This Duffy Dyer card is from the last series in what at the time was the largest set Topps had ever produced. As one who has had the privilege/misfortune to chase high-series cards in a bunch of different sets over the years, it has always seemed to me that these cards somehow look different from their first and second-series brethren.

Maybe that’s because you have so many of those cards from the first two series that you’ve essentially memorized the way that they look so that when you see a seventh-series card, it just jumps out at you. Diego Segui’s mock follow-thru, Hoyt Wilhelm’s black cap, Tug McGraw rubbing down a baseball – as first-series offerings in 1970, these are as familiar as childhood nursery rhymes.

But the mind takes a second to recognize Dyer in this crouch.

Now, it’s only a second because this card has always been around for me, as an older brother knowing my Dyer fandom gave it to me quite early. But other Mets cards from that last series all seem different, even though I’ve had them for well over 40 years. The Bud Harrelson one signing autographs and that posed Nolan Ryan card have an otherworldly quality to them in my eyes that seem to be seventh-series magic.

My thoughts have turned to series because of the current project of trying to get my 1990s cards organized. Apparently, I suffered from some form of ADD with collecting during this decade. In an attempt to keep up with the market, my collection includes cards of just about every manufacturer back then. But it’s 50 cards of one set, 300 cards of another and 125 cards of a third.

We all have regrets in life. Perhaps my biggest regret in card collecting is the money spent on buying packs in the 90s. If instead that was spent on low-grade cards of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson – which were cheap in the 90s – I would be rich today. Oh well…

Anyway, it turns out that for 1996, I have the complete second series of the Topps base offering that year. And somehow, I never went back and completed the first series. It’s bizarro world. Will the 1996 first series cards jump out instead of the second (high) series ones? My guess is no, simply because these cards have been in a monster box, essentially not having seen the light of day this century. They weren’t looked at daily, like those 1970s cards seemingly were.

Besides, there’s simply no equivalent for me of Dyer in the 1996 set.

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