The 1968 Topps set is one of my least favorite vintage sets. Of the 1960s Topps offerings, only the 1961 set ranks lower for me.
I've said before that I'm not crazy about the borders, although it did make things easy on the first Define the Design when it was decided we would call this the "burlap set." Burlap won out over "couch cushion," "TV console," and my personal nominee, "grandma's kitchen wallpaper."
It's not a set that I intend to collect. Ever. But as a Dodger fan and team collector, I am required to complete every team set that I can. For the 1968 set, I've been stuck on finding the last two Dodgers for quite awhile.
I recently decided to do something about that and ordered one of the two missing cards, Walter Alston, online. Even though the photo is on the '68 design, it's one of my favorite Alston cards.
That card arrived today, along with some other goodies I'll show later.
It also arrived on the same day as another package. This package was from Mark of Stats on the Back, who is probably the best want-list searcher that I know.
I'll show the goodies he sent later, as well. But here is a sneak peek at one of the cards:
Yes, it's Wes Parker. The other '68 Dodger that I needed.
So, after waiting months and months with the boxes next to those two high-numbered cards sitting unchecked, I obtained both cards on the SAME DAY. The Dodger team set for 1968 is officially complete.
And that means I can be done with the 1968 set. Forever. I don't like predicting the future, but I think it's safe to say I don't have a reason to pick up a card from this set anymore. As cool as some of the players in this set are, I'm not a Hall of Fame collector. So, I'm done. Na-na-na-na. Na-na-na-na. Hey-Hey. Goodbye.
But first, I must show the complete Dodger set here. For posterity.
Hank Aguirre. He's wearing a Tiger uniform. But Topps says he's a Dodger. And he was, for 25 games in 1968.
Bob Bailey. Another player who was with the Dodgers only briefly. He had back-to-back seasons of hitting .227.
The late, great Jim Brewer. I sure hope that thing sticking out on the right side of the frame is a camera. Yikes.
Jim Campanis. The son of the first general manager I ever knew, former Dodgers GM Al Campanis.
The late, great Willie Crawford. The former Los Angeles high school star was still looking to translate that reputation into an MLB All-Star career. It never happened.
The late, great Willie Davis. The Dodgers had just traded Maury Wills, and Tommy Davis was gone, so Willie was the guy in '68 who made the team go.
The late, great Don Drysdale. Gearing up for his scoreless innings streak in 1968.
Ron Fairly. A four-decade player. This is one of my favorite cards in the team set.
Al Ferrara. The first Dodger that I obtained from this set. In fact, it was the oldest card that I had for a period in my early teenage years.
Len Gabrielson. The Dodgers' heavy hitter in the late 1960s. He would lead the team in homers in 1969 with 19. Somewhere, Sammy Sosa is laughing.
Jim "Mudcat" Grant. He is not wearing a Dodger uniform either. How I wish he had a Dodger cap on, but it was not to be. The following year he was no longer a Dodger.
Ron Hunt. You'll notice that some cards have a different burlap "texture" than others. That's because the first-series featured this look, while the following series featured the brown "dots" closer together.
Jim Lefebvre. The rookie of the year in 1965. I'm not sure what that flag is in the background.
Nate Oliver. Look at him choking up on that bat. This is the second 1968 Dodger I ever obtained.
Claude Osteen. He was the team's top winner in 1967, but fell off greatly in 1968. Fortunately, he'd win 20 games the year after that.
Paul Popovich. He's wearing a Cubs uniform. The following year he was listed as a Dodger, too. But he was still in a Cubs uniform.
John Purdin. The guy shares my birthday. What more needs to be said?
Phil Regan. The guy looks like a dad more than "The Vulture."
Rookie Stars. A future member of "The Big Red Machine," and a guy who began and ended his career with the Dodgers. In between he played for the Expos.
The late, great John Roseboro. An overlooked part of those great mid-1960s Dodger teams. His autobiography was one that left a big impression on me as a teenager.
Bill Singer. Everyone has to mentioned the hole in the shirt, but he was a hell of a pitcher.
Don Sutton. Mr. Black and Decker looks so odd to me with his short haircut. Where's the 'do, Don?
Jeff Torborg. Like Sutton, a future broadcaster. Also a manager for several teams. Known as a player for catching a bunch of no-hitters.
The late, great Zoilo Versalles. The 1965 MVP didn't have an MVP year in his one season with L.A.
Presenting your 1968 Dodgers, awash in blue, apparently sitting in the ocean. L.A. would finish eighth that year. Eesh.
Well, after that, I don't think the set is all that bad. In fact, I could upgrade a couple of the cards.
But THEN I'm done.