Monthly: November 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.


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.


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!