Today, right off the bat, we get the crown jewel of the set!
#500 - Mickey Mantle Here it is...the most sought after card in the set. I was lucky enough to get this about 20 years ago when someone was cleaning out a closet and gave me a box of cards. I thumbed through the box, tried not to let my jaw drop too far, said thank you and took the box home. The card was is great shape, and it still is today. If I didn't have it, I don't think I would have tried to put the '69 set together. Though mine is the more common yellow letter version, it still runs around $100 for a decent card. I'm not sure I would be willing to spend that much, so I'm thankful I already had the card.
It's surprising that Topps included a card of Mantle in the set. Series five includes cards shot in spring training, and Mantle announced his retirement just as spring training was beginning. So Topps knew he wasn't playing anymore. But they went ahead and kept the card in the set. Maybe they couldn't slide anyone else in card #500's slot.
#501 - Tony Gonzalez We follow the eras most well know superstar with a hatless Padre. After hitting .339 for the Phillies in 1967, Gonzalez dropped to .264 the next season and the Padres grabbed him in the expansion draft. He was in San Diego until mid June and was sent to the Braves. He did OK with the Braves, hitting .294 and ended up finishing 15th in the NL MVP voting.
#502 - Minnie Rojas There are two players names Rojas in the set and they both ended up on the same page. Minnie broke into the big leagues as a 32 year old rookie for the Angels in 1966. In 1968 he was 4-3 but didn't pitch after July 24. I would guess he got hurt, because that July appearance was his last in the majors.
#503 - Larry Brown Larry sure looks happy! 1969 would be his last as the Indians starting shortstop. He hit only .239 for the Tribe and would spend the rest of his career in a backup role.
#504 - 6th Series Checklist Topps pulled an old picture of Brooks Robinson out of the files for this checklist. The Orioles last wore that style of hat in 1965. You would think they would have a more recent picture of a star like Robinson.
#505 - Bobby Bolin He was the Giants swingman, starting about 2/3 of his appearances and working out of the pen for the rest. In 1969 he pitched in 30 games, making 22 starts and posting a 7-7 record. After the season, he was traded to the Pilots and he pitched for the first Brewers team.
#506 - Paul Blair At least they had a recent photo of this Oriole. 1969 would be Blair's breakout season. He hit 26 HRs and had a .285 average. He was an All Star and won the Gold Glove, the second of eight he would win over his career. After hitting .400 in the ALCS, he hit an anemic .100 in the World Series.
#507 - Cookie Rojas Here is Rojas #2. I had no luck finding out how Cookie got his nickname. Anyone out there know? Cookie's numbers were really starting to drop off and 1969 would be his last in Philadelphia. After the season, he was a part of the big Phillies/ Cardinals Curt Flood trade. After retiring, Cookie spent some time in the late '70's as a coach with the Cubs
#508 - Moe Drabowsky This ex-Cub had a nice season for the Royals. He was 11-9 with a 2.94 ERA coming out of the pen. It's pretty good when an expansion team pitcher is above .500.
Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 34
Hatless - 112
Airbrush - 91
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 69