Monday, December 30, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

One by one

Seems my favorites are passing all the more frequently as they (and I) get up in age. In the past year or so it has been Mike Cuellar and Earl Weaver and I saw today that Paul Blair has died.

In my eye Blair has had no equal when it comes to playing centerfield. His ability to go back on balls hit over his head allowed him to play so shallow that he could take away bloop shots that would normally fall in for hits.

I'm sure in the next day or so some of his contemporaries on the Orioles, particularly the pitchers, will remark on how Blair helped them win. My Dad, who saw a lot of baseball, said Blair was as good as anyone he'd ever seen as an outfielder. High praise from my Yankee fan ol' man.

My favorite memory of Paul Blair comes from the very first post-season game I ever attended in person, Game One of the 1969 ALCS in Baltimore. Blair won the game for the Orioles with a perfect two out bunt in the bottom of the 12th that scored Mark Belanger.

What a thrill it was to be there that afternoon. I'll never forget that day.

One Man's 'Poor'.... another man's "Looks perfectly fine to me!".

And such was the case for this latest addition to my Billy Pierce PC.

This 1963 Topps Series Foes is not part of the World Series subset but rather it's a stand-alone special. Bill Stafford and Pierce faced off in Game Three of the '62 Series with the Yankees' righthanded 14 game winner coming out on top.

My guy Pierce pitched well through six innings, not allowing a Yankee runner (they had just three) past second base. But he was done in by three straight singles in the bottom of the 7th and wasn't helped much by back-to-back outfield errors by Wille McCovey and Felipe Alou.

The Yanks behind a strong effort from Stafford won, 3-2. Pierce would return to the mound in Game Six and show his stuff. That game has a card in the Series subset that I'll feature soon.

My entry title refers to the eBay listing of this card as 'poor'. It looked pretty good to me in the pics so I took a chance and picked it up via 'buy it now' for a few dollars shipped. I'm pretty happy with the condition. It's in nicer shape than some of the cards in my '59 set that I thought were good enough not to consider upgrading.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

1991 Star Pics.... Junk in a box

Here is another of my many "Why did I buy this?" finds I've made while recently digging through boxes. It was something I sent off for I believe but I might have picked it up at a card shop. 112 cards packaged in a box. Mostly college 'stars' with a few 'flashback' cards of guys who were already in the NFL. Autographed cards were seeded into random boxes, mine didn't have one. 

Lots and lots of unknown college linemen and such. A few cards of name players crop up including a mullet-headed Brett Favre. He majored in Special Ed. Here's an odd fact... Favre's Southern Mississippi team played just two home games in his senior season. They went 7-4 and beat two ranks SEC teams on the road, Alabama and Auburn.

Herman Moore was stud for the Lions in the early/mid 90s. I'm reminded of him when I watch Andre Johnson play, and not because they both played at Miami.

The only Husker in the set, Mike Croel. Go Big Red.

Here is one of the flashback cards, Emmitt  Smith. Troy Aikman has a flashback card, too. The others were Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Jeff George.

Leigh Steinberg, Agent. Who the hell wants cards of pro agents? There were several in the set. Steinberg was easily the most well known agent of the era.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Billy Pierce 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes

Here is the latest 99 cent addition to my Billy Pierce collection. It's listed as the '94 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes Pierce but that isn't mentioned on the card. I have another one or two out of this set, the Joe Garagiola is one of them.

Not a bad card for a buck. Nice wind-up pose there on the front, very 50's for sure. The floating head shot shows him in his Giants cap and it's repeated on the back. I hadn't noticed until now the unique stat setup on the card. The three lines of numbers cover his 'Greatest Season' (1957), average season and career totals. It's a pretty neat way of summarizing a players' career on these sets that feature retired stars.

I believe, but can't be certain, the Pierce was the Sox' starter in the first MLB game I ever saw in person. This July 24, 1960 doubleheader at Yankee Stadium fits the memories I have of my first day at a big league ballpark. I have lots of ticket stubs and old programs from games I saw as a kid. Nothing from that day though. I know it was at Yankee Stadium against Chicago, I sure I saw a homer from Mickey Mantle, my Dad loved doubleheaders. Since I don't think I saw a game in 1959 I'm pretty certain this is the one.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I was in Target last night and as always I wandered over to the card aisle. I found something I wasn't familiar with. Topps Strata for 2013. I had no idea what it was all about but the box looked freshly opened, didn't appear to have had one pack touched yet. So I took the plunge, literally. I picked one pack from the top and then dug my grubby fingers down and pulled out a second one from near the middle of the box. I don't know why I do that, but I always do when pulling packs from retail boxes. I'll usually buy packs from two separate boxes if two are open (which at Target is rare). 

I opened them at home and the first card out of the first pack was David Wilson. He was followed by these two guys:

The Chunky Soup guy....

...and the guy who would be another Megatron if Manning didn't have six other legit targets at his disposal.

And then these three:

Well, that's cool, a trio of quarterbacks, two of which I can plug into my "Fantasy football guys I've owned" binder. I have plenty of Flaccos and Cutlers but I like some variety in card styles in my binder pages.

And then it was on to the next pack. Let's see, who's going to be the first card?

Oh oh, a dupe. Just my luck, two packs and I get a dupe. Then came the next two:

For real? Oh, c'mon man! three dupes right off the top. Now I'm pissed annoyed. Well there are three cards left and I know what you're thinking because I was thinking the same thing. No way in hell can it be an exact duplicate pack. 

..... and it wasn't. 

The next three cards were these:

The bad news is that these guys hold no interest for me. The good news is they were not Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler or RGIII.

I think that the next time I buy a couple of packs out of a retail box I'll just scoop up adjoining pack and hope for the best. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Drake's Cakes Kenny Singleton (also paging Ana Lu!)

I was poking around the net for a project I am doing and came across this little blurb on Ken Singleton's Wikipedia page:
In the 1986 edition of the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, James' wife Susan McCarthy picked Ken Singleton and Carlton Fisk as the best looking players in the 1970s. In a subsequent edition, James wrote that, upon reading the entry, Singleton sent her a thank you card.
That made me laugh. I was a big fan of Singleton when he was spending a decade as an Oriole but it never crossed my mind that he'd be admired for his looks. His swing, sure, his class, definitely, but not his looks. Shows what an un-observant guy I am.

That's a Drake's Cakes Big Hitters Singleton from 1982, the heyday of oddball licensed and unlicensed food issues. Here is the back. Looks like a typical Topps card.

BTW.... when I think of Drake's Cakes I fondly remember these:

Icing-less cupcakes that I ate regularly with an RC Cola after throwing my Newark Evening News route as a kid. Good times, baby.

Here are a few shots of Singleton as a player and today. What say you, Ana Lu?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Caption this.....

I meant to include this in my 100 count hockey repack post from a week or so ago. Rick Cornacchia is an Italian who played college and Junior hockey in Canada and then coached for a decade in the Ontario Hockey League. I may not own any less valuable card than this one. I mean, a junior hockey coach's card? Seriously?

But it does have the redeeming value of being quirky. Gotta love the causal conversation with the ref, eavesdropping trainer and soda drinking fan (or team official? usher?) in the background. It's so stupid, it's cool. For the curious here is the back:

And here are a few more from that repack:

This Gretzky card is actually the Kings' checklist from the Upper Deck set. And below are more goalies. I like goalies.

and finally... this was included as one of the 100 cards. I feel cheated, on multiple levels.