As promised all the way back in May, we proudly bring back our Insert Set of the Week segment on the humble little blog. And, the timing couldn't be better since today is Veteran's Day. This week's insert set combines both baseball players and important historical figures who were involved in a very dark time in the world's history. Even though this set is only a year old, it reminds us of a time when even athletes stopped playing the game and bravely served their country. And although stories of professional athletes serving the military today are few and far between, these were very commonplace 60-70 years ago. In honor of Veteran's Day, and all the men and women who served in the Armed Forces, this week's insert set is 2007 Topps Distinguished Service.
Inserted into packs of 2007 Topps Series I (cards 1-20) and Series II (21-30) baseball (1:12 hobby/retail, 1:2 HTA - Home Team Advantage dealers), 2007 Topps Distinguished Service brings together fifteen legendary players whose playing careers were interrupted when Uncle Sam called on them to put on the uniform for the same team (albeit different branches) alongside fifteen other people who were, or who would eventually become, key figures in the World's history. The cards themselves have the appearance of passports or at least a leather book, with each subject picture in a circle frame, and the branch of the military (or position of power in a couple of cases) each person served. Representing the players:
Navy: Duke Snider, Yogi Berra, Bob Feller, Ralph Kiner, Bobby Doerr, Stan Musial.
Army: Monte Irvin, Ernest Valo, Hoyt Wilhelm, Warren Spahn, Red Schoendienst
Air Force: Joe DiMaggio
Marines: Ted Williams
Coast Guard: Hank Sauer, Sibby Sisti
The backs of each card relate the subject’s war record or what roles they played during their time in the service.
As stated repeatedly, this set also includes fifteen historical figures. Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Charles De Gaulle, listed here as the leader of the Free French Forces, who later Prime Minister of France appear here.
Four of the five appointed Five Star Generals are on the checklist (General George Marshall, General Douglas MacArthur, General Omar Bradley, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, missing is General Henry H. Arnold), as well as Commanding General Mark Clark (fought in both WWII and Korea, became President of the Citadel). Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz represents the Navy. General James Doolittle and Major Richard Bong represent the US Army Air Force. General Curtis LeMay stands for the Air Force.
The last two people in the set that I have not yet mentioned not only served in the US Navy as Lieutenants, they eventually became Presidents of the United States. Lt. (JG) George H. W. Bush (who in his outfit does look like W) was a Naval Aviator, and Lt. John F. Kennedy commanded a Patrol Torpedo boat squadron in WWII.
As a recently produced insert set, there are plenty of singles and sets out there, waiting to be collected and added to the collections of those who seek them. I suggest that if you find a full set, get it immediately. In a few years, this will be a hard set to come across.
Today we remember those brave men and women who defended the freedoms of our country, in the past, in the present, and into the future. Regardless of what your feelings are for the wars being fought today in our name, you have to think of the soldiers out there, risking their lives for us and hope and pray that they make it home.