Friday, November 28, 2014

1961 Post Hoyt Wilhelm

This is one of those 'what the heck' cards that I grabbed off COMC just to justify the shipping cost. It's pretty rough around the edges (literally) but hey, it came from the back of a cereal box. An 8 year old cut it out.

And it's Hoyt Wilhelm. There are almost no bad cards of Hoyt Wilhelm, kind of like there are no bad Warren Spahn cards.

Hoyt had some pretty good numbers in 1960. 39 walks in 147 innings is pretty low for a knuckleballer, right? One of you sabermetricians can fill me in.

That's all I have for today. Hope your holiday weekend is going well. I'm probably having a turkey-stuffing-gravy sandwich on my homemade bread as we speak.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

If not White Whales...

...then what should I call them?

These two cards are from the 2004 Maryland Lottery set which paid tribute to the Orioles 50th Anniversary. I've had most of the set for a few years, I think I bought a chunk online and received some from other collectors/bloggers. I was about six or eight cards short a few months ago and frankly I'd forgotten about it until Joe Shlabotnik reported on the ones he has.

At that point eBay and COMC provided all but these two cards. Since then I searched without any luck for the McNally and the Jackson. These were not among the handful of 'short prints' so the scarcity made no sense.

I'm sure most collectors have searched for some item that is supposed to be common but eludes capture for some reason. If it's an expensive or iconic item we call them 'white whales'. The 1959 Billy Pierce Bazooka card is mine. But these Orioles Lottery things are cheap. So are they 'white minnows'?

Whatever we call them I'm glad to have the set completed.

Both of these cards used pictures taken from Orioles team issued postcards. A number of others did as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1956 Topps Baltimore Colts

I knew going in that my Baltimore Colts vintage card quest would mean two things. First of all I'd have a big project that would be fun and occupy my time for months and second of all the posts that came out of it would be mostly ignored.

So be it. I know football cards are not particularly popular in the blogging world but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, and so here we are. These three '56 Topps cards are part of my recent eBay binge. And they are probably typical of the cards that will fill out my checklists, used but not abused.

George Shaw is the 'guy before Johnny Unitas' in my Colts' addled mind. He was drafted in '55, started that season and then lost his job to the great Unitas in '56 following a minor injury. Here is something I just learned today...Shaw was the Vikings starter in their first game ever. He played the first half of their 1961 opener against the Bears, went 2 for 3 passing and made way for Fran Takenton. I see a pattern here.

Bert Rechichar shows up in almost every Colts set from the 50s. He played both offense and defense and served as their kicker for many years. As the card states he set the then-NFL record with a 56 yard FG in his first attempt ever. He played a year for the Browns prior to his tenure with the Colts and played baseball in the Indians' farm system.

this is how all team cards should look.. I count six NFL Hall of Famers on this one: Ray Berry, Weeb Ewbank, Don Shula, Gino Marchetti and Artie Donovan. Buddy Young, who should be in the Hall of Fame for his on and off the field contributions to the NFL, is also here.

The back of the card is pretty neat as well. Love the blurb about the Colts fans buying the season tickets to assure the teams existence. The item about the Colts 'reentering Pro Ball in '54' is not accurate. The Colts were one of the teams from the AAFL that were absorbed by the NFL for 1950. After one season they folded. They 'reentered' as an 'expansion' team in 1953, not '54. The Colts 1953 club was actually the remnants of the '52 Dallas Texans but that's neither here nor there. The fact is that Baltimore was back in 'Pro Ball' in 1953.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Billy Pierce Phone Card

Remember phone cards? For awhile these things were part of the memorabilia landscape. I had a couple of Oriole phone cards. You could usually find them at shows on the same tables where you found Broder cards and Bammers. I still see them for sale from time to time, mostly in ethnic grocer stores and aimed at those wishing to phone folks back in the old country. In my neck of the woods that means Mexico and Central America. I think they work by keying in a number found of the back which equates to the way one would pump coins into a pay phone. You kids may need to ask someone what the hell all that means. Pay phones? WTH?

My fiend Mike McKay recently tipped me to this Billy Pierce phone card. As you can see below on the packaging this was a New Comiskey Park giveaway in 1996. The card was placed into the middle of a foldout with some of that gummy glue.

These two scans are the front and back of the folder:

Minnie Minoso and Nellie Fox were the two other Sox old-timers that were honored with a $5 card. Here is the complete center of the foldout with the phone card attached:

I picked this one up on eBay and it came in the original sealed plastic packaging. It's another in my ever growing collection of oddball Pierce items. A big thanks to Mike for bringing this to my attention. I'm not sure how it managed to evade on of my numerous 'saved searches' revolving around Billy Pierce.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #39 Joe Theismann 1986 Topps

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: Joe Theismann had a standout college career at Notre Dame before his played professionally with Toronto of the CFL and the the Redskins. With Washington he was an NFL MVP and Super Bowl winning QB. He played for 12 seasons before a horrific leg injury he suffered in a Monday Night Game versus the Giants ended his career. He's a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and currently works for the NFL Network. He owns a restaurant in the D.C. area and other interests.

Fantasy Impact: I drafted Theismann as my 2nd or third QB in 1980, our league's first season. A week later, after seeing Dan Fouts in action and watching Theismann stink up the joint in a Monday night loss to the Cowboys I packaged him in my very first fantasy football trade. The deal brought me Mike Pruitt and Ken Anderson (who I never started either).

The Card: The 1986 Topps football set isn't the greatest set ever but you can count me as a fan. Something about the green striped layout appeals to me. The back is pretty mundane and the color combos of the front can be a bit much but overall I'm good with it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cardboard Art 1933 Goudey Paul Richards

Just a quick post on a busy Saturday. This card came in Friday's mail and it took some of the gloom off a pretty rocky day. I showed an internet image of this one a week or so ago when I featured Paul Richards 1960 Topps managers card (among others). 

I only have a couple of Goudeys and NONE of them can touch the 'cool' of this one. What a fabulous pose with Richards painted as he prepares for a game. When I came across the image online I knew I needed to pick one up for myself. I dug around and as I expected there were not a lot of cheap examples out there. I looked for and found the least expensive one in acceptable shape. It ran me about $18 I think, plus shipping but for me it's worth every dime.

This one has issues, especially on the reverse but the staining isn't too awful. It just adds to the charm as far as I'm concerned. It goes immediately into the 'grab this if the house is on fire' binder.

As for Richards he was in his rookie season in '33. He's had a pretty successful five year string in the minors and had gotten a handful of at bats with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932 and then had his contract bought up by the Giants. After a few seasons as a platoon catcher with the Giants and Phils he returned to the minors and had another string of seasons in which he hit very well.

His hitting prowess in the minors never transferred to the majors but his handling of a staff and his defensive abilities got him back to the majors in 1944 with the Tigers and he backstopped them to the 1945 World Championship. He got some MVP consideration in 1944 and '45 despite hitting no higher than .256. 

Of course he went on to a long and distinguished career as a manager and team executive in his post playing years.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why I'm a Big Dope

Here we go with Exhibit A in my trial. I'm charged with 'Being a Sucker for Anything'.

The 1964 Bill Pierce Topps card is a pretty good one. I tend to favor cards/sets where the colors accent the uniform colors of the player/team pictured. That's certainly the case with the Giants' players in the '64 Topps set. Add to that the fact that the pose is not a common one and the fact that it's Billy Pierce and it all adds up to it being, in my eyes at least, a great card.

Granted I prefer his White Sox cards (not that I'm a fan of either team exactly) because that's how I first saw him...with my Dad, as a White Sox pitcher in Yankee Stadium.

And that leads me to this 'rainbow' of sorts of '64 and '64-'style' Pierces. It's because I don't follow modern cards that I have a hard time figuring out what all the different 'heritage' cards are that I have listed on my Pierce checklist. I have others listed as 'wants' but I'm halfway convinced that they are just different ways people describe these same cards. I tried sorting it all out one night and it gave me a massive migraine.

I've ended up with these six cards. I don't know it they are all separate 'official' Topps releases or just different ways that people have had him sign the heritage card. For what it's worth, this is what I have pictured:

Top Row:
left) actual '64 Topps regular
right) Venezuelan '64 Topps

Middle row:
left) 2001 Heritage 'blue sig'
right) 2013(?) red sig numbered to 64

Bottom Row:
left) just a plain ol' 2001 Heritage
right) 2001(?) blue sig Heritage with '7X All Star' inscription

Outside of the top two cards, that actual vintage versions I have no idea what to make of these cards. Of the Heritage only the red signed one cost more than a couple of bucks. But the fact that I bought them at all sort of dismays me.

The Venezuelan version was $12 if I recall correctly.  The 'best' one is still the original '64 Topps Billy Pierce.