Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Murray Christmas to all!

Eddie and I hope your holidays are badass!

And to help you along the way here is a Murray blizzard.

Donruss All Star stand-up from 1986(?)

Oversized '86 Donruss

'88 mini Murray

1981 Drake's Cakes

1981 Squirt

1981 Topps... getting into the spirit now

1986 True Value

2005 UD Pastime Pennants

1983 Topps

And finally the most Murray card of them all....the 1979 Topps. His rookie card. If I had a buck for every time I've posted this I'd be retired now.

May your day be Murray and bright!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

1963 Fleer Checklist

The last card I needed for my 1963 Fleer set was the most elusive of the 67 cards. The checklist was substituted for Joe Adcock's card in some of the print runs and therefore both can be considered SPs. But of course kids tended to mark the checklist so finding one in 'collectible' condition can be problematic.

I'm not sure how many of these I looked at and almost snapped up at prices of close to $100 and above. And there are a lot around in the $60-$75 range that I could have lived with. But I was resigned to paying the price for one that wasn't really beaten up. I searched eBay and COMC every day once I decided to finish this cool little set.

Finally this one popped up on COMC. Looks like a couple of boxes were marked at one time but overall, with nice colors, good corners and barely a mark it was a steal at ~$50.

I don't know why I don't exercise the same kind of patience in all my hobby endeavours. But I'm glad I did this time because it paid off very well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Odds and Ends

A big thick envelope arrived in the mail awhile back. It wasn't from a blogger but it did contain (among other things) a card. That's it up top and it depicts Joe Stephens, former NBA player who happens to be running as a candidate for Justice of the Peace out here in the boondocks east of Houston. The envelope was chock full of has campaign material and it turns out he is hoping to replace the current (and retiring) JP. That judge is a neat guy who plays golf every afternoon at my course as soon as he clears his docket. Now that he's hanging up his gavel I suppose I'll see him out at the course in the mornings as well.

I don't have anything of interest on Joe Stephens. I remember his name from his days as a high school star locally and from when he played for the Rockets. Looks to be a nice family oriented guy. I hope he wins.

The next card is one of those things that an eBay dealer included as an extra card mainly to protect the card he was sending.
I wasn't aware that Fleer did a 2001 Red Sox 100th set. I bet I know two guys who know all about it! (Looking at you, Mark and Shane). Joe Cronin played a good long time and since the numbers on the back were nearly unreadable I'm posting the backside in jumbo form.

Finally here is a Warren Spahn from a 2003 Upper Deck set. I was cruising COMC and padding my order to justify the shipping charge when I found this. I'm always up for a Spahn, even one that features a sepia pic and only lists the last five years of his career. Why not add a few more tidbits and his career totals? Oh well, I still like the card overall.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It's Good To Have Friends

Mike McKay from Chicago is a regular reader and frequent contributor to my collection. His latest package came in a couple of weeks ago. As usual he sent me a spare signed card from one of his latest TTM successes. Hall of Famer and Baltimore Colt star Ray Berry has had a reputation of being very fan friendly. Mike sent me a Swell Gum Berry that I didn't have in my collection. It finds a good home in my Colts binder.

Thinking about how good Ray Berry has been with fan requests reminds me of how lucky I was to be a Colts fan. They were such a community oriented club back in the day and players like Berry, Gino Marchetti, Lenny Moore and John Mackey all valued their relationship with the fans. When my Uncle in Baltimore talked to me about the Colts I always got the impression he was talking about family. That was cool.

Next up we have one of two custom cards that Mike sent of the legendary Steve Dalkowski. If you've never heard of Dalkowski I can only urge you to read this Hardball Times article about the Orioles' prospect (suspect) who is acknowledged by many to be the hardest (and wildest) thrower in the history of the game. Trust me it's a wonderful read even if you are familiar with the Dalkowski story. The article contains a blurb from Pat Jordan's Suitors of Spring that's worth the click, trust me.

For more amusement check out his Baseball Reference page. And note his first season as a professional. With Kingsport of the Appalachian League (D level Orioles club) he pitched 62 innings, struck out 121 hitters, walked 128 and compiled an ERA of 8.13 and had a WHIP of 2.43 while uncorking 29 wild pitches. He only gave up one homer which likely confirms the fact that it's hard to hit the ball deep when take your stance with your ass still in the on deck circle.

Here is a 2015 Topps Series Two of Cal Ripken. He recently accepted a job as adviser to the Commissioner on Youth Baseball. It's hard to believe Cal is now 55 years old. 

The best of the other things Mike included was this Memorial Stadium postcard. I can never get enough of the grand old place. Lots of memories there. This was the scene of my first 'blind date'. I'll have to tell that story sometime. It never came to anything but we've been friends and I'm still in touch with her from time to time. So much for that off the wall tangent.

Thanks again Mike. You generosity is very much appreciated. Keep your calendar open for June and maybe I can buy you a brew when I get up there to Chicago.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

'63 Fleer Roberto Clemente

I was lucky enough to see Roberto Clemente play. He made two of the most ridiculous plays I've ever witnessed. One came in the very first game I saw in the Astrodome, July of 1967. Rusty Staub singled and when a subsequent Astro singled to right Clemente made a throw that reached third on a line and froze Rusty Staub who had to stop at second. Doesn't sound like a big deal but the throw just stunned the crowd.

A couple of years later he climbed the fence along the first base line as me made a catch in Bob Moose's no-hitter at Shea in September of 1969. I'd be surprised if that one isn't on YouTube somewhere.

Here is his 1963 Fleer card, the last of the regular cards I picked up in this set. I've since added the Checklist and I'll post that and a few others in the near future.

This may be my favorite Clemente card. The back reminds me that he was originally in the Dodger system. Sorry to bring that up Dodger fans but oh, what might have been.

Friday, December 4, 2015

'61 All Stars....Done

I've been off the grid for a week or so. Attending to real world things can be hard.

But while that was going on some 'stuff' came in the mail and I'll try to post it over the next week or so. First up, the last two cards from Topps' 1961 MVP subset. Yogi Berra's card was one of the more costly of the bunch and I bid on more than a few before I picked this one up. I like how the photo is cropped so that his jersey sort of resembles the point of home plate at the bottom. I'm sure that was unintentional but it's sort of cool nonetheless.

Yogi's recent passing brought him into the news quite a bit and a lot of the stories centered around his personality and his always quotable tongue. But he won THREE MVP awards in the '50s. Here is a portion of Yogi's page on the Hall of Fame's website:

In addition to his colorful persona, what made Yogi so great was that he was one of the most feared hitters the game had ever seen. Teammate Hector Lopez said “Yogi had the fastest bat I ever saw. He could hit a ball late, that was already past him, and take it out of the park. The pitchers were afraid of him because he'd hit anything, so they didn't know what to throw. Yogi had them psyched out and he wasn't even trying to psych them out”. What was even more amazing was that when he donned the “tools of ignorance”, he had a reputation as being one of the best in the business behind the plate as well, as his manager Casey Stengel praised “Why has our pitching been so great? Our catcher that's why. He looks cumbersome but he's quick as a cat”.

When I picked up the Berra card I thought the subset was complete. But I soon realized that I had crossed Phil Rizzuto off the checklist but his card was missing from the binder. I was 99.9999% sure that I had bought one early on in my pursuit of the set but I sure couldn't find it. I went thru every box I could lay my hands on and then remembered that checking my purchase histories on various sites was a lot easier than shuffling thru stacks of cards. No Rizzuto purchases appeared so I wrote it off to loss of brain cells and picked one up cheap on COMC.

I never saw Rizzuto play but his prime was right in my Dad's wheelhouse as a fan and he was always talking Rizzuto up. I knew him as the Yankees' broadcaster and I always enjoyed him. He had a lot of stories and sometimes the game we were watching took a back seat to some tale of a Joe DiMaggio hit or something.

He played eleven full seasons as the Yankee shortstop. Prior to a three year service hitch during WWII he hit .304 and .284 in two seasons the Bronx. When he returned his only year to hit above .275 was his MVP year of 1950 when he hit .324 with a .418 OBP. That's sixty points above his career batting average.

With the '61 MVP subset done I'm in the market for another goal but I may wait until I clean up the 1960 set. I'm nearing the end of that one.