Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Throwback Month: 1997 Topps (in Cardinals)

One of the most pivotal sets in my collection was the 1997 Topps set.  First, over the past twenty years this is one of my favorite sets for many reasons.  I would love to say it's one of the best of all-time, but its just merely an important set in my collection.

In 1997 I was a sophomore in college.  I never stopped loving baseball, but my love of baseball cards had started to waver when I got to college.  I still was adding cards to my collection at that point, but my interest was fading away from the hobby.  I had no good card stores in southeastern Missouri and I had not totally embraced all of the changes that happened to the hobby in the mid 90s.  Cards had become more expensive and completely over produced.  I was overwhelmed.

I was an education major at school and took on a summer job mentoring a fourth grader and second grader that summer while I was home in St. Louis.  Both really enjoyed baseball and had recently taken up a small interest in the hobby.  Once a week we drove down Olive Boulevard in Creve Couer and went to All-Star Baseball Cards.  The two boys would buy a few packs of cards and the store owner would spend a little bit of time chatting me up.  I picked up a few cards here and there.  Mainly things from the eighties or a few seventies cards to round out partial sets I had put together.  

About half way through the summer I took the dive and bought a few packs of 1997 Topps.  I had seen a few packs opened and loved the look of the cards.  I was hooked pretty quickly and enjoyed returning to my roots as a collector.  When I started as a kid, my parents bought me a few packs every week when we went grocery shopping.  Later, I got a few packs every week at the Ben Franklin in Webster.  I always had to put together a Topps set and always did it a few packs at a time.

I completed the set before the end of the summer and it changed my outlook on collecting cards from a dwindling interest back into something that was fun and enjoyable.  Of course, my favorite part of the 1997 set is the Cardinals team set.  I will let the cards speak for themselves, but they are everything that is right about a Topps set.  Simple design and good photography.  If you do not own this set I suggest a trip out to your hobby store to find a copy.  Take the cards out, flip through them, and enjoy the cards.

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