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Monday, April 21, 2008

Card Of the Week 4/21/08

When I was buying old cards back in the 80's I didn't have a ton of money so I couldn't really get all the cool Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron and Willie Mays cards in the case. Heck I couldn't even get commons a lot of the time. I really liked the 1963 Topps set so I scrounged through their common box to pick up some cards but after card 132 the price bumped up from 25 cents to 45 cents per card. As a result, my series two collection is a bit weak today. They best thing for a broke kid back in those times was to pick up the oddball inserts Topps stuck in the packs. The Aarons and Clementes and such were still expensive, but you could find most of the others for cheep and have a cool looking weirdo card that no one else had.

1n 1970, Topps increased the price of packs, so they went on an insert binge to try to provide a little extra to justify the extra cost. Two of the things they tried were little comic books and a scratch off game card. They also made other attempts at posters but this time they went all out. The 1970 Topps posters are BIG. I mean really big for something that was put into a pack of baseball cards. 8 11/16 by 9 5/8 inches big. Too big to fit on my scanner in one pass big as you can see. These suckers had to be folded twice length ways and then three more times to get it small enough to fit in a pack. You know what happens to paper when you start folding it over and over? Right it gets thicker and harder to fold. So in order to keep them from getting too bulky they are printed on this insanely thin paper that's like rice paper thin. As a result all the posters are creased to death, about to rip to shreds and since they are too big to fit in any standard display are usually folded up. It never ceases to amaze me that a certain set of hard core collectors will stick their nose up at a vintage poster insert because it's creased. Of course it is you dummy! That's how it came in the pack! I actually have the Phil Niekro poster, but I'm too scared to pull it out of the oversized top loader for fear it will rip so you get Boston slugger Reggie Smith instead.

Reggie was a perennial all star for Boston, St. Louis and the Dodgers. Reggie is woefully underrated, having been overshadowed by superstars on his own team like Yaz and Garvey and that other Reggie that was hitting homers during the 70's. His stats look pedestrian nowadays, he only hit 100 RBIs once in his career and he only hit as many as thirty homers twice. But he did all this in the 70's when it was a hell of a lot harder to hit gaudy numbers than it is today with juiced balls, juiced players and beer-league softball sized parks. Still don't believe me? Look at his career adjusted OPS+ number. He's #89 all time and is ahead of such current starts such as Derek Jeter, Mark Teixiera, Adam Dunn and Magglio Ordonez who are all still in their prime. His offensive numbers were bolstered by his gold glove defense and an amazing arm. He was also a bit of a character too. He got in a fight with teammate Steve Garvey over who was the real MVP of the team and went after a fan in San Francisco after the guy threw a batting helmet at him. Reggie finished his career in Japan where he clashed with the rigid style of coaching and prejudice he found for foreign players. After getting a lot of grief over his style of play he still led the Yomiuri Giants to a pennant.

Sometimes it's good to be cheap. You find some neat oddball stuff and some underrated players that way.

1 comment:

Fleerfan said...

Great oddball set. I've found the best way to store these are magazine bags that you can get online or from a comic store. You have to be careful putting them it, but they will barely fit (at least for the size bag I put them in). That way you can see the poster unfolded, but still protect that tissue thin paper.