Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TCMA The 60s Set Series II Minor League subset

The nine minor league cards from the TCMA Stars of the 60s Series II set have trickled in and I thought they were worth a post. As is the case with many of the TCMA sets this little subset seems to be random at first glance. Or maybe it isn't. It's as if they needed to fill in a gap so they used whatever photos they had at the front of the folder marked 'Minor League Pictures'. That would explain why there are three 'Andersons', Buford, Beard, Brickell, Cook and Coleman included. Pumpsie Green's picture had probably been misfiled with the guys at the beginning of the alphabet.

These are not in checklist order. 

Fritzie Brickell- Buffalo Bisons

The back of this card of short time Yankee Fritz Brickell lists him as a member of the Buffalo Bisons. That's an uncorrected (and uncatalogued AFAIK) error. He never played for Buffalo and he is wearing the uniform of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played for Toronto in 1961 and '62. 

Interestingly Toronto is listed as unaffiliated with any MLB club for '61 but as a farm team of the Braves in '62. Which leads us to the next card....

Sparky Anderson-Toronto Maple Leafs

Sparky is 27 years old give or take in this shot from his stint with Toronto ('60-'63). He looks closer to 40...or maybe 50.

Below is the back of Sparky's card. It's printed with black ink unlike the rest of Series II (but it matches some of the cards from previous TCMA issues). It's also notable (and weird) that all nine of the cards have 'upside down' backs. In a binder you have to flip the page around to read them.

Ted Beard- Indianapolis Indians

The funny thing about Ted Beard is that he played for Indianapolis in 13 different seasons and through several different affiliations between 1947 and 1963. In between Indy stints he played in seven seasons for the Pirates and White Sox.

Pumpsie Green- Buffalo Bisons

Three things you should know about Pumpsie Green...his brother was Cornell Green who was a five time Pro Bowl safety for the Cowboys...his given name is Eliajh...he was the first African-American player to appear for the Boston Red Sox.

Syracuse was the Mets' AAA farm club and Green played there beginning in 1963.

John Anderson- Toronto Maple Leafs

The second of three Andersons among the nine cards belongs to pitcher John Anderson. He appeared in 24 games over three seasons for the Phils, Orioles, Cardinals and Colt 45s. He pitched for Toronto for three seasons in the early 60s.

Don Buford- Indianapolis Indians

Discounting Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson's dugout career Don Buford represents the best on-the-field major leaguer included. His time with Indianapolis was from 1962 to '63 when the team was affiliated with the White Sox. He put up some terrific numbers both seasons.

After some decent seasons with the Sox he was traded to the Orioles in 1968 and became 1) a handy and valuable switch hitter for three pennant winners and 2) one of my very favorite big leaguers. His stance was memorable and one I liked to imitate when we played corkball outside the dorms when I was in college.

Buford later managed in the Orioles organization, played several years in Japan and had a son, Damon, who played big league ball.

Choo Choo Coleman- Syracuse Chiefs

Clarence 'Choo Choo' Coleman was an Original Met having been claimed from the Phils in the '61 expansion draft. He began the '62 season in Syracuse which is when this picture must have been taken. He was with the Mets later in 1962 and 1963 and had a return six game engagement in 1966. Meanwhile he spent plenty of time in the Mets' system and finished his career with two seasons in Mexico.

If Baseball Reference is to be believed (and I do) then TCMA erred in saying on the back of Coleman's card that he was with Syracuse prior to his major league debut with the Phillies in 1961. Coleman, as noted above, played with Syracuse in 1962 after he was selected by the Mets. Spokane is probably the team they should have made mention of.

Craig Anderson- Buffalo Bisons

I've already posted these last two cards. Craig Anderson won three games and lost 17 for the 1962 Mets. He pitched for Buffalo during parts of each season from 1963 thru 1965.

Cliff Cook-Buffalo Bisons

Cook was a third baseman and outfielder who played one season's worth of games (163) over the course of five years for the Reds and Mets. He played for Buffalo in 1962 and '63.

And that wraps up my posts on the TCMA sets from 1978 and 1981. It was a fun project. A comprehensive  TCMA project would include more sets than I could ever hope to track down. Tom Collier and Mike Aronstein were very prolific producers of cards back in their heyday. All sorts of reprint, specialty and minor league sets flooded the marketplace in the late 70s and early 80s. None of them (or these 'Stars' sets) can compare with the mother of them all, their original SSPC monster, but these in particular are a whole lot of fun.

Lastly several folks have commented or emailed about collecting these Stars sets. Words of advice from someone who has tracked these for a long time. If you look online, particularly on eBay, you'll see wildly divergent asking prices for these things. I've seen Series I and II listed for over $120...each! I've also seen them going as a complete package for half that. So the advice is 'have patience'!