I was born in Pittsburgh in the ’70s. The first baseball team I remember ever hearing about and watching on TV was the Pirates, the Willie Stargell Pirates of the late ’70s.
My mother was always a Willie Stragell fan; he is someone I heard about a lot. I even had a little black pillbox Pirates hat with a Stargell star sewn on.
As I grew up my baseball allegiance shifted to my new home, Minnesota.
I still feel a strong connection to the black and gold, especially the older dudes.
When I started my collection of ’50s and ’60s HOFer rookie cards i knew Willie would one day be mine.
The card it’s self is kinda ugly. The colors don’t really work, the little heads are silly, it’s a mess. But it’s Pops!
He was a larger than life personality that famously claimed you “play ball” not “work ball”.
He retired with 2 rings an NL MVP award and 475 homeruns. He most likely would have had more if he played in just about any other park. He would drive balls 400 feet to the warning track, in many parks they would have been out. But ultimately his 475 were good enough for a trop to Cooperstown.
My mother’s side of the family is all from the Pittsburgh area; my father’s side are all New Yorkers. Maz’s homerun is a galvanizing event in my families’ history.
1957 Topps is becoming one of my favorite old school Topps sets. It’s a simple design and it really works. It also helps there are a mess of HOFer rookies in the set. Maz’s rookie is a great looking card. It just looks like a baseball card should look, ya know what I mean?
I picked up both cards for a steal. Maz was about $40 and Pops was just under $75.
I am still on the look out for a Reggie Jackson and Nolan Ryan, fingers crossed.