1971 Topps #640–648
Ahhhhh, finally—my 1971 Topps Set is NOW completed! I mentioned last week while going through my other sets, something made me check my 1971 Topps album. Thinking I completed this set almost two years ago, I was rather surprised to see an empty space. I looked up the card on eBay and knew I didn’t have it, so I found one that fit my needs. Enter, Jim Maloney at card #645 to complete this black beauty.
Maloney, a star pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds during the 1960’s, was the author of three no-hitters! Jim was traded to the California Angels on December 15, 1970 for Greg Garrett. He would go 0-3, with a earn run average just north of five while pitching in 13 games.
My favorite card: Frank Robinson (#640). A great looking card against a spring training backdrop. Robinson would go onto to have a heck of a season in 1971 finishing third in the MVP voting behind Vida Blue and Sal Bando. He would lead the O’s to an American League pennant before falling to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series.
Number of Red Sox cards: Zero.
Red Sox alumni: One— Juan Pizarro (#647) would pitch for the Sox for parts of the 1968 and 1969 seasons going a combined 6-9 over 25 games. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians on April 19, 1969, along with Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Dick Ellsworth in exchange for Joe Azcue, Vincente Romo, and Sonny Siebert.
Other interesting player of note: Mets Rookie Stars (#648) and Jon Matlack’s rookie card. Jon would go onto win the 1972 National League Rookie of the Year Award by going 15-10 with a 2.32 ERA. He also earned three straight All-Star selections from 1974–1976. The fourth pick in the 1967 amateur draft, Matlack compiled a career won-loss of 125-126 and a 3.18 ERA. He would end his career in 1983 with the Texas Rangers.
Most interesting card back fact: Jim Stewart (#644) caught one inning on August 7, 1970, for the first time in his career. It would be his only appearance behind the plate over a nine year career.
And there you have it, the joy of a completed set—finally!