The Post War Cards Newsletter #2
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Jim Fregosi and his “Best” Card
Millennial baseball fans may know Jim Fregosi more as a manager than a player, but he was an excellent shortstop who played between 1961 and 1978. He was a 6x All-Star (1964, 1966-1970) and won a gold glove in 1967.
But die-hard baseball fans remember that on Dec. 10, 1971, the Angels traded Jim Fregosi to the Mets for Nolan Ryan (plus Leroy Stanton, Don Rose, and Frank Estrada) in what became one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history.
When the trade went down, it seemed fair. The Mets got an All-Star Infielder (he was baseball’s top-hitting shortstop), and the Angels got a young pitcher who had power but was erratic over his first five seasons. Ryan went on to Hall of Fame success, and Fregosi never played more than 100 games in a season after the trade.
Now, from a hobby perspective, I think Fregosi’s 1971 Topps card is his best-looking card. The horizontally focused action shot of Fregosi swinging stands out within the infamous 1971 Topps black borders.
And what’s more, the card is affordable. PSA 7s sell for ~$18, and PSA 8s sell for between $30 and $40. Of course, higher grade examples will cost more; a PSA 9 will set you back a couple of hundred bucks (Pop 10). Only one PSA 10 exists.
The following Topps release, in 1972, despite the trade, still showed Fregosi as an Angel.
But Topps made a 1972 Topps “TRADED” card later that year, showing him in a Mets uniform in their high-series of cards. It was probably a planned way of preventing the need to airbrush his Angles card into a Mets uniform in the set’s development process while still releasing a popular player’s card early.
The 1987 TCMA Football Set
When you think of TCMA, you probably think of pretty cheap baseball sets. You might not realize that they made two football sets too, and the second one, the 1987 set, is a lot tougher to complete than you would think for a 12-card oddball set from the start of the junk era. The slight scarcity of the 1987 set might be because they were produced by TCMA’s successor CMC.
The 1987 TCMA football set (sometimes called the 1987 TCMA Update Set or the Reissue of TCMA’s 1981 “TCMA Greats” set) added 12 additional cards to the 1981 TCMA football set but is considered a separate release. The new cards were numbered from where the first issue ended, at 79, and included a copyright on the bottom of the card back (© CMC 1987).
My 2006 Standard Catalog of Football cards (9th edition) lists the set’s value at $20, but good luck getting one at that price; it’s a tougher set to put together cheaply than you’d think. And while a set won’t break the bank, count on paying closer to $40-50. The OJ Simpson card will run you around $10, and the Theisman is closer to $8. If you’re impatient, you’ll have to pay way more. For example, there is one complete set on eBay with a $125 ask.
PS: You can learn more about TCMA via the article ‘Hobby Pioneer Michael Aronstein Brought TCMA Cards to Collectors’ on Sports Collectors Digest.
1965 Topps Hockey Team Cards
Overall, I think the 1965 Topps hockey set is a pretty ordinary 128-card release. That is until you get to the last seven cards. Cards 122-128 were much tougher finds for collectors; Topps didn’t even list them on the checklist card (#121). Card 122 is a great Gordie Howe 600 Goals card, and the other 6 are team cards, which are my favorites; all are short prints.
Collectors surmise the cards may have been a last-minute addition to the set because they don’t follow the same format as base cards.
The fronts of the six team cards (#123-128) feature black and white team photographs with a color background. The Red Wings card back displays the players’ last names at the top, the Montreal card has both French and English on it, and the other four team cards list the players by row and some franchise history.
A collection of the team cards makes a significant little subset that displays well together.
Great Hobby Writing
Pre-War Cards: Mystery Stamps from Germany Have Similarities to the 1923 German Transfer Set
Night Owl Cards: The Worst Years to Begin Collecting
Droidtrader’s Sports Memorabilia: If I Could Go Back in Time
Greg Morris Cards: This Vintage Baseball Card Features a Player and Team that Never Existed
Collectors Dashboard: The 1902-11 W600 Sporting Life Made the T206 Set Portraits (and Many other Portrait Sets, Too)!
Wax Pack Hero: Is This Really Where We’re Headed?
NJWV: Cold War Cards
Wrigley Wax: 1972 O-Pee-Chee Cubs
When Topps Had Balls: Spotlight: Incredible Uncut 1977 Sheet Image
Sports Collectors Digest: Do Fascimile Autographs Have Value to Collectors?
Greg Morris Cards: The Forgettable Relief Pitcher from 1988 that Made Millions from Upper Deck (and Himself)
The Topps Archives: Getting Testy
In the News
Certified Sports Guaranty: Introducing the CSG Perfect 10 Label
Action Network: As Luka Doncic’s Stock Soars, What’s Happening with his Trading Card Market?
ESPN: Why it might be a while before you get trading cards for NFL draft picks
Dave & Adam’s Card World: Factory Fresh and Case Fresh
NBC Sports: CeeDee Lamb sued by trading card firm for breach of contract