Friday, June 21, 2019

Rubbing Elbows

I spent last weekend in San Antonio at the 2nd Annual Celebrity FanFest. I'd always been curious about these sorts of things but was never willing to shell out the bucks they charge at Houston's ComiCon.

I went to hang out with my friend Robert Wuhl. I had a terrific time but I'm not going to bore you with a minute-by-minute account. I'll post for pics and toss out some random thoughts and observations. BTW..if you are not familiar with Robert you can see a partial list of his credits here and read a bio here. We've been friends since we met in the dorms at the University of Houston in 1970. We were roommates at various times during and after college.

The venue, Freeman Expo Halls and Coliseum, was much bigger than I expected. I didn't even make it to the entertainment stage or the related car show (Batmobile, etc) held in the other buildings.

If you look at the Friday schedule you can see that the celebrity guests had multiple sessions and most had sessions over several days. That's very different than how sports autograph shows work.

I got to see the show from a celebrity guest's perspective. I spent a lot of time in the 'green room' which was neither green nor a room. It was a curtained-off area behind the autograph and photo opp booths which was where the celebs (and hangers-on like me) could eat and relax. Food was great, btw. I clipped this from the Saturday paper......

I gotta tell you, my pop culture knowledge is seriously lacking. Except for Batman and, to a lesser extent, Superman, I don't really know much about any of this stuff. A couple of the celebs were familiar to me. Most weren't. I had NO idea about the wrestlers/WWE/cage fighters or whoever they are.

I cribbed these two videos from a local podcast/YouTube duo who were there doing interviews. This first one covers the Friday ribbon cutting.

Robert spent Friday with a table in what they called Artist Alley. Here is a snippet from the video they did with him.

I recognized Jeremy Renner from some movies. He was pleasant but rather reserved.

My wife had an absolute fit when I told her I met Jason Momoa who apparently makes women swoon. I still don't know what he's in. Aquaman, maybe? UPDATE...Yup, he's Aquaman. Ray Fisher was very nice. I had a long chat with him about Texas. I learned from my son that he plays Cyborg. He just seemed like some guy hanging out. LOL

I did take a lot of pics out on the floor. Here is the ribbon cutting.

Robert getting interviewed on Friday prior to opening.

Here's Robert's table. This was the Friday set-up but he wasn't crazy about where it was located. Frankly, the whole show seemed to run on a wing and a prayer with plans changed on the fly.

This woman wouldn't leave the table. LOL, A lot of the work was done by volunteers. She was one but apparently didn't have an assignment other than to chat up Robert.

Dolf Lundgren was awesome to talk to. We sat at a table in the green room and had lunch and had a great time. He and Robert had some fun stories. I took this pic on the sly. The blonde woman is a WWE fighter, I think. I didn't think taking pics of the folks we were around was something I should be doing. And I didn't ask for any autographs. I was already feeling like a fifth wheel who didn't belong, so why press it?

Of course, there was a lot to see out in the vendors' area. Plenty of odd characters and folks selling stuff. Mostly shirts, Funko things (whatever they do) and about everything else related to movies, comics, fighters, and assorted foolishness.

A lot of the costumed folks looked pretty good. Some of them just looked uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable... the only regret I have about the weekend was that I never approached Walter Koenig who played Chekov in the original Star Trek series. I loved that show and still enjoy watching it. Koenig was by himself most of the weekend, sitting in the green room drinking coffee between sessions. I don't know why I didn't go over to talk to him, he didn't give off a 'don't approach me' vibe. In fact, he seemed kind of lonely. I even saw him sitting in the hotel lobby on Saturday night. Oh well, next time.

The absolute highlight of the show was spending time with Malik Rose. For some reason, he was teamed up with Robert for Saturday and Sunday. They did a panel discussion together and shared an autograph booth. If you bought a ticket for either guy you also got the other one.

Malik was awesome with the many Spurs fans who stopped by to talk or get something signed. Another sign of the show's lack of prep is that there were no photos of him available. He signed shoes, FanFest programs, T-shirts, whatever. I could have made a killing with a stack of his pics or basketball trading cards.

After spending all Saturday with him it was apparent that he's a genuine, down-to-earth guy. Unlike some 'celebs' whose eyes tend to glaze over when you talk to them Malik was interested in what you had to say and talking hoops and San Antonio sports and food with him was a blast. He came over to say good bye because he knew I was leaving soon to get home for Father's Day stuff. Like I said, genuine guy.

I really didn't do much hobby-wise over the weekend. One or two of the toy vendors had some McFarlands and similar statues available but that was about it. On Saturday I was scrolling thru my phone and found an eBay promo code for $3 off a card so I used it right there in the green room to buy this 2019 Frank Robinson. It has to be some sort of short print because it was $4 which seems high for a regular Topps card but it ended up costing me .99 cents.

And when it showed up the other day the seller had packed the card in a team bag with a bunch of other stuff, mostly these Bowmans. You never know when I'll need one for my fantasy BB binder. Pretty sweet I thought.

Reading back over this post I realize I did a terrible job of capturing the FanFest experience. I also wish I had taken more pictures but I'm pretty sure Robert will do this again (this was his first such experience). He enjoyed it. Next time I'll take my wife so she can meet Jason mamoa (or maybe I won't!! 😉 )

Friday, June 14, 2019

New TCMA 1930s Photocards

I picked up this set of 20 postcards from Andrew Aronstein, son of TCMA's founder Michael Aronstein. Andrew has become a Twitter fixture lately and is also a member of Net54 which is where I first 'met' him. Long story short...he used these terrific images from the 1930s in a photo exhibition recently near his home in Peekskill, NY. On Net54 he posted some shots of the framed photos and offered them for sale.

I knew I wanted one but while I was deciding on which one the whole lot was purchased. But my bad luck turned to good as Andrew found a Lou Gehrig photo from the same era, matted and framed and offered me first shot. I didn't hesitate. The Gehrig is beautiful but I'm still struggling to find a place to display it and even worse, I can't get a decent picture of it with my phone camera so I'll dig out my good camera and try with that.

Meanwhile (OK, this story isn't that short, is it?) Andrew had postcards of the original photos available and I purchased a set. I won't post all 20 of them today but I'll get them all up soon enough. Maybe the rest will get posted with the Gehrig photo once I get that worked out. Meanwhile, enjoy these shots of players from the 1930s. Some are Hall of Famers and others were everyday guys.  I've typed enough so I'll let the cards speak for themselves with mostly just a line or two from me.

Yankee great Bill Dickey posed atop the Yankees dugout. His Yankees clubs played in eight World Series, winning seven.

I'll post just one or two backs to give you an idea of how they look.

Jimmie Foxx, 3-time AL MVP. He topped 150 RBIs four times!

Lefty Gomez  He was on five Yankees title teams and was a perfect 6-0 in seven WS starts.

Paul 'Daffy' Dean, of course, was Dizzy's brother. Began his career with back-to-back 19 win seasons. He won twice in the '34 Series versus Detroit.

Sam Leslie had a career .304 average in 10 seasons with the Giants and Dodgers.

Bill Terry, Hall of Famer and career .341 hitter. It took him 15 years of voting to finally get elected to the Hall. I love this dugout pose. This was one I thought about buying as a framed photo.

'Dixie' Walker, pictured here with the Yankees early in his career, went on to star with the Dodgers in the 1940s. Truth be told I thought this was the best photo of the entire lot.

Joe Stripp...who, according to Wikipedia, was the last player to bat against a legally thrown spitball, at the end of the career of Burleigh Grimes in 1934. He hit .294 over eleven seasons with the Braves, Reds, Cardinals, and Dodgers.

Al Lopez caught in the majors for nearly two decades and later won two pennants in his 17-year managerial tenure with the Indians and White Sox.

Luke Appling won two batting titles and was a seven-time All-Star with the White Sox. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964.

Charlie Grimm was a baseball 'lifer' who played, managed and worked in baseball-related broadcasting for almost fifty years.

Joe Shaute pitched for thirteen seasons, mostly for the Dodgers and Indians. He earned 20 of his 99 career wins in 1924.

Slick Castleman pitched for the Giants in the mid- to late1930s and had a career-best 15 wins in 1935.

Harold Schumacher and Lefty Gomez from the 1936 World Series. They were the Game Two starters with Gomez winning in a Yankees romp, 18-4. Schumacher came back to pitch (and win) Gave Five and went 10 innings to do so. Gomez pitched for the Yanks in Game Six which they won to take the series. He went six+ shaky innings but it was enough in a game that was close until the Yanks exploded for seven runs in the top of the ninth to seal it.

Again, thanks to Andrew Aronstein for making these great cards available. I'm really enjoying them.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Shablotnik Sent Me Stuff

Well, this is discouraging. I had this post completed on my iPad with the Blogger Pro app and I come over here to post it and boom, it's gone except for most of the images. OK, I'll re-do it here since I don't trust that app anymore.

I was gifted with a package from Joe Shlabotnik last week, the second one he's sent in less than a month. The star this time was this 1971 Lou Brock. Perfect card? Nope. But it fits perfectly into my set build.

I can't think of Lou Brock without thinking of his semi-famous 'invention', the Brockabrella.

I actually wore one of those once thanks to my friend Sam whose Cardinals love runs very, very deep. I'm jealous of that ice cream Sundae that Lou is about to enjoy. I wonder if it came from Ted Drewes.

The Brockabrella appeared in the 1984 Fleer set. I've put that card at the bottom of this post. BTW...Joe also included another '71, Al Fitzmorris, but that image went 'poof' and I don't think I need to go dig it up from my files. Brock can rep the set without any help for sure.

This next card is a Heritage Hi# SP (or so I'm told). So it's as rare as Orioles wins in Minute Maid Park. But unlike watching the O's lose I can get some use out of this baby. It's going in my fantasy player binder.

As is his want, Joe sent along a stack of Orioles from sets gone by, mostly from the 90s and 2000s.

And a new-to-me Cal Jr.

Arthur Rhodes bulked up a bit as his career evolved. He looks almost slim here. Eric Davis had a short (two season) tenue in Birdland as he made his comeback from his cancer fight. Unfortunately for me, it came at a low ebb in my baseball fandom.

Andrew Cashner has had for bright (and not so bright) moment for the O's this year. He was beaten up on Opening Day when I saw him pitch at Yankee Stadium. He was much better Saturday night here in Houston against a depleted Astros team. 

Mancini had a lousy weekend against Astros pitching. But I'm glad to have this card. I don't fully understand what the purpose of  Topps' Opening Day set. Seems pointless.

1981 Fleer Eddie Murray.  I loved collecting this set.

I don't think I had this Drake's Murray. When I delivered the Newark Evening News in Nutley, NJ back in the day a package of Drake's Yankee Doodles and an RC Cola was the usual post-route treat.

Union Craft Brewing in B-more is producing a beer they call Steady Eddie. I'd love to give it a try, or at least grab a can to display.

Mike Mussina..welcome to the Hall of Fame! I hold no grudges.

Joe always tosses in a NY Ranger card or two and this time was no exception. I'm fired up about the return of John Davidson. With JD manning the tiller I think good things are ahead for my Blueshirts.

Here are a few more shots of Lou and his Brockabrella.

And the Fleer card of Jay Johnstone. I'm mildly surprised that the Bud logo made it thru the approval process at Fleer.

There were more cards but these are the ones I scanned. All are much appreciated. Thanks, Joe!!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Scan Dump..1953 Bowmans

Baseball cards don't come much prettier than the 1953 Bowman set. I bought a small lot of these things recently along with some 1950B. They all had flaws but that doesn't matter.

Mel Clark was a platoon outfielder for the Phils in the early 50s and played a few games for the Tigers in 1957. He was a career .277 hitter with no power. He sure looked sharp in this photo taken at the Polo Grounds.

Clem Koshorek was coming off his only full big league season in '53. After hitting .267 as the Bucs' utility infielder in 1952 he only had one at-bat and then returned to the minors. He spent 13 seasons in the minors. That stain doesn't detract much from my enjoyment of this card.

Braves' manager Charley Grimm in another Polo Grounds pose. The write-up on the back is classic.

Cal Abrams was in his first season with the Pirates after several years as a spare outfielder in Brooklyn and Cincinnati. '53 was his first year as a full-time starter and it was his best season in terms of homers, RBI, and average. In '54 he was traded to the Orioles in May and ended up leading the team in runs, doubles, triples, and average. He even got a few MVP votes.

He's got the same stain as Clem Koshorek.

And finally, it's Hall of Famer and long-time Mets announcer, Ralph Kiner. Teaming up with Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson, he was part of my favorite non-Orioles broadcasting crew. 

Here is a compilation of 'Kiner-isms' from the Mets' tv booth. Warning: There is some Tim McCarver involved.