Wait til Next Year . . . is making a come back.

I am going to mix a bit of the philosophy of my life into this blog as I continue to highlight some of my baseball card collection. (hoping the card collectors of this world welcome me back)

Its been a tough 18 months for me . . . the Chicago Cubs have had it rough as well.

This site will be devoted to all those who need to define what "wait til next year" means.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Roberto Clemente - 3000 Hits

Happy New Years Eve to everyone ! I hope that 2009 starts off with a bang and brings everyone good health and more baseball cards to enjoy and share. 2009 may just be the year the Cubs win teh World Series too - ok I will continue to believe and dream.

Anyhow, the card I am highlighting today is in honor of one of the greatest basbeall players ever and his last card.

Lets go back in time for a moment: the year is 1973, and the baseball season begins like any other except baseball lost one of the greatest stars of all time before the first pitch ever crosses home plate.

Roberto Clemente died in an aviation accident on December 31, 1972 en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Clemente had been involved in this work for several years, helping those in need in his home country of Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries and the off season of 1972 was no exception. Personally speaking, I admire those that “give back” and I myself am active in Rotary International (I will write more about that in future posts).

So much has been written about Roberto Clemente; schools have been named after him, documentaries, books and even a movie has been produced.

Roberto Clemente was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, the only player for whom the mandatory five year waiting period was waived. A twelve time all-star, twelve time gold glove award winner , the 1966 NL MVP, 1971 World Series MVP and his uniform #21 is retired (just to name a few of his career highlights). This is not a history of Clemente since I could not do that any justice and will not try.

Roberto Clemente’s last card is the 1973 Topps # 50. I find it most interesting to collect the last cards of hall of famers, to have a glimpse of their career stats and Clemente’s ’73 card tops my list for that reason. The back of the card (yes once again the back tells more of a story than the front) depicts a drawing with 3000 in big print on his bat. Yes Clemente got his 3000th hit in 1972. The major league totals on this card bears that fact as well. An accomplishment held by very few and to have his career end with exactly 3000 hits is what I like to term as a “Clemente-ism”. I like this card for that reason.

As far as a Cubs connection goes – July 25, 1956, Clemente hit a walk-off inside the park grand slam at Forbes Field as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 9 – 8.


  1. The back of the card is an often ignored aspect. I like your comment about the last year in a player's career. It tells the whole story. I personally think these cards should have a greater appeal than rookie cards, which have done a great deal to make baseball cards a mere commodity.

  2. thanks for the comment Bill - the back of the cards do tell a different story than the front and more emphasis was on the backs in the 60's and 70's. Photography was somewhat boring and bland but the backs were where the real "story" was . . . now the fronts depict much more action and the backs are ignored . . . times sure have changed . . .

  3. I agree, Steve. All my cards are in plastic sheets with only one card per pocket so I can always see the backs.
    My father and I drove from Cleveland to Forbes Field in 1961 to see the defending World Champion Pirates. Mazeroski hit a homer to left in almost the exact spot as his World Series clincher. But, the thing I remember most about the game was a fly ball to fairly deep right field with a Reds runner on second tagging up. The third baseman put his glove in front of his chest and Clemente threw the ball on a line right into the glove. The crowd roared as if he had hit a homer. The runner never moved.