Friday, June 21, 2019

A Ralph Branca card

I bought a lot of these Pacific Legends back in the 80s.  I've talked about this before, but I'll mention it again here because it's so emblematic of the 1980s baseball card world.  Everyone, everyone wanted to get in on selling baseball cards back then.  My dad noticed that the gas station near his office had a big card section, so he would take me there sometimes to see what they had.  They carried some more offbeat things that I didn't see other places, like the umpire cards I posted once.  And I bought my packs of Pacific Legends and Swell Baseball Greats there.  The place still exists, but it's an ordinary gas station, meaning that in 2019 they don't sell any baseball cards.
Pacific Legends Ralph Branca.
Since I have a bunch of these Pacific Legends and even some unopened packs, I don't really look to buy many of them anymore.  But I wanted a Ralph Branca card, and there aren't that many options.  There are a few old Bowman and early Topps cards, but I decided to pay much less and go for the Pacific.

I've said before that I have a certain fascination with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and that accounts for part of wanting Branca in my collection.  But also he threw the pitch in the "Shot Heard 'Round the World," in which the Giants capped a remarkable late-season comeback to win the NL pennant over Brooklyn.  (I grew up watching M*A*S*H on TV, and this classic baseball moment made it into the episode "A War for All Seasons.")  It's a shame to find out that this, one of baseball's most celebrated home runs, was rooted in the Giants systematically stealing signs using a telescope and a buzzer.

Thanks for reading!

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