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Kissing 1968 goodbye

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.


Night Owl,

I know that a lot of people badmouth this set, but if you can get past the burlap, it's quite a colorful set.

The colored name circles are the same as what is found in the 1969 set (except in '69, the player's name is in the circle), and this is the last set with 20 teams (and therefore, excludes many of the "major-league" players found in the 1969 set!

Plus, except for all the Astros and Athletics cards, there isn't much airbrushing. The 1969 set is a hatless/airbrushed zoo.

(I must agree that the 1st series borders are ugly, but the redesigned look isn't so bad.)

I thing this 1968 set is better looking than the '61, '62, and '64 sets. (The 1964 set is the worst 1960s' set in my opinion, with the excessively large white borders and the washed-out colors.)
Matt Runyon said…
This used to be my least favorite set from the 1960s until I got a good luck at the '69 set with all that airbrushing.

The Dodgers had some really lean years in the late 60s and early 70s.

I read the Roseboro autobiography when I was about 12 or 13. It was a good one.
Captain Canuck said…
I'm a half dozen cards from finishing my '68 Braves team set... Niekro, Torre, some dude named Henry....

congrats on completion!
Hackenbush said…
This was the first years' cards I collected as a kid that I still have a good quantity of so they have sentimental value for me. The "tighter weave" cards do look better.
Re: Rookies card

Imagine, only 2 years earlier, the Dodgers Rookies card featured Don Sutton and Bill Singer!

Re: Team card

Call the medics! Someone's bleeding "Dodger Blue" all over the place!
I'll have to add that Campanis to my ever expanding list of vintage cards with catchers in the position. It's a much better look than the fake pitching follow through. Congrats on finishing up the set.
Cardsplitter said…
Is it just me, or do most of the '60s sets kind of suck, visually, or bordererly, er, wise.
gcrl said…
well, that's one less person out there that needs a 68 alston. my odds of finding one just improved a bit.

Unknown said…
The infamous '68 burlap was the first set I ever collected, so I'm sort of sentimentally attached to it. Maybe that's why I still like them even though, objectively, I'd have to admit they're at best plain and at worst ugly. One thing about that beige background, though, the focus really goes to the photo, there is no garish color fighting for attention. Which is pretty weird given that psychedelia with eye-popping oranges and pinks were all the rage in graphic design.
First Last,

Topps didn't jump on the Peter Max bandwagon until 1972.