episode, Parker offers Greg Dodger tickets if he gets an "A" on his test. I think he also told Greg to "stay away from my girlfriend." Although maybe that part got edited out.
Jose Pena. More lattice-work! Pena is another card that I had a hard time finding centered.
Pete Richert. Richert was back for his second tour with the Dodgers in '72. He came over with Frank Robinson from the Orioles. You can see Richert is featuring an airbrushed cap.
Bill Russell. Another high number. I bought Russell's sophomore card from a card show.
Duke Sims. Another card I had early on. Sims, a member of the Dodgers' catching conglomerate in the early '70s, looks like he's been hypnotized.
Bill Singer. Why wouldn't you be happy standing among the trees and blue sky?
Don Sutton. The longtime ace of the Dodgers staff is rocking the blue glove, but is still a few years away from his familiar hair style. He had the curls going big-time at the Baseball Hall induction ceremonies. Did you see that? He looked like he never left the '70s.
Bobby Valentine. This is the second '72 Dodger card that I landed way back when. Every time I hear Valentine talk on ESPN now, I wonder if it hurts to talk like that. I don't know how to explain it. It just seems like it would be an effort to talk the way he talks. Watch, somebody will now tell me he had a throat operation once, and I'll feel all guilty.
Hoyt Wilhelm. Love seeing Wilhelm in a Dodger uniform. It's another high number. When I saw it at a card show, I mentioned to the dealer that I couldn't believe I found one, as I was struggling to track the card down. The dealer said in a rather cynical dealer way "well you better buy it then." Of course, I did.
Maury Wills. I've had this card almost as long as the Bobby Valentine and Bill Buckner cards. It's in need of an upgrade. It is the final card of Wills as a player.
Frank Robinson. Good gosh I love this card. Another high number and another card-show purchase. Robinson played in just 103 games for the Dodgers in '72. I don't have much of a handle on his season there. I was 7 at the time.
Charlie Hough, Bob O'Brien, Mike Strahler. Unless you're a member of the O'Brien or Strahler family, this is Charlie Hough's rookie card, and Charlie Hough's rookie card only. But at least O'Brien is posed in front of a fence.
Dodgers team card. Haven't studied the photo much, but I can already pick out Bill Buckner, Manny Mota and Dick Allen (who is featured with the White Sox in the '72 set).
Ron Cey (and some other guys). Cey's rookie card. Commit it to memory.
Tom Haller (in action): Haller is featured as a Tiger on his own card, but he's a Dodger on this card, so I consider it part of the team set. Crazy photo, though.
Claude Osteen (in action): The longer you stare at this photo, the more peculiar it looks.
Maury Wills (in action): Wills doesn't even look like he's wearing a Dodger uniform there. It looks like he's a member of the Mets.
And that's the entire '72 Dodger set. A whole 32 cards. Topps really demanded a lot from collectors back then.
The fact that I've completed the '72 set means that I am only a couple of cards away from completing every Topps base set for the Dodgers from 1967 to the present. (The stupid Schmidt rookie card that just had to include Ron Cey is the major sticking point here).
But I'm not really done with the '72 set. As you know, I am collecting the entire set and have purchased a binder. So I'm not saying goodbye at all. In fact, it will be a long time before I can do anything like that.
Especially if I keep having Julys like this.