Thursday, May 31, 2012
Scratching the surface
I have a new favorite 2012 card.
Featured on card number 233 in this year's Topps Archives set is none other than Oscar Gamble himself. I am ecstatic that I was able to snag a copy of this card for my collection since it's a short-print.
And we all know how aggravating those can be.
I'm fairly certain that this particular shot of Gamble is from his second stint with the Bronx Bombers, by which time his famous Afro was out of style.
No matter, though. The fact that it's a card of Oscar Gamble is enough.
Before Archives came out, the most recent card I had of Gamble was his '05 Fan Favorites issue. Seven years is way too long of a gap between Oscar Gamble cards.
That's why I'm on the prowl for a good number of Archives SPs. Guys like Ed Kranepool, Dave Kingman, and Luis Tiant have been ignored in the hobby for too long.
I know I bring this topic up a lot on the blog. Regular readers know that while greats such as Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle are among my favorite players to ever play the game, I'm getting sick of seeing ten different cards of them in every single product.
I could rattle off a list of dozens of players I'd like to see in future sets.
But here's a few that I came up with off the top of my head. Perhaps you've got a few of your own.
There are a total of just five Lyman Bostock cards in my collection.
Only one of those comes from after his playing days.
Tragically, Bostock was killed in a case of mistaken identity in 1978. While he only played in the bigs for four years, it was apparent that he would've gone on to have a fantastic career.
He hit .311 during his brief time in the majors.
I've already mentioned Wilbur Wood a good number of times on this blog.
It's one of my favorite names in history. It sounds so 1800's.
Like Gamble (pre-Archives), the most recent card of his also comes from a Fan Favorites set.
At times, Wood's stats are confounding. His 376 2/3 innings pitched in 1972. His 24-20 record in '73. League leader in games pitched every year from 1972 to 1975.
How could Topps ignore someone with credentials like those?
As far as hitters go, Topps represents the "live ball era" well.
Sluggers such as Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx are well-represented.
Pitchers from that era are almost non-existent, though. One of the better pitchers during that time was Carl Hubbell, who famously struck out five consecutive future-HOFers in the 1934 All-Star game. (While I wish it were real, the above Goudey card is a reprint.)
Yet he hasn't had a licensed card since 2005.
This is the biggest one for me.
I would absolutely love to see some sort of special base or insert set dedicated to turn-of-the-century baseball.
The above card comes from the staggeringly beautiful 1994 Origins of Baseball box set, one of the best "impulse buys" I ever made. (And I would've never known about it had it not been for the blogosphere.)
It's a shame that this is the only card of "Sliding Billy" Hamilton in my collection. He's still third on the all-time stolen base leaderboard a century later, with 914 career swipes.
Topps snuck guys like Frank Chance and "Wee Willie" Keeler into their recent Topps 206 offerings, but that barely scratched the surface.
Will Topps ever stray away from guys like Mantle or Gehrig? Who knows. Probably not while they've still got a stranglehold on the baseball card industry, at least.
"Big names" like Ruth or Wagner only begin to tell the tale of baseball history. There's still a whole lot more out there.
It's something I hope Topps realizes in the near future.