"I'd hate to see you throw a knuckleball 3 and 2 to a guy like Maxvill, if the bases are loaded and a walk means your ballgame."
That's 1969 Astros manager Harry Walker, speaking to Jim Bouton, quoted in "Ball Four." I read it in 1985 or so, and immediately cultivated an image of Maxvill, a player I otherwise knew nothing about: a canny player, the kind of thoughtful hitter who would make you pay if you threw him the wrong pitch at the wrong time. I vaguely wondered why I hadn't heard more about him in all my baseball reading.
That image stayed with me until I came across this card a few weeks ago, and read the back: I'd interpreted Walker's words the wrong way. Dal Maxvill hit .175 in 1969.
* * *
This isn't becoming a card blog, but I felt like I needed a palate cleanser after that Hadl airbrush. This is just a beautiful card.
The 1972 Topps design is hit or miss for me -- I can't tell if they were going for their idea of a modern-psychedelic design, or their idea of a throwback-1920s art design. Or both. Sometimes it's really gaudy. But other times, when they keep the colors sedate, they can be lovely. Exhibit A: this card. It screams baseball. The photo is great -- the Cardinals' uniforms are so timeless that this could be any time from the 1930s onward. Turn it sepia and you could pass this picture off as a member of the Gashouse Gang.