One thing I’ve come to appreciate about the 30 Day Challenge set up by Tony over at Off-Hiatus Baseball is that when I give thought to some of the topics, it often spurs me to write about something I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time.
When I finish the post about “A card you spent more than $10 to get”, you’ll read about a set I completed just over a year ago, and that last card was one which is on many people’s wantlists.
This post isn’t like that. This post is about the first set I’d ever completed, 1975 Topps.
Now if someone were to tell you today that they just completed the 1975 set, they’d probably tell you that their last card they needed was the rookie card for George Brett, Gary Carter or Robin Yount.
But I completed 1975 Topps back in 1975, before I even knew that cards could have any kind of monetary value. The evasive last card of the set wasn’t missing because it was expensive, it was missing because I had simply never run across it before.
The last card I needed was #73, Ed Sprague.
Ed freakin’ Sprague.
None of my friends had this card, so I had to fall back on the “secondary market”, which at the time meant garage sales and a flea market that the local high school occasionally held. I was looking for this card for what seemed like a very long time, all while wondering who the heck Ed Sprague is.
When I did find the card, it was a mix of “Yay, I completed the set!” and “Yay, I can stop looking for Ed Sprague!”
If you’re wondering who Ed Sprague is…
Edward Nelson Sprague was coming off of what was probably his best season, going 7-2, 2.39 in 20 games as a reliever and spot starter.
Two of Ed Sprague’s more notable achievements:
- As a scout for the Orioles, he signed Mike Mussina.
- He’s the father of Ed Sprague, Jr., who played 11 seasons and was an All-Star with the Pirates in 1999.
Ed Sprague has a very spotty baseball card history. His rookie card was a 1969 Hi # which showed him with the A’s. His second card was in 1972 Topps (Reds). His third card is the one above, and his final card is from 1976 SSPC.