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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Card Corner: Markusen: Topps’ 60th anniversary cards

The gravity defiling cowlick! The moosegrease-induced bald spot! The cheapo Johnson & Johnson hickey-hider! The “I Just Made A Very Disturbing Entry For Your Mom In My MILF File” leer! The classic George Brunet!

image

With a large void created by the sudden absence of baseball, the Topps Company is doing something smart and innovative this winter. As a way of commemorating Topps’ 60th anniversary in 2011, the company is holding an online contest to determine the 60 greatest Topps cards of all time. Topps has nominated 100 cards, giving collectors a baseline. All in all, this is a terrific idea by Topps.

...The inclusion of such cards is necessary and appropriate, but Topps goes a bit too far with its emphasis on superstars. Topps has nominated 15 additional Mantle cards, making for 16 Mantles among the top 100. That’s too many. There are also multiple selections for Clemente, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Cal Ripken Jr., Pete Rose and Thurman Munson. Yet there are virtually no cards that could be categorized as unusual or offbeat in any way.

Topps might have been better served by supplying a wider variety. When thinking of great baseball cards, one doesn’t think only of superstars, but also of cards that display particularly eye-catching action photography, or cards that have some unusual feature or error.

Repoz Posted: November 14, 2010 at 01:08 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, history, media, memorabilia

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: November 14, 2010 at 01:55 PM (#3689723)
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 14, 2010 at 02:07 PM (#3689725)
nothing can Topps this one
   3. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 14, 2010 at 02:08 PM (#3689726)
   4. Kyle S Posted: November 14, 2010 at 02:18 PM (#3689727)
Did Billy Ripken get nominated?
   5. Dale Sams Posted: November 14, 2010 at 02:32 PM (#3689730)
60% of those nominated get chosen? Remarkably enough, that'll be the number of playoff teams in a few years too.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 14, 2010 at 03:28 PM (#3689738)
moosegrease

??????

I think you mean goose grease. Or bear grease. Only parvenus use moosegrease.
   7. alkeiper Posted: November 14, 2010 at 03:33 PM (#3689739)
#4. Nope, Billy "FF" Ripken is Fleer.
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 14, 2010 at 03:41 PM (#3689742)
How could anyone resist Manny Ramirez wearing a "Youth Services" jersey?
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: November 14, 2010 at 04:32 PM (#3689754)
I doubt they have this Hall of Famer listed, but I think it's kind of poignant:

http://www.vintagecardprices.com/card-profile/165137/1968-Topps-Ed-Mathews-58-Baseball-Card-Value-Prices.htm

"Ed Mathews, 3B-1B" - how the mighty have fallen

I also just yesterday bought a pack of 2010 Topps update cards - many of them with midseason highlights like a David Ortiz Home Run Derby winner card - and got a bizarre one called "There's No Tying in Baseball."
Yes, they put out a "Tales of the Game" card about the humiliating 2-2 All-Star Game tie.
If this card had Bud Selig's befuddled face at home plate on the front, it would be a winner for sure.

http://cgi.ebay.com/2010-Topps-Update-More-Tales-of-the-Game-12-A-S-Tie_W0QQitemZ350411102160QQcategoryZ213QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp4340.m263QQ_trkparmsZalgo=SIC&its=I+C&itu=MRU-64482+UCI+IA+UA+FICS+UFI&otn=15&pmod=260690951750&ps=63&clkid=4950449483366112383
   10. Steve Treder Posted: November 14, 2010 at 04:38 PM (#3689757)
nothing can Topps this one

Yeah, and the treatment the boys gave that one in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading, and Bubble Gum Book was classic as well, dealing with everything from the bizarre baseballs-stuck-to-the-bat thing to Zernial's hand signal ("Is he indicating that the Athletics are a big zero?") to his pink undershirt.

Damn, some stuff never gets old.
   11. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 14, 2010 at 04:50 PM (#3689760)
yeah, and the treatment the boys gave that one in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading, and Bubble Gum Book was classic as well

I think that the original photo was in black and white, but for some reason the Topps colorization process resulted in the pink undershirt

(and there IS an explanation for the 6 baseballs)
   12. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2010 at 04:51 PM (#3689761)
Man, I remember the Topps 40th anniversary set. I think I was collecting for only a couple of years after that. I think it was the 40 year anniversary set that really made me think about why I was buying these packs. It was a dull and boring set and the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was all just a bunch of cardboard.
   13. Steve Treder Posted: November 14, 2010 at 04:59 PM (#3689764)
(and there IS an explanation for the 6 baseballs)

Thanks for linking that article. Good stuff.

I'm in awe that they could get six baseballs to adhere to that bat in that manner using scotch tape. That's impressive. Perhaps scotch tape in 1951 had more oomph to it than it does today.
   14. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 14, 2010 at 05:33 PM (#3689776)
this is REALLY my favorite card of all time--but it is the most god-awful picture imaginable
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 14, 2010 at 07:31 PM (#3689818)
Beat me to it, #7.
   16. Bob Evans Posted: November 14, 2010 at 09:14 PM (#3689855)
My favorite...the '72 Billy Martin "In Action".
   17. stratosaur Posted: November 14, 2010 at 09:28 PM (#3689858)
Why not just call it "Top Ten Mantle Cards" or "Top 10 New York Cards". What a pathetic selection. I'll be voting every day and none of them will be a Yankee card.
   18. Textbook Editor Posted: November 14, 2010 at 11:24 PM (#3689878)
There was a Clay Carrol one I liked when I was a kid from the early 70s. And any Bake McBride one from 1976-1979 was a classic in my neck of the woods.
   19. Bruce Markusen Posted: November 15, 2010 at 12:29 AM (#3689890)
Love the George Brunet card, Repoz. Was he known for throwing a greaseball?

Also love the Billy Martin in action. The vein in his neck is popping out just so.
   20. Steve Treder Posted: November 15, 2010 at 01:42 AM (#3689903)
Love the George Brunet card, Repoz. Was he known for throwing a greaseball?

I had that card!

No, Brunet had no reputation for loading up the baseballs, at least none that I was ever aware of. He had a reputation for being an abundantly entertaining character, however.

Years ago I wrote a THT article on the amazing career of George Brunet (he pitched professionally for something like THIRTY FIVE YEARS and never once spent a day on the DL), and in response I received a very sweet email from his daughter. That's the kind of thing that makes it all worthwhile.
   21. Mo Vaughn Down The Road Posted: November 15, 2010 at 02:20 AM (#3689912)
Howard, I had several of that Eddie Matthews card.

You know, I had several shoe boxes full of these vintage cards dated from around 1964 to 1969, and I still haven't forgiven my mother for throwing them away after I left for college.
   22. Mo Vaughn Down The Road Posted: November 15, 2010 at 02:23 AM (#3689914)
I had the Brunet card too, Steve. It seemed like, no matter the year, they always had a smiling headshot of him, rather than having him on the mound in a windup or something. My 12 year mind equated his smiling + the horrible win/loss %'s with a careless attitude, later confirmed in Ball Four.
   23. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: November 15, 2010 at 02:35 AM (#3689917)
I prefer the regular 1972 Martin with him stealthily flipping off the camera.
   24. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 15, 2010 at 03:04 AM (#3689921)
You know, I my brother and I had several shoe boxes full of these vintage cards dated from around 1964 to 1969 1955-1960

fixed

(hey--whatever happened to my Pumpsie Green card??--you s'pose it finally made it to Israel?)
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 15, 2010 at 03:19 AM (#3689927)
You know, I had several shoe boxes full of these vintage cards dated from around 1964 to 1969, and I still haven't forgiven my mother for throwing them away after I left for college.

I had Topps sets from 1953 through 1955 before I gave it up. I eventually sold the '54 & '55 but kept the '53, and I wonder what they'd be worth today if I hadn't stuck them in a photo album where they've been stuck for the past 40 years. You win some and you lose some, but at least I can still look at the fronts.

My mom somehow managed to keep her hands off those sets for several years after I moved out of the house, but she did throw away a '52 Mantle Topps in not so great condition, a bunch of '51 Bowmans (no Mantle or Mays among them), a glorious '53 Bowman Musial, and worst of all, a postcard from Malcolm X, sent from Mecca to a woman I stayed with in the civil rights movement. My mom didn't think much of good old el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: November 15, 2010 at 03:26 AM (#3689930)
"I had several shoe boxes full of these vintage cards dated from around 1964 to 1969, and I still haven't forgiven my mother for throwing them away after I left for college."

My late mom never threw away a single card - I still have about 10,000 BB/FB/BKB/HK cards - nor anything else of what she considered to be my personal possessions.

I was very, very lucky, I know.
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 15, 2010 at 03:34 AM (#3689936)
My late mom never threw away a single card - I still have about 10,000 BB/FB/BKB/HK cards - nor anything else of what she considered to be my personal possessions.

I was very, very lucky, I know.


What makes you really lucky is that when it came to baseball cards, 99 out of 100 moms did exactly the opposite.
   28. Steve Treder Posted: November 15, 2010 at 03:39 AM (#3689937)
(hey--whatever happened to my Pumpsie Green card??--you s'pose it finally made it to Israel?)

Awesome.
   29. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 15, 2010 at 04:51 AM (#3689963)
My late mom never threw away a single card - I still have about 10,000 BB/FB/BKB/HK cards - nor anything else of what she considered to be my personal possessions.

I was very, very lucky, I know.


My mom eventually threw away my cards, but they were so beat up - from trading, flipping, being pinched at the corners by the rubber band that encircled them - that they were pretty much worthless anyway. I got the most out of my baseball card collection when I was collecting them, and that's OK with me.

But my grandmother never threw out any of my dad's cards. I've got more than a thousand cards from the 40s and 50s in really good condition, including many of those on the Topps list, that my dad passed down to me (in what I think is the same old fruit box that his mom stored them in). And eventually I'll do the same, passing them down to my youngest son, the only ballfan among the Unacceptable offspring.
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: November 15, 2010 at 05:11 AM (#3689975)
That's cool, SoSH.

But my cards are my cards, still.

I separated out the Hall of Famers - including Ryan and Bench and Carew and Schmidt and Winfield and other rookie cards - and the Namaths and O.Js and Wilt Chamberlain and Pistol Petes and Bobby Hull and Bobby Orrs - into a protected album many years ago.

But I still treasure my "Seattle Pilots" and "WASH NAT' LEA' cards, and all the goofy scrubs from the Cleveland Barons and California Golden Seals and San Diego Conquistadors and Buffalo Braves and Washington Senators and inaugural Montreal Expos as well.

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