Saturday, July 30, 2016

Spotlight On: Nate Thurmond, A Center's Center

Topps Fleer RetroCards custom cards that never were

The passing of Nate Thurmond on July 16, 2016 made me think of some of the important NBA players I grew up watching and admiring.  Nate Thurmond was the player that made me realize what the center position was all about.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was on my home town team but it was watching Thurmond that help me understand what the role of a center was.  Some of today’s NBA centers could learn a thing or two from watching old Nate.

A Hall of Famer and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Nate Thurmond played 14 seasons starting with the San Francisco Warriors in 1963.  He played in the shadow of teammate Wilt Chamberlain but blossomed into an NBA star after Chamberlain was traded to Philadelphia.  Thurmond became a regular All-Star and member of the NBA All-Defensive Team, averaging over 20 rebounds per game from 1967-68 season through the 1971-72 season.  Despite teaming with star Rick Barry, the Warriors were unable to defeat Chamberlain’s mighty 76ers in the 1967 NBA Championship.

A trade to the Bulls in 1974 saw the NBA’s first official quadruple double recorded by Thurmond on October 18, 1974.  However, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers the following season where he played out his career in his home state.  He helped the Cavs reach the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in 1976 and played a final season in Cleveland before retiring in 1977.  His number 42 is retired by both the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. RetroCards honors one of the true NBA gentlemen with several new Nate Thurmond cards that never were.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Waltons: No Longer Playing “Hard To Get”

Topps test set waltons, retrocards custom cards that never were 1972 1973 1974
Looking back on the 1970s, it amazes me how many different TV shows and TV personalities had board games, record albums, lunch boxes, and bubblegum cards.  Wasn’t our economy a bit shaky then?  If so, you would never know it judging on the consumption of the aforementioned pop cultures artifacts.  Charlie’s Angels, The Partridge Family, Welcome Back, Kotter, The Bionic Woman, Good Times and many other shows are well-represented on bubblegum cards but other shows didn’t get that privilege.

One of the decade’s bigger TV drama hits was the Waltons, a depression-era and World War II family that lived in rural Virginia on Walton’s Mountain.  A top-20 show in its first six seasons,  The Waltons got the usual 1970s pop culture treatment with a lunchbox, board game, record album, and was the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting. A bubblegum card set was piloted and proofs of the 55-card set were released but it never got past that stage.  Those cards today cost in the hundreds of dollars per card and are highly sought after.  The attractive pink-bordered cards are reminiscent of the designs of the time and features the Walton’s large cast.

RetroCards has created their own set based on the original design, changing the hot pink borders to light blue.  This 18-card set features characters and episodes from the first two seasons as well as a wrapper card of the original test set.  Poor collectors will now be able to afford to get the John-Boy rookie card in this attractive new set. Familiar faces include the Walton family, Baldwin Sisters, Ike Godsey, a young John Ritter as the Reverand, a wrapper card (from the original test set) and more! Coming soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

1963 Redskins: Hard Times, Hard Knocks

Topps 1963 Washington Redskins, RetroCards, custom cards that never were

A colorful franchise, with a rich history in professional football that goes back to the 1930’s, the Washington Redskins are one of the most popular teams in pro sports. The 1960’s, however, were not so colorful, except for their uniforms, as the franchise languished at the bottom of the NFL. Coming off a 5-7-2 season in 1962, the “Skins”, under Head Coach Bill McPeak, would sink deeper into the doldrums in 1963, winning only 3 games against 11 losses.

Although the team would have to wait nearly a decade for their next winning season and post-season appearance, the Redskins had their loyal fans. They played a rough style of football, and their burgundy and gold uniforms, with the iconic spear on the helmet, drew crowds on cold autumn days. RetroCards, always expanding the equally colorful 1963 football card style, now brings more of the ‘Skins history to life with this 18-card set.  Figures of the franchise from the early ‘60’s include Vince Promuto, Joe Rutgens, Bob Pellegrini, Andy Stynchula, John Paluck, Jim Steffen, and the Khayat brothers, Ed and Bob.  Players that would achieve fame later with other teams include Johnny Sample, Bill Anderson, and Ron Snidow. Unsung contributors, especially those mudders in the trenches, get their due, such as Fran O’Brien, Fred Hageman, Gorden Kelley, Harry Butsko and others.

The glamour of pro football didn’t only reside with the championship teams.  Sometimes it lay dormant with the franchises in their hard times.  So, if you are a hardcore ‘Skins fan through it all, a fan of the style and color of the 1963 cards, or a discriminating collector of pro football history, here’s your chance to awaken more of the hidden glory that is the Washington Redskins. Coming Soon!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

1974 Cowboys: A Basketball Design

Topps RetroCards custom cards that never were Dallas Cowboys

The mid 70’s was a great era for sport card designs; lots of wild colors, big afros, and  over-the-top fads.  That’s why RetroCards has created a new Dallas Cowboys set utilizing a 1974-75 basketball card design.  This was always a favorite design of mine and takes me back to my childhood when I would buy bubble gum cards at my local hobby shop.  This set features game action or sideline shots of some of the Cowboys biggest stars of the time and some that many probably have forgotten. 

The 1974 Cowboys were transitioning away from the old-timers that finally won a Super Bowl in 1971 into a more finesse team centered around Roger Staubach.  This season was the start of the second half of Staubach’s career where the Cowboys went to three Super Bowls in four years with relatively the same team of players. This set includes some obscure players such as Gene Killian, Duane Carrell, Calvin Peterson, Ken Hutcherson, Les Strayhorn, Bill Houston, Bruce Walton, Dennis Morgan, Louis Walker, and Jim Arneson.  Stars and familiar faces include: Roger Staubach, Lee Roy Jordan, Drew Pearson, Rayfield Wright, Cliff Harris, Jethro Pugh, Pat Toomay, and Jean Fugett. Get yours here.