The 2014 baseball season is over in Los Angeles.
It pains me to write those words. Yes, of course I'm pained because my team is now out of the run for the World Series - but also because it will soon be the end of baseball for all of us. My favorite time of year, summer - baseball season - is over.
When I'm feeling melancholy about autumn's arrival, and the sun setting earlier by the day, I travel back in my mind to that place of summers gone by.
That's when wonderful vintage cardboard takes its place front and center to be held and admired in all of its worn and sun-faded glory.
In a stroke of cardboard collector generosity, an envelope arrived from Mark Hoyle. When I opened it, it was full of beautiful early 70's Dodgers vintage. Perfect timing.
These cards are particularly poignant because they represent the true Dodgers of my youth. These were the Boys in Blue when I first became a major league baseball and Dodgers fan.
Let's take a ride down Dodger Blue Memory Lane...
This 1971 card fills one more hole in my team set. This year's Dodger squad sure could have used Osteen in the rotation.
On to my favorite cards from the stack of 1972 Topps Dodgers...
Before Steve Garvey and The Infield, Wes Parker held down the first base bag. Speaking of nostalgia, I absolutely love cards featuring old time Dodger Stadium.
Here's a nice smile from the 3-Dog.
Summers gone by gave us the lost art of the knuckleball. Charlie Hough practiced that craft for the Dodgers.
Coming up next are a couple of cards from classic Topps subsets, All-Star Rookie Cups and "In Action"...
Moving forward to 1973...
Anybody remember when the Dodgers experimented with Bill Russell as manager?
For something like 50 years the Dodgers had only two managers and one owner. That era of stability was followed by a revolving door of progressively worse owners and more managers than I can remember.
That said, I would be content to wake up tomorrow to news the Dodgers will have a new manager in 2015.
Phony poses for everybody!
Before Kershaw and Grienke, the Dodgers' had a one-two pitching punch of Don Sutton and Andy Messersmith.
I close with a card I've been coveting from afar ever since I fist saw it in card magazines; my first exposure to the world of card collecting came from the magazines Beckett and Tuff Stuff.
You can't get much more "in action" than this shot...
What a glorious celebration of baseball on cardboard! We get the old time and yet timeless imagery of the Dodgers' home white uniforms, the bright sun-yellow Dodger seats, and the tradition of the brushback pitch captured in one image.
When I opened that magnificent envelope from Mark, out poured many memories of the baseball seasons from my youth.
THANKS so much for these great cards, Mark! Fantastic. It will take me a bit of time to get the resources to adequately return the favor to you, but mark my words one more time, card karma from L.A. is coming your way.