Thursday, April 17, 2014

1963 Salada Coin-Billy Pierce

I've been chasing this little gem for awhile. Most were just a bit pricey for my taste, north of $50 and frequently close to $100. But this one came along and I grabbed it at a very reasonable price. I'm not sure why the Pierce is among the higher priced coins in the set. I haven't seen anything to indicate why it carries a premium other than vague references to some being more scarce than others. But there it is. 

The back is pretty impossible to decipher even to the naked eye, never-mind in a scan. But there is Junket Rennet Custard logo there and apparently these were issued in boxes of the dessert mix as well as Salada Tea in 1962. They are plastic with paper inserts depicting the player. 221 coins made up the set with some players appearing on two teams due to trades and some other coloring variations. The next year the 63 issued coins were made of metal and were painted.

There is a parallel set called Shirriff Coins that were issued in Canada. There is a checklist with known variations that can be found here. I have a handful of these things, all Orioles and I picked them up a long time ago. So long ago that I can't remember where or when. I posted the Brooks Robinson from the 1962 set over a year ago.

But even today most of them can be had for very little. Except the Billy Pierce, of course.

Late addition:
Mark Hoyle sent me a shot of his Red Sox '62 Salada set in the original display 'shield'. It's a terrific item. But now I have something else on my wantlist!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1953 Bowman Color Jackie Jensen

Yesterday, I had nothing. Today I have something. It showed up in the mail and I was very pleased to see it. I collect Jackie Jensen in a pretty casual manner. If I see one that's reasonable I'll pick it up but I don't really seek his cards out.

I found this on eBay listed by a dealer I buy from often. He is a very conservative grader and had this Jensen as 'Poor'. It was the second cheapest '53 Color Bowman Jensen on a B-I-N and it appeared to be waaay better that many of the more expensive ones. While that card is creased (hard to see in the scan) it is nowhere near 'poor' as I view it.

Jensen is a very interesting character. I have heard him described as a 'poor man's Mickey Mantle' and while I'm not sure I agree he does have that 'fair-haired, rawboned power hitter with a flaw' thing going. Jensen's flaw would be his fear of flying that shortened his career. I've more or less been interested in Jensen for awhile but researching his '59 card for my blog of that set I read a lot and found him to be a unique and very talented guy. Rather than repeat that whole post I'll supply a link. There are quite a few stories and sites that are linked in that post that are well worth exploring.

As for the card, well, the '53 Bowmans sure are good looking, yes? Beautiful cards, portraits and posed action cards. Just wonderful baseball cards. I wish I had the wherewithal to make a run at a complete presentable set. I envy anyone who has one.

Meanwhile I'll have to be happy with my tiny stash of '53s. I own an Early Wynn, Billy Pierce and a Lou Boudreau which I can't find to scan at the moment. .

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I've got nothin'

Anyone who does this silly blogging thing has sat down at the keyboard and realized that they have nothing to really say at that moment. (Happens to me a lot.) So as a fall back strategy I can count on my man Brooks Robinson to come though. And here he is.

This Robby rookie from 1957 was the first (and maybe only now that I think about it) 'expensive' card I bought when I decided to collect every Orioles card from 1954 onward. This was back in about 1980 or so. I remember seeing it at a hotel ballroom show and how much I angst-ed over pulling the trigger on it. I don't remember how much it was but whatever it cost this card.... 1) was more than I could afford given my circumstances back then and.... 2) thrilled me beyond words.

The other pricey card of an Oriole that made up the '54 to '80 run was the high numbered 1967 Brooks Robinson. Luckily I already had that card from my old collecting days. I have a couple of other copies of the Brooks rookie now and both are in better condition but this one has the memories behind it so it remains the one to fill that spot in my vintage Orioles collection binder.

So there is Brooks, looking pleased as punch to be on a baseball card. I felt the same way to tuck it into my binder, for sure!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #6 2006 Fleer Ultra Dream Team Brett Favre

In this ongoing (weekly?) series of posts I am going to feature cards from my fantasy football player collection, specifically the 117 quarterbacks I've had on my team's roster since 1980. I have one selected card for each player in my All-Time Flyers binder. Through the years I've tried to use as many different card varieties as possible while holding on to my preference which is: a card issued in a year I owned the player showing him in the proper team uni in a vertical format. Card availability and my whims have had a big impact on that standard as we will see. 
NFL Info: Well, Brett Favre is Brett Favre. Hall of Fame player. Favre quarterbacked for Southern Mississippi for four years before being picked in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft by Atlanta. He was traded to Green Bay before the next draft and became the Packers' starting quarterback in the fourth game of the 1992 season, and started every game through the 2007 season. He was traded to the New York Jets and started at quarterback for the 2008 season and signed as a free agent with the Vikings for 2009. He made an NFL record 297 consecutive starts (321 including playoffs).

He is the only player to win the AP Most Valuable Player three consecutive times (1995–97). He led teams to eight division championships, five NFC Championship Games, and two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XXXI.

He holds NFL records for most career touchdown passes, most career passing yards, most career pass completions, most career pass attempts, most career interceptions thrown, most consecutive starts by a player, most consecutive starts by a quarterback, and most career victories as a starting quarterback.

Fantasy Angle: In a league like ours that was quarterback oriented and used keepers it wasn't a surprise that Favre was with one franchise, the Heroes, for over a decade. He more or less became identified with that team and it got to the point that when I thought of Favre I thought of the Heroes before I thought of the Packers.

When he finally became 'draftable', with skills supposedly diminishing, I landed him for 2007. He had a pretty solid year for the Pack that season and it wasn't his fault that my team missed the playoffs with a 7-6 record. I drafted him again for 2008 and was disappointed in what he did that year. But even with his 'down' numbers I cruised to a 10-3 record and a division title with a bye into the semi finals which I won easily. In our "Hughes Bowl" championship game Favre scored just nine points and I lost by seven. Had he hit his 18 point per game average for that year I'd have been the league champ. So goes the life of a fantasy geek. For the record I had Jake Delhomme and Jason Campbell on my roster and available to the title game. They both also totaled nine points that week. So at least I can't blame my crappy line-up selection abilities for the loss.

The Card: This 2006 Fleer Ultra card misses Favre's tenure with my team but I have it in the binder just to add variety. Nothing particularly good or bad about it. I'm assuming it is part of a subset but I've never checked and don't care enough to look it up.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

eBay saw me coming

What makes something a 'collectible'? I guess the answer is that it's a 'collectible' if you say it is. Can a Sporting News column from 1956 trimmed and pasted onto a thin piece of cardboard be a 'collectible'?

I suppose it can be because for 99 cents I bought this. If it had been from some other publication I'd probably not have given it a thought but the Sporting News was a huge part of my growing up years. I dedicated subscriber for many years, from about 1962 until the late 80's. When I was a kid it would come late in the week, sometimes on a Saturday and that meant the stats and box scores were about a week old.

That never mattered. I'd read it front to back every week. I knew each team's contributing sports writer and when there was a change made (which wasn't often) it was big news among me little group of friends. The beat writers were our link to every team. If Earl Lawson said wrote something about the Reds we believed it.

And the columns that ran every week were my favorite part. Joe Falls, Dick Young, Jerome Holtzman were particularly appealing. I read every word. I entered college as a j-school major hoping someday to write for the Sporting News. But I lacked the talent.

The above piece on Billy Pierce comes from early June of 1956 and concerns Pierce's fast start and speculates on his chances of finally becoming a 20 game winner (which he did, going 20-9 with two tough losses in his final three starts keeping him from winning more). The final paragraphs explore the deal which brought him to the White Sox from the Tigers in 1948 and the trade's backstory. The scout who originally signed Pierce for the Tigers admits that he broke down when he heard about the trade.

All in all it's a neat little piece of Billy Pierce history and I'm happy to have it. BTW... here is a shot of Chicago sportswriter John C. Hoffman who penned the article. Hoffman wrote for the Chicago Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, the Wisconsin News, Hearst's INS (later to become UPI) and contributed to the Sporting News, obviously. He wrote a couple of trade paperbacks about ballplayers including one about Andy Pafko. He later went into the real estate business in Arizona.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dollar Store cards..... ugh.

I'm posting this in giant size so you can see the card edges. I pulled this from a plastic bag of cards I had in a prize box at school. The bag was a $1 multi-sport repack from a local dollar store. I'd bought a bunch of them at one time and had given most away. I decided to open one just for grins. Sticking out of the otherwise neat little stack were some obviously uneven edges. I pulled the card and saw it was this Fred Lynn and I was puzzled at first. I flipped it over and saw that it wasn't a regular card. Google told me it was part of a Topps 1990 box bottom. So a (poorly) hand cut box bottom card made it into a repack.

And the rest of the pack wasn't much better. A Don Aase card that shows him to have red hair. From the condition of this one these cards came from some kid's shoebox. Maybe that explains the hand cut Lynn.

A 1981 Topps Bobby Bonds. Again with the hair issues.

Donn "Two N's' and two L's" Pall. Don't remember him at all.

There were stale basketball cards including this one of a guy named Bison Dele. Who names their kid 'Bison'?

And one of this guy who apparently played for the Mave Ricks.

A hockey and a football card, neither of which were worth scanning. One Oriole from the 1986 Fleer set. At least it was a guy I liked to watch, John 'T-Bone' Shelby. He has two World Series rings, an Orioles '83 ring and one he earned with the '88 Dodgers. T-Bone is a coach for the Brewers and has a son who plays minor league ball and one who plays baseball at the U of Kentucky. He once tossed me a baseball at Arlington Stadium as he came in from pre-game warm-ups. I gave it to a kid.

This Bowman card of a one time Yankee prospect named Yhency Brazoban features a sig that has to rank among the worst ever. I have second graders who can sign better than this.

And finally a Topps Stolen Base Leaders card from 1983 of the ever charming Rickey Henderson and his NL counterpart Rock Raines. Raines got over 50% of the vote in the 2013 Hall of Fame balloting. It was the fourth straight year that his total has gone up. I'm not sure he'll make it.

The rest of the cards were even less inspiring. I can't get motivated to scan any more of them so you are missing out on cards of two guys I have actually met. One is an Upper Deck card of Hoopster Orlando Woolridge (his nephew is a friend of my sons) and the other is a Score from the 1988 set of former Astros reliever Dave Smith.

I also opened a 20 card baseball only repack and got a Clayton Kershaw card. And a Mike Piazza, and two Norm Charltons, back to back no less. Woooohooo!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weird Little Collections: Original Six Favorites #4

There is a rarity, a card I've scanned while it is still in a plastic tomb. Funny thing about this 70/71 Topps Gordie Howe, I just don't have the heart to crack it open. Maybe I will after I've looked at it awhile longer. It's just such a beauty!

And obviously Ol' Gordie holds down the Detroit (red) wing (pun intended) of the My Favorite Original Six players. Hell, he's Gordie Howe, isn't he? He could do everything there was to do on ice. He scored tons of goals, passed the puck like nobody's business and would put you into the boards with his elbow just to see how much you liked it.

The 'Gordie Howe Hat Trick' consists of a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. I don't know if I've ever witnessed one in person but it's a funny concept. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
In ice hockey, a Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a variation on the hat-trick, wherein a player scores a goal, records an assist, and gets in a fight all in one game. It is named after Gordie Howe, well known for his skill at both scoring and fighting.The first known Gordie Howe hat trick was achieved by Hall of Famer Harry Cameron of the Toronto St. Pats on December 22, 1920. The namesake of the achievement, Gordie Howe, achieved a Gordie Howe hat trick only twice in his NHL career. Howe got his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick on October 11, 1953 when he fought the Toronto Maple Leafs' Fernie Flaman, assisted on Red Kelly's goal, and scored his own. His second happened on March 21, 1954, once again versus the Maple Leafs. Howe scored the opening goal, assisted on two Ted Lindsay goals, and fought Ted "Teeder" Kennedy.According to the Society for International Hockey Research, the all-time leader in Gordie Howe Hat Tricks is Brendan Shanahan with 17, Rick Tocchet has 15 and Brian Sutter with 12. The active leader is Jarome Iginla of the Boston Bruins with 9.A double Gordie Howe hat trick occurred on January 10, 2012. Adam Henrique fought Jarome Iginla. Iginla recorded 1G, 2A while Henrique recorded 1G, 1A. It happened previously on March 9, 2010. Fedor Tyutin fought Ryan Getzlaf and Tyutin recorded 1G, 2A while Getzlaf recorded 1G, 1A.A double Gordie Howe hat trick achieved by two players on the same team occurred on April 5, 2012 in a game between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe of the Sharks both recorded 1G 1A and one fight each.A triple Gordie Howe hat trick occurred on November 14, 1992 in a game between Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders. Tom Fitzgerald recorded 1G 1A, Wayne Presley recorded 1G 2A, Benoit Hogue recorded 2G 1A and all three players recorded fights.

I'm pretty sure I never saw Howe play as a Red Wing but we were regulars at Houston Aeros games as he played with his sons and led the team to two league titles. In a football crazy town he really put hockey at or near center stage.

As for his career.... it's hard to describe. I'll get arguments from Gretzky and Orr supporters among others but for my $$ Gordie Howe is the greatest hockey player ever. A few highlights:

- 6 decades, 32 pro seasons, 2589 career points, 1,071 goals, 29 all-star appearances, all time regular season scoring champ (NHA & WHA combined) all time game winning goal champ, only athlete in the world to play against players in every decade of the pro league's existence (NHL 1920-s to present).

- 7 time MVP, 6 time scoring champ, led teams to the final championship series round in 15 of his 32 seasons, including winning 6 world championship cups.

I was just about as big a fan of Gordie Howe as I was of any Ranger, and that's saying something.