Dec 28, 2011
The Quest for the 1961 Topps Phillies Team Set: High Numbered Glory
There must have been something wrong with kids growing up in the 1960s. Why did no one ever seem to buy the last series of cards in a given year? Is the need to complete a set a relatively new phenomenon? Did kids just get burnt out from buying cards all year and getting tired of seeing the same packs? Were all their favorite players and teams in the lower series so they already got them and now these later series?
Is it actually possible to lose interest from baseball during points in the year? This is something I just can't fathom. Baseball (and its various iterations) was the sport of youth. Wasn't there the MLB network and 24 hour ESPNews and the internet to keep interest in the hot stove during the offseason? Wait, you say there wasn't? You had to get The Sporting News weekly to know what was happening? Now, I see the problem.
Those poor packs of cards sat neglected during the early offseason months as kids and collectors were sidetracked by other pursuits such as football, snowball fighting, and raking leaves. I would still want them all though if I were alive back then. Grocery stores should always have cards and carry all those series.
Now, these high numbers are absolutely difficult and expensive to track down now because of this lack of sense of completeness and diversion from the real purpose in life: to indulge in baseball and baseball-related ideas all the year through. This can't be a solitary idea among the voices in my head....at least they tell me it isn't.
Way back in 2010, I decided to pursue Phillies Topps team sets that corresponded with the Heritage set for that year. For 1961, all that's left is the high numbers of that 7th series. It has been frustrating to track down examples that cost less than $15. Here is the first example of Bobby Malkmus. He has no logo on his cap even though it's not his first card as a Phillie (1960 Topps). Strange.
Here are the relevant stats:
Years on Phillies: 1960-1962
Best Year as a Phillie: 1961, .231/.276/.327 (61 OPS+), 7 HR, 31 RBI, finished 22nd in MVP voting (the only Phillie with a vote, considering the team was 47-107)
Card Number: 531 (HI number!)
Bring on the rest or build me a time machine to take me back to November 1961....all I would have to do is pack nickels with dates before that one.