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.