Friday, May 9, 2008

1971-72 Topps #142 Elvin Hayes

Generally League Leader and All-Star cards aren't high on many collector's list. They just aren't considered as appealing or valuable as a player's regular issue card. To me, an exception is the League Leader cards of the early 1970s. There is just so much star power on these cards that make them hard to pass up.

Today's card is the 1971 Topps #142 Rebounds Leaders card. Look at the stars here. First you have Wilt Chamberlain looking very intimidating. Sorry Mike, but to me he's the all-time greatest basketball player. In the 1961-62 season he averaged 50.4 points per game and 25.7 rebounds per game including a game where he scored 100 points. WOW! He had 55 rebounds in one game. Too selfish? He once led the league in assists. Not the league leading center, but the league leader. On this card he's the league leading rebounder by a fairly hefty margin with 1493 rebounds vs 1362 for 2nd place.

Also on the card is Lew Alcindor aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That's just the player with the most points in NBA history.

Finally, and most important to us Cougar fans, we have Elvin Hayes. Top 50 player in NBA history and possibly the greatest Cougar cager of all time. Coming in second in rebounding in 1970-71 as a member of the San Diego (not Houston) Rockets.

Now that we've looked at the players, let's look at the card itself. While it may look cheesy by today's card standards, I love the look. First we've got the brightly colored background '70s style with the Cougar red. The picture of Wilt is great. He looks unhappy and like a man you don't want to mess with his head popping out of the frame trying to contain him. Kareem also looks good with the frame not being able to control his afro. Unfortunately the Elvin Hayes picture is the worst of the bunch. While the other two players have portraits, Hayes' picture looks like a cropped staged action shot.

As for the back... well, it has a lot of information. Nothing exciting here like most vintage cards. You do get a listing of the top 10 rebounders of 1970-1971. That actually served a purpose in those days. You couldn't just go look up the leaders for a season on the internet. It also helped kids learn who the star players were. I prefer statistics on the back of the card to some of the crazy graphics on the backs of some of today's cards.

Beckett currently lists this card as valued from $6 to $15. Recent eBay auctions range from $4.58 to $9.12 plus a couple of dollars for shipping. What a great value for that many stars on one card especially for a card that's 35 years old.

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