Author Archives: Shawn V

Searching for Dusty Baker: Completing the 1971 Topps Baseball Set

Summer of ’71

What began in the early summer of 1971 finally came to fruition on a cold March day in 2017. Baseball card collecting began when I was six. Our newspaper boy graciously offered his small collection of 1971 Topps baseball cards to me. There was about 50 cards in all. I studied them and took them to “show and tell”. I took them everywhere I went, as such, they never had a chance to be in mint condition.

1971 Topps

A few of the original 50 cards given to me.

I never worried too much about the condition of the cards I acquired for this set. Over the years, I had picked up some of  the well-known players from the 1971 Topps set as well as “lots” of 50 or 100 cards here and there. I really began to think about completing the 1971 set in the mid 2000’s when I realized I had about 2/3 of the set.

The Men in Black: 1971 Topps Baseball Set

Collecting 2/3 of this set was really just the beginning of putting this set together as I would learn. Much has been written in the collectibles universe about the 1971 Topps Baseball Set and I can tell you that it is all true. The black borders, hi numbers, seven series, short prints, all lend a dynamic to the collecting of this set that adds fun and frustration. Hence the dozen or so years to wrap up the task of completing the set.

1971 Topps

The 1971 Topps Baseball Set was recently featured in Sports Collectors Digest.

The entire project was hastened, thanks to Mrs. V. Every birthday or Christmas, Mrs. V would  contribute to the collection. Exchanging cash for cardboard went against every fiber in her body. But loves overcomes and she was a major contributor to the completion of the 1971 Topps Baseball Set.

Dusty Baker/Don Baylor rookie card number 709

Whenever you complete a set of sports cards, you never know what card will be the last one needed. For me it happened to be the Dusty Baker/Don Baylor rookie card number 709. It was a rookie card, a hi number, and a short print. I needed about 15 cards to wrap up the set so I attended the Philadelphia Sportscard and Memorabilia Show on March 4. Those reasons I mentioned above for taking a dozen years to complete this set surfaced at this convention. I had to visit about 20 dealers until I finally tucked away the last card needed.

My set would grade fair to good overall. As I was looking over the completed set, I noticed I had two Frank Johnson cards in my album.

1971 Topps

My system was flawed. These are duplicates purchased…after I already owned them.

1971 Topps

One of my pages has two Frank Johnson cards. That throws the entire album off by one. It upsets me just to type this.

His card is number 128, that would mean moving over 600 cards back one slot. Well, guess what? That extra card is staying put. Every time you glance incorrectly at one of these black border beauties, a fleck of the black border comes off.

1971 Topps

I found this card on the street. It is more brittle than a Dead Sea Scroll found in a Bedouin Cave.

I have a few 1959 Topps baseball cards…But I am certain…Mrs.V is not ready for that pursuit. That would be even older cardboard.

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A Kodak Pocket Camera and My First Trip to Shea

New York City-July 16, 1977

The following photos were taken with a Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera. My father had received it free from a Domino’s Sugar promotion in the early 70’s.

Kodak Pocket

Kodak Pocket Instamatic. Free from Domino’s Sugar.

The quality of the photos bear out the “freeness” of the camera.

July 16th,1977 was my first trip to Shea Stadium to see the New York Mets. Their opponent was the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates had Willie Stargell and were still two years from the 1979 “We Are Family” world championship team. The Mets were one month removed from the “Midnight Massacre” when they traded “The Franchise” Tom Seaver. There had been a Blackout in NYC two days earlier and less than a month later David Berkowitz, known as Son of Sam, would be arrested for a string of shootings and murders in New York City.

Here a few photos from that trip to Shea Stadium.

Taken w/ Kodak Pocket Camera

Shea Stadium

Behind Shea Stadium scoreboard. My excitement as I approached Shea was insane.

Shea Stadium

View between stands and scoreboard.

Shea Stadium

Exterior blue and orange panels.

Shea Stadium

Shea Stadium scoreboard. It looked just like it did on WOR-TV Channel 9. “Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one”.

Shea Stadium

From 1st base stands. Yellow wooden seats and Ed Kranepool at 1st base. Believe me…that’s him.

Shea Stadium

Everyone needs a haircut.

Shea Stadium

Center field view. Willie, Mickey, Joe D, and the Duke. FBI enhancement would not help this photo.

Shea Stadium

3rd base stands.

Kodak Pocket Instamatic

Stands are cut straight as an arrow and Mr Met is lower left. See his head..left of the pill box cap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Small Gallery of Vintage Football Helmets

A Word About Football Helmets

A number of years ago, we ventured west, to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. What follows are a few photos of football helmets that were on display at the Hall of Fame. The evolution of the signature piece of a football player’s protective equipment is quite remarkable . Knit caps could be regarded as the first type of protective headgear. We now have scientifically designed battle ready headgear with wireless radios that resembles nothing of the helmets of the early years. Is that good or bad? Every so often, a voice or two, will be heard suggesting a softer, more leather like, football helmet. I enjoy reading such opinions but they usually fade into the internet abyss. Here is an article that is fascinating in regards to a possible new helmet technology that actually makes the helmet collapsible. Time will tell.

Gallery from the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Football Helmets

Dante Lavelli–Cleveland Browns–1946 thru 1956.

Football Helmets

Lou Creekmur—Detroit Lions—1950’s.

Football Helmets

Early 60’s Patriot Helmet—AFL.

 

Football Helmets

Buffalo Bill’s mid 60’s Helmet. Times have changed. Billy Shaw played with this Cracked Helmet.

Football Helmets

Green Bay–Classic Single Bar Facemask.

Football Helmets

Tony Canadeo–Green Bay–1941 to 1952.

Football Helmets

Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Oldest Football and a Turn of the Century Helmet.

Football Helmets

Lots of Destruction Represented in Chuck Bednarik’s Helmet.

Football Helmets

Display says it all. “A Victim of Violent Combat”.

Football Helmets

Doak Walker–Detroit Lions–Suspension Helmet.

A football helmet is a very personal and individualistic piece of equipment. A player will strategize in a helmet. A player communicates, recovers, protects himself, gathers himself, and lastly, a player insulates himself in a helmet. A few helmets are immediately identifiable just by their essence. Such helmets belonging to Peyton Manning, Terry Bradshaw, Garo Yepremian, Jim Otto, and Eric Dickerson are easily recognizable. Some are not so identifiable but still hold the same personal and protective attributes, just not as well-known.

Football Helmets

Football Helmets thru the Years.

Football Helmets

Willie Lanier–Specially Padded–1960’s.

Fun and Informative Resources

My personal collection is small, I was late to the helmet game. I have been collecting a helmet from each decade of the 20th century as a timeline of the football helmet.

Football Helmets

I wanted this—C.1948 LOS ANGELES RAMS PROFESSIONAL MODEL GAME WORN HELMET WITH ORIGINAL PAINTED BY FRED GEHRKE. Sold for $9,532 in Jan 2017 SCP Auction.

Football Helmets

But Mrs. V let me get this—1960’s MacGregor Football Helmet E69G Large Los Angeles Rams—$39.99 on Ebay.

There are wonderful resources on the Internet such as:

The Helmet Hut and the AntiqueSportShop.com.

Uni Watch is simply the best site for all things uniform related and they tweet prolifically.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a vast resource in your quest for knowledge.

One of my favorite twitter accounts is Helmet Addict and their website is here.

You can follow Finding Nostalgia on Twitter here.