1965 Topps #367 - Leon Wagner
Leon Wagner was an impressive power hitter during the early to mid '60s. He started his career with the Giants, then the Cardinals, but had a tough time cracking the lineup with either organization. When he was dealt to the Angels in 1961 and finally got a chance to play full-time he really began to blossom. In 1962 he belted 37 home runs and over 100 RBI in what was his finest individual season.
After his playing days wound down, Leon struggled in life and battled some demons. He died a homeless man living on the streets of Los Angeles in the end, but I'd rather remember him how he's depicted here, gazing up towards the sky on a sunny ball field. As my highest numbered '65 buyback to date, Wagner makes the binder uncontested.
1965 Topps #97 - Pedro Gonzalez
I don't really know the first thing about Pedro Gonzalez, but I was drawn to this one simply because I like the photograph. Sometimes I don't need more of a reason than that!
1965 Topps #310 - Johnny Callison
Next up is Johnny Callison. He played before my time obviously, but I consider him a member of the "Hall of Very Good". Johnny patrolled right field for the Phillies throughout the '60s. He was named an All-Star for three seasons during his time with the Phils, and was coming off a second place NL MVP finish in 1964 when this card was issued.
1965 Topps #70 - Bill Skowron
Next up is "Moose" Skowron, who I mostly associate with the New York Yankees, the team he began his career with. In 14 seasons, Skowron was named an All-Star in six of them and won an impressive five World Series championships (four with the Yankees, one with the Dodgers). This is a cool buyback in that '65 was his last really good season in the Majors (and his final time selected as an All-Star).
1965 Topps #86 - Les Narum
Leslie Narum, who was affectionately known as "Buster", pitched for five seasons with the Orioles and Senators. In the era before the designated hitter, Buster was not very effective at the plate, turning in a lifetime batting average of just .059. He did hit three round-trippers though, including one in his first ever MLB at-bat (the first Baltimore Oriole to accomplish that feat).
1965 Topps #232 - Steve Blass
Here's a nice early-career Steve Blass card (he didn't really catch on full-time with the Bucs until 1966). Steve would win a career-high 18 games in 1968, but is better remembered for the two complete game wins that he authored in the 1971 World Series. Once again, I really dig the photograph on this card.
1965 Topps #314 - Sterling Slaughter
Sterling Slaughter's entire MLB career consists of just over 50 innings pitched in 1964. I decided to add this one to my order though just because I love the name Sterling Slaughter. Well, that and the fact that I didn't have a #314 buyback previously, so this one fills an empty slot in the binder.
1967 Topps #97 - Mike Cuellar
Like most baseball fans, when I think of Mike Cuellar I think of his dominating run of seasons as a starter with the Orioles beginning a couple of years after this card was released. This is still a cool buyback though, as Mike won 16 games with Houston in 1967 and was named an All-Star for the first of four times in his impressive career.
1961 Topps #13 - Chuck Cottier
The last two buybacks I have for today are 2014 buybacks of '61 Topps cards. First up is Chuck Cottier, who spent nine years as an infielder with four different franchises. Some heavy airbrushing is evident here, as Chuck has spent the previous two seasons with the Milwaukee Braves. The best thing about this card is that it filled an empty slot on the second page of the binder!
1961 Topps #57 - Marv Throneberry
The last buyback I have for today is actually the one that led me to this seller to begin with. I've wanted a Marv Throneberry buyback for this project for a while, as he's one of a few Major League players that was born on the same day as me (September 2nd)! Marv actually came up with the Yankees, but is pictured here with the KC A's, as he was part of the deal that brought Roger Maris to New York before the 1960 season. Due to the personal connection, this is a very cool buyback to me, but if it hopes to make the binder it will have to unseat this card...
I'm happy to report that today's grouping, despite containing just three new numbers, officially pushes me past the 50% completion mark for the project! I've become somewhat obsessed with these in case you haven't noticed, and I've surprised even myself by reaching the halfway point less than a year after beginning this project.
I don't expect to finish the second half nearly as quickly as I did the first, given that the likelihood of hitting new numbers diminishes with each post, but I'm still hopeful that I can get into the 65-75% range by year's end. Thanks for stopping by and following along on my quest to build the best collection of buybacks out there!
Franken-set Progress: 397/792 (50%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 190
Total Buybacks in Collection: 587