Thursday, October 30, 2014

1993 Negro League cards from the Ted Williams set

I had a mild curiosity in the history of the Negro Leagues in the past. Most of what I knew was confined to the names of the teams that were based in Baltimore and some history of the players who came to the majors after playing in those leagues...guys like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays... names everyone knows.

But a trip to Birmingham in January gave me the chance to visit the Civil Rights Museum there and while the focus isn't on baseball or even sports there was enough there to get me interested in learning more.

So these cards from the 1993 Ted Williams Company set fit right in to my collection. They came from Mark Hoyle and I have seen other bloggers post a few that he sent them so if these are dupes I apologize.

The '93 Williams set is another item I was aware of but really didn't know much about. I had dropped out of collecting then. Through the years I have picked up a few cards here and there that Williams issued, mostly Orioles and Baltimore Colts related ones.

They put out some quality stuff. The Negro Leagues subset is particularly interesting as it conveys some history that many people are not aware of. I like the use of historic photos on these. Mark's PWE included almost the complete subset. The others are on COMC and I'll pick them up in my next 'sweep' through that site.

Thanks again, Mark, for these and for all you do for all of us bloggers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I'm in a hockey kind of mood

My Rangers came back on Monday night. I mean they came from waaaay back. They scored five goals in the third period for a 5-4 win over the Minnesota North Stars Wild. Of course I wasn't watching or listening to the fun game, I was getting my culture on.

This Rod Gilbert is my latest vintage hockey addition. Buying it is like sticking my hand over hot coals. Seeing my favorite Ranger skater wearing the horrendous 'crest' sweater gives me facial tics. But a Gilbert card is a Gilbert card. And this is the last one issued during his career. 1978/79 was Gilbert's final one in uniform. 

He was involved in a contract dispute that season and never got on-track. From making the All Star team in 1977 he went to a two goal, 19 game campaign in 1978. And then he retired. He's worked for the Rangers for many years and is still seen around the Garden frequently.

The Sports Illustrated cover was on my bedroom wall for many years. That's the Gilbert I remember, not the more shaggy late 70s Gilbert. I still have my original mag cover in a binder someplace. It's full of tack holes from my many room and house changes through the years.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dazed and Confused

As my 'mainstream' Billy Pierce collecting grinds to a halt (I'm down to some very expensive/elusive white whales) I've concentrated on adding some of the reprint/Heritage/Lineage cards that Topps has cranked out in recent years. Those plus some TCMA's that I posted last week. 

The problem is I don't really know what I'm chasing after. All the 'letter-numbered' (ROA-BP???) autographed Black Diamond Canary chrome foolishness is too much for me to decipher. My original Pierce checklist had two Heritage cards on it but that has expanded as I find listing for others. But the question for me remains "Are these the same cards just being listed differently?". With some like the various '52 reprint variations Topps has done it's hard to tell. 

But these two were easier to define. The numbered Heritage up top is a re-issue of one of my favorite Pierce regular cards, his '64 Topps. For that reason I didn't mind spending a bit of cash on it. The card came from COMC and I had first spotted it months ago with a price tag that I thought was too high. At least it was higher than I was willing to pay. The card didn't sell and eventually the cost came down.

I love the front design of the '64s. the backs not so much. That orange can be pretty hard to read.

The '62 reprint/re-issue below is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It's a mundane photo of a capless Pierce on the '62 design. Although the '62 set has grown on me through the years it's remains one of my least favorite Topps designs of the 50s/60s. But a Pierce is a Pierce and the price was right so here it is. 

Unlike the '64 set I like the back of the '62s more than the front.

I think even these reprints have some variations, different color ink used in the signatures. I don't intend to give a damn anytime soon. I have a nice white whale that arrived recently and it'll go up soon. Prepare to be jealous Jedi Jeff! ;-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #35 Ed Luther Homebrewed/Internet 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: Ed Luther played for San Jose State and then backed up Dan Fouts for five seasons in the first half of the 80s. He got six starts in 1983 and three more in 1984 when Fouts was out with an injury. In 1985 he was signed to a large contract by the USFL's Jacksonville Bulls to replace the injured starter, Brian Sipe. He was back in the NFL in '86 as property of the Colts but never saw the field.

Fantasy Impact: I made a trade for Fouts midway through the 1984 season. It was one of my leagues biggest blockbusters as I traded away Eric Dickerson to get him. I picked up Luther as insurance behind Fouts. Fouts helped me win three straight after I made the deal but he, and my team, cratered and I missed the playoffs.

The Card: There are no actual cards of Ed Luther available. I was able to find this image that was made by a guy who homebrewed USFL football cards and I made a card of it for my fantasy football collection. I made the back in MS Publisher as I did with all my homebrews and printed it out on sticker paper. I wish I had the graphics skills that so many other bloggers have.

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 three minute SportsCentury piece:

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.