the improbable dream: 1965 topps

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Like many of you, I was born in 1965. I don’t remember the first time that I saw a baseball card that was issued in my birth year, but I can tell you that many years passed before I owned one. And that is really interesting considering what a great looking set of cards the sixty-fives are.

At some point after I picked up my copy of Frank Slocum’s Topps Baseball Cards: The Complete Picture Collection (A 35 Year History, 1951-1985), I studied the sixty-fives and developed a “wish list” of cards that I would like to pick up at least one of as a representative sample of the set. A couple of weeks later I commented to a buddy that I had been getting outbid on each of the single sixty-fives I had been trying to pick up on eBay. Frustrated, and obviously outgunned, I tabled that project for “another time.”

Not long after that, my pal Marty hooked me up with my first 1965 Topps baseball card. It wasn’t just any random card, but a sweet autographed Luis Aparicio card. Check it out!

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Luis Aparicio – 1965 Topps no. 410

Although I haven’t featured this card before, it has appeared here partially as I utilized it in part in a post about Steve Finley since he was also born in 1965. At any rate, I had pretty much come to terms with the notion that this was going to be THE card in my collection to represent the 1965 Topps set. At least I had one!

Then a strange and mysterious thing happened….

While conducting research for a blog article about the roots of my baseball collecting habits, I stumbled into a deal that resulted in the acquisition of a boatload of vintage cards the likes of which I never seriously thought possible. Long story short, I was able to add the goal of building a set of 1965 Topps baseball cards to my list of vintage cards to collect in addition to my other favorites– 1975 and 1972.

Don’t worry; I have no intention on discussing every single card in the 1965 set. I believe that Kevin of the Great 1965 Topps Project is doing a fantastic job of documenting this set. However, I will be posting scans of the cards that I end up getting autographed. Unless I mention otherwise, it is safe for you to assume that I am getting these cards signed through the mail, or “TTM.” I mailed the following four cards with short letters to players just over a week ago.

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Ty Cline – 1965 Topps no. 63

Ty Cline leads off since he will be celebrating a birthday on June 15th. If you happen to be planning on asking Tyrone to sign TTM, this would be a great opportunity as you could also send him a birthday card. Playing for Cincinnati, Cline was the first player to record an official at bat at Three Rivers Stadium during the summer of 1970. At the end of that same season, Ty scored the winning runs in the first and third games of the National League Championship Series as the Reds sent the Pirates migrating to the golf courses for the winter.

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Dal Maxvill – 1965 Topps no. 78

What can I say about Dal Maxvill that hasn’t already been written? Appropriately featured with his leather rather than a piece of lumber, Dal’s 1965 Topps card has it all. Noting that Maxvill supplemented his income by working as an electrical engineer during the off season, the Topps artist in charge of rendering his comic for the back went so far as to depicting Dal in the process of electrocuting himself.

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Max Alvis – 1965 Topps no. 185

Alvis was selected to the American League All-Star team in 1965 and 1967. The comic on the back of Alvis’ 1965 card indicates that the Jasper, Texas native tried his hand at pitching in the minors in 1959. Always searching for a hidden story, I decided to check into that. Yes, Max did pitch for the Alabama-Florida League Selma Cloverleafs- a single inning in which he walked one batter and struck out none. Of course, his lifetime ERA of 0.00 is nothing to sneeze at!

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Max Alvis – 1965 Topps Embossed no. 3

Never a fan of the foil slapped onto cards these days, I have to admit that these embossed 1965 Topps All-Star cards are extremely nifty. Even niftier when artfully autographed!

Again, I am actively seeking trades, and am interested in establishing long-term trading relationships with other collectors working on the 1965 Topps baseball card set (or any of the other vintage sets found in my online want lists). Don’t be shy!

– Kris

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