This Old Duck first fell in love in the 60’s (no, her name wasn’t Daisy), so I can certainly relate to this story that was on the Internet a few years ago. It is titled “I went to bat for her engagement ring” and the sad tale is as follows –
“My girlfriend and I had been together for about three years and I was sure she was the one I wanted to marry. Problem was, I didn’t exactly have enough money to get her a good engagement ring. So, in order to raise funds, I put my collection of baseball cards on eBay. We’re talking a collection that spanned, like, 20 years, thanks to some cards handed down by my Dad. I was totally bummed to part with them because they were so important to me, but I really, really loved this girl. I ended up making more than enough money to pay for a ring. Problem was, when I got down on one knee, she told me she couldn’t see spending the rest of her life with me. I should’ve stuck with Shoeless Joe Jackson.”
If you’re still young enough to be this stupid, here’s some advice about the difference between marriage and baseball cards…if you pamper your cards, they’ll still look just as good in 20 years.
In honor of those beautiful girls I knew in the 60’s, here’s my top ten of the decade… as requested by some readers, you’ll also see the current value of each card in Excellent (EX) condition as defined by a grade of “5” by PSA or Beckett.
1) 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan (#177) – Even though he shares the card with Jerry Koosman, the “Ryan Express” rookie card is still one of the most sought after cards in the hobby. The Hall of Fame fireballer will always have a certain mystique for his legendary fastball and career longevity. ($350)
2) 1964 Topps Pete Rose (#125) – Rose’s rookie card from 1963 is missing from this list because it may be the most unattractive high-demand card in history. In that year, Topps put small head-shot photos of four rookies on certain cards and you almost needed a magnifying glass to recognize the “Hit King”. His ’64 card is much more appealing to Rose fans…and much less expensive. ($100)
3) 1960 Topps Carl Yastrzemski (#148) – The player who had the difficult task of replacing Ted Williams in LF is shown on a beautiful horizontal format rookie card. His Hall of Fame career speaks for itself. ($100)
4) 1962 Topps Roger Maris (#1) – Not only is this the card that shows 61 home runs on the back, but it is also the #1 card in the set and, therefore, difficult to find in nice condition. ($90)
5) 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson (#260) – The rookie card of “Mr. October”. ($90)
6) 1962 Topps Lou Brock (#387) – An under-appreciated Hall of Famer with over 3,000 hits, this is his rookie card. It is also an ugly reminder to Cub fans that he was traded to the Cardinals in 1964. ($70)
7) 1967 Topps Tom Seaver (#581) – Another Hall of Fame Pitcher originally with the Mets, “Tom Terrific” shares his rookie card with Bill Denehy. ($375)
8) 1968 Topps Johnny Bench (#247) – Arguably the greatest Catcher in history, this is his rookie card. As with many Topps issues of the era, he also shares the card with another player…Ron Tomkins. ($60)
9) 1966 Topps NL Batting Leaders (#215) – A great example of the type of subset cards that Topps added to their sets, this one features Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron & Willie Mays. ($30)
10) 1967 Topps Bob Uecker (#326) – This choice may seem “just a bit outside” but it was the final season for “Mr. Baseball”. ($10)
To reinforce the depth of collecting during this decade, rookie cards that didn’t make the list include Willie McCovey (1960, $75), Joe Morgan (1965, $35), Steve Carlton (1965, $70), Jim Palmer (1966, $40) & Rod Carew (1967, $150).