Saturday, October 26, 2013

1955 Billy Pierce

Here is the latest addition to my Billy Pierce collection. The '55 Bowman of course is pretty unique with the TV set motif. It's one of those sets I feel like I'm supposed to love because it is so different and I do to a certain extent. But to tell the truth while I like it well enough now but I was more into it as a kid even though I wasn't collecting in 1955 (I'm not quite that old). I really don't feel the need to collect many cards from it. Maybe that's why I took so long to add this one.

It came cheap from either eBay or COMC, I can't remember which. It's a bit off center (ok, maybe more than a bit) and has some scuffing but overall it's still worthy of a spot in my binder. As the card notes Pierce was coming off a less than stellar year, at least by what would become his standards. His numbers dipped in '54 almost across the board.

But in 1955 he was back on track winning 15 games and leading the league or tying for the lead in ERA, strikeouts, strikeout/walk ratio and WHIP. He started the All Star Game for the AL that year in Milwaukee's County Stadium. He went the max three innings and fanned three. Red Schoendienst led off the game with a single and was tossed out trying to advance. Pierce faced the minimum allowed by retiring eight straight NL hitters. He left with a 4-0 lead but the AL couldn't hold it and the NL won 6-5 on Stan Musial's walkoff dinger leading off the bottom of the 12th.

Billy smiles for the camera in an empty Yankee Stadium. One reason I collect Billy Pierce is that he seems like such a pleasant guy. But I bet he was a bad ass on the mound.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

1890 N224 Kinney Cigarette Military Uniforms

I'm a sucker for vintage stuff like this. These are N224 Cigarette cards put out circa 1890 by Kinney Tobacco of New York. I read someplace that there are over 600 in the set. They come in two varieties, with a white-ish background and the colored backgrounds as these are.

These came to me for a song, and given the condition, that's probably a fair price. But I really don't care much about condition on items like this. Mint condition is cool and all but those plastic slabbed cards probably went straight from a smoker's pack to a box while these babies were probably begged from an uncle by a kid who lined them up, read the description, maybe traded some with friends. They were loved and appreciated by someone.

These are about the same size as American tobacco cards such as the T206 set. I'm partial to the two I have that portray uniforms of the Maryland State Militia and National Guard.

I'm posting this one oversized to show how nice it is and so you can read the printing.

My examples have two different backs. This is the descriptive back I guess you could call it. 

This is a checklist back. Looks like they issued these in 'collections' of fifty cards. Hard to make out the title line on this one but blown up it shows to be 'Collection No. 8'.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"O" It's "A" Shameless Plug

I'm not sure what possessed me to take on the responsibility of contributing to another blog. Hell, I can barely keep up with my two solo blogs. Add in my fantasy football commish and writing duties and I'm behind almost all the time. But I couldn't resist Jim from Downingtown's invite to add some posts to his 1963 Topps blog, so I bit.

Jim has also added Collective Troll as part of the blog so it should be fun. I'm definately third string on this team but I'll do what I can when called on. My supply of '63s is pretty limited. I've got the Orioles in the set of course, and a few star cards that are buried somewhere in my hobby closet. But I've picked up a few small, really cheap lots on eBay so I have some cards to keep things moving for awhile. If you are looking for NM examples you are going to be disappointed. My cheap lots were cheap for a reason.

The 1963 set is colorful and it is one I clearly recall collecting as a kid. I was a fifth grader at St. Mary's School in Nutley, NJ when the packs first hit the candy counter of Lee's Confectionary that spring. I'd use my milk money to pick up a pack as we waited for the city bus that took us to school and I'd open the pack on the way. I'm guessing that half the time I'd either lose the cards 'flipping' at recess or have them taken away by Sister Theresa during class. 

The Chuck Estrada card up top is a nice one. The pose that has him rubbing up the baseball is just a little different than most pitchers cards. I love the Orioles unis from that era. That cartoon bird on the sleeve just rocks. 

I have a few '63 cards posts up already. I hope you'll take a peek over there from time to time and let us know how we are doing. Thanks.

Meanwhile, here are a few of the more colorful cards from the little stack on my desk.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jim Palmer Rookie and Dinner Program

Happy Birthday to the best pitcher to ever don an Orioles' uniform. Above is his Topps rookie card. Below is one of my favorite Palmer items, an autographed program from a dinner held in his honor after he retired.

The program is full of full page photos, quotes and highlights from Palmers playing days. I was lucky enough to have him sign it in silver on the cover and he wrote an inscription inside to me and my son who is named Jim Palmer in his honor. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

1981 Eddie Murray 'Food Issue' Cards

1981 was a big year for food issues I guess. It predates what is considered the 'junk card era' by a few years. A bit later in the decade there were tons of boxed sets and over-produced mainstream issues. 

Topps is behind both of these cards, in fact the backs are nearly identical. The Drake's Cakes card has a Drake's logo in the upper right while the Squirt card below has the Topps logo. Both are very close to being identical to the regular issue card back.

Drake's Cakes were well known in my neck of the woods when I was growing up. I had a paper route delivering the Newark Evening News and every day when I finished I'd head to Lee's, the local candy/cigarette/newspaper/soda fountain hangout. A fountain Coke or bottled RC washed down a package of Yankee Doodles. Those were the icing-less cream filled cupcakes that Drake's made. Not being a fan of icing I much prefered Yankee Doodles to Hostess cupcakes. Sadly they appear to have vanished from the Drake's line-up.

That action shot of a ready-to-explode Murray on the Drake's card is pretty nice. He looks typically bad ass. 

Squirt soda had been around for decades. I remember seeing bottles as a kid and I see them today from time to time. Can't say I've ever tasted the stuff. It's a grapefruit soda and since I drink Fresca at times I might like Squirt. But back to the card. 

The cards came as two player panels with a hanger tag that (I assume) hung from the neck of either a quart bottle or one bottle in a siz-pack. I don't recall seeing them in stores and I don't have any in panel form. You can see the perforated left edge of the Murray which means it was the lower of the two cards on the panel.

Here is a look at a full panel. I found the picture thru Google Images.

Here is the regular '81 Murray back. Looks to be identical to the Squirt card back other than the card number. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

George Brett Wilson Glove card

One of the projects that has kept me 'off the grid' for much of the last month has been re-arranging my office/man cave/hobby room. Digging through box after box has turned up some interesting items. Many of which I hadn't seen in years (decades?) and whose origins are murky. (Anyone want a 1981 Red Sox(!) pocket schedule with Ralph Houk on the front?)

Anyway this George Brett-endorsed Wilson glove tag card turned up. I never owned the glove and have no idea how or why I picked up the card. These were attached to the glove with a piece of nearly indestructible plastic 'string' and I bet they still are but I'm not certain since I haven't shopped in the baseball equipment aisle in ages. 

There is no year listed but I'd guess the photo was taken prior to 1983 since that's the year the Royals switched from the arched 'Kansas City' on the road tops to the script 'Royals' wordmark. I think I can see the arched lettering through the airbrush job.

Wilson used this same photo on several other versions of a Brett glove tag. And I found what looks to be the exact model being sold on eBay:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1961 Topps Billy Pierce

One of my favorite Topps cards of Billy Pierce is this 1961 version. It one shows the long sweeping left field stands of Yankee Stadium and the back makes mention of Pierce's near no-hitter June of 1958. Funny thing though, the game was a near perfect game, not just a no-hitter. Ed Fitz Gerald doubled with two outs in the ninth and became the only baserunner of the night. Not only did Pierce pitch a near gem, he doubled in the third inning and scored the only run he really needed that day.