Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Graded Ted

In my previous post featuring the '62 Willie Mays, I mentioned that these three posts were of cards I'd wanted for awhile. That's not technically true in the case of this '54 Ted Williams card.

What I HAD wanted was to upgrade my 1958 Ted Williams card. From time to time I had hit the usual places looking for a nicer copy at an affordable price. I pretty much knew that wasn't going to happen but whatever. During one of my visits to eBay, I came across this Ted from 1954...the #1 card on Topps' checklist for that year's set. I'm thinking it popped up because I did my search for 'Williams #1' since the '58 Williams is also card #1.

This one (its one of two Teddy Ballgames in the '54 set) had a really decent price so I put it on my watch list. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to forget the '58 upgrade. If I did find a better '58 Williams it probably wouldn't have been much of a bump given what I hoped to spend. And in the end, I would have two mediocre copies of the same card.  So when eBay did one of their 20% Off days I grabbed this '54.

It'll probably stay in the shell because I have nothing to gain by breaking it out. Looking at the back it occurred to me that when I was growing up I loved cards with full career stats on the back. But now that stats are so easy to find anywhere I'm happy that there were wonderful cartoons like the ones on the back of this great card.

The third and final post of these graded cards will feature a card of an iconic player whose absence in my collection had bugged me for an awfully long time. I'll get that one up early in the week.

Friday, June 22, 2018

A Graded Willie

Over the past couple of months I've added about eight slabbed and graded cards to my collection. Most of them are Charles Bender T- and E- cards. But three of them are cards I've wanted from the 50s and 60s.

The first one I'm posting is the best conditioned and ironically the only one destined to be broken free of its plastic prison and land in a binder. It's this 1962 Topps Willie Mays. I'm collecting the '62 set at the moment and this Mays, with its scuffed corners and off-center trimming, fits in perfectly. I love the pose and that's one reason I wanted to be sure I had a decent copy for my set. Honestly, I would have probably grabbed this one even if I wasn't collecting the '62 set.

I'm down to needing 133 cards of the 598 count base set. I also have the numerous pose variations and the 'cap logo/no cap logo cards'. I've decided on how to handle the 'green tint' variations. I'm just going to fill one binder page with nine random examples. You can check my needs list over in the right side column.

Most of the stars are already accounted for. I'm lacking the Mantle All-Star and the Bob Gibson card. Outside of those, it'll be the high numbered multiplayer rookie cards that will take some time and careful bidding.

The 1962 Topps set doesn't get much love but I have fond memories of opening packs, flipping dupes and swapping cards in the playground of St. Mary's School in Nutley N.J. It's a challenge to even decide what constitutes a complete set. But like the other sets from that era that I've built, it's a fun ride.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Newest Card Show Pickups

It's a little difficult to concentrate on cards and such these days given the fact that this country has gone to hell in a handbasket but I'm gonna give it a shot. Maybe doing a blog post is what I need.

I went to the hotel card show a couple of Saturdays back Darrell has changed locations for the West Houston show and it was a welcome surprise to see the room he's booked. Space to breathe! How nice. And more dealers table as well.

I had a couple of goals at the show. One was to scrounge the cheap vintage boxes for 1962 Topps baseball. The other was to help out a couple of blogging friends with their current needs.  To one extent or another, I managed to accomplish both. Plus I was able to nab a few cards that fall into the 'Just Because' category. Those are the ones I'll post here.

I might as well just call the 1972 Kelloggs set a collecting goal. I found a couple more at the show. The best of which is this Vida Blue.

I'm also calling myself an official Dick Allen collector. I mean why the hell not? I love this '74 card. Both front....

....and back:
"Dick likes to listen to stereo music." Awesome!

This is probably my third or fourth Brooks Robinson Deckle Edge. None of them are centered correctly. The bottom edge of this one does have the deckled edge but my scanner refused to acknowledge that fact. 

I'm not sure if I already had this '66 Elston Howard card. That's a problem that will rectify itself once I finish my grand scheme to re-organize. My hobby room/office is now completely re-done with shelves and bookcases. I made a bulk purchase of binders and pages. Now the real work begins.

This 1958 Jackie Jensen All-Star is an upgrade to the one I have in my '58 set. I'll do a fifty cent '58 card upgrade anytime.

I'm sure I've mentioned previously how much time I wasted as a kid studying the backs of these things. I loved seeing who hit what against whom. I don't know why for sure but it fascinated me no end. For example, I see that Jensen has a nice '57 versus the A's. in 19 games he smacked 6 homers, had 20 RBIs and hit .324.

A 1964 World Series subset card with Koufax will always jump out of the box and into my pile.

I don't have much Ali stuff outside on my autographed SI cover to I pick up cheap stuff when I find it. Like this '83 Olympic card.

I picked up a bulk starter lot of 1975 Topps cards recently because it was dirt cheap. But it was all commons so I bought these starts for a buck apiece. I'm not sure I'll ever get around to really pursuing the '75 set because I have several other things on my list but you never pass up stars for a dollar.

I found a few football cards as well. I bought this 1954 Bowman Buddy Young because I figured it might be an upgrade to the one in my Colts collection. It isn't but it's still a nice card to have a dupe of.

'Crazy Legs' Hirsch from 1956 because it's tough to pass up something like this.

This '59 Lenny Moore IS an upgrade. So I feel vindicated.

Back to a baseball card. this is one of those cards I just can't pass up even though it was two bucks and I'll never even try to complete the '53 Bowman set. I just thought it was a beauty of a card. I've been trying to find one of those Browns caps for a long time but I never can locate one to fit my huge head. I've got a nice gray and brown version but it's not the same.

Man, just look at this card. It's art.

Here's the back. I don't think I've ever really noticed that Bowman made room for kids to fill in 'this year' stats below the player's career numbers.

And finally here's my favorite card from the show. From out of the quarter box comes this 1975 Topps Seattle SuperSonics team card. Yup, that's Bill Russell on the tarmac. This card jumps immediately to the list of my favorite hoops cards. 

I don't know many of these guys but that's Slick Watts with the headband above Russ. Tom Burleson is (I think) the tall guy at the bottom of the stairs. Jim Fox is two guys to Burleson's right with John Brisker in between them. I think that's Spencer Haywood at the bottom of the stairs but I wouldn't bet on it.

All in all another fun show. Next up is the July TriStar extravaganza. That one should be great for working on want-lists.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

1951 Topps Ray Robinson

I used to be a boxing fan. Probably stemming from my days as a kid when we lived with my grandparents in Brooklyn. My grandfather watched lots of boxing and wrestling. Nowadays other than viewing some Showtime fights (usually repeats) I haven't a clue about the current state of the sport or many of the fighters.

But that doesn't keep me from nabbing a few cards from the 1951Topps Ringside set when I come across them at a good price.  These two Sugar Ray Robinson cards were offered by a guy on Net54 and I bought them. I usually wouldn't bother with graded versions but these were a bargain.

Ray Robinson, who died in 1989 and won the middleweight crown five separate times, was considered by many to be the best boxer in history. I remember him only as a former champ who fought in the early '60s while well past his prime.

The top card is a beauty on the front. Probably my favorite in the set. The poor grade comes from issues on the back.

The action card is one of a handful in the set that features a specific fight.

Pretty sweet both front and back.

I'll let these two sit in the graded cases until I get more of the set (I have about a dozen of the 96 in the set) and into a binder they'll go.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

1954 Bowman Memo Luna

I really enjoy oddball baseball stories, especially when I have a card to go with the story. And that's the case with this Memo Luna card from the 1954 Bowman set I came across in my collection a while back. I remember when I first saw this card that I couldn't figure out what made it different until it dawned on me that Luna's name was not in the 'signature' style of the rest of the set. He got plain sans serif type.

Guillermo Romero Luna was a 21-year-old phenom out of Mexico when he signed with the old San Diego Padres of the PCL. He debuted stateside in 1949. He'd won 52 games in three seasons in Mexico before he came north. As the back of the card notes Luna was a multi-sport star growing up.

He spent two years with San Diego before being acquired by the Cardinals in September of 1953 for three players and $75,000. The understanding was that Luna would pitch a bit that winter in Cuba and then return home to Mexico to rest his arm and await his first spring traing as a major leaguer. 

Instead of resting after being shut down for the winter Luna cranked it up in the Mexican winter league, blew out his elbow in a February start and was never the same. Luna, who featured a curve, slider and knuckleball, had a poor spring but managed to make the Cardinals '54 roster and drew a late April start. In that game against the Reds he was KO'd in the first inning and sent down to Rochester, the highest ranking of the Cardinals 22 affiliates. Yes, the Cards had 22 farm clubs in 1954!

Luna had respectable numbers in Rochester (although a losing record) but he slipped down the ladder in the Cardinals' chain and eventually ended his career back in the Mexican Leagues in 1961. Although he never again pitched in the majors he had established enough of a legend to be elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame.

There is something that intrigues me about Luna and especially that card of his. The back featured a nice write-up and a big empty box where his record would  normally be.

I went looking for the original photo that was inhanced for the Bowman card. I found it on the St Louis Post-Dispatch site. The story isn't accessable without turning off my ad-blocker so I can't link it. But here's the photo showing Luna in his Padres gear before Bowman painted him into a Cardinals uni.  

Luna's story, fleshed out a bit. can be read on this Cardinals fan blog. And the artisitc wizard Gary Cieradkowski just last month showed off his Luna card on his Infinite Card Set blog. And he tells the whole colorful Luna tale far better than I can. Highly recommended!

Birds In My Mailbox

Over the past month I've received a pair of Orioles-laden PWEs (or maybe they were manila, I forget). The cards got buried during my office makeover but they emerged over the weekend. I warmed up my scanner today after a rather long break so let's take a look.....

Oh, before I show the cards I have to say that yes, I know the O's are awful. And that takes a shine off the season but I've been through a lot of ups and downs as a sports fan for lo these many decades. I'm used to it.

The first group of cards came from Tom of The Angels, In Order blog. Of these four the highlight is the Zack Britton card from last years Topps All Star run. Poor Zack is gonna return as the O's closer and rarely have a game to close.  The Chris Davis-Jim Palmer spat was embarrassing but JP fired from the hip. I can't fault him for telling the truth. And I don't think Crush is gonna make it to 500 homers. But I do like that card.

I need to tweak my scanner to show the chrome/foil elements on my cards better. This Chris Hoiles card is a Topps Gold from 1994. I'm not sure what that means but it sure is glittery! I don't buy Bowman so I seeing current stars like Manny Machado on Bowmans makes me stop for a second. I always associate the brand with kids I've never heard of. This Machado is pretty nice. I stuck it into my fantasy baseball binder tonight. It bumped a Heritage. Variety counts in that binder don't ya know. 


The binder had no Gypsy Queens of this style either so Trey Mancini makes it. I've had (and cut and re-claimed) Mancini on both my teams this year.

Finally this bad boy...

That looks like a '78 Murray but it actually comes from a Topps reprise Rookie Cup in 2017. Again, I'm lost when it comes to keeping up with the comings and goings at Topps but this card is currently propped up against the base of my new lamp here on my desk because it's a way I can look at my favorite card regularly without risking ruining a real one with a coffee spill. This one has that shiny coating that's probably impervious to coffee.

Thanks, Tom. I know I have some Angels around here someplace for ya. 

The next envelope came from Joe Shlabotnik. Joe is an Orioles guy (well, he's a Mets guy but the O's are his second team). He was probably happy to get these out of his house. Me, I'm just enough of a masochist that I enjoy Orioles cards even though they serve as a reminder of how lousy my team is. 

The O's won on Opening Day this year but it all went south from there. The first card from Joe's pile is a '17 OD card featuring The Bird. He also sent a card of the nat's Racing Presidents which will land in my Presidential cards binder once I firgureout where I put it.

There are five Presidents on that card. Must be a reunion of all the ones they've used.

Joe sent a group of Orioles from the current year and the past two. All but one is new-to-me. My favorite of this first group is Chance Sisco. He's not hitting much but I like his grit. Next to him is Kevin Gausman winding up to serve a hanging slider that will be launched 495 feet towards the Warehouse.

In this next bunch we have Manny, Schoop and AJ10. My three favorite current Orioles. Plus Ryan Flaherty who I miss. As of tonite he's hitting .270 for the 1st place Braves. I'm happy for him.

Nice cards, one and all. Thanks, Joe! Here's something for you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Catching Up

I've fallen way behind on posting. Lots of reasons...from lack of inspiration to a complete revamp/remodeling of my hobby room/office. I've also been doing some work on the home network and switching over from Chrome to Firefox. FF, btw, while cleaner and quicker than Chrome, doesn't play well with Blogger. I smell a conspiracy. Off-topic...I haven't used a Mozilla product since their first attempt at a browser (Phoenix) but I was a hardcore Netscape Navigator user back in the day. My school district was an early adopter.

But that up above doesn't mean I haven't been busy when it comes to picking up cards and memorabilia. Most of my new acquisitions are additions to my Billy Pierce and Charles Bender collections.My posts of those guys never get much in the way of readership so I'm in no rush to scan and post them.

One group of cards I do have scanned is my card show haul from April. I followed myusual MO....sifting through the cheap vintage boxes and snatching whatever caught my fancy. Some of these I already owned but who wouldn't want a second copy of the '67 Ed Charles?

So here they are. Starting off with some '82 Kelloggs. I have to admit I'm coming around to seeing past Rickey Henderson's quirks and I'm beginning to appreciate what he did on the field. NL third baseman I've ever seen.  ;-)

The Wizard of Oz. I always thought the two-tone cap detracted from this uni. Now I'm not so sure.

Here's the back of Ozzie's card blown up so you can read the teeny font used to describe the drama surrounding his trade to the Cardinals during the winter of '81-'82.

Mike Cuellar, at Shea. I think I've written about the time I sat next to him and Fred Gladdingin at a game in the Astrodome. Both were DL'd and sitting right behind home plate. Cuellar was charting pitches. My Dad and I were in the seats he sometimes got from Shell Oil. They were pretty sweet.

Here's The Glider! I hear Bob Murphy's voice in my head whenever I think of this guy. Love that A's uni.

I have this Elston Howard on my PC but I keep thinking that one day I may chase the  '64 set.

Richie Allen. Why isn't he in the Hall of Fame? I think he belongs.

'67 Boog. Because why not?

'64 Juan Pizzaro. See my remarks on the Elston Howard card. Exactly the same here.

This Palmer wasn't a need but I kind of hate leaving his cards in a bargain box.

Love the '61 Post Cereal cards and I love Wally Moon cards so this was a no-brainer.

And I'll finish up with a pair of 1969 Topps Deckle Edge inserts. I really need to dig thru my cards (and that's the plan for the summer) and pull out what I have of these. I'd bet I'm fairly close to the whole thing.

Richie Allen in his 'Rich Allen' mode.

And a sorta stoned-looking Jerry Koosman.

That's it for now. I'll try to do better next time.