Not even three weeks after receiving the Oct/Nov edition of Beckett Vintage Collector with my story on the 1973 Topps set, the Dec/Jan edition arrived with another one of my stories.
This was due to whatever delay postponed the arrival of the Oct/Nov issue with Rickey Henderson on the cover (which is now available at a grocery store in town here). But it was still head-spinning to get one magazine issue with my story almost immediately after the other one.
The latest edition, with Brooks Robinson on the cover, should be on magazine racks by the end of the month. Mention of my article is at the top of the cover, where it says "That's a Unique Card."
That's the start of the article. It's the second story in the edition, after the Brooksie cover story.
My mission for this story was to write about "unique" cards within a set, meaning they were issued as part of a set, with a card number on the back, but were unlike any other card in that set.
My inspiration for the story was the 1976 Topps Kurt Bevacqua Bubble Gum Blowing Contest card, which blew my mind when I saw it that year. It was crazy, nothing like anything else in the set, and there was only one of them.
So, I looked for a few more examples. It's a pretty broad topic, you can almost set the parameters yourself. But I wanted to limit it to a manageable total, so I could go a little in-depth on each card and why it was unique.
I chose seven total. You can see one of them is the 1959 Topps Roy Campanella Symbol Of Courage card. I'll leave the others a secret for readers, but I did write about the Bubble Gum Blowing Contest card, too, that was the highlight of the article for me.
This is the 18th article I've written for Beckett Vintage Collector or the main Beckett baseball magazine. Like I've said before, I feel like I'm running out of ideas, but somehow I find another one (right now I have one solitary idea that I plan to pitch. They better like it).
So, for the little spin-off on the blog that I like to do after my latest article, I thought about writing about some "one-off" cards that I didn't mention in the article, for example, the 1975 Topps Herb Washington card (it's Washington's 72nd birthday today). But I'm a little tired of that topic now, so I went in a more personal direction.
What are the unique cards in my collection?
By that I mean, what baseball cards do I have that are part of a set -- even if it's a set of one -- that are the only one I have from the set? This is interesting to me, because as a set-collector, my usual goal is to finish sets -- if I've got one card from the set, well let's see what else I can find. Plus, there aren't a lot of one-card packs available on store shelves.
I went to TCDB for this, and that made things so much easier than just hunting through my collection independently, which is what I did before I discovered TCDB.
I made it through the 1980s and found around 50 "one-and-only" cards in my collection. I wanted to go all the way to the present, but I was running out of light for pictures, that overproduction era really dragged things out. So maybe I'll tackle the most recent 30-plus years in another post, because I'm kind of interested in seeing what I have.
I'm not going to show all 50, but I'll go through a few, many of which have starred on the blog before. Here we go.
Joe Stripp, 1934 Goudey
I know I should have more Brooklyn Dodgers from the Goudey era, but as I've said many times, I'm just too interested in the last 70 years to go back farther too often. But, yeah, someday I'll get going on this.
Pete Reiser, 1948 Swell Sport Thrills
The 1940s didn't have the most attractive cards, but it's very cool to own a card of Pete Reiser from during his playing career, even long after his glory days. There are just 20 cards in this set and SIX are Dodgers.
Preacher Roe, 1952 Wheaties
There are four Dodger cards in this multi-sport set but only two players. Roe and Roy Campanella each have two cards. I like these cards a lot but the cost and the fact that I just don't know a lot of non-baseball athletes from that time means this might be the One and Only for good.
Johnny Podres, 1958 Hires Root Beer
Wonderful set, would love to have more, don't see it happening.
Sandy Koufax, 1963 Topps Peel-Offs
Sure, I'd take the other Dodgers from this set, and it'd be cool to have some of those '60s superstars in peel-off form, but this kind of oddball won't ever be a priority for me.
Love these. Completely cost-prohibitive. Koufax and two Dodger short-prints are still out there.
Al Gionfriddo, 1947 World Series, 1967 Laughlin World Series
The initial version from '67 of the Laughlin World Series sets are scarcer than the other ones, so as much as I'd love to collect them, I think I'll continue to admire just this one, which I've admired so much already.
Claude Osteen, 1968 Topps Game
Claude Osteen is the only Dodger in this set. I know a lot of blogger types have completed this set, it's pretty easy for a vintage set and it's full of stars, but I've never taken to it. Maybe one day when I get sick of chasing some vintage toughie high-number, I'll collect this.
Burleigh Grimes, 1977 Tom Daniels Burleigh Grimes
This card is from a 10-card set on just Burleigh Grimes, which is amazing. Not all of the cards from this set show Grimes with the Dodgers, but it'd be pretty nifty to finish.
Fran Healy, 1977 Topps Burger King
Even with my feelings for the Yankees, I've wanted this set like I've wanted all late 1970s Burger King sets. Finishing this one is tough, because of the Lou Piniella short-print and the Reggie will cost you a little, too. But, gracious, I should at least have grabbed several of the other cards in the set by now!
George Brett, 1982 Spot-Bilt
If you own this card and ever want to feel good about yourself, just go to your TCDB account and look up your list of completed sets. The 1982 Spot-Bilt set will show up as completed because it's a set of one card! Awesome.
Ron Cey, 1983 Thorn Apple Valley Cubs
Ron Cey is the lone card I own in several sets, at least five and probably more. In most of them, he's a Dodger but I wanted to mix it up a little bit -- even though he never played for the Cubs. This card is clearly a fake.
Tom House, 1984 Cramer Las Vegas Stars
Once you get into the 1980s, most of the one-and-onlys in my collection are from either food issues or minor league sets. I have no interest in completing a Padres minor league set, but this card is sweet.
Orel Hershiser, 1988 Out Of The Blue Orel Hershiser
Another true One-and-Only. This was a promo card for Hershiser's book, "Out Of The Blue," which I have and read long ago. Like many Hershiser cards from the late 1980s/early 1990s, it makes me smile every time I see it.
OK, I think that's enough writing. But here are a few other cards in my collection for which I have just one from the set. I've snapped pictures of them already, might as well show them without words: