Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Preparing for a world of pain
A few weeks ago, Robert from $30 a Week Habit sent me an email asking me if I was still planning to build the 1967 Topps set.
I sent him a return email that said I am planning to do nothing of the sort. I am not insane. Please find whoever told you that scurrilous rumor and correct them immediately. The whole idea is preposterous.
OK, I actually did admit to "planning" to build the '67 Topps set. But when I say "planning," I'm using all kinds of air quotes and saying it very sarcastically so you don't know whether I'm attempting to collect it or not.
And there's a good reason for my actions.
I'm afraid of the 1967 Topps set.
It's scary. It's mean.
Not only is the set 50 years old and filled with legends like Clemente, Mays and Mantle, but the high numbers are about as sadistic as they get. I've completed the 1971 Topps high numbers and the even tougher 1972 Topps high numbers and neither are as intimidating as the '67s. Do I want to pay 75 bucks for a Red Sox team card? Fifty dollars for a Tommy John? Have I mentioned that Tom Seaver's rookie card is a high number in this set?
No. No, I am not planning to build this set. I've taken the quotes off now.
Now do you believe me?
Robert didn't believe me.
He sent a stack of 80 or 90 cards from the '67 set instead.
Guess who's planning to build the '67 set!
Oh, boy, am I in for a world of pain.
I've never considered trying to complete a set from the '60s basically because those sets were before my time (and unlike the 1956 set, no one gifted me a bunch of cards from any of those sets when I was a teenager). Consider the '67 set. I was crawling around in diapers when kids were collecting that thing. I mean who are these guys?
Really. Who are these guys? I'd never heard of any of them until pulling them out of the envelope.
Not these guys either.
I've got some research to do!
But the reason I want to build this set is because it's the ideal set for getting to know '60s ballplayers. (All of the above guys are very '60s, by the way).
I ranked this set in the top five of Topps sets ever made and one of the reasons was that it gives collectors a window into '60s baseball unlike any other set. The design is simple (yet colorful) with more room for '60s backgrounds than any other Topps set.
Yeah, it's guys I don't know a lot about, but this set makes me want to know 'em.
Yeah, it'll be a world of pain. But it'll also be a world of Yankees I've never heard of. How is that possible? I thought New York trumpeted the name of every pinstriper as if they were God's greatest gift. What a weird time '67 was.
A world of players I only know as managers.
And managers I didn't even know were managers.
And stadiums I'll never visit.
And World Series I'm glad I never saw.
I'm learning that '67 knew how to do two things very well:
Turn a Summer into Love and make a checklist that's damn collectible.
So who cares if I knew these guys ...
... when they were these guys (OK, so Woody/Woodie looks the same).
I'm jumping into this strange '67 world.
It will be a long time before you see a want list for this set.
And it will be a long time before I go on one of my online shopping sprees and consciously pick up '67 cards.
But I think I'm finally ready for this world of pa ... er, world of fun.
With cards like this, resistance is futile.