Sunday, August 12, 2018

1960 World Series Press Pass

 Have you ever bought something because it was a bargain even if you had no need for it? In that vein, I present this 1960 World Series Press Pass. This was a $35 impulse buy on Net54. I'm not even sure what the impulse was exactly but when it was posted I checked eBay and saw things like this going for $150 and up. I sent the seller an 'I'll take it' message and figured I'd decide what to do with it later.

I do have an affinity for the '60 World Series. That year was the first I remember that we watched the Series on televisions at school. And I definitely remember rushing home to watch the end of Game Seven with my mother. What a game!! Here is the defining moment:

The back of the pass had a couple of (very sticky!!) glue strips, probably from being mounted in a display. I temporarily covered them with blue tape until I find a better way to deal with them.

Once I had it in had I decided that I'm going to send it off to be signed by one player from each of the two teams. I'm thinking of Bobby Shantz and Vern Law, both reliable signers.

Two fun facts about the 1960 Series... Game Seven is the only postseason game ever with a single strikeout... and Bobby Richardson is the only player in World Series history to be named MVP despite being on the losing team. He went 11 for 30 with a dozen RBIs.

Tapes of the first six games of the Series are long gone but singer/actor Bing Crosby, a part owner of the Pirates at the time, had the game taped and that video was found decades later in his wine cellar. If you have an hour and a quarter to spare check the last three crazy innings of one of the most iconic games in baseball history:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Lesson Learned (again)

I've been a 'stealth' Rusty Staub collector for a while. Along with pitcher Don Wilson, Staub was a player I enjoyed watching and rooted for when I first came to Houston in the late 60s. I continued to follow his career through his time with the Expos and, to some extent, the Mets and Tigers.

I don't actively track down his cards. I don't have a Staub checklist like I do for guys like Billy Pierce, Johnny Callison, and Mike Cuellar. But I used to put stick Staub's cards in one of my 'star' binders when I found one in my stash. And over the last few years I've added them in fits and starts, mostly from show bargain bins.

Now I don't chase autographs particularly but I like having one example in my player collections. It occurred to me that I had no signed Staub card. A month or so ago I decided to rectify that. I found this 2004 Fleer Greats card on eBay for a nice price and picked it up. I didn't pay much attention to it other than the fact that it was an 'authorized' signature card so I figured it was legit.

What I didn't figure is that it was a sticker autograph. I don't have anything against sticker autographs but if I'm going to just have one signed card of a player I'd rather it be an 'on card' one. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I guess I could have looked closer at the photo in the listing but I'm pretty quick on the trigger sometimes. This was one of those times. And besides...I did look at the text on the back and it didn't raise any red flags. Here's my scan of the back:

And here is a closer look at the key section of the back just in case, like me, you have aging eyes:

Notice that it says "PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED". Well, if we are going to get technical the sticker was personally autographed. The card? Nope. Here's the graph and blown up it's pretty obvious that it's a sticker.

It's not the end of the world. After all, it is a pretty attractive card. This is neither the first nor last time I'll buy or bid without looking at the small print as it were. So I'll quit kvetching over a first world problem and go stick it in my binder now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Power Up!

I've really neglected my 1958 and 1960 Topps set blogs in recent months. And I feel bad about it. Not because I was disappointing the vast armies of readers who were terribly interested in my latest card post from sets issued before they were born. (Those folks don't exist, BTW) No, I miss the fun of looking at these beauties. And scurrying down the rabbit holes that researching them frequently reveals.

Speaking of which did you know that Vic Power (b. Victor Pellot) was on track to be the first black player for the Yankees but was traded out of their system because of his lack of fielding prowess, or so said GM Dan Topping. Power contended there were other reasons at play. The fact that he won seven Gold Gloves during his career does work to impune Topping's statement.

So I'm going to crank 'em back up. I'm not sure how often I can get posts written and online but I'll do what I can. I'm probably going to change the contents of the posts. I want to make them short and to the point.

I'm also going to post the cards in numerical order. I'll begin with the #1 card and work through the set skipping the cards I've already posted obviously. This'll make it easier to track and eliminate the kind of things I used to concern myself with. Dumb stuff like whether or not I'm posting the same color card too frequently or trying to seed the blog with subsets and specials at certain intervals.

I think the only concession I'll make to my old ways is that I'm going to continue to post a 1960 team card along with the manager and coaches cards.  I kind of liked having them all together.

Readers here will be able to see the latest posts in each blog over on the right-hand side of course. Each set has a Hall of Famer in the #1 slot, btw. Look for them to appear on a blog near you soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

I am not worthy (Pt 2..from Brian) Oh...and Blogger sucks

This is the second of two remarkably similar card packages I received last week. This one came from Brian who pens Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. The blog title alone would be worth 1860 points when hitting a triple word score in Scrabble.

Both Brian and Joe Shlabotnik sent me a substantial stack of very, very nice 1979s, modern Orioles and they both sprinkled in something for a different set I'm working on. Joe sent 1970 Topps Hoops, Brian went with '62 Baseball.

I had sent Brian some 59s for his set build but I gotta tell you that those cards were no match for the beauties he sent my way. Leading off you can check out Lou Clinton. What a sweet card. It's in great shape. In fact, all three of the '62s Brian included are probably two 'grades' better than the majority of what I have in the binder. Let me put it this way...I couldn't afford to collect the set if I was only going after cards as nice as the ones Brian passed on to me.

BTW...Lou Clinton was in right field for Boston on the last day of the 1961 season. He watched Roger Maris' #61 sail over his head and into the rightfield seats at YS.

Phil Regan poses at Yankee Stadium. I always like to imagine I was there the day these photos were taken. Hey, you never know. I was there a lot.

Regan was nicknamed 'The Vulture' by Sandy Koufax during his time as the Dodgers' closer. He managed the Orioles before Dave Johnson and was active as a minor league pitching coach well into his 70s.

Wayne Causey began his career as a light-hitting third baseman with the Orioles in 1955. He struggled to reach the Mendoza line and spent some time in the minors before he re-emerged with the A's in 1961 following a big off-season trade. He had found his hitting stroke and had some respectable years in Kansas City before moving on to the White Sox.

The modern Orioles card Brian sent was an Eddie Murray bat relic. The guy who glued the slice of Eddie's bat onto this card appears to have been hungover. Nonetheless, it fits nicely into my Murray pages in my Orioles star binder.

And finally here is a representative sampling of the '79s I received. Between the stack that came from Joe S. and this one I'm down to just over 100 needs for the set (edit made...never compose a post in the middle of the night).

This is one of my favorite Nolan Ryan cards.

Steve Carlton's BR page is pretty impressive.

Nolan Ryan and James Rodney Richard were on the same Astros staff for half of the 1980 season. Then J.R. was struck down in July.  A quick look at the team's game logs showed that they didn't pitch back-to-back at any point. That would have been unfair to any opposing NL teams.

Mick the Quick. He was with the Rangers by mid-season. Did you realize he had a .295 career average? I sure didn't.

I have no memories of Bud Harrelson as a Phillie. He was a spare part by this time. Nice shades though.

I also have no memories of Steve Yeager wearing a beard. I bet Night Owl does.

I scanned this card of Sixto Lezcano for two reasons. One, he has such a cool name, and two, he looks like someone but I can't put a finger on who it is..

And finally Billie Jean King's brother Randy. It's interesting (I guess) that her Wikipedia page doesn't mention her younger brother. He was a pretty decent reliever for the Giants through the 70s. He pitched for the Astros in 1982. That was a club with a strong staff and lousy hitting. And that was the year before I got married when I lived within walking distance of the Astrodome. I saw quite a bit of boring baseball.

Thanks again, Brian. The cards were all super and very much appreciated.

Oh, I almost forgot...the title. About three months ago I realized I was no longer receiving email notifications of blog comments. I dealt with it for awhile by just checking my past few posts every few days. But then I received an email from someone who had asked a few questions of me on one of my 1959 Topps blog posts and wondered why I hadn't responded. I dug around and flipped a few 'switches' and recently found that I had apparently switched over to Google+ comments...whatever the hell that means. I turned that off and nearly all the recent comments on my blogs disappeared. Add that to the fact that Blogger is unusable on an iPad as far as I can tell and doesn't work well with Firefox and I'm not happy at all.

I'll keep plugging along though but don't be surprised if one day this whole thing gets either blown up or shuffled over to WordPad.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I am not worthy (From Joe S.)

I was on the receiving end of a couple of terrific card packages that arrived within days of each other over the past week. The most remarkable thing about these two gifts is how similar there were. It's as if the two bloggers got together and planned it.

I'll feature both of these in separate posts in the order they arrived.  When I have them both posted you'll see what I mean by 'similar'. First up...the 'fat pack' set by 'Joe Shlabotnik'. I'm gonna run through the cards I scanned rather quickly as we are headed north to Arlington for the Roma-Barcelona match tonight.

Joe kicked in a big stack of 1979s. Over 40 of them and they took a nice slice off my needs list.  It's a fun set with plenty of stars, colorful unis and old favorites of mine.

Enos Cabell...I like those rainbow unis now more in retrospect than I did when they were being worn. Saw lots and lots of the Astros in this era so there is a bit of nostalgia involved in my feelings.

Craig Reynolds was one of the nicest guys to play baseball. I saw him at one of those free mall signings that used to come around pretty frequently in Houston. He was great with the fans. Seeing him in a Mariners uni is pretty weird though. But that trident logo they used was the cat's meow!

Pete Rose...whatever became of him anyway? I mean after he shot JFK and all that.

'Should be' Hall of Famer Lou Whitaker. C'mon...he's overdue for induction.

Rod Carew...never gets the attention he deserves. Loved watching him play..except against the Orioles. He was one of the few players that got me to drive up to Arlington to see play.

Paul Molitor. Looking at his BR page I see he was drafted by the Cards in 1974 in the 24th round but didn't sign. the Cards had drafted Garry Templeton in the first round. Funny how things work out.

Joel Youngblood, the only guy to get a hit for two different teams in the same day. You can look it up.

And the awesome Don Baylor. He always played his ass off. RIP

There were more than thirty other 79s in 'Joe's' bundle. All in great shape and that brought me to under 150 on my list.

He also sent along a card for my ever-so-slowly-being-chased 1970 Toops hoops set. That thing is a bear and I'm just about finished with the 'easy' cards. Down to the 'SPs' now. Paying in blood for a Luke Jackson card is gonna be tough.

But finishing it off will be worthwhile if for no other reason than the wonderful backs on these things. One fun cartoon after another.

Stallworth had an interesting path...born in Dallas, on to Compton and then off to Wichita State and finally the Big Apple.

Joe also tossed in some shiny Orioles and wanna-be Orioles. These two picture Cedric Mullins and  Austin Hayes both popping up to second. They'll fit right in the O's lineup!

Hey's Cal!

I must have 100 Dylan Bundy cards...but I didn't have this one. He was an NFL* member of a couple of my fantasy teams.

*='Not For Long'.

Caleb Joseph got off to a horrible start to the 2018 season and ended up spending some time at AAA. He's back and his average is climbing, even if my Orioles aren't.

To round things off there were Presidents! Sure makes me wish we had one.

William Herny Harrison looks like Dracula.

I'll need to check and see if these Goodwin Champions made up a complete set of Presidents. If so I bet I can nab them pretty easily. My Presidents binder is growing by leaps and bounds.

Joe...this was one fabulous gift package. Many thanks. Now it's off to Jerry Jones World for some futbol. When I get back I'll be posting the other great group of cards that came my way!

Monday, July 30, 2018

1943 Ranger Hockey Program

July in Houston is ridiculously hot and humid but helping to cool things off for me was picking up this 1943 Rangers game program. I just love the cover's artwork. Even the 'helpful' addition of the year written on the player's shoulder can't ruin it for me.

I wasn't really expecting much on the inside pages given what I've seen of programs from that era. Turned out to be more interesting that I thought it would be. 1943 was wartime and nearly every page in the program reflects that. Even the cigarette ads had a patriotic bent. Check this one out. It ran on the inside of the cover.

The table of contents page is below. The program is from a November 6, 1943 game against the Chicago Black Hawks at the old Madison Square Garden. Chicago won 4-3 sending the Rangers to a 0-4 mark for the season. The Blueshirts wouldn't win until mid-December and would finish the season 6-39-5.

The president of MSG is shown in his uniform. John Kilpatrick was an interesting and accomplished guy. He served in both World Wars and was inducted to both the NHL and College Football Halls of Fame (he played at Yale).

Frank Boucher was a long time Ranger player who was their coach in 1943. The story below mentions the possibility of him playing again during the current season. He actually did play in 15 games and scored four goals. He was 41 years old at the time having begun his playing career in 1916!

This is the gameday insert with lineups and a few ads. My Dad had an impressive collection of Botany ties back in the day. I claimed a few after he passed away.

the flip side of the insert includes this sepia picture of Rangers' captain, Ott Heller. He was the only guy to play on both the Rangers 1933 and 1940 Stanley Cup teams.  

As you'd expect there are some stat pages in the program. The '42-'43 Rangers also were terrible though not as bad as they were in 1943.

This next page is pretty interesting. Instructions on what to do in case of an air raid alert, a remarkable Phillip Morris ad and part of the two page 'Buy War Bonds' spread. 

Seagram's did their part for the war effort reminding one and all of the need to keep their mouths shut.

The back cover has another military-themed cigarette ad. This one features the beautiful Betty Grable ("Nice Gams!") for Chesterfields.

All in all a pretty nice addition to my publication collection.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Charles Bender 1911 Helmar Stamp

I recently added this 1911 Helmar Stamp to my Charles Bender collection.  These things are not rare or nearly as expensive as some other issues from that era. By themselves, they don't seem that attractive but a page of them is pretty neat. Check out the Google search I posted below to check that out.

The Helmar Stamps came in cigarette packs. There were 180 ballplayers in total. They also issued stamps of actresses. A Google Image search turns up examples of both. The stamps are blank-backed and have straight, not perforated, edges. They run roughly an inch by an inch and a half. For the sake of perspective here is the Helmar scanned next to a modern, standard sized card.

And here's a 12-year-old article from SCD complete with quotes from Mr. Mint. <eye-roll emoji goes here> The Baseball and Tobacco website has a picture of the cigarette packs and the little envelope the stamps came in. Old Cardboard ( a wonderful resource btw) has the checklist and some additional info.

Adding to my Bender collection isn't like adding to my Ed Charles collection. With the cost of career-era pieces, it's slow going. But I'll plug along. One day I'll luck into something like the Bender Cracker Jack card.