Thursday, June 27, 2013

ONE OF THE ALL-TIME CLASSIC CARDS: 1971 THURMAN MUNSON

When I started this blog, it was really with the intention of writing about my favorite cards, such as 1976 Johnny Bench, or 1979 Rod Carew, which I've already written about in past posts.
Since then I've kind of gotten sidetracked with all the other stuff, like recreating cards, pointing out funny or odd cards, or even creating cards that for some reason were missed altogether. 
As fun as that all is, today I'll go back to my original intent and write about a card that had perhaps the biggest impact on me upon first seeing it: 1971 #5 Thurman Munson.
While that '76 Bench card is still my favorite, the '71 Munson just absolutely blew me away when I first saw it at a card show back around 1980 or so. 
I was just getting into serious "collecting" and absorbing older cards like a sponge, and when I saw this card I thought it was the coolest card I ever saw. I swear I think it made me sweat because I wanted it so badly.
It had so much: the black card design, the horizontal orientation of that amazing action shot, and the super-cool "rookie trophy" on a card of one of my favorite players. It was just jaw-dropping.
All these years later I still think the card holds up well, and it's still one of my favorites. Add to the fact that to really get a "mint" copy of it, you had to search high and low and throw some decent cash around to get one, and it just grew in stature as the years went by.
I could never really tell who the Oakland A's player is making the slide at home. Maybe Joe Rudi? And check out the crowd in the background. Yes it's a little blurry and out of focus, but you can clearly see their transfixed stare at the play, waiting for the outcome.
It all makes for a classic card of a great player from the 1970's.
Man, that 1971 set is fantastic all-around isn't it?

6 comments:

  1. I still don't have a Mickey Mantle card, nor do I have this absolute beauty (in a BVG 7 or better). If I want them, I'm gonna have to go ahead and get that 2nd job. ;)

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  2. My favorite card.

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  3. First action shot for Topps. Truly iconic!

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  4. One of my favorites also. Munson also had great action cards in 1973 and 1978.

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  5. The 1971 Yankee yearbook had a 3 quarter page reproduction of this photograph on its table of contents page. Almost a full page shot. I don’t think the player on the card is Joe Rudi. I suspect it's Chuck Dobson, who was their top pitcher that year. The picture, though blurry even in the full page shot, looks like it might be Dobson. Out of curiosity, I looked up his game log for 1970 to see if he had scored any runs or had been thrown out trying to score in any day games at Yankee Stadium in 1970 and found one. On July 16, in the first game of a doubleheader, in the fourth inning, he scored from second base on a single to RF by Joe Rudi. I figure a pitcher, probably not a fast runner, scoring from second on a single to right, probably a close play at the plate. The Yankee RF'er that day was Curt Blefary, who, frankly, was a butcher in the field, which is maybe the reason why the coach would even wave a pitcher home on a play like that. The argument against it being Dobson is that, as a pitcher, he would usually be wearing a jacket while running the bases and here the runner obviously doesn’t have one on. But it was July 16, being myself a NYer, I can tell you that July 16's In NY are usually pretty hot, so maybe Dobson dispensed with the jacket. Anyway that's my best guess. It could be Rudi (who later scored in that same inning) but it doesn’t really look like him, even from a distance.

    I happen to have this card, but it's pretty beat up. No better than a 4 on a scale of ten, but it's my original purchase, that I got as a 10 year old out of a wax pack back in 1971, so it has the sentimental value of my having had it for almost 50 years!

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  6. Also, about the 1971 set, my impressions as a kid. When it first came out, I didn’t like it. Main reason being they didn’t have the entire career stats of the player on the back, just the previous year's and the career stats, and that they didn’t have the usual cartoon, which I always liked, having a head shot of the player instead. Then also that was the year they switched from a white card stock on the back to the grey they would use for many years after, and I thought that made the cards hard to read. Those were my impressions as a ten year old back when these first came out. Now, it's one of my favorite sets, though it's the only year between 1968 and 1979 I don’t have the complete set. I still don’t care for the backs, but the front design is, after 1967, the best they ever did. Put the 1971 front with the 1970 back and you have a perfect baseball card.

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Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.