Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Five For Fighting

I've read some blogs lately that revolved around a Blog Bat Around-ish theme..."Which aspects of your collecting would you keep if you were limited to five?" Or something like that. Gavin's entry was the first I read although I'm not sure his was the first posted. Robert followed up with his and I'm sure there are others.

This sort of thing is right up my alley. I like lists. I particularly like lists related to collecting. I thought this would be an easy one. Turned out not to be so. I spun my chair around in my newly re-done hobby room/office and jotted down my hobby 'interests' in broad terms. I tried not to put too fine a point on it. I mean would my Billy Pierce collection be an 'aspect' or is it part of my larger player collection? See, I was over-thinking it all. This is not the LSAT. And when I think about it this will be very similar to my post in response to Night Owl's 'Hobby Projects' theme.

So after reading and rereading those notes, I came up with the following list in (almost) no particular order (and subject to change at any moment):

1) Orioles and Baltimore Colts Publications.

This is, and always has been, my hobby priority. When I was a kid I got a program at every game I attended. My Dad always brought me to Manny's Baseball Land before games in the Bronx to check out the yearbooks. And so on. I've completed my Colts publication checklist and am nearly there with the Orioles.

2) Fantasy Sports Player Collection

This is my longest lasting and most extensive card project. In 1980 I started a fantasy football league among my college friends. We are still going strong as we get set for our 39th season. I began picking up cards of players I had on my team about a year after we began. I've kept it up ever since and now I also collect cards of guys on my fantasy baseball teams and the other FB teams I've managed. It's been fun, alternately frustrating and satisfying. Especially over on the football side. Pre-Internet days meant you had to hunt for cards at shows and through hobby publications.

I enjoyed tracking down obscure cards of obscure kickers and backup QBs. The Jose Cortez saga is the perfect example. I put out an APB for his one and only actual card one day on this blog and not four hours later I got a response and soon had the card in my binder! I was so happy I thought I'd cry! (Thanks again, Raz!!!) Sometimes I had to to make my own custom cards and with my sad graphics skills, that's an ordeal. Then there's the whole Randy Burke fiasco.

I have too much invested (in time and dedication if not money) to give this collection up.

3) Vintage Set Collecting 

The chase is the thing. As a collector there is no feeling like getting down to the last few cards needed for a vintage set. I'm inside of forty cards needed to finish off the 1962 Topps set. It's by far the most difficult of the sets I've attempted. Those woodgrain borders and terrible centering make finding acceptable yet affordable cards a challenge. The 'green tint' and photo and numbering variations throw you a curve when it comes to deciding on what a complete set consists of. But it'll be worth the effort when I can flip through the filled binder pages.

Another fun thing about set collecting has been blogging them. Yes, I'm way behind of the '58 and '60 blogs but I'll get them back on a regular schedule soon. And doing the research is a kick. Perhaps my favorite post ever on any blog I write is the one for Don Rudolph's 1959 card. Warning: That link will introduce you to Miss Patti Waggin, Don's lovely wife.

Oh, and I'm considering all my vintage sets here. I dig old basketball sets.

And non-sports sets. Is this fudging the five area limit? My post, my rules I guess.

I collect the Philly Gum sets from the mid-60s. Only have 1964 finished as of now.

More non-sports.

And chasing hockey is fun, too.

Yup, vintage sets and the collecting of same has to be one of the five areas of the hobby I'd continue with.

4) Player Collections

It would be impossible to sacrifice my player collections as I bet it would be for every hobbyist. If I really was forced to consolidate I could give up collecting some players. After all, I really don't need to chase Ed Charles cards, do I? But my Billy Pierce collection is sacred!

As are my Johnny U.....

....Charles Bender....

...Connie Hawkins....

...Dennis Martinez...

....Sandy Koufax...

....Brooks Robinson....

..and Elston Howard Collections.

5) Non-Sports Sketch Cards

I'd keep collecting sketch cards because I find them so much fun. Seeing all the different versions of  Batman, etc is a kick. And to be honest some have been fairly pricey and that's a consideration.

Luckily I'm not going to have to face this type of decision. Because if I did I'd be giving up a bunch of stuff. Out the door would go my postcards, presidential pins, bobbleheads, Starbucks mugs, Baltimore-related glassware, pennant collection, commemorative coins (state and park quarters, mostly), Orioles stars binders, Orioles and Colts oddball items, signed 8x10s, etc, etc. That would be a sad day indeed.

Oh, the title of the post? I was vaguely aware of a music act with that name and I thought it was appropriate. I had to look up the group and I'm still unsure if it's one guy or several. No matter, he/they sound like the Dave Matthews Band to me (and that's not a compliment). I did recognise this tune though. For whatever that's worth.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Not-So-Great Show

I spent last Saturday at the summer edition of Houston's twice-yearly TriStar shows. I've been to countless shows of theirs so I thought I knew what to expect. But I was wrong. The show, at least for the five hours or so I was there, was underwhelming. The crowd was thinner than usual, few dealers with vintage bargains were on hand and the fun, oddball type stuff I usually come across was nowhere to be found.  Even the usual madcap autograph lines which normally hinder getting around that area of the show were missing.

After dropping $27 for parking plus admission I was pretty disappointed. I ended up making just a handful of purchases. I hit one dealer who had '62 Topps at decent prices and found a couple of dozen for my set build. He cut me a deal so the cards came in under what I would have paid on eBay. I also bought a sorting tray and several boxes of 9 pockets. You know the show isn't good when I browse the supply vendors for an hour.

I spent quite a bit of time at my friend Darryl's table. He had a newly arrived '62 Gibson which happened to be one of the last remaining 'big ticket' cards I was in need of. It's a beauty as you can see. For once my scanner does a card justice. It's got nice coloring, no scuffs, and sharp corners.

He had marked his dollar bin cards at 10 for $6 and I picked up my usual assortment of  '60s and 70s cards. I grabbed players I collect and stuff that catches my eye. I should know better than to add to the cards I have stacked on my desk waiting to be sorted but I can't help myself.

It was a nice surprise to find this Walt Frazier for my 1970 Hoops set. The stain puts it on my 'upgrade someday' list for about sixty cents it'll do for now.

This Billy Pierce is a dupe but will fill a need when I get around to chasing the '57 set. And that day is coming.

Even if I abandon my 1975 Topps plans I'm going to have a spot for these next two cards. Three player collection guys here among the four pictured. Plus a third baseman I think I've heard of.

Howard Cassady is in rough shape but what the heck, it's a card of 'Hopalong'.

Getting bargains from Darryl is always fun but I came away thinking that I could have picked them up at his hotel show and not paid any admission or to park.

I also found a few vintage cards on other tables. Maybe the lack of customers worked in my favor. I was able to pick up a few and not get elbowed out from in front of the boxes. The cards were either lesser names or in lesser condition.

This next card was my favorite buy of the day (other than the '62 Gibson). The great Bill Russell looking about as 'Seventies' as you can possibly look.

Finally a non-show card. France (and Manchester United) star Paul Pogba. I'm hoping he leads France to a World Cup title tomorrow over Croatia. In WC when I'm out of countries root for (Portugal, Italy, England, USA, Mexico) I root for players.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Floating Heads!! 1962 Rookie Parade

If there is one thing I'll always be grateful to Topps for it's floating heads cards! As I wind my way towards picking up the final 60 cards in the 1962 set I've found myself tracking down decent yet affordable copies of these fun things. The '62 set wasn't the debut for these with Topps. They used the 'floating heads' style with coaches cards in the 1960 set. But I recall being disappointed at getting coaches cards in 1960. Not so with the Rookie Parades of 1962.

There are eight of these that bring up the set's rear. They are 'sorted' by position and feature pitchers (3 cards), infielders (also 3 cards) and one each for catchers and outfielders. The NL drew the short straw however as two of the three pitchers cards AND two of the three infielders cards were devoted to AL players. The poor NL had to make due with one of each. The outfielders and catchers cards had players from both leagues.

As with Topps Rookie grouping through their history, the players featured went on to careers that vary widely.  This AL pitchers card is a good example. 

Bo Belinsky and Jim Bouton are well-known names, mostly for off-the-field reasons. Dave Stenhouse and Dan Pfister saw most of their action in 1962 (Stenhouse made the ASG!) and Joe Bonikowski came and went quietly with one year of major league service.

These four AL infielders (two Twins and two Yankees) all had long careers. Trivia time..... which of these four players got consideration in the 1962 AL ROY balloting? Answer at the bottom.

Sidenote: Joe Pepitone dated a friend's older sister for awhile while in the mid 60s. She was what was referred to back then as 'fast'. The family was Greek-Italian and very...ahem...colorful. My friend was about a few years older than most of the kids on our block. And he'd 'been around' if you know what I mean. But he was a geat guy, a good friend and the best ballplayer I knew. He was the guy everyone wanted on his team, our version of Benny 'The Jet' Rodriguez.

Of the NL infielders, Denis Menke and Hot Rod Kanehl had the best careers. Amado Samuel stuck with the Braves for three seasons. Jim McKnight had 91 big league at-bats.

The catchers card is the most costly of the subset. It features Bob Uecker. I was lucky to find this one at a (relatively) good price. It's going to stay in the case until I work up the guts to free both it and my graded '62 Willie Mays.

My favorite head belongs to Bob Veale on the card at the top of the post. I always love his glasses. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of the second AL infielders card. I nabbed it off eBay after failing to find it at the TriStar show over the weekend.

I did locate a copy of the outfielders card at the show but the dealer was mighty proud of it. I can wait.

The eighth card of the group features Sam McDowell and four other AL pitchers. It may be awhile before I buy that one. The reason is that one of the 'other' pitchers is the Orioles' Art Quirk. I have one of those cards....somewhere. I have all the 1962 Topps cards of Orioles but at the moment they are eluding my grasp. I have all my original Orioles year-by-year team sets in a box but the '62s are missing. I've done thorough searches on two occasions and come up empty. It'll be just my luck to pay $40 or $50 or more for a copy of that #591 and then find my other copy the next day. I'm in the same boat with a couple of other O's from the set who appear on higher number cards. Chuck Estrada for one. The other Orioles I had second cards of in player binders or came cheaply. 

BTW...Art Quirk was an interesting guy. I looked him up the other day and found myself going down a fun 'rabbit hole'. He was featured in Sports Illustrated during April of 1962. He was a Dartmouth grad and after his brief baseball career led an interesting and productive life.

Trivia Answer= Bernie Allen. He finished behind Tom Tresh and Buck Rodgers. He was tied with Dean Chance and Dick Radatz. In the NL Ken Hubbs won the award over Donn Clendennon. Of the seven players who received votes only Radatz appeared on one of these floating heads rookie cards.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Paul Richards Flip Book

Not long ago I received an envelope from 'Friend of Everyone's Blog', Mark Hoyle. In that envelope was this beauty, a 1957 Gillette-sponsored 'flip book' featuring Orioles manager/GM Paul Richards demonstrating baseball signs.  Mark sent an item that is right in my wheelhouse as he knows how much I love adding unique pieces to my Orioles collection. Photos can't do this thing justice. And that's a shame because it's really a cool little book.

This shot gives an idea of the size of the booklet. Yes, I used a Red Sox card intentionally :-)

There are multiple 'movies' that are viewed by flipping the two sets of split pages in both directions. The mini-movies and accompanying text cover all the different signs used in baseball, coaches signaling batters and runners, catchers calling pitches, etc.

I did some digging and couldn't find any Gillette flip books on other baseball subjects so it appears this was a one-off. Keyman Collectibles has an entry for this and gives the following backstory:

The 1957 Gillette "Signals... The Secret Language of Baseball in Finger-Tip Movies" by Bob Broeg, VP Baseball Writers Association, was a premium flip book that came with a Gillette Super-Speed Razor. The booklet was held in place, below the case with a specially marked, cardboard band. The material in this book is based on a series of articles that appeared in The Sporting News, national baseball weekly and Joe Garagiola served as technical adviser. The booklet has a total of 8 "Finger-Tip Movies" that all feature black and white illustrations of Baltimore Orioles manager, Paul Richards.
They also have a picture of the original Gillette packaging which is viewable through that link.

As I said the photos don't really capture the charm of this but I wasn't able to juggle the booklet and take a video of it in action. These pics will have to do.

The timing of Mark's gift was perfect as I am in the process of building a couple of displays of Orioles pieces. They will contain things that don't work well in binders like pins, trinkets, and patches. I'm using glass-front, wall-mounted boxes. This booklet will fit in for sure.

Thanks again, Mark. This little treasure is much appreciated!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Orioles Picture Pack Photos

My ongoing re-organization efforts have led to me coming across stuff that has been 'buried' in boxes and binders. I found a stack of  50 or so of these Orioles 50s/60s Picture Pack photos. KeyMan Collectibles' website has a nice summary of the origins of these. They were sold at ballparks and through the mail in 'packs' of 12 to 25. Most were produced by Jay Publishing. KeyMan notes they originated in the 40s but I see some online that look to be from the 1930s.

I bought sets at Manny's Baseball Land souvenir store across River Avenue from Yankee Stadium. Manny's was the 'walk-up eBay' of the day. They sold everything! Others came from Memorial Stadium concession stands or through the mail from the team. Some of the ones I'm posting originated from my purchases back then. Others I've bought through the years. All mine (and all the others as far as I know) are 5x7 pics on semi-gloss paper. Some of the Orioles shots were taken by the team's 'official' photo guy, Mort Tadder.

I thought I had one of the original team-issued envelopes but that might have fallen victim to earlier 'purges'. I came across a few pictures online of other teams photo packs:

I'll kick off with a nice early 60s Brooks Robinson picture.

I wasn't surprised that I discovered several of Brooks in my stack but I was at having three Jackie Brandt pictures. He had a nice run with the Orioles from 1960 thru 1965. He was indirectly part of the deal that brought Frank Robinson to the O's. He traded to the Phillies for Jack Baldschun who was part of the package the Birds sent to the Reds three days later. These next two photos look to be from 1962 or so.

This third Brant show him in their highly under-appreciated 1963 home uniform. Brandt played third base for the Astros in the first game I watched in the Astrodome in the summer of 1967.

Next is Tall Paul Richards. I've seen this photo a time or two (or 12). For one thing, it was used on his 1960 Topps managers card.

Hoyt Wilhelm threw his knuckleball in Baltimore from '58 thru '61 which helps me date some of these things.

Robin Roberts won 42 games for the Birds in the early 60s and few folks even remember him being there. I saw him beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium but I'm not sure what year it was.

The sets contained many similar photos from one year to the next. Check out these two Chuck Estrada photos. Same Memorial Stadium shot with different cropping. I have multiple examples of this same thing.

Jim uncle loved this guy. Said he was 'a man's man'. Whatever that meant. I guess it meant he could hit the hell out of the ball.

Notice anything odd about this next one of Luis Aparicio?

Yup, pinstripes! Ack! And you can see a part of the interlocking S-O-X logo on his shirt. The photo the only Orioles one I've seen that has been altered to reflect a team change. But Jay Publishing (or whoever was responsible) did a really nice job of changing his cap.

Wes Stock was a pretty handy reliever. He was more or less a set-up guy before they called them that. Back then they went a couple of innings.

Gus Triandos was the big bat in the Orioles lineup during their early years in Baltimore. Like Brandt and Roberts, he ended his career with the Astros. Jim Gentile popped up in Houston, too. That was all Paul Richards doing as he became the team's GM.

Steve Barber had a brief run as the O's ace before Jim Palmer claimed that job.

I have quite a few photos that date from 1956/57 or so. Dick Williams is one. He had several stints in Baltimore as a player but that cap dates the shot from 1956ish.

George Kell finished his Hall of Fame career in Charm City in 56/57.

Back to the early 60s for a Ron Hansen picture. Love that sleeve patch Bird!

And we'll end this bunch with a 1963 shot of Brooks Robinson.

Tucked into the stack was this other Brooks Robinson photo. It was slightly smaller than the Picture Pack photos and on different, thinner matte paper. It's also clearly a Mort Tadder photo. He was the Baltimore area photographer whose work is easy to spot by Orioles fans. The pics he took, including hundreds of team-issued postcards, were everywhere.

I have no idea where it came from but the photo and font used are identical to the glossy Brooks photos the team sold back in the 70s and 80s. I'm guessing someone just copied and reproduced it for whatever reasons.