Thursday, November 23, 2017

Eddie Mathews in My Collection

In the late 80s and early 90s, my budget was limited and card prices were high.  I've said before what my strategies for getting older Hall-of-Famers into my collection were: some must have been less popular and were cheap (like Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, and Don Sutton), I could buy cards in poor condition (like my 1969 Harmon Killebrew which I'll post sometime), or I could get the players at the end of their careers, perhaps after they left their original team.  An example of this last strategy showed up in my cards of Robin Roberts with the Yankees and Orioles.  Here we have another instance of it, Eddie Mathews with the Astros.
1967 Topps Eddie Mathews.
That looks to me to be a Braves uniform he's wearing.  He was traded to the Astros before the 1967 season started, and then in August, 1967 he was traded to the Tigers.  He played with the Tigers the rest of 1967 and 1968.  In his time with the Astros and Tigers, for 1967 and 1968 combined, he played 168 games and hit 19 home runs with 65 RBI.  He hit his 500th home run while with the Astros, off Juan Marichal.
Baseball Immortals card of Eddie Mathews.
Superstar card of Eddie Mathews.
Otherwise, all I have of Mathews is these nostalgia cards, Baseball Immortals and Superstar.  I posted the story of how I acquired the two sets before -- I got a prize for a cub scout fundraiser, which Dad did all the work for.

Mathews was the best home run hitter for the Braves until/other than Hank Aaron (he hit 47 home runs in 1953, the year before Aaron joined the team).  Aaron and Mathews together led the Braves offense when winning the 1957 World Series.  He was also probably the best third baseman of all time before Brooks Robinson, George Brett, and Mike Schmidt (an ESPN article ranking third basemen still ranks him third all-time, only behind Brett and Schmidt).  He may be a bit overshadowed these days.
Eddie Mathews on Baseball's Greatest Teams.
Baseball's Greatest Teams card back.
I have about 5-10 of these "Baseball's Greatest Teams" cards, and Eddie Mathews is on one of them.  I really wonder where I got some of these things -- I don't think I would have bought this on purpose.  I know the first card shop I went to, Stale Gum, would have "grab bags" that you could get for $1, that had a random assortment of things in them, with some good cards (I think I got a 1974 Carlton Fisk from one).  But Stale Gum closed, and I frequented other card shops after that, so that can't explain all the things like this I have.  I don't think other shops had the same kind of grab bag, and I don't know that I would have kept buying it after I got more serious about my collection.  Was there something like a grab bag you might get for attending card shows?  I think I did buy the occasional repack (a box of 100 cards for a couple of dollars, or something like that), but I don't know if that could be the source of a bunch of cards from the same set -- I feel like the repacks were more random than that.  Some things are lost to time, I guess.

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