1964 Topps came back and tied it up at 26.5 points for both Vintage and Heritage yesterday. That’s a big comeback, a 2011 Cardinals or 2012 Giants-style comeback, as Heritage had a 7 point lead at one point.
I’m going to do 3 more of these posts, so this is where the rubber meets the road for my comparisons. Today’s comparisons are for some cards that aren’t notable players or anything – just cards where I liked the picture. Mostly because I liked the background – there were a number of cards where the background was pretty interesting. I guess in a set with a bunch of head shots, that’s what you’ve got to look for.
Card #274 – Justin Morneau / Checklist
I’m going to start with a first baseman who’s had a pretty good career. A concussion has really derailed it, though. When he got that concussion in 2010, Morneau was working on the best season of his career. That’s saying something for a former MVP. Here’s hoping he gets back to form – he bounced back a bit last year.
I was intrigued by the background here, and looked it up – Morneau is in the Twins’ Spring Training facility, Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
Trivia question: Who is the only switch hitting player with 300 HR and 300 SB?
Trivia answer: Carlos Beltran, who joined the club last year. (I felt that this was a particularly good trivia question)
Morneau with a pretty cool photo and an interesting backdrop gets the victory over a checklist any day!
2013 Heritage leads, 27.5-26.5
Card #305 – Todd Helton / Jack Lamabe
So Helton plays for the Rockies (he’s played his entire career for the Rockies) and of course the Rockies were not around in 1964. So there isn’t a team Topps can match him up with – though it would have been nice to have him put with a first baseman or something.
Jack Lamabe was a journeyman pitcher who never had a lot of success in the bigs. He gave up the most earned runs in the AL in 1964 – which did mean that he was good enough to get into enough games to give up a lot of runs. In a time before free agency, he sure moved around a bunch. From 1965 to 1968, he actually played for the Red Sox, Astros, White Sox, Mets, Cardinals and Cubs. 6 teams in 4 years – including 3 teams in 1967.
Trivia question: What is a whitewash in baseball?
Trivia answer: A shutout.
I picked this card because Helton looks like he’s posing in that Rockies uniform in the middle of a barren wasteland. It looks like World War 3 happened behind him or something. And I like cards that have weird stuff going on behind them, so the potential Hall of Famer takes this one.
2013 Heritage leads, 28.5-26.5
Card #307 – Dan Straily / Joe Gibbon
Now this is cool. Behind Helton was a devoid landscape. Straily is apparently about to start a game in the mountains out West! This guy will do anything to stay on that big league roster!
But for some reason, Straily started one game for the A’s this year, gave up 2 runs in 7 innings, then was sent down to the minors. I’m not sure why they went with that approach, but the guy is a potential star it seems in the future.
Joe Gibbon was a young potential future star when this card came out, and though he never flourished, he stayed in the bigs for quite a while.
Trivia question: Who holds the A.L. record for total bases in a year?
Trivia answer: Babe Ruth, 457 in 1921. Not sure why Topps qualified this back in 1964. Ruth held the MLB record, not just the AL record. He still does, BTW.
I love the Pirates and Reds uniforms from this time period that have the sleeveless look. And it’s a good pose compared to some of those capless head shots this set can have. But I also love that mountain in the background for the Straily card. So I’m calling this a tie.
2013 Heritage leads, 29-27