Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trading with the mayor

I've traded cards with a wide variety of people since I started this blog. I've swapped cards with people living in England, France, Australia and several places in between. I've made deals with teachers, students, lawyers, writers and those with jobs that I'm sure I could never describe.

One of my most recent trades was with a mayor. The mayor of Cooperstown.

If I'm being honest, that sounds like a job out of fictional book for children. Cooperstown is already a magical place to many, myself included. And you're telling me there's a mayor of this fantasy land?

Yes there is. His name is Jeff. And I'm sure he lives in a regular house, not one with baseball-shaped hedges in the front and a doorbell that plays ballpark organ music. He is a well-known baseball fan and SABR member, and has written the book Split Season, which is about the 1981 baseball season (and we all know how that one ended!).

He also happens to be a collector.

We recently struck up a deal in which I'd send him a smattering of 1968 and 1969 Topps cards and he'd send me some cards for the 1973 Topps set I'm trying to complete.

I still need a whole bunch of the cards from this set, so I'm an easy mark. Jeff found several delightful cards for me including the above Luis Tiant card, which I believe is the first 1973 Topps card I ever saw when I was a kid. Tiant looked like a little doll figure to me back then -- one of those weird associations one makes when they're young.

Among the other cards were '73s that I once owned but then traded away.

Can you believe I traded away the Joe Rudi card that does not feature Joe Rudi? What was wrong with me?

But this is all part of the process of being a collector. You have to figure out what you really like through trial and error, sometimes taking two steps forward and one step back. The important thing is the non-Rudi Rudi card is back in the collection.

How about these heavyweights? I still have a thing about thinking New York players are more difficult to obtain than players from other teams. It's a product of where I grew up and where I live. But I'm sure happy to cross off Munson and Seaver.

More notables from the '70s. Hooton in a Cubs uniform still looks strange to me.

It's the '70s, so that means league leaders and team cards, as was written in the constitution. I think we should all write our congressman to get team photos back into sets. With all the bat boys included!

Lots of airbrushed Phillies pitchers in the 1973 Topps set. It looks like the logo on Wayne Twitchell's card is getting ready to run away.

Don Stanhouse's rookie card. That meant something before he came to the Dodgers. (And that reference means something only if you were a Dodgers fan in 1980).

The late, great Chuck Tanner and his coaches. I dig that manager silhouette. I don't think a manager has taken that pose in the history of this great game.

A bunch more '73s that authorities in the hobby would call "commons." But I can tell a story about almost all of them and get downright freakishly detailed about a couple. They're not common to me.

That's why I'm collecting this set.

For that reason, and, of course, the cartoons on the back.

Here are three cards with some cool cartoons:

The 1973 set features among the best cartoons that ever appeared on the back of Topps cards.

But the best of the group that Jeff sent to me is still the first 1973 card I ever saw:


  1. Great cards!

    We should do a road trip to the Hall of Fame. Maybe see if any other bloggers want to meet there.

  2. Nice post with some great looking cards with some exceptions. The non-Rudi Rudi card is one of my all time least favorite cards that I own. But, you have it for your set. And you would think that 2 great Hall of Fame players like Stargell and Robinson would deserve a close up. Was the photographer not able to catch them standing still before the game? He had to take the picture from his seat in the stands? I don't get it.

  3. Those are some mighty fine looking cards you have there. My favorites have to be the bad erase job on the Frank Robinson card and the absolutely beautiful Tom Hutton card.

    By the way, if you haven't read it, Split Season is an awesome book.

  4. Do you have Card #615? I don't, but just curious if you do.

    1. I have it. It's in my Dodger collection. I technically should get another one for the '73 set, but only if I can find something super cheap.

  5. That Munson is fantastic! Topps did a great crop job on that card. As an A's fan, I'm embarrassed to admit that I had no idea that wasn't Rudi on that card. I saw a mustache and assumed it was him. Had to do some research to find out who it was.

  6. The middle player on the Rudi card I believe is Gene Tenace.

    Didn't Earl Weaver have a nickname for Don Stanhouse, something like one pack because he would have to smoke a pack of cigarettes whenever Stanhouse came in to save a game. I think Stanhouse started in the Oakland organization and was traded to the Rangers during their World Series years.