The cards themselves are not particularly rare finds, but it seems vintage cards are always harder to come across when it comes to physical store. Hidden under the binders and books of unwanted, junk wax basketball cards was a box filled with 1967 and 1975 Topps. Hallelujah!
Perfect; the mid-70's and earlier is where collection starts to thin out a little bit. This box did not leave me disappointed either:
Let's go in order and start out with my '67 finds. Vic Roznovsky was a catching prospect with the Cubs who first came up in 1964. In 2 years with the club, he hit an anemic .214 with no power and average defense. They dumped him on the Orioles for Carl Warwick, who then traded him to Philadelphia in April of 1969, in what would be his last season.
It sure likes he could have used a tan when the picture for this card was taken.
Art Shamsky was a fine super-sub for the Red in the mid 60's before being traded to the Mets in 1968. He excelled in a rightfield platoon with Rob Swoboda and helped to push the Cubs out of the pennant race in 1969 - jerk. But, back injuries started to get the best of him by 1971 and he tried desperately to hang on. His 15 games with Chicago in 1972 netted him a .125 BA and a ticket out of town.
Art was also the manager of the Modi'in Miracle in the first and only season of the Israel Baseball League in 2007, a league in which former Cub Ken Holtzman also managed.
I have one problem with this card of Mr. Shamsky and it is about the back of the card. The 1967 set featured some fine cartoons in what has become a lost art. However, Art's doodle in the upper left makes him look like a bit of a perv:
Is the runner trying to avoid a tag or is he trying not to be pinched on the butt? We'll never know.
Although this card is bent, water damaged and nicked, I'll still gladly take the opportunity to cross a name off of my list.
Beyond the binders, I was still able to find yet another box, this one stuff with older Cubs issues. It was mostly your big names (i.e. Santo, Banks, Williams, etc.) but there was also this high-number, 1965 Topps rookie card:
This set is one of my all-time favorites and it's no wonder they chose to base this year's Heritage set off of it's design. They really should have picked a better picture of Beckert though.
Now, of course I added Beckert to my collection a long time ago, Roberto Pena is a name that has eluded me. The Cubs decided that he was a lost cause after batting .214 in 57 games from '65-'66 and like many players of that time (Lou Brock, Moe Drabowsky, Bill North, etc) he proved them wrong, having a a few nice seasons as a regular middle infielder for the Phillies, A's, Padres & Brewers.
This concludes my bragging about the purchases that I made yesterday. I was able to add 12 more names to my All-Time Roster Collection and I'm getting pretty close to 60%! It just goes to show, you never know what you'll find at the bottom of a pile of junk.
I have to say though, having this blog has definitely made a great outlet for such things. Now I no longer have to hide my excitement or bore the crap out of my girlfriend or roommates about this and that card find. So, now you all will suffer so that they won't have to!