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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Card Show Top 20 - #14 V103 Tree

Back to the countdown. Number 14 is more a set than a card, but I got one picked out of the set for the 'official' top 20 card. This will be a critically important record 5000 years from now when historians debate the 2011 Freedom Cardboard Atlanta show.

This was the last thing I bought at the card show. Part of the reason I bought it was because I had one dollar left in my pocket and it would be cool to say I didn't leave the show with any money left in my pocket at all. It's not quite as cool now seeing how I have not had a single dollar in my pocket since the show, but it made sense at the time. I got this at the table with all the signed Bobby Cox lineup cards. I didn't have the cash for a  lineup card at this point (why didn't I hit the ATM before the show?? (oh yeah, because I had a mortgage payment due)) but there were cheapo memorabilia boxes there. There was a ten dollar box that had a couple of autographs of people I didn't recognize, some old programs and something I very nearly bought - an old Empire Strikes Back jumbo Topps set. These were the size of the 1980 Supers and were probably from the same year. I should probably be regretting passing on that more than I do, but they were shrink wrapped so I would be hesitant to open it and if I did open it it would be a bitch to store. I'll let you all regret it for me.

There was a five dollar box with more goodies. I bought something out of that box that I'll show off later. I did have a decision between getting that and a Dale Murphy autograph card. Some of you may ask... How could I pass up an autographed Dale Murphy card??!? Well, it wan't a baseball card, it was an ad for some kind of plasma TV. It was vaguely card shaped and signed I suppose. I'm happy with my choice. The dollar box had mostly junk but there were a couple of these sets in there and I ultimately was compelled to snag one:

This lovely artist's rendition of the best basketball analyst around is from a 1979 Coca-Cola/Majik Market/V103 Atlanta Hawks team set. Majik Market was a southern version of 7-11 back in the day. V-103 is Atlanta's biggest radio station and was playing Disco when this set came out. Everyone knows what Coke is. This set is almost identical to a Braves set released at the same time. That one was sponsored by Coke and WPLO, an AM country station.

My 1985 Sport Americana Football-Hockey-Basketball and Boxing Price guide (there weren't a heck of a lot of sets back then, not enough to warrant a separate price guide for hoops) states rather bluntly that "The set is considered quite homely and poorly produced by most collectors". Back then though, I looked upon the Braves set with wonderment as I had no concept of oddball regional issues. That set had Bob Horner's first card! I was also amazed when I learned there was a Hawks version of the set in the mid '80s through that same price guide. While the Braves sets were plentiful at local card shops, I never found any of the Hawks sets. Finding one in the dollar box was a nice nostalgic surprise.

As you can see, the set is fairly minimalistic. Name, artist's rendering, Coke and Hawks logo on the front. Name, position, bio, V-103 and Majik Market logo on the back. The card stock is very thin and glossy on the front. The set straddles a fine line between being elegant and being cheap. This set would look absolutely fantastic if you could get it autographed with a blue or red sharpie though. The set had 15 cards, a full 12-man roster from the 1979-80 Central division champion Hawks along with Hall-of-Fame head coach Hubie Brown and his two assistants. Here's the rest of the set:

Mike Fratello is a pretty big name from the Hawks in his own right. He won 324 games with the Hawks including a Central division championship in '86-87. Not so many playoff wins though. He's another coach turned TV analyst having success calling games.

Brendan Suhr was a longtime scout and assistant coach in the NBA, most recently with the Knicks. This card creeps me out a little bit, the eyes remind me a little of George on this other masterpiece of line art.

5'8" point guard Charlie Criss played parts of 7 season with the Hawks and would later be a color analyst on the local Hawk broadcasts. Man, there's a lot of broadcasters in this set.

Dan Roundfield was the Hawks' high scoring small forward in the early '80s. At least until 'Nique showed up. The Hawks then managed to fleece the Detroit Pistons out of Antione Carr and Cliff Levingston for old and busted Roundfield. You laugh, but that trade may have clinched that Central division championship! Seriously, that's all Hawks fans have to cling to. Don't take that away from us.

Tom's card was the sample card in the price guide for this set. Why? One reason: PORN 'STACHE. Look at that mustachioed smirk on that guy. That's the best 8 points per game mustache you will ever see.

All-Star Eddie! Fast Eddie Johnson from Auburn University! 18 points a game for the Hawks in '80. I don't want to talk about anything else that ever happened in this man's life. Just enjoy the happy smiling face on that card because it went all downhill from here.

One of the neat things about this set is that even the bench players get a card. Jimmy only played 31 games with the Hawks after being traded from Detroit for Ron Lee and scored about 5 points a game. Poor Ron didn't get a card.

Mr. Basketball in Kentucky, NCAA Champion and Final Four MVP with Kentucky in 1978, and the poor guy ends up on the Hawks bench. Jack also had a broadcasting career. Hmm... the Hawks were owned by Ted Turner, who also owned TBS and TNT... I think I've figured out the broadcasting angle here...

Yet another guard. How many guards are on this team? Armond is currently an assistant coach under his former teammate Doc Rivers in Boston.

John was the #10 overall pick for the Hawks in 1973 but I don't recall ever hearing of him before now. John was born in West Germany and this '79-80 season was his last in the league.

Steve tag teamed at center with Tree Rollins for several years. He was a little better scorer, Tree was much better on the boards. His nephew Spencer currently plays for the 76ers. I'll always remember Hawes as the guy getting schooled by Artis Gilmore on an old poster I had when I was a kid that I can't find online anywhere. Man, I wish I could find that poster.

No, not the current coach of the Hawks, that's Larry Drew. John Drew is the guy we traded to Utah to get Dominique Wilkins. John then missed half a season rehabbing from cocaine abuse. What else is there to do in Utah? John became the first player banned for life under NBA Dictator Commissioner David Stern's drug policy. That trade for Utah stunk. About as bad as the Hawks' trade for Danny Manning.

I could have sworn Sam Pellom was a coach or a broadcaster or a reality TV star or a celebrity chef or a United States Senator or something, but the only thing I can find about him online is that he played for the Washington Generals and he's the only player from the University of Buffalo to ever play in the NBA. That's pretty good, though.

And here's the key card to the whole set. Wayne Monte Rollins. Otherwise known as Tree. EVERYBODY in Atlanta knew about Tree. Even people who didn't know what a basketball was. The man's name was Tree, for Pete's sake. This card is from his third year in the league, where he scored a career high 8.9 points a game. He also had 9.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks a game that year. Now that's a real old-school center right there.I was in absolute awe of this guy when I was a kid. Seven feet tall! Yowzers! One time I asked my uncle if Tree might end up in the Hall of Fame one day. His response: "For what? Lowest points per game for a starter in NBA history?" BASKETBALL IS ALL NOT ABOUT OFFENSE. YA GOTTA PLAY DEFENSE. PUT TREE IN THE HALL.  But let's get Artis Gilmore in there first. Seriously, WTF Basketball Hall of Fame.


Johngy said...

Great Hawks stuff!

77ncaachamps said...

You're missing the Butch Lee, right?