Sunday, September 15, 2013


Since I mentioned how much I always loved Jerry Grote's 1976 Topps card (#143) in my post yesterday, I thought I'd go ahead and profile the card today.
There was something about that "classic" baseball catcher close-up of the photo they used for the card. It's like the image could be from any era of baseball in the 20th century.
Of course this was the day before all the fancy, modern gadgetry we see catchers using today. Yes of course all the new gear keeps them a bit safer at their position, but I would be lying if I said I like the way it all looks.
The simple chest protector, black mask, batting helmet turned backwards: THIS is what I remember fondly of catchers manning their position when I was a kid.
And this card is a perfect representation of it all. What a great shot, and it doesn't hurt at all that the card design colors are perfectly paired with the photograph.
I always felt the Mets, A's and Reds has the best color schemes in the 1976 set. Their uniforms just went best with the overall card design.
I remember way back when that Jerry Grote MUST have been an awesome catcher since they had such an awesome card for him. Hey, I was seven years old, what did I know, I was learning...
Even though Topps' 1977 set was the first year I was buying cards as a true "collector", following the checklists and "completing" each team, the 1976 was the first year I started buying cards with some comprehension as a baseball fan, albeit rudimentary.
It seemed that each card left a long-standing impression on me that survives to this day.
Is it weird to get that "tingle" 37 years later when I see a Johnny Bench card from this set? Or a Reggie Jackson card? Or even a Pete Rose card?
Anyway, this Grote card was up there for me as one of my favorites from the set, and it still holds up today.
Just a classic from a classic set.

A classic photo that could be from any era.

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