Saturday, January 18, 2020

On A Bender

I hadn't added anything to my Charles Bender collection in months when I got a Twitter tip from Nick Vossbrink who writes a great card/photography blog and opines on Twitter using @vossbrink.

He pointed me towards this 4x5 Type 1 contact print produced by William Jacobellis who photographed many sports and entertainment figures over a long career that stretched into the 70s. He shot for the New York Journal-American and was responsible for many pictures used on Topps cards in the 50s. PSA's site has a lot of info on how these pics would up on Topps products. It's a link worth following.

The pic above was taken during Chief Bender's last baseball gig, pitching coach for the Philadelphia A's in the early 1950s. Bobby Shantz won the MVP in 1952 while under Bender's tutelage. Chief died of cancer and other health issues in 1954 at the age of 70.

I'm planning to be in the Philadelphia area in late February or early March and hope to find a chance to visit his grave just north of the city if I can squeeze in some time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Card Show Potpourri

I hit the hotel card show on Saturday. Having nothing in the works in terms of set building gave me the chance to just schmooze with some dealers and pick through my friend Darryl's cheap vintage boxes and cherry-pick a few things I thought were nice. I went home with about twenty vintage cards. Here are a few of them. And note that my scanner likes to cut off borders and I'm too lazy to re-scan anything at the moment.

Do I collect Dick Allen? Mmmmmmmaybe. I have plenty of his cards, that's for sure. I bought the '64 because I'd given mine away to a friend who was lamenting losing his childhood Phillies collection. I put together the 1964 Topps Phils team set for him. It was really neat to see how much he enjoyed the cards from his favorite Phils club ever.

This '76 is an upgrade to the one in my set.

'75 Luis Tiant. I have this in my '75 set of course but it's also gonna have a spot in my 'cards I like just because' binder.

Not my favorite Gale Sayers card but it helps fill out his page.

Darryl had lots of '69 Topps football in really nice shape. This set is very condition-sensitive and I could use a bunch of upgrades. I don't yet have a list of cards in my set that could be improved upon but here are three I bought for the simple reason that they were nice enough to buy on spec.

Vintage Giants cards remind me of my father.

I think I already had this Elvin Hayes card. He does UH basketball radio color commentary and walks right by us every game. I still haven't asked him to sign anything. I haven't seen anyone else ask either, so I'll wait.

Artis Gilmore came thru Houston when he played for Jacksonville U. He was part of a 7 foot-ish tandem post with a guy named Pembrook Burrows. Both schools were sort of wild, outlaw programs at the time and the games were a blast. Jacksonville made the NCAA final in 1970. Burrows went on to become a Florida highway patrolman and Gilmore had a long pro career and is in the hoops hall.

Darryl pulled out a huge box of 80s/90s cards that were part of a buy he made a few months back. He had promised me some Eddie Murray cards because of a friendly argument we had over Murray's Hall of Fame credentials. I had the mainstream cards of Eddie with the Orioles but few, if any, of him in other teams' gear. Darryl said I could just take anything I wanted.

The box had all the routine Topps, Fleer, Donruss cards and some oddballs as well. I ended up pulling one of each different card even knowing I had many of them already. I'll post a sampling of them.

I wish Upper Deck was still in the card making game. If they were I might still be in the pack buying game.

Back in 1988 I bought a box of those Topps-issued schoolkid folders that were replicas of this Topps card. There were 15 or twenty in the box. Over time, I gave them away to kids at my school I still have two.

1990 Fleer. Junk wax at it's finest.

'92 Topps something or other. Topps Kids?  I don't remember this.

I normally ignore stuff like this but it's actually sort of fun. The back is cute.

Stickers posing as cards. Why?

Another nice Upper Deck Eddie. At this point in his career, Eddie had decided that appearing to have some fun out there wouldn't kill him.

'93 Fleer. I don't even know if this is the regular issue for that year or not. By '93 I was out of the card hobby and close to being out of the fan business as well. I was hanging on by my fingertips and a year or so later the strike/lockout/stoppage came along and stomped on those fingers.

That's it for tonight. This show was the first one I've attended without a want list in hand. TriStar is coming up so I better get to work on something.

Friday, January 10, 2020

News Photo Randomness

A few eBay pickups that have arrived over the last couple of days.

This photo of Orioles pitcher Wally Bunker came from the Miami Herald archives and is dated February 21, 1965 on the reverse. That was probably around the date pitchers and catchers reported.

As I've noted several times here, I used my earnings from my Newark Evening News delivery route to buy a Rawling Wally Bunker model glove in the summer of '65. I still have it. I've been tempted to send it off to be refurbished but the cost gives me pause. After all, with my kids grown and out on their own there isn't much chance to play catch around here these days.

Next picture is an AP news wire shot from the 1970 World Series Game One win celebration. Three faves here, Boog, Ellie, and Brooks. Good times. I watched much of that Series on the University of Houston campus in the University Center. I also remember listening to Game Three in my biology lecture with and earpiece. I didn't do too well in Bio but I can't blame the Orioles.

Speaking of the University of Houston...

Harold 'Hal' Lewis was a local guy who played halfback and returned kicks for the Coogs in the late 50s and was a co-captain on a couple of Missouri Valley conference championship teams. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1959 as a 7th rounder, the 84th pick overall. He played in parts of three seasons in the pros. Besides the Colts he suited up for the Bills in 1960 and the Raiders in 1962.

I bought the Lewis photo for a couple of reasons. First of all, I recognize the locale. The picture was taken on what was the football team's old practice fields which were still in use when I arrived and on which I spent many an afternoon. They also served as the intramural fields when I worked in the IM/Rec offices. The buildings in the background were across Scott Street from the fields.  The pic was cheap and didn't cost me any extra shipping.

In a fun coincidence, I had picked a nice lot of Baltimore Colts publications over the holidays. And one was this 1959 Colts 'Action Pictorial', which is essentially their yearbook.

And rookie halfback Hal Lewis appears. It's the same pic!

And I also won this 1959 NFL title game program. It was one of those auctions on eBay where the seller had it listed so low I thought it might be a reprint. But it is genuine and I got it for a song.

And rookie back Hal Lewis appears in this one, too. But now he has a picture showing him in his Colts uni.

After playing sparingly during the regular season, Lewis got into the championship game and made the stat sheet with a 12-yard kick return. He appeared in only two games for the Bills in 1960, but he had a bigger role with the Raiders in '62, appearing in 11 games.

He was out of football after that and went to work in the private sector. Lewis passed away in 2014.  Through the years the Baltimore Colts drafted four University of Houston players. I should make them a mini collection.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Here's Johnny (Callison)

I'm 'nickel and dime-ing' my way through my Johnny Callison want list. He hasn't reached Billy Pierce's collection status. In other words I'm not going to go out and try to find every stupid Topps Lineage Canary Diamond sparkle card like I did with BP.

But I am trying to build a solid career-era collection and add will mix in assorted oddball post-career stuff when it's available cheaply. Same as I am doing with Elston Howard and a few others.

And Callison doesn't really have much in the way of Heritage-type cards. Most of them fall into the buyback/re-issue realm and if I have an 'original' I can do without the gold stamped versions.

This came from a Net54 member. Seriously miscut (but signed) '59 Rookie Stars. I love the design.  Part of the appeal of the vintage sets I built were the subsets. The rookie and All-Star cards Topps birthed in those days were just so cool.

But when it came to the '65 Embossed...Topps whiffed. Actually, this Callison bears a decent resemblance to him. But go find the Yaz Embossed. That ain't Yaz.

Here's an example of a post-career card that was easy to add to my PC. 1981 TCMA Go-Go White Sox Callison.

The seller sent it in a Card Saver inside a PWE which is fine by me. But he used a sticker to seal the thing:

Even if you're selling cheap oddballs, do better.

Monday, January 6, 2020

1957 Topps Contest Cards

As a set collector and one who tends to be a 'completist', I'm faced with the dilemma of deciding on which variations, errors and ancillary cards I'm going to chase. In a nutshell, my rule is 'if it came in a pack and the kid version of me would have noticed it, I'll include it'.

'62 Green Tints? I included the alt poses and "extremely green" variations. The 1959 'traded line/no traded line' cards? Nope. 1974 red-bordered checklists? They came in packs, so I have them in the binder. The '73 blue border checklists? Meh, they were mail-off things for the most part, limited distribution items at best. I have a few but don't care if I nab all 24.

For the 1957 set, that meant a decision had to be made on the unnumbered checklists and the contest cards. They both came in packs so it was an easy (if costly) choice. I only have one of the checklists so far, but I'm done with the contest cards.

There were four of them with dates ranging from May through July. Simple idea...guess the scores of two games on the indicated date and win prizes. Each of the cards listed a different set of prize choices although a 'Spalding Fielder's Glove' was part of all four. Here they are with the actual scores of the games (from Baseball-Reference) and the prize I would have chosen. 😁

May 4:

Indians 5 Red Sox 2
Red Legs 5 Giants 2

I'd have wanted the glove. first glove was a Reach Al Smith model.  Looked just like this one.

Back to the contest cards.

May 25:

Athletics 5 Tigers 3
Phillies 8 Pirates 6

Having won the glove, I'd be down for the watch for sure. I loved watches.

Of note is the Orioles' 12-0 win over the Red Sox. I guarantee I'd have picked that exact score had it been an option and I had a card to send in.  👆😇

June 23:

Dodgers 6 Cardinals 4
Yankees 6 White Sox 5

This would have been a VERY tough choice for me. Radio or record player. I'd have gone for the record player as I always wanted one of my own. I remember getting one for Christmas in the early '60s. And this boxy-looking case to carry around my collection albums. Good times.

July 19:

Braves 3 Giants 1
Orioles 4 Athletics 2 (Hot damn, it was another Orioles win!)

I had a microscope and I had a chemistry set as a kid. I really enjoyed the microscope. That would have probably been my choice.

Here is a closer look at the instructions on the card:

The reverse was nearly the same on all of them except for the prizes listed and the large, faint game number behind the text.

The checklists are more expensive and I don't know when I'll look into adding the three I lack. I was lucky to stumble across a reasonable copy of Checklist #1 at a good price but the rest are tougher. Since I'm not involved in a set chase at the moment I might do some digging. I'll be happy to add one of the three this year.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Batman Lemon Drink Carton ¯\_㋡_/¯

Yeah, I don't know what to make of it either. Mine appears to be unused. I came from a dairy company in Ohio. It was listed as a 1966 item and given Batman's popularity at about that time I suspect that's the case.

Front and back panels are identical while the sides have 'cards' meant to be cut out, one is a stand-up sort of thing.

There were also boxes containing 'Peninsula' Fruit Drink and Orange Drink.  I'm not sure what 'Peninsula fruit' means. Florida? Upper Peninsula of Michigan (which is closer to Ohio)?

Just looking at these I can 'taste' the contents. And it ain't good. But I'm happy to have this oddball thing for my Batman collection.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

All Dressed Up And...

...nothing to buy.

Next Saturday morning I'll head across Houston to hit the hotel card show. My want list will consist of just one card, the Topps '71 football Joe Greene rookie. One card. I can't remember the last time I haven't printed out multiple sheets of names and card numbers to carry to the show.

Oh, sure. I have multiple needs for my 1960 Leaf and '61 Topps stamp chases. But both of those have reached the point where what I'm lacking is so elusive that I don't need to print new copies. Not to mention the fact that the chances that one of the dealers at the small show having something on the lists are remote.

So why am I going? Well, it's a card show. And I really enjoy talking sports and the hobby with the friends I've made among the dealers. And, despite not wanting to tackle a new set now, I do have a hobby goal or two. I've decided to fill out a couple of my player collections.

I'm going to do a few players at a time. And I won't attempt to be a 'completist' in the fashion of my Billy Pierce collection. I'm going to finish off each player's career-era regular cards and inserts and whatever oddballs fall into my lap.

I'm going to dig into Johnny Callison, Elston Howard, and Dennis Martinez first. All of them have cards in my set binders already but, as with Pierce, I am going to have separate player binders. But enough talk. I actually began my jump into this last week at the previous show. I came away with some Callisons and an Elston Howard card that were mostly upgrades to the ones I already had.

The Phillies were the first NL team I took an interest in and Johnny Callison was my favorite Phils player. My best friend and his father were 'NL guys' and went to a lot of games at Shea and I frequently got to tag along. There's no way to know but I wonder if the picture used on his '66 Topps card was taken on a day we were there.

The '67 set keeps calling out to me. I resist. Callison got a nice Spring Training photo here.

Don't know about the '69. Not enough evidence.

By the early 70s, Callison was a Yankee and I was knee-deep in college stuff and no longer cared all that much.

EDIT: Jon's comment below reminded me that this is an O-Pee-Chee Callison. It was mixed in with a dealer's Topps '73s and for a second got me thinking I had found a bargain. He was selling the cards for 50 cents each and the Topps Callison is short-printed and commands a premium for the most part. Here is the back ('73 backs are fun!) plus a Bob Moose OPC that was in there as well. My Moose collection is pretty much complete, btw.)


I nabbed this '66 Ellie Howard knowing I already had one but it was so nice I figured it would be better than the one I owned. I was right.

Meanwhile, I'm cleaning up the checklists I've had for each of them and actually bindering everything. Once these guys are far enough along the way I'll tackle a couple of others. On my list are Paul Blair, Rusty Staub and some guys from other sports, Connie Hawkins and Rod Gilbert.

This little, low-stress project will give me a reason to continue to go to the small card shows. If I can get organized in the next month I should be able to take care of a lot of my list at the TriStar show in February. We'll see.