Hey y’all! We’re jumping right back into the Card Draft Countdown, taking it down just shy of the top-5. Light it up and go in hot.
1974 Topps Traded Ron Santo..
This one is a little bittersweet. Your best friend only moved across town, but you still get the sense that it’s the beginning of the end of your friendship. Everything changes and life goes on, but it’s sad in the moment. And you know that career is coming to an end when the team they’ve been with for their whole career lets them go. But still, you gotta remember the good times, and Ron Santo was great. So this is a bittersweet keeper.
1974 Topps Al Kaline..
Another late-career card of a Hall of Fame slugger. It is beat to hell, which is why it’s so low on the countdown, but still a fine card nonetheless. I’m willing to trade this one away though. Not my team, not my town.
1974 Topps JR Richard..
And now for the “what could have been” I mentioned in the previous post. JR Richard had the stuff to be an all-time great, but he flamed out probably not even halfway to immortality. But the little we got was just crazy electric amazing. This badass card is a keeper. I’m working on a single page of him, and was able to score a couple more for the page in Card Draft III.
Harold Baines RC..
A RC of the 2nd or 3rd best more-or-less pure DH of all time. If Edgar Martinez is getting into the Hall one of these years, which seems like a very real possibility, then Harold Baines belongs there too. Edgar has a better slashline .312/.418/.515 to .289/.356/.465. But Harold has him in hits 2866-2247, 384-309 in home runs, and 1628-1261 in RBI, all of which Edgar would struggle to reach if given the extra 3+ seasons Harold played. You would have to tack those years on at the beginning and/or end of his career, and he did all his best work from age 32-40 (dude never hit over 18 HR in season before that), so only the hits would maybe be in danger. You can complain about accumulating all you want (and Harold Baines was unquestionably an accumulator), but if you put up 2866 hits, 384 home runs, and 1628 RBIs together, that’s Hall of Fame-worthy career, DH or not.
In other news, I completed a Harold Baines trifecta earlier this month thanks to landing this card in the draft. I got the auto late last year, this in Card Draft II: The Search for Son of Curly’s Electric Boogaloo, and finally the relic courtesy of eBay. Being that Harold Baines is probably my dad’s favorite player, all three are currently displayed on the parents’ entertainment center.
’61 Moe Thacker..
An early ’60s Cub? Of course I’m going to to take it. I don’t really team collect anymore, but I have a binder for cool Cubs stuff I like that doesn’t fit into a specific player collection or set or single page. There’s a place in it for vintage, rookies/prospects, inserts/parallels, hits, and certain oddballs and things. So yeah, this be a keeper.
1986 Topps 1000 Yard Club..
What better way to jump into the top-10 than with the greatest running back of all-time? I have several cards from Sweetness’ playing career (including his RC!), but nothing from about 1981-86, so this starts to close that sad gap in my collection a little bit.
Dock In Action..
Another ’70s pitching great with a dedicated binder page the card drafts have started to fill up. I only had a single Dock before this, from epic time suck that was the Diamond Giveaway. It should’ve been two though, Topps. Thanks for screwing me out of the ’75, the only card from his playing career that could top this card and the next on the countdown.
Dock not in action..
My ordering might’ve gone off the rails in this part of the list, but that’s okay. It’s hard to beat a ’72 for anyway. This was early in the era where I argue Topps peaked (from 1971-1985, they simply didn’t make a bad looking set, and ’71, ’72, ’75, and ’83 are all-time greats), and while the design is way… oh, let’s say flouncier, than ’71, it still positively reeks of the same kind of class as the straight black ’71s.
Upper Deck Ovation Future Forces Ray Allen..
From the height of Topps powers to the height of Upper Deck’s, this is one of those scan doesn’t do the card justice types. These days Ray is the most prolific 3-point shooter of all-time and a future Hall-of-Famer. Amazing then that he might only be the fourth best player in his draft class! Kobe, while kind of a douche, is unquestionably the best of the class, Allen Iverson is 6th in NBA history in points-per-game at 26.7 (from a guy not even legitimately 6’0″ tall!), and Steve Nash is a 2-time MVP and one of the greatest point guards in NBA history.
What a draft that 1996 class was. 4 Hall of Fame locks (the above mentioned Kobe, AI, Nash & Allen), 4 of the better all-star/Hall of Very Good journeymen ever (Antoine Walker, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Peja Stojakovic) and several significant contributors and long-lasting role players (Kerry Kittles, Marcus Camby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Derek Fisher, Jermaine O’Neal).
Oh, and I guess this card is available, but only reluctantly.
Aramis Ramirez 2012 BowChro Blue Refractor #’ed /250..
This card is so so pretty with that deep blue border and surprisingly decent for a Bowman product design (although 2013 is pretty decent too). The only thing keeping it out of the top-5 is the Cubs’ next Hall of Famer having moved on to the Brew Crew after the 2011 season. Usually I stop actively chasing players when that happens, but I finally officially went over 100 Aramis Ramirez cards early this year and am still going strong, if mostly focused on using my own money to get his autograph cards right now. I figure when I get back into trading again, the lower-tier Aramis base cards and inserts will start filling out some more.
Well, there you go. I might even be questioning my list myself, but those are my 15-6 from Card Draft II. That’s all for this one, lonely souls. Thanks for stopping by and reading my rambles and looking at my cards. Check back next time for the top-5!
Next time, Gadget…