In that summer of 1977 I was flat out addicted to baseball. I spent countless hours throwing a rubber ball against the side of my brick house. I shagged fly balls with my buddies in the street in front of my house. I played a lot of fast pitch at my friend Brad's house, up against his garage. I played Little League. I watched a ton of MLB on TV. The Cubs were on WGN. The White Sox on UHF Channel 44. NBC had a game every Saturday afternoon on Channel 5 in Chicago. "This Week In Baseball" with Mel Allen was my favorite TV show.
It was a great summer for a young Chicago baseball fan. I grew up in a suburban-Chicago home that supported both Chicago baseball teams. Both the Cubs and the White Sox had exciting seasons. My parents had a large Chrysler station wagon and we regularly trucked in it to both Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park for games that summer. Though, when the summer began, I was not all that enthused for Chicago baseball.
After Little League season, I was shipped off to overnight camp in Cheboygan, Michigan, with my buddies Andy and Brad. It seemed like Brad and I were in trouble for that entire month at Camp Walden. No matter what we did, we got in trouble. Naturally, I didn't much care for Camp Walden. I would have been much happier at home, chucking that rubber ball against the side of the house, walking up to the corner store, getting some packs of cards and filling my mouth with that flavorless stick of gum that came with the cards.
Back in 1977, I tried and tried to complete that set. I nagged my parents to buy me cards, I traded with my friends, my mom sent me cards at camp, but there always seemed to be one or two players on each team that I could never get. Fast forward to 2014 where completing a 1977 Topps baseball card set is a much simpler project with the advent of card shows, shops and the internet.
For the past 15 years, I have been at a card show most every weekend where I have picked up thousands of 1977 Topps cards. They show up regularly at my table. As a result, I have built many sets. I think the '77 set is a great one to collect. It has rookie cards of Dale Murphy and Andre Dawson. Loads of Hall of Famers, all of which are affordable. Though, for me, the 1977 set is filled with memories... I still hate Camp Walden.
Nevertheless, at each card show I attend, I always try to bring out a near-set of 1977s for collectors to complete their sets. My fully loaded 1977 binder of cards will debut at the July 12 Orland Park show. In the weeks leading up to Orland, then Gonzaga on July 13th, I would like to hear your memories of the summer of 1977. Were you playing Little League like me? Were you in high school, college? Working, raising a family? What were you up to and what are some of your memories from that glorious summer of 1977?
-- Star Wars opened in May
-- Canadiens swept the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup in June
-- Apple Computers released the Apple II (I had one!) in June
-- Trailblazers won the NBA Championship in June
-- "I'm Your Boogey Man" by KC and the Sunshine Band reached No. 1 in June
-- The Mets traded Tom Seaver to the Reds for Pat Zachry in June
-- The lights went out in New York City in July -- the famous blackout
-- Lou Brock passed Ty Cobb as the all-time steals leader in August
-- Elvis died on August 16
-- Groucho Marx died on August 19
-- Atari released its video games system in September (we got one in 1981)
-- Muhammad Ali defeated Ernie Shavers for the heavyweight title in September
-- Pele played his final soccer game in October
-- Lynard Skynard's Ronnie Vanzant and three other band members died in a plane crash
-- Fat Daddy entered junior high