Thursday, October 22, 2015

Final Card - Warren Spahn

Here is the final card for hall-of-fame pitcher Warren Spahn  (#205). This card is one of three Spahn pieces in my collection. Spahn is featured as a player/coach, one of 3 cards in the 1965 set with that designation (Yogi Berra and Nellie Fox were the others).

Warren began his major-league career back in 1942, with the Boston Braves. After his rookie season, he missed 3 years to military service during World War II before returning to the Braves in 1946.

Spahn played for the Braves through the 1964 season, missing the Boston-Milwaukee-Atlanta trifecta by 2 years (something only accomplished by Eddie Mathews).

Spahn won 20 or more games 13 times, including a 6-year streak from 1956-61. He led the NL in wins 8 times, and his career high of 23 wins was achieved twice – in 1953 at age 32, and in 1963 at age 42! He won the Cy Young Award in 1957, and was the runner-up in '58, '60, and '61.

1965 was Warren’s last season, which he split between the Mets and Giants.

Warren was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973. He passed away in 2003 at age 82.

A few years ago, I was watching Bob Costas interview Willie Mays on the MLB Network, and the subject of a 16-inning duel in July 1963 between Spahn and Juan Marichal came up. Both pitchers went the distance, but at some point Giants’ manager Alvin Dark was going to lift Marichal from the game. The 25-year-old Marichal told Dark "See that guy on the mound? He's 42 years old. There's no way I'm coming out of this game before he does!"

Saturday, October 17, 2015


I know, I know. The last thing I need is another blog. And why 1965? Kevin has already done a great job with “The Great 1965 Topps Project”, completing that a few years ago.

In the past few months I decided to chase the 1965 Topps set. Prior to this year, I had about 100 of the cards. Here’s my 1965 back story:

1967 or 1968:
I only had the Stan Williams card and a badly-battered Deron Johnson card. I don’t know where I got them, since I wasn’t collecting 1965 cards then. Maybe they came from Billy across the street - he was a frequent trading partner for my brother and me in ’67 and ‘68. [Billy was my old army buddy, and by "army" I mean elementary-school backyard army. Did kids even play army in the 1970s and 1980s? They sure did in the 1960s. We had "Combat!" and "The Gallant Men" on TV every week, and Vietnam was not yet in the forefront of anyone’s mind. One of us (not me) even had the Johnny-7 One-Man Army (as mentioned by Sinbad in the movie "Jingle All the Way").]

Anyway, for all these years I assumed some kid penned-in the NY logo on Williams’ cap, until I saw his card on Kevin’s blog. It was also colored in! Good job, Topps!

Sometime in the 1980s, I set out to complete my 1967-1969 sets (all the high numbers), as well as all the Phillies cards from 1964 to the present. I met those goals, except for five 1967 high numbers and the 1973 Mike Schmidt rookie card. This increased my 1965 card total from 2 to a few dozen.

After being out of the hobby from 1993 to 2008, I jumped back in with 3 goals: resume collecting the Phillies' team sets, collect the 1966 Topps set (I only had the Phillies cards at that point), and get the "final cards" for any player in the 1962 through 1965 sets. Along with reaching the 85% mark for the 1966 set, I now had about 100 1965 cards.

Summer 2015: 
Frequent trips to the same local antiques store over the past 3 years have netted this and these. I noticed they also had a lot of reasonably-priced cards from the 1960s, so I put together my 1965 want list and hit that store several times in the past few months. I now have over 230 of the cards (40%). Last week, the set graduated from my 1960-65 binder to its own binder.

Going Forward:
Although this blog’s appearance is the same as my other blogs, I’m not sure what the content of each post will be yet. Kevin has already reviewed each player’s career in his blog – maybe I will take a different approach. I think for now I will focus on players who do not have cards in any post-1965 set.