In the last post I claimed the ’75 Bill Hands that I was never able to acquire was the last Bill Hands card ever produced. I wasn’t sure about this but I figured I’d just say it anyway. Turns out I was wrong, and here’s the proof, a 1976 Bill Hands. I also claimed that the guy Bill Hands was traded for, George Stone, didn’t have a 1976 card, but he did. I don’t have the 1976 George Stone card, but I see the name next to a blank box on the Mets’ 1976 team card checklist.
I know all this now because yesterday I turned a corner in my ongoing departure from sanity by taking several hours to sort my entire scrambled collection back into teams, in part so I could begin to investigate the veracity of claims such as that George Stone and Bill Hands, who by then had both played their last major league games, did not have 1976 cards ghosting their respective vanishings. My wife, who as a very young child once organized her grandma’s sprawling “miscellaneous” drawer into neat piles of paperclips and rubber bands, helped me sort for a few minutes before losing interest. When she later saw me sorting the cards of individual teams into different years, she withheld comment, but when still later she looked up from her social-work textbook and saw me subjecting cards for an individual team and individual year to even more sorting, she fixed me with an incredulous stare.
“Are you putting those into alphabetical order?”
“What? No. Of course not,” I said. I forced out a snort of laughter meant to sound dismissive. “Please.”
“Mm hm,” she said. She’d already turned back to her book.
Anyway, I don’t know how I didn’t remember this card. It must have made an impression when I found it in a pack. Finally, I’d acquired a Bill Hands, but it was the wrong Bill Hands, a year too late.