Saturday, May 4, 2024

Completion! - 1959 Topps

I teased this several weeks ago on whatever I'm using as my current social media account, but then life came at me fast.  Before we get any further here, can we all just agree that the spring kind of sucks?  Yes, baseball gets underway, but for those of us from certain walks of life, February through May can be a real slog.  I race across town three nights a week for soccer practice, which eats up my whole evening.  Kids at school are going crazy because of district policies that have basically turned elementary schools into middle schools (in terms of behavior) over the past two decades.  And there have been a bunch of weekends when I've been out of town the whole time.  First Communions, water parks, Illinois soccer tournaments that don't even use linespeople to help officiate the games (WTF?!?!), it all got busy.  Most of it was fun, but the time to post just didn't exist.
But here we are now, time to unveil the final card I acquired to complete my 1959 Topps baseball card set.
#217 Carl Erskine

Back when you start a set like this, you never really know who the last guy is that you'll need.  To be honest, back when you start a set like this, you don't even know you're starting.  I'm not even really sure how long it took me.  I just know that I was at a card show in the late aughts, and there was a guy selling cards from the 1950s for 50 cents each.  Condition wasn't great, but I scooped up a bunch that looked cool.  What also helped was the 2008 Heritage set being released.  We're quickly coming up on a year when the Heritage design will come from a year during which I was alive, but at the time 1959 might as well have been 1776 or 1215.
For a while, my tiny collection of '59s just sat in a stack, not doing much of anything or bothering anybody.  At some point, I started going after the big boys in the set.  Getting the Mickey Mantle #10 in pretty decent condition at a fair price was probably what started to make things feel possible.
Yeah, I keep them in a binder.  Sue me.  Report me to the slab police.  I just prefer to put cards in albums instead of toting them around in a gun safe.  They're documents form the past, but they're not the U.S. Constitution.  They need to be accessible.  Cards tell the story of baseball, so a book seems like the best place for them.

Speaking of slabs, I have one card that isn't in the binder.  Back when I bought the Bog Gibson RC, I wanted to make sure I was getting the real deal.  The price on this PSA 4 is probably double now what I paid for it.  Glad I got most of the big ones pre-pandemic.  He would look really nice next to the Killebrew, though.

For the rest of this post, I'll just share photos of a few key cards/pages.  You'll see that condition varies from card to card, but I tried to get nice clean copies of all of the stars.
First page, starting with #1 Commissioner Ford Frick.

Hank Aaron, with Don Drysdale in the corner.

Fence Busters, Aaron and Mathews

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.

Both Robinsons on one page, what a great coincidence.

All those beautiful Baseball Thrills.

Mays, right in the center of things.

Campanella: Symbol of Courage, and the start of the All-Stars.

And finally, the page you show to people to make their eyes bug out.  It's one Holy Hell of a completed page, to be sure.

And now that I'm at the end of this post, I'm realizing that I've left out Sandy Koufax at least*, and there are probably a bunch more.  Oh well.  It was great fun building the set for the last 15-ish years, and now all that's left is to decide which one to try next.  Thanks for reading!

*Oh JEEZ, Roberto Clemente, too!  On two different cards!


  1. Completing a set like this is amazing. And completing it with the Erskine seems like a nice tribute upon his passing.

  2. Wow, that is quite an accomplishment! Congrats on completing this fantastic set! I agree that it looks better in a book, and I would have done the same thing with the Gibson RC; it has to be slabbed for authenticity if not the grade -- though a 4 on that tough high number is a great great to have.

  3. Wow! Congrats on the set completion! It looks fantastic!

  4. Congratulations on completing the set! And you are completely right about spring.

  5. That's one heck of a set to complete.
    Voting for Mays.

  6. Congratulations! Great accomplishment. That Gibson in particular is a tough one that you were lucky to get pre-2020.

    I keep mine in a cardboard box, no fancy binders for me.

    My kids' school sent an email recently about umpire/referee shortages. Apparently parent harassment has gotten so bad nobody wants to do the job anymore.

  7. Congratulations! As for education... I won't speak for all teachers... but personally my job has gotten much more challenging since returning from distance learning. There are a bunch of factors that play into my situation, but it's sad because there was a time when I loved my job and thought I'd work until I was 70. It's not like I hate my job, but I'm definitely counting down the years to retirement.

  8. Congratulations on completing this awesome looking set! I give all respect to those who work at completing any vintage set.

  9. Wow, belated congrats on the set completion!