1972 Topps Boyhood Photos of the Stars.

In addition to all the other reasons that 1972 Topps rocks our baseball card world, there's the Boyhood Photos of the Stars theme. Here are a few we picked up recently:

Born in Tampa in 1943, Lou Piniella grew up to be a Major League outfielder and 14th winningest dirt and cap-kicking manager ever and boss of the Chicago Cubs and all that. But at the beginning, he had a rocking Vitalis-aided crew cut:

As for Joe Torre, well, he also went the manager route, and for a number of years managed that icky other NY team, and now he's wearing Dodger Blue and yada yada:

But this is what everyone mostly thinks of when they think of Mr. Torre--from the great Baseball Card Blog, which said and did everything before any current blogger, especially us, ever even thought of it: "Don Mossi is historically the most popular answer to the question ‘Who was the Ugliest Ballplayer?’ But the last time I checked, ugliness was not a popularity contest, so that’s why, for my money, you really can’t get any uglier than Joe Torre."

Born to play baseball, Mr. Stargell was inducted into the hall of Fame in 1988 on the first ballot. He was always a Pittsburgh Pirate. ALWAYS. 21 years including two World Series. He also had a way with words. For instance, "Trying to hit Sandy Koufax was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." Or, "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." But there's nothing that catches our attention and generates our respect more than a fellow playing well with one team for his whole career. A rarity indeed. In that boyhood photo, we like the photographer's shadow at his feet, and the distant, soaring ranges of the fields behind him, fields that now are probably crammed full of tract houses.

Cy Young winner and older brother of Gaylord,

Jim Perry looked unusually serene as a kid.

The wonderful Buddy Harrelson personified true Metfulness from the get-go:

no matter how hapless, no matter how beaten down, no matter how scrawny,

no matter how skeptical the world is, no matter alla that, it's still possible to shrug off the bad, focus on the good, work hard, play by the rules...and win the World Series.

More an Angel than a Met,

Jim Fregosi manages gracefully and in a dignified manner to outlive this photo proving his early friendship with an accordion.

And doesn't Sal Bando

as a kid look like he'd be a great friend? He has that cosmic Kid Look. Over four ALCS from 1971-74, he hit five home runs in 17 games, including two in a 1973 game and a solo shot in Game 3 of the 1974 ALCS, a 1-0 victory. But he also did a voice cameo on The Simpsons! Anyway, that 1972 Topps card proves forever that he was a happy child.

1 comment:

night owl said...

I know I wouldn't have liked these cards if I was collecting them as a boy. But they are much more fascinating now.

There are quite a few in the set, which explains why I have several of these, but only one (Torre) that you show here.