I recently received a large donation and some Want List fills via trade from my friend Bruce – who I’ve known (mostly online) since my days on the NCIpreps message board – which seems like forever these days!
Bruce is putting together complete sets of Topps cards from 1974 and back, and I had some cards to contribute to his set. Most of which set a record for the shortest length of time in my collection, which were those I had acquired from my friend Spencer about a month ago.
I set aside 25 commons from 1974 Topps, 6 commons from 1973 Topps, 2 commons from 1971 Topps, and 2 commons from the 1974 Topps Traded set. I also plucked a few more minor star cards from my collection – 1973 Dave Kingman; 1971 Gene Mauch, Paul Blair, Claude Osteen, Tony Cloninger, Willie Horton; 1970 Felipe Alou, and 1969 Mike McCormick. A total of 43 cards.
I didn’t quite know what I was going to get in exchange for them. Bruce parted with a box of late 1990s and early 2000s cards, as well as a complete set of 1986 Topps and a near-complete set of 1983 Topps (sans 2nd-year Ripken, and rookies of Sandberg, Gwynn, and Boggs – which I completely understand; along with Jim Eisenrich).
Well, I SORT OF got a Ryne Sandberg rookie card …
Beckett magazine once had an article (yes, the magazine had articles) about common cards with star players in the background of them. The topic was about how their unintentional inclusion on the common baseball card COULD raise the value of the card. Only on a rare instance does this happen. The above 1983 Reggie Smith shows a young Ryno returning to first base on a pickoff attempt.
Smith is classified as a minor star in the 1983 Topps set, which would usually make his card $0.30 with the others. However, because a rookie Ryno is pictured on this card, it is listed at the “unlisted star” price of $1.25.
This is also Smith’s last original-run card, and it also filled a void on my Want List.
So did these 1983 cards …
The thrill of 1983 Topps is that it has a mix of young-pup future hall of famers, and past-their-prime veteran stars.
Pictured in this stack is: (Top row, from left) Gary Mathews, Doyle Alexander, Carney Lansford, Dave Lopes, Sparky Lyle, Joe Morgan, Vida Blue, Jay johnstone; and (bottom row) Rick Sutcliffe, Lee May, Mark Belanger, Tom “Wimpy” Paciorek, Randy Jones, Jerry Koosman, and Richie Zisk.
Bottom row (1983): Eric Show (who gave up Pete Rose’s record-breaking hit and had a tragic downturn in his life after that), Willie McGee, Dave Dravecky, Gary Gaetti, and Frank Viola.
Top row (1986): Harold Reynolds, Mickey Tettleton, Cecil Fielder, Vince Coleman, Ozzie Guillen, Len Dykstra.
Also included was a 1986 Darren Daulton rookie card. Since I already have a Daulton rookie, that and the rest of the 1986 and 1983 cards went into the Give-and-Trade Collection for the kids.
Sometimes I’ll find some cards that weren’t on my Want List that I go, “I think I’ll keep this.” Joe Rudi, who was back with the Athletics in 1982 [and a World Series star for them in the 70s]; and Lee Elia, famous in Chicago for his recorded tantrum caught on tape by Les Grobstein.
The 1983 Topps set had a subset featuring veterans in a “Then-and-now” setup. This one of Jim Kaat is particularly unique. Kaat was the final original Washington Senator to play in baseball, as well as the final player from the 1950s. (I’m still looking for a Washington Senators Toby Harrah, the final SENATOR to play in baseball).
Aforementioned with my Eric Show rookie card, Pete Rose broke the hits record and was featured in the 1986 Topps set with a retrospective of his former Topps cards. In 1986 and 1987, Rose was featured on Topps cards separately as a player and a manager. His manager cards are, like subset cards, half the value of the base card.
Bruce had some newer cards to part with, and pictured above are a few of the highlights from that stack.
The Tony Gwynn on the bottom row intrigued me. This is a 2000 Upper Deck. It is pictured next to a 2000 Upper Deck Greg Maddux. The Maddux is a base card; the Gwynn looked to me like a subset card, but it is not. It is an alternate base card set Upper Deck released called “gold reserve.” They aren’t your usual premium “gold” cards, where they are about 20-times the base card price; but rather this Gwynn is about $1.50.
Plucked four more cards to cross off my Want List: Vinny Castilla, Dante Bichette, Reggie Sanders, Ron Gant.
Did I mention there are some cards that I go, “I think I’ll keep this.” I do collect Frank Thomas specifically. The triple card is interesting because they are second-generation rookies that are “juniors.”
I actually have these two 1995 Upper Deck minor league cards of Jason Isringhausen and Mark Grudzeilanek. They were on top of each other as I was going through them.
I got to fine-tune my Harry Caray impression staring at these two cards, and attempted to say their names backwards.
Thank you, Bruce, for the cards!!