Thursday, August 1, 2019
'56 of the month: Ted Williams
Kicking off the month in style!
I've never been so eager to create a new '56 of the Month post. This 1956 Topps Ted Williams card has been on my mind for months. It finally arrived in the mail on the final day of my vacation earlier this week. What better way to close out a fun two weeks!
In fact, the timing of the arrival of this card couldn't have been better on a variety of levels:
1. This card is dedicated to my dad.
I have been planning to purchase a playing days Ted Williams card since when I first knew my dad was on his way out of this world back in May. No other card would do except for the 1956 Topps Ted Williams. Dad was the one who got my appreciation for the '56 set started when he brought home a brown grocery bag of 1950s cards -- the vast majority from the '56 set -- given to him by a work buddy when I was a young teen.
Williams was my dad's favorite player and the Red Sox his favorite team. It's still difficult to comprehend that Dad is no longer around, more difficult than realizing the same for my mom. It feels like I'm doing something productive in his memory by grabbing this '56 Williams.
2. It really kicks my '56 Topps completion mission into gear.
More and more I'm coming to terms with this being the time when I need to start landing some of the many high-priced superstars in the set. Outside of a handful already in the collection -- Snider, Banks, Koufax, Robinson -- I need so many. Landing the Williams makes me feel like I'm making real progress on the set, more than if I picked up some random common in the 300s.
Yes, those '56 superstars are pricey, hovering in the "should I be spending this much on cardboard" territory. But purchasing the Williams didn't hurt much. More than half of the cost was provided by a birthday check from my sister-in-law (so much more useful, it turns out than the usual Target gift card). A little more came from gas mileage reimbursement. I threw in the rest and -- voila! -- a '56 Williams.
3. It takes the edge off all of those photos from The National
Every year at this time I watch collectors head off to The National and display Twitter pictures of their riches or just the riches behind the dealers' tables. I want them to do that, so I can experience the event through the magic of the internet. But at the same time, I so desperately want to be there.
Sometimes, the want is so insistent that I find myself in Target or Walmart buying whatever cards are on the shelves. The brand new Williams in my possession makes those feelings go away. What on store shelves could possibly compare to a '56 Williams? And as for the National attendees showing off -- who cares? I HAVE A 1956 TED WILLIAMS!!
The continued beauty of this card will reduce the urge to buy retail probably for a good month. That, and I have a card room to furnish!
And so, I've crossed No. 5 from the set off my want list. Let's take a look at that card again.
I am quite pleased with the condition of this card.
The obvious wear kept the price down. However, it is the perfect kind of wear.
It is what I expect from mid-1950s cards, from 1956 Topps cards. Many of the cards I already own in the set look like this. The corners are rounded and there's a bit of edge wear. It looks like a 60-year-old card should look.
But there are no major signs of damage. No creases. No writing. No stains. No paper loss. No miscutting.
Sure that head shot is the same one used on one of his 1954 Topps cards and on his 1956 Topps card. But a Williams card has never been so pleasing than with the backdrop of him taking a mighty cut at the plate.
It's interesting that the area where Williams' signature is appears to have been whited out, perhaps to allow for the facsimile autograph to show?
That back leaves no doubt about Williams' prowess at the time. Plain and simple: He is one of baseball's all-time greats. Look at that career batting average. .348!
Yes, that is a serious card back.
The arrival of this card shows that I am serious, too:
-- Serious about keeping the memory of my dad alive.
-- Serious about completing the 1956 Topps set.
-- Serious about making my own card memories, without paying gas mileage and hotel fees when I can't afford it.
Welcome to the card collection, Mr. Williams.
Have you seen my new card room?