Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"With My 1st Pick in the '84 draft..."

Tonite marks the official start of my fantasy football league's 33rd season. Yup, we've been at it a long time. The owners in my league are my college friends or friends of my college friends who have been involved for many years. Half the league will be together here in Houston for the draft, the other half will be drafting online. Such is the way of the world these days.

We used to all be together and draft at someone's home or apartment or occasionally at a restaurant that would give us a room to use. One of our favorite things was drafting on Labor Day with the Jerry Lewis Telethon as a distraction and sending out for pizza or grilling burgers.

Those of you that can't remember life before the internet will have to trust me when I say that back in the Dark Ages not everyone had the latest football info or up-to-the-minute cheat sheets and depth charts. Most guys bought a copy of Street and Smith Football or a similar magazine printed months earlier and drafted from the dated info it contained. Drafting a guy who'd been cut the week before wasn't unusual, especially if you didn't track the transactions in the paper every day.

If you made the effort to find a Pro Football Weekly season preview issue you were way ahead of most everyone else. Those things usually hit the shelves a day or so before the draft. I can remember checking for it at some pretty sketchy downtown Houston "newsstands" the night before the draft.

Given all that I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise when, during the first round of our 1984 draft, one of our owners took Dolphin runningback David Overstreet. He's been a star at the University of Oklahoma, played a couple of seasons with Montreal of the CFL (including a Rookie of the Year 1981 campaign) and, after finally settling his contract issues with Miami, showed promise with the '83 Dolphins.

Then as now runningbacks were a valued fantasy commodity and drafting a young star in a keeper league like ours could pay dividends for years. So, all in all, Oversteet made sense as a first round pick. Except for one small detail. David Overstreet, you see, had died about three months prior to our draft when he ran off the road on a north Texas highway and plowed his car into a gas pump island.

The instant the Overstreet pick was announced by the sadly out-of-touch owner eleven sets of eyes locked on him. I guess we wanted to see if he was making a poor attempt at fantasy football draft humor. After a few seconds it was apparent that he had made a serious pick of Overstreet and hilarity ensued.

I'm not proud of it, Overstreet's death was the cutting short of a promising life and he left behind a young son, but I have to admit that the 1984 Ed Hughes League draft will forever live on among our league's treasured moments.

The posted card is, as far as I know, the only card of David Overstreet ever issued. It's from the 1981 JOGO set of CFL players. I picked it up on eBay earlier this summer.

The '81 set was the first for the company. Last season they issued their 31st annual set. On their website they claim to be the second longest continuous run sportscard brand. I think it's pretty cool that they link to the photographers they use for their cards.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sorry for that Sosa thing

In order to make up for the disturbing Sammy Sosa pic posted Sunday here are some more of the lovely ladies of the Garbaty Cigarette Moderne Schönheitsgalerie card set.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Pair of Sosa Rookies

With a couple of major leaguers recently being tossed for having excess testosterone I got to thinking about how many cards of players who ended their career 'under a cloud' I have in my box of junk wax era stars.

When I googled Sosa this picture came up. WTH??

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I wasn't planning to post these

But after reading Night Owl's latest entry I feel empowered. It IS my collection and if I want to show off some off-the-beaten-path cards then dammit that's just what I'll do. Normally I'd keep these mid-30s era German issued cards under wraps. They show European and American actresses and singers.

But here they are. I found them at an antiques mall while my wife was looking for a headboard. I bought a bundled lot from a guy for about $10. There were 35 of them and I've seen them go for a couple of bucks apiece on eBay.

We enjoy old movies and recognized about half of the subjects shown on these cards. Frankly, the cards themselves are pretty darn attractive. Colorful, embossed, and they contain really nice artwork. Whoever did the colorizing of the original pictures has a nice eye.

A little research turned up some amazing background on these cards and the issuing company, the Garbaty Cigarette Company. This vintage card website tells an interesting tale of the company's founder and his family being forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1938, a few short years after these were published.

From that page:
In the center of Nazi Germany's pre-war years, the Garbaty Cigarette  Company released three sets of incredibly striking cigarette cards: Moderne Schönheitsgalerie (Gallery of Modern Beauty) in 1934; Galerie Schöner-Frauen Des Films (Gallery of Beautiful Women in Film) in 1936; and Film-Lieblinge (Film Favorites) in 1937. Each card has a full color, embossed surface, while the back of each card informs the collector of how to purchase an album (cost: one Reichmark) to house the cards. A cigarette brand logo and other information about the cost of the cigarette boxes in which the cards were inserted also appear on the backs. Interestingly, the word “Garbaty” is nowhere to be seen. While most cards measure 2 1/16 X 2 7/16, a select forty in the 200-card Film-Lieblinge set are much larger, measuring 2 7/16 X 3 1/4.
A few of the nicer cards and an assortment of card-backs:

OK, if you're still reading I can give you a sports tie-in with these. See the top card, the beautiful Leah Ray? She was married for more than 50 years to Sonny Werblin, owner of the New York Jets.

Now you can make fun of me for having these in my collection. But I have to tell you that I'm very secure in my manhood. I've been known to wear a pink golf polo without shame.

Friday, August 24, 2012

1970 Topps Vida Blue/Gene Tenace Rookie

Did you know.....

...that Vida Blue was an All-State quarterback in Louisiana during his high school days and was recruited by several colleges including my school, the University of Houston? Supposedly he was close to a commit to UH but the death of his father caused him to reconsider and he signed a pro baseball contract to provide an income for his family.

...that Gene Tenace's actual name is Fiore Gino Tennaci? He went by the American-ized translation of 'Fury Gene Tenace', later becoming Gene Tenace in the pro ranks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1960 Johnny Callison

When I was a little bitty kid, probably about 1958/59 I decided that I was going to be different than my Dad. Not that I didn't love him, I just didn't want to be another in a gaggle of Yankee fans. So, after about three minutes of thought, I settled on the Orioles as 'my' team. I had been born there and nobody I knew was an Oriole fan so I figured it was a perfect match. And I've been an Oriole fan for over fifty years now.

But I was also aware that there were two leagues so I figured it would be OK to have a favorite team over in the National League as well. I chose the Phillies. I have absolutely no recollection as to why. But the Phillies it was. And for those few years that I actually was a Phils fan, i.e. till about 1965 or so, Johnny Callison was my favorite Phillie. 

I don't know if it was because he was their best player. Maybe I just thought he was cool. My infatuation with the Phils lasted until Sandy Koufax won me away and the Dodgers became my #2 team. 

Anyway, here is one of my favorite players from one of my favorite sets, the 1960 Johnny Callison. I think I picked this up in a vintage card draft that Crinkly Wrappers (retired blogger) ran. The bonus is that Callison is wearing his terrific 'red outlined letters' White Sox hat and the Yankee Stadium scoreboard is in the background. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Well, SOMEBODY liked the stuff

Got home from the football games Saturday night and discovered that my dog had found the Kellogg's box-back cards on the chair in my office. Looks like he didn't think the vanilla flavored cereal was so bad. He liked it enough to chew up the cardboard even though the nasty stuff it contained was long gone.

Doesn't matter I hadn't planned on keeping this anyway.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Reading is Fundamental

A little while back I bought what I thought was a pair of mini Obak cards off eBay. They were some sort of promo cards from the Obak booth at the 2011 National. 'They' were cheap and featured U.S. Presidents playing college sports so I figured 'What the heck? Why Not?'

Turns out the 'two' cards were just one two-sided card. LOL @ me. That'll teach me to shop late at night and not read the whole description. 

No big deal because I still can show off a couple of my presidential campaign buttons. First a slightly scarred and 1960 Kennedy/Johnson with a rusty back.

And a plain jane President Gerald Ford from 1976. Did you know that President Ford is the only man to serve as president without being elected either president or vice president? 

Gerald Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as VP when Agnew resigned in 1973 and became President when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. He lost his re-election bid to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Case Keenum

I'll be at the Texans preseason game tonight. I hate preseason games and resent having to pay full price as part of the package but not enough to quit being a season ticket holder. I only go because I want to keep my seats filled as they have been for every game the team has played. But nothing good usually comes of NFL preseason games. Usually nothing, but not always nothing.

In a preseason game in 2010 Arian Foster ran all over the Cowboys. I mean he looked super. At the time he wasn't a lock to play over Steve Slaton. He had finished the '09 season before with a 100 yard game against New England but that was a game the Pats seemed to sleepwalk through on their way to the playoffs. But that night against the Cowboys I decided that I'd grab Foster for my fantasy team as early as possible. Lots of eyebrows were raised when I drafted him in the third round.

Tonight Case Keenum, like myself a University of Houston alum, is supposed to get significant work at the qb spot. He's in a battle with John Beck for the #3 slot. I suspect he'll end up on the practice squad (just like Foster did in 2009) but I've seen enough of Keenum to never sell him short. He has a lot of heart and desire.

This will be one of the few exhibition games that I don't doze through from my seat upstairs.

Kellogg's 2012 Team USA Olympic Cards

Since I'm a guy who avoids the Olympics as much as I can (they let the pros in, use crooked refs and judges and never show wrestling anymore) I'm not as burned out as most of you probably are. So when I passed this box of Kellogg's 2012 Team USA cereal on a Kroger endcap I was intrigued. It's been awhile since I've seen any food issues. Particularly cereal box issues. I know there are some, maybe a lot, but I haven't bought much cereal since my kids grew up.

I had assumed there are different cards on different boxes but a cursory googling didn't help me there. I only found pics of the same cards I got on my box. I DID find folks selling these boxes on eBay for $8.00 or so, or at least trying to.

EDIT: I found a thread on some card forum that indicated that these cards were also printed on at least one other Kellogg's cereal, Rice Krispies. The poster showed a scan of the front of the box and there was nothing there to indicate the cards were on the back. I find that kind of weird.

There are eight Olympians on this box, six of whom I've never heard of. I remember Summer Sanders as a swimmer and kids show host and you simply can't avoid the beach volleyball women (I don't know why that's in the Olympics but that's another story). The rest don't register with me but I'm sure they do to some of you.

Kellogg found some pretty good action shots of the athletes to use here. The 'Team Kellogg's' logo is a bit too big but the cards are attractive for a promo issue. The cards are not standard size measuring 2 3/8 by 2 3/4. The back of the cards contain a blurb about how each of the athletes got their 'start' in their sport.

Obviously my skills with a pair of scissors isn't much better than it was back when I was chasing Post cereal cards. And before you ask, the cereal itself tastes pretty bad. A 'vanilla' flavored cereal sounded odd and tasted that way as well. Most of it ended up in the trash although my dog seemed to like the handful I gave him.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot... Summer Sanders still looks pretty good.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Sadaharu Oh playing card, circa 1969

Until I'm able to afford a true Sadaharu Oh card I'll have to let this one serve as the one example in my collection. This is a playing card issued in Japan during Oh's career. It came out of a deck of 52 and they had different Japanese players. It only cost a couple of bucks. A true Sadaharu Oh Menko card goes for hundreds. 

The reverse shows it was just a run-of-the-mill playing card. But it's an "Oh" card and it was issued when he was still active so it's fine by me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sandy is here

All in one piece and taking his rightful place on the Shelf of Heroes after first arriving the in a rather dismaying state last week.

I know that's the news you've been waiting to hear.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Drysdale Dilemma

Flipping through my vintage cards I found I had three 1969 Don Drysdale cards. I probably have a hundred of so vintage cards that I've kept from my youth. How I still have three Drysdales is a mystery. I don't remember being that much of a fan of his back then. Late 60s/early 70s was high school and college time. I didn't exactly collect cards religiously as I had prior to that. Plus, I was 101% focused on the Orioles then.

As for the cards themselves, they are all in about equal states of what most of us call 'well loved' condition. I think I'll keep one and flip the others. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

T51 Murad Cigarette GWU Rowing

Cards this beaten up are kind of like 'cave paintings'. They are not nearly as nice as they were when they were created but you can still appreciate them today. This is from the circa-1910 series of Murad cards issues as premiums with cigarette purchases. I find them unique in that they cover such a wide range of both schools and sports. I mean how many college rowing cards from a century ago are there? These smaller cards, cataloged as T51, have a larger sibling which carries the T6 designation

But I bought this one in particular because my Dad was a loyal George Washington University alum, Class of 1951. He attended on the G.I. bill, joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity and was called 'Pops' by his fraternity brothers because he was four years older than most of them since he had been in the service. 

After I bought the card I was looking over the checklist (this card is part of the third series, 51-75) I saw that one of the schools listed on the back is Juniata College in Pennsylvania. My mother grew up just a few miles from the campus. Just a bonus that added to the card's appeal for me.

I doubt I'll collect others from this set although there are some pretty nice ones available. The bigger name schools' cards are costlier than I'd be willing to pay. But as a cool card representing my father's school, I sure like this one.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bill Bradley pin and cards

I don't like the nastiness of politics but I am fascinated by politicians, particularly those that run for President. That's what's behind my collection of campaign pins and Presidential biographies. The Bill Bradley pin is part of a big haul I pulled in recently. 

Bradley ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2000. He served as U.S. Senator from New Jersey for three terms. He's an author, Air Force Reserve veteran, Rhodes scholar, radio host, Starbucks board member and investment bank partner. Busy guy. 

But this post ties into sports directly because Bill Bradley is also a former Princeton hoops star, NBA player with the NY Knicks, Basketball Hall of Famer, and timely because he was an Olympic basketball Gold Medal winner at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo.

I have maybe a dozen Bradley basketball cards total. Here are two. The first one is a 1973 Topps. 

This one is from the 1983 Greatest Olympians set. Bradley looks very much like a young Johnny Carson in this one. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

1960 Topps Mike Cuellar

I know that sometimes this seems like the "Mike Cuellar Blog" but it's just that I have a lot of his memorabilia on hand. I've mentioned several times how much of a favorite he was.

Cuellar was on my mind again just just this past Friday because one of my favorite bloggers, William from Foul Bunt, featured an Cuellar autographed ball he picked up at the National.

I've also mentioned how much I enjoy the 1960 Topps set so the Cuellar card would naturally be one I'd cherish. Ignoring for a moment the fact that Topps used the same picture twice on the front of the card, check out the cartoon. They show a pitcher wearing a Castro-like beard and refer to Cuellar being discovered while pitching for the Cuban Army team. I guess they were trying to be timely as Fidel Castro had taken over Cuba on New Year's day of 1959.

And it looks like Topps had one, and only one, Cuellar photo in their files. The '60 card repeats the same picture  (twice) that first appeared on the '59 Cuellar 'Rookie'.

Over on my Topps '59 blog I related a story of how i came to be sitting next to Mike Cuellar at a game in the Astrodome. And somewhere in my boxes of 'stuff' is a ball he tossed to my brothers and I in the old Arlington Stadium. We were seated in the first row of the outfield stands and Cuellar was doing some warning track laps during batting practice. My two younger brothers would shout "Mike, throw me a ball!!" every time he passed under us. Eventually he did.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Oh no!! Don't look at this, Night Owl!!

I was so damn excited. I scored a Sandy Koufax bobblehead off eBay and it came to my door in just a couple of days. Unfortunately, just like my Frank Robinson bobble, Sandy showed up broken. Dammit.

I've contacted the seller. Now I'll wait and see. The seller has a 'doesn't accept returns' notation on his listing but what about broken items? How have you/would you handle something like this?

Anyway, here is poor hand-less Sandy. No matter how this comes out I've learned my lesson. No more bobbleheads through the mail.

UPDATE... tonite I was contacted by the seller and he's sending a replacement on Monday. I hope he packs that one better

Friday, August 10, 2012

Here Comes Football

I'm sure I'll lose a few people right here. Now that NFL camps are active and the preseason games are rolling it becomes tougher for me to keep the posting momentum going, particularly on the '59 Topps blog.

Last fall my posts over there died out because I was, as usual, wrapped up with running my fantasy league, the Texans games and the NFL in general. My goal right now is to not let that happen this year. I'd like to continue to post three to four cards a week over there. Some posts may be short but I know that if I stop posting with the intention to just let a few days pass I'll fall behind.

Meanwhile over here I'll continue to throw stuff against the wall and hope something sticks.

Here is one of my rare shiny football cards. This recent eBay claim is a meaningful one for me. I took a chance and drafted Kurt Warner with the last pick of the '99 draft. Took a lot of crap for it, too.

Warner got me two of my league titles. Thanks, Kurt.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Young Cy" Young

Here is an eBay pick-up from a week ago. 1906 Fan Craze Irving Young. He pitched from 1905-1911, mostly for Boston of the N.L. He holds the post 1900 record for the most wins in a season by a pitcher with a below .550 record. He went 20-21 in 1905. 

According to his SABR page he was known as "Young Cy" or "Cy the Second" Those are references, of course, to Cy Young who was raking up a bazillion wins for the Red Stockings in those days. 

It's in super condition, looks even better than my scan. I almost always break cards out of cases but I may leave this one as is, at least for awhile.

Here's a little about the 1904/1906 Fan Craze cards from an auction catalog:

The Fan Craze playing card sets feature what many collectors consider the finest portrait poses of turn-of-the-century ballplayers ever produced on baseball cards. Fan Craze were issued in 1904 (the American League set with backs printed in blue) and in 1906 (the National League set with backs printed in red) by the Fan Craze Company of Cincinnati. These playing cards were designed to be used to play an exciting indoor baseball game. Fan Craze have a special significance to collectors. They are one of the few sets issued in the earliest years of the twentieth century, and the set includes many players who appear in no other card sets. Because of its year(s) of issue, it is also one of the few sets which include a blend of 1910-era stars along with players who made their mark in the nineteenth century, such as Joe Kelley and Jake Beckley, who in 1906 were just winding down their playing careers. Fan Craze are one of the few and one of the most important issues of the era, and in the opinion of many these cards also represent one of the best values of all cards issued in the early 1900s.
I have never owned one of these before. It was hard to pass up a 106 year old card in this kind of shape for the price.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cheap Tobacco T205 Art Fletcher


Here is my latest eBay pickup. These 1911 'Gold Borders' are a favorite of mine. There are some obvious flaws but only one encroaches on the card past the border. I'm far from being 'condition conscious'  so I'll pick these up all day long and twice on Sunday. At $16 shipped I couldn't pass it up.

Art Fletcher was just establishing himself with the NY Giants when this card was issued. He went on to be the Giants' starting shortstop for a decade, finished with the Phils and then became their manager.

Here is Baseball Library's write-up of Art Fletcher.
Fletcher was John McGraw's shortstop for over a decade, providing the Giants with brilliant fielding, dependable hitting, and on-field leadership. A caustic, belligerent copy of McGraw during the game, off the field he was a non-profane, churchgoing family man. As the frustrated manager of four second-division Phillies teams, Fletcher's final gesture was the drawing of a caricature of umpire Bill Klem as a catfish, a comparison the jowly, heavy-lidded Klem loathed. Fletcher became Miller Huggins's assistant in 1927, and remained a Yankee coach until 1945. When Huggins died in 1929, Fletcher took over as interim manager, but refused all other offers to manage again.
Here are a couple more Fletcher images from around the web:

1921 D350-3 Standard Biscuit

An image from 1911 at the Polo Grounds
                [Art Fletcher (New York NL) prior to the World Series at the Polo Grounds, NY, 1911 (baseball)] (LOC), Hi Res Wallpaper, Free desktop computer wallpapers of cars,ect

and finally Art Fletcher shares a spot on on a 1912 Hassan Triple Folder T202 Baseball Card with Christy Mathewson. The front and back of the Fletcher portion is identical except for the border.