Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sunday Edition

Vintage Binging

    A few weeks ago I came across two stray packs of 2021 Topps in my local Target for the first time since their release.  I bought them both, and haven't seen any since.  While I'm not going to sit here and say I don't miss buying a couple packs of cards here or there along with my toothpaste and coffee filters, I have found other ways to scratch my card collecting itch.  Specifically, I'm making huge strides with my vintage set builds and vintage purchases.  Below is look at some of the cards I've picked up over the last month or so.  

I hadn't finished a vintage set since 2017 when I completed 1970 Topps.  With the arrival of those two cards above, I finally completed 1972 Topps.  It's a project I've been working on for four years, but made huge strides on in the last six months.  I guess I have the sad pathetic saps setting up camping gear in Target parking lots to thank for my recent progress.

Bobby Veale arrived in the mail after Rick Monday, so officially he goes down as the "last card."  Not to pat myself on the back too much, but finishing off this set really feels like one of the bigger collecting "accomplishments" I've ever had.  Between the last two series and all the star power in the first four series, this set really was a monster to complete.

I'm sure every set builder can relate to the annoyance of shipping cost on small purchases.  Often it's $3 plus to ship one card that may only cost a quarter, or dollar or two.  I find with many sellers, especially on sites like Sportlots, it cost the same to ship 1 or 2 cards as it does for 10 or 12 cards.  As result, when I'd by a '72 I needed, I'd max out the shipping capacity by filling up my cart with other set needs.  I actually inadvertently completed the 1974 set prior to '72 using this method.  The 1975 Topps mini set is another effort that has seen some strides towards completion due to this approach.  I don't expect to complete it this year, but it's not outside of the realm of possibility.  Here's a look at cards I'm looking for in the '75 Mini set.  I have a lot of duplicates and am more than willing to trade: 

1975 MINI: 6, 7, 9, 28, 33, 43, 60, 76, 81, 90, 111, 120, 130, 141, 154, 166, 168, 169, 179, 182, 189, 192, 199, 205, 207, 208, 211, 221, 223, 233, 245, 255, 256, 259, 262, 264, 268, 269, 271, 280, 281, 295, 308, 310, 311, 312, 319, 323, 327, 330, 337, 347, 356, 362, 371, 372, 379, 384, 385, 402, 414, 415, 518, 425, 427, 430, 435, 539, 440, 442, 450, 456, 459, 460, 462, 463, 466, 467, 469, 474, 475, 487, 488, 489, 493, 497, 501, 508, 511, 522, 524, 532, 533, 537, 546, 560, 563, 556, 558, 559, 575, 578, 582, 590, 591, 593, 595, 599, 603, 607, 612, 615, 617, 618, 619, 621, 623, 624, 626, 628, 631, 632, 636, 637, 638, 643, 645, 650, 658, 660

1973 Topps is going to be my next primary focus.  I opted for that over '71 for the simple reason that I'm closer to completion.  That Hank Aaron above is a card that has eluded me on eBay for years.  I don't know how many times I lost out on one with someone else's last minute bid.  This predates my set building days.  Some people might find issue with it's condition, but they'd be wrong.  It's awesome.  I've had similar issues with the Willie Mays as a Met card.  I've wanted that since the days Topps cards still came with gum, but have never been willing to pay what others are.  Here's what I'm still looking to pick up:

1973: (2nd Ser.) 305, (3rd Ser.) 410, 442, 447, 448, 453, 473, 474, 482, (4th Ser.) 529, 530, 533, 536, 542, 550, 556, 563, 567, 569, 575, 576, 582, 590, 595, 596, 601, 603, 608, 609, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, 616, 619, 620, 622, 623, 625, 627, 628, 632, 633, 635, 636, 637, 638, 639, 640, 641, 644, 645, 646, 647, 649, 650, 652, 653, 656, 658, 659

Using my maxing out shipping rates strategy, these '71 Topps landed in my mailbox as well.  If I manage to complete the '73 set this year, this will be the next focus.  By the time I get to it, I imagine it'll be the last remaining set from the 70's on my list.  I haven't even posted a need list for it yet, but I'm about 200 cards short or so.

This batch of '77 Topps included a large portion of the most overrated "dynasty" in baseball history.  For a group that won all of two World Series they sure get a lot of attention and respect.  It's not that I don't think there were a lot of great players worthy of the Hall of Fame on those Reds teams, I'll just never understand why they get more historical ball washing than say the A's of the 70's who won 3 World Series, or have more Hall of Famer's than the Bernie William's led Yankees who won four and went to six.  In any event, I have most of the '77 Topps Reds now, and my need list for the rest of the set is so small I'm not even going post it, I expect to be finishing it within the next few weeks.

1953 Topps has long been a set that I've slowly been making strides on.  Somewhere along the line over the last 8 to 10 years, it's actually started to show some semblence of being within reach.  I'm to the point where every time a batch of cards arrives, one or two of them completes the 8-pocket page in my binder when I sleeve them.  I've gone so far to keep a list of what's left.  

1953: (1st Ser.) 10, 31, 37, 48, 54, 61, 62, 66, 68, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78, 86, 96, 109, 111, 114, 120, 121, 134, 135, 138, 142, 146, 147, 149, 151, 158, 160, 162, (2nd Ser.) 191, 206, 216, (3rd Ser.) 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 228, 230, 232, 233, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 269, 270, 272, 273, 274, 276, 277, 278, 280

Sort of at the other end of the spectrum of my collecting habits is this Felipe Rivero.  You can be forgiven if you don't remember Rivero, he changed his name to Felipe Vazquez for reasons that I'm not interested enough to research.  Felipe after changing his name was a two time All-Star in 2018 and 2019, but is now on the restricted list (just cut the scumbag already) after being charged with soliciting child pornography.  I don't have a side project of athletes who go to  prison, this was just the last card I needed to complete the 2017 Topps set.

I came across these two cards on eBay at prices that I couldn't really say no to.  The corner of the '62 Spahn is hanging by a thread, but I don't mind.  That card is pretty spectacular in hand and I highly recommend finding one of your own in a condition that suits your budget.  You won't regret it.  Fun fact, since Spahn's retirement, no one in baseball has won more career games than he did.

These three aren't for any set builds, but they're the sort of cards I love picking up.  The Wilhelm is currently sitting on my bookshelf.  I don't really advertise that I collect cards to my friends in "real life," but I do keep a rotating assortment 3 or 4 cards subtly placed on a bookshelf in my house, or stuck to my fridge with a magnet, if anyone were to look closely.  I haven't had a chance to try Wilhelm's grip yet, but hope to soon.

Vintage hockey may not be for everyone, but I love the stuff.  Here's a pair of 1957-58 Parkhurst that I found in my price range, less than $2 apiece.

Larry Csonka is a proud member of the #44 legacy at Syracuse.  It's a group that includes the likes of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Derrick Coleman and John Wallace.  After Wallach cards, collecting former Orangemen is probably my oldest running collecting habit.

Finally I'll end with this.  It's beat to hell and has paper loss, but that's the only reason I finally own one given it's normal price tag.  This is the first standard size card of the player I consider to be the greatest basketball player of all-time.  My list may be unorthodox, but I can defend it well.

Spare me the recency biased ignorance about the Jordan/LeBron debate.  Kareem won three National Titles (more than those two guys combined, and as a freshman at UCLA, his freshman squad would run the National Title winning varsity off the floor), he won six NBA Titles, was a 19x All-Star, 15x All-NBA selection, and is the All-Time Leading Scorer.  I'm embarrassed for people when they suggest someone other than Kareem is the greatest player of all time.  He was so dominant they literally banned dunking for a time.  It's like that old adage about it being better to be remain silent and be thought a fool then opening your mouth and confirming it.

This card is going to remain on my bookshelf for the foreseeable future.


  1. Doing God's work here. (Well, except for 2017 Topps). I'm efficient to a fault in my '70s set-building so I wish I had a bunch of extras to send like others do but I don't. I've got start buying lots, I've never done much of that.

  2. I have a '73 Aaron sitting in my tradebox I'd have been happy to trade you. Let me know when you are ready to do another trade. Thanks!