Saturday, December 6, 2008
1977 Topps Rookie Cards
I think almost everyone as a kid had a friend who was what parents would call "a bad influence." I had one. He served as the devil on my shoulder, telling me I should do things that I kind of thought weren't right, but went ahead and did anyway.
Now, I was in sixth grade at the time, so we weren't breaking the law or anything. All we did was collect baseball cards, 1977 Topps baseball cards to be exact. And my "bad influence" thought it would be a great idea to collect all of the four-picture rookie cards that Topps issued back in the mid-to-late '70s and cut the cards up, so that we had four little mini-cards. What could be better? You take one card and end up with four cards! That's quadrupling your output!
I was hesitant at first, but after I saw the results, I thought they looked cool. And I couldn't wait to collect the rest of the rookie cards in the set and cut them to bits, too.
After the carnage was over, I had a tidy little stack of 64 super-mini cards, no more than a couple inches wide. I tied them together with a rubber band and took them everywhere I went.
I mean it, we cut up every single card. Dale Murphy rookie card? Cut up. Andre Dawson rookie card? Cut up. Jack Clark rookie card? Cut up. Tony Armas? Lee Mazzilli? Steve Kemp? Len Barker? Cut. Cut. Cut. Cut.
Through the magic that is the computer and simple cropping, you can see what these hand-crafted mini-cards looked like.
I kind of like the black line separating the photo from the type. A nice touch, don't you think?
Of course, I don't really mean that. For years, I couldn't believe that I could be that dumb, and I blamed my friend for leading me to the dark side once again.
I recovered only a few of those 1977 cards intact. I do have the Dawson rookie card again, although it's fairly beat up. I have the Dale Murphy card and the Scott McGregor rookie card. And if anyone cares, I also have the Len Barker-Randy Lerch-Greg Minton rookie card.
But there are so many of the cards that are gone for good, because I tossed out those mini-cards the year after making them, basically because I didn't care about them anymore.
One day I will try collecting the 1977 Topps set, and when I get, say, to card No. 490, which features Bill Almon and Mickey Klutts, it will be the first time I will have looked at that card in my hands since my fingers were wrapped around a pair of scissors, and I was cutting that cardboard to bits.
Posted by night owl at 2:36 PM
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What a charming memory. It's amazing what kids will do with scissors if given a chance. My wife still bemoans the day her little brother cut off all the hair from her Barbie dolls. Dolls which might be priceless today (if they'd never been played with, been kept in their original packaging, etc).
So I gather from this 2001 Topps Archives Andre Dawson rookie card ( http://aardvarktradingco.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/dawson_andre_2001_topps_archives_077_77no473.jpg ) that your friend landed a job in the art department at Topps.
I have a friend who did that to 1957 Topps Football cards. They were a horizontal design with headshots on one side and an action photo on the other. Nice white line dividing them down the middle. Unitas rookie? Cut in half. Bart Starr Rookie? One card became two. He still has the pieces though, and I spent a day several years ago putting them into card pages so they looked whole again.
I collected football cards with my best friend in the mid-70's. He probably has a similar story about me. Although he went along with it I'm sure he was wincing everytime I pulled the scissors out, or...a pen. As you know, by the time the cards came out the following year there were cases where a player was since traded so his card was for his old team. Well, fancying myself the artiste I would, in my best penmanship, cross off the old team name and put his new team name on the card. And...since helmet logos were airbrushed out back then, I would take a ball point pen (nice, eh?) and draw the team logo in the helmet as best as a 3rd grader could do.
Luckily I didn't attack too many of them before I wised up, or he showed me the error of my ways. Of course I do regret the damage I caused, but when I go back and look at my cards and come across a Pete Athas marked up with his new Vikings team I manage to crack a smile.
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