Skip to main content

'56 of the month: Harmon Killebrew

 
I pulled the trigger on this Harmon Killebrew second-year card a few weeks ago.

Not only is it a significant card because it's Killebrew, but it's notable because this is the card that gets me down to needing 10 more cards to complete the 1956 Topps set.

That's amazing to me. If you went back and found night owl when he was just starting this blog in 2008 and told him I'd be this close to finishing the set, you'd get a lecture on spewing nonsense.

But it isn't nonsense. Here is what's left that is not in my collection:

20 - Al Kaline
33 - Roberto Clemente
113 - Phil Rizzuto
121 - Pirates team card
130 - Willie Mays
135 - Mickey Mantle
194 - Monte Irvin
288 - Bob Cerv
292 - Luis Aparicio
324 - Rocky Bridges

OK, OK, I'm not as close as I seemed when you first started reading this. The Mays, Mantle and Clemente cards will take me a long time to retrieve and have probably gotten a lot harder to own now that a whole bunch of people have discovered baseball cards for the first time over the last six months.

But I will not be dissuaded. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and as this blog has taught me time and time again, you're closer to your card goals than you think.

I also still need the two unnumbered checklists that come with this set. But I don't necessarily consider those must-haves and I'll probably end up finding some beat-to-death version of those checklists just to have them.


I love cards of superstar players when they were young, especially when all I ever knew of them was some old guy close to retirement.

That's what Killebrew was to me when I started collecting cards. I saw his 1975 Topps card the first year I collected and, man, he looked ancient to me.

So, seeing a card of a very young looking Killebrew does not compute. Neither do the stats on the back. What the heck? A career .215 batting average?

I also love the tone of the cartoons in which Topps seems to be desperate to convince the collector that, really, Killebrew is going to be a keeper some day. He can hit AND field! I guess they had to trust Topps. It's not like Killebrew's scouting reports were online for everyone to see.

Every '56 card I receive is a gift, even if I had to spend a fair amount to get it. The person who sent this to me included a hand-written thanks, mentioning me by name. And all I wanted to say is, "no, thank you, for providing me with this strange, weird, youthful Killebrew with a clearly made-up lifetime batting average.

Plenty of people probably saw this card and his stats and didn't believe that Killebrew would amount to anything. And there might be a person or two out there right now who believes I'll never land the Mantle or Clemente.

But the Killer and I will show them.

Comments

jacobmrley said…
Who does Bob Cerv think he is, wandering onto a list like that? At least Rocky Bridges has an awesome name like Rocky Bridges.
Chris said…
Fantastic Killebrew! And I am very impressed that you're 10 cards away from completing this incredible set. Interestingly, the Rizzuto card was the very first '56 I received - long before I had ever thought completing the whole set was possible (I'm still not sure that it is; I've got about 160 cards to go lol.)
Old Cards said…
Another nice looking 56. Only 10 more? Not bad! Killebrew was in his prime when I started following baseball. One of my favorite players. I am trying to run down a 64 Clemente at a somewhat reasonable price, but like you said, too many people collecting now.
That's awesome! I do hope you are able to obtain the ten cards you need. You are a lot closer to completing that set than me because I need like...all of them.
Fuji said…
Wow. That is really cool. I'm pretty confident that you'll eventually land the final 10 and when you do... it's gonna bring a lot of us joy.
bbcardz said…
So you're like maybe $400 dollars away from completing this set (depending on condition)? $400 is nothing to sneeze at but it's a lot better than $4000, lol. Like everyone else here, I'm pulling for you to complete this set.
kcjays said…
Fabulous card!
Killebrew’s final year playing, 1975, was with the Royals. I had the opportunity in 2003? to get his autograph and chat with him about playing for the Royals. He told me he actually signed a 2 year deal with the Royals because he thought they were on the cusp of becoming a great team. According to Mr. Killebrew the artificial turf was too hard on his knees so he retired after the 75 season instead of playing another year. I would have loved to have been able to get a Topps card of him in a Royals uniform.
What a nice gentleman!
Jon said…
If they're not needed for paying bills or any other essential items, it seems like some of those Beckett checks could cover a few cards off of that want list (assuming that they're giving you more than a pat on the back to write for them).
night owl said…
Yup, most of the Beckett earnings go to savings, but the rest goes to cards and I've used them to purchase '56s in the recent past.
Mark Hoyle said…
Great card Greg. Pulling for you on the remaining 10
Bo said…
Holy cow! Al the street vendor had a graded '56 Rizzuto. Don't know if he still does.

Popular posts from this blog

G.O.A.T, the '80s: 30-21

  I often call this current period of the television sports calendar the black hole of sports programming. The time between the end of the Super Bowl and the beginning of televised Spring Training baseball games is an empty void when I'm looking for something to watch on traditional television. I don't watch the NBA and the NHL on TV holds my interest for maybe a period. College basketball I can't watch until the tournament. This didn't used to be as much of a problem back when I could turn instead to my favorite sitcoms in February. Do you remember when February was "sweeps month"? (Maybe it still is, I don't know). Networks would make sure that every top show aired original episodes that month, no reruns. So you'd always have something to view during the week even when the sports scene was boring. (I know, people have multiple streaming viewing options now. But I find myself going weeks sometimes before I see something I want to view on Netflix or Am

The return of COMC and a ridiculous collecting quest

  For the first time in exactly a year, I received a shipment of cards from COMC last week. I wouldn't say COMC is truly back back. I did pay extra for the express shipping so I wouldn't have to wait however long we're waiting for COMC shipments these days. But the cards arrived in short fashion and it was nice to see something in the mailbox from my preferred online card site for over a decade until last year. I had waited a year to order what was in my cart. I didn't want to be one of those people who paid and then waited nine months for shipment. I mean, what if I ordered them and COMC went under? Those were the kind of questions that were floating in my head last year.   That meant that I did lose a couple of items out of my cart, but no big deal. Nothing in there was anything highly sought-after and I merely replaced whatever I lost with a new version or something else I liked. Many of my collecting interests are not high on anyone's radar, especially 2020 fli

Say hey, you guys

  One of the most significant cards in my collecting history arrived at my door today. The 1956 Topps Willie Mays card ties my formative collecting days to my current collecting existence, confirms what I believe in in this hobby, and realizes dreams from long ago I never thought possible. It also sets a couple of personal records. It is the most I've ever spent on a single card. Yet it didn't hurt my wallet nor cause any regret. In terms of a cardboard acquisition it is about as perfect as it gets. No guilt. All power and beauty. It removes a considerable road block in my quest to complete the 1956 Topps set. It was one of the Big Three that I fretted over for years. "How would I ever obtain that card?" And now it's here. I don't have to remind you that baseball legends from the 1950s (and '60s and '70s) are departing at a rapid pace. That wasn't a top consideration in landing this card. But with Willie's age (he will be 90 in May) and the way