Monday, July 28, 2008

1973 TCMA Drawings & Autographs

Back in the 1970s, dealers (and collectors?) Tom Collier and Mike Aronstein started producing cards under the acronym of their first and last names, TCMA. With hundreds of issues under their belt since then, the company's almost synonymous with "oddball." Well-known for their minor league team sets, they also used available baseball photos to remember plenty of retired sort-of-stars, fill out rosters of legendary teams like the 1927 Yankees, and even create issues that are more Americana than anything else.

Like many of TCMA's early sets, the 12-card 1973 Drawings & Autographs set is postcard-sized. The artist John Anderson drafted black-and-white portraits of each player for the front and probably added the autograph based on other examples. (This version of the Babe's signature connects the "B" and "a," something seen earlier in his career.)

All 12 players pictured died prior to the set's publication, some just months before. In fact, it's tempting to say that's what inspired the release, as a homage from baseball fans--or way to capitalize on the surge in interest. ( has the full checklist and what you might pay for singles.)

#3. Roberto Clemente d. 1972
#5. Pie Traynor d. 1972
#6. Frankie Frisch d. 1973
#11. Gil Hodges d. 1972
#12. Jackie Robinson d. 1972

Clemente was the only recent player, but most count him as a legitimate all-timer. Hodges is comparatively marginal--and not even a HOFer--but probably benefited from managing the Mets to their 1969 series win.

The back makes it easy to add your own story to the Babe's and pass it along to a friend. Not sure how many of these ended up stamped and mailed, but it'd be an interesting way to surprise someone with a trade in this day and age. If you posted one of these TCMAs by USPS or count them among your collection, let us know!

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