Card fact: This is the first time in Nolan Ryan's career that Topps gave him a card with a century number. He would receive it again in the 1978 set (#400) and the 1986 set (#100). Then, late in his career, Topps handed over card No. 1 to him. He appeared at that spot from 1990-92.
It's also the fourth and final time Ryan appears in the set. He appears in the set more often than any other player.
What I thought about this card then: My brother had this card. I associated Nolan Ryan with him for a period.
What I think about this card now: Out of all the cards in this set that I would like to upgrade (there actually aren't that many), this is at the top of the list. But it's such a pricey card, that I've never pulled the trigger on another one.
Other stuff: So what do I say about someone who many consider the greatest pitcher of all-time? Well, I had a feeling of indifference toward him for much of his career, combined with periodic disgust and admiration.
Ryan pitched for teams that were a long way from me -- the Angels, Astros and Rangers (I don't remember his Mets days). I remember him mostly with the Astros. I can recall working as a paper boy and reading about him signing his big contract with Houston as I bagged newspapers.
I wasn't very happy when he no-hit the Dodgers for his record fifth no-hitter. I remember one of the networks switching to the Astros-Dodgers game to show Ryan's 9th inning and pleading with Dusty Baker to get a hit.
But the rest of his career -- on and off the field -- has been enjoyable. I like that he was able to assemble a Rangers team that finally could win some games and reach the World Series. I've been waiting for that ever since I was a collector in 1975.
Back facts: I have known that Ryan's real first name is Lynn for a long, long, long time. I had a crush on a girl in 9th grade whose name was Lyn. It was the first time I knew anyone with that name since I read the back of the '75 Ryan card. I wondered whether the female version of the name had just one "N." You know, like Francis and Frances. I still don't know for sure.
By the way, the last name of my 9th grade crush is the same as a super-famous rookie one-year wonder. Feel free to guess.
Other blog stuff: It is time to take a moment to review the set.
Ready? Let's go!
1. COLOR COMBINATIONS
The orange-brown combination continues to lead the way, but its lead is getting smaller and smaller. Other combinations have crept closer, led by the pink-yellow combination, which is just three cards away: