This is not a 1967 Topps high number. Nope, it's just Terry Francona's dad at card No. 443, creased four ways to Sunday by some demented kid on the playground 50 years ago.
And this is exactly the point. I haven't accumulated many '67 high numbers and even the '67s that aren't highs arrive in need of a shave, shower and place to sleep for the night.
I continue to say I'm attempting to complete the 1967 Topps set. But I still don't believe I'm doing it. It seems like a dead end. Unrealistic. Totally impractical. I know there are other card chases much more quixotic than trying to finish the '67 set, but I often ignore card chases that I know will be exceedingly difficult. Yet, I'm doing THIS.
Just the other day a very impressive collector reminded me of exactly how impossible this set chase is. He often displays on Twitter a "carpet o' cards" and his carpet the other day was the 1967 high number series, cards 534-609.
That is the picture. Here is the tweet and the glorious thread. Are you as awestruck as I was?
Tell me that isn't the most impossible task you've ever seen.
There are a whole bunch of challenging cards in this seventh series and they are very well-known.
The Tom Seaver and Rod Carew rookie cards are the most challenging, most expensive and, unlike other set pursuits where I'm not really sure what will be the last card I obtain, I'm almost positive my last card -- if I ever get there -- for the '67 set will be the Seaver rookie.
Those star cards, along with the Brooks Robinson on the bottom row, are outlined in blue. There are other difficult cards -- well, more difficult, they're all difficult -- if you care about condition, which are outlined in purple.
This makes things extra sticky for me because I just can't have my cards looking like the devil child in the neighborhood got ahold of it. I've always been like that. While other kids were tossing their cards casually against the wall in a bid to win cards from other kids, I was standing there appalled: "Why are you tossing your cards around????"
But I have made several concessions for set pursuits like this. First of all, card sets that are more than 50 years old need to be given a little slack. Perfect-looking cards from 70 years ago are pretty freakish. Nobody 70 years old looks mint. Cards that age probably shouldn't either.
Secondly, these are all cards from either before I was born or way before I knew what baseball was. I never saw the players play, in most cases, they don't mean a whole lot to me. I'm basically collecting the design and a bit of history, I can live with well-worn corners and a little creasing.
I damn well better, because I'm going to have to make many, many, many compromises if I want those high numbers. Because this is what I have so far:
Yeah, six cards.
I probably should have started this project when I was 21.
(I also own the Dodgers cards that are displayed here but they aren't leaving the Dodgers binders, so that's another obstacle I've positioned in front of me).
Collectors much more experienced and older than me -- at least I hope they're older -- have assured me that completing this set can be done. Just work on buying a high-numbered card every month until it's done, they say. That's reassuring. I can do that. One card a month? Sure. It's not like I'm blowing money at the card aisle anymore.
But we'll see how easy it is when I've finished off the first six series and am staring at 42 high-numbered cards to go.
That's a long way from now though. For now, I'm finding my '67 reassurance in the cards that periodically arrive in my mailbox. Most recently I completed another trade with Bo of Baseball Cards Come To Life! and my side of the deal was getting a few 1967 needs.
None of the cards were high numbers. But there were some nice ones in there, and most in good enough shape that I can cross them off the list forever.
Bo is not as bent out of shape with condition as I am, quite the opposite actually. He graciously made sure I received the better-conditioned cards of his dupes. I'm not a grading freak or anything but this is a big step for me. All of these cards are in acceptable condition for my quest with the exception of Bob Allen, who is just a bit too baked.
I'm very happy to get the Nuxhall (great windbreaker action!) and the Gardner, who grew up where I did.
I certainly will accept 53-year-old gum stains into my set. The Alston looks a bit worse in the scan than in person. And I suppose I have to accept crew cuts, too.
The Beauchamp card shows why I consider this set the best of the '60s, just nudging out 1965. The minimalist design opens up the background of '67 cards to all kinds of delightful scenes. And that's why it's an all-time top five set for me.
Cesar Tovar was glued into a scrapbook at one point. That's quite OK. I have high numbers to blow money on, I can't be worrying about the fanciness of card No. 317.
Corner creases? Yeah, sure.
Dave Giusti is another upstate New York native. The Dick Dietz card reminds me that Keith Hernandez made a Dietz reference during a Mets-Phillies game over the weekend. All I could think of is: Nobody knows what you're talking about, Keith. Even I am too young to know much about Dick Dietz.
But collecting cards from when I was a toddler or before I was born allows me to learn more about these guys. Since I'm not worried about them being super-pristine, I can turn the cards over at my leisure -- even drop them on the hardwood floor without freaking out -- and gain some knowledge.
Tony Cloninger's card will tell you that he hit two grand slams in a single game, which had just happened the previous year and is basically the only thing I know about Cloninger. But I turned over that card and discovered he won 24 games in 1965.
These are the two highest numbers of the lot, cards No. 500 and 510. Not actual high numbers but I'm sure happy to get them.
That is my second Marichal vintage card in two weeks! That's crazy!
I wish I could handle writing on cards and rips and folded cards like some bloggers can but that's just never going to be me.
It's partly why I still think this chase is so unrealistic. Me? Owning an absolutely annihilated Seaver rookie card just to say I have it? I'll believe it when I see it.
But that's gonna be what it will take.
So let's get this done. Come hell or high numbers.