Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hank Aaron baseball cards: What if?

OK, so, I'll say I'm not sure if Hammering Hank (or Bad Henry according to BB reference) was the best ever, but he's definitely in the conversation. I will say, however, that this Kmart card is at least tied for best action shot on an Aaron card with the '73 Topps being the only other of which I'm aware.
I know, it's not an "original" Hank, but it predates recycling yesteryear's starts into ginormous base sets to move product. In 1982 Hank had only been retired for 6 years and was elected to the HOF, so he still very much current.

When you think about it, it's pretty strange that Hank doesn't have a single action shot on any of his "original cards" beyond the 1972 "In action" and the above mentioned '73. 1956 is a great card, but it's more of a painting. And in the '73 he's playing first base. And in '72 he's rounding the bases. Why no shots of Aaron at the plate!?!

My guess is (and those who know can correct me or affirm this) is that '73 is really the first year that "action shots" were incorporated into the bb-card repertoire. I've thought a lot about it and, other than the '72 In action subset, there are no action (or very few) before 1973. So in '73 we have Aaron at first field a pop-up.

Part two is that someone at Topps didn't like Hank breaking Ruth's record in 1974, and that comes from my dad, not me. There is a 1976 record breaker of Aaron at bat, but it looks like he's taken a check swing. Hardly the beautiful, awe-inspiring stuff you see courtesy of Kmart. I don't necessarily believe this, but I certainly can't explain the absence of "Hank taking a heroic swing" card other wise.

If anyone else has any explanation, I'm all ears!

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