More than any other sport, baseball is a game of tradition, of constants.

The game we watch today is the same game our fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers watched in generations past.

Except, of course, it’s not. Ballparks change, technology changes, the balance between pitchers and batters changes, the demographics of the players and fans change.

And, even at the team level, nothing stays the same for long. This year’s rendition of your favorite club is not exactly like last year’s, and it’ll change again next — different players, different ages, different strengths and weaknesses.

If you like what you see on the field at any given moment, well, you’d better enjoy it, because it won’t last.

Just ask the 1965 Minnesota Twins.

That season, the young and improving club rode the hot hitting of eventual American League MVP, shortstop Zoilo Versalles, all the way to the World Series, where they fought hard against the Los Angeles Dodgers before losing in seven games.

Of course, they also enjoyed strong performances from Tony Oliva, Earl Battey, Mudcat Grant, Jim Perry, and others, but Minnesota really needed Zoilo to step up just when he did thanks to a Harmon Killebrew injury that kept the slugger out of the lineup for almost all of August.

Killer’s 113 games were the only time between 1961 and 1967 that he appeared in fewer than 140, and in five of those other six, he was in the lineup 150 or more times.

Nothing stays the same, remember?

Find 1965 Trade Bloc Twins cards on eBay (affiliate link)

Find 1965 Trade Bloc Twins cards on Amazon (affiliate link)

On the mound, lefthander Jim Kaat broke up righties Grant and Perry at the top of the rotation, with Camilo Pascual (another northpaw) rounding out the four-man unit.

And if you liked that alignment, well, hope you got a good look. By 1966, Kaat was the ace of the staff, at least until Dean Chance came to town in 1967. By then, Perry was back in the bullpen, where he’d spent most of 1964.

Grant was the fifth starter, when the schedule called for it.

In 1965, though, it was Grant-Kaat-Perry in a one-year hit parade that nearly landed the Twins a championship.

Luckily for fans and collectors, that summer offered up a snapshot of Kaat and all the rest of his teammates as they pushed for their only American League pennant between 1933 and 1987.

There isn’t a ton of information about the 1965 Trade Bloc Minnesota Twins set, and most of what is available comes from online for-sale listings, like this now-dated one.

The general consensus among those limited sources, though, seems to be that the Trade Bloc cards were issued at Metropolitan Stadium during Twins games, as part of a game you could play with said cards.

At least one source has the game’s title as “Focus the Twins.”

Is there a word missing there? Like “on,” maybe?

I don’t know, but “Focus the Twins” seems to be exactly what the baseball fates had in mind for 1965. The team that had been lurking near contention for a few years pulled it altogether, and held it all together, even when their biggest star went down.

And the 35 Trade Bloc cards give us a window into that moment of baseball history, a moment that can never happen again. Not exactly.

Just like all the rest.

Wow! Wax of the Day

You may not find “unopened” Trade Bloc cards out in the wild, and you may not want to pony up for a 1965 Topps wax pack, but you can still find some nifty display items from the era, like in this eBay lot …

That’s a complete 1965 Topps wax box, just without any actual packs. It’s got that same great “banner” feel that the cards themselves have, and a few pretty solid dudes on the box side.

Check out the full listing here (affiliate link).

1965 Topps Baseball Cards #202-586, Complete Your Set

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1965 Topps Baseball Cards, Lot of 29, No Dups, EXMT/NM - NICE LOT!

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1965 Topps Baseball Cards - YOU Pick...

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1965 Topps Baseball cards Lot of 9 VG/EX

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1965 Topps Baseball Cards

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