The 6-for-5 Bin Ate My Brain
March 20th, 2010 by slangon

This particular “pack” from the 6-for-5 bin is sort of extra-exciting for me. See, I’ve recently decided to officially collect the 1960’s Topps set and I was able to pull 5 cards that I needed out of the box. Now, I know that I’ve pulled 1960 cards out of there in the past, but those all came before I made my official decision to collect the set. Maybe that shouldn’t really matter, but somehow, as cool as it is to score some nice vintage cards that you’re not necessarily collecting, it’s much more gratifying to score some cards when you’re actively pursuing that particular set.

I also realize that I’ve made claims to having decided to collect the 1973 set, but that plan has gone on the back burner. One set at a time, I say. So without further ado, here’s the cards.

1960 Topps #414 Don Williams

I can’t be 100% sure about this, but I would imagine that by 1960 color photograph technology was pretty prevalent and accessible. Without looking at them, I’m pretty sure that every other card that I own from this set uses just straight up color photos for the large color portrait of the player. I know that color photography from that era has a pretty distinctive look to it when compared to color photographs from today. This picture of Don Williams, however does not seem to me to be an actual color photograph. It defiantly looks to be a colorized black and white photograph. I wonder if there’s some sort of connection between the curious choice of colorized photo and the fact that Don Williams only appeared in 11 games during his short 3 year career. He actually didn’t even pitch in the Majors in 1960. Did the Topps photographer just have a hard time tracking Don down?

1960 Topps #419 George Crowe

One thing that still throws me off a bit about collecting these older sets is the whole series thing. I know that up until 1973, Topps released all of its sets in smaller series, with the later series being a bit scarcer as buyers interest in baseball waned and interest in football increased. The one thing that I haven’t been able to get much info on for this set (or pretty much any other Topps vintage set for that matter) is what exactly were the series and which ones were scarce? There were 572 cards in the 1960 set and I know that like other Topps sets, the high numbered series are scarcer and therefore a bit more valuable. But what exactly constitutes a high number? Is this George Crowe (#419) and the above Don Williams (#414) considered high numbers? I’ve also heard the term semi-high number being thrown about. Do these fall into that category? It’s not that I’m concerned with these cards being more valuable because they’re high numbered. It’s more that since I’m going to collect this set, I know that crossing off as many high numbered cards as I can would make things easier for me down the road.

1960 Topps #122 Don Dillard Rookie Star

As someone who works in the graphic design industry, I spend a lot of time looking at baseball cards in that light. Like most old things, I always feel that designers back in the day spent more time and put more care into their product, so in a way I feel that studying these old cards can help make me a better designer. Sometimes, however there’s little details that I just don’t get and can’t stop thinking about once I notice them. I always thought these Rookie Star cards look really awesome, but I don’t get those weird black lines to the left and right of the portrait circle. Why don’t they go all the way around? Why is one thicker than the other? Is it supposed to be some sort of stylized shadow? Every time I look at one of these cards, that’s all I can see. I don’t get it.

1960 Topps #396 Steve Bilko

I kind of secretly like looking at cards that show guys who don’t really look like ball players, like Steve Bilko. I like making up little life stories in my head about them. I envision Steve driving a beer delivery truck somewhere in the mid-west, being on a local bowling team and enjoying backyard barbecues. Ironically, I see him liking football way more than baseball. He looks like a Packers fan.

1960 Topps #333 Danny McDevitt

Out of the 5 ’60 cards that I got in this batch, this one is certainly my favorite. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that one of the things I love about beat up old baseball cards is seeing the different ways that cards can become messed up. When I first grabbed this one out of the box, I initially thought it was just faded and had a weird ink stain or water stain or something down the middle. When I got home and was able to take a better look at it though I realized what really happened to this card. Apparently at some point in its existence some young lad or lass had their stack of baseball cards done up in pile and held securely together with a rubber band, as was the way back then, much to the chagrin of professional graders today. I guess at some point after being bound together in such a fashion, the stack of cards were left somewhere that they were exposed to sunlight for a long period of time leading to the ink being faded across the front, except where the rubber band was protecting the card from harmful UV rays. That’s a truly classic example of baseball card damage if you ask me.

Sadly, there were only 5 cards from the 1960 set that I needed in the box at the time, so I had to round out the 6 with something else, and that something else was…

1970 Topps #297 Curt Blefary

Holy crap! What the hell, Curt Blefary? What are you on? What is going on with your eyes? Where are your pupils? I’ve seen crazy dilated eyes in my day, but I ain’t never seen no pupils. You, sir, look like a freak. Actually, those eyes combined with the strange expression on his face plus the unibrow make him look like some weird zombie. A 1965 Rookie of the Year Zombie. Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, he was “nicknamed ‘Clank’ by Frank Robinson, in part for his below-average fielding abilities”. Classic Frank Robinson.

2 Responses to “The 6-for-5 Bin Ate My Brain”

  1. High numbers for the 1960 set are considered Nos. 507-572. Semi-high numbers are considered Nos. 441-506

  2. 1960 Topps is an awesome set, I’m going to try to work on it too. High numbers are different for every set, I’ll have to check the catalog for this set once I get home. High numbers aren’t as tough with 1960 as some other sets though.

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