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Sunday, December 23, 2007

ShysterBall: Calcaterra: Topps

A sweet holiday treat from Calcaterra and his brother…(as opposed to my brother who tore the corners off my Ralph Houk managerial cards…only to end up with his favorite gourami swimming sidewards with a mint toothpick stuck through its eyes. Happy Holidays everybody!)

Last week, Curt flew in from San Diego for a couple of days for his annual Christmas visit. The night before he flew back home, we exchanged Christmas gifts. We tend to be a family who doesn’t go over the top with these things, so I was understandably dumbfounded when I opened my gift from him: the entire 1973 Topps set (my birth year) in plastic sheets in a notebook. With a couple of very tiny exceptions, the whole thing is in mint or near mint condition.

He didn’t just go out and buy it in one shot, though, as a guy working at In-n-Out Burger tends not to have that kind of money laying around. Rather, he began picking up stuff here and there months ago (our childhood collection had almost no 1973s), trading some import records for some of this, trading vintage clothing for some of that, and only biting the bullet and straight-up buying stuff in only a handful of cases. It was truly a labor of love on his part which, given how much flak I’ve given him for so many things over the years—including, ironically enough, his habit for hording, selling, and trading records and vintage clothes when he could be out doing something more productive—was every bit as undeserved as it was unexpected.

Repoz Posted: December 23, 2007 at 01:36 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Chris Dial Posted: December 23, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2652617)
That's just awesome, Craig. Every year my Christmas list says this "Baseball Cards". And every year I get a few packs of the present season of Topps (or last year's).

I've never gotten anything that nice. Congrats.

I hve the 1973 set like tat, but not Mint, or anything close. It's what I collected when I was 9, so some of it leaves something to be desired.

I do lack a card or two from completion, and some day Kit Young (or equivalent) will help me finish it off.
   2. Repoz Posted: December 23, 2007 at 08:52 PM (#2652782)
Back around 1980 I decided to start buying complete mint/n-m sets from the 60's thru the early 70's, since a lot of my cards had become punkglected. I was doing ok until I bought the '73 set from Renato Galasso's in Brooklyn...AND THEY SENT ME A FRICKIN' O-PEE-CHEAPO SET WITH FRAYED EDGES WHERE IT LOOKED LIKE THE CARDS WERE CUT OFF WITH THE COLD-CUT SLICER AT GALASSO'S DELI!

I stopped buying cards for a while after that...and my addiction to feet-drenched provolone started.
   3. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 23, 2007 at 10:31 PM (#2652809)
O-Pee-Chees were the bane of every Michigan kid's existence. So close to Ontario . . .so many chances for that clueless uncle to pick up the wrong pack . . .so few ways to pretend that you were thankful for the gift . . .

Only saving grace: if there was an O-Pee-Chee 1971 set I could stand a snowball's chance in getting my brother's birth year without the rounded and fraying corners. Man, 1971 is a bee-hatch.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 24, 2007 at 12:43 AM (#2652848)
I love O-Pee-Chees. When I was a kid (in Michigan), the other kids always traded them to me, thinking they'd taken advantage of an idiot, but I wanted them. The only problem is that the sets are smaller so the numbering is different.
   5. villageidiom Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:24 AM (#2652876)
It started with the cutouts on the back of Hostess boxes in 1976 or 1977, and moved on to the Kellogg's 3-D superstars a year or two later.
I still have a bunch of the Hostess cards, and maybe two or three Kellogg's 3D cards. If only I hadn't cut the Hostess cards out with the scissors skill of a six-year-old...
   6. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:43 AM (#2652932)
Nice story. I just completed the 1973 Topps set this year myself. I started collecting in '78 and went at it strong through the mid-80s. I eventually either sold or lost most of it. A few years back I decided to try and collect everything from '71 (my birth year) through '80 (the last year Topps was the only game in town). This year I finally sucked it up on some high dollar cards and completed '73 and '74. I was very proud to complete '73 because it took dozens of purchases, and lots of time. I started out six years ago buying large common lots on eBay, and it was a real joy to finish. Last card: high # checklist. It was a blast to put that one in the album and realize that all the sheets were finally full.

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