Saturday, April 20, 2019

MLB73 Update

HP #newsstand Nation is probably wondering what happened to their April 1973 delivery. Well, I've been happily enveloped in nothing but that month's issue of Baseball Digest

For those of you who might've forgotten, the Oakland A's won MLB72. Baseball Digest does not expect a repeat.

Of course, the big news of MLB73 is the American League's introduction of the "designated pinch hitter rule."

It's early yet in the year, but it's hard for me to imagine that the April 1973 Baseball Digest is not going to end up being my favorite book of 2019.

Spoiler alert.

Not pictured here are the spring rosters for all 24 MLB73 teams, which Baseball Digest published and which inspired me to resort my baseball cards over the last two or three weeks. As you can imagine, that has been just a freaking delight. And I went through and picked out a favorite card, based primarily on the little cartoon drawing and blurb on the back, for each team. I plan to take special note of these players throughout our ongoing MLB73 coverage here at the HP.

I love learning the hobbies.


I love learning the nicknames.

I love learning the back stories.

I love thinking about the Kentuckians (and the Evansvillian).

I love the little "VOTE FOR HAND" sign.

I haven't yet searched YouTube for tapes of Sal Bando's old radio show, but you better bet I will be searching that bad boy.

Finally (for now), in going through these cards, I noted for the first time the care and intention evident in Topps' treatment for Roberto Clemente, who was killed Dec. 31, 1972. It appears Topps has some players who were traded after that date assigned to their new team on their cards, so I'm pretty certain press/shipment schedule allowed for the company to make choices about Clemente's card in light of his death. For example, would it issue a card at all? Would the card mention his death and its heartbreaking circumstances? Maybe there's an argument to be made that Topps should've acknowledged the tragedy, but I love this card as it is--with its spartan, triumphant text and shadowy snapshot of action and life about to be uncoiled.