When it comes to my sets, I sleeve them and keep them in 3-ring binders. My 1952 set build effort is not exception. I view the Topps base set as a sort of year book, or almanac, for every major league season. A historical record that should be looked at and enjoyed. That's not easily done when they're kept in the rectangle boxes. Prior to starting this '52 set, I didn't even know there were 8-pocket pages to sleeve these slightly over-sized cards in. Having now completed and sleeved the first 310 cards (plus 2 high numbers), I find the 8-pocket pages to be very aesthetically pleasing, and thought I would try to share how it came out. So here's a look:
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Sunday, February 21, 2021
#261 Willie Mays
Progress: 1st of this card
311 of 407 76.2% complete
How acquired: Purchased on eBay
I used to buy Beckett Monthly in the 1980's. Not every month, but a couple times a year depending who was on the cover and whether or not my brother or one of the other kids on the street had already purchased the latest issue. One of the things we would do was highlight the cards we had. We would also highlight the cards we wanted to one day have. We'd sit around trading '86 Fleer and the like, and debate the greatest cards of all-time and the ones we coveted most. This 1952 Willie Mays was about as big as I could dream. The ridiculously unobtainable one that I never really expected to own a copy of. Yet here it sits in my hand. It felt so surreal at first that I actually re-submitted it to PSA for a second authentication, I just couldn't believe I actually owned a copy.
Willie was my father's favorite player growing up. When he told my brother and I of Willie's greatness, it wasn't presented in a subjective manner. Mays was the greatest of all-time, the greatest there had ever been, and no one would ever be greater. Who was I to argue? I just looked at the handful of Mays cards that had survived in my father's collection with awe and felt lucky to have them under my roof. A '61 Topps being the oldest of the bunch.
Another surreal aspect of this card, is what it represents for purposes of my 1952 Topps collection. This Mays completes the run of cards #1-310. When I started this blog, I didn't think I'd ever come anywhere close to that. I'm well aware that there are another 97 cards in the set, but I'm not going to focus on them. I feel accomplished enough with the first five series in the books.
I purchased Mays back in 2017 and am just posting it now. You may have noticed the images above are little different from how they normally are on this blog. It's because that Mays sits inside a PSA cage. When I bought it, it was the most I had ever spent on a card. I had gone so far to create an excel spreadsheet and had been tracking eBay sales of it for about six months before bidding on this one. Despite it's large price (about a car payment), based on my numbers I felt like I had picked it up for a very good price. I don't usually spend more than $20 to $50 on a card, and even that is extremely rare. I hate PSA slabs, or any slab, I think they're a scam. But for resale purposes, there is no denying most buyers like them. So I've debated for the last four years as to whether or not I should crack this Mays out of it's plastic tomb. Over time, I've watched the price explode. It's regularly selling for 10x what I paid.
One day, my card collection will get passed down and in all likelihood sold. That's fine. My daughter doesn't need to share my enthusiasm for this hobby and there is no reason my cards should take up space as unwanted relics in someone else's closet. When that day comes, I hope to make it as easy as possible for her to cash in what I have. So this Mays is going to stay slabbed. My apologies to Willie, this card deserves to breath free. Hopefully it's next owner will be braver than I am.
Stats: 22 Seasons, 2x NL MVP, 20x All-Star, 12x Gold Glover, Rookie of the Year, 660 Home Runs, 3,187 hits, .302 career avg.
Saturday, December 7, 2019
#314 Roy Campanella
Progress: 1st of this card
310 of 407 76.2% complete
How acquired: Sent as an extremely generous gift from a reader
This Campanella was sent to me by a reader of this blog, who only asked for a few '73 Topps set build needs in return. I'm a little blown away by the gesture. It's also my first high number card from this set, even if you can't tell just by looking at it, due to the three in "314" no longer being visible on the back. I'd be lying if I said I don't get a little bit of an extra thrill from having a high number in hand. So a huge thank you to the individual who sent it. I have been embarrassingly slow in getting out a package of '73 Topps to him, really a trivial return for a card like this, but still have a mounting stack that will eventually find their way into a mailbox.
I don't think "Campy," needs much of an introduction. On the short list when it comes to the subject of "Greatest Catcher of All-Time," the three time MVP helped lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to five NL Pennants and a World Series title before having his career cut short by a tragic automobile accident. While his career is pretty well documented, I was somewhat surprised to see that in his lone pitching appearance in the Negro League, Campanella threw a complete game and picked up a win. Also worth noting for it's absurdity, "Campy" wasn't let into Cooperstown until his 7th year on the ballot. Even when he finally was inducted along with Stan Musial in 1969, he barely squeaked in with just 79.4% of the vote. That remains a blackeye for the BBWAA as far as I'm concerned.
I haven't posted anything new on this blog since April of 2018. I am sitting on one more new addition, and it's a big one, but I've just been unsure how I want to post it, and what to do next as far as future post. I hadn't intended to pursue the high numbers in this set orignally. But two things have happened. One, the low end high numbers in this set have dropped in price significantly over the last two years. For a long time they never showed up for under a $100, no matter how beat up they were. Now they're routinely going in the $40-60 range, which is still obscene, but I may be able to swing 2 or 3 a year. And two, on the other end of my set building, 1970's high numbers have been going up in price. While $40-60 for a single card isn't really something I can stomach, $5-10 a card for common '72 high numbers can also add up fast. So I'm not sure which direction I'll go. A third option is to focus on 1953 Topps (an effort I also have blog for, that despite a huge backlog of new pick-ups, hasn't been updated in over a year). I'll probably just go scatter shot and not finish anything off.
Stats: 10 seasons, 3x NL MVP, 8x All-Star, 5x NL Pennants, 1954 World Series Ring
Inducted into The Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Progress: none, 2nd of this card
How acquired: $4.99 on eBay
At first glance, this card appears to be in much better condition than my first copy of Hank Arft. However, my collecting taste, or probably more accurately, my collecting tics, fall a little bit outside of the mainstream. While I can deal with the paper loss on the back, that little clipping in the upper left just irritates me to no end. To the point that I opted to keep my fist copy in the '52 binder I have going and relegate this one to my duplicates pile. I'm also of the opinion that this card was likely trimmed along it's edges at some point.
Stats: 5 seasons, 229 hits, 13 home runs
Here's a side by side of the two copies: