Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rivals to Allies

   Like many collectors, eBay has become the lifeblood for a collector.   It can offer you almost anything for your collecting needs.  It has become an economic benchmark for hobbyists.  Beckett may say a particular card is worth something, but eBay reflects the actual peaks and valleys that we as collectors now dictate.  The online auction site has opened up avenues to find some of the most random and obscure cards that one would be hard pressed to locate within 100 miles of LCSs and Card shows.  Certainly, this is akin to the treasures found by Ali Baba!! (Even moreso if your password to log into eBay is "Open_Sesame!")  However, we are not alone in this auction realm and we have all experienced having the proverbial rug, or card, pulled out from our grasp with mere seconds on the clock or had our hopes of getting a certain gem for short money only to get into the dread "bidding war."  I am not a "curse guy,"  I just tend not to swear.  My "F word" tends to be "Friggin."  I will admit that I have hollered the non-edited by Walmart word around quite a bit when I lost out on an auction, or I had to go more than the opening bid on an item. 
    Now as a collector of Joe Carter, one would think there would not be much of a hot bed of interest for his cards.  Let me state, that is not the case.  I have had to be on my toes if I wanted to acquire some of his cardboard, much to my chagrin.  "What type of malcontent would want cards of a long retired .259 career hitter that is not even on the HOF ballot??!! shouts a collector of a long retired .259 hitter that is not even on the HOF ballot.  Now as a guy who does not swear to often, my wife has gotten used to the random "F@HQ!!!!!"  emanating from my office.  "You get outbid again?" she would state with about as much feigned interest as she could.  "Who the *#$#*$^ else would want that card beside me??!!!"  I know exactly the type, they are the type that have no rhyme or reason, they just want to see the collecting world burn!!! What do these people do when they are not squashing the hopes and dreams of cheap collectors?  This...
  They are busy eating their young like Saturn!!!  Do they even like cards?  Is this something they do when they are not going around elementary school classrooms and stealing all the caps off the markers??  It is easy to villainize a person when they are not playing the role you want them to play in "your sandbox"  Even easier when they are a faceless, identity-less  username on the internet. 
    A couple months back, I had pulled out my lantern and began a search for an honest man.  Okay, I actually just googled "Joe Carter Collection" in an attempt to see what information I could glean from this search.  It lead me to this blog:
Here I found Richard, who like myself, has been an on again, off again collector.  A guy who as this hobby grew and expanded had to downsize and focus on something in particular, and his was deciding to just collect Joe Carter.  Now being from the land of Poutine and Molson, being a Carter guy made a whole lot more sense than some shmoe in the Boston area.  I read all his posts saw how pumped he was in starting his collection and his efforts to spread his former collection of Blue Jays to other collectors.  Richard without knowing introduced me to Zistle, which has been a fun site for me to catalog my stuff and trade bait.  Now as a collector of many things, I know how much I like having stuff that I enjoy.  That being said, I also like to find homes for things that will be loved and appreciated.  A while back I sold a box full of carded Marvel Comic action figures to a friend of mine whom remarked that I could have gotten more for one figure selling it on eBay than I did selling him the entire lot.  I just said, "I like to put things where they belong."  I potentially, could have gotten more, but I would rather see then go to a friend who will enjoy and appreciate them (And I know he is not made of money) than just sell them to whomever is the highest bidder on the internet. 
    So as a Carter collector, I have thousands of duplicates sitting in monster boxes.  I took to digging through to find any cards I had that Richard did not, and I reached out to him wanting to send them to him.  (How often do you find someone that can appreciate a career .259 hitter??)  Over that time, Richard and I have corresponded regularly, keeping each other up to date on how their Carter acquisitions were going.  Then it dawned on me when he rambled off the last few card he had gotten, and I realized, "THIS WAS MY SATURN!!!"  This was my "nemesis" who I was bidding against so many times.  Equally stated, I was his!  So many times, as Richard waited to add a Carter card to his collection, only to see HIS hopes dashed as I sniped the card away from him. (And I am sure I did it to him, far more times than he did it to me!!)
I think we both had a chuckle, as the faceless fiend whose only goal was to frustrate collectors, watch the world burn and take the last can of "Who Hash" is revealed to be friendly, generous, and passionate about their love for this hobby.  When once we would battle over the same card, we can now communicate on what we are looking at and not bid each other up, we can now maximize our buying to lessen shipping costs.   In retrospect,  may have lost out on a Carter card, but I am happy knowing it went in the collection of a friend. 
   This past week has been hell as I suffered a rather traumatic freak accident that required emergency surgery, so I have not done much with cards until today.  I had a follow up doctor visit and grabbed my mail as well and found a envelope from Mount Crumpet.  Sure enough, my friend Richard sent a package of Carter cards that have long eluded me.
  Part of the awesomeness of living up in the Canada region is access to cards that celebrate your teams World Series victory.   This 1993 Donruss card was issued through the culinary wizards known as McDonald's.  What I really dig about this card is it is one of the rare carter cards showing him playing first base.  It was not rare for Joe to man first base as he did play over 300 games at this position. (Fun fact, he also played 1 game a second base, and one game at third base during the 1985 season for Cleveland)It is rare to see a card of him playing first.  I never took a formal count but a majority of his cards are of him A) Batting, B) Smiling (Joe was a happy guy!), C) Running and yelling with his arms in the air as he round the bases. (Naturally)  So it is cool to see this card.  In 1992 long only 4 games at first base.  This was from Game 6 of the World Series and was the final out securing the team's victory.

A couple more goodies courtesy of the marketing one can do when your team wins the World Series. The one on the left is an issue from Demptser's which is a bakery which apparently has been "Nourishing Canadians one loaf at a time." For a food issue card, this is a nice card with a rather sleek design.  The card on the right is also a regional food issue, but only in name only.  This is a 1994 Oh Henry card, but Oh Henry was merely a sponsor (The money backer in this case) as this is what called a "Police Safety Set"  The idea was that local fire or police could hand these cards out to kids.  Early cards would have some sage wisdom printed on the back.  In my area, we never had "Police sets" and if a cop approached me as a kid, it certainly was not to hand me some baseball cards.  I always like these type of sets.  Collecting wise, it said you "arrived" if you were fanatic enough to track down a police set. Like a great blogger once stated, these have everything you want in a regional release. "Low-quality cardboard, low quality-printing, a design that just screams "love me or hate me"  - I love regional issues, because they are so exclusive!  They are rarely worth much money, but certainly not the easiest things to track down.
 Yet another regional release is this 1993 Post Cereal release.  Unlike the earlier one, Post has enough money that they can put out a well made card, they just are not paying for the MLB license, so they happily airbrush out those trademarked logos.  The back of the card (left) is just a cool as the front, and even utilized a strategic photo that did not show the trademark logos.  The back is perforated so that the player would "break out" in some die cut look.  I am certainly not going to try it.
  These two cards I thought I had, but of course were issued when parallel-mania was running wild.  The left is a 2001 Topps reprint of their Traded series release 10 years earlier.  Now we get the 40 year anniversary logo along with the foil embossed 50 year logo.  I am surprised that in 2011, Topps did not "buy back" some of these cards so they can stamp them with a 60th anniversary imprint.
   The Upper Deck card I swore I had, but I had the relic version with the jersey swatch, so it is nice to add the base insert.  (If it is possible to be a base and insert at the same time.)
  This card here might be throwing you off.  One would think as a player collector, that I would already have all of the base cards, which I do, but this gem was INCREDIBLY tough to find.  
Here is the reason why...
This is the super rare 1990 Fleer that was printed in Canada.  Even in Canada, I think you can find more of the U.S.A. printed cards.  Not sure why, but these cards are super tough to find. They do not command a huge premium, but extremely tough to track down.
   Thank you Richard for your generosity and kindness.  I look forward to our correspondences and I look forward to working together to build both our collections.  I already have a stack of cards that I will be sending to "Mount Crumpet."

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Why Joe?

    I decided to try this blog out to part be a personal journal of my thoughts on collecting and other matters, and to network with others in attempt to find missing cards for my PC collection.  Now back in the day, before the age of Finest, Flair, Stadium Club, and Sp Authentic, and before there were 50 parallels of a single card, and cards came with pieces of jersey, pants, gloves, bats, and who knows what is next, it was easy to have all sorts of collections.  I was able to put together complete sets, and I was able to have a pretty good Red Sox collection.  I also had many players aside from my Red Sox that I collected: Dave Parker, Tony Armas, George Bell, Jesse Barfield, Tony Fernandez, and Joe Carter.  As the hobby grew and grew it did, the cost of the hobby jumped and it was not as easy to maintain as diversified portfolio.  I slowly retired from collecting each of these things and could only maintain one thing and that turned out to be my Joe Carter collection. 
     Now Joe was not necessarily a childhood hero (That went to Carlton Fisk and Luis Tiant) Joe was a clutch player that always seemed to kill my Red Sox.  He was a guy that took his job seriously, but always seemed to have fun doing it.  He seemed to epitomize the saying of "Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life."  Joe was also not a superhero type player that everything came naturally.  He had his failures, and his successes.  He did it naturally, and with genuine hard work. For some reason, that really resonated with me as a young guy in my twenties, and it seemed natural that as more and more of my collecting habits were put to the wayside, I remained loyal and focused to my Carter collection.  Carter seemed a unqiue name considering some of the big names that were out there at the time.  One of my friends was a big Rickey Henderson collector.  Another was a Ken Griffey Jr collector, and I met others that collected all your big name guys, yet here I was, collecting Joe. 
   Certainly, there was a time when Joe was one of the more dominating players in the game and every company had him in their various sub-sets.  Then the World Series walk off propelled him even further until a few years after that when his production started to wane and like many players, his final active years was a journeyman playing for teams like the Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants.  But 1992-1996 were his big years in the card production realm.  Now he randomly appears as a "retired great" for some companies and gets more parallels and certified auto cards than it seems he had cards during his actual playing days.  I always hoped to be able to attend his enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame and even convinced my wife that if we had a child, I wanted to name him Carter Joseph.  ("Twenty Nine" did not roll off the tongue like "Seven.")  But like most idealistic thoughts, they do not always pan out. Joe did not even get the required 5% to remain on the ballot.  I can understand why, he was shy of 400 home runs and was a career .259 hitter, he wasn't the superhero that would take his place among the other legends in the pantheon in Cooperstown.  He was Joe, a solid anchor for the Indians and Blue Jays and his career would be over just 5 years after hitting one of the most memorable home runs in World Series history.   There isn't even a little Carter running around wearing a Blue Jays jersey.  Hell, none of the three cats even honor his name.  But even if things did not end up for Joe like I once thought,  there is still that one constant.  I am still one of his biggest fans, and I am still feverishly trying to add more of his cards to my collection.  I will continue to laud the guy, and maybe the next time I take a trip to Cooperstown, I will make sure I leave one of his cards behind so I can smile knowing that for one day, Joe was in the Hall of Fame.


Friday, January 8, 2016

I'd Buy that for a Dollar!! #1

     They say "Idle hands are the Devil's work." The same can be said when you are not quite tired to go to sleep.  This often leads me to sit and surf eBay.  This gave me the idea of coming up with a game/project.  I will try to find the best deal of the night and not spend more than $1.  I will do this once a week for an annual budget not to exceed $52.   So right out of the gate I break my first rule and have to spend a whole 4 cents more for this beauty. 2001 Fleer Showcase "Sweet Sigs" autograph of Mike Sweeney.
     The Sweet Sig Collection is a 69 card set of 23 players with 3 variants to their card. (A "leather" a "lumber" and a piece of the "wall")  Now the actual surface that is signed is not actual a game used item, but was material to simulate the texture of the item.  Not that it mattered to me.  I rather like having the wood piece signed by the player rather than the standard sticker autograph.

     I categorize my views of the hobby and baseball into 3 periods The 60s and earlier are the "Legends Era" It makes up primarily guys I never had the pleasure to see play, or to see them during their prime years.  These guys are the ones I only see highlight footage, or read about in books and magazines.  Then there is the 70s & 80s which I will term "The Idol Era" These were players I saw growing up, and into my teen age young adult era.  There are players that I love that most people do not realize how good they were as time has faded.  Then there is the 90s and beyond, "The Statistics Era" No longer looking at it with childhood admiration, but with a eye towards statistics as I had become a huge Fantasy baseball owner.  The time when I care more of of the player will help my team more than their own.  I will even hold onto cards of guys who stunk it up on my team just to remind me of some of the awful players I have latched onto.
     Mike Sweeney is one of those guys I always liked.  He came up as a Catcher, but was no better than average when playing that position.  He did not flourish until he was moved to 1B/DH in 1999.  The funny thing is the Royals were pretty much done with him after proving to not be a very good catcher.  They tried to trade him during spring training and found no takers.  So they decided to give him ABs at DH since they really didn't have much of an option.  Then they lost Jeff King to retirement and had a hole at first base.  They wanted outfield prospect Jeremy Giambi to move to first base but he wasn't keen on the idea so they put Sweeney there and what happened?  Sweeney became a natural and not only put up some great numbers leading the league in batting and 20+ homers, he also had the best fielding percentage in the past twenty years!!
      I had numerous tenures with Mr Sweeney on my team.  Probably the most memorable was in 2002 when I paid up big in our draft for Sweeney and he went on to hit .340 with 24 long balls.  He also had a clean steal of home plate against the dread Yankees!!!!  This was also the first time he went on the Dl, an event that would become a staple the rest of his career.  He finished his career as a journeyman and it seems odd seeing him in a Oakland, Seattle, or Phillies uniform.  He signed a ceremonial one day contract with the Royals to retire in March 2011.  Sweeney has been inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame, but his first year on the National ballot will also prove to be his only appearance as he yielded just 3 votes.  Sweeney was also a guy that did a lot of community work.  A simple internet search will yield data of various awards Sweeney has received for his work, as well as events Sweeney would run for the disadvantaged.  One other cool thing is he is the nephew-in-law to this guy....

     I don't need a huge binder of Mike Sweeney cards, but this one is a nice reminder of a guy that found his opportunity and turned it into a admirable MLB career and even greater, his legacy in Kansas City.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Post Christmas Card Show Pt. 2

After picking out a handful of vintage singles, I hit the masses of price point bargain boxes. This dealer Has boxes ranging from $3 down to $0.10, $0.07, and $0.05. Each show, what did not sell at that show is shifted down one price point for the following show. These boxes are chcok full of tons of base cards and 90s inserts of all the big names. Griffey, Thomas, Maddux, Big Unit, A-Rod, Chipper, Vlad, Pujols, Piazza, Larkin, Bonds, etc, etc. You will find all other sports as well but my primary is baseball. After all was said and done, I believe I walked out with an additional 849 cards from the discount gins. If nothing else, it makes for good trade foddder. But with all boxes, there are all sorts of fun gems....
These cards came from the higher priced bins, but I think the Bonds double relic was the most expensive at a whopping couple bucks.  The Longo swatch was at the last show and had now made its way down to the dollar bin, so I snagged him along with another Delgado.  I have amassed quite a Delgado collection.  I just wish there were a Toronto Blue Jays fan that wants an instant Carlos collection for a couple Joe Carters I need.  The Walker and Big Unit swatches were better than average snags, at least there is a pinstripe.  The Chavez is not a relic card, but number to 50 and cost me maybe .50.

     Even graded cards find their way in the box.  It would cost me more to ship these cards to a grading service than it cost me to acquire them.  

     Any food issue will gain my interest.  Not huge stars, but I will take as many Hostess cards for a .10 that I can grab.  These are not even cut that badly.  So few of these cards survived the jittery hands of a suger-addled kid.

     More dime goodness with a small cache of near mint 1982 Kellogg's cards.  No cracking, and no scratches on the surface.  4 Hall of Famers and 2 other big star names.  These cards were another one of those smaller issue sets that I like to put together.  manageable number, lots of stars, and a novel look. 

  I love the look of The Heritage sets, and the All-Time Fan Favorites, and of course the Archives.   Certainly it is lazy to rely on reusing old card designs, but no one seems to complain.  I will make it a point to pick up as many of the Heritage and Archives that I can to start putting the base sets together (SPs be damned!! I will track you down!!)  This 2010 insert set is a perfect example of a fun set.  A Jimmie Foxx in 1986 design, or a 1957 Johnny Bench card, love these cards and hope to track down more of them at a discount price.  These were either a nickel or 0.07 cents each.

Found a few odd cards that failed to get their foil stamping.  These cards you can se the imprint of the die striking the card, but it failed to leave the ink.  I can see all three being unique additions to a player or team collector.  I know I love getting misprint Joe Carter cards.

    Front Row was a small company that didn't last too long.  Not a real surprise, their designs were pretty mundane but for the price it was worth snagging a few Hall of Famer card sets.

 This 1992 Score set is just an odd item.  In 1992, these sets were actually a bit uncommon.  How well the distribution of these cards went is beyond me, but it appears over the years hidden caches of the cards continue to pop up thus diminishing any real collectible value other than that of the die hard player or team collector.    That was just 36 of the the 849 cards I pulled out of the boxes on that day.  I can't wait for the Martin Luther King Day show, jsut to see how well I do then.  Any requests??

Post Christmas Card Show Pt. 1

I could not complain in how to end my extended work break through the holidays by taking in my local card show.  This is an old-time,-host-in-a Holiday-Inn-conference-room,-card show.  The show brings in the same dealers, whom set up in the same spots, and least 2 local sports team current or alumni player as signing guests.  Its that comfortable pair of sneakers you grow to love,  The modest $2 entry fee is accompanied with free junk wax era pack of cards, or even a free autograph from a prior show's guest.    Hell, they even truck in pizza for all the dealers at the show!!  If Norman Rockwell were to ever paint an idealistic grass roots local card show, he could be hard pressed to argue against this little scenario.   My teen year collecting buddy, and I would hit this show many a time before we found distractions that kept us from attending regularly.
When I jumped back in the hobby, this was a no-brainer, only 30 minutes away.  Like many people.  We all have a "guy."  That dealer that you find yourself doing a majority of your business with and he always has access to whatever product you might need.  Looking for an unopened case of 1992 Leaf Series 1?? I got a guy that can get one!  
So I venture out Sunday morning at a unsightly 4:45 AM!  Yup, you read that correctly, 4:45 AM!!  The show itself does not officially start until 4 hours later, at 8:45AM, but for "my guy," his day begins at 4:30-5 AM when he arrives to set up.  Needless to say, he is rarely alone.  Several regulars are there to greet him, as well as help him lug in his stock for the opportunity to get early view at his newest stock, and for what he charges, it is well worth going up early.  Vintage cards priced at 15% of book, last month's stock, is down to 10%.  Boxes of cardboard goodness marked $3, $2, $1, $.75, $.50, $3/$1, $.20, $.10, $.07, and $.05! Every show, what did not sell, gets moved down a tier, and so on, so on and so on.  All sorts of high quality stars at common card prices.  Sure some of it is over produced, but for what you can find, there is all sorts of cool stuff.   This show, I wanted to try to fill in some of my 1970 and 1975 Topps set needs, and maybe a few 1961s.  Then it would be grazing at the boxes for bargain bin goodness.   So first the 75s.  Now sometimes it pays to be the first to go through a box of fresh new old vintage stock, I hope, to one day be that person.  In this case, the key rookies, would be snagged right before my eyes, but I still manged to walk away with a few cards that didn't set me back. 
Growing up a Red Sox fan, and a Carlton Fisk fan, meant you never liked this guy.  However, if I grew up a Yankee fan, he might have been my favorite player.  The first of the 3 temples of Nolan Ryan (The Highlight card, The League Leader card, and the player card itself. ) I am happy to get this one out of the way, but really need to find a deal on a #500.

When I was a kid, these MVP cards were not the most exciting cards.  The photos of the cards were tiny, but had some interest in just putting the sub-set together.  Today, there is legit value in these cards.  The theory of putting Mantle on any piece of cardboard and it is worth money was in full force.  These "Mini Mantle" appearances were great to get out of the way, and pay dimes on the dollar was helpful. 

 I actually prefer the vertical MVP card to the horizontal.  Then one of my favorite cards from back in the day,  elder statesman, Brooks Robinson:  This card had a cool close up of him at bat, that big white star to denote his pedigree, all things that had me buying in as a kid.  It also helped that since he played in the American League East Division,  I saw him perform a lot more frequently that the West Coast or National League contemporaries. 

1970 Topps:  I fared a bit better, though there were a few that the condition was not worth it for me as I know I would just end up upgrading it eventually.  This was the haul of the 70s:

  I never turn down a clean checklist!  I can deal with the off center, but if it was marked up, I would be irritated by that.  Though a Phillie here, Deron Johnson would end his career with the Red Sox.  In 1974, Johnson, fresh of a World Series win as a member of the Oakland A's would soon find himself picked of waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers before being sold to the Red Sox for a failed stretch drive.  The next season he signed with the Chicago White Sox, only to be reacquired by Boston when Jim Rice was lost to injury.  Needless to say, he was a black hole, but during the 1970 season, Johnson would tally 93 RBIs as well as watching the ball leave the yard 27 times.  In 1970, Reggie Jackson was not quite the straw that stirred the coffee that he would become, so he was still bowing to Harmon Killebrew in the statistical categories.  The Cepeda was a throw in.  There is paper loss on the back, but it is still a high number card.  The Rose makes the 2nd All-Star I have acquired.  These cards always made me think Pete (or whichever All-Star) was a guest on The Love Boat.   Bill Buckner will always be a polarizing figure in Boston, but this would be the start to a rather successful career in the National League with the Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs before being traded to Boston for Dennis Eckersley.  The Wagner, Royals Rooks, and Taylor card are semi high numbers.  One interesting thing is this checklist is one of several variations that are seen in the 1970 Topps set.  For this particular card, it was merely forgetting a period.  Card 226, can be found with either the player noted as R. Perranoski or without the period between the R & P.  I flipped the card over and found this...

If there was a period to begin with, there is not one now!!! The card was cropped so poorly, I can't tell if there ever was a period or not. So until I find a clearer version of this card, this will do nicely.

     The next four are part of the high number series, so I am glad to get 4 more and keep my goal of acquiring at least 2 high number  cards from this set each pay period.  There he is again, my defacto superstar, Larry Haney.  This time his standing in the card community is heightened by his placement in the final series of cards. Fryman would be an Expo by the time  I would initially be introduced to him.  S;postID=1566636673837910236eattle Team card is another tough one from the high series. That adds 13 more 1970s to the pile that will one day be the complete set.

 1961 Topps: Two things I always associate with the 60s trading card period is that 1968 cards have a high population of cards that look like they went through the ringer more often than not.  Perhaps they used a cheaper paper quality that year, or maybe that bleed pattern lends itself to showing more unsightly wear than those with white borders.  On the flip side, I see so many 1961 Topps cards in very nice shape.  I started putting aside 61s years ago and there is a working set of a couple hundred in ex-nm-mt condition that is over my mother's house. (Maris, Mantle, Mays, were all acquired at that point.)  I never know when I will see my mother, so I have no idea if I am buying duplicates with some of the common guys. 

 I snapped up this checklist in unmarked condition, and it must be my Red Sox blood that made me grab three Sawx players.Though I will say the futile airbrush job done on Carroll Hardy's hat made it a choice on this day. 

Then there is the curious case of Chuck Schilling.  Well, there is no case, he got hurt and was never the same player after his debut alongside friend and future Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski.  Schilling was a spark plug right from the start, the Red Sox even moved the 1960 Batting Champion, Pete Runnels to first base to accommodate Schilling.  Schilling didn't disappoint as a rookie, he led the league at fielding percentage.  He also was not to shabby with the stick piling up 87 runs alongside 62 RBIs and 5 long balls.  The following year, Schilling got injured and was never the same player.  he was out of the league by 1966.  
Finally,  I know I did not have a lot of team cards, so this was a easy safe buy.

The Other Vintage: As I said, His vintage can be a great steal.  Snagged the following singles.

     Those rare 1968 Topps that remain in presentable condition.  Eddie Mathew's swan song year.  I always loved Joe Morgan.  he was one of the greatest second basemen I have ever seen play.   Grabbed a very clean 1968 All Star of Rod Carew, a guy that was one of the more dominating players of the 80s.  I kinda feel Carew has always been under-appreciated in the game.  This 59 Don Zimmer looked amazing and with vibrant colors  A vintage card with great color and gloss will draw me like a moth to flame.  Zim had a notorious run as Red Sox manager and eventually adversary with the New York Yankees, but his legacy in the game as a "lifer" is one to be honored.     Growing up, another one of my heroes that I never saw regularly was Dave Parker.  The guy just mashed, and he had a cannon of an arm in Right Field as well.  It was cool to snag his rookie card again.  A few 1969s  The Steve Carlton was a beauty and was glad to snag this one.   I can't use under-appreciated without bringing up Ron Santo and the rookie card of Joe Rudi.  Rudi was one of dynamic players that played on the Oakland A's dynasty teams.  I remember in 1976, Charlie Finley tried to disband his team of impending free agents by selling off his players.  For a very brief time, Joe Rudi and future Hall of Fame closer Rollie Fingers were sold to my Red Sox, while our arch-rival Yankees ponied up for ace starter Vida Blue. 

The total for my 75s, 70s, 61s and the odd lot of stars $25.  Pretty happy with that pull.  Part 2 will showcase a few oddball items I pulled out of the bargain bins.

In the beginning.

It was 1974.  I joined my first little league team. A team sponsored by the local Sub shop called "Sub Galley"  I was excited to have my own "uniform" (a screen print t-shirt and ballcap) but at 7 years old, it was enough.  This was also the year I met my first idol, and a guy that inspired me to play baseball in Boston Red Sox ace, Luis Tiant. ( More on this meeting later. ) I was hooked on the game, and shortly thereafter, I was introduced to baseball cards!!
I had a nice stack of 1974 Topps cards, but it was 1975 that became a landmark for me.   I loved the bright color pattern.  The All-Star players were duly noted with a large white star on their cards and those were the cards to get and keep on the top stack of the team. (I could have cared less about number order and a complete set was inconsequential.)  I checked off the players on the back of the team list, and kept them in stacks  wrapped in rubber bands! (Wince!)  I would take my cards in a box and go to my friend Mike Domenici's house and we would trade cards.  I got to see the cards I never received in packs.  Three cards for two was serious business!!  These things were amazing.  I loved the action shots.  I loved batting helmets, so that was a huge mark for a good card.  Besides the Red Sox, I was a fan of the Oakland A's.  They were a powerhouse team with some great players.  My Mom was a baseball fan, and she told me of the different players that were stars on teams. But I had my own criteria of whom was a big deal based on these pieces of cardboard that dictated to my young mind which ones were vital to have.  Truth be told, in 1975, I could have cared less for George Brett .  His card looked like many other batter posed shots.  I would have been more interested in Buck Martinez in his catcher crouch than I would for Mr. Brett. 
 This is the earmark of an awesome card for 8 year old me.  Not only was this guy good (Had to be, he had the "All-Star" designation inside a star!!!) It was an action shot and he was wearing a helmet!!  He was also wearing one on the field!! What type of radical was this guy?! Must be because he is that good, he can get away with wearing it unlike his other teammates.

Another awesome card. The colors attracted me like a moth to a flame.  That blue RED SOX on a red field was too good to ever pass up.  Not to mention that "Rooster" Burleson was one of the big stars on the Red Sox team.

I am sure this was a card I would have leaped over sofas and ottomans to get.  It was an All-Star and the guy was wearing that cool shiny green jacket, and he played for the Oakland A's that had a star at every position!!

 Sure I'll give you that George Brett guy for this awesome card.  Its a no-brainer, this is a catcher card! Granted, he could at least be wearing the equipment, but he has that cool glove! Deal!!

Another card I loved as a kid.  Oakland A's player (even if he was not Gene Tenace.) It was a great action shot (still is!) The guy was wearing catcher's gear which was something that enamored me as a kid.  "Larry Haney" was cool to me.  I was not at an age that I really bothered with statistics.  By the time I would understand the rudimentary stats (HR= AWESOME!, WINS= AWESOME, "ERA?"= No idea what that means) I might not have given Haney, a guy with a career total of 12 home runs, a second thought.  I would not even know that Haney was valued for his defensive prowess rather than his bat.  But because Haney was on the A's and he had this action shot in his catching glory.  Haney was cool to me.  Now the irony:  It was never Haney on the card, but future pitching guru Dave Duncan.   But I was never wise to that as a kid.  So Larry Haney gets credited for a card I loved because of Dave Duncan.  Ah, the system, whee one can easily take credit for the work of others.  You go Larry!!!
Despite my love for the 1975 Topps (Or 1975 in general!) through the various stages of interest in the baseball card hobby, I never tried to put this set together until now.  This is one of my number of projects for 2016.  I am still trying to buy up lots of EX-MT or better 75s and will eventually pick out the best condition one for the set.  Star cards are also targeted and I really do not want the last card needed for the set to be the Brett rookie, so I hope to snag one before summer.