Tuesday, May 21, 2013

C.A.: 1975 Topps Ted Sizemore

(Guess what? It's just about time again to elect someone to the Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame! One more Cardboard Appreciation after this one and we'll have enough candidates to vote for since the last time we did this. Aren't you excited? Feel like you're going to throw up? I feel ya. But hold that regurgitation. It's time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 184th in a series):

I have mentioned this topic several times on my blog before, but I don't think I've ever devoted a full post to it.

If you collected cards as a kid, you probably had your favorite players. They played for your favorite team or they were an all-star that you saw all the time on TV. These are perfectly rational reasons for naming a player your favorite.

But if you were like me, you probably also had favorites "just because." When you look back on those "just because" favorites now -- as a rational adult -- you can't think of one logical reason why you would choose that player as a favorite. It was a player that you liked for literally no reason.

I had lots of those players in my collection. Most of them reside in the 1975 Topps set, as that was the first set I ever collected. I would look in wonder at Dave Nelson, Alan Foster, Dick Ruthven and hold their cardboard dear. They were fierce favorites of mine.

Ted Sizemore was another one. Truly one of my most treasured cards from that first year. And there's no earthly reason why he should have been a favorite.

He wasn't a standout player. He didn't play for the Dodgers (although he used to and he later would again). His picture wasn't notable at all. In fact, he seems to be sneering at the camera and, by extension, sneering at me, a 9-year-old boy, who just wanted to collect his card. Who wants to collect a sneerer?

If I look deeply into my 9-year-old self, as best as I am able to so many years years later, I'm guessing I liked the card because of Sizemore's long hair and mustache that I thought was so cool at the time. And I probably liked the card because of the brown and orange borders, what I would call "root beer colors" at the time. And there's something about that photo background that has an almost dream-like quality. I know I would think that was cool back then.

So those are probably the reasons that I considered a player a favorite that I had no reason to consider a favorite.

But I can't be the only one can I? For those of you who collected as kids, who were some players that you liked that you can't explain why you liked them? They didn't become a significant part of your collection and they didn't play on your favorite team, but you treasured their card anyway.

To this day, I can look at that Sizemore card and the thrill of having that card in my collection that summer of 1975 comes rushing back.

It's obviously meant something to me all these years later no matter how little I've thought about Sizemore since.

After all, this is the very card I pulled from that pack of cards that summer in 1975.


  1. It's not quite the same thing, but since I was a kid I've had a strange fascination with former Pirate and Tiger Luke Walker. Part of it was because he was the first player I had three different cards of, part of it was weird kid stuff.

  2. I always liked the players that had the cool action card. Paul Lindblad, Chris Speier, Bobby (Ech!) Valentine, Fritz Peterson. They all had cards from '73 or '74 that I thought were really cool, so they must have been cool also.

  3. Yankee pitcher Art Ditmar and White Sox/Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison. I honestly can't explain either. But I still collect their cards to this day. I THINK I have all their regular issue Topps.
    I've done an Art Ditmar Week on my blog. Maybe it's time for Johnny Callison Week. How exciting!!

  4. I always looked forward to the first few years of San Diego Padres. It always seemed their uniforms changed each year or within a year. I liked their in action card from 72 and the in action regulars cards of 1973.
    Each one different. Kirby appears to be pitching at Candlestick, Fred Norman is pitching to an ocean of empty seats, Dave Robert is at Wrigley, and Pat Correles is in the most violent depiction of a play at the plate on a card ever made.

  5. As I was recently reminded by Nick at Dime Boxes, Manny Sanguillen was one of my random favorites, probably because of his big gap-toothed smile. I also developed a fascination for Larry Hisle because of his 1972 Topps card with the Dodgers (for whom he never played at the big-league level). Oh, and Rico Petrocelli, just because it was so fun to say his name. Probably a hundred others, too.

  6. I think it's interesting that the people who commented all grew up in a period when set collecting was the dominant means of collecting.

    I wonder if this is only a phenomenon of set collectors?

  7. This weekend I listened to XM 70s on 7 replay of American Top 40 of May 17, 1975, in fact I listened to it twice.
    Good memories of 1975 pack buying...was heavy on spending 25 cents for the cello packs!

  8. Two cards that I really remember were from the 1971 set. Dave La roche, and the game 5 world series card with Brooks Robinson. I liked the La roche card because I thought the Angels symbol on the cap was really cool, and the Brooks Robinson card looked like he was in the middle of the desert. I also really liked the Roberto Clemente in action card from 1972. He just seemed so awsome with the look he had on the card, his utter disgust that he did not swing at the last pitch.

  9. Steve Foucault was a favorite of me and my friends, mostly because he always looked so bad-ass on his cards. He is the pitching coach for the Long Island Ducks now, a team I expect to see in a couple of weeks. I plan on seeking him out, getting him to sign a couple of those old cards and shaking his hand. My 10-year old self is giddy with anticipation.