Cards I Didn’t Know I Had

I haven’t had the opportunity to make it back to my hometown for quite some time now.  I still don’t know what Thanksgiving will bring, but that will most likely be my first shot at it in three months or so.  Not great considering it’s only 90 minutes away or so.  My commute to work is only slightly shorter.

I guess it’s a good thing that I partially raided my old collection of cards the last time I was there, because looking at old cards will always bring me home.

Going through the boxes in the basement, I found quite a few interesting finds mixed in with the droves of junk wax commons.  I knew I owned a couple cards produced earlier than 1986 when I started collecting, but I didn’t remember any of these that I’ll showcase throughout the series.  They are:

THE CARDS I DIDN’T KNOW I HAD – Part 1 in a series of however many I end up finding

Beat all to hell, but still beautiful

The corners are all rounded.  There are bends and scraped off portions of the picture.  There’s all kinds of dirt and probably bacteria on the front and back.  The back looks like it was stepped on and run over by a bike.  But it’s still a 1972 card (#89) with Willie Stargell and Hank Aaron.

How did I acquire this card?
I have absolutely no clue.  Considering the condition, I doubt it was expensive, and so maybe I grabbed it as a cheap Aaron card?  If that’s the case, then good job, little me!

Want to know the full top 10 list of NL Home Run Leaders from 1971?  Of course you do.

1. Willie Stargell – 48
2. Hank Aaron – 47
3. Lee May – 39
4. Deron Johnson – 34
5. Bobby Bonds – 33
5. Earl Williams – 33
7. Willie Montanez – 30
8. Billy Williams – 28
9. Johnny Bench – 27
9. Nate Colbert – 27

People talk a lot about steroid use and whatnot, and I don’t necessarily think they’re wrong.  But what this list shows me is that either steroid use is slowing down these days or everyone’s using them to level the playing field.  2010’s list doesn’t look that much different.

1. Albert Pujols – 42
2. Adam Dunn – 38
3. Joey Votto – 37
4. Carlos Gonzalez – 34
5. Dan Uggla – 33
6. Prince Fielder – 32
6. Mark Reynolds – 32
8. Adrian Gonzalez – 31
8. Corey Hart – 31
8. Ryan Howard – 31

There may not be any players that hit under 30 on this list, but 1971 had two guys hit more than 45, which didn’t happen in the NL this year.  I don’t know.  Just an observation.

Back to the card – I have to say that I don’t know half the guys on that 1971 list.  I really need to educate myself on pre-birth baseball players.  Not too long ago I saw a story about J.R. Richard.  I’m sure there’s tons more out there like him that I should know, but don’t.

Let’s explore #3 on this list, the last guy on the front, Lee May.  From what I see on wikipedia, he was a three-time All-Star and won a ring with the 1985 Royals as their hitting coach. He also hit the last home run in the history of Crosley Field.

Throughout is 18 year career (1965-1982), he hit .267, acquired 2,031 hits, including 340 doubles and 354 home runs.  He hit 20 or more home runs in 11 straight seasons, and hit 34 or more in 3 straight (39 was his career high).

See, not too shabby.  That’s a solid career that goes virtually unknown simply because he wasn’t hall of fame caliber.  Well, I can say now that I am a proud owner of a beat to hell and back Stargell/Aaron/MAY 1972 Topps League Leader card.

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