There's no sense dragging this out, so I'll just say it: after well over a decade of frantically combing the waters, MY WHITE WHALE HAS BEEN SPEARED!!!!!!!
This white whale in question, as I've said many times on the blog before, is a 1952 Topps high-number rookie of Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm (all the buzzwords that basically say this is a really, REALLY expensive card). Hoyt, of course, is the man behind my most prominent player collection, and his '52 rookie has stood at the very top of my want list for years.
The Hoyt (like many of the high points of my collection) was gifted to me this afternoon out of the blue from my dad -- The Greatest Dad Ever -- and I think this'll go on record as The Greatest Surprise in the Entire History of Surprises for as long as I live.
The copy he bought was graded, and you know what I do with graded cards...
...I immediately bust them out of those horrid plastic cases, because baseball cards are meant to be touched and experienced, not observed.
And all I can say is: my god, it's every bit as beautiful as I thought it'd be.
I'd like to say I always knew that I'd eventually own a '52 Hoyt, but I honestly don't know if that's true. Beat-up copies don't come on the market very often, and even those go for north of $500 in most cases. I long ago resigned any hope of owning one in good shape -- they routinely sell for four-figure sums. My dad, like me, has constantly scoured the internet over the years, looking for a worn copy of the white whale without much luck.
That is, until last week, when he stumbled upon a copy with a fairly well-conditioned front...
...and a written-on back.
For my money, I'll take writing on the back over just about any condition flaw in the hobby. While I love card backs, my collection is displayed front side-up in my binders, and that's really the selling point for me.
The day has been such a whirlwind so far, and even as I type this, I'm still not quite convinced that my dad gave me a '52 Hoyt this afternoon, that there's a '52 Hoyt sitting in my binder right now, that there's a '52 Hoyt in my house at this very moment. I can say and type it all I want, but it still feels like a far-off fantasy.
At this point, there's really one thing left to do: the thing I've wanted to do each and every second of the last twelve years of my life...
...and that's to show off what is now a COMPLETE TOPPS SET OF HOYT WILHELM, from 1952 all the way up to '72 (though Topps completely left him out of their '55 checklist, for some reason).
From the Giants to the Cardinals to the Indians to the Orioles to the White Sox to the Angels to the Braves to the Cubs to the Dodgers, I have them all -- all the Hoyts are mine.
After he'd given me the Hoyt, my dad asked me what my next white whale was going to be. And I honestly had no answer, because Hoyt had been the only white whale I've ever known: I don't remember a time when it didn't represent the ultimate chase in this hobby, when it hadn't sat at the cloudy mountaintop of my ideal collection.
So, for posterity, I'd like to let it be known that on September 20th, 2017, I officially speared what was and always will be my ultimate white whale: a 1952 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm rookie card.
I love you, Dad -- and who the heck knows what I'd be doing without you and this wonderful hobby you've passed down to me.