Monday, July 19, 2010

The 68 Series

The 1968 World Series was a classic. The Tigers defeated the Cards behind the brilliant performance of Micky Lolich who outdueled Bob Gibson in the final game. The series also featured amazing performances from future hall of famers Al Kaline and Lou Brock. Yet most famous feat of the series has to be Gibson's game one performance when he threw a five hit shutout while striking out a World Series record 17.

The 68 Series also marked the farewell of two legendary sluggers, Tigers backup third baseman Eddie Mathews and Cardinals right fielder Roger Maris. I was shocked to discover that Mathews was only 36 years old and Maris just 34. At the time Mathews was in 6th place on the all time HR list with 512 and Maris was only seven years removed from his legendary 61 season. These are two players who peaked early and were considered "over the hill" by their early thirties. It was a time before long term contracts, specialized physical conditioning and the DH. One can only imagine the numbers Mathews could have put up if he had come around 10-15 years later.

Maris on the other hand never seemed to recover from his 61 season, never embraced by Yankee fans or excepted as the legit HR* king, he did seem to find some peace in St Louis when he provided veteran leadership and delivered some clutch hits during a fierce pennant drive in 67.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A master of light and shade.

1974 Topps #340 Matty Alou

As someone who considers himself a collector first and not an investor I love it when I come across a beauty like this. Matty Alou was released by the Padres in June of 1974, but not before Topps released this truly amazing card. The 1974 Topps set is probably my least favorite of the decade, it just seems so uninspired. San Diego also sported those hideous McDonald's uniforms until the mid eighties. The team plus that set are a recipe for disaster, this image seems to have been taken when Alou was with the Yankees in 73 and luckily he was caught sans hat. I mention this because he did not fall victim to Topps notorious mid seventies air-brush, teammate Willie McCovey with his insane peanut butter velour cap was not so lucky.

I'm sure this card's brilliance is a happy accident, the gold and brown design actually compliment the underexposed candid photo perfectly. Thank god he wasn't traded to the Cubs.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Why I'm doing this:

2010 Allen and Ginter #212 Ken Griffey Jr.

Jeez you say, do we really need another sports card blog. I guess we probably don't, but here it is anyway.

This week I picked up a box of Allen and Ginter, I'm not caught up in Strausberg mania or anything sordid like that, I just like the cards and buy several boxes every year. Now I don't want to turn this into another pull/hit post so let me cut to the chase... I got a Griffey, not just any Griffey (there are thousands mind you) but the card released within weeks of his retirement. I'm sure there will be many, possibly hundreds of Griffey cards released in 2010 and 2011, but this one will always signify the end of a great career.
So that's the inspiration for this blog. I probably won't be featuring a lot of cards from the last twenty years, it's just to complicated to pin down a players last card these days and besides my interest is primarily "vintage" cards, but we'll see what happens.