At the beginning of the year, I made a few goals. One of them was to lose 30 pounds (as of yesterday morning, I'm halfway there). Another was to complete a Padres team set from either 1969, 1971, or 1973.
Consider the 1973 Topps Padres team set in the books!
Now, I guess I need to preface this post by saying that I only went after cards that featured 100% Padre players, no multiple player cards. I know that there are those who need to have every card that features a player from your team, but when the John Hilton rookie card is as expensive as it is, you learn to compromise.
Without further ado, here is a post dedicated to my first Padres vintage complete set.
First off, here are my top 5 favorite cards in the set:
First up, Clarence "Cito" Gaston. Gaston was the Padres last pick in the 1968 Expansion Draft. Went on to become a decent player and a heckuva manager, becoming the first African-American manager to win a World Series title, which he did with Toronto in 1992 and 1993.
There are times when I think about changing the color scheme with the blog. This is a card that shows why I've kept it. Look at all that yellow! Team cards rule.
Coming in at number three on the countdown, Nate Colbert. Gotta love Nate the Great, the first Padre star. In 1973, he batted a career high .270 and had 22 homers and 80 RBIs. His last year with the Pads would be in 1974, being traded to Detroit in 1975.
For a long time, I thought this would be my favorite Padre from the 1973 set. How can you not love the full mustard uniform, the Wrigley ivy in the background, the diving third base silhouette, and the All-Star Rookie Cup? Combined with a cool shot of Dave Roberts tracking down a pop fly, and it's a recipe for a classic card. Roberts hit .244 with 5 homers and 33 RBI in his rookie season in '72, which was apparently good enough to be labeled an "All-Star Rookie". Must've been a slow year for rookie third basemen, but I'll take it.
Is there a better looking Padre card than this one? I'm not sure there is (trust me, that countdown is still in the making). This was the second to last card from the set that I needed, one of the high numbered ones. This is the first ever "play at the plate" card to feature a Friar backstop. From a very reputable source, the Cub featured at home plate is pitcher Fergie Jenkins, and he was out.
After looking at all those fronts, lets check out the backs. I am probably in the minority of people who prefer the cards to have vertical backs, and these are examples of cards that look good doing it. I particularly liked that you could see the players' full names (not every day you see a guy who's middle name is "Elixbet"), though the cartoon headings steal the show here. The Padres seem like a pretty interesting bunch, who's hobbies include "volunteer dentistry", "hypnosis", "amateur middleweight boxer", "playing checkers", and "building miniature racing cars". Good stuff.
Here's a last and final look at all all 23 cards in the set...
Gaston and Fred Kendall are the only two Original Padres on page one.
Vicente Romo's awesomely airbrushed hat would've come in at number six on the countdown. Colbert is a good fit as the centerpiece of the page.
Not quite a full page for the high numbers in the set.
Pretty pleased that it didn't take too long to get this mission accomplished. '73 Topps is one of my favorite designs, and has some great photography. It was also a pretty good year for Padre uniforms, though there wasn't a lot of star power in the checklist. I'm still a ways away from completing the inaugural Padres team set from 1969, but I'm only one card short of completing the 1971 set, so if you've got an extra Preston Gomez #737 sitting around, let me know.