Thursday, December 28, 2017

Didn't Know These Existed

I connected with an old college friend thru a Facebook group (old NFL photos!) and he a few weeks ago sent me a Christmas gift. Other than the 1959 & '60 packs I got in my Easter basket as a kid and a few cello packs I remember getting for Christmas in the early 60s this is the only card holiday 'present' I've ever received. They were wrapped and had a bow and everything.

Not surprisingly they are from a set I'd never heard of...Topps Archives Snapshots. From what I've learned they were sold through the mail by Topps sort of like their Topps Now stuff. Looks like a pretty decent checklist but there is only one Oriole, Manny Machado.

My friend is an Astros fan and he bought several boxes in hopes of pulling some Astros sigs (there are several 'Stros in the set). He struck out on that but said he got all the base Astros and a couple of parallels (B&W?). The Killebrew above is my favorite of the group.

They are nice photos with a pretty simple design. A mix of current and former players. Not the best shot of Henry Aaron but at least it's not one of the same old pics that get used over and over again.

Francisco Lindor is kind of a favorite of mine among current players. He always seems to be having fun out there.

Seager as always appears to be fresh out of high school.

Several of these are Spring Training pics.The Swanson is pretty nice.

Gsellman and Lindor will replace previous cards in my fantasy baseball binder. I like variety in that collection.

Here's a look at the back of the Lindor card. Not much here in terms of info but I think the front photos are the draw for stuff like this.

A couple of oldies here. I missed nearly all of Bobby Abreu's career having bailed on baseball in 1995 and not returned until nearly 15 years later. Looking at the scan again it appears that his name is out of focus. And looking back it seems all the names are a bit fuzzy. Might be my scanner. Might be the fact that the font isn't the sharpest.

The Wakefield pic comes thru very nicely. but why isn't he holding the ball with a knuckleball grip?

Brad sent me eight cards and a nice bonus.....

Yup, a signed Cleon Jones. He knows that Jones was a '69 Met and he promised he wasn't trolling me. I appreciate the card even though the mention of Jones' name brings back memories of him making the last out of the 1969 Series. It was that catch which prompted me to get up off my friend's couch and silently head out the door to walk home.

Looking at the checklist when I was investigating this set I saw that there were Wally Moon signature cards. I found one on eBay and it arrived yesterday. I have a small but interesting Moon PC going. This is a nice addition.

It wasn't until I was looking closely at this one that I noticed that the colors that bracket the Archives logo match the players uni colors. A small but nice touch.

All in all a fun little group. I probably wouldn't go out and buy these on my own so I really appreciate the generous gift. Thanks Brad and Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Amazing Batman Set from Angels In Order

About a month ago Tom of The Angels, In Order contacted me to ask if I was looking for any cards from the 1996 Sky Box Action Packs/The Adventures of Batman and Robin set. My answer was "I would be if I had knownit existed!" Even as a collector of all things Batman I'll admit that my modern card game needs to be stepped up. My sons were 8 when the TV series was popular and I watched a bit of it here and there when I could. But those were busy times for me.

According to the BatmanWiki this set is based on the second season of the televised Batman: The Animated Series. It consisted of 20 episodes. I love the artwork. Batman has gone through many changes over time. This art is among my favorites. 

Tom was kind enough to send what is pretty much a complete set, wrapper and all. Research (and Tom's envelope) told me that there are four 'card' components to this and each pack also came with gum. The set itself is pretty small, 36 cards plus the assorted extras. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in 'coolness'. 

Here is the sample wrapper that Tom included. 

The card at the top of this post and the next couple are 'game cards'. They are the closest to what might be called the 'base set'. Total of 12 comprise this group.

Just great artwork.

The backs form a game board.

One card has the game directions on the reverse:

There are 12 'Pop Out' cards which feature the major characters:

The back of each had instructions on how to make them stand-ups:

Being an activity set aimed at kids there were six cards meant to be colored:

Quiz questions forms the backs of these:

And there are also six puzzle cards:

Here is a look at the backs of these:

New to me is the gum sealed in cello with four different characters printed on them. Tom sent the whole group. Tough to scan but a fun addition.

The 'completist in me appreciated the fact that Topn included the Eskimo Pie coupon that was inserted in each pack!

Poking about on non-sports sites told me there was a 'promo' card. I found one on eBay for a buck or two. It is pretty much a dupe of the Batman pop-up card on the front. Here they are together with the promo card on the left, regular card on the right:

The backs with the promo card announcing the sets release date, etc.

I can't end this post without showing off a couple more of the sweet 'base' (or technically 'game') cards. This whole thing looks really great in a binder. 

Tom, I really appreciate your generosity. This is a nice addition to my modern Batman collection. I have a few things set aside for you and once they holiday nuttiness quiets down I'll be packaging them up for you.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Murray Christmas

Eddie and I hope you and yours have a great Christmas or whatever you're celebrating.

Here is our gift to you....the incomparable Darlene Love singing the greatest Christmas song ever..."Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" for the final time on the David Letterman Show in 2014. Outside of watching you kid discover the new bike next to the tree or Jean Shepard's appearance in The Christmas Story it'll be the best four minutes you spend today.

I never ever tire of this. You're welcome. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

1969 Baltimore Colts 4 in 1s from Angus

Angus, a frequent commenter*, football fan and blogger (Cleveland Browns-centric Dawg Day Cards) recently knocked two items off my much neglected Baltimore Colts needs list.

These  Topps 1969 inserts called "4 in 1's" are actually stamps which were intended to be separated and placed in the appropriate team folder. They are 'stamps' rather than 'stickers' in that they have moisture (spit!) activated glue on the reverse rather that a peel-and-stick system like the Fleer stickers everyone has stacks of from the 80s.

There were ten Colts issued and many, if not all, use photos that were also used on the 1969 regular issue cards. I think a couple used photos from earlier Topps sets but right now I'm too busy to verify this. You can see more of these in this post from my Baltimore Colts history series.

Johnny Unitas graced the cover of the album which was the same size as the 4 player 'cards', the standard 2" x 3". EDIT: I found this article with more detail on these including a few variations.

Despite of the fact he was the album cover boy (or maybe because of that) he was not one of the two 'Colts Stars' that were featured in the little album's centerfold. 

Angus' swell gift inspired me to go find my final needed stamp card (Willie Richardson) and I snagged it recently. Slowly chipping away at my Colts list will be a fun retirement project.

Angus helped stuff the envelope with this Ray May Action Packed card which I didn't have. Since it was from a 1990s set I hadn't gone after it. But it does picture a BALTIMORE Colt and is intended as a salute to an honor he won with them so I can happily add it to my binder in the miscellaneous Colts card section.

Man, my scanner did a terrible job on this one. Silver foil+embossed surface=multiple attempts to get a usable image. LOL

Angus, thanks so much for the cards, for reading and remarking, and for cranking up your blog again. Maybe the cards I have headed your way will help in a small way to brighten up a lousy Browns season.

*=is that even a word?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Billy Pierce Bobblehead

Being the sucker for Billy Pierce items that I am I couldn't pass up making an offer on this bobblehead of him issued as a giveaway by the Joliet JackHammers in 2007.

Like a lot of these this one bears only a passing resemblance to the player it represents. It could just as easily be a bobble of my uncle Ralph in his younger days. The JackHammers were in existence from 2002 through 2010 as part of the independent Northern League. They were a favorite of fellow Pierce collector Jedi Jeff of 2x3 Heroes blogging fame. They morphed into the Joliet Slammers in 2011.

The uniform with the 'C' and the cap with the 'white sock' is what happens when a minor league team creates an unlicensed bobblehead.

On the plus side Billy did sign the cap (sort of):

Anyway, for all it's flaws it's a welcome part of my Pierce collection. The fact that I had no idea it existed until I stumbled across the eBay listing makes it that much better. Now I need to decide who he bumps from my shelves or if I need to add another shelf. I think another shelf is the way to go.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Koufax Bowman Chrome

I was buying a few football cards from an eBay dealer and needed to pick another card to qualify for free shipping. I can always use another Koufax so I nabbed this for two bucks I think. But the free shipping deal made it free. It's a 'refractor' which is a term I've never tried to understand when it comes to cards. To me it's just 'shiny'. Other than that I don't have much to say about it. Other than...'s warped as a mother. Look at this thing. Every chrome-y Bowman I have (which isn't a lot) is pretty much as warped as this one.

Can't they make these things so that they lay flat?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

1958 Orioles Media Guide

I keep a spreadsheet which tracks my publications collection. For years I had the 1958 Orioles Media Guide marked off and assumed I only needed those from 1954 and 1956. A year or so I was rearranging my shelving and discovered that I lacked the '58 and added it to my want-list and eBay saved searches.

I was able to land one in pretty decent shape a month ago for about what I'd expected to pay. These are not things of beauty. And they are nowhere close to being as comprehensive as modern guides but they sure are fun to collect. the first few seasons the Orioles labeled them as 'Spring Training Guides' and the cartoon covers reflected that. But into the 60s the idea of a media guide to be used throughout the season evolved. 

Anyway this one is 24 pages counting both covers. 

The pages I scanned are self-explanatory. Staff listings, schedules, basic franchise info and records, etc.

The Spring Training schedule includes just the Giants, Cubs and Indians as only four clubs were training in Arizona in 1958. The Orioles played three games against the Reds in Baltimore before the regular season started. 

The Orioles 40 man:

The player bios were mostly stats and basic info. I'm always interested in ticket prices from back in the day. The best seat in Memorial Stadium in '58 would have set you back $2.75!

The schedules back then always had some quirks. Nowadays you'll never see a one day series as the Orioles played on May 30 against the Red Sox. Without looking it up I'm guessing that's a Memorial Day doubleheader. The BoSox played a single game in Baltimore in August as well. 

And there are a couple of 'split' weekends when the Orioles host different teams on Sunday than they do on Saturday  (May 3/4, July 12/13, Aug 23/24). They have a couple of road weekends like that, too. Crazy, right?

Now my quest is actually down to two guides. I'm prepared to pay whatever it takes for the '54 guide. The '56 is less expensive and I'll snag that one soon enough.