Although the 1970s may not have been quite the golden era for baseball that, say, the 1950s were, the decade produced a good number of stars. An important thing to consider, too, is that many players Generation X grew up watching came up in the 1970s. That, along with lower production numbers, makes it an important decade in today’s market. Let’s take a year by year walk through the most valuable baseball cards of the 1970s.
It’s just my opinion, but I think 1981 Fleer baseball cards get less respect than they deserve. It ended Topps’ 25-year monopoly on baseball cards and, frankly, I think it’s a nicer set than the Topps or Donruss sets from the same year.
Yes, compared to the smooth and polished Topps, the Fleer set at times looked like amateur work. But they didn’t make as many mistakes as fellow upstart Donruss did. And they tried some things with their set that Topps had been unwilling to do. The 1981 Fleer baseball cards got some critical accolades at the time, and frankly I think it’s an underrated ’80s set. It didn’t contribute a lot to the most valuable cards of the 1980s, but it certainly helped shape the decade.
I’ve had some questions about the Royals’ wheeling and dealing for their pennant drive, and of course I have an opinion about that.
Mostly I’m glad I was wrong about last year’s heartbreak turning into a flash in the pan. But you may be surprised to hear I’m not too heartbroken that the Royals traded away five pitchers so they could rent Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist for two months, or three if everything goes as planned.
One of my college buddies (Hi Christian!) shared my previous post on Facebook, pointing out that I’m a long-suffering Royals fan in Cardinals country, and adding that what I said was balanced and dispassionate.
I’m normally anything but dispassionate. But in this case, it’s not a baseball matter–it’s a business matter, and neither my employer nor any past employer is involved, so it’s easy to be detached and dispassionate. I guess you can say my take on hacking has changed. I was going to say “evolved,” but “changed” is more dispassionate.
So, about a year ago, the Houston Astros announced their internal player database had been breached. This week, more details emerged, pointing right at the St. Louis Cardinals.
It wasn’t a terribly sophisticated attack. You knew I’d write about this, but I’ll explore it from an IT security perspective more than from a baseball perspective.
The fourth and final ’35 I bought (so far I hope) from Dugout in Webster Groves featured four men who had the misfortune of suffering through the entire Boston Braves 1935 season. All are rather obscure and information about of them was difficult to come by.
“I had a Babe Ruth like that,” the owner said as I flipped through his ’35s, picking out the best condition cards from among the duplicates. My ears perked up. “Really?” I said, mishearing the “had.”
“Yeah, that sold fast.”
Disappointment stings. Of course, the guys on this card knew all about that.
My sixth ’35 featured four Giants players. I didn’t realize at first what a good card it was, that it featured four All-Stars and not one but two Hall of Famers. Bill Terry was the obvious one, but it’s easy to forget how good the Giants were then given that Terry and Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell towered over the rest of the team.
As I mentioned before, four of my cards came in a single visit to a local baseball card shop. The nicest card in terms of condition that I bought in that four-card batch featured Hall of Fame pitcher Dazzy Vance, so overall it was probably the best card out of the batch as well.
Vance is the only Hall of Famer on this card, but the other three players certainly had interesting careers, even though 1935 wasn’t necessarily a highlight year for any of them.
After the Royals won the Wild Card game and officially ended their postseason drought, I thought of a novel way to celebrate it: Celebrate their badness.
After all, there are people who celebrate the 1962 Mets, and between 1986 and 2013 the Royals had quite a few players who wouldn’t have been good enough for the 1962 Mets, so why not?
So I dredged up the memories of those players I’ve tried to forget, so I could buy baseball cards of them.
I tried to write the day it happened. I couldn’t write anything that made any sense. Mostly I sat and stared. I told myself when the Royals made the Wild Card, I’d be happy with whatever happened, because it was postseason baseball for the first time in 29 years.
But as they kept hanging on and steamrolling opponents, I got greedy. And it’s hard to feel guilty for getting greedy. Because I don’t know when this will happen again.