The 1972 Topps Roberto Clemente baseball card is a hobby classic, and it’s not hard to understand why …

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There we have the future Hall of Famer tossing a baseball to himself, with a bright day and what looks to be pregame activities unfolding in the stands behind him.

And, even though Clemente’s face looks as intense as always, the ball flip gives the whole tableau a lighthearted feel.

Looking back at that card less than a year after it was issued, when news broke of Clemente’s death, must have only added to the shock of a legend lost in the prime of life, if not the prime of his career.

But as legendary as that card itself has become, it wasn’t alone in the 1972 set. Nope … that base card (#309) was joined by an “In Action” Clemente at #310:

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Those two were down in the order a bit, though, because the leadoff Clemente among 1972 Topps pasteboards sat at #226:

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In case you don’t remember, the Pirates won the 1971 World Series in a thrilling 7-game affair over the Baltimore Orioles.

In that Fall Classic, Clemente shone like the superstar he was, batting .414 with two home runs and four RBI. His final ribbie came with two outs in the top of the fourth inning at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore to put the Bucs up, 1-0, in Game 7.

They would go up 2-0 before the O’s clawed out a single run in the bottom of the eighth — the Pirates won 2-1 to take the title, and Clemente was named Series MVP.

Card #226 in the 1972 set, though, hearkens back to Game 4, where Clemente didn’t score a run and didn’t drive in one, yet still caused plenty of trouble for Orioles starter Pat Dobson (and a couple of relievers).

In that contest, played at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, The Great One went 3-for-4 with a walk and advanced to third base on two occasions. Both times, Dobson was on the mound for the Orioles.

And it looks like we’re seeing one of those moments here, with Clemente standing near the bag, maybe edging toward home, and the left field foul pole/line looming in the background. Those blurry haunches in the foreground just might be Dobson — I could believe that’s his “37” bending out-of-frame to the left.

Clemente didn’t score, but there he was in his element, leading his Bucs to one final run for glory.

This card doesn’t get a ton of play in the hobby, but it’s a classic just waiting to be rediscovered.

Today, copies in PSA 8 sell for about $100, while PSA 9s go for nearly twice that figure. Jump up to a 10, and you’re in four-figure territory.

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