Sunday, October 26, 2014

1970 Topps basketball

Slowly but surely I'm building this '70 Topps set. It's an odd set as I've shown in the past. These three cards are pretty normal but the next group I am going to show is dominated by a couple of weird cards for sure.

Wally Jones became 'Wali' Jones a bit later in his career. It was a time when quite a few African-American athletes were changing their names. But going from 'Bobby Moore' to 'Ahmad Rashad' is one thing. Changing your first name from Wally to Wali, well, I'm not sure about the point of that.

 Ed Manning looks like his head was P-shopped onto someone else's body.

The backs of these cards are actually pretty nice. Stats, vitals, a bio blurb and a cartoon....what more could you ask for?

There is a championship series subset and here is the Game 7 entry. This is the famous 'Willis Reed Limping Onto The Madison Square Garden Court' game. 

If you don't know that story check out this SportsCentury story:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

World Series First Day Covers

I had been saving these scans for a possible 'Orioles in the Series' post but we all know how that turned out. I used to actively collect stuff like this.

The cover above is postmarked on the date of Game Six of the '71 Series. That's the game that the Orioles won to even the Series up at three games apiece. Frank Robinson slid in under Manny Sanguillan as he scored on Brooks Robinson's fly out in the bottom of the 10th.  It's signed by Mark Belanger who had a single and three walks in four trips to the plate that day.

The two envelopes below are from the '79 Series and were produced by the Gateway Stamp Company. I was a bit surprised to see that Gateway is still around and selling first day covers. I have quite a few of their offerings, all Orioles related. What I remember most about buying Gateway items is how the rules and regulations they applied to purchases seemed so obtuse. "In order to buy the cover with player x's signature you must buy this that and the other thing with player y's sig", etc, etc.

I would get their newsletters every few months. They were always interesting reads. Part sales brochures, part price guide, part market value report and with a dose of historical documentation tossed in. They were huge things printed on legal sized paper in various colors corresponding to different sports and such. Reading them kind of made you feel like you were part of some club in which you were not privy to all the rules. But you never wanted to admit what the hell it was all about so you kept renewing your membership by making a purchase.

But the envelopes were neat items and nice keepsakes of memorable events.

I hope your team is making you happy in this year's World Series.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Another TCMA Billy Pierce

This addition to my Pierce collection comes by way of another 'buy the set to get the card' eBay purchase. I hadn't seen the set come up in many months if not years and the individual card?....forget about it.  So when I finally saw the set I went ahead and picked it up. And, as it is with most of my purchases, the card appeared at least twice since then. There's one on eBay right now. That's just how it goes.

It was produced in 1976 by TCMA and consists of the 12 cards listed on the reverse of all of them. Is there a less interesting card in my collection? Probably not but it does fill a hole that's been staring at me for a long time.

The good news is that I've also nabbed a sweet Pierce "White Whale" which is on it's way to me. I also now have a numbered '64 Pierce reprint which I considered overpriced and have recently picked up after 'waiting out' the seller and some other assorted Pierce cards that I discovered. All that will be posted soon. Please contain your enthusiasm.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oddball Billy Pierce

It's just a coincidence that today I'm posting a Billy Pierce item that features him as a SF Giant. This card comes from the 1981 TCMA set that celebrates the '62 Giants club. That team won the National League title by taking the Dodgers two games to one in a playoff series made necessary when the two clubs tied for first place during the regular season. 

Billy Pierce drew the start in Game One at Candlestick Park on Monday, October 1. He rose to the occasion and held the Dodgers to three hits for an 8-0 win. He returned to the mound in the deciding Game Three and pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to get the save in the Giants come-from-behind 6-4 win

Pierce also pitched well in the World Series against the Yankees. Though the Yanks took the title in seven games Pierce made two good starts going 1-1 while allowing only 8 hits in 15 innings.

The TCMA set contains 25 cards or so but I was only interested in the Pierce. I had looked for it for quite awhile but I finally gave in and picked up the set. I may have to pass it on to a deserving Giants' fan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

1958 Topps All Star Subset

One of my collecting goals is to complete the 1958 Topps All Star subset. I'm not too far from it now. I just love this group of cards, much more than the base '58 set. I picked up the Mickey Mantle card a few years back so the last of the higher dollar cards of this group that I lack is the Willie Mays. But it's not outrageous so I'll nab one at my price one of these days.

Meanwhile here are my latest four additions. They came via a fair sized COMC purchase recently. Maybe the reason I like these so much is the stat laden back of each. It gives the players 1957 numbers versus each opposing team. That sort of thing used to keep my occupied for hours as a kid. Look at Eddie Mathews' stats against the Cubs. He crushed them for a .408 average on 31 hits. He killed the Dodgers, Pirates and Giants as well.

The 'big head' portraits like Mathews and Johnny Temple are OK, but the Spahn is the star of this group. Heck any card of Spahn is the star of a group. He's all nose and hat brim and angles.

Spahn only pitched two thirds of an inning versus the Dodgers in 1957. Made me curious enough to check his Gamelog for that year. It doesn't look like he skipped any starts for avoid Brooklyn (Spahn wouldn't do that). Turns out he pitched that brief turn in relief and picked up a save versus the Bums. It was his third and final save of the '57 season. 

The All Star Managers card is surely a picture taken at the '57 World Series.

The back of the managers card is a checklist of the final thirty something base cards and the All Stars.

When I first discovered eBay in the late 90s the first things I went afetr were small lots of 1958 Topps commons. I had aspirations of putting the set together back then. I quickly decided that I had better things to do but out of that came this desire to finish off the All Stars. A year from now I'll be done.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #34 Alex Van Pelt

In this ongoing 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: Alex Van Pelt played ten seasons as the Bills back-up QB. He did have a couple of short stints as the starter, in 1997 for three games and in 2001 for eight. He had originally been drafted out of the University of Pittsburgh by the Steelers, failed to make the club and spent a year with the Chiefs before hooking on for his Bills tenure.

After his playing days Van Pelt got into coaching and has spent most of the last decade on NFL staffs. He currently is QB coach with the Packers. I'm guessing that job consists maily of staying out of Aaron Rodgers' way.

Fantasy Impact: I had Van Pelt in 2001, probably as insurance during a year I rode Kurt Warner to a playoff berth. He didn't get a start.

The Card: There are some Upper Deck football products I really like. This is not one of them. It's pointless to use the same lame photo on the front of a too busy card, isn't it? And the back covers the basics but the sparse write-up makes the company (or the writers I suppose) look very lazy. Is that all they could come up with? Even Alex Van Pelt had to have something more interesting to include.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1961 Topps Orioles panel!

When I found this on eBay I grabbed it right away. I'm a huge fan of the 1961 stamp inserts. I like them so much more than the color stamps Topps went to the next year or anything in the 'stamp' category that Topps came up with later.

I think I've linked this thread from Net54Baseball previously but it's a nice resource and look at the history of Topps' use of stamps as inserts and incentives. Of course the author describes these '61s as 'somewhat drab' and that's true but I love the detail of the frame, the use of the picture background and just the overall 'feel' of them.

The Gentile/Estrada panel instantly became my 'top of the line' example of these. Two Orioles on a sigle panel is something I've never owned until now. I'm still in the market for a nice '61 Album but they don't become available very often. One of these days I'll come across one.