Wednesday, January 14, 2015

40 years ago I found my life's work

A week or so ago I realized that it has been 40 years since the release of the 1975 Topps set. Forty years since I first collected a baseball card set. Forty years since I kept those cards and didn't throw them away at season's end. Forty years of the greatest set ever created during a young boy's first year of buying packs.

I've started to see a little bit of mention of this particular anniversary here and there. One of those online baseball writers with a lot of followers showcased an image of a 1975 Topps rack pack (with George Brett as one of the players because, of course, the only two people in the '75 Topps set were Brett and Yount) and said "remember these?" like we were supposed tax our brains straining to retrieve lost images of these colorful cardboard squares from back during our -- heh, we were so childish then -- kid days.


Sorry, it's just that it bothers me when something that I found and find so meaningful is completely forgotten or regarded as trivial kid stuff.

Forty years ago, my collecting habits were formed and probably some life lessons, too. The value of hobbies, for instance. The value of money. Sticking to a goal. Knowledge of and respect for history. A vehicle for forming relationships, in the schoolyard and later in the collecting community.

I owe it all to one of the most memorable, iconic baseball card sets ever issued.

When I wrote the 1975 Topps (it's far out, man) blog, I would periodically feature some of the cards that I kept from that first year of collecting. All of those original '75s showed the love and time I devoted to collecting that first year.

I have 61 cards left from that year of collecting 40 years ago. Their sharp-corner days disappeared somewhere around July of 1975. Yet, they're still in my collection.

They are the strongest connection I have to my first year of collecting, and I will keep them forever. But it occurs to me that after I'm gone their meaning will go with me. Who will see these particular cards/want these particular cards again?

So I am going to create a page on this blog that features just these cards -- the first cards I ever pulled from packs 40 years ago. These cards deserve immortality -- the kind of immortality that future collectors can see.

Here are those cards now:

That's all of them in their creased-scuffed-nonexistent cornered glory.

Sorry the scans are crooked, but let's face it, a 9-year-old boy doesn't care about making things line up.

I also have 1975 minis that I bought or traded for that first year, too. I may add those to the page, as well.

I should have the page up Friday or Saturday

That way future generations -- that is if the internet is still around -- can see exactly what a young night owl treasured in the mid-1970s.


  1. It's really pretty cool that you have some of your very first cards. The scuffs, creases and round corners only add to the charm. I only have one, a '59 card left from my beginning collecting years.

  2. Interesting that you didn't pull (or save) a single 4-player rookie card, checklist, highlight or team card.

    1. I did pull a couple of team cards (I remember the Pirates) that have disappeared somehow.

  3. I recently got rid of a lot of the first cards I had because at age 6 I thought it was a good idea to put the cards inside a sticky mylar plastic coating. That was my version of a plastic sheet. To be fair, it kept most of the cards intact...unless, of course, you tried to remove the mylar.

  4. Those are some well-loved cards. I have some 1952 Topps Wings I purchased about 3 years ago that are in similar condition, and I sometimes stop and wonder about how they got that way. Were they so loved they traveled all over the place with their original owner? Or did they just not care about them enough and played catch with them or something? I'll never know, and I've since gotten better examples of most, but I have thought about it. I just sent one off to a 7 year old nephew of a fellow collector at Christmas time, and I know for a fact that it's bringing it's new owner some joy.

    One of the things you said above really hits home for me, too-
    "Sorry, it's just that it bothers me when something that I found and find so meaningful is completely forgotten or regarded as trivial kid stuff."

    I feel the same way about my hobbies, and in particular base cards, which is what I like the most. But I also build scale models and read comic books avidly, and have faced the same non-hobbyist ignorance there as well.

    I wish I knew what my first cards were...I know when I started (1988) and even what set, but the actual cards, or the ones I got later? No clue.

  5. Another excellent post. One of the things I like most about this hobby is the connection to my youth. It's cool that you have the actual cards. Thanks for sharing them in all their well loved glory.

  6. Love the post. I still have many of my original cards. Definetely brings you back in time.

  7. Love this post. I still have most of my cards that I pulled out of packs in 1978 and don't think I will ever replace them. To me it does not matter if the checklist is marked, or the card is off centered, these cards were looked at often and I played the game on the back dozens of times. I not only remember who was the first card I ever pulled out of a pack, but where the pack was bought. Funny thing is, at 45 I have trouble remembering what I ate for supper two nights ago.