Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Billy Pierce late 50s era JD McCarthy postcard

I'm really fired up about picking up this one. It came up on eBay out of the blue a couple of weeks ago. I've browsed through all my various Billy Pierce related 'Saved Searches' on eBay dozens of times and had never seen a Pierce postcard outside the 'Exhibit' cards. I had no idea that anything like this existed since I hadn't seen one on Pierce checklist. I should have figured that there was a JD McCarthy card out there.

He published postcards of everyone short of ballpark ushers during his heyday which ran from the early '50s through the 70's. He has some that date from the early 1980s as well. And he had cards of players in all the major sports but his baseball cards are the most widely seen.  He was based in Detroit and most of his shots were taken in Tiger Stadium. I'm almost certain that the Pierce card shows that great old ballpark in the background. The address on the reverse shows a two digit postal code which means that it was published prior to the use of the five digit Zip Codes which were introduced in 1963 I believe.

I'm a big fan of these McCarthys and I've posted some of the ones I have in my collection previously, but this one is instantly my favorite!

And as cool as it was to stumble across this card I was doubly amazed to find a different Pierce postcard on eBay within a day or so. That one should be arriving any day now. The seller assured me that it has a 'postcard' back although his picture showed only the front of the card. I'm hoping he's right. Two new and unexpected Pierce items along with three PWEs in a matter of two days last week have got my hobby juices going again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From CardStacks comes a Stacked Deck

I wish I could collect vintage Bill Russell cards. But they are so darn expensive. I have his '61 Fleer card and I blogged it and told my 'I sat next to Bill Russell' story in a post in 2012. He was such a ridiculously intense competitor. I draw a lot of parallels between Russell and another favorite of mine whose card shows up below, Frank Robinson. While neither could be classified as the 'best' in their respective sports, both are guys I'd want on my team if I had to win one game.

So, as with many 'legends' whose cards I love sorting through, I content myself with modern, more affordable versions. And Ryan of the Card Stacks blog gave my Bill Russell collection a huge boost when he sent me an envelope stuffed with these Russell cards and a few others that fit nicely into various PCs.

Some of these are Heritage designs like the one up top. The others are from various sets, most are new to me, a guy who hasn't bought any modern hoops cards. (Do they make modern hoops cards? If so, who has the licence these days?)

I have a Murad card from the original 1910 set. They would make an awesome set to chase but who has the dough?

Bowman should have used green instead of red on this one. But it's got a neat photo nonetheless.

This one, based on the 1965 baseball design, may be my favorite of the bunch. Russ putting up a shot over Willis Reed in Madison Square Garden... classic.

Russ grabs a rebound. He was always grabbing rebounds. And pissing off Wilt.

And then there is this card of my man, Connie Hawkins. Behind the back moves were a Hawkins staple. Smiling wasn't.

Ryan also included a couple of baseball cards, both Gypsy Queens and both of players I collect. Frank Robinson and Lance Berkman. Berkman goes into my Killer B's binder. 

Thanks, again Ryan. I really appreciate your generosity. I'm sure I can help you out on some of your PCs.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #29 Wade Wilson 1991 Domino's QB Challenge card

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: Wilson is another in the long line of journeyman quarterbacks I had rostered in the 80s and 90s. He played his college ball at East Texas State (now Texas A&M-Commerce) and was drafted by the Vikings in the 8th round of the 1981 draft. He played for the Vikes for 11 seasons and made the 1988 Pro Bowl in a season in which he led the NFL in completion percentage. Most of his time with Minnesota was in a reserve role. He played for several other clubs after leaving Minnesota and was the Saints full time starter in 1993. He was a quarterbacks coach for a couple of NFL teams after his playing days.

Fantasy Impact: I had Wilson in 1990 and he made one start for me. I used him as my qb in Week 2 that season and he threw  three scores to help me win my game. Odd thing is that Dan Marino was my regular quarterback and I sat him that week in favor of Wilson. I can't imagine why I did that, but I'm glad I did. I went on to win my first league championship that season. Looking back at Marino's 1990 season shows that he threw 21 touchdowns which was his lowest total since his rookie year. I even went to Steve DeBerg several times that year including the final two games of the regular season and the semi-finals, all of which he won.

The Card: For a food issue card this Dominos set wasn't too shabby. The company logo isn't splashed across it, the player photo takes center stage and the design is pretty clean. The back is better than a lot of regular set cardbacks with it's different photo and listing of the player's facts including numbers and highlights. The Upper Deck logo appears on the back and they get a tip of the cap for doing this right.

I can say with a lot of confidence that I've never bought a Domino's pizza so there is no telling where I got this card. I would bet that it came from one of my students back then because we did a lot of trading of football cards with the school kids.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mark Hoyle... He has everything

And he shares it! I'd love to see the warehouse he obviously has behind his house. I picture it looking a lot like the one in the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Multiple dupes of every set ever published in carefully marked boxes. Hoyle on a Segway tooling back to Aisle 7 Shelf 42 to pull some Ralph Baker cards the minute I blog that I met the guy through my uncle when I was a kid. Then over to Aisle 116 to dig up a couple of 1970 Comic booklets that I listed on my wantlist.

Mark recently sent another one of his really nice card-stuffed envelopes my way and as always it contained some really great items. Take a look.

From the 1970 Topps Comic set Mark included the Cleon Jones and Tony Oliva booklets. Between this pair and another handful I nabbed on COMC I'm down to about a half dozen or so of these to knock off the set.

Vintage football, of boy do I love vintage football! To save some time I multi-scanned some of these. Vintage Colts make me happy and sad at the same time. Below are not only the Raph Baker cards I mentioned but some Bob Tuckers (I spoke to him at my other uncle's pharmacy once), a couple of Ben Hawkins cards as well. I watched him play for my high school when I was young enough to sneak under the fence of the Park Oval in Nutley N.J. once upon a time.

And there are more Colts and a few Orioles as well. That Bert Jones cards will end up in the reconstructed binder of cards in my very first niche collection, 'Guys On The Phone'.

Thanks, Mark. You're a prince!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Stamps, Cards in a PWE

It's not often the the PWE is about as much fun as what it contains but that's the case with the cool one I received recently from 'Jedi' Jeff of 2x3 Heroes. Check it out:

Of course the Post Office did it's level best to ruin it but the contents came through fine. Jeff had mentioned recently that he had a few folders of stamps his grandmother had collected and was going to use them to send out some care packages. What a neat way to make a fun hobby more fun!

Anyway, inside the envelope, along with some Orioles, was this great surprise:

Even with his many faults (and I know he had a LOT of faults) LBJ remains my favorite modern President. I'm embarrassed to admit that my LBJ collection was lacking these stamps since I had forgotten that they existed. That's no longer true thanks to Jeff. I've been thinking of how to display these beauties. I think I'll try to group them with some Johnson pinbacks and maybe those crossed flag stamps (if I can carefully salvage them) in a frame or shadowbox arrangement.

Jeff stuffed the envelope with some new-to-me Orioles cards and here is a sampling:

I'm not familiar with the Topps 206 set (or subset?). This card goes into my Frank Robinson binder. He's one of the few guys whose cards I collect no matter what team he is shown with on the card. I think I have a complete run of his career era Topps cards. I need to check on that.

This Kevin Gausman suffers from 'Bob's Scanner Hates Bright White Borders Disease'.

Wei-Yin Chen has been very much a part of the Orioles' improbable 2014 season. He went deep into a game the other day with a no-hitter. He is having his best season for sure.

Thanks Jeff. Love your blog and appreciate your generosity!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Paul Blair

Today in Baltimore Orioles fans are taking matters into their own hands and holding an unofficial 'Paul Blair Day' at Camden Yards. People will be displaying homemade 'We Love Paul Blair' signs. That's so 'Baltimore'.

Blair played for the O's back when every season seemed to be a good season and he played with class and flair. His ability to field the centerfield expanse in Memorial Stadium is a great memory for fans who were lucky enough to see him play. Maybe Willie Mays was better, maybe they were equals. But just being in that sentence says a lot about Blair. 

The best endorsement I can make of Blair is that my father, a DiMaggio fan who also saw Mantle and Mays in their prime, used to sing Blair's praises whenever we'd see him play.

Blair passed away over this past winter which was a pretty sad one overall for the team. Also lost were part owner Tom Clancy and most tragic of all, Orioles director of public relations Monica Pence Barlow died of cancer at age of only 36.

Like many people I had hopes that the team would wear a memorial patch for Blair but when that didn't happen some media types and Orioles fans began a grassroots campaign to set up a night of celebration of Blair's career. It's going to happen tonite against the Yankees. Here are a couple of stories about it.

My little tiny tribute is a Paul Blair scan barrage. RIP, Motor Mouth.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Joke Is On Me

I've had the 1958 Billy Pierce Topps 'yellow letter' variation on my radar for quite some time. Have it as an eBay 'saved search' with email alerts and check other sites for it periodically. (Raise your hand as soon as you see where this is going.)

I woke up to an email a few weeks ago that said a 1958 Pierce variation was newly listed. On my phone, and still half asleep I followed the link to the listing and saw that the BIN price was lower than any I'd seen for the card, and it was graded (granted, that means little) so it had to be fairly nice. I went ahead and bought it and marked it as 'pending arrival' on my wantlist.

One problem. It wasn't the 'yellow letter' variation. The seller had it listed as 'white letter variation' and my search picked up the variation part of it along with the other basics. I just whiffed on looking at it real close.

It's really a nice card, far nicer than the '58 Pierce I already had, but it doesn't fill that long time hole in my wantlist. I scanned it in the holder and I'll be cracking it open pretty soon and adding it to my Pierce binder. The image at the top is a cropped version of the one below.

So I'm still on the hunt for the yellow letter '58 Pierce. And I have nobody to blame but me. As the old school book promotion said: "Reading Is Fun-dimental!"