Sunday, October 21, 2018

New York Rangers Matchbook Covers

Well, if everything has gone according to plan and Blogger is cooperating (harrumph) this will post as I'm inside Madison Square Garden in beautiful New York City. I'll be watching just my second Rangers home game since 1970. The last time I was in the Garden for a Rangers game was 2005 against the Sabres and I'm not ashamed to say I was very misty-eyed walking in after 35 years.

I'll try to hold it together this time.

In honor of that I'm posting my oldest Rangers memorabilia pieces, three matchbook covers featuring players my father saw as a kid in the 30s. The Rangers were the only team he and I 'shared' and I will always remember his rule on weekends when the Rangers were playing....'No TV or radio allowed'. Together we would watch the same-day taped game broadcast, usually on the basement TV. He didn't want the result known beforehand. I had usually snuck a listen to my transistor radio or learned the score from my friends on the block. I never told him though!

Ott Heller, Murray Murdoch and Butch Keeling played together in the old MSG for most of the 30s. The Blueshirts were a fairly successful franchise in those days. Between their joining the modern NHL in 1926 and 1941 they won three Stanley Cups and made the playoffs in all but one season.

Ott Heller's actual first name was 'Ehrhardt' and was known as 'Ott', never Otto, at least in every Rangers reference that I own. The matchbook cover is in error.

Heller, Murdoch and Keeling played together on one Cup-winning club...the 1932/33 Rangers. And no, I am not old enough to have seem them in person. I only go back to about 1958 as a fan.

I love the reference to a team nickname I've never heard, the Garden Horsemen, on Murdoch's cover. I don't know and can't find any backstory on that. But I like it.

As I type this early in the week the Rangers are looking even worse than I expected them to look so far. But win or lose the game I'm watching on Sunday this is my team, always and forever. #LGR

Saturday, October 20, 2018

One card...but it's a beauty

At least I think it's a beauty. Which is why I bought a card of a player I've never heard of from a set I'll never probably buy another card from.

It's a 1911 Obak cigarette T212 card of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Curt Bernard. And I don't know him from Adam. But that fairgrounds background is just fantastic. I chose it from a group of these because that painting is so well done.

This paragraph comes from Wikipedia (links theirs) and if it's correct I may know the park shown in the distance:

From 1903 through 1925, the team played at 15,000-seat Washington Park (also known as Chutes Park), just south of downtown Los Angeles. Both the team and the park were founded by James Furlong "Jim" Morley (1869–1940), an entrepreneur involved in bowling, prize fighting, billiards, and gemstones as well as baseball.
Assuming that is the Angels home stadium it's Chutes Park.The above Wiki passage isn't clear but the link makes it plain the Chutes Park was their home through the 1910 season and Washington Park is a different structure on the same grounds opened in 1911.

Barnard was about a decade removed from his two 20ish game runs with the New York Giants. The first coming in 1900 and he had another shot the following season. But his 15 year pro career was spent primarily in the minors and mostly in the PCL with Los Angeles.

The Cardboard Connection has a nice, concise article on the Obak cards which were issued over three years with each year's set having a distinctive back. This 1911 is part of the last Obak issue. Only PCL players appear on these. Back then the PCL was within spitting distance of being a third 'major' league. That CC article link above discusses that.

The red-backed 1911 group is the only one of the three to feature stats and a small write-up of the player on the front.

I wish I had the resources to go after more cigarette cards from this era. They are just wonderful pieces of history. I know not everyone is enthralled by them but I certainly am. My collection isn't very big. I have a couple dozen T206s, half that many T205s and a scattering of others. This is my first, and likely only, T212.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

1953 Bowman Color is hard to beat

I stuck my nose into someone else's Twitter thread the other day when the subject of buying a nice vintage card came up.

I tossed out the idea of getting a '53 Bowman and did so by posting my Stan Musial in the thread. Hell, I'll put it here again because I love it so much. My blog post on this card from earlier this year had some of my other '53 Color Bowmans. Click and scroll if you want to.

I was reminded that I had some new additions to my '53 Bowman Color collection that I have scanned but not posted. These came (if memory serves) as part of a group of miscellaneous and oddball stuff I bought in a sale benefiting a dog rescue group.

Check 'em out:

That is Herman Wehmeier above with the chewed up corner. I didn't scan the back but his makes note of the fact that he's a 'hometown boy' having been born in Cincinnati. That's the Polo Grounds he's in. You can see the apartment buildings that were behind the third base side of the place through the openings in the walls of the upper deck.

Next up, Lou Kretlow is posing in 'the big bahlpaak' as Red Barber called it with his Mississippi drawl back in the day. Kretlow was a Sooner who was signed by the Tigers and pitched for them, the Browns, Orioles and A's in addition to the White Sox. This page has a clip of him, Mickey Mantle and Joe Black playing in a Florida golf tournament for ballplayers. Kretlow appears at the end being interviewed as the winner. The whole clip lasts less than a minute.

A last note on Kretlow. The back of the card mentions that he was 4-4 for the Sox in 1953 but adds that his ERA, "the best test of a pitcher's ability", was 2.96 and winning my old-school-stat heart.

Lastly we have the best known of the three pitchers, Joe Nuxhall. Nuxsie is, of course, well known as the youngest player to appear in a big league game. He was 15 when he debuted in 1944. The card speaks to that fact and adds that he returned to his high school team after that stint thus becoming "undoubtedly the only boy ever to play in the majors then to resume high school sports." Indeed. After his playing days he was a long-time radio broadcaster for the Reds.

This is another great Polo Grounds posed shot.

If I ever hit the Texas Lottery (unlikely since I don't buy tickets) I'd find a nice, ungraded 1953 Bowman Color set and have the time of my life putting it in pages. Other than that I'd never attempt to chase it. That wonderful Mickey Mantle card will never otherwise be within my reach. And I'm not chasing a set I can't finish.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Joe DiMaggio and Friends in 5 Minutes?

Five Minute Time Begins.......NOW

OK, I'm not sure who's idea this was and looking it up will waste time but several bloggers are doing the 5 minute post thing so I'll give it a shot. Please don't be a smart ass and comment that most of my post look like I did them in 13 seconds. I already know that.

I've added several postcard sized cards recently. Here are three more.

A Joe DiMaggio Exhibit bought from a Net54 guy. My first career-era Joe D piece.

R314 Goudy Wide Pen of Joe and his manager, Joe McCarthy. My last bio of Joe said he had a rocky relationship with McCarthy.

Chuck Klein R314 came along with the Joe D/McCarthy. A fun addition. I have no good info on Chuck.

I'm prepping for a vacation so this five minute thing is a good idea.

20 seconds left!! I made it!!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Beatles Exhibit cards

It's Saturday morning and I'm busy getting ready for a vacation trip so I figured I'd toss up a few scans I've had kicking around for awhile. These Beatles Exhibit cards are pretty common (and pretty unattractive) but I was a big fan back in the day and these are a nice, cheap, career contemporary memorabilia piece of each of the Fab Four.

They are blank-backed as are most all Exhibits. The stat-back sports versions being the notable exception. 

Maybe it's me projecting but it seems that these cards catch the four of them as the teen public saw them back in the 60s. George is bemused, Paul sort of dreamy, John is serious .....

..and Ringo, well Ringo is morose and maybe befuddled. In other words he was looking like Ringo.

The Exhibit Supply Company that produced these things just took whatever pics were available, in this case some sort of publicity stills, and made the cards rather haphazardly. Thus the sigs are cut off on these and every other example I've ever seen. Speaking of the Beatles and Saturday mornings....Joe Shlabotnik made a Beatles' 'FrankenAlbum' with a fun series of Saturday morning posts about a year ago. If you are a Beatles fan and somehow missed it you can click that link. And speaking further of the Beatles and Saturday mornings.... they were the stars of a cartoon series that ran for several years beginning in 1965 I think. The four 'moptops' (haven't heard them called that in a long time) looked like this:


YouTube videos of the cartoons tend to come and go apparently due to copyright issues with the music that was included. But as of now there is a full segment available. Enjoy.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hotel Show Bat Guys

I finally made another hotel card show this past Saturday after life things had gotten in the way of the past several. It was good to catch up with my friend Darryl who puts on these shows.

One of his regular table-holders wasn't there though so Darryl had tables on which he was able to spread out a lot more of the stuff he normally doesn't bring with him. That included a whole bunch of 'action' figures/statuettes/toys or whatever you want to call them. There were a lot of Starting Lineup-type sports figures but I wasn't interested in those. The Batman ones, well, they caught my eye for sure.

Darryl had them marked cheap and had a BOGO sign there as well. So for a couple of bucks I added two Dark Knight toys. They are metal and feel (and look) pretty well made. Of course I didn't have the patience to photograph them still in the packages but they came with cards which ended up in my batman collection binder.

I realized that the pic at the top gives no perspective so with that in mind I just took this photo with a card in it. It's Batman (the Animated Series version) with his friend, Solly Drake.

The packaging and the backs of the cards show the figures are Kenner products and the cards are from SkyBox. A bit of google work shows the toy series, Action Masters,  included other action heroes but in my book Batman is the ONLY action hero!!

Oh, and I found a Topps Batman movie set sticker in one of Darryl's non-sports boxes.

Batman is The Man! I picked up a large Batman sketch and another sketch card recently. But the sketch was the worst-packages eBay purchase to ever show up at my door. Well, second worst. And it now is sitting between a couple of coffee table books recovering until its presentable. I'll get it scanned one day soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Ripped From The Headlines

I think is the second Topps Now card I bought this year. A few Fridays ago I was at the Astros-Angels game when Yuli Gurriel hit a pair of homers. At some point, the scoreboard listed the top fantasy point-getters for the baseball day thus far and there were two Gurriels at the top. 

I pointed out to my son what I thought was just an odd coincidence and he informed me that those two Gurriels were, in fact, brothers. Lourdes Gurriel of the Jays had hit two homers and they became the first brothers to do it in the same day. I've always said that the only Topps Now cards that would interest me were those that I had a direct connection to*. This one falls that category.

On a side note...the coolest thing about the game was the fact that we had awesome (and free!!) seats. Oh, and Mike Trout hit a very impressive homer.

I wouldn't normally post one of these but I was intrigued by the back of it. I noticed that Topps puts a hologram (?) of their logo there. I hadn't seen that in previous Topps Now cards and found it an interesting that they would do that. Are these things being forged? If so, why? Seems like it would be a lot of work for not much return. But what do I know?

Note that the top picture, of the front of the card, is a scan. I used my phone to catch the hologram effect in the second picture.

That's all I got. Time to go work through the hotel show spoils.

*=I sometimes end sentences with prepositions. Its just how I roll.