Something which has been a mild source of embarrassment for many years is the incomplete state of my 1979 and 1980 sets.
To explain why it’s a mild source of embarrassment, I have to give you a little personal history.
I started collecting in 1974 and eventually completed a master set from that year, including the Traded set, “Washington Nat’l Lea.” cards and all of the other variations.
1975 was the year I fell hard for collecting, completing the baseball set…
…And getting about 75% of the Football set (which I finally completed a couple of years ago).
Back in the day, I also completed the ’76, ’77 and ’78 sets in relatively short order.
1979 was a different story.
I didn’t like 1979 Topps as well as as I had liked the prior sets, plus I was a teenager and my friends had moved on to other things. 1979 was the first year I actively collected cards yet didn’t complete the set.
1980 Topps was a similar story…
At the time, I’d dismissed the set as a warmed-over 1974 design, and while I bought a bunch, I didn’t get close to completing the set.
The introduction of competition in 1981 rekindled my interest and I completed both the Topps and Fleer sets. I lapsed again in 1982 and didn’t complete another Topps set until 1988, but I’m not as concerned about those sets.
For years I’d been saying “If I stop screwing around and complete those two sets, I’d have a run of complete Topps sets for my first eight years of collecting”, but it wasn’t until a year or two ago I decided that my mild embarrassment needed to be counteracted with a similarly mild push to complete both of these sets, with greater focus on 1980 because it’s grown on me over the years.
The biggest obstacle I faced for the 1980 set was the Rickey Henderson rookie.
Last year I bought a box that contained someone’s childhood collection of late 1970’s and early 1980’s cards. I filled a number of 1979 and 1980 wants with some musty, fairly-well-loved cards… But naturally, there was no Rickey.
At a show this past spring I picked up a couple of stars (like the Dave Parker featured above) and even found a 1980 wrapper for $2.
But, again… No Rickey.
Finally, a couple of months ago, I found what I was looking for on COMC… A G/VG Rickey for under $10. Condition’s never been of primary importance for me, so I pounced.
It’s got a big ol’ crease in the upper left, but the crease doesn’t touch Rickey himself; otherwise the card’s seen a fair amount of action but is in decent enough shape.
…And now I’m out of excuses. Guess I should move my 1980 Topps effort a notch or two up from “mild”, huh?