I have been wanting - nay, dreaming of adding this car to my collection ever since I laid eyes upon it. I wish I could tell you that I drooled upon the LCS display cases of my youth whilst staring into the dust and baseball greatness that is Thurman Munson's 1971 Topps card.....but I can't.
Honestly, I don't think I truly discovered this gem until my passion for the sport of baseball and our wonderful hobby was reignited, circa 2011. And you know what? Better late than NEVER!
I love this card. My appreciation for Thurman Munson grows with everything that I learn about him. Apparently he played with a lot of energy and eagerly embraced the role of leader in a Yankee clubhouse that found itself in a precarious transition as the Bombers stared at the empty locker of a recently retired Mickey Mantle....and a quick look at his stats from an abbreviated 10 year career quickly shows that Thurman was well on his way to the Hall of Fame.
This card captures so much of what I love about vintage ball cards. Well....vintage for me :)
The design is very typical of the day but maintains a quieter monolithic dignity than its cousins in '68 or '72. The black border is definitive and is well known for causing issues for collectors wishing to find copies of them in great condition. The edges are hard to keep "crisp" - just ask '85 or '87 Donruss and they'll raise their beer mugs in agreement. Centering is probably the biggest culprit.
Enough chatty kathy - here's my copy of the card:
Why yes, my Munson has been graded by PSA. This is a new development in my collecting habits that I will begin to discuss at greater length in the coming posts. I'm really enjoying, for many reasons, and I love the healthy debate that always ensues regarding graded cards. Am I 100% graded cards now? No way, dudes.
But I DO love this graded copy. I picked this one up for less than the cost of a blaster, shipped. No, it's not going to pay for my kids' college tuition, but I jumped on this card because I really liked the centering. After extensive shopping on-line, it is easy to determine that well-centered versions of this card are hard to come by. They are often cut short on the right side and this discrepancy is easily discerned by comparison of the black border strips on both sides. Here's a close look at the card itself, in the proper orientation:
AH! How and why do I love thee?
- Team Name
- Player's Name
- ROOKIE CUP!!!!!!!
- Thurman freakin' Munson
- A well-placed facsimile signature
- Action photo
- PLAY AT THE PLATE!
- dust cloud
- old-school catcher's gear
"A fine receiver with a strong arm, he releases the ball as fast as anyone." I swear, you CAN'T beat the back of old baseball cards. I find it interesting that he was the 8th best batter in the AL at .308? Pretty cool.
Let's take a closer look at the action.
I'm so pumped to have this card in my collection. Sure, the corners are a little banged up and the "top" edge is less than perfect - but I think that suits Thurman just fine. He died four months after I entered the world, so I don't have a tangible 'baseball relationship' with Mr. Munson as a viewing fan, but he has certainly earned a spot in my collecting heart alongside many other great players.
Do you have any memories of watching Thurman Munson play?
What are your thoughts on this card? His official rookie card in the 1970 Topps set is often overlooked and rarely spoken of with the same enthusiasm as this '71. In fact, I believe both cards are valued relatively the same? I wonder how often that happens for a player? Might be a research project there.....not hard to see why as it is a dual-rookie card that he shares with fellow Yankee, Dave McDonald. No action shots :) or stirrups...or dust cloud....
What are your thoughts on graded cards?
Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekends!