30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, April 20, 2012

"The Walrus" Project

When I first started collecting cardboard in the early 80's, I was obsessed with quantity over quality. I was the kid who would trade you a Pete Rose card or a Nolan Ryan card for 50 commons.

But as soon as I realized that baseball cards had monetary value, that philosophy quickly changed. The card that helped me see the light was a 1970 Topps Thurman Munson rookie card. One day, a neighborhood buddy came home from the local sports store with that card. He told us how the store owner explained that Munson's untimely death would eventually increase the values of his cards.

From that moment on, I've wanted to add his rookie card to my collection. Over the years, his reputation and legacy has slowly stirred my curiosity to the point where he's become somewhat of an icon that represents both my youth and hobby. This led to me wanting to pick up all of his regular issue Topps cards from his playing days.

Eventually, I acquired his 1972 and 1979 Topps cards, but when I purged my collection in 2001, the Munsons were sold off and the project was put on the back shelf.

Then last April, I bought a box of vintage sports cards at the flea market for $10. And inside of it, I found this 1973 Topps card of Munson:

A few months later, I picked a 1978 Topps card for a dollar at the GTSM Card Show:

And just like that, the project was rekindled. Fast forward to last week, when I came across this eBay lot for three more Munsons:

His 1971 Topps base card:

His 1974 Topps base card:

And his 1976 Topps base card:

I was so stoked to be able to pick up these three cards for $5.24. I know they're not in the greatest condition... but for the price, I'm not complaining.

Plus, I just picked up this 1975 Topps base card off of COMC for $2.50:

Which means... I just need four more to complete my project: 1970 (rookie card), 1972, 1977, and his 1979 Topps base cards. My goal is to have this project completed by the end of the year. But I'm not making any promises, since I'm on a fixed budget and will only pick singles up if they're cheap.

Okay, today's question is...

Do you remember the first card you absolutely wanted to have in your collection? How long did it take for you to get it?

I'm not sure when I'll finally pick up the Munson rookie card. But if I get it this year, that means I only had to wait around 30 years to get one.

Happy Thursday everyone.. and sayonara!


  1. 1950 Bowman Roy Campanella. Took me at least 3 plus months after deciding I had to have it, and after getting sniped on it the first time around.


    1. I just read that post... and was floored. What an amazing journey... and the $30 you paid was worth every cent. That card is beautiful!

  2. Hmmm, that's a good one. I know for a while I really wanted Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr.'s cards for my 1995 set. That was because it was my first bindered set and Thomas was card #1 while Griffey was...well Griffey. Thomas was pack pulled by me back then - Griffey was traded to me by a blogger a year or so back when I started trying that set again.

    1. Congratulations on receiving the two cards that started things off for you. Just curious, do you still own the bindered set?

  3. I have owned Roberto Clemente's rookie card and Nolan Ryan's rookie card, but the white whale (walrus?) that has eluded me all these years that I have never gotten is a Tom Seaver rookie. Seeing how my collection has changed over the years, I doubt I will ever have one, but I have always wanted one.

    I just sold a 1972 Munson, but I might have a 1979 and/or 1977 to trade with you, lemme look and get back to you on that.

    Oh, and I also owned a 1970 Munson at one point, but I gave it to my roommate who was a gigantic Yankees and Munson fan. He appreciated it way more than I ever will. The 1971 is a by far better card, I have that one and it is not going anywhere.

    1. I can only dream of owning any of those three rookie cards you mentioned above. I will eventually pick up the Munson... but that card is much more affordable than a Clemente, Ryan, or Seaver.

      Lmk if you have the 77 or 79. I'd love to work out a trade.

  4. Larry Johnson 91 Upper Deck RC, interesting enough I never got it, lol

    1. Do you still want that card? If so, I probably have one somewhere that I'd gladly send your way.

  5. Mine was actually the '71 Topps Munson. I was finally able to pick one up at a card show a few years back, but I still paid about double the price you did for the trio of Munsons you nabbed. Great find!

    I actually did a post about the '71 Munson, it's still easily one of my favorite cards.


    1. Great post... and congratulations on your find. I'd love to find his rookie card at 90% off ;-)

  6. Mine was (and still is) a Trevor Hoffman auto from 1996 Leaf Signature Autographs.

    I know it's not much, but I vividly remember seeing this card at my LCS (in San Diego) when I was a young teen and thinking to myself "WOW! You can pull an autograph from a pack!?!?"
    Naive? Yes.
    The packs were out of my $1 limit imposed by my parents.
    I always wanted one and still do, but honestly, it scares me to pick it up. If I do, what's the next card to chase from my childhood? I guess that's my dilemma...

  7. I love that product. I have only opened up a handful of packs myself, but I buy singles every now and then. Last month, I picked up a Hoffman silver autograph (and a Terry Steinbach gold auto) from Offy @ Sports Syzygy for $12 shipped.

    He runs a great blog and is still selling other singles if you're interested for very reasonable prices:


  8. Mine was the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. I had started collecting in 1988 and as an eight year old kid I couldn't justify buying one pack of Upper Deck for the price of 2 or 3 Topps packs so I didn't buy any Upper Deck. Griffey went on to become my favorite player and I tracked down all of his other rookie cards but it wasn't until 1998, almost 9 years later that I picked up the 1989 Upper Deck card for $150 bucks at my local card shop. It's still one of my favorite cards!

    1. I completely understand... I have a couple of copies of that card. But I honestly don't remember if I pulled them or purchased them. What I do remember is buying a ton of 1989 Topps and Bowman... loved those odd sized Bowman cards.