I Actually Finished a Vintage Set, Sort Of
January 11th, 2012 by slangon

Yesterday, I had showed off a 1969 Topps Deckle Edge card of Hall of Famer Ron Santo that I got from Reader Jim. Considering how easy it was for me to track down some other cards from that set, I was always a little surprised at how hard it was for me to finally acquire that particular card. Since getting that card, I was able to track down 2 more that I needed to finally polish this set off, kind of.

Since the Santo card had put me so close to the end, I decided to just troll eBay to try and put the final nails in this sets coffin and I found a very intriguing lot. I happened to have the last 2 numbers that I needed, plus 2 other that I already had. Normally, it kind of drives me nuts to buy cards that I already own, but the price of this lot was probably lower than what I would pay for the 2 that I needed individually, so I bit.

First the 2 cards that I did not need.

1969 Topps Deckle Edge #11 Hoyt Wilhelm

First up is the first relief pitcher ever inducted into the Hall of Fame and one of only 3 knuckleballers to achieve that honor. “Old Sarge” spent 21 years in the Majors, playing for the New York Giants, Cardinals, Indians, Orioles, White Sox, Angels, Braves, Cubs and Dodgers. He hit one home run in those 21 years, off of the unforgettable Dick Hoover.

1969 Topps Deckle Edge #32 Juan Marichal

Sticking with the Hall of Fame theme, this lot also included the Dominican Dandy, Juan Marichal. During a six year span form 1963-1968, he won 133. For you math whizzes out there, that’s an average of 22 wins per season. For 6 seasons. He won 25 or more games in 1963, 1966 and 1968, but never even sniffed a Cy Young Award thanks to the fact that each one of those years happened to coincide with an even more dominant performance by wither Sandy Koufax (’63 and ’66) or Bob Gibson (1968). The salt in the wound is that all three of those years, Sandy and Bob got 100% of the ballot, so Juan can’t even claim to have come in second in the voting. Oddly enough, this is the 3rd copy of this card that I’ve gotten.

As I mentioned, I already have both of those, so if anyone is interested in either on (or both) drop me a line.

Now onto the ones that I needed.

1969 Topps Deckle Edge #4 Carl Yastrzemski

I don’t know why I keep insisting on telling you about these guys. I kind of assume that if you need to be told about Yaz, you’re probably not reading a baseball card blog. Ahh, screw it. Let’s see if we can find something weird to say about old Carl. Less see. We all know the accolades that he racked up throughout his career. Let’s take a look at some of the, uh, more dubious records he holds. Apparently he hold the record for most hits in a career without ever getting 200 hits in a season. That seems a little backhanded. He has the lowest batting average of any Batting Champ. He won the A.L. Batting Title in 1968 with a measly .301 (although that was during what many consider the second dead-ball era). He twice lead the league in grounding into double plays (1962 & 1964). On top of all that, he’s been (half-jokingly) blamed for ruining the swing of thousands of New England boys who tried to emulate his unorthodox batting stance. Way to go, Carl.

And finally…

1969 Topps Deckle Edge #27 Roberto Clemente

This just in from the “Holy Crap! I Never Knew That” Department: Apprently Clemente was originally signed by the Dodgers in 1952 and let him get away in the 1954 Rule 5 Draft. Can you imagine that? Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Sandy Koufax, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Johnny Podres, Clem Labine, all on the same team. What’s even crazier is that according Buzzie Bavasi, who was the Dodgers GM at the time, the Dodgers had no room for him on the roster. They really just signed him to prevent the cross-town Giants from having Clemente and Mays in the same out field.

So now I have 33 different 1969 Topps Deckle Edge cards. And as you can see by the back of Willie Mays’ card, he’s the last one in the set, or “No. 33 of 33 Photos”.

So if I have 33 of these cards, why do I keep saying things like “I actually finished a vintage set, sort of” and “…polish this set off, kind of“? Well, there are in fact 33 different numbered cards in this set, but it turns out that there are 2 different versions of numbers 11 and 22. You can find either Hoyt Wilhelm or Jim Wynn parked in spot number 11, and either Rusty Staub or Joe Foy in number 22. The fact that I already have Rusty Staub and now 2 Hoyt Wilhelms, and I didn’t break the bank on either one, I’m going to guess that Jim Wynn and Joe Foy are some kind of short printed variation. Apparently partway through the baseball card season, Topps ditched Wilhelm and Staub in favor of Wynn and Foy, but because it happened closer to the end of the year, the Wynn and Foy cards are much harder to find. I’ve found a myriad of sources that point out the reasoning behind it. Even such a bastion of investigative card journalism as theĀ Topps Archives seems to be unclear on the matter.

So now that begs the question: Do I consider my self done with this set, or do I go after the final 2 pieces of the puzzle? Normally I don’t drive myself nuts trying to track down every variation of every card I’m trying to collect. Hell, I even consider my 2008 Goudey set complete even though I only have like 3 cards about #200. In the case of this set though, I think I will carry on and try and find those last 2, no matter how short printed they are. I mean, after all, it is only 2 cards, right?

2 Responses to “I Actually Finished a Vintage Set, Sort Of”

  1. Good luck. Hopefully those last two cards aren’t too rare/expensive.

  2. Those last two cards shouldn’t be all that tough. I got them both with little effort.

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