Sad reality for the vintage Topps Million Giveaway
So the other day I made a stop at my local card shop to dig through the bargain vintage boxes. It had been a few months since I dug through these so I figured it was worth a shot since I was craving some old cardboard. As I thumbed through the decades-old cards encased in Card Saver I holders, I came upon a stack of 1955 and 1956 Topps cards and immediately thought of one of my best Topps Million redemption cards — 1956 Bob Friend.
I’ve redeemed about 15 of the Topps Million Giveaway redemptions and the first two cards I got were from the 1950s. I was proud to have pulled them. And then of course came this dose of reality at my local card shop. In the stack of 1956s was a copy of the same Bob Friend card I had pulled in my redemption. The price? $2. Yes, two freakin’ dollars!
I knew the Friend would not fetch me much if I wanted to sell it, but holding the same card in hand and knowing that it would cost me less than a pack of top loaders or 2010 Topps baseball (packs are up to $3 now at my LCS) was even further proof of how crazy things have gotten with this giveaway. If anyone pulls anything made before 1980, it seems like collectors rejoice. And if the card is from the 1950s, then the collector has struck virtual gold. Of course reality will show us that unless you’ve got a star card or a high number short print, the overwhelming majority of cards from even the 1950s can be had for just a few dollars.
I half contemplated buying the Friend but figured that would cheapen the experience of actually receiving the card from Topps sometime in the next two months. Instead I elected to buy two 1955 Topps cards for a buck each — Harvey Haddix and Dick Groat.
Neither of these cards are mint or worth a ton. But I figured that if I had pulled these through the Topps Million Giveaway I would be elated.
Haddix is the guy who lost a perfect game in the 13th inning of a 1959 game against the Braves. He also was a 20-game winner in 1953, a season in which he also threw 19 complete games.
Groat was the 1960 National League Most Valuable Player and is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Yes, basketball. Groat arguably had a more accomplished basketball career than baseball. He was a stud at Duke University and was elected a United Press International Player of the Year in 1952. He was the third pick overall that same year, taken by the Fort Wayne Pistons of the NBA.