I think I've done a decent enough job conveying how important my childhood is in my hobby of collecting baseball cards.
It's why I am collecting today. If I didn't collect cards as a kid, there's a good chance I wouldn't be collecting now. There is no bigger thrill for me in this hobby than finding a card that connects me to the joyful moments I had as a kid when I pulled or looked at or played with that card.
The vast majority of those childhood memories are contained in 1975. The years 1974-77 are prime territory for childhood card memories, too, but 1975 ... well, 1975 I could dedicate an entire blog to all of the card memories created that year. In fact, I did.
I had it pretty good as a 9-year-old boy. Topps produced one of its most colorful and memorable sets of all-time during my first year of collecting. It's no wonder I'm still collecting now.
Also that year, Topps decided to produce a parallel set to its main set and market it in select part of the country. Again, I had it pretty good. One of those areas was my little corner of Upstate New York (even though the official book on this is that they were only marketed in parts of Michigan and California).
If I think about it really hard, I think the minis were only available at the corner market across the street from my elementary school. I know I didn't find them anywhere else. But in a case of fortune upon fortune, not only did these minis land in my lap but I fell in love with them immediately.
During card trades at recess that spring, I traded regular-size cards for mini cards. How could you not love the mini versions? They were so mini! I sought out those cards wherever I could.
That year I was able to accumulate maybe 70-80 mini cards from the '75 set. And that's the amount I had for years afterward.
I never planned to complete the '75 mini set. The regular-sized set was enough for me. And given what I heard about how unavailable the minis were, I figured that was a lost cause. Also, and this is how limited my view of the hobby was before I had a blog, I figured EVERYONE was chasing these minis.
I thought that these were the most desirable cards for just about any collector. I grew up loving '70s cards, I figured everyone else did, too. And such a colorful, mini set? Why that was at the top of every last collector's want list, right?
It turns out that's not the case. Lots of collectors can't be bothered with vintage sets or minis. Some like cards that are even older. Some collect only cards with scribbles or pieces of material attached to them. Walking around in a world where collecting interests are so wide and varied made me realize that maybe trying to collect the '75 mini set wasn't so impossible.
So, ever since I announced that I was collecting the '75 minis set, I became the '75 mini guy, which still amuses me because I still react to it like someone's saying, "Oh, that's the guy who loves money" or "that's the guy who loves pizza." DOESN'T EVERYBODY?????????
The '75 Topps mini set, to me, is the pinnacle of the collecting experience. It is my favorite set and it's from my childhood. It's a niche set. And somewhat difficult to complete.
And guess what?
I've completed it.
You thought I'd never get to that.
I had three cards left to finish the set. I didn't get them the way I thought I would. I wanted to find them myself. But money has been terribly tight this fall and even though I set an objective for grabbing them before the end of the year, I realized that wasn't going to happen. So I tempered my expectations (I'm really good at that) and decided I'd just grab them sometime early next year.
I figured I could look at these three unfinished pages for another couple of months. Hell, I'd been working on this set for 40 years:
This is where Zippy Zappy comes in.
He either didn't read or didn't pay any mind to the post I wrote in which I said I wanted to get the final three cards myself. Because this is what arrived in an envelope one week ago today:
Those are the last three cards that I needed to finish the set.
So, if I've had those cards for a week, why didn't this post show up earlier? How did I restrain myself?
Well, if you're a set-builder, you know the deal. Just because you think you've completed a set, it means nothing until you page all the cards and go through them. I may have completed a lot of sets, but double that and that's how many sets I thought I've completed.
It took me a week to go through the entire set and I can finally say that:
I HAVE COMPLETED THE 1975 TOPPS MINI SET -- COMMENCE RUNNING AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE UNTIL THE NEIGHBORS REPORT ME TO THE CRAZY COOP!!!!!!!
OK, I'm very winded now, but there's one more thing I have to do.
Just give me a minute here ...
Almost done ...
All right, I'm ready ...
That is glorious.
This has been a pretty successful year. In the same year I got UltraPro to return the '75 mini-style pages to the market place I completed the most important set in my collecting experience.
I could retire from collecting right now.
But I won't.
I'll probably upgrade a small handful of the minis -- I'd like all of the checklists without checks and one is checked and a couple cards are a little too miscut for my taste -- but I'm pretty much done with this set.
After that, I'll have to find another set from the '70s to complete -- Kellogg's or Hostess or SSPC or '73 Topps or something.
Because even though there are still cool sets with cool cards that I have my eyes on -- 1956 Topps and stuff from the '60s and even some current-day things, there is nothing like collecting with the zeal of a 9-year-old boy.
Thanks all for contributing to this set.
I won't retire.
But I think I have to lie down now.