Mickey Mantle Says “Have A Nice Day!”

…And I did have a nice day on Saturday, because I finished a vintage oddball insert set I’ve been casually chasing for about two years.

This past Saturday I was at a card show with several goals in mind, one of which was to finish off the 1968 Topps “Game” insert set. I was at the table of one of my favorite dealers, going through his bargain bin, when I ran across this Mickey Mantle for $2.
1968-topps-game-mickey-mantle
And obviously, it’s $2 because someone ink-stamped a “Have A Nice Day” smiley face on the front. I’m guessing somebody used a stamp to “brand” his cards, rather than writing their name on the front.  It’s OK, kid, I forgive you. The stamp doesn’t really overlap with his face, and the card’s in pretty decent shape otherwise, so there’s no way I would’ve gotten it for $2 without the stamp. It’s not like condition is a primary criteria for me, especially with this set which is strictly a “fun” goal.

With Mantle checked off the list and only partway through the bargain bin, I continued in search of the other two cards I needed. For some reason I had it in my mind that I needed Willie Mays. I went through the bin with no success, and then figured I’d at least cross Mantle off my paper checklist… which is when I saw that I didn’t need The Say Hey Kid, I needed Hammerin’ Hank.  I’d forgotten that I got the Mays in a COMC shipment earlier this year.

Getting back to the bin, I said “Aaron? I saw an Aaron in there!”

After some semi-frantic re-shuffling through the cards, there was my second need, also $2.
1968-topps-game-hank-aaron
Much nicer condition than the Mantle for the same price, but you know… It’s merely a card of the guy who hit 755 home runs, it’s not MICKEY MANTLE (cue the scene from Blazing Saddles where everybody takes off their hat and a choir sings at the mention of Randolph Scott).

So after going through the bargain bin and finding Mantle and Aaron, I was left with one card standing between me and a complete set… and just by dumb luck it wasn’t a Hall-Of-Famer I needed, but a guy I knew just a little about (other than I needed his card).

It was at this point that the dealer astutely mentioned that he had more 1968 Game cards in his showcase, and I said “Well, I do need the Gary Peters card to complete my set…”

The next thing I know, I’m being handed this card…
1968-topps-game-gary-peters
So I overpaid slightly by buying this for a buck, and as it turns out, this Gary Peters card, with no yellowing, creases, stains or other marks, is in the nicest condition of any 1968 Game card I own.


Quick aside regarding Gary Peters (who I really only knew from the 1964 Topps “Giant” set)… He was a pitcher who had a few cups of coffee from 1959 to 1962, but in his first full season of 1963 he lead the league with a 2.33 ERA, won 19 games and was the A.L. Rookie of the Year.  In 1964 he was an All-Star and won 20 games, in 1966 he lead the league with a 1.98 ERA, and in 1967 he was an all-star for the second time.  He also was a good hitter who had at least one homer each season from 1963 to 1971.  On 5/26/1968, he batted sixth in the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees… his batting sixth may have been influenced by a grand slam he hit earlier in the month in – you guessed it – the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees.


Getting back to the newly-completed set…

I have to say, what started off as a series of “What the heck” purchases turned into a really fun vintage set to chase and complete. I didn’t keep track of my spending on this, but based off these three cards and my COMC purchase history, I’m guessing I spent about $30 to complete the set.  Again, my set is not one that anyone would send off to be graded, but it was most definitely a fun set to chase after.

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14 thoughts on “Mickey Mantle Says “Have A Nice Day!”

  1. Nice picking. That’s the beauty of a show I guess, finishing that set off at one table like that. Congrats! Looking forward to seeing what else you scored…

  2. I bet a few swipes with one of those alcohol wipes would take that smiley face off The Mick and put it on yours. But it’s a great pick-up as is. Love that little set.

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