Friday, October 31, 2014

1953-1955 Louis Dormand postcard of Billy Pierce

Here is an item I didn't think I'd be able to add to my Billy Pierce collection. Louis Dormand was a photographer based in New York in the 40s and 50s. He worked in many areas but the one of most interest to baseball collectors are his postcards of players taken at Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field. Most of the cards in his baseball checklist are Yanks and Dodgers but there are a few other players included and Pierce is one of them. These cards were reportedly used by players to answer autograph requests. They were also sold at the stadiums.

The Dormands are an interesting item. Check out the current eBay listings. Prices are all over the map. They range from $5 to $10 for a Gil Hodges or a Johnny Sain to many hundreds for some of the others. Scarcity is certainly a factor. There was an 'attic stash' of Gil Hodges cards discovered some years back and thus his cards are very common. I own an Allie Reynolds Dormand (my father's favorite Yankee pitcher). I paid next to nothing for it at a show a few years back.

Billy Pierce's Dormand has been one of the pricier examples. I hadn't seen one for under $200. There is one on eBay at this moment with a $285 asking price. That's why when I got my email alert from eBay with a new listing of a Dormand Pierce for about ONE TENTH of that I jumped on it instantly.

And I couldn't be happier. These are beautiful items. Here is the back and below that I have a crop of the 'business' side of the back.

Here is the Pierce as it came to me and before I broke it out of it's plastic prison.

Most sources list 45 cards in the set including variations. But the 'skip-numbering' (no 131 or 137) makes me think there were probably others. there are also some un-numbered/blank backed variations. They might be the ones sold at the stadiums. That's pure speculation on my part.

1953-1955 Dormand Baseball Series Postcard Checklist

101 Phil Rizzuto
101 Phil Rizzuto (Jumbo 6 x 9)
102 Yogi Berra
103 Ed Lopat
104 Hank Bauer
105 Joe Collins (Patch)
105 Joe Collins (No Patch)
106 Ralph Houk
107 Bill Miller
108 Ray Scarborough
109 Allie Reynolds
110 Gil McDougald
110 Gil McDougald (Signature Variation)
111 Mickey Mantle (Batting Left)
111 Mickey Mantle (BL Jumbo 6 x 9)
111 Mickey Mantle (Bat on Shoulder)
111 Mickey Mantle (BS Jumbo 6 x 9)
112 Johnny Mize
113 Casey Stengel MG
114 Bobby Shantz
115 Whitey Ford
116 Johnny Sain (Pose Variation)
116 Johnny Sain
117 Jim McDonald
118 Gene Woodling
119 Charlie Silvera
120 Don Bollweg
121 Billy Pierce
122 Chico Carrasquel
123 Willie Miranda
124 Carl Erskine
125 Roy Campanella
126 Jerry Coleman
127 Pee Wee Reese
128 Carl Furillo
129 Gil Hodges
130 Billy Martin
132 Irv Noren
133 Enos Slaughter
134 Tom Gorman
135 Eddie Robinson
136 Frank Crosetti CO
138 Jim Konstanty
139 Elston Howard
140 Bill Skowron

If I were to chase another one it would be the Campanella. I have an online image but I have yet to see a listing for one. Campy and the other Dodgers in the checklist are shown posing at Yankee Stadium. The bunting hanging along the upper stands indicates the pictures were taken at a World Series. Since the Yankees and Bums played three times in the early 50s that would be the logical answer.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

1993 Negro League cards from the Ted Williams set

I had a mild curiosity in the history of the Negro Leagues in the past. Most of what I knew was confined to the names of the teams that were based in Baltimore and some history of the players who came to the majors after playing in those leagues...guys like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays... names everyone knows.

But a trip to Birmingham in January gave me the chance to visit the Civil Rights Museum there and while the focus isn't on baseball or even sports there was enough there to get me interested in learning more.

So these cards from the 1993 Ted Williams Company set fit right in to my collection. They came from Mark Hoyle and I have seen other bloggers post a few that he sent them so if these are dupes I apologize.

The '93 Williams set is another item I was aware of but really didn't know much about. I had dropped out of collecting then. Through the years I have picked up a few cards here and there that Williams issued, mostly Orioles and Baltimore Colts related ones.

They put out some quality stuff. The Negro Leagues subset is particularly interesting as it conveys some history that many people are not aware of. I like the use of historic photos on these. Mark's PWE included almost the complete subset. The others are on COMC and I'll pick them up in my next 'sweep' through that site.

Thanks again, Mark, for these and for all you do for all of us bloggers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I'm in a hockey kind of mood

My Rangers came back on Monday night. I mean they came from waaaay back. They scored five goals in the third period for a 5-4 win over the Minnesota North Stars Wild. Of course I wasn't watching or listening to the fun game, I was getting my culture on.

This Rod Gilbert is my latest vintage hockey addition. Buying it is like sticking my hand over hot coals. Seeing my favorite Ranger skater wearing the horrendous 'crest' sweater gives me facial tics. But a Gilbert card is a Gilbert card. And this is the last one issued during his career. 1978/79 was Gilbert's final one in uniform. 

He was involved in a contract dispute that season and never got on-track. From making the All Star team in 1977 he went to a two goal, 19 game campaign in 1978. And then he retired. He's worked for the Rangers for many years and is still seen around the Garden frequently.

The Sports Illustrated cover was on my bedroom wall for many years. That's the Gilbert I remember, not the more shaggy late 70s Gilbert. I still have my original mag cover in a binder someplace. It's full of tack holes from my many room and house changes through the years.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dazed and Confused

As my 'mainstream' Billy Pierce collecting grinds to a halt (I'm down to some very expensive/elusive white whales) I've concentrated on adding some of the reprint/Heritage/Lineage cards that Topps has cranked out in recent years. Those plus some TCMA's that I posted last week. 

The problem is I don't really know what I'm chasing after. All the 'letter-numbered' (ROA-BP???) autographed Black Diamond Canary chrome foolishness is too much for me to decipher. My original Pierce checklist had two Heritage cards on it but that has expanded as I find listing for others. But the question for me remains "Are these the same cards just being listed differently?". With some like the various '52 reprint variations Topps has done it's hard to tell. 

But these two were easier to define. The numbered Heritage up top is a re-issue of one of my favorite Pierce regular cards, his '64 Topps. For that reason I didn't mind spending a bit of cash on it. The card came from COMC and I had first spotted it months ago with a price tag that I thought was too high. At least it was higher than I was willing to pay. The card didn't sell and eventually the cost came down.

I love the front design of the '64s. the backs not so much. That orange can be pretty hard to read.

The '62 reprint/re-issue below is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It's a mundane photo of a capless Pierce on the '62 design. Although the '62 set has grown on me through the years it's remains one of my least favorite Topps designs of the 50s/60s. But a Pierce is a Pierce and the price was right so here it is. 

Unlike the '64 set I like the back of the '62s more than the front.

I think even these reprints have some variations, different color ink used in the signatures. I don't intend to give a damn anytime soon. I have a nice white whale that arrived recently and it'll go up soon. Prepare to be jealous Jedi Jeff! ;-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #35 Ed Luther Homebrewed/Internet card

In this ongoing series of posts I am going to feature cards from my fantasy football player collection, specifically the 117 quarterbacks I've had on my team's roster since 1980. I have one selected card for each player in my All-Time Flyers binder. Through the years I've tried to use as many different card varieties as possible while holding on to my preference which is: a card issued in a year I owned the player showing him in the proper team uni in a vertical format. Card availability and my whims have had a big impact on that standard as we will see. 
NFL Info: Ed Luther played for San Jose State and then backed up Dan Fouts for five seasons in the first half of the 80s. He got six starts in 1983 and three more in 1984 when Fouts was out with an injury. In 1985 he was signed to a large contract by the USFL's Jacksonville Bulls to replace the injured starter, Brian Sipe. He was back in the NFL in '86 as property of the Colts but never saw the field.

Fantasy Impact: I made a trade for Fouts midway through the 1984 season. It was one of my leagues biggest blockbusters as I traded away Eric Dickerson to get him. I picked up Luther as insurance behind Fouts. Fouts helped me win three straight after I made the deal but he, and my team, cratered and I missed the playoffs.

The Card: There are no actual cards of Ed Luther available. I was able to find this image that was made by a guy who homebrewed USFL football cards and I made a card of it for my fantasy football collection. I made the back in MS Publisher as I did with all my homebrews and printed it out on sticker paper. I wish I had the graphics skills that so many other bloggers have.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

1970 Topps basketball

Slowly but surely I'm building this '70 Topps set. It's an odd set as I've shown in the past. These three cards are pretty normal but the next group I am going to show is dominated by a couple of weird cards for sure.

Wally Jones became 'Wali' Jones a bit later in his career. It was a time when quite a few African-American athletes were changing their names. But going from 'Bobby Moore' to 'Ahmad Rashad' is one thing. Changing your first name from Wally to Wali, well, I'm not sure about the point of that.

 Ed Manning looks like his head was P-shopped onto someone else's body.

The backs of these cards are actually pretty nice. Stats, vitals, a bio blurb and a cartoon....what more could you ask for?

There is a championship series subset and here is the Game 7 entry. This is the famous 'Willis Reed Limping Onto The Madison Square Garden Court' game. 

If you don't know that story check out this three minute SportsCentury piece:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

World Series First Day Covers

I had been saving these scans for a possible 'Orioles in the Series' post but we all know how that turned out. I used to actively collect stuff like this.

The cover above is postmarked on the date of Game Six of the '71 Series. That's the game that the Orioles won to even the Series up at three games apiece. Frank Robinson slid in under Manny Sanguillan as he scored on Brooks Robinson's fly out in the bottom of the 10th.  It's signed by Mark Belanger who had a single and three walks in four trips to the plate that day.

The two envelopes below are from the '79 Series and were produced by the Gateway Stamp Company. I was a bit surprised to see that Gateway is still around and selling first day covers. I have quite a few of their offerings, all Orioles related. What I remember most about buying Gateway items is how the rules and regulations they applied to purchases seemed so obtuse. "In order to buy the cover with player x's signature you must buy this that and the other thing with player y's sig", etc, etc.

I would get their newsletters every few months. They were always interesting reads. Part sales brochures, part price guide, part market value report and with a dose of historical documentation tossed in. They were huge things printed on legal sized paper in various colors corresponding to different sports and such. Reading them kind of made you feel like you were part of some club in which you were not privy to all the rules. But you never wanted to admit what the hell it was all about so you kept renewing your membership by making a purchase.

But the envelopes were neat items and nice keepsakes of memorable events.

I hope your team is making you happy in this year's World Series.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Another TCMA Billy Pierce

This addition to my Pierce collection comes by way of another 'buy the set to get the card' eBay purchase. I hadn't seen the set come up in many months if not years and the individual card?....forget about it.  So when I finally saw the set I went ahead and picked it up. And, as it is with most of my purchases, the card appeared at least twice since then. There's one on eBay right now. That's just how it goes.

It was produced in 1976 by TCMA and consists of the 12 cards listed on the reverse of all of them. Is there a less interesting card in my collection? Probably not but it does fill a hole that's been staring at me for a long time.

The good news is that I've also nabbed a sweet Pierce "White Whale" which is on it's way to me. I also now have a numbered '64 Pierce reprint which I considered overpriced and have recently picked up after 'waiting out' the seller and some other assorted Pierce cards that I discovered. All that will be posted soon. Please contain your enthusiasm.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oddball Billy Pierce

It's just a coincidence that today I'm posting a Billy Pierce item that features him as a SF Giant. This card comes from the 1981 TCMA set that celebrates the '62 Giants club. That team won the National League title by taking the Dodgers two games to one in a playoff series made necessary when the two clubs tied for first place during the regular season. 

Billy Pierce drew the start in Game One at Candlestick Park on Monday, October 1. He rose to the occasion and held the Dodgers to three hits for an 8-0 win. He returned to the mound in the deciding Game Three and pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to get the save in the Giants come-from-behind 6-4 win

Pierce also pitched well in the World Series against the Yankees. Though the Yanks took the title in seven games Pierce made two good starts going 1-1 while allowing only 8 hits in 15 innings.

The TCMA set contains 25 cards or so but I was only interested in the Pierce. I had looked for it for quite awhile but I finally gave in and picked up the set. I may have to pass it on to a deserving Giants' fan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

1958 Topps All Star Subset

One of my collecting goals is to complete the 1958 Topps All Star subset. I'm not too far from it now. I just love this group of cards, much more than the base '58 set. I picked up the Mickey Mantle card a few years back so the last of the higher dollar cards of this group that I lack is the Willie Mays. But it's not outrageous so I'll nab one at my price one of these days.

Meanwhile here are my latest four additions. They came via a fair sized COMC purchase recently. Maybe the reason I like these so much is the stat laden back of each. It gives the players 1957 numbers versus each opposing team. That sort of thing used to keep my occupied for hours as a kid. Look at Eddie Mathews' stats against the Cubs. He crushed them for a .408 average on 31 hits. He killed the Dodgers, Pirates and Giants as well.

The 'big head' portraits like Mathews and Johnny Temple are OK, but the Spahn is the star of this group. Heck any card of Spahn is the star of a group. He's all nose and hat brim and angles.

Spahn only pitched two thirds of an inning versus the Dodgers in 1957. Made me curious enough to check his Gamelog for that year. It doesn't look like he skipped any starts for avoid Brooklyn (Spahn wouldn't do that). Turns out he pitched that brief turn in relief and picked up a save versus the Bums. It was his third and final save of the '57 season. 

The All Star Managers card is surely a picture taken at the '57 World Series.

The back of the managers card is a checklist of the final thirty something base cards and the All Stars.

When I first discovered eBay in the late 90s the first things I went afetr were small lots of 1958 Topps commons. I had aspirations of putting the set together back then. I quickly decided that I had better things to do but out of that came this desire to finish off the All Stars. A year from now I'll be done.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #34 Alex Van Pelt

In this ongoing series of posts I am going to feature cards from my fantasy football player collection, specifically the 117 quarterbacks I've had on my team's roster since 1980. I have one selected card for each player in my All-Time Flyers binder. Through the years I've tried to use as many different card varieties as possible while holding on to my preference which is: a card issued in a year I owned the player showing him in the proper team uni in a vertical format. Card availability and my whims have had a big impact on that standard as we will see. 
NFL Info: Alex Van Pelt played ten seasons as the Bills back-up QB. He did have a couple of short stints as the starter, in 1997 for three games and in 2001 for eight. He had originally been drafted out of the University of Pittsburgh by the Steelers, failed to make the club and spent a year with the Chiefs before hooking on for his Bills tenure.

After his playing days Van Pelt got into coaching and has spent most of the last decade on NFL staffs. He currently is QB coach with the Packers. I'm guessing that job consists maily of staying out of Aaron Rodgers' way.

Fantasy Impact: I had Van Pelt in 2001, probably as insurance during a year I rode Kurt Warner to a playoff berth. He didn't get a start.

The Card: There are some Upper Deck football products I really like. This is not one of them. It's pointless to use the same lame photo on the front of a too busy card, isn't it? And the back covers the basics but the sparse write-up makes the company (or the writers I suppose) look very lazy. Is that all they could come up with? Even Alex Van Pelt had to have something more interesting to include.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1961 Topps Orioles panel!

When I found this on eBay I grabbed it right away. I'm a huge fan of the 1961 stamp inserts. I like them so much more than the color stamps Topps went to the next year or anything in the 'stamp' category that Topps came up with later.

I think I've linked this thread from Net54Baseball previously but it's a nice resource and look at the history of Topps' use of stamps as inserts and incentives. Of course the author describes these '61s as 'somewhat drab' and that's true but I love the detail of the frame, the use of the picture background and just the overall 'feel' of them.

The Gentile/Estrada panel instantly became my 'top of the line' example of these. Two Orioles on a sigle panel is something I've never owned until now. I'm still in the market for a nice '61 Album but they don't become available very often. One of these days I'll come across one.

Friday, October 17, 2014

1969 Dave McNally Citgo Coin

Here's something new that Mark Hoyle sent along recently. When he asked me if I had one I thought maybe I did. But when I did a little digging I realized that I was way off on what these were and I most certainly didn't have one.

And seeing how much I love 'off the wall' vintage Orioles items I was pretty happy to receive it. These obviously were service station premiums in 1969. Dave McNally is the only Orioles representative. Much more about these quarter-sized coins can be found on this site.

The checklist of 20 coins can be found here (along with a shot of each of them. I'm not likely to chase down the rest of the set but I love having the McNally and as always I appreciate Mark's generosity.