Saturday, March 25, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Unopened Packs Edition

I know it's been buyback overload here lately, but today I need to clean out the last of what I have scanned in order to lay the groundwork for an awesome trade package I received last week, so you're getting a baker's dozen again today...

When 2017 Topps Heritage hit the shelves a few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to win a small lot of unopened buyback box-toppers on eBay.  As a fan of buybacks I like to pick up at least a handful from each year's Heritage set, and I thought combining my love for buybacks with the thrill of unopened packs might be a fun way to do so this year.

For today I'll tear into the first three...

1968 Topps #164 - Ramon Webster

Ramon Webster had an impressive rookie year with Oakland in 1967, enough so that he started the 1968 season batting cleanup for the club.  Ramon looked like he would be an important piece for the up-and-coming franchise, but after suffering a leg injury early in 1968 he missed most of the year.  He never really regained his prior form afterwards, and was out of baseball by 1971.

I already had this late-career Mickey Lolich in the binder in slot 164...

...and I'm definitely going with that one over this hat-less player with a white line worn through his face.

1968 Topps #79 - Ted Kubiak

Pack two disappointingly revealed another hat-less Athletic, infielder Ted Kubiak.  Ted would last a lot longer with the franchise than Ramon Webster did, and was a member of the back-to-back-to-back championship teams of the '70s.  This one gains some humor points with me as well for that runaway wing of hair protruding from Ted's left temple.

Again there was pre-existing competition here with this relatively bland '73 Jim Willoughby.

This is one of those rare times where I'm actually selecting a hat-less player over one donning a cap.

1968 Topps #64 - Jim Merritt

Last pack for today finally yields a guy wearing a ball cap, pitcher Jim Merritt of the Twins.  1968 was actually Merritt's final year with the Twins, he'd move onto the Reds then the Rangers before finishing his career.  Like with the other two Heritage buybacks, Jim doesn't get a free pass into the binder:


That was an easy decision at least.  Not off to the greatest start with these, but I have a few more that I haven't opened yet so we'll see if I fare better at some point in the future.

1976 Topps #308 - Jim Barr

Jim Barr was a very solid pitcher for the Giants throughout the mid-'70s, consistently winning 10+ games for a franchise that wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire.  This card looks pretty terrible though; aside from being way off-center it looks like a rodent or something chewed up the left border.

It's facing off against another beat-up card when it comes to the franken-set.

I just can't choose Barr over Clemente and the gang.

1976 Topps #327 - Dave Moates

I don't really know the first thing about Dave Moates, whose MLB career lasted for parts of three seasons in the '70s.  I do know that I didn't have a #327 buyback previously though, so for the first time today the franken-set inches closer to completion.

1973 Topps #336 - Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley was a right-handed pitcher who ended up with a career record of 55-61 across a few seasons as a starter.  At least he's wearing a cap, and those glasses just scream '70s.  I didn't have a #336 buyback prior to this, so that's two straight cards that go into the binder!

1973 Topps #272 - Ed Farmer

Ed Farmer was constantly on the move, playing for nine different franchises over the course of his 11-year career.  This is a nice photo of him with the team he debuted with, the Cleveland  Indians.  I like the stadium backdrop, though the card itself is horribly off-center.  Farmer's been handling play-by-play duty for White Sox radio broadcasts for about a decade now.

This Tommy Helms was already in slot 272.  It's got better centering, and honestly I just have way more '73s in the binder than I do '71s so...

...Tommy stays and Ed is out.

1973 Topps #236 - Tito Fuentes

The 1973 Topps set is known for these fantastic multi-player action shots where you can barely tell which player is the actual subject of the card, and this Tito Fuentes is a prime example.  Like many collectors, I've always enjoyed these.  Topps carried the practice over to their hockey release that same year, and they're some of my favorite cards from that set as well.

This one probably would have steamrolled any competition, but as it stands there wasn't any.  Fuentes is in.

1979 Topps #264 - Don Robinson

Don Robinson was a longtime starter for the Pirates, and as pitchers go he was one of the more effective hitters of his day.  He won three Silver Slugger Awards and had 13 career home runs, including a pinch-hit home run in 1990 (something that hadn't been done for nearly 20 seasons).  Above all, I like this one because the Pirates won it all in '79, and Robinson actually won the second game of that World Series with a very solid performance against the O's.  Without any other #264 buybacks, Robinson makes the cut uncontested.

1975 Topps #416 - Larry Lintz

I'll close it out for today with a quartet of bold, colorful '75s, starting with switch-hitting speedster Larry Lintz.  Like the majority of collectors I love the '75 set in general, plus this one has a great photograph and Larry's name is fun to pronounce.

Unfortunately, Lintz ran into a buzz-saw with respect to the franken-set.  Foster Castleman is also an interesting name, and there aren't exactly a ton of '58s in the binder.

Lintz loses in a close one.

1975 Topps #96 - Mike Cosgrove

Next up, Mike Cosgrove of the Astros.  I don't really know anything about the lefty reliever, who spent all five of his MLB seasons with the Astros, and retired years before I was even born.  Surprisingly the binder was lacking a #96 buyback though, so Cosgrove is now sitting in that slot.

1975 Topps #522 - Gary Sutherland

Gary Sutherland was known more for his fielding prowess than for his bat during a career that lasted from 1966 through 1978.  He was one of the top second basemen in the league during his prime when it came to turning a double play, and scored the first run in Expos franchise history in 1969.  A nice high number too at 522, Gary is in.

1975 Topps #475 - Darrell Evans

I didn't have a #475 buyback either, so this Darrell Evans is now a part of the franken-set.  I was happy to bring this one into the fold too, given that I just tossed out his '74 Topps buyback earlier this week.  400+ career home runs seems more than worthy for a place in the set.

After a rough start, with none of the first four cards providing a new number for this project, things bounced back nicely and in the end I got 7 new numbers from 13 total cards.  At this stage of the project I'll take 50% or greater odds any day.

Franken-set Progress:  352/792 (44%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  141
Total Buybacks in Collection:  493


Hackenbush said...

I know a lot of people love them but I think Robinson's Pirates uniform is hideous.

Commishbob said...

I stand with Hack...the Pirates pinstripes are awful, and topping it off with a pillbox cap just compounds the felony. I'm gonna make it my goal for find a card to knock Robinson out of the binder.

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