Friday, February 22, 2019

1961 Topps Update, also Hank!!

Slowly but steadily I'm creeping up on the 1961 set. And I'm growing fonder of it every day. It's interesting in that it's sort of a 'transition' set in terms of my baseball memories. There are a lot of guys in the '58, '59, and even the '60 set (which I had a lot of as a kid) that were unfamiliar to me when I was acquiring the cards. The '62 set was one where I knew almost everyone on a card. The '61 is kind of in-between.

I'm at the point where knocking off needs is slow going. I'm at a little over 96% (566 of 587) but of the last 21 I need, 20 are high numbers. Those have been difficult. Not because they are hard to find, but because they are hard to find at a reasonable price. Some of them just seem to carry a premium for reasons I can't figure out. But I'll get it done. My goal is to finish before the end of the year.

Here is a look at the high numbers I nabbed off COMC earlier this year. It's just coincidental that all are pitchers. Not much to say about these other than they were all in pretty nice condition. '61s, in general, don't seem to show the wear that other sets from back in the day show.

Frank Baumann is wearing one of my favorite ball caps. I really like the S-O-X logo when it's got that red outline. Baumann, who split his career between the Red Sox and White Sox (with a few games with the Cubs to make it interesting), was the AL ERA leader in 1960.

Larry Jackson was a 5-time NL All-Star who led the league in wins in 1964. He was a politician and lobbyist in his native Idaho after baseball, once running for governor.

Barry Latman, according to Wikipedia, had to stop playing baseball for several years when he turned ten because his parents wanted him studying for his bar mitzvah. Indians had some sweet unis back then.

Don Cardwell was traded from the Phils to the Cubs on May 15, 1960. Two days later he pitched a no-hitter for the Cubs over the Cardinals.

Here's a guy who was new to me. Jim Archer had been an Orioles farm hand for years (I had no idea) before he was traded to the A's near Opening Day in '61. Topps had time to get his pic in KC gear for this last series card. He had a really nice rookie season in '61. He was among the top ten in several categories. He developed arm problems and had a brutal follow-up year in 1962 and was gone from the game soon after that. Like Larry Jackson, he dabbled in politics after he retired.

Bill Fischer was the guy who, as an off-season job, filled my Dad's car at the Flying A station on Flatbush Avenue while us kids sat in the backseat. OK, that's probably not true but I can see him doing that.

In truth, Fischer has a nine-year career with four clubs in the AL. He spent some time as a starter with the nats in the early 60s but did most of his work from the pen.

Saving the best for last....

Henry Aaron was the second to last star card I needed. I'm not counting the high number, Mays and Banks, All-Star cards.

That's Seals Stadium in San Francisco. Baseball unis don't get much better than those classic Braves' duds. Entering the '61 season Henry Aaron was 26 years old, just hitting his prime.  Just in case you were unaware...he's the all-time leader in RBIs and total bases. And in class.

Other than the two All-Stars the last star I need is Juan Marichal. The '61 is his rookie card, so you know how that goes. I have a handful of copies in an auction sniper bid group. Hopefully one of them falls to me.


  1. Some awesome cards there. I've always thought that '61s are really great and under-rated (when the player is actually wearing their cap that is!). That Aaron in particular is just awesome. Good luck with your quest for the remainder. I have a Marichal RC that I picked up for a few bucks years back at an antiques store. Would be happy to send it your way, but it has some paper loss on the back which I'm guessing would be a deal-breaker for your set condition-wise. If it isn't though feel free to hit me up and it's yours...

    1. Oh heck yes, I'll take it. I have a couple of those in various vintage sets. I list them as 'upgrades' but I'll never get around to doing it LOL Pop me an email and I'll return with my street address. Many Thanks!

      commishbob at gmail dot com

  2. As much as the red pins are nice, the Sox have overdone it with the mis 80's pajamas. They uni set from 51-63, the one on the Baumann is underused, only appearing as a throwback for a couple games a few years back. And it's the 2nd best set they ever had.

    In my opinion, hard to top 32-35:

  3. i like that yankee stadium background i think on the fischer card. that is a excellent card of AARON.

  4. That Aaron is gorgeous. Seal Stadium was demolished way before I came along, but I feel like I need to educate myself on its history since it's in my neck of the woods (well the location of where it was).

  5. Sounds like another set blog is on the horizon!