Thursday, May 30, 2013

C.A.: 1976 SSPC Mickey Vernon

(Welcome to the last Cardboard Appreciation before the great vote-off to determine the third card that will enter the Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame. Beginning next week, I will be asking for your votes and propping up polls on the sidebar. I might have to change the template a little bit to accommodate the polls, but it's the small price to pay for blog votage! (voteage?) And now, one more Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 185th in a series):

I am pretty pleased to be working on the 1979 Topps set. It signals my final step in acquiring all of the Topps sets from my childhood (1974-79). What a proud moment that will be when I obtain that last '79 card, whatever it may be.

But it will also be a sad moment. The real reason that I am collecting -- the most satisfaction I get out of collecting -- is to unearth those first memories of baseball, captured on cardboard, from the mid-1970s. Sure, my quest will continue with the '82 Topps set and probably '81 and/or '82 Fleer, when I was a little older and slightly wiser. And I could always chase the Kellogg's sets, small in number as they are.

But there won't be any more opportunities to find cardboard pictures of those players I held at such a height during my first awakenings to the game, around 1975, 1976.

Or so I thought.

I was doing a little research on the "99" uniform post from the other day and, for whatever reason, I stumbled across an online picture of a 1976 SSPC card (yes, it's 1976, not 1975). It was Jack Pierce of the Tigers, someone almost no one remembers.

The Pierce card is a night card, and I noted how many night cards seem to be in that set. Outside of the Dodgers, I have only a handful, but three of them already are night cards.

"I should collect that set," I said to myself.

And then ...

"OF COURSE, I should collect it! It's filled with photos of players from my childhood! Photos that I've never seen before!"

And so it's done.

I am officially collecting the '76 SSPC set, which is great for its night cards, its interesting pictures (George Brett-Al Cowens anyone?), its Keith Olbermann-penned card backs, and its seemingly random inclusion of photos of people like Mickey Vernon, a Hall of Famer hired by the Dodgers as a batting instructor.

It even says "batting instructor" as his "position" on the back of his card!

Not only is the set direct from my childhood, but it's quirky as hell.

I feel obligated to collect it.

I'd put up a want list, but a need just about every card. And with how backlogged I am sending out packages (just another week more, I promise), I feel totally stupid announcing a new collection.

But you can just ignore this post and go back to it when I start sending out packages again.

What? You already read it?

Too late, huh?

Yeah, it's too late for me, too. '76 SSPC here I come.


  1. Thanks for the link!

    I have to say, I'm a bit surprised that you don't already have cards from this set... I'm still sorting through the SSPC cards I bought, and each time I run across a shot involving a flash, I think "There's another card Night Owl probably has..."

    Have fun with your pursuit. It's an interesting set...

  2. I love that SSPC set. As you mentioned the pictures used are unique, not the same ol' ones that get recycled. Have fun. I may have some dupes buried in my closet.

  3. I have about five batches of the last part of that set and a fair number of dupes otherwise. Still have some Pilots and a couple random Dodgers sitting here anyway, so I guess I'll get to the back of the line...

  4. Definitely one of the coolest and quirkiest sets of the 70's era (some of the flash photography was so amateurish it's laughable) yourself a favor and just try to buy the complete set, it wasn't issued in packs at all (as far as I remember) so the only singles out there are from broken-up sets.