Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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. 

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