Card fact: This photo is a repeat of the photo on Ralph Garr's 1974 Topps card. I didn't realize that sad fact until trying to complete the '74 set six years ago.
What I thought about this card then: It may have been the first time I ever saw a card and thought to myself "I must have this card." I have thought this very same thought perhaps hundreds of times since, but this was the first time.
It was during my first trip to Cooperstown as a 10-year-old. In the basement of the Hall of Fame, there was a display of all of the year's Topps baseball cards. Since this was 1975, all of the '75 cards were on display. Mesmerized, I tried to absorb every last card. I would have stayed there for 12 hours if my parents let me, and I felt like I was rushed the entire time. I didn't even want to look at the rest of the exhibits after seeing this display.
Then I saw the Ralph Garr card. I had never seen anything more incredible in my life. I was both in awe and jealous as hell that I did not have that card, or even knew anyone who had it. But I made it my mission to obtain the card. It was one of the first cards I ever sent away for in a mail-order catalog.
What I think about this card now: It's one of the milestone cards in my collection. I still think it's better than the '74 card, but I remain disappointed that it is a reused, albeit closer-cropped, photo.
Garr has been a key player throughout my early collecting life. His 1976 card, in which he's portrayed laughing in the dugout, is another childhood favorite. And his 1980 card was the last one I needed to completed the set.
Other stuff: Ralph "The Roadrunner" Garr was known for two things on the baseball field, hitting for a high average and stealing bases. He led the National League in hitting with a .353 average in 1974, and had 149 hits by the time the All-Star Game was played that year. He finished second in the NL in batting two other times with the Braves, and was the league-leader in triples in 1974.
Garr became the Braves' top-paid player in 1975, but the arbitration process was a bit ugly. Garr's season in '75 wasn't as good as the one prior, and the Braves made good on trade rumors by dealing him to the White Sox for Ken Henderson, Dick Ruthven and the famed Ozzie Osborn.
Garr hit .300 twice for the White Sox, then his skills began to decline. He played a little more than a year with the Angels before being released. He has been a scout for the Braves for a number of years.
Back facts: I never liked that cartoon. It's like it is implying that Mike Marshall didn't deserve the award.
Other blog stuff: On this date, 72 years ago, Brent Musberger was born. I cannot believe I have been watching this guy announce sports for 36 years.