Thursday, October 5, 2017

Recent Acquisitions: Al Oliver, Dick Allen, Tony Taylor

When I was collecting in the 80s, in the height of the junk wax era, I did buy many more cards from the 1970s than other kids I knew.  My collecting strategy was limited, though, because of information and money.  I didn't necessarily know who the good players of the day were, and I couldn't afford all that much.  I knew who was in the Hall of Fame, and I naturally focused on collecting Hall-of-Famers.  There were a few ways I could do this: cards of players at the end of their careers (Hank Aaron in 1973, Lou Brock in 1979, and so on), cards of less popular Hall-of-Famers (I have a bunch of Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton), and cards that were beat up (like the 1969 Harmon Killebrew I'll post one day).

Now, everything is different.  Prices are lower in general, and condition is king these days; if I buy ungraded cards, they're mostly pretty cheap.  I have more money than I did when I was 11, and information is plentiful.  So I picked up these cards of players that were mostly not represented in my collection, and were certainly not in my binder before.
1970 Topps Al Oliver.
You can find articles online arguing that Al Oliver belongs in the Hall of Fame, and you can find responses saying that's a ridiculous idea.  No matter what you think of that based on his stats, it's inescapable that his career was seriously harmed by the owners' collusion against free agents.  There's no reason to think he wouldn't have had a couple more solid seasons, ending with over 3000 hits.  He played for many teams, but he was an All-Star a total of 7 times with the Pirates, Rangers, and Expos, led the NL in batting and in RBIs in 1982 with the Expos, and won 3 Silver Sluggers with the Rangers and Expos.  Most interesting to me, though, is that he was part of the 1971 World Champion Pirates team.  It was early in his career, and he batted .282 with 64 RBI in the regular season.  I ordered this 1970 Topps card showing the All-Star Rookie trophy, but it isn't his first card, as he was featured on a 1969 Topps as well.  I'll look to pick up the 1969, too.
1974 Topps Dick Allen.
If I had any say in it, I would vote to put both Al Oliver and Dick Allen in the Hall of Fame.  They were great hitters.  Dick Allen is famous as much for his hitting as for being "controversial," and that's certainly why he isn't in the Hall; this goes to show that the Hall of Fame isn't worth much as an honor.  I like Allen mainly because he was a great Phillie, providing some power hitting for Philadelphia in the pre-Schmidt days.  Wanting to represent him in my collection, I picked this card with the White Sox, though, for two reasons: it has his preferred name, Dick, rather than Richie, and he has such a great 1970s look here, with the mustache and the big glasses, and the red White Sox uniform.  His book, Crash: The Life and Times of Dick Allen, is on my to-read list.
1971 Topps Tony Taylor.
Until I started reading card blogs, I had never heard of Tony Taylor.  I found out that he's on the Phillies Wall of Fame.  He was just before my time, playing with the Phillies for the last time in 1976 (I was born in 1975).  He ended his career with 2,007 hits, and left the Phillies just as they were getting good; he didn't play for them in the 1976 playoffs, which their first of several years in a postseason run between 1976 and 1983.  Even if he wasn't part of those teams, which included the 1980 World Champions, he was still an excellent hitter that the Phillies counted on for a number of years.

No comments:

Post a Comment