Saturday, October 8, 2011

SIGnificant Cards - 1975 Topps Hank Aaron

Possibly the best $10 I ever spent
at the National.

In my last SIGnificant Cards piece, I wrote about searching for J.R. Richard cards at the National. I also mentioned that I've attended many of the National Sports Collectors Conventions. When I take my time and try to fill set lists, seek singles, etc. sometimes you find something you weren't expecting to find. This is the tale of the 1975 Hank Aaron card I wasn't looking for, but found.

I am working on finishing up a couple of my all-time favorite sets -- 1974, 1975 & 1977 Topps. About 5 years ago I found a great dealer that had a bunch of the 75s from my want list and I was having a field day filling in the gaps. Flipping through the cards, one caught my attention, it was card #1 in the set, the Hank Aaron '74 Highlights card. The card all by itself is an all-time classic. It celebrates "Hammerin' Hank" setting the all-time home run mark by slamming his 715th and eclipsing Babe Ruth.

Any true baseball fans knows how great Hank was. They also know the incredible hardships he faced as a black man overtaking one of baseball's elite figures -- Babe Ruth. From heckling to death threats, Hank put up with an awful lot to live his dream and he did it with an extraordinary amount of class.

Al Downing was the victim, I mean pitcher that gave up the homer and Hank would add another 40 before retiring with 755. An interesting fact about that night in '74... Hank Aaron wore the #44 and so did Al Downing. Cool right? Ok now watch Hank break that record and make the home run title his beeyotch.

In my eyes, Hank is still the champ. While on paper Barry Bonds might be the current record holder, Hank was never accused of using performance enhancing drugs, nor was he brought into court to defend himself, he did it with heart, intensity and determination.

Ok, back to the card. It wasn't that I needed that card for my set, I had it already, what caught my eye was that in addition to the facsimile signature, it was signed again in blue ink. I have a handful of Hank Aaron autographs in my collection. I met him a few times as a kid and I know his signature. I pulled it out of the box and asked the guy what he wanted for it. He said $10. I said, I'll tell you what -- I have a free authentication from Global and if it comes back authentic, you've got a deal. As you can see by the image, it was indeed the real deal.

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