Friday, April 29, 2016

1982-83 NBA: Cardless No More! Milwaukee Bucks

Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncrief, Bob Lanier, Junior Bridgeman, Don Nelson, Quinn Buckner, Mickey Johnson, Brian Winters, Harvey Catchings, Pat Cummings, Bob Dandridge, Alton Lister, Scott May, Mike Evans, Paul Pressey, Fred Roberts, Topps

Basketball cards admittedly never had a golden era.  Though cards were produced annually between 1969 and 1982, Topps surprisingly stopped making them in 1982.  Whether it was due to poor sales, lack of interest, or both, their timing in hindsight couldn't have been worse.  This was the beginning of the Larry Bird-Magic Johnson era and two years before Jordan showed up to change the game, probably forever.  The void left by Topps was quickly filled by the Star Company, who instead of producing cards in wax packs with gum, sold expansive team sets in the basketball arenas and hobby stores.  The first Star Company set was an All-star set of 32 cards that came out in 1983.  Fans had to wait until 1984 for full team sets.  This left the 1982-83 season without any basketball cards at all.

RetroCards fills that small gap with a 20-card Milwaukee Bucks card set based on the 1982 baseball design.  Known as a golden age for the 76ers, Celtics, and Lakers, the Don Nelson-era Milwaukee Bucks were in the middle of winning seven consecutive division titles (1979-1986) when they averaged 54 wins per season.  A great team that wasn’t strong enough to overcome the Celtics and 76ers during that time, the Bucks get special recognition with this attractive set.

Players include Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncrief, Bob Lanier, Junior Bridgeman, Quinn Buckner, Mickey Johnson, Brian Winters, Harvey Catchings, Pat Cummings, Bob Dandridge, Alton Lister, Scott May, and a future stars card featuring Mike Evans, Paul Pressey, and Fred Roberts.

Other cards include head coach Don Nelson, In Action cards for Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson, Highlight cards for the Bucks vs 76ers Divisional Playoff series and the highest scoring game ever (Bucks vs. Spurs), a team card, and a logo card/checklist. Get yours now!

Monday, April 18, 2016

1963 Giants: Always The Bridesmaid

Topps, Frank Gifford, Andy Robustelli, Hugh McElhenny, Dick Modzelewski, Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown,  Greg Larson, Jerry Hillebrand, Joe Morrison, Tom Scott, Dick Lynch, Joe Walton, Bookie Bolin, Don Chandler, Johnny Counts, Ralph Guglielmi, Glynn Griffing, Dick Pesonen, & Bill Winter

The 1962 season was one of great success for the New York Giants as they finished 12-2 and appeared in the NFL Championship Game for the fifth time in the past seven seasons.   It was also one of great disappointment, as they lost their fourth straight championship game, this time being a 16-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers, in a blustery and bitterly cold game at Yankee Stadium.  The 1963 season would also be one of great success, as they would, again, return to the NFL Championship Game following an 11-3 record.  However, disappointment would again befall the franchise, with a heartbreaking 14-10 loss to the Chicago Bears.

RetroCards, always expanding the attractive 1963 set, offers this supplement to the Giants collection.   Truly a glory era for the New York franchise, superstars and Hall-of-Famers are featured, such as Frank Gifford, Andy Robustelli, Hugh McElhenny, Dick Modzelewski and Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown.  Other great role players, in various stages of their careers with the Giants, include Greg Larson, Jerry Hillebrand, Joe Morrison, Tom Scott, Don Chandler, Dick Lynch and Joe Walton, among others.

The New York Giants are a team with a truly rich history. This set will be a great addition to the collection of any Giants fan that chronicals this great history.  So, if you are an avid fan of the G-Men, a historian of the gridiron, or just a true collector who loves the style and look of the 1963 football set, this set is just for you.

The 18-card set includes: Frank Gifford, Andy Robustelli, Hugh McElhenny, Dick Modzelewski, Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown,  Greg Larson, Jerry Hillebrand, Joe Morrison, Tom Scott, Dick Lynch, Joe Walton, Bookie Bolin, Don Chandler, Johnny Counts, Ralph Guglielmi, Glynn Griffing, Dick Pesonen, & Bill Winter.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spotlight On: The White Shadow, Ken Howard

Topps Basketball 1978-79 Carver high school

Ken Howard’s 40-year acting career came to a close with his passing on March 23, 2016.  His 40+ years in acting include career highlights such as being a Tony winner (Child’s Play, 1970), Emmy winner (Grey Gardens, 2009), and the President of Screen Actor’s Guild.  But he may be best remembered as Coach Reeves in the critically-acclaimed late-70s show The White Shadow.

Howard’s television work included a starring role opposite Blythe Danner in the short-lived Adam’s Rib (1973), the Quinn Martin show The Man Hunter (1974-75),  Dynasty, and The Colbys.  He guest starred on numerous shows over 30 years and had a vibrant theater and film career as well.

The White Shadow was appreciated for the hard-hitting subjects it covered but more so for the realistic basketball action and skills of the actors.  The show was based on Howard’s own experiences as a high school basketball player at Manhasset High School on Long Island where he was nicknamed The White Shadow because he was one of the few white players and the only white starter.  The humor in the TV show was based on many of Howard's high school teammates.  A member of the National Honor Society in high school, Howard turned down several offers of basketball scholarships in favor of a more focused academic education. He was a graduate of Amherst College where he served as captain of the basketball team. He was also a member of the a cappella singing group, "The Zumbyes." He attended Yale School of Drama but left to make his Broadway debut before completing his master's degree.

With one of the  funkiest theme songs ever, it pulled this writer in instantly.  One of RetroCards’ pet projects is 70s TV so the White Shadow covers that category as well as obscure sports figures.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Pack Was Not Back: 1974 Woes

Topps 1974 football cards RetroCards custom cards that never were

The Packers were coming off a rough season in 1973 (record: 5-7-2) where they dropped to 3rd place in the Central Division.  The 1972 season showcased their dominate running game behind the power of John Brockington and MacArthur Lane (1,848 total yards).  With running totals like that, the quarterback position was secondary in which starter Jerry Tagge threw for a league low 720 yards.  By 1973 the league figured out that focusing on the run forced the Packers to pass.  This simple defensive scheme saw Brockington's and Lane’s rushing totals plummet and exposed the dreadful play at the Packers quarterback position which had sunk to Bear-level lows.  The quarterback rating for the 3 rotating Packer starters was a cumulative 46.9 and neither Scott Hunter, Jerry Tagge, or Jim Del Gaizo could move the ball through the air. 

Despite all this, Packer fans were optimistic as the team fielded 5 All-Pros (Willie Buchanon, Chester Marcol, Ted Hendricks, Gale Gillingham, John Brockington and although the All-Pro tags didn’t translate to wins, it gave hope for the future.

RetroCards takes the bad (the Devine era) with the good (the Lombardi era) with this provocative 18-card set featuring players and events of 1974 Packers.  Cards include: Dan Devine, Ted Hendricks, Don Woods, Tom Toner, Bill Hayhoe, Paul Staroba, Pete Van Valkenburg, John Hadl, Larry Hefner, Dick Himes, Al Matthews, Ron McBride, Lee Nystrom, Barry Smith, Bob Wicks, Keith Wortman, and QB Shuffle featuring Jim Del Gaizo, John Hadl, and Archie Manning.  One highlight of this set is a tribute card to Packers Training Camp: Kids Bike Tradition in which kids offered their bikes to players to ride after practice, a tradition going back to the 1950s.  Coming soon!