Friday, November 5, 2010

Hidden in my Collection - 1973 Topps Willie Mays

As far as I know, this is the third different Willie Mays card that I have in my collection. I have his 1955 Topps, 1962 Topps and this one. I think. Maybe. You see, this is one of the huge drawbacks with moving from a 2-story house to a 2-bedroom apartment, you kind of lose track of where you have things stored. Anyway, I have another copy of this card in my 1973 Topps set, which I completed maybe 2 years ago. Seems like forever ago.
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I really like this card, not because the '73 set is a favorite of mine. Lets face it, it is not the best looking set that was produced, I'd even rank it in the bottom 10 of Topps flagship offerings. The set is good in that you can get Mike Schmidt's rookie card, and the above shown Willie Mays, which is his last Topps Flagship card.
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We all know and love Mays as a Giant. He won the World Series with the Giants in 1954 and moved west with them to San Francisco after the 1957 season. This card, to me, could be a shining example of a player who may have held on too long. I'm a huge fan of identifying a player with one team (Gehrig with the Yankees; Ted Williams with the Red Sox; Brooks Robinson with the Orioles), but it is always strange to me seeing some of the legendary players' last (or close to last) cards which feature them in a different uniform. I had no idea until I looked at his stats that Frank Robinson played a season for the Dodgers. How many of you remember that Mike Piazza played 8 games for the Marlins? Or that Hank Aaron finished his career as a Brewer?
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The look on Mays' face on this card tells a story as well. If you look, you don't see the face of the Giant amongst men who amazed the masses in Center Field at the Polo Grounds or Candlestick Park. You see the face of a man who is just about done. Holding on for one more season as the glory days of the past fade. I see the face of a man who knows that his time in the game is just about through.
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I really like this card. It is by far one of my favorites, because I can look at the card and Willie Mays' weathered face; the odd-looking uniform and see much more than a guy holding a bat. The card and the photo depicted on the front tells an awesome story.
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