Friday, August 16, 2019

Card Show Hit & Miss

I hit the hotel card show last Saturday in hopes of knocking out a chunk of my 1974 set needs. I don't think I've yet relayed the backstory on that set. I bought an 800 count box of '74s with the hope of obtaining a fair-sized number of the 660ish cards. Nope. The 'some dupes included' turned out to be multiples upon multiples of many cards. Plus a couple hundred of the traded set. Ugh. Lesson learned.

With want list in hand I spoke to my friend Darryl who runs the show and learned that he had decided to travel light this time, and he had left most of his cheap vintage boxes at home. He had just a few '74s sitting in general bargain boxes. I picked them up and will be happy to see his '74s at this weekend's edition of his show.

Meanwhile, I added a few '57s. I'll have a post showing off some big name, auction house-acquired, '57 star cards this week. Meanwhile, I'll show some of my faves from last Saturday's show.

Not much to say about these other than I'm really getting to love this set with every handful of cards I go through. Elmer Singleton wearing the 'full name' Cubs' jersey with the cap that has the piping. This is an awesome look!

Gus Zernial at Yankee Stadium. Nice card but not as cool as his 1952 Topps!

Here are a couple of Phils at Ebbets Field.

As I noted, I did find some '74s. About a dozen or so. I already had this Don Baylor but I bought this copy because I dig the Yankee Stadium scoreboard background.

I think I already had this Dick Allen card but it's hard to pass on another cheap one. I can keep the first one where it is, in my small, unofficial Dick Allen collection.

Mays as a Met. I'll never get used to it. This card led me down a rabbit hole. I'll get to that in a bit.

The Astros have gone back to wearing orange and blue but their current threads don't hold a candle to the sets they wore back in the day.

Darryl had a stack of Exhibits on his table. Only one interested me and when I looked closer I saw it wasn't an Exhibit card after all. This Guy Lombardo is actually a Mutoscope postcard. Mutoscope was known for it's 'girlie' cards. Like Exhibits, these were sold in vending machines for the most part.

I mentioned that the Willie Mays '74 World Series card sent me down a 'rabbit hole'. I was looking into what he did to merit being the 'face' of Game Two of the '73 series. Turns out (and I had no memories of this) he entered the game as a pinch runner and stayed on as the game went into extras. He got two at bats and drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th in the Mets' win. I noticed that George Stone got the save for New York and I had this Dean Stone card (note the Sox logo on his cap is an artist's addition) on my desk at the time.

I looked to see if Dean was related to George. He's not, but I read a neat story about Dean Stone's only All Star appearance and how he came to become the winning pitcher in that '54 ASG without throwing a pitch. His SABR bio is the best write-up. Recommended reading!

EDIT: Dean Stone passed away almost exactly a year ago at the age of 88. His obit in the Washington Post is here.

So I added a few cards to my two baseball chases. I have added a BUNCH of '74s in the week since but those came via various blog and Twitter friends. I'll catch up with those soon.

Oh, and I will be adding a want list for the 1969 Topps FOOTBALL set today. On the odd chance you have any of these available I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Artsy Fartsy Billy P

With only two items* on my Billy Pierce 'wish list', and both of them being costly/hard-to-find, I haven't really done much to bolster my Pierce collection lately.

I added a couple of 'art cards' which fall into the 'I'll add them if they are reasonable' category. They weren't 'must-haves' but they are attractive pieces that I was happy to pick up.

Almost all my Batman art cards are original sketches. I rarely give a second glance to prints, no matter how limited. When it comes to sports art cards I'm not as fussy. I really like Edward Vela's style. He's done a handful of Pierce cards previously. I have bought and posted two others. This one is the best of the bunch. It's based on a photo that I've seen used multiple times on cards.

That card back is signed which is unique among the Vela Pierce cards I own. The fact that it has "#4" after Pierce's name means there is one more I might eventually track down. I bought a stack of his cards a few months ago and still haven't scanned them. I'll get to that soon enough.

The other addition is a Gypsy Oak 'faux' vintage postcard. I believe it's a woodcut and it's done on old cardboard. This came from a third party seller on eBay. I purchased a few items from the artist directly some years back and I see some of his work on Twitter. Earlier today I tried to locate his home page by looking at his Twitter profile and found that he has blocked me. πŸ‘€πŸ˜πŸ˜„ This could be due to the fact that I declined his offer to sell me a large Pierce commissioned piece. (too costly and I couldn't display it anyway) or, and this is more likely, due to my left-leaning, socialist (LOL) Twitter posts and re-tweets. Sigh.

Nonetheless, it's a nice piece and it'll go into the Pierce binder postcard pages. I hold no grudges. Besides, I think I blocked him first. ᕦ(ツ)α•€


Today's afternoon mail brought something that fits this post perfectly. A postal cachet featuring BP with the Giants canceled in NYC in 1985. I don't think the date has any significance at all. One reason I liked it is the fact that it mentions his duels with Whitey Ford. I saw a couple of those at Yankee Stadium with my father.

But it's another oddball Pierce item. 

*= they are the '59 Bazooka Short Print and the 1959 Topps Venezuelan Ace Hurlers #156 with Robin Roberts

Monday, August 5, 2019

RIP Dan Even...Postcard Guru

Over the weekend I got word of the death of Dan Even. Dan was a longtime collector/dealer for sure. But he was much more than that. He was one of those collectors who got more enjoyment out of helping others with their collecting than his own.

He had multiple interests but chief among them was team-issued postcards. He set up at shows across the country through the 80s and 90s and dispenced help and advice to anyone who stopped by his tables. He made Houston shows a couple of times a year. My collecting interest back then was primarily Orioles postcards.

Dan was a Cardinals fan but he knew quite a bit about Orioles cards and he helped me fill in gaps in my collection.  Once we became acquainted at shows he took to bringing me small boxes filled with postcards he'd picked up since his last Houston trip. I'd buy them sight unseen knowing that there would be some gems in the group.

I hadn't spoken to him in quite a while. I think he still attended National shows in the summer but I haven't made one in many years.

It was a pretty shitty weekend, to be honest. No need to discuss what everyone is aware of. But the obituary written for Dan that I found this afternoon is an absolute gem. It made me grin and then laugh out loud. Even if you have never heard of Dan Even I recommend reading it all the way through. Every collector will certainly appreciate it.

Dan Even Obituary

I'll wrap this up with some team issued Orioles postcards, a couple of which I know I received from Dan (Johnson, Grich).

RIP, Dan. And thanks!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

You're in the Army now ('57T anomolies)

At the bottom of my last post which highlighted the cards I received from Joe Shlabotnik, I said I had held one back because of something interesting I found. The card in question is this one, a 1957T Al Aber. Aber was a 19-year pro at this point having broken in with the Indians' organization in 1945 as a 17-year-old.

After 5+ seasons in the minors, a one-game (complete game win) token appearance in 1950, a stint in the military, and a few more minor league seasons, Aber made the bigs as a regular in 1953. He was traded to the Tigers that June and was a spot starter/reliever for a couple of seasons before becoming a bullpen guy for good. This 1957 Topps card with him at Yankee Stadium represents his final big league season.

It's a pretty standard card for this set, posed action shot with Aber in the old Tigers' road jersey they wore for decades until the went to the plainer version about 1960. But you flip the card over and...

...check out the back of Aber's card. In the stat section his years spent serving Uncle Sam are duly noted but the entry says In U.S. Army.

I have never noticed that previously from Topps. The cards from the 50s (1957 was the first to feature year-by-year career stats) through the 60s that made mention of military time always had In Military Service. I'd never noticed a specific branch mentioned.

I grabbed a handful of  '57s and flipped through them hoping to see if Aber's card was the norm. Did Topps list the branch for every player with a military stretch? I was hoping to find someone who had served In U. S. Navy or maybe the U. S. Marines. I hit the jackpot.

First of all, there are plenty of cards on which a player is credited with a generic In Military Service with Whitey Ford, Preston Ward, and Vern Law being among them.

Clicking the card backs make the service lines easier to see.

And a few cards got minor variations...

Nellie Fox and Tommy Byrne (among others) got the full In United States Military Service treatment. Al Cicotte was graced with two separate notations. I need to look into his story.

Ron Northey had a military year and a DL year. (OK, I'm digging here, I admit)

Sal Maglie had a couple of years shaved out of his stats for a completely different reason, and I love that Topps did this:

They repeated this on his 1959 card, btw.

And then I found what I was looking for...a few more Army vets! Jim Lemon had a season line listed just as Aber had...In U.S. Army. So it wasn't a one-time thing.

But there was also a variation of that. Warren Spahn and Early Wynn, a pair of Hall of Fame pitchers, got their army service year(s) spelled out.

Eddie Miksis got an In U.S. Navy shoutout....

Further digging yielded more gems:

Bob Kennedy in the Marine Corps... (and note the weirdly aligned second line of text in his bio. Something isn't right)

Hank Sauer's card shows his time in the U. S Coast Guard...

But the best of the bunch was this one:

Yup, Teddy Ballgame gets his WWII service credited as being In U. S. Naval Aviation. How cool is that? Interestingly there is no notation for his Korean War service time due to his actually getting some playing time at the beginning of 1952 and late in 1953.

That covers the different notations among the cards I have as I build the '57 set. As I mentioned this is the first set that had full career yearly stats. They went away in 1958 and returned in 1959. A quick flip thru my '59 binder shows only the standard In Military Service, no branch-specific credits.

Once I finish off the set I'll go thru and do a complete count. I love these little card 'quirks'.