Topps 1965 Baseball Card Set - The Great Society in the New Frontier
October 31, 2011
by William Szczepanek
It was a Great Society in 1965 that would attempt to solve the problems of long-standing bigotry and provide for the needs of citizens of all ages. It was a New Frontier. Never since the voyage of Columbus had such a large effort been made to expand our horizons as we prepared for a trip to the moon. The solutions weren't perfect, but a direction was set to make life better for all.
In the United States in 1965 we were dealing with the escalating Viet Nam War, civil rights, women's rights, health care issues, and a space race with the Soviet Union. None of these deterred Topps from issuing another distinctive baseball card set in with the newest feature being the waving pennant containing the team name and logo. The player's pictures sometimes looked like photographs and sometimes like art extracted from photos. Cards were not as abundant in the 598-card set as in previous years. Some say that this was because young boys were being drafted into the military in larger and larger numbers, but I think that it was because the major portion of boys who had begun this fanatical hobby were now beginning to get interested in cars and girls, and quite frankly, collecting baseball cards in high school was not the coolest thing to do at the time.
League Leader cards again appeared at the beginning of the set #1-12 and the 1964 World Series action cards were #132-139. The 1965 Topps set had two insert sets of 72 each, an iron-on transfers set, and the a gold foil embossed set. Overall, this was a very nice set with a very clean design, as opposed to the more avant-garde look of the previous few years.
Rookie cards in the set were abundant and impressive, including: #16 Joe Morgan, #145 Luis Tiant, # 236 Denny McClain, #266 Bert Campaneris, #282 Masanori Murakami, #533 Tug McGraw, #550 Mel Stottlemyre, #373 Jim Lonborg, #477 Steve Carlton, #526 Jim Hunter, and #581 Tony Perez.
Baseball in 1965
The Harris County Domed Stadium, now known as the Astrodome opened in Houston, but not without problems. The glass tiles in the roof caused so much glare that players lost the ball in the light. The panels were painted which solved that problem, but the grass died. The dead grass and dirt were painted green and eventually were replaced by a new surface, Astroturf. This allowed balls to scoot through the infield for easy hits. Leo Durocher of the Cubs called the place a 60-million dollar stadium with a ten-cent infield. The comment was made largely because the Cubs had trouble beating the new Houston team whether they were called the Colt .45s or later the Astros.
In August, Jim Maloney of the Reds, one of the hardest throwers in the league at the time, walked ten Cubs, but none of them scored. Leo Cardenas hit a home run in the tenth inning for the game's only run giving Maloney the no-hitter, the second time he pitched 10 hitless innings of the season. Maloney lost the first one 1-0 against the Mets when they broke through for 2 hits and 1 run in the 11th inning.
Later in the month San Francisco's, Juan Marichal, after avoiding an inside pitch from Sandy Koufax, attacked Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, hitting him in the head with his bat causing a 14-minute brawl. Koufax then gave up a 3-run homer to Mays and the Giants won 4–3 to regain 1st place. The Dodgers would go on to win the pennant, clinching it against the Giants on the next to last day of the season.
On September 9th at Dodger Stadium, Bob Hendley of the Chicago Cubs was perfect until Dodger left fielder Lou Johnson walked in the fifth inning. Johnson stole third base and scored on a throwing error. Johnson later got a 7th-inning double giving Hendley a one-hitter. The only bad thing about Hendley's performance is that it came against Sandy Koufax's fourth no-hitter in four years and the first perfect game in Dodgers history. One hit by two clubs in a nine-inning game is also a Major League record. So is the one runner left on base. A Major League record was also set with only two base runners in a game. Hendley's card shows him in a Giants uniform since he began the 1965 season with them.
On May 15th, earlier in the year, Dick Ellsworth of the Cubs also pitched a one-hitter against the Dodgers. Unfortunately, after an error and fielder's choice allowed two runners, Al Ferrara of the Dodgers homered with one out in the eight to give the Dodgers a 3-1 victory.
On September 25th the Kansas City Athletics sent Satchel Paige to the mound at age 59 (Bill Veeck states that he thought Paige was 64) becoming the oldest pitcher in Major League history. In three innings, needing only 28 pitches, he struck out one, and gave up one hit, a solid double to Carl Yastrzemski in a non-decision loss to Boston. Paige had not pitched in the Majors since 1953. He looked old in 1953.
In the American League the Minnesota Twins won their first American League pennant since leaving Washington by defeating the expansion Washington Senators 2–1.
The Twins and Dodgers played in the World Series. Working on two days rest in game seven Sandy Koufax threw a three-hitter, and shut down the Minnesota Twins, giving the Dodgers their second World Championship in three years.
Statistical Leaders and Awards:
Batting Average: AL -
Tony Oliva Twins .321, NL -
Clemente Pirates .329
The World in 1965
President Johnson's measures, which were initiated by Kennedy, provided solutions to the social problems related to race, discrimination, poverty and health care, but over time the measures may have caused problems of unsustainable benefits for health care and the reliance on welfare rather than independence. One thing above all made these things happen - the ability of Congress to work together. Both sides had interests in the same things, it was just a matter of working them out, unlike today where interests lie at opposite ends, neither of which benefit the people. In fact, the social programs continued to expand under the leadership Nixon, Ford and most recently Bush.
When it came to taxes both Republicans and Democrats moved to lower them. Kennedy the year before reduced the income tax rates for those making over a million dollars from 91% to 77%. Johnson would go further and reduce them to 70%. During WWII the tax rates hit a peak of 94%. The rates have not been as low as they are today since just before the Great Depression when they stood at 25%. Those whose income today is largely derived from capital gains see even lower rates.
Our goal was to reach the moon before the end of the decade. In 1965 Ranger 8 crashed into the Moon, after photographing possible landing sites. On the Soviet side Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov, became the first person to walk in space. The U.S. then put the first 2-person crew into orbit. A couple of months later Astronaut Edward White made the first U.S. walk in space. In August Gemini 5 is the first 1-week flight which tested new fuel cells. Later in the year the Soviet Union launched Venera 3 which became the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet, Venus. Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 performed a rendezvous in Earth orbit for the first such occurrence. The U.S, and Soviet Union would go back and forth with astounding accomplishments, but at home everyone knew the U.S. would now win this race because we were committed to do just that.
Tops Songs of 1965
The music charts were filled with songs from British groups, but no one complained.
Entertainment in 1965
A shift in tastes was evident. Westerns were just hanging on in both the movies and television. Box office epics were in vogue. The Sound of Music and Doctor Zhivago delighted our visual and auditory senses by taking us to distant times and places with little violence, even though Zhivago dealt with the Russian Revolution. The top movies of the 1960s, while epic in video and music proportions, were also as much appealing to the mind as the senses.
Top movies in 1965
Top TV Shows of 1965
Comedy was king on TV and the shows would live to the present. The Batman show is probably very representative of the difference in the culture of the times. It was lighthearted and comical in the 60s and has turned dark and sinister in the present. Many would say that the current version is more representative of the original comic strip. I just don't think that in the 60s the view of the cartoon would be the same. The Dark Knight just didn't appear that dark back then, but maybe we just looked at things differently. Today we need things darker, more gross, more explicit ─ even beyond explicit ─ even exaggerated to appeal now to our even more dulled senses.
Education in 1965
In our schools at the college level the students began to voice their opinion, sometimes loudly in protest of the Viet Nam War. Some professors even encouraged it. The voice of a new generation was heard. The days of teachers reciting from yellowed notes passed to a more vibrant time of lecture and discussion, and while students voiced their opinions the professors still had the authority and were tough enough to prove the students wrong when opinions were not necessarily accepted as valid. But, there was a mutual respect.
Today many professors have lost their authority. The students don't challenge as much, but when they do, the students prefer to be coddled and told that they deserve credit for just trying, and teachers fear lawsuits for not presenting information in a totally equitable manner.
Our educational system has fallen apart at every level because the system is more important than education. Being profitable is more important than education. Getting a good grade is more important than what is learned. The system is dysfunctional. How does a system like this get turned around? It's not the system as much as it is the culture. And, our culture has been changing for decades. We now live in a time where challenges go unmet. China can continue to out educate us using the methods we invented, modern internet and energy infrastructure is not moving forward due to interest groups which oppose the future needs of our citizens, and research and development is shipped to more capable lands where people want to change their lives. Our government gets it, but leaders are too interested in their own well being.
Students in 1965 began by protesting the war, today there is even more to protest about. Wall Street, Health Care, the educational system - they all have turned into bureaucratic empires serving the rich. Some people get it, but the old poor and new people have no voice. Maybe when the wealthy people's kids graduate from college and cannot find a job, things will start to turn around. In the meantime we should all probably invest in China; the government, corporations and the wealthy all seem to be doing that. Hmmm. Maybe that's part of the problem.
We have entered another New Frontier. The question is whether the people and the leadership will have the resolve to advance our society rather than look for the easy payoff. That goes for baseball cards, too.