Friday, December 8, 2017

It snowed in Houston!! (In more ways than one)

A couple of unexpected things happened here in the last 36 hours or so. First of all I got a surprise (but very welcome) envelope from my friend Mike McKay of Chicago. He had picked up a box of the holiday Topps set which I have since learned come only from WalMart stores in blasters. Mike forwarded the Orioles he got in his box. Pretty much the three biggest names on the team, Chris Davis, Manny Machado and Adam Jones. 

They are a pretty neat item. But if I was a team 'complete-ist' I might be annoyed with Topps adding to my needs list so late in the year. Then again I think the days of collecting every card from your team (or player) is long gone. I dunno how everyone else feels about these but I think the addition of the little snowflakes is kind of cool (pun intended). 

The other thing that kind of snuck up on us down here in Houston was snow. I woke up this morning to a nice layer of the white stuff covering everything except the street in my neighborhood.  As I expected Facebook is full of Houston folks screaming that it's the first time we've ever seen snow but you know how that is. It doesn't happen all that often but we've had the white stuff here every few years as long as I can remember.

Here are the other cards from the 'snow set' that Mike sent. Thanks, again, Mike!

The Adam Jones card makes it appear he's trying to catch some of the flakes with a diving effort. I wonder if that was intended.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

1972 Sunoco Sticker 'Updates'

Here's something that won't interest many (any? LOL) but it sure made me happy. The 1972 Sunoco Stamps Baltimore Colts issue was part of a semi-national gas station premium that featured 24 players from each NFL team plus an album.

The initial group of 24 Colts was easy to find in a lot on eBay, as was the album. What was much more difficult were the two 'new player' stickers which were what amounted to an update to the original group.

Back in October I found a seller who had these things. I sent him an offer for the two Colts and then the listing disappeared. But the seller contacted me and said he'd relist them for the price I offered and that was that. It was all sort of weird but in the end I picked up what amounted to a pair of minor 'white whales'. 

Yes, the two new player stickers actually have 'NEW PLAYER' printed on the bottom. Here is the post from early 2015 in which I included these things as part of my Baltimore Colts Card History series. Below are a couple of the regular issue stickers.


Sports Collectors Digest had an article on these stamps earlier in 2017. No mention of the added players but still informative.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gale Sayers (and the perils of social media)

Social media can be an awful place, but I didn't have to tell you that, did I? I have Facebook and Twitter accounts but sometimes you just have to walk away from them for a bit. At least I do. But there is some upside to them too, if you know how to filter the garbage.

For example a couple of months ago I saw posted a shot of the great Bears runningback, Gale Sayers. It reminded me that one of my hobby goals has been to pick up the Sayers rookie card out of the 1966 Philly Gum set. It's been a card I've wanted but wasn't going to overpay for. Nor was I going to buy a terrible copy just to say I had it. A couple of weeks after I started looking I found this one on eBay.

It's flawed but still very collectible. Any Philly Gum card you come across is likely to be flawed. That company had some real issues with quality control but there is no disputing the fact that their cards are classics.

Oddly my new scanner hated my copy and gave it what looks like a 'diamond cut' but in hand that's not the case. The fact that it's off center can't detract from the awesomeness of this thing. That's Soldier Field in the background, pre-renovation Soldier Field to be exact. 

As for Sayers...he's right up there among the most exciting players I've ever seen.. His career lasted essentially five seasons but when he was on the field he was the center of everyone's attention. He came out of college with a nickname that would truly define his career, the Kansas Comet. And like a comet he was brilliant and flashed past us all too quickly. 

The cardback has an obvious flaw, that burn-like mark but I'm just happy to have been able to find one in decent shape that didn't break my budget. While doing my searches I also came across a nice copy of the 1970 Sayers Topps Super. These are very affordable so I nabbed one as well.

Here is the back:

Topps slightly modified the back of their regular '70 Sayers card for the back of the Super. Here is the flagship Topps card's back.

And back to the 'side topic' at hand, social media. I went looking on YouTube for some Sayers highlights. The best one I could find was pretty impressive. But to my surprise (and consternation) it's set to some music that contains "N Bombs" which made me glad I wasn't doing the search while I was at work. So I found another one to include here. Well worth watching even with the less than superb quality ...and you can experience the Staples Singers to boot. Check out his run at about 1:50 against the Baltimore Colts. LOL at my team.

I mentioned how tough Philly Gum cards can be to find in good shape. Here's the perfect example. PSA graded this one as an 8 despite the ragged cuts you can see along the sides. Everything is relative.


Within a few hours of my posting this Jedi Jeff, author of  2x3 Heroes and a knowledgeable Chicago guy posted a comment to this entry asking me about the stadium background on the Sayers card. His contention is that the pic was likely not taken at Soldier Field as I stated but rather Kezar Stadium, them home of the SF 49ers. 

Now I had spent some time prior to posting doing some googling and felt pretty sure the the shot was from Soldier Field but Jeff had me doubting myself. I love old stadiums and poking around the 'net to find the origin of shots used in the Topps baseball sets I've blogged was always a treat. And sometimes I was challenged by a reader and found myself to be way off base. 

I decided to go down this rabbit hole and see where it took me. I based my statement on the scoreboard partially visible behind Sayers. To me it matched the old scoreboard at Soldier Field. The following are the best shots I could find.


I clipped the scoreboard from the racing pic and part of the card. It looked like this:

Looks pretty close. Note the 'legs' that hold up the scoreboard and the position of the flagpole. 

Here is a picture of Kezar Stadium from the 1950s:

It's hard to see but the scoreboard doesn't look the same. But that's not exactly a deal breaker. Scoreboards come and go. But look closer at the pic above. Note where the ramps are in the area around the far end of the stadium. Here is a closer cropped look:

 They are up near the very top of the stands. The ramps in Soldier Field were farther down, near the middle of the stands. 

And it's certainly wouldn't hold up as evidence in court but this really neat piece of artwork sure looks like a match for the scoreboard in the card.

BTW...this Soldier Field rendering is one of many done by artist Gary Chanko. He is featured semi-regularly on the UniWatch blog and there is a Flickr site with all his scoreboard art. Very much worth the click!

And finally there is one more fact to deal with. Jeff pointed out that the Bears didn't use Soldier Field as a permanent home in until later. The Bears' site itself claims their home to have been Wrigley Field until 1970. But that's not entirely true. While Jeff's link to Wikipedia has them spending the 1965 season at Wrigley the 1964 season was played at Soldier Field

So I'm going to stand by my original feeling that the 1966 Gale Sayers rookie uses a picture taken at Soldier Field. What say you jury of my peers?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

West Coast Gifts

Along with about 753 other bloggers I recently received a jam-packed manila envelope from Fuji of The Chronicles Of Fuji fame. (Sidenote...hope you back feels better soon my friend)

He crammed the envelope with all sorts of Orioles goodies. Some of this, a little of that, a scattering of those, etc. Rather than scan and post every card I figured this was the perfect opportunity to test my new scanner. I could see if it clipped white borders like my printer/scanner did. And I could gauge scan quality across many types of cards. I changed setting between scans and some differences are pretty obvious. Here is a representation of the different types of cards Fuji included.

Like these two:

Brooks and Boog from the 1987 Hygrade All Time Greats set. Brooks scanned at 300 dpi, Boog at 600. Kind of a fun little oddball set. The green border first series of 50 cards was followed by and orange bordered followup a few years later. I can't recall seeing the orange borders before I google'd these.

Cal Ripken K-Mart card. These K-Mart cards always take me back to when we first moved into this area. It was much more rural than it is now and the only stores in the vicinity were a grocery, a Five and Dime (ask your folks, kids) and a K-Mart.

This Murray is from a 60 Years of Topps subset/promo set, etc. You probably know more than I do about it. Murray is always looking badass, right.

Here is a 90's Fleer Jeffery Hammonds and a 2016 Adam Jones that Topps wanted to look like a 90s release.

Ripken on a Fleer boxed set from the 1986. Back then I had a big box of boxed sets. Gone with the wind.

I'm not a huge fan of these Triple Play cards but ya know, this Wieters is pretty sharp!

Here is my first scanner 'fail'. Tim Bascom is surrounded by so much chrome that his signature sort of fades away. Much better looking in hand obviously. To be fair this scan is worlds better than what I got from my old Canon printer/scanner.

1994 Cal Stadium Club. The back has a cartoon of Cal and lists it #4 of 12 so without looking I'm guessing it's some sort of special subset or something. Cool card.

Here is one of the few cards I already had. I really liked this Heritage set of guys in throwback gear. I bought the Orioles out of it a few years ago. That O's cap and sleeveless jersey are fantastic on Mussina with the Memorial Stadium facade as backdrop. Dy-no-mite!

Another Cal commemorative card. It's from 2010 Topps History of the Game.

Fuji also sent some more current cards which is great because I never have much luck pulling any thru my rather limited pack buying.

That fact that I missed a lot of Brian Roberts Orioles career is kind of a shame. Note how the foil washes out. I'm working on successfully scanning these types of cards.

Allen and Ginters, Machado looking constipated.

Topps Attax Adan Jones. Does anyone every actually attempt to play stuff like this?

Nick Markakis. The fact that he plays for the Braves just doesn't sit well with me.

Wade Miley. At times last year he was the Orioles ace. Which goes a long way toward's understanding why we finished fifth.

There were more cards. Quite a few more actually but these are the ones I scanned. Thanks for your generosity Fuji. The blogosphere continues to be a wondrous place, both because of the generosity of the bloggers and the fun  writing. You are a league leader in both categories.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Total Joe

While on my two week sabbatical I received a manila envelope from Joe Shlabotnik that contained what he described as an unexpected set break. The Topps Total sets came out during my time away from the hobby. If I'm reading the baseball Card Database correctly Topps out them out from 2002 through 2005.

I think I have some scattered TT cards but the haul Joe shipped my way is no doubt the largest grouping of any one year that I own. 

Joe sent me about half of the 2004 Orioles in the set. It's a nice simple design. Using the team logo twice on the front seems kind of redundant but whatcha gonna do? Baseball Reference gives Tim Raines Jr's nickname as 'Little Rock'. Too bad he never approached Big Rock's numbers.

I love the idea of Total. Getting everyone breathing into a set was a cool idea. I dunno if I'd ever 'pack chase' a 990 card set but I'd love if every player these days was available on a mainstream set. It would make my fantasy baseball player collecting easier. Topps cut the total to 880 and then 770. I wonder if at that point they just thought that Total and the flagship set were cutting into each other. 

2004 is outside my scope of intense Orioles fandom. I pretty much missed the entire David Segui era. And I don't remember Rodrigo Lopez.

The O's really struggled for a long time after 1996. They had plenty of guys like Mike DeJean and Rick Bauer on the roster.

I'm really happy to get a Jerry Hairston Jr card. I had him on my FBB team in 2013 I think and only had a crummy card of him in his World baseball Classic uni to fill that slot. No more!

Two of the better known O's of the time...Miggy and Javy Lopez. Tejada has a page in my Orioles 'good players' binder. This one will slot in there.

I looked up Omar Daal because I hadn't heard his name in ages. He won 16 games in 1999, and lost 19 the next season. Because baseball.

Thanks as always, Joe.  I always appreciate new additions like these. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Things I've been doing...

...instead of posting blog entries:

1) Breaking in my work replacement coach. I'm closing that door on December 20.
2) Trying to make heads or tails out of Medicare/health insurance options. This is all complicated by the fact that my current insurance changes on December 1 and then I change insurance on Jan 1. So within a span of 32 days I'm under three different plans.
3) Working on my 1964 Philadelphia Gum set. I'm now down to eight cards, see the sidebar.
4) Opening envelopes. I'm behind on acknowledging a few big fat gifts from fellow bloggers. That will be rectified asap.
5) Hitting the hotel card show. That's where the '62 Roger Maris and Art Ditmar Post Cereal cards are from. Dirt cheap, well loved and perfect for my shoe box full of these things.
6) Tearing my hair out dealing with scanners. I bought a dedicated flatbed Canon scanner which I couldn't get to cooperate with me. Returned it for an Epson. Still struggling with settings. Sad.
7) Kicking back in New Orleans for football and fun. Ate far too many oysters, muffulettas and beignets. And consumed too much Abita. I think I'm coming around to N'awlins.
8) Helping my wife plan a graduation party for my future daughter-in-law. I didn't volunteer for this.
9) Putting my TCMA sets in pages. Helpful tip...when large complete card sets come to you in numerical order, don't jack with them on a cheap card table that could shift.
10) Holiday shopping. Easy this year. I only need to grab Astros championship gear for family members.

So there you have it. My list of excuses for going two weeks between entries.

BTW...I love that Maris card. Pretty neat how it documents his historic 1961 season. I very casually collect Maris and Ditmar. And I mean very in I'll pull them when going thru dealer boxes and then decide if I like the card enough to buy it.

The Ditmar states that he didn't allow a run in the 1960 Series. Here is a screen grab from his BR page. He was wrecked by the Pirates in the 1960 Series. He lost two games and had an ERA of over 21. What am I missing?