Vintage Baseball Cards: Jim Northrup

Jim Northrup's 1972 Topps Baseball Card.

Jim Northrup’s 1972 Topps Baseball Card.

Baseball cards in some form have been around for over a century.

They’ve been in my house for over 40 years. I remember sitting in the front yard as a child under a tree sorting them by teams.

My grandfather and I even built a big wooden box to store them under my bed. It seemed to be a project for my mother as much as it was for me.

As a longtime hater of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I also remember the trade where I gave up a 1972 Steve Garvey for a 1953 Phil Rizzuto and a 1968 Mickey Mantle.

Never really collected cards for the money, although at one time, I sold a pair of rookies for a nice sum. Fortunately through the magic of the Internet, I was able to reacquire a 1974 Dave Winfield and 1976 Dennis Eckersley.

Through all of the changes in collecting over the years, there is nothing like opening a pack and looking your new cards.

Baseball cards offer a glimpse into history from a bygone era, especially those that are considered vintage. Periodically in this forum, I am going to write about some of my favorite cards.

The opener for this ongoing series is the Topps Jim Northrup from 1972. I have always wondered what the photographer was thinking about as he snapped the shot for this card. One can assume the big tractor in the background is for field maintenance, but does it really need to be in the photo?

Jim Northrup's 1975 Topps Baseball Card.

Jim Northrup’s 1975 Topps Baseball Card.

Although never an all-star, Northrup was an important member of the Tigers when they won the World Series in 1968 and the American League East in 1972.

Primarily an outfielder, Northrup became a designated hitter later in his 12-year career. He was signed by the Tigers in 1960 and made it to the big leagues in 1964. He was a fixture for the Tigers until he was purchased by the Montreal Expos on Aug. 7, 1974. Ironically, that was the same day his longtime teammate, Norm Cash, was released.

A few weeks later, Northrup was sold by the Expos to the Baltimore Orioles. That sale led to one of my least favorite baseball cards. The old color the hat and leave them in the old uniform. Ugh.

On the upside for Northrup in his final at bat with the Orioles, he had a pinch-hit two-run single against the New York Yankees on Sept. 27, 1975.

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