Friday, March 8, 2019

Top 5 Cards; Tom Seaver

Yesterday, news broke out that Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver would retire from public life after being diagnosed with dementia. Currently, the 12-time All-Star is 74-years old.

The announcement definitely served as a reminder that the Baseball legends of the 60s and 70s are getting older, especially in lieu of the not too distant passings of Willie McCovey and Frank Robinson. More recently, Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe and beloved Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo left us as well.

Fact is, these significant figures of Baseball and others aren't the same young players we see on their Baseball cards. The MLB greats that once dominated the game are getting older, something that has come full circle following Seaver's family's announcement on Thursday.

I've spent almost my entire life collecting cards of guys from Seavers' era of Baseball history, and the 3-time Cy Young award winner has been one of my player collections for years now. 

The way I see it, the proper manner to pay tribute to Seaver on this humble blog is to do a top 5 cards post, honoring my 5 favorite cards of "Tom Terrific." Although he played for the Mets, Reds, White Sox, and Red Sox over the course of his 20-year career, I've decided to represent 2 of the teams that he played for on this list.

Narrowing down my 114 Tom Seaver cards to only 5 was a bit of a challenge, but I'm quite confident that the cards I selected are not only fantastic but also represent the high points of his legendary career.

#5 1986 Fleer League Leaders
The only card on this list not to feature Seaver in a New York Mets uniform, Seaver's 3-year stint with the Chicago White Sox is represented here with this card at #5. While the set design is very representative of the 80s, Seaver's classic uniform is one of the greatest ever as far as Baseball jerseys are concerned. In fact, I would even go as far as to rank these iconic jerseys in the top 5 all-time.

#4 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlight Sketches
The elegant appearance of this card resembles something I'd expect to see in a product like Topps Museum. However, the fact that this 2012 insert card is from Topps Allen & Ginter, and was likely purchased in the dime bins, is an added bonus. In addition to a gorgeous choice for borders, Seaver's picture is very reminiscent of Topps Gallery. 

It's almost like the art aspect of Topps Gallery was mixed with the polished Topps Museum product, resulting in a fabulous insert worthy of the top 5.

#3 1976 SSPC
If there's one set that I'm dying to see completed in 9-pocket sheets, it's SSPC. Consisting only of photographs featuring 70s players, there are a ton of colorful uniforms throughout the 1976 SSPC set in particular and with no set design to counteract it, the product relies solely on photography. Seaver's card above is simply a small sample of what these cards truly have to offer.

#2 1969 Topps Seaver Wins Opener
It's pretty interesting to see the original 1970 Topps playoff cards not too long after pulling the reprints from packs of 2019 Topps Heritage. While I haven't seen them side by side, I can definitely attest to the fact that they're nearly exactly alike. The black and white pictures, as I've mentioned before, are a major strong point of these cards, helping this particular one all the way to the #2 spot.

#1 1971 Topps
The only pre-1977 Topps base card of Tom Seaver in his player collection, Seaver's 1971 Topps card is a standout in numerous ways, specifically because of the iconic black borders of the 1971 Topps Flagship set. Every other detail, from the photography to even the placement of the facsimile signature is exercised with precision. 

Most significantly, 1971 was arguably the greatest year of Seaver's career, or at least one of them, and the main purpose of this post was to highlight the peaks of his 20 years in the MLB.

Seaver's dominance is something we haven't necessarily seen from many other pitchers in Baseball history, and it's for that reason that I wanted to do what I could to honor his career today.

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