Monday, September 3, 2012

First Post - My Collecting History (Part 1 - the 1970's)

Welcome to Screaming Line Drive.  After lurking around the blogosphere for some time as a regular reader, dabbling in a few group breaks and contests, and participated in a few trades, I decided to surface and actually post something.  I hope to get my wants/trades lists up over the next few weeks, but for now - an introductory post.

While this is my first post, I am not new to the hobby. Like many in my demographic, I started collecting as a kid in the 1970's (77, 78 and 79 were prime collecting years for me) and then drifted away during my teenage years.  Fortunately, my mom did not throw out my cards BUT I did discover during my college years that I could convert the better cards into beer money (which I gladly did). Although I wish I could turn back the clock and get some of those cards back, I did manage to retain a decent stack of cards from my childhood.

Growing up in the Philadelphia area, Mike Schmidt was my favorite player and Steve Carlton was, in my view, the best pitcher in the game.  I collected Phillies, Phillies and more Phillies.  The following cards in many ways epitomize why and how I collected as kid (and highlight certain aspects of cards and collecting that I still gravitate towards today).

First, Tim McCarver 1977 Topps #357.
The McCarver card is cool on a number of levels.  First, it is action shot...and it looks like a baseball card should.  He's either looking at a long drive (hoping its fair) or he has just roped one to the opposite field and he his hustling to first.  Tim was never known as a speedster (particularly at this stage of his career), but looking at the back of his card I was surprised to learn that Tim hit 13 triples in 1966.  Tim would retire after just a few games in 1980, and by 1977 he was basically Steve Carlton's personal caddie while Bob Boone was the everyday catcher - but I've always appreciated and valued the card.  The other reason I like the McCarver card is the iconic powder blue Phil's away uniforms - symbolic of the 1970's bad uniform era, but fondly remembered by any phan of Phil's during the late 1970's.

Next, Garry Maddox 1977 Topps #520.
Garry Maddox's card is every bit as 1970's as McCarver's, but for different reasons.  Sporting a 'fro that rivals that of Oscar Gamble, the "Secretary of Defense" would later team with Bake McBride to anchor one of the fastest and most exciting outfields in all of baseball.  Garry's card is of the classic posed variety (while trying to appear candid) which is also omnipresent during this era.  I'm not sure what Garry is looking at or how his "extra tall" hat manages to stay on his head, but despite the static pose, Garry looks fast even standing still.

Finally, Mark Fidrych 1977 Topps #265.
I present to you the late, great Mark "the Bird" Fidrych in all his glory.  The Bird, along with Randy Jones of the Padres, lit up baseball for a single season unlike any I can remember as a 9 year old.  Randy Jones sticks vividly in my mind because my little league team that year was the Padres (and Jones was 16-3 at the all star break in 1976!).Outside of Phillies cards, my collecting focus in the late 1970's centered around the coveted "All-Star" banner and the cool Topps Rookie cup logo.  The Fidrych card had both.  In an era largely devoid of inserts and parallels, these were the "hits" that we chased as kids. 

I will be back with Part 2 of this post - which will focus on the early 1990's  and my re-entry into a very different hobby....

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