Friday, August 18, 2017

1962 Bears: Clawing Their Way Back

Topps 1962 Bears, custom cards that never were

The Bears were slowly climbing back up in the ranks going from a 5-6-1 record in 1960 to a 9-5 record in 1962.  The football world would have to wait another year to see if the Bears had the firepower to win a Championship.

On the surface, it didn't seem like the Bears were going to do much but that changed with the arrival of tight end Mike Ditka in 1961 who helped make Billy Wade look like an actual NFL quarterback!  The Bears staunch defense was still tough as nails and the Bears took 3rd place in the Western Division in 1962.

RetroCards focuses on the 1962 Bears for this 22-card set.  Like several past sets, this one includes a stadium card, and a "Bears play" action card along with 20 players that didn't make it in the original set released in 1962, including Mike Pyle, J.C. Caroline, Ed Brown, Bo Farrington, Dave Whitsell, Bennie McRae, Bob Wetoska, Bobby Joe Green, Roosevelt Taylor, Bob Kilcullen, Joe Fortunato, Fred Williams, Harlon Hill, Herman Lee, Earl Leggett, Charlie Bivins, Rudy Bukich, Maury Youmans, Joe Marconi, and the old man himself, coach George Halas.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dodgers Finally Do It! Expanded 1982 Set

Topps, RetroCards, baseball custom cards that never were, 1982 Topps baseball

The most memorable thing about the 1981 Major League Baseball season was the players strike which lasted from June 12 through August 9, splitting and shortening the entire season at the same time.  However, Dodger fans remember that year with a smile because it was the franchise’s first World Series title in 15 years.   

Having been a great team with great players for a decade, this Dodger team couldn’t win the big one. And with guys like Cey, Russell, Lopes, Baker, Hooten, Johnstone, Monday, and Garvey getting old, time was running out.  They had lost three World Series in the 70s and narrowly missed the playoffs in 1980, losing a tie-breaker in the 163rd game of the season.  It appeared the curtain was almost closed.  Realizing this, perhaps, manager Tommy Lasorda sent each player a personal letter over the prior winter challenging and encouraging the players.  They knew what was at stake.

Winning 29 of their first 40 games, the Dodgers looked like the hottest team in baseball.  But the strike interrupted their momentum and they stumbled in the second half finishing only one game over .500.  No matter.  They were a veteran team with bright young players like rookie Fernando Valenzuela and they played loose and played smart.  Rick Monday remembers, “I know we were desperate because a lot of us, (we) were not necessarily at the end of our careers, but we were approaching that area, and there was an influx of younger talent. There was an immediacy of wanting to get things done and get things done in a hurry.”

In the playoffs, things got exciting with a comeback win over the Astros after being down 2 games to none.  A second 2-0 deficit against the Expos was erased and won with a dramatic Rick Monday homer.  And finally, the Dodgers got their revenge on the New York Yankees after losing successive World Series in 1977 and 1978.  Again down 2 games to none, the Dodgers kept their poise and won the next 4 games!

This 24-card RetroCards set fills in some gap of players that were missed in the regular and updates sets of 1982 such as: Manny Mota, Tom Niedenfuer, Ron Roenicke, Mike Marshall, Jerry Grote, Jack Perconte, Bobby Mitchell, Dave Sax, Ted Power, and Candy Maldonado.  Also featured are an All-Star card of Burt Hooten and a Cy Young and Rookie Of the Year winners showcasing Valenzuela.  It also has cards of every playoff series including three fun World Series cards and other highlight cards featuring Tommy Lasorda being interviewed by Vin Scully, and the very fun card of Rick Monday shoving a cream pie in Jay Johnstone’s face.  Those were the days!  Coming soon.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Non-Sport Special: Rush

1978 Topps Football Rush

RetroCards’ foray into the non-sport world is typically restricted to 70s television.  Stepping outside of our norm slightly, we made a special gift for a friend.  This set features one of rock music’s greatest treasures: Rush!  Few bands have earned the respect that Rush has over their long career and although they look to be retired at the moment, the 40+ year old band's last tour was still packing arenas everywhere. 

In the 70s, bubblegum cards of rock bands were limited to groups like the Osmonds, KISS, the Bay City Rollers, and the Partridge Family.  So maybe it was time for RetroCards to offer trading cards of a band with a little more substance.  Not that some of us don’t enjoy listening to the Osmond’s Crazy Horses, or watching KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.  And who doesn’t enjoy Danny Partridge putting Ruben Kincaid in his place?

The fact of the matter is, Rush nerds are approaching Star Trek nerds in number and in fervor, so it seemed appropriate to do a special set for my friend who, is not only a Rush nerd, but a rare FEMALE Rush nerd, of which there apparently are only seven.  This RetroCards set (12 cards) is from a 1978 football card design (for no particular reason) and features the band during their first decade.