I’m a “complete set” kinda guy. Not to the extent that I’d ever spend the time or money to complete a present-day “master set” though. I’m perfectly happy with stopping at just the base set in most cases.
I say ” in most cases” because since Topps first released Gypsy Queen, I’ve always put the effort into completing the set through the SP’s. I justify it by telling myself, “it’s just 50 more cards,” I guess.
My latest project is the 1978 Topps set. It has taken me a little bit longer than usual not for any other reason than Little Cam requires all hands on deck in most cases. I’d say that I’ve got 3/4’s of the set complete but I still need to get what I have in pages so I can quickly fill in the blanks. My wife thinks it ridiculous that I spend the time to put the cards in protective pages…only to complete the set, which is then neatly put in a box and stored away.
I’ve ended up with quite a few doubles and before I pass them along to a buddy of mine, I usually pull a few to send off with autograph requests. In this case, Pittsburg Pirates 3rd baseman and former Houston Astros manager Phil Garner ended up on the mailing list and was happy to oblige my request.
As one of the more unique photos in the ’78 set, this photo was taken during the 1977 season and shows Garner admiring a fly ball. Garner did hit a career high 17 dingers that year so I suppose he could be watching the ball leave the yard. Standing in the background is manager Chuck Tanner and 2nd baseman Rennie Stennett. If it were a home run, I’d hope Stennett’s reaction would be a bit more enthusiastic than what you see in the the photo.
The ’77 Pirates not only sported some of the sweetest uniforms of their time, but also finished 2nd in the National League East with a 96-66 record and five games back of the Philadelphia Phillies. I love the home uniforms of the Pirates of the ’70’s. Revolutionizing baseball uniforms forever, the Pirates were the first team to sport buttonless pullover jerseys. They also decided to replace their belts with colorful elastic bands on their pants. You can clearly see that in the photo above. The Pirates were also the first to wear a cotton-nylon knit fabric uniform that was not only cooler and lighter than the woven flannel uniforms of the time, but also provided a more “stretchy” fit. The “stretchy” duds were not particularly well received by the players or the media; generating comments such as “the new uniforms do not flatter fat men” and “these pants are like taking off a girdle.” Regardless, this look would be adopted by nearly every team for the next 20 years.