I have a couple unspoken rules when it comes to collecting sets:
1. Don't attempt to collect a set older than you.
2. Don't attempt to collect a set that was issued before you knew what baseball was.
There are both emotional and practical reasons for these rules. On the practical side, I need to feel like I actually can complete the thing -- meaning I won't run out of cash, or have to go on a three-year hunting expedition for certain cards.
On the emotional side, I need to feel a connection to the set. The easiest way to find that connection is to complete sets from when I was around, watching baseball. I know the teams, I know the players, I know the times. Connection made. This is the reason I've completed every Topps flagship set between 1974-91. I know these guys. I saw them on TV, sometimes even at the park.
But more recently I've been venturing outside of my familiar zone. The 1971 and 1972 Topps sets are complete. The 1973 Topps set is less than 60 cards from completion. There wasn't a baseball thought in my head during any of those years.
I'm also starting on the 1970 Topps set. And also on the horizon, really not that far away, is the 1967 Topps set, which while not older than me, pretty much shoots the above rules -- and the reasons for those rules -- about two thousand feet out of the water.
a) I was likely sporting diapers when the '67 set came out.
b). It is one of the most direct routes to the poorhouse.
But here comes several more 1967 Topps from Bo of Baseball Cards Come To Life!
Got To Get Them Into My Life? You know it. That's four Orioles from the just-crowned World Series Champion team of 1966.
I'm impressed even though they swept my Dodgers. And I'm hopelessly hooked and have broken all of the above rules for a set that I either can't complete or will rob me of all my money. I don't even know half the guys in this set!
The '67 set is just one of those that causes me to throw all the rules out the window. Its wide-open view of baseball in the 1960s draws me in. They really played baseball in the '60s! They really enjoyed the game! Fans actually came out and watched! The sun shone and the bat cracked and the organ played! All of that did happen even if I don't remember one second of the 1960s.
So, yeah, here I am nearly 200 cards into the 1967 Topps set. Who knows what happens from here.
I have more practical and emotional reasons for collecting the 1970 Topps set.
Although it's a '60s set at heart, it was issued in the 1970s and I must complete the entire run of '70s set. That is my childhood we are talking about.
The 1970 set will not hold me up with insanely priced high numbers either.
The package that Bo sent contained a healthy chunk of 1970 Topps, most from the first series.
Bill Robinson should be a Phillie or Pirate. Fred Patek, first, is "Freddie," and secondly, is a Royal.
The best thing about that Patek card, though, are the players warming up in the background. This is what I know from collecting baseball cards as a kid. There were always guys in the background doing basebally things.
There you go. Right down the line. Bullpen work. Guys headed back to the dugout. People doing baseball before I knew what baseball was.
More backgrounds. More people doing. Players standing. Players head-scratching. Security guards watching. The sun shining all the while. This is all stuff that was happening when I started collecting cards in the mid-70s!
So, yeah, even though all I knew in 1970 was kindergarten and Sesame Street, I'll collect the 1970 set. I'll collect the catchers and the grumpy unfamiliar managers, the All-Stars I never knew, and the guy performing a Bo Jackson pose long before it was a Bo Jackson pose.
Overall, it's still baseball.
And I'll form that connection by collecting it, just as I have the 1956 Topps set (which, to be fair, is already connected to my childhood because of one of the single greatest collecting days of my life).
The sun always shines on baseball cards. No matter what year.
(P.S: Except on night cards).