Friday, October 22, 2010


I can spot a 1972 Topps high number from a mile away.

The photos are sharper in series 6, the resolution cleaner.

It looks like many of the shots were taken in the light of Florida spring, rather than in the summer murk of New York and Detroit and Philadelphia. This helps give the pictures a clarity and dimension that are absent from most of the cards in series 1 through 5.

1972 high numbers are radiant.

And if you listen closely, you can hear them speak.

Dave Marshall wants to tell you that he set a Mets record for pinch hits in 1971. He wants you to know that no frame can contain his lumber, and that, hell yes, he makes blue satin look good.

Dave Marshall wants you to know that he is not afraid of the long shadows looming behind him.

I will play on for another year, he says.

And he does, and then retires in 1973 at age 30.

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