Yearly: 2018

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Spotlight On: Harthorne Wingo

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In my 1970s basketball card collecting days, one player stood out because I thought he had the coolest name – Harthorne Wingo of the New York Knicks. Before making it with the Knicks, Harthorne played in the Harlem Rucker league then the Allentown Jets, a minor league team in the Eastern Professional Basketball League, which later to become the CBA.  The Jets had an arrangement with the Knicks where they sent players to Allentown for playing time and won 2 championships during Wingo’s time there (1970 and 1973).  At a pickup game in Greenwich Village, Wingo was discovered by a show-team called the Harlem Wizards, and toured locally with them until he got his break with the Knicks.

He joined the Knicks as was a valuable role player during his 4 years there, a time when the Knicks won their last championship in 1973.  He built a reputation as a great rebounder and defender at the power forward position. However, when the Knicks acquired Haywood Spencer, he knew his days with the Knicks were numbered.

After the NBA, he played four years in Italy, then a year each in Switzerland and Argentina. Though he had success overseas, a period of drug abuse and alcoholism followed his career and he was at loose ends. “When I got out, I had nowhere to go,” Wingo said. “They helped me when I was in there, but after I left, it was like nobody cared.” Teammate Dean Meminger refuted Wingo’s charge. “We reached out for Wingy, and we sent him to rehab,” he said. “But from there, it was his obligation to reach out and help himself, and to stay in touch with people like me, people who consider themselves his friends.” “Wingy,” as he was called, never felt on the same level as his Knick teammates, all who were better players with college educations to fall back on. Which is why he didn’t call on them when he needed help.

Still a big Knicks fan, he occasionally sees ex-teammates and keeps a low profile, staying away from his old haunts that were bad influences on him. RetroCards has designed new custom cards to add to Hawthorne Wingo’s lone card of 1975. All are from forthcoming sets except a 1976 card available in a Knicks team set.

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1975 Cowboys: Young Talent Pays Off

After a disappointing 1974 season, where the Cowboys missed the playoffs, rebuilding seemed to be in order. The 1975 rookie class saw 12 hopefuls make the team in what was billed the “dirty dozen.” Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, Walt Garrison, Craig Morton, Cornell Green, and Dave Manders were all gone and new players such as Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Randy White, Thomas Henderson, Pat Donovan arrived. Other key additions were Preston Pearson and Danny White, who battled Jim Zorn and Clint Longley for the back up quarterback position to Roger Staubach.

The 1975 football card designs are the second year in a row to feature the color scheme of pink and avocado green, which matched perfectly with the Cowboys uniforms! But it was the 1970s, so at the time, it looked perfectly normal. Included in this 18-card set are: Jim Arenson, Jean Fugett, Efren Hererra, Calvin Hill, Mitch Hoopes, Bill Houston, Ron Howard, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Clint Longley, Harvey Martin, Dennis Morgan, Robert Newhouse, Preston Pearson, Jethro Pugh, Pat Toomay, Danny White, Jim Zorn, and a highlight card of Clint Longley’s dramatic comeback performance over the Redskins on Thanksgiving. Get your set here.

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The Waltons: No Longer Playing “Hard To Get”

Topps 1972 1973 1974

Looking back on the 1970s, it amazes me how many different TV shows and TV personalities had board games, record albums, lunch boxes, and bubblegum cards.  Wasn’t our economy a bit shaky then?  If so, you would never know it judging on the consumption of the aforementioned pop cultures artifacts. Charlie’s Angels, The Partridge Family, Welcome Back, Kotter, The Bionic Woman, Good Times and many other shows are well-represented on bubblegum cards but other shows didn’t get that privilege.


One of the decade’s bigger TV drama hits was the Waltons, a depression-era and World War II family that lived in rural Virginia on Walton’s Mountain. A top-20 show in its first six seasons, the Waltons got the usual 1970s pop culture treatment with a lunchbox, board game, record album, and was the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting. A bubblegum card set was piloted and proofs of the 55-card set were released but it never got past that stage. Those cards today cost in the hundreds of dollars per card and are highly sought after. The attractive pink-bordered cards are reminiscent of the designs of the time and features the Walton’s large cast.


RetroCards has created their own set based on the original design, changing the hot pink borders to light blue.  This 18-card set features characters and episodes from the first two seasons as well as a wrapper card of the original test set. Fiscally challenged collectors will now be able to afford to get the John-Boy rookie card in this attractive new set. Familiar faces include the Walton family, the Baldwin Sisters, Ike Godsey, a young John Ritter as the Reverand, a wrapper card (from the original test set) and more! Get yours here!

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Kolchak: RetroCards Adds Series II

RetroCards revels in giving a little cardboard love to some of our most beloved sports stars and tv personalities. Kolchak: The Night Stalker, the obscure 1970s precursor to the X-Files, is one that we got several requests for and so RetroCards has obliged with a second series of 18 night stalking cards!

Darrin McGavin stars as Carl Kolchak, reporter for the INS (Independent News Service of Chicago) who has the uncanny knack for discovering paranormal phenomenon that is wreaking havoc on Chicago. Though the show only lasted one season (1974-75) it left a lasting impression on fans and aspiring filmmakers, as it is often cited as having been influential.

Series two picks up where series one left off: adding more episodes, more monsters, and popular guest stars. In this series you find Antonio Fargas, Erik Estrada, Barbara Rhodes, Joann Pflug, Larry Linville, Keenan Wynn, Jamie Farr, Tom Skerrit and more. This series offers an orange border that is in clear contrast to the green boarder of series one. Get your set here!

Check out series one.

 

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Spotlight On: Rocky Bleier

Topps football, baseball cards


Few players have overcome the obstacles that Rocky Bleier did to make it in the NFL. Born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and a member of the 1966 University of Notre Dame Championship team, Rocky was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968. After his rookie season, he was drafted by the U.S. Army.


He volunteered for duty in South Vietnam and arrived in early 1969. Wounded by a bullet to the thigh and grenade shrapnel in his right leg (causing him to lose a part of his foot), he was told he would never play football again. While rehabbing in Tokyo from shrapnel and bullet wounds, Steelers founder Art Rooney sent him a letter . “Rock- the team’s not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney.” 


After several surgeries, he went back to the Steelers in 1970 to workout. He couldn’t walk without being in pain, and weighed only 180 pounds. He was put on injured reserve for the 1970 season, but returned in 1971 and played on special teams. He spent several seasons trying to get increased playing time, and was waived on two occasions. But Bleier never gave up. By the summer of 1974 he was in shape and earned a starting position. Though Franco Harris was the featured back, Bleier still contributed to Pittsburgh’s powerful running game and gained 1,036 yards in 1976. His inspirational story, work ethic, and role playing were keys to the four Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl victories during his time there.


RetroCards has a couple of new cards featuring Rocky: two from 1979 (a Super Bowl XIII Highlight and a Unsung Heroes card, plus some other customs that never existed. Look for those in forthcoming Pittsburgh Steeler Retrocard team sets!

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Frank Clarke: Original Cowboy

The passing of NFL receiver Frank Clarke called to mind some of the old players who have graciously autographed RetroCards or have asked for a stack of RetroCards because no cards had never been made of them.  One of the reasons RetroCards came to be is to create cards for some of the forgotten players or players that had fans but no cards for the fans to collect. 
Frank Clarke was in correspondence with RetroCards after we sent a few cards for him to sign. Any good autograph seeker always slips the athlete a few bucks if one is asking for an autograph by mail and that’s what we did when sending Mr. Clarke some of our original cards to sign. Here is his reply.
Dear RetroCards,
Thank you for the honor of signing these cards….and for the check. With all due respect I am returning your check. Pretty good lookin’ dude on that card, huh? No wonder he ran so fast….didn’t want anybody to mar that handsome face with an opponents helmet or fist to the face. I’m sure you [at RetroCards] are wonderful people. I’m inspired to be also.  Take care,
Frank.
Originally from Wisconsin, Frank went to the University of Colorado and was the first black varsity player and his play there got him inducted into the Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame.  Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1957 and only caught 10 passes in three seasons before being left unprotected in the 1960 expansion draft.  The Cowboys snagged him and he soon became the team’s deep threat. In eight seasons he caught 281 passes for 5,214 yards and 51 touchdowns and held the team record for most touchdowns in a season (14) until it was broken by Terrell Owens 45 years later in 2007. He became a sportscaster after his career and eventually went into childcare fulltime.
Frank died July 25, 2018 and it struck a chord with many Cowboy fans.  As one of the old gentlemen of the 1960s Dallas Cowboys, he will be remembered as one of the first Cowboys stars. Check RetroCards.net for many Frank Clarke cards.