I apologize for the lack of updates over the last year…there’s so much I could talk about here – all of the players we’ve lost in the last year, significant pickups for my set, etc. Hopefully those posts will come soon. In the meantime, here is a quick Bill Bradley update to whet your collecting appetite.
As previously chronicled, I sent a 72 set card to Bill Bradley in November of 2013. Knowing that Bill responds to his fan mail about once a year, I become antsy when a response never showed up. Finally, 485 days later, an envelope with a New York postmark showed up in my mailbox. I knew it was either Phil Jackson or Bill Bradley. I anxiously opened the envelope only to find several small signed Bill Bradley photos that someone else sent, and my set card was missing.
Preparing myself for another long wait, I ordered another card and shipped it off in April of 2015. Lo and behold, my cards were returned this week, signed in black Sharpie. Thanks Mr. Bradley!
I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here so let me provide a couple of quick updates. My current set status is 230/264, putting me at 87%. Getting closer!
I was able to add a couple of tough signatures to my set over the last month, Bernie Williams (not the baseball player) and Ken Durrett. While those names might not necessarily ring a bell (except to La Salle fans, where both players play collegiate ball), several situations have made them tough to come by.
First off, you have to keep in mind that while these guys were possibly very accessible to the public while alive, people were not looking to get these 1972 cards signed. And once again, the big difference between vintage basketball and baseball – the sport as a whole just wasn’t very popular.
While Wikipedia doesn’t even mention Bernie’s death, the former Squire died in 2003 after a long battle with cancer.
Durrett, who’s number 33 was retired by La Salle, also died at a young age after suffering a heart attack in 2001.
Hard to imagine that these two guys had roughly 30 years to sign these 1972 cards and yet not many of them are surfacing. Happy to add these two to my collection.
Finally, on a sad note, we lost another player from the 1972 set this summer, Bob Kauffman. The former Buffalo Brave was always very gracious to his fans and signed this card for me through the mail several years ago.
That’s all for now…thanks for reading!
I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, but this one really stings.
Over the last 3-4 years that I’ve been sending cards through the mail, I’ve never had a problem with an athlete sending the wrong item back. These mix-ups, however, are not all that uncommon in the hobby.
Think about it – an athlete waits until a certain number of requests build up before they open them up and knock them all out at once. If any items accidentally get moved, the logical decision would still be to place them back in the nearest envelope.
For those that are working on sets, it usually just means sending out another card with a brief explanation of what happened.
When commenting on the energetic Wendell Ladner, former Kentucky Colonels assistant GM David Vance once said, “If he played for you, he was your favorite. If he played against you, he was the biggest villain.”
Over the course of his five seasons in the ABA, Ladner earned the reputation of a hustler and a bruiser. A prime example of the forward’s hustle came in a game against the Carolina Cougars, when Ladner dove towards the bench for a save, taking out the water cooler and bloodying himself on the glass shards in the process. His popularity with the home crowd extended off the court as well, and he gained the reputation of being popular with the ladies.
Up to this point, I’ve tried to keep all of my posts related to the 1972-73 set and season. And while I did pick up three cards to add to my set this week (putting me at 83% overall), I want to share a basketball piece from the era that I’m really excited to add to my collection.
Over the past ten years, I’ve left the hobby a time or two, but every since seeing some of the lettermen patches in Topps products around 2004-05, I’ve really wanted a nice letter patch for my collection. The problem was I never found one I liked for a price I was happy with.
Seeing as today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I wanted to provide you with an interesting link between the league and Dr. King. After a little bit of searching, I was able to scrounge up an interesting piece of trivia featuring Dr. King and a member of the 1972-73 Topps set: Lenny Wilkens.
Honestly, my strongest memories of Lenny’s career will always be his tenure with the Atlanta Hawks, or what I like to refer to as the post-Dominique era (although technically Nique played a half season under Lenny before being swapped for Danny Manning). Hey, I can’t help it – that’s when I first started watching pro basketball as a 6 or 7 year old (and in my defense, Lenny won Coach of the Year in 1994).
If you’ve watched any NBA coverage today, you’re likely to have seen footage from Bernard King’s historic 60 point Christmas Day performance (which, by the way, the Knicks eventually lost). But with all due respect to my Knicks fans out there, Mr. King was not a part of the 1972-73 set. So without further ado, I present to you the top three Christmas Day performances by payers in the 1972-73 Topps set (in no particular order): Continue reading
Dear dedicated readers,
Yesterday, the USPS released a stamp featuring basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, making him the first NBA player ever featured on a postage stamp. Seeing as I’ve sent so many cards through the mail for players to sign, this release seems rather fitting to me. To honor the occasion, today’s post will be formatted in the style of a letter.
Coincidentally, in the same week Wilt’s stamp was released, I also purchased a signed 1972-73 to add to my collection, as a birthday gift for myself. For those of you who know me, you know that condition is not always a major factor when it comes to adding cards to my set (especially rare ones). There are many nice signed Wilt cards out there, but this one came at a fraction of the cost (even with the added JSA certification).
Several months ago, I highlighted the ABA Playoffs cards from the 1972-73 Topps set. When talking about the Game 1 card (which pictures Freddie Lewis and Roger Brown), I mentioned, “While he has signed in the mail from time to time, I’ve never had any success with Freddie.”
Fortunately, my luck changed.
As I’ve alluded to in my previous posts, chasing a signed set from 40+ years ago involves navigating through a number of difficult challenges and obstacles. (IE – How do you obtain signatures of deceased players?)
Recently, I set out on the task of figuring out who I could get to sign the NBA and ABA checklists from the set. For the NBA checklist, I ended up asking a former referee, Jack Madden, to sign the card (seeing as I was already asking him to sign some of my Playoffs cards). I tried a similar approach with an ABA ref, but he ended up sending the checklist back unsigned with a copy of a signed newspaper clipping instead.
At that point, I decided to explore the rest of my options.