Wednesday, February 3, 2016

An Owl On My Shoulder


About two or three weeks ago I read another in a long line of posts about the 2015 Stadium Club set. Again I saw a couple of cards that I thought were very cool. It dawned on me that maybe I should try to collect it. I had a few of the Orioles and a handful of others so I wouldn't be starting off empty.

I gave it some thought, looked at the checklist, and decided to go for it. I determined that I would not worry about inserts or variations and all that sort of thing. I read that the base set comes in various foil colors (SC guys, help me out here) but I can't tell the difference without looking hard at them so I'll just fill slots with whatever foil color I happen to get.

I looked at eBay and started bidding on a few lots, mostly 100 or so card lots, but I kept missing out. So last week I decided to just order a box. Not an hour later I grab my mail and there is a manila envelope from upstate New York courtesy of Night Owl. And damn if it didn't contain a big stack of Stadium Club (among other things). It was a weird but wonderful (and timely) coincidence. That's part of the stack up top.

Collecting a contemporary set is going to be unusual for me but Stadium Club is an unusual set. I'm not going to blog it step by step because by now every card has been posted at some point by someone, probably a dozen times. but I will post a wantlist as soon as I have one.

I'm just going to put up a couple of the cards N.O. sent, ones that I don't remember seeing on the blogs I frequent. I ususually complain about cards where the subject is just 'one of a crowd' in the photo but even with about a dozen birds in this shot Britton remains the focus. Fun photo.


I like this card of Alex Cobb for two reasons. First that 'fauxback' uni is so hideous that it's cool. And for another there is just so much of it! Pajama unis...harumph. Get off my lawn! Neat stirrups though.


But Night Owl didn't limit his envelope to just Stadium Club. He added a fistful of Orioles cards, all of which were new ones for my O's box.

In 1994 Brady Anderson was still evolving from 'skinny' Brady to 'bulky' Brady. He was still a couple of years away from his outlier 50 dinger performance. I'd like to think that 50 homers were due to the fact that MLB jazzed up the ball in hopes of making the game more attractive post-lockout/strike. But I'd also like to believe in the Easter bunny.


Dylan Bundy. He's been the Orioles 'next great hope' for what seems like 10 years. I think I read he's out of options, or nearly so. Welcome to Charm City, Dylan.


Score brand cards....one of my secret fetishes back in the day. I had a zillion Score baseball. But I never saw these. I dug a bit and found out why. These are from a set sold in conjunction with a book at big box book retailers.

Here is what Baseball Card-pedia has to say about these: "1991 Score 100 Rising Stars is a 100-card set issued as a factory set, in a blister pack, with an accompanying book. The sets (with the book) were sold primarily through mass-market chain bookstores with a suggested retail price of $12.95. Each factory set also included six Magic Motion Trivia cards."


I also received a couple of new Cal Ripkens.......


It's impossible to estimate what one player has had the most cards issued for them but if you made a list of guesses I'd sure stick Cal on it.


...and a shiny Kevin Gausman (I have the non-shiny version). Some days on the mound Gausman looks good, some days, well, not as much.


All-in-all it was a great batch of cards that I received from Night Owl. I'm looking forward to getting my Stadium Club set off the ground and this made for a nice start. Thanks again, Greg.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

More Card Show Vintage


When you are digging through a huge plastic tub of old cards trying to fill your hand with $5 worth of 20 centers you end up grabbing stuff for any old reason. I had no sets to fill and no goals to meet so I just grabbed what caught my eye. Here is a portion of the stuff I took home:

1962 Jim 'Mudcat' Grant. I mean, why not? Love this card of Grant which I'm guessing was taken pregame on a sunny Sunday at 'the big ballpark' as Red Barber used to call it. That means there is a fair chance i was there that day. I need more Mudcat Grant cards...hell, everyone does.


Marv Grissom doesn't look all that happy to have had the San Francisco Seals' logo painted onto his cap.

In the 1954 Series Grisson entered Game One in the Polo Grounds with the Giants and Indians tied 2-2 with one out and runners on the corners. You can be assured that the crowd was buzzing as he walking in from that far away Giants bullpen. Not because of Grissom mind you, but because that one out was the result of Willie Mays' storied over-the-shoulder catch that robbed Vic Wertz of an extra base hit.

Grisson retired the side after loading the bases with a walk to pinch hitter Dale Mitchell and then pitched two more innings until  Dusty Rhodes' three run dinger won the game for him and the Giants in the bottom of the tenth. Looking at the play-by-play I noticed that Grissom gave up a double to Wertz to open the tenth. But Leo Durocher had faith and he kept Grissom in the game. I'd have to think that nowadays the manager would have been headed for the mound and tapping his arm before Wertz had even pulled up at second.

Maybe even more remarkable is that Grissom was allowed to lead off the bottom of the ninth in that World Series game! It's not like Durocher was out of pitchers, heck Grissom wasn't even the #1 bullpen option for the '54 Giants. That role was held by Hoyt Wilhelm. The basics of baseball have never changed but the philosophy of it sure has.


Wes Covington may have changed teams but with the Phillies, as with the Braves, he likes being photographed at the bat rack.

Like the Mudcat Grant, this '67 Topps Chuck Hinton holds a memory-invoking background view of Yankee Stadium. He was originally signed by the Orioles, btw.  And he made the 1964 All Star squad as a member of the Senators. Now you have some trivia questions to ask at your next trip to the corner bar.


A .20 cent 1979 Yaz card. He was a ballplayer. And I need more cards of him. That cap though. The red cap with a blue brim they wore back then just looked wrong to me.


1981 Donruss Reggie. I have no idea why I picked this card, either to buy or scan. But here it is. Pop quiz time...Who's bat is Reggie holding?  Answer at the bottom.


1970 Steve Barber. I was a big Steve Barber guy back when he pitched for my Orioles. I wasn't happy when he was traded to the Yankees. Here he is with the Seattle Pilots who took him in the expansion draft and for whom he won 4 games in 1970. By the time this card hit the stores in Topps '70 set he was gone from Seattle as were the Pilots. They were the Brewers and Barber was cut by Opening Day. His days as a front-line starter were behind him but being a lefty he was able to hang on through 1975.



Reggie is apparently holding Fred Stanley's bat. Stanley wore #11. He had 10 career homers, three two homer season. Jackson had 40 two homer games.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Football.....College, Vintage and Otherwise


On my Peach Bowl trip to Atlanta I figured a visit to the College Football Hall of Fame was warranted and it was well worth the visit. Upon entering you receive a 'Fan Pass' on a lanyard and the pass is registered with your name and favorite school. It's interactive so that when you walk up to many of the displays the video boards will immediately feature your school. It's a neat deal. Upstairs where the Inductees are featured you walk up to a kiosk-type video board and the inductees from your school are shown. You tap the board and play videos from their career, etc. Pretty ingenious. 


That's the 'fan pass' above and below is one of the touristy promo cards that you find in hotel lobby racks.


As you enter the Hall the atrium is dominated by a huge two story tall wall of helmets. Once someone registers that person's school helmet is lit up. I think it stays lit for the day.


Here is a look at one of the interactive displays. As I got close it showed my school, the University of Houston.


The Hall had a couple displays in the atrium related to the Peach Bowl teams, Houston and Florida State. This is Case Keenum's jersey, former Coog and current starter for the St. Louis Los Angeles Rams.

The Hall was fun, especially the equipment displays and the videos of great collegiate football moments. It was well worth the time we took to visit.


All that is kind of an 'end around' to some cards I picked up at the show last Saturday. All came from the bargain bins and I nabbed each for a reason. At the top of the post is a '71 Topps Emerson Boozer card. Every time i hear that name I'm reminded of my high school days and a freshman who played running back for us named Bobby Adams. He was also my locker-mate and friend. We all thought he looked like the Jets' running back so naturally we called him Boozer.


This is some sort of Gale Sayers Rookie reprint card. I forgot to scan the back and the card is not in front of me now but I think it came out in 2010. I collect Sayers but some of his cards are quite expensive. I fill in the holes with knockoffs until I get around to tracking down affordable versions of the real thing. I've said it before but I don't think I've ever seen a player as exciting or dynamic as Gale Sayers. Lenny Moore and Barry Sanders come close.


And then there is this '71 Ron Johnson card. I don't think I've ever related my Ron Johnson story. Back about '71 or '72 I came home from college to do laundry and have some good meals and waiting for me was an envelope addressed to me with a New York Giants logo and return address. Opening it I was surprised (to say the least) to find a letter from Ron Johnson. A real, hand written, letter. Two pages of stationary sized paper filled with advice and encouragement. It turns out that my Uncle Gerald, one of those 'never met a stranger-type guys, was on the dais when his Kiwanis Club's special guest speaker was non-other than Ron Johnson. My uncle told him I was hoping to go into coaching as a career and Johnson took it upon himself to get my folks address and write the letter.

I wish I could get my hands on it now. I don't recall everything Johnson wrote but I do know he spoke about how to treat young players and about not letting the long hours that coaching required get in the way of being a good family man. It was pretty remarkable.

Johnson was a pretty good running-back for the Giants back in the 70s. He had been the first ever African-American captain of the Michigan Wolverines football team and a first round pick of the Browns. He's a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and served as the Chairman of the National Football Foundation which operates the Hall. He was a successful businessman after his playing days. Sadly he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2006 and is currently in a care facility.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bargain Bin Packs


After missing my cherished monthly hotel card show for awhile I was eager to return to it last Saturday. I had no real specific goals other than to hit the bargain boxes and add some 'bloggable' material. And I think I did that. I brought home some vintage stuff, some cards I simply thought were fun and some stuff I only bought because it ended up costing me about 20 cents apiece. That latter category would include these three unopened packs of beat up junk that I nabbed on a whim.


I don't remember these '91 O-Pee-Chee cards from when they were new.  But it's not a bad looking set actually. I'm sure someone out there knows if the 'Premier' designation means that these were something beyond a base set.



There isn't much to the backs, other than four separate logos. I had to look up Willie Wilson to see how long he played for Oakland. Turns out it was two seasons following his 15 year stint with the Royals. 

Side note: Did you know that there is a Willie Wilson running for president? I sure didn't. 


EDIT: Joe Shlabotnik's comment on this set got me to digging and I found a bit of background on this '91 OPC Premier set. This comes from The Cardboard Connection site's OPC page:
While O-Pee-Chee produced their traditional Topps-like set in 1991, they also expanded to a second standalone line. 1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier Baseball was one of the most hyped sets of the year, based largely on the success of 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier Hockey. The quality was noticeably higher. So was the initial price tag. But like most every set from 1991, it was vastly overproduced. Today, 1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier Baseball can be found extremely cheap. Historically, it's important because it marked a branching out for the brand. O-Pee-Chee Premier Baseball continued in 1992 and 1993 apart from the Topps line.
The same dealer's box yielded a North Carolina pack from the early 1990. I have no connection to UNC and so I figured that if I didn't get a Michael Jordan card I would get eight cards of strangers.


And I got a Jordan. If I was producing these I'd make sure there was a Jordan in each pack.


That's not a bad scan of the back below. it actually is that 'faded'. I don't know if it turned that way over time of if that's how it was intended to be. This Jordan, btw, is the only color pic used in the eight cards I got. Another thing that struck me is that one of the cards was #179. Seems like a lot of cards for a college set but the Trading Card Database has the checklist and the set runs over 200 cards strong including some 'specials'. 




The third pack was Pro Set hockey 91/92. Pro Set could really churn out product back then. But the thing about it was they had some excellent looking sets. The problem was people just got sick of seeing so many of them.

Not much to say about these other than they look pretty good design-wise, the ones I scanned featured some uninspired pics and the pack yielded no Rangers. But for the two dimes it cost me I won't gripe I guess.


Another side note: I read someplace that the Leafs are re-designing their uniforms. Really? The Leafs have a classic look. Even the sort of 'modernized' look that Wendel Clark is wearing from 25 years ago is pretty sweet. If they take the 'leaf' off the sweaters I'm going to be upset. And so will be lots of Leafs fans I'm sure.





That's it for the packs I got. But I went home with lots more that I need to finish scanning and post.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

More Things On My Desk


We were in Atlanta for the better part of a week for our Peach Bowl trip and had time to take in some of what there is to see in the area. The day we arrived we took advantage of the nice weather and visited the Jimmy Carter Center/Presidential Library. There are lots of interactive displays and several films are featured and a lot of emphasis is placed on President Carter's Georgia roots. This was my sixth visit to a Presidential library and as always I was fascinated by the story of what makes someone want to take on that burden.

I dug out a couple of Carter cards from the box of Presidential cards I've been accumulating. At the top is a 1992 Starline Americana card and below is Topps 2015 Presidential Chronicles card from 2015.

Next up is a Fleer sticker card that came my way in a PWE a few months back. Back in the mid-80s when these were distributed in packs I had a file cabinet next to my work table and I covered it with team stickers.


Hack Wilson's 190 RBI season of 1930 is featured on the reverse.


In the same stack was a generic Donruss Mike Piazza card. I always think of him a a member of the Los Angeles Baseball Club Dodgers but apparently he's going to be wearing a Mets' cap on his H-O-F plaque.

Last card to be scanned for today is a 2015 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm from some sort of Highlight subset. This came in a PWE as well and it's now part of my Hoyt Wilhelm page in my Orioles stars binder. It's kind of weird that my scanner cut off the bottom of this one. It usually saves that trick for 'late model' Topps white border cards.


I've been very slow to post things here lately. Lot's of things have been getting in my way, not the least of which has been a lack of new material for my collection. My trip to yesterday's monthly card show (first visit in months) will go a long way to rectify that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Entire Star Wars Collection......

......in one post.

OK, I'll confess. It's the second most successful movie franchise in history. And the current one is about to become (or maybe already has become) the highest grossing movie of all time. And I don't follow it. I think my problem is that when I watched first one I didn't bother to read the crawl that rolled up the screen and explained the background. From that point on I was way behind the curve and I had no idea who was chasing who or why. So when it comes to the Star Wars chatter these days the whole world is a tuxedo and I'm a pair of brown shoes*.

Hey, that's enough negativity for one post. Let me feature some things I do like with some cards I have sitting on my desk that were waiting for a reason to be scanned.

Baseball. Maybe not like I did as a kid but I do like baseball.


I needed a Carlos Gomez card for my fantasy baseball binder this year. But when I picked up this one off eBay or COMC or wherever it came from I didn't know it was about as thick as a floor tile. No way it would fit in a regular nine pocket page. $0.99 wasted.

I really liked this Lindor card which I bought this summer for the same reason as the Gomez. But in the spirit of having a card of a player in his big league uni I replaced it recently. But I still think it's a cool card.



Hockey. I really really love hockey. I love it more when the Rangers win, like last night. But even when they don't I still love hockey.


Someone posted this Martin St. Louis card on their blog a few months ago and i knew I had to find one for myself. The Madison Square Garden ceiling visible in the background isn't as iconic as the Yankee Stadium stands that provide the backdrop for so many vintage baseball cards. But to me it means even more because the Rangers, unlike the Yanks, are my team. I love the Garden!

Football. My football 'interest index' follows the relative success of the Texans and Houston Cougars, and to some extent the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Right now the Cougars are riding as high as they have in many many years. The Texans, not so much.


Ameer Abdullah didn't have a bad rookie season but I bet he (and the Lions) expected more. He's got a ton of talent (and is a great guy as well) and I hope he has a big second season in Detroit next year.


I get asked a lot if we (Texans fans) will ever see Arian Foster on the field here in Houston again. I tend to doubt it. He hasn't been healthy for several seasons and I don't think the club is going to invest more money in a questionable running back, not even Foster.

And that's in for this edition of 'What's on Bob's Desk'.

*tip of the cap to George Gobel.