Descent into Quarter Bin Madness
February 8th, 2011 by slangon

I told you about how the 6 Cards for $5 bin at my local card shop has been replaced in my heart with an honest to goodness Quarter Bin. A few weeks ago, I made a return trip and dropped a whopping $5 on some cards from within its creased, stained and generally disreputable confines. Here’s a bucks worth.

All 4 of these beauties come from the 1973 set, and are sort of high-ish numbers, all in the 500’s and 600’s. 1973 happens to be the last year that Topps released their cards in series, thus creating harder to find high numbered cards. They resurrected the practice in the last few years, releasing their cards in 2 series (3 series if you count Updates / Traded / Highlights) but it doesn’t have the same impact since there doesn’t seem to be any difference in scarcity between any of the series.

I’m not sure exactly how the series were broken up for the ’73 set, but there were 5 checklist cards in the set. Those checklists were broken in to cards 1-132, cards 133-264, cards 265-396, cards 397-528 and cards 529-660. In the 1960 set, the checklists are set to correspond to different series, but I don’t know if Topps continued that practice or not. If that is the case, all 4 of these cards fall into the 4th or 5th series.

#502 Bobby Valentine

Out of the 4 of these cards, this one might be my favorite, just because Bobby V. is one of my favorite Mets managers of all time. Not only was he the last manager to take the team to the World Series, but he tried to sneak back into the dugout after being ejected while wearing a fake mustache. How could you not love a guy who tried to pull that off? Even if this weren’t Bobby Valentine, I might make a case for it being my favorite of the bunch just because of that photo. That’s one hell of a cut that he took. After a bit of investigation, however, I think it’s more apt to say that’s one hell of a whiff. This photo is definitely from 1973, since Bobby played for the Dodgers in ’72. I guess that’s what happens when the card is from Series 4. It also seems that the Angels are playing the White Sox, judging by that little slice of powder blue and red uniform peeking out from the lower right side. Bobby played in 4 games against Chicago that year and went a combined 0-16 with 4 strikeouts. He did have 1 sacrifice fly in those 4 games, so maybe he did connect.

#530 Jim Kaat

Thinking about it, if the first card weren’t Bobby Valentine, this one would be my favorite out of the 4. I love cards of pitchers where they’re shown at bat rather than one the mound. What makes this one extra cool is that it’s an American League pitcher. I would assume that means that this photograph is from the prior season, since 1973 is when the American League adopted the designated hitter rule. Old Jim actually is a pretty good choice for having a batting photo. In 1972 he hit .289 with 3 doubles and 2 home runs in 45 at bats. That gives him a .489 slugging percentage. Not too shabby. By the way, 1973 Topps happens to be one of my favorite sets and a lot of that has to do with the silhouetted¬†player. Topps used a different color circle behind the silhouette for each position. Yellow was for managers, green was outfield, and I think orange was for catcher, to name a few. I never noticed this before, but they actually used a different color to differentiate right handed pitchers from southpaws. Lefties have the blue circle whereas righties have a red one. Of course they also flipped the little pitcher to match.

#545 Orlando Cepeda

I don’t know if this is coincidence or not, but there’s been a bunch of 1973 cards that I’ve gotten that have made me surprised to learn that a certain player played for a certain team. Or I guess made me surprised to learn that a certain player didn’t play with a certain team for his entire career. I had no idea that Orlando Cepeda wasn’t a lifelong Giant. Of course after looking it up, I now know that he actually played for 6 different teams. Before I got this card showing him as an Athletic, I hadn’t the foggiest notion, though. This also happened to me with Luis Aparicio, who I thought was a lifelong White Sox (White Sock?). Next you’ll tell me that Harmon Killebrew wasn’t always a Senator/Twin. By the way, Orlando, excellent chops.

#611 Rich Coggins / Jim Wohlford / Richie Zisk

I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think that I like Topps old habit of ganging up a bunch of rookies onto one card. I think. I’m sure I’ve complained about it in the past claiming that it’s annoying to the team set collector who just wants to get his Ed Kranepool Rookie Stars card, but ends up having to shell out Tony Oliva money for it. I still think that’s a little annoying, but in the end, you’ve got a Tony Oliva rookie. Luckily, there’s no such problem with this card. No sir. I paid Coggins/Wohlford/Zisk money for this card and Coggins/Wohlford/Zisk is what I got. The only thing I don’t like about these 1973 Rookie cards is that every time I see them I’m reminded that if I want to complete this set, which I do, I’ll eventually have to get card #615. As an aside, I don’t know when exactly the Pirates switched to those horrid painter caps, but those mustard yellow / black caps from the early 70’s were pretty damn awesome. If I were a Pirates fan, I’d sure as shootin’ get me one of them.

2 Responses to “Descent into Quarter Bin Madness”

  1. Wish my local shop had a bin like this. Nice finds, especially for a buck.

  2. when i was 7 or 8, Richie Zisk was playing for the Texas Rangers. After attending a Yankees game (Willie Randolph was my favorite), my parents let me stay after the game and see if I could get any autographs. And what do you know? Richie Zisk signed my baseball mitt. I cherished that thing!

Leave a Reply