Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

Want Lists are located here. NPB Baseball Want List is located here.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Power of Vintage

Where does nostalgia come from?

Old is in now. Hipsters love hating but wearing vintage clothing. Thrift shops are thriving. Antique malls are doing pretty well, too. And then there are real antique stores.

Many logos have a retro or old, simple crafted feel now - the All-Star Game logos and San Francisco's various parks logos stand out in my mind. 

Architecture either incorporates existing structures or has a nod to historic buildings. Just look at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Petco Park for inclusion of old buildings. Pretty much every ballpark built today has moved away from concrete and glass to brick and iron. Have a look at AT&T Park and the new SunTrust Park being built in Atlanta.

In the baseball card word, retro has been a hit for quite some time. Topps and Panini put a lot of effort into issuing throwback sets - Heritage, Allen & Ginter, Panini Cooperstown and even Donruss harken back to a prior age.

And then there are reprints; notably, 2016 Topps will have a Sy Berger tribute that's essentially reprints. Just like they did in 2011. (I guess we know what to expect in 2021 Topps too.)

A recent article (I can't remember the source) implies that Donald Trump's quick rise to popularity may be a result of the quickly changing socioeconomic situation, and I wonder if the increasing interest in things from "a simpler time" might be similarly inspired.

But when it comes to cardboard, vintage has been popular for a long time. I love old cards both from my childhood (ahh, the good old days of "junk wax") and before. When I was a beginning collector, getting older cards - even mid-80s cards in the early 1990s - was a bit of a treat. I had a bunch of those old Coke bottle caps with baseball players inside. I wonder what happen to those. 

It wasn't until Jim came around and offered me a bunch of 1973 Topps singles that I really started building a vintage set. And I'm still trying to finish that set. Most of the cards I have of that set came from him, but there are others who have been a big help. And I've found some cards on my own, too, but I don't come across '73s in Japan.

So when I came back to the US in June and met up with Jim, I guess it's only natural that he should have some more 1973 cards for my set. At this point, I'm only really missing the tougher cards - keys and high numbers. So looking at the cards below for the first time, I was pretty excited!
 Team card. One thing I wish Heritage would do better is the subsets. Sure, there's a nod to some of them, but I feel like Topps could do better. Make them an insert that replaces one of the pointless parallels. Or the pointless insert sets New Age Performers and Then & Now.

The Mets TC is the only one in 1973 Topps that "lists" in Beckett Baseball. Yes, I have the price guide. Shoot me. Why is this card so important? This (along with his regular card, #305) is Willie Mays' last card from his playing days.
 Yankees are always tough when it comes to vintage. Thurman Munson is a player that was about as well-loved as any player could be.
 Yaz is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and still the best Red Sox player of all time in many categories.
 The Iron Horse was known for more than grand slams, but I guess Topps wanted to focus on home runs thanks to Hank Aaron approaching Ruth's record. Did you know that this card was the one found in one of my favorite childhood movies, The Goonies?
 Willie Stargell was a great player, but I love the "action" photograph more than the player. While the color on this set isn't as crisp as modern cards, there are some pretty unique images here. I wonder if Topps will try to replicate some of these when '73 rolls around in Heritage.
And arguably, this is the second-best card in the set, with Mike Schmidt's rookie coming in at number one. Nolan Ryan is one of my favorite players, and has been since I can remember having favorite players. I absolutely love having this card!

Jim is quite generous. I'm sure he'll dismiss the condition and such on some of the cards but none of that matters to me; just having these cards is cool enough!

And with this small but significant stack, my want list is now under 100 cards of this 660 card set!

As long as the line above says 1973 Topps, that is my want list for this set! (It's hard to make a good solid link in Google Sheets if the sheet changes - you can always check out my want list if it doesn't show up here.)

Thanks so much, Jim! It was great hanging out with you again!


  1. Lol... I laughed when I saw one of my students walk into my classroom last week wearing Birkenstocks. Now that's what I call nostalgic.

  2. The Mets went to the World Series in 1973 so maybe that's why the team card is singled out.

  3. Fuji: hah. I never had a pair of those, but I certainly remember them.

    NPB Card Guy: Possibly. But reviewing Beckett's list of cards that book, it's not consistent - I would guess that Mays has at least a little to do with it.