Friday, January 31, 2014

BALTIMORE Colt Guides....two steps closer (and a bonus!)

The day after I posted about adding a '55 Baltimore Colt Press Guide to my collection I won an auction for five Baltimore Colt guides, two of which filled gaping holes in my wantlist.

I won all five for a grand total of $102 shipped. Considering that the other guides from that era that I've picked up average $60 - $65 apiece I think I made out pretty well. The best part is that the guides are in remarkable condition. I do mean remarkable. They all look like they were put away when they were originally received and barely looked at. The covers are all clean and almost crease-free. The inside pages barely have a hint of the yellowing that is pretty much expected in publications like this. My scans can hardly do them justice.

The three dupes I got, the '59 '60 and '62, are all upgrades for those I already owned. I'll sell the three I'm replacing and if I can average $30 each I will have picked up the two new-to-me guides for next to nothing. Now I lack only the '56 and '77 (edit: I won a '56 today, hey!!) for a complete run of guides in the 'modern era' of the Baltimore Colts.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bargain Bin Beauties

At the TriStar show I spent the bulk of my time (and a little bit of cash) rummaging through bargain bins not looking for anything in particular. In fact I spent so much time bent over tables that I wound up with a sore back on the way home. I picked up some baseball and football stuff to send off to other bloggers and various things which may or may not be 'blog worthy'. We'll see.

Most of the boxes I went through were at least semi-organized. I didn't hit up any of the 'dump a crap load of crap into a 3200-count box lid' tables. They can be fun but I didn't see any as I didn't make it all the way around the show this time.

One guy had a pretty substantial non-sports box. I wouldn't have messed with it normally but I had gotten a chair at that table and I wasn't ready to give it up quite yet. The box was within reach so I rifled through it for grins. The usual Batman, flags 'o' the world, Charlie's Angels and ships and planes cards were in there. And there were some movie star cards that caught my eye. 

I've shown some Greer Garson items from my collection previously. She has a mysterious aura about her that I find attractive. The card I found is a 1953 Topps Who-Z-At #55 Greer Garson. It's part of an 80 card set that I wasn't familiar with but it has some big names. The cards are pretty reasonable, even in nice shape. The one I found is about as far from 'nice shape' as you can get. But that doesn't mean all that much to me. The fun of finding a Greer Garson card in a bargain bin and getting it for about a quarter topped off an already productive day.

Here is a look at what the card looks like in premium condition, scan is courtesy of Google and the 'net. 

The other card from this set that I picked up was this one. Cyd Charisse was a dancer turned actress (think Mary Tyler Moore). I don't know much about her but then again, what's to know? Even the awful condition of the card can't hide her incredible looks.

Late edit... I found the original picture that this card is based on.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ron Kittle, Facebook Legend

A couple of weeks back I wrote about a couple of nice signed cards sent to me by White Sox fan Mike M. In his note he mentioned that he would be attending the Sox' fantasy baseball camp as he does each winter.

Shortly after that I noticed that former player Ron Kittle, whose Facebook postings are routinely epic btw, was posting from that same camp. I wondered if Mike and Kittle had any interaction. I kind of forgot about that until late last week when another envelope came from Mike and in it was this signed 1991 Topps Kittle card. It turns out that Mike and Kittle have known each other for about a decade through their association with the fantasy camps.

Mike recalled the story of Kittle being traded to the O's by the Sox on July 29th of 1990. In the fourth inning of the game that day Kittle hit a two out double and manager Jeff Torborg replaced him on the bases with Steve Lyons. Arriving back in the dugout Torborg told Kittle he'd been dealt (Lyons scored by the way, probably as Kittle was packing but the Sox lost, 9-8).

Kittle spent the second half of the 1990 season in Charm City after being traded to the Birds for Phil Bradley. He ended up signing with the Indians after that season and then with the Sox again in June of 1991 where he finished up.

Thanks again, Mike, for the sweet card and taking the time to write. Glad you enjoyed the week in Arizona.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My First Time

I did something on Saturday I don't think I've ever done before. I stood in line and paid money to get an autograph. I've been to lots of memorabilia shows that had lots of pretty impressive guest signers featured but I never felt the need to pay to have someone sign something. Way back when there were freebie signers to attract crowds, that was a different story.

But anyway this past weekend the TriStar show rolled though Houston and I attended as usual just to poke through bargain card bins and track down publications. But as I stood in line to buy my admission ticket I looked at the long list of guests and one name jumped out at me...... Tommy Kramer. He may be just a vaguely remembered name to some of you but for me he represents a fun time when we were just starting my fantasy football league (The Ed Hughes Football League) and Kramer was a strong-armed quarterback for the Vikings.

In 1980 at our first draft I took Dan Fouts but as my team floundered I went through a series of trades picking up Bert Jones of the Baltimore Colts and then Kramer. It was Kramer who led me to money winning weeks to end the season and who starred for me for the next few seasons.

I've had a 'soft spot' for him ever since. When someone had the bright idea of making a league Hall of Fame I, as 'Commish for Life', made sure that Kramer was a charter member. When I saw his name on the list of show guests I figured this was my one chance to say 'Hello' and get a signed picture. I bought an autograph ticket and the above 8x10 and I was all set. And since he was giving a free inscription with his signature I had a flash of inspiration and decided to ask him to add "E.H.F.L. Hall of Fame 1990" which he was gracious enough to do. I'm not real sure he understood my explanation but he never hesitated and he took his time to made sure he got it right.

It wouldn't have surprised me if he had the TriStar guy next to him throw me out but instead he posed for a picture, thanked me for coming and shook hands. I left feeling pretty good.

For those unfamiliar with Tommy Kramer he played for Rice University after a stellar high school career in San Antonio at Lee High School winning a state title and nearly winning a second one. He set and held all the passing records at Rice until they were eclipsed in the pass happy days of Chase Clement and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

I have the distinct feeling that compared to being in that prestigious place becoming a member of the Ed Hughes Football League Hall of Fame isn't quite as big a deal to Tommy Kramer.


Mark Kuhlmann
Todd Hogan
Steve Barenholtz
Mike 'Moose' Casella

Dan Marino
Tommy Kramer
Dan Fouts
Jerry Rice
Emmitt Smith
Marcus Allen
Eric Dickerson
Mark Clayton & Mark Duper
John Elway
Marshall Faulk
Randy Moss
Chris Carter
Brett Favre
Terrell Owens

Jim Nichols
Dean Tomes (of DAGraphix)
Lorraine Diaz-Andrews
Bob Andrews

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Oddball Orioles Stuff #7

I took advantage of today's Houston area "Ice Shutdown" to organize my publications. With a memorabilia show this weekend I plan to poke around and maybe fill in some missing slots in my collection. There are not many dealers who travel to these shows carrying programs and yearbooks but I usually find a couple.

I made a spreadsheet that lists my Orioles, Baltimore Colts, New York Rangers, Texans and University of Houston publications so I can see what I'm lacking. Maybe I can avoid my past problems that have led me to own a dozen 1966 Orioles game scorecard/programs and similar foolishness.

Going through my shelves I came across this 45 RPM record, Orioles Magic. I have no idea where I got it, or when, but I could vaguely remember the tune. I don't have a turntable handy but I was surprised to find the song on YouTube. The videos are below.

The scan up top shows the side with the 'vocals' version, the flip side is instrumental.

Here are blow-ups of the pertinent label details:

And the record sleeve:

Finally, a couple vids using the song. The first is a tribute to Orioles stars, the second uses actual birds and was assembled by Baltimore's National Aquarium. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Heeeeey...Get your Pink Thing.....Get your Pink Thing here!!

I used to make it up to the old Arlington Stadium a couple of times a year to catch the Orioles as they rolled through North Texas to play the Rangers. Those were fun trips. I had college friends who lived up there so I always had a place to stay if I wanted it and sometimes I scored free tickets (great seats, too). But usually I'd head up with John, a fellow Orioles fan/collector who I met at Houston card shops and became great friends with over the years. He had a black Pontiac Firebird and drove like a madman but somehow always avoided getting a ticket. Considering how many radar units would hang out on I-45 between Houston and Dallas that's nothing short of a miracle.

Games up there were always fun. I saw some of the most ominous storm clouds I can remember rolling across the skies over Arlington Stadium. I only recall a couple of rain-outs though. Behind home plate the screen extended straight up and it lacked the usual section that angles back over the top of the seats behind home plate. Foul balls hit straight back would frequently hit the wall behind those seats and ricochet down into them with tremendous velocity. Seasoned Arlington Stadium goers who sat behind the plate knew they had to instantly 'duck and cover' when a batter nicked one back over the screen. You knew the rookies. They were the ones who turned to see where the ball was going. Ouch!

You could take your own beer into the stadium in those round thermos jugs like this one:

A stop at 7-11 on the way to the ballpark for a couple of quarts of Miller High Life or Coors was always on the to-do list. One of the many unique things about Arlington Stadium was a frozen ice cream novelty that vendors sold in the seats which was called a 'Pink Thing'. I never got one but they were pretty popular. Turns out they were unique to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and mainly associated with the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. That makes sense since Six Flags was literally next to the stadium.

We liked to get to the park early and hang out in the lot between the stadium and the nearby hotel which was where the Orioles (and other visiting clubs I suppose) stayed. Players would walk through the lot and were easy pickings for autograph hunters (of which John was one for sure). That's also the lot in which I heard Eddie Murray speak for the first time. Up until the moment he answered John's request for a signature with an "OK, but just one" I had been nearly convinced that he was a mute.

All of this is a long roundabout way of getting to the card I posted up top. That's a pink Jared Crick chromey, shiny-type Topps card. I collect pink cards, I'm a Texans season ticket holder and Nebraska is my son's school so the card was a nice pick-up.

Here's a picture of the Pink Thing ice cream 'treat' from the link above. And yes, that's exactly how I remember it. Looks pretty nasty.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Koufax and a Jensen by Bob Lemke

I've mentioned before that if you don't regularly read Bob Lemke's Blog you are missing out. He has a long history in the hobby having worked as editor and publisher of the sportscards and memorabilia periodicals and books at Krause Publications as the editor of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards

Bob's posts mix sports history, vintage cards and his own 'homebrew' cards. His cards are very high quality and calling them 'homebrew' is probably a disservice. Bob doesn't cut any corners and the attention to detail is pretty impressive. 

After deciding not to make the cards available to collectors for awhile Bob has (thankfully) reversed course recently and put them up for sale once again. "Cards that never were" may not be your thing but I enjoy Bob's work and have made a couple of purchases. The latest one brought me the '57 Topps-style Koufax seen above. 

He used a great photo of Sandy with the Ebbets Field scoreboard in the background. He discusses that card some in this blog entry. I have previously purchased two other of his Koufax cards and posted them on this blog.

Another card I obtained in my recent purchase was this 1960 Topps-style Jackie Jensen. The more I researched Jensen for my '59 Topps Blog the more interesting he became to me and I started a small PC. I am happy to add this one. I love the 1960 Topps set as it was the first set I actively collected pack by pack. 

And the 1960 card back design (and color scheme) is my absolute favorite. The cards with the 'Season's Highlights' fascinated me back in the day. Bob's '60 Jensen is a fabulous card.

Hard to imagine a guy retiring just a season removed from an MVP Award and back-to-back RBI titles. But that was Jensen. He attempted a comeback in 1961 and he had a Topps card that year but he was not in the 1960 set. Bob explores Jensen's career and his new card in these posts

I picked up another card in this batch but I'll save that for another post.

Monday, January 20, 2014

One Step Closer

I recently came a bit closer to completing my BALTIMORE COLTS Press/Media Guide collection by adding this 1955 edition. It's really in outstanding shape, better than the scan of the cover makes it appear. For some reason the shiny silver material reflects the light in such a way that the thing looks crumbled. That's kind of weird, it looks so much better in person. It's so nice I was not afraid to flatten it out to scan it as I would be with some of my other guides which are in more delicate condition.

Anyway, here is a peek inside:
Inside the front cover we see Ernie Harwell and Chuck Thompson. Two of the greatest announcers ever. Ernie of course gained fame as the Voice of the Tigers but most forget he was in Baltimore for years doing Orioles and Colts games. And Chuck Thompson, well he is Baltimore to me in so many ways.

The Colts were an All-America franchise before they were in the NFL. This two page spread tells some of that story and features the team's fight song.

Yes, I said fight song.

Personnel pages follow.....

That office secretary, hubba hubba

Lots of stats. I found it interesting that they included sections for the team's days in the AAFC. And they pointed out the best performances from that league.

Several pages of player bios. I love the helmets without facemasks. Some players on this club went on to fame with the Colts' championship teams that came a few years down the road.... Ameche, Berry, Donovan, Dupree among them.

The team roster takes up the centerfold. I had never heard of Frank McDonald yet he came from Nutley, N.J. where I spent most of my growing-up years (edit: it turns out McDonald was an All American from Miami U. and was cut by the Colts late in training camp). Alex Esquivel from Mexico Sity College? His bio (above) says he was the first NFL player drafted out of Mexico. He was a 24th(!) round pick in 1955. A bit of Googling on Esquivel showed he was actually from Alvin, Texas (not far down the road from me) and went to Mexico City College on a scholarship, and after football settled in Montebello, California where he was honored at the age of 71 for his civic contributions.  

There are a couple of pages devoted to ancillary groups like the Colt Marching Band and cheerleaders.

 Back cover... first one in my collection that has a stamp and addressee like this one. Harold Weissman served as the Mets' PR Director after his sports-writing days at the New York Mirror.  

Adding this leaves me four short of a complete run of the Colts' NFL guides from 1953 when they were reinstated as a league member until 1982 after which dipshit drunk lying asshole gutless Robert Irsay stole out of town in the middle of the night taking my team with him. I lack '56 through '58 and oddly, the 1977 guide. I never see the '77 for sale anywhere but it'll pop up sooner or later.

The Colts played in the AAC until 1949 and there are guides from that franchise but I don't have plans to collect those. They played in the NFL in 1950 before the franchise went belly-up and remained inactive for two seasons before cranking up again in 1953.

There is a 1950 Colts Press Guide from their first year in the NFL but it's very rare and close to being out of my price range and I don't have it on my wantlist. There is one on eBay with the seller asking $250. Maybe some day.

Robert Irsay R.I.H

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Not 'Selfies", these are 'Shelfies'!

I'll leave the pouty faces to teenage girls and silly baby memes and post a couple of pics of what's currently on the walls on my home office. I guess you can click the pics to view them bigger.

Up top, my replica Orioles game give-away bronze statues. From left: Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson. The Cal Ripken is on it's way via an eBay win. I had waited that one out because the prices were too high. I finally found one for a reasonable price.

The pennant is one I picked up in Cooperstown at the Hall of Fame shop years ago, It's one of those nice heavy felt embroidered ones that commemorates the 1966 Series. The date is behind Frank in the picture and you can't really get a feel for the quality of the thing in a picture.

I rotate my bobbleheads as the mood strikes and here is what currently sits on the shelf. From left: 'Lil Red' the Nebraska mascot, both of my Sandy Koufax bobbles, Cal Ripken, a Gold Glove commemorative Brooks Robinson, Guy V. Lewis, Frank Robinson (as a Red), Johnny U., a very sweet ceramic S.A.M. Brooks Robinson bobble, Jim Palmer and Shasta, the Houston mascot.

I had a Jim Palmer S.A.M. ceramic at one time. They are really high quality and I bought them for my boys who are named for those two Oriole stars. Sadly my Jim knocked the ceramic Jim off my desk and into 10,000 pieces not long after I bought him. That's what I get for letting clumsy pre-teens get near my 'stuff'.