I received a card in the mail a couple of days ago that is so good that it automatically appears in this countdown. In fact, it's so good that it automatically belongs in the Top 30 cards yet to be counted down.
Will we see that card here in this post?
That will be revealed by the end of the post.
Time for cards 30 through 21. By the way, the ranking is getting quite difficult at this point.
So let's go before I change my mind again:
30. Don Drysdale, 1961 Topps
For my money, the single greatest Drysdale card ever made. Oh, sure, the card could be better -- if Topps had the forethought and the ability and the guts at the time to take a photo of Drysdale glowering on the mound as a batter lay sprawled at home plate half scared out of his wits after being knocked flat. THAT would be better.
But we don't have that. What we do have is Drysdale giving someone a "oh, yeah? Well, you're next" look. And that sums up Big D on the ballfield pretty well.
29. Sandy Koufax, 1966 Topps
Talk about contrasting '60s aces. Drysdale is fierce and glaring and now Koufax is sedate and, well ... sad. I've always thought this was a fitting finale for Koufax. It's the last real card of his career. (There is the league leader thing in '67). All of us Dodger fans were just as sad as Sandy looked in 1966 when we learned that this was his final season. And by "we" I mean my 1-year-old self.
28. Hitters Foes, 1959 Topps
These combo cards from this period are tremendous fun. If you never get nostalgic for baseball gone by, try looking at this card. You might experience nostalgia for the first time. It's too bad that Koufax wasn't in this trio, but few knew what to make of Koufax at this time. So he wasn't getting on any combo card.
27. Steve Garvey, 1975 Topps mini
I don't think I can find the words to express how much this card meant to me in 1975.
Not the card you see here.
THIS card ...
That's the '75 mini that I pulled from a cello pack in '75. If I remember correctly, the Garvey card was on TOP. Now, who wouldn't pick up that pack?
Garvey in 1975 had just completed his breakthrough season. A write-in at first base in the All-Star Game, he won MVP honors, took MVP honors for the season, had a hell of a postseason, and, look out, he was IT.
And this was the mini version!
26. Steve Garvey, 1971 Topps
Garvey's rookie card didn't mean much to people who collected in 1971. But it was pretty cool landing the card a few years later, as I did. I have two versions of this card, one in my '71 binder and one in my Dodger binder. The scuffed-up version is in the Dodger binder. I don't know what that says.
25. Ron Cey, 1974 Topps
I've written about this card several times. Here's a post totally dedicated to it. The card solidified my standing as a Ron Cey fan for life. I've received conflicting information about whether this card or the '74 Garvey card is the one that got ripped up in the movie "Mask." I've never seen "Mask," and I don't plan to as I have a thing about paying money to watch Cher. But if anybody knows, please yell it out.
24. Duke Snider, 1956 Topps
If I pay more for a baseball card than I ever had in my life it damn well better be on the countdown.
And it is. What a relief!
23. Johnny Podres, 1957 Topps
I absolutely love cards with photos of Ebbets Field. This might be the 100 percent best. Look at that fantastic Schaefer scoreboard.
Oh, yeah, and there's Johnny Podres!
22. Sandy Koufax, 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces
The best Masterpieces card that was ever made. Some may have an issue with this card being ranked so highly above all that vintage -- especially above a Koufax vintage card. But this captures Koufax at his finest. It's absolute art.
21. Tom Lasorda, 1992 Topps
You were waiting for it -- and here it is. This card is great for many reasons: Lasorda at the peak of his Slimfast Days, the collection of Carter, Gross, Candelaria, Hershiser and Ojeda, the fact they're all jogging, or at least pretending to. But most of all, it's here because it's fun. Lasorda may have his faults, but he's definitely fun. Topps couldn't have done better.
That's good stuff.
And, guess what?
The card I mentioned at the start of the post?
Haven't shown it yet.
Shuckens, I guess you'll have to stay tuned!