13 January 2011

when rookie stars actually become stars and ruin any chance of team collectors actually completing their quest

at the monthly card show a couple of years ago, i was talking to the guy with the vintage bargain bins.  he noticed me pulling dodgers, and asked a harmless question.  'what's been the toughest card for you to find?'  he was interested in helping me out as he would locate cards for other collectors in between the shows.  i told him about the 1971 richie allen, which was the white whale of my collection when i was young and was, by design and economics, ignoring the 1960's and 1950's.  he asked about the 1973 cey, thinking that would have been tough.

i looked at him and said 'today, i believe it will be the ken mcmullen rookie'.  he nodded knowingly and said 'damn charlie hustle'.  indeed.

sadly, ken mcmullen is not alone in dodger collecting lore, although having the bad luck of being featured on the same rookie card as the all-time hit king in 1963 is not going to be beat.  there are other cards spoiled by actual rookie stars such as the 1962 doug camilli rookie (he shares space with fan favorite bob uecker) and these two cards which i finally picked up last weekend at the show.

1963 topps nate oliver
bill freehan (and the high number status) made this card harder to obtain than it otherwise might have been. side note - i sure wish i had this card back when dinged corners was asking for foreheads - jerry robinson delivers!  oliver played with the dodgers for a few seasons as a back up infielder.  he even appeared in the 1966 world series against the orioles.  freehan was a tiger for life, retiring after 15 seasons in detroit with exactly 200 home runs to go along with his 5 consecutive gold gloves and 11 all-star team appearances.

 1963 bill haas
le grand orange from the big easy is the star of this card.  i didn't know anything about haas until i bought the card.  he was a career minor leaguer who played in the dodgers system in 1962 and 1963 before moving on to the mets and finally braves systems. he had torn up class c reno in 1962, hitting .368 with 33 home runs and 144 rbi in 138 games which probably warranted his inclusion in topps' set. his last year in pro ball was 1966, while staub played for 23 seasons and finished in 1985 with 2716 hits and 292 home runs.

here's to you, actual rookie stars that make team collecting sometimes difficult!

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