Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year; 1971 Arco Pirates

Happy New Year!  Best wishes for a great 2019 for all of us.

I'm posting today what may well be my favorite acquisition of 2018, the 1971 Arco Pirates set.  This is a set of twelve 8x10 photos distributed by Arco gas stations.  When I was little, we had Arco here on the east coast.  But then they all became Shell stations.  There are still Arco stations out west, and I see them when I visit California sometimes.

I bought this set for myself as a birthday present a couple of months ago; my mom gave me some money for my birthday, which was almost exactly the price of this set on eBay.  In any case, on with the cards/photos.
Roberto Clemente.
Roberto Clemente back.
I try to get whatever Roberto Clemente items that I can which call him by his name, Roberto.  Since Topps was just about the only manufacturer for his whole career, and most Topps cards called him "Bob," there aren't a lot of cards out there that meet this standard.  But here we have a great one (of The Great One).  They do mess up his name on the back in that they call him Roberto Walker Clemente; by the usual Spanish naming customs, the maternal surname (Walker in this case) comes as a second last name, so that he would be Roberto Clemente Walker.  Topps eventually settled on writing this as Roberto Clemente (Walker) for his 1973 card, which is better than making it a middle name as on the Arco card.  This has been a standard source of confusion, and his Hall of Fame plaque was incorrect for decades, but was corrected circa 2000. 
Willie Stargell.
Willie Stargell back.
Then we have Willie Stargell, full name Wilver Dornel Stargell.  Wikipedia says "Dornell" but other sources seem to agree on "Dornel," as the card back here says.  I might edit the Wikipedia, I guess.  Anyway, enough about names.  These are just great cards.  I'll call them cards, even though they're 8x10's.  These are just wonderful portraits of these legends.  The backs have some stats, a write-up, a Pirates logo, an Arco logo, and an ad for a plastic frame kit, in case you want to frame your set of 8x10's and hang them all up.  According to an inflation calculator I googled, $4.49 for the frames in 1971 would be about $27.84 in 2018 dollars.
Manny Sanguillen.
Bill Mazeroski.
The two decade 1960-1979 period is so special to Pirates fans, and these guys here were the overlap of the two ends of that.  Clemente and Mazeroski were both on the 1960 championship team, Stargell and Sanguillen were both on the 1979 championship team, and all these guys were on the 1971 championship team.
Al "Scoop" Oliver.
Steve Blass.
Al Oliver was a big part of the Pirates success in the 70s, but they traded him as part of a 4-team deal in 1977.  The big gain for the Bucs was Bert Blyleven, who really did help them win in 1979.  The Pirates also got John Milner, who did well as a utility player for them.  I'll say what I always say about Oliver, which is that he may well have been robbed of a chance for 3,000 hits by the owners' collusion.  Then we have Steve Blass, who was a great pitcher for the Pirates until he wasn't.  He went 15-8 in 1971 with 5 shutouts, and 19-8 in 1972.  Then he developed Steve Blass disease, forgetting how to throw, you could say.  Now he's a great Pirates broadcaster.
Gene Alley, Dave Giusti, Richie Hebner, Bob Moose, Bob Robertson, and Luke Walker.
I won't go through all 12 in detail, and so here's a photo of the remaining 6 in the set, Gene Alley, Dave Giusti, Richie Hebner, Bob Moose, Bob Robertson, and Luke Walker.  I've shown cards of Hebner twice before, since he shares Al Oliver's rookie card, and since he was on the Phillies and I showed the 1978 Topps Phillies team set recently.  I've shown Bob Moose's 1972 and 1974 Topps cards before; Moose's career ended with his death in a car accident in 1976.

Thanks for reading!  And again, may 2019 be awesome for you.


  1. I had many of those Arco cards--if something so large can be considered a card--hanging on the walls of my bedroom when I was a kid.

  2. Those are like the '90s Studio sets except ... better.

    1. These sure beat Jose Lind with his sword.