Tuesday, June 2, 2009

1976 Topps Edition

It's taken several years, but I am in the final stages of completing my '76 Topps set. Via Dinged Corners, here's a link to a fabulous in-progress blog dedicated to the '76 set, Project Baseball 1976. In case you don't remember, the '76 includes one of every kid who grew up in the 1980's all-time favorite must have cards, the Oscar Gamble traded. For some reason I don't recall the airbrushing as being THAT obvious, but now that I see these cards with an adult's overly critical eyes I'm surprise that, even at 8, my friends and I never noticed that Gamble, Kaat, and the rest of the traded crew seemed strangely radioactive, their duds practically glowing.

Like everyone else we loved the hair, and we traded Oscar back and forth amongst ourselves without regard to the value Beckett placed on him. There was never more than one card shop at a time in the town where I grew up, so no one ever showed up to shatter our little informal economy in which, I kid you not, I remember Mr. Gamble always trading at $10 or more due to scarcity. Of course this was before '89 Upper Deck and the birth of high end, which quickly replaced Oscar as the "IT" card. Oh, we had always gone after the "stars," but for the most part we decided who they were. Oscar was one of our stars. Card companies and Beckett brought us hype and speculation and condition in the sort of month to month, week to week maelstrom we are now accustomed to. Result: I'm not sure who ended up with our copy of the Gamble traded card, but I do have a full page of late-90's Yankees megaprospect Hensely "Bam Bam" Muelens's 1989 Donruss RC. He's a can't miss prospect and the best 3b since Mike Schmidt, you know.

One of the last cards I need for the set was this one, the George Brett second year.
It's a nice enough card, and definitely the kind of cardboard that was way beyond my reach as a kid. I was never a huge Brett fan and remembering being stunned when a friend of mine obtained a copy for what seemed like an astronomical amount of money for a George Brett card in the mid-1980's, somewhere north of $50. I am not a "condition" guy but I decided I would plunk down a few extra Washingtons to get a cleaner copy of the Brett, and I won an auction and got it for under $5. I need about 32 cards for the set, and am in contact with someone who is going to sell me 28 of them. Cool stuff.

Strangely, even now I feel drawn to the Oscar over the George, if only because of the memories I have of trading that card back and forth and the memories of a bunch of 8 year-olds goofing over his incredible hair. If we could all be ourselves like Oscar Gamble you get the feeling that the world would be a much different place. Oscar was Oscar and we loved him for it.

The original plan was, after finishing the 1976 I would move on to thew '75 and so on, back in time. Unfortunately, and in the spirit of Oscar Gamble, I am jumping '75 and '74 (unless anyone can talk me out of it) to go after the 1973 Topps set. I find the photography a lot more interesting (even the blurred cards) and am looking forward to wading through it.

In the next few days I'll post my favorites from the '76 set and put up a few more Crawfords from the collection. Have a good one!

1 comment:

  1. I have completed the '75 set (the first one I collected), then went backward and completed '74. I am now on the '76 set (about 75-100 away on that).

    It's funny how we decide which set to collect next.