I bought this card about a month ago from a dime box at The Batter's Box card shop. Off centered, wax residue all across the center of the card and the number 7 written neatly in the upper left-hand corner.
But it is the rookie card of 3 time All-Star and 1977 AL Cy Young Award winner; Sparky Lyle.
Lyle had a great career as a closer over 16 years, but his best seasons were spent in Yankee pinstripes (1972-78) on the biggest stage as he helped the Yanks win two World Series in 1977 and 1978. It was those two seasons with New York that would be the focus of the book The Bronx Zoo, which Lyle co-authored with Peter Golenbock. I don't think I've actually read this book. I have read his other book, The Year I Owned the Yankees. I remember reading this one as a kid and enjoying it, but that it was different from most of the other books about baseball I was reading at the time because it was fictional, but I wondered how much of it was actually true.
The back of the card lists his name as Sparky Lyle, so early on, his nickname had stuck. His actual name is Albert Walker Lyle. Reynoldsville High School, where Lyle grew up had football and basketball teams but not a baseball team, so while he played varsity football and basketball for his high school, Sparky played American Legion baseball during his high school years. It was on the DuBois American Legion team that Lyle recorded the 31 strikeouts during a 17 inning game which is mentioned as part of the comic on the back of the card. It should be noted that Lyle pitched "just" 14 of the 17 innings when he recorded those 31 strikeouts.
On the back of the card we see minor league statistics as well as his first two years in the big leagues. Weird that he got into 27 games in 1967 for the Red Sox, but didn't have a baseball card until 1969.
About a week ago I was at a different card shop and saw this copy of the same card in one of the showcases with a $2 price tag. I asked one the employees (I had never seen him before) for help getting the card out of the showcase. I was in front of the showcase and he was behind it, so I pointed and told him, "The Sparky Lyle there in the front on the middle shelf." He responded, "Oh, the Heritage card." I couldn't help it and I laughed and said, "It's a 1969 Topps card." He responded, "Well, it looks like Heritage." This was not a kid. This was a grown man, probably in his mid 30's. Now, I get that the 2018 Heritage had the 1969 Topps design, but I was still just a little surprised.
This card is far from perfect, but is much better than my 10 cent copy and I'm going to keep this one in my collection.
I will be giving away this card. If you are interested. Sparky's birthday is coming next month; July 22. So the contest will run through his birthday. Comment on this post up to one time per day for an entry up until 7/22/22. Each entry will get you a spot into a drawing for the card. If you do a blog post featuring Sparky include a link in one of the comments and you will get an additional 5 entries. There is no limit to the number of blog posts you can do.
The main prize will be this 1969 Topps Sparky Lyle rookie card that has a bunch of condition issues, but since this contest will be running almost a month, I will periodically add cards to the prize, so that is another good reason to check in daily and leave a comment.
Added as a prize on 6/24/22. 1972 Topps Dock Ellis.
Let's add a few more cards to the prize package. A trio of 1974 Topps Traded cards including Hall of Famer Ron Santo. These are dups for me, so they will be added to the prize.
Can't guarantee that I will add to the prizes every day, but for now, let's keep adding.
Here is a near complete 1979 Topps All-Time Record Holders subset. It is just missing #417 which is for Strikeouts and features Nolan Ryan and Walter Johnson.
Loving all of the interest in this contest. Thank you to everyone that is participating. Let's add to the prize! Here are a couple of Allen & Ginter Babe Ruth cards.
Let's add some Post cereal cards. I am going after all of the modern Post cereal card sets, so if I am still working on a set and I come across some in a dime box I will usually just grab them, so I end up with dups. So let's add these to the prize.
Let's add some more cards to the prize package. These are some duplicates I picked up recently at a card show. Just some cool inserts from the 90's.
Here are some 1998 Donruss Rated Rookies cards, minus the familiar Rated Rookie logo.
It's been a while since I added cards to the prize since I have been on vacation. Turns out I already had this 1984 Donruss Pete Rose I bought at Burbank Sportscards while I was on vacation, so it will be added to the prize.
More dups from my player collection are getting added to the prize.
Let's add another vintage card to the prize. I bought a 1959 Topps Herb Score card at a card show recently and it turns out I already had one.