Back in 1987, I could only dream of owning the entire collection of Topps-Bowman baseball cards. Today, this dream now almost seems like a reality as I complete one vintage set after another. My secret has been to build these sets as efficiently as possible by focusing primarily on low grade. My goal has simply been to just own the cards first; then upgrade and sell later. This blog shares my journey through collecting, organizing, and enjoying my collection of Topps-Bowman baseball cards.
Sparky Anderson played mostly in the Minor Leagues between 1953-1963, except for his one season with the Phillies as a 25 year old in 1959, earning 104 Hits in 477 AB's. He began his managerial career in Minor Leagues as a 30 year old in 1964, which lasted through 1968. It was in 1970 that Sparky began his 26-year tenure as a Major League manager for two different teams, resulting in 5 World Series appearances with 3 titles--and an eventual induction into the Hall of Fame. During his first year as a Major League manager, Sparky led the Reds to their first World Series appearance in nine years with a 102-win season. It was during that year that the Reds first really became known as the "Big Red Machine".
Condition: VG 3.0
Completion: 631 of 720
Comment: This is Sparky Anderson's managerial rookie card.
Gary Ross played for three different Major League teams between 1968-1977. He was a member of the original San Diego Padres team in 1969, having been traded from the Cubs early during the season. Ross would spend the majority of his career with the Padres until being traded to the Angels in 1975.
John Roseboro began his MLB career in the summer of 1957, replacing Roy Campanella as the Dodger's starting catcher during the team's final months in Brooklyn. Roseboro played for 3 different teams during his career, which included the Twins for two years, and then the Senators during his final season. He was part of three World Series championships, and six All-Star games.
Aurelio Rodriguez played between 1967-1983 for seven different teams. Rodriguez played in only 17 games for his original Angels team in 1970 before being traded to the Washington Senators, where he would play in 149 more. His combined totals for the year were the best in his career: 610-AB, 70-R, 152-H, 19-HR, and 83-RBI.
Condition: EXMT+ 6.5
Completion: 628 of 720
Comment: I paid the price for this card to complete the lower numbers to the 400's for this set.
The 1970 Montreal Expos finished their second full season 6th in the NL East (19th out of 24 overall) with a 73-89 total record. The Expos were led by manager, Gene Mauch, who had been with the team since their inauguration in 1969. The position players were: John Bateman - C, Ron Fairly - 1B, Gary Sutherland - 2B, Bobby Wine - SS, Jose Laboy - 3B, Mack Jones - LF, Adolfo Phillips - CF, and Rusty Staub - RF. The starting pitchers were: Carl Morton, Steve Renko, Bill Stoneman, and Steve Wegener. The relief pitchers were: Dan McGinn, Howie Reed, John Strohmayer, and Mike Marshall. The closer was Claude Raymond.
Condition: VG+ 3.5
Completion: 627 of 720
Comment: This card depicts the original 1969 Expos team.
These days, factory sets seem to come with all types of specialized cover art designs, but the contents within each box are all the same (with the exception of a bonus insert 5-pack).
The 2010 Topps baseball card factory set contains 661 cards numbered from #1-661.
Since I purchased the Phillies edition, my 5-pack of bonus insert cards were all Phillies players, which are numbered from #PHI1-PHI5 out of 10 total available. Only one of the players wasn't actually included in the base set for the Phillies team. The other four inserts were variations for a player that was already included.
Below, I have included the first few pages from my set binder. As with all of my baseball card sets, all of the subset cards were pulled out and placed in the front of the binder. I tend to organize the subset cards numerically at first until I discover a personalized order that suits me better. The first card in my 2010 set is #7 Mickey Mantle, which Topps has began to manufacture each year again since 2006. The next 10 cards are actually checklists on the back (5 for each series) with a team theme on the front. All of the checklist cards depict themes containing current players except for the Ruth-Gehrig card, which seems to complement the Mantle card well.
After the themed-checklist cards, there are 10 League Leaders cards (5 for each League).
After the League Leaders cards come the League Award Winners for MVP (Pujols/Mauer), Cy Young (Lincecum/Greinke), and Rookie of the Year (Coughlan/Bailey).
After the subset cards, the World Series winners lead off the team set, which are organized by players age from oldest to youngest. For the 2010 set, every team gets a Franchise History card followed by a Team Action card (with two exceptions).
Next come the World Series team contender. The Rangers team was issued with an extra Team Action card to correct an error on the back of the first one. This must have come at the expense of the Rays, which didn't get a Team Action card.
After the World Series teams, I organize the League Championship Series contenders in order by regular season win percentage.
Afterwards, comes the Division Series contenders according to regular season team win percentage, then the rest of the teams according to win percentage.
Jim Roland played during 10 seasons between 1962-1972 for four different MLB teams: Twins, A's, Yankees, and Rangers. In 1970, Roland pitched 43.1 innings in 28 games with a 2.70 ERA. His base salary that year was $18K.
Condition: GD-VG 2.5
Completion: 626 of 720
Comment: The scan makes this card look at least VG, but there's a noticeable crease on the top left corner through the top of the palm tree on the front and through the 9 from 719 on the back.
Rollie Fingers played in the Majors during 18 seasons between 1968-1985 for 3 different teams. Throughout his career, Fingers helped to define the closer's role as it is known today, becoming only the second closer to enter the Hall-of-Fame (after Hoyt Wilhelm). 1970 would be Fingers' final full season as a starting pitcher, and by early '71, he would become a full-time closer.
Condition: FR 1.5
Completion: 625 of 720
Comment: With this acquisition, I've managed to complete all listed players from the '70 set with the exception of N.Ryan.
Did you know that George Sisler had a couple of sons who played in the Majors too? Dick Sisler helped the Phillies clinch the NL pennant on the last day of the 1950 regular season by hitting a homerun in the top of the 10th inning with 2 men on base. Their opponents, the defending NL champion Dodgers, had no answer for the Phillies during the bottom half of the 10th inning at Ebbets Field--and the "whiz kids" were in the World Series again for the first time since 1915. Earlier that same year, Sisler also made his only career All-Star appearance during his best major league season. Dick Sisler played in the majors between 1946-1953 for 3 different teams including the 1946 WS Champion Cardinals.
BV: $40.00 (for semi-stars)
Cost: $1.29 (paid 3% BV)
Condition: GD-VG 2.5 (worth 25% BV)
Completion: 24 of 252 (9% complete)
Comment: This was an unlisted card in Beckett Monthly, so I had to choose between a $15 common, $40 semi-star, or $60 unlisted star.
Jim Hart began playing in the Majors with the Giants in 1963 following the team's first World Series Appearance since moving from New York to San Francisco. Hart was a runner-up for the NL Rookie of the Year award during his first full season in 1964 and made the All-Star team in 1966. In 1971, Hart appeared in the NLCS with the Giants against the soon to be World Series champion Pirates. Hart was traded to the Yankees in 1973 and retired from baseball the following year in 1974.