Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Total Joe

While on my two week sabbatical I received a manila envelope from Joe Shlabotnik that contained what he described as an unexpected set break. The Topps Total sets came out during my time away from the hobby. If I'm reading the baseball Card Database correctly Topps out them out from 2002 through 2005.

I think I have some scattered TT cards but the haul Joe shipped my way is no doubt the largest grouping of any one year that I own. 

Joe sent me about half of the 2004 Orioles in the set. It's a nice simple design. Using the team logo twice on the front seems kind of redundant but whatcha gonna do? Baseball Reference gives Tim Raines Jr's nickname as 'Little Rock'. Too bad he never approached Big Rock's numbers.

I love the idea of Total. Getting everyone breathing into a set was a cool idea. I dunno if I'd ever 'pack chase' a 990 card set but I'd love if every player these days was available on a mainstream set. It would make my fantasy baseball player collecting easier. Topps cut the total to 880 and then 770. I wonder if at that point they just thought that Total and the flagship set were cutting into each other. 

2004 is outside my scope of intense Orioles fandom. I pretty much missed the entire David Segui era. And I don't remember Rodrigo Lopez.

The O's really struggled for a long time after 1996. They had plenty of guys like Mike DeJean and Rick Bauer on the roster.

I'm really happy to get a Jerry Hairston Jr card. I had him on my FBB team in 2013 I think and only had a crummy card of him in his World baseball Classic uni to fill that slot. No more!

Two of the better known O's of the time...Miggy and Javy Lopez. Tejada has a page in my Orioles 'good players' binder. This one will slot in there.

I looked up Omar Daal because I hadn't heard his name in ages. He won 16 games in 1999, and lost 19 the next season. Because baseball.

Thanks as always, Joe.  I always appreciate new additions like these. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Things I've been doing...

...instead of posting blog entries:

1) Breaking in my work replacement coach. I'm closing that door on December 20.
2) Trying to make heads or tails out of Medicare/health insurance options. This is all complicated by the fact that my current insurance changes on December 1 and then I change insurance on Jan 1. So within a span of 32 days I'm under three different plans.
3) Working on my 1964 Philadelphia Gum set. I'm now down to eight cards, see the sidebar.
4) Opening envelopes. I'm behind on acknowledging a few big fat gifts from fellow bloggers. That will be rectified asap.
5) Hitting the hotel card show. That's where the '62 Roger Maris and Art Ditmar Post Cereal cards are from. Dirt cheap, well loved and perfect for my shoe box full of these things.
6) Tearing my hair out dealing with scanners. I bought a dedicated flatbed Canon scanner which I couldn't get to cooperate with me. Returned it for an Epson. Still struggling with settings. Sad.
7) Kicking back in New Orleans for football and fun. Ate far too many oysters, muffulettas and beignets. And consumed too much Abita. I think I'm coming around to N'awlins.
8) Helping my wife plan a graduation party for my future daughter-in-law. I didn't volunteer for this.
9) Putting my TCMA sets in pages. Helpful tip...when large complete card sets come to you in numerical order, don't jack with them on a cheap card table that could shift.
10) Holiday shopping. Easy this year. I only need to grab Astros championship gear for family members.

So there you have it. My list of excuses for going two weeks between entries.

BTW...I love that Maris card. Pretty neat how it documents his historic 1961 season. I very casually collect Maris and Ditmar. And I mean very in I'll pull them when going thru dealer boxes and then decide if I like the card enough to buy it.

The Ditmar states that he didn't allow a run in the 1960 Series. Here is a screen grab from his BR page. He was wrecked by the Pirates in the 1960 Series. He lost two games and had an ERA of over 21. What am I missing?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hawkins RC from Jon of APSFYT.

The blogging community is just awesome, is it not?  But I didn't need to remind anyone this, did I? If you need any more evidence this post and a couple more in the next week or so will provide it. Jon, who authors the always entertaining A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts, read my post about the passing of Connie Hawkins and immediately reached out to see if I wanted his extra copy of Hawk's rookie card. I sprained my wrist diving for the keyboard to accept his offer. Here is Hawk and some friends Jon included to keep him company on the trip. BTW... Jon is running a contest on his blog. Go check it out and enter why don't you.

I love this Topps 69/70 hoops set. I'm not up on all the ins and outs of the licencing rights of that period but Topps obviously couldn't use team nicknames or logos on its products. Does that take away from the set of this card? Nope. It's a beaut. I love the little player drawings that surround the main photo and cartoons are always fun.

There are some players that are worth the price of the ticket no matter what team or sport. Hawk is one of them, James Hardin, Barry Sanders and Gale Sayers were others. I was lucky. Back when Hawkins was playing for Phoenix in the early 70s the Rockets were playing home games in Hofheinz Pavilion on the University of Houston campus. Students got in for a buck but as an employee working in the building I could just stroll down the ramp and watch games. I saw a lot of NBA action back then.

This card is a rookie card in the sense that Hawkins wasn't in the NBA previously and no mainstream sets were issued for the ABA. Hawk was the ABA's MVP in 1968 with the Pittsburgh Pipers and averaged 30 ppg for the largely forgotten Minnesota Pipers in 1968/69.

To keep the Hawk rookie from getting lonely Jon sent along some Orioles. Here are some of them.

 This Jim Palmer GQ is different from any of the (admittedly few) GQ cards I own. I've never seen the off white borders on these. Very nice addition to my JP PC.

This next one is a Ryan Minor mini card from 1999's Private Stock set. Again, I have never seen anything from this set. filled me in.

Below on the left is a 2005 Sammy Sosa Turkey Red with no name on the front. I'll let you provide your own punchline. He's paired with a Javy Lopez Donruss Portraits, also from 2005.

Upper Deck Ripken that didn't scan very well.

Buyback Joe Kerrigan from 1979. Does seem possible that he was a player nearly 40 years ago.

JJ Hardy won't be back with the Orioles next season. Here he is on a Power Players version of his Topps card from 2014. That Weaver Patch...RIP Earl.

Miggy! 2004 Fleer Ultra. This may or may not be a gold label thingy. Google calls it a Gold Medallion card so I'm going with that.

Thanks, Jon! Much appreciated addition to my Hawk, Palmer and a couple other PCs.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

1963 Post Cereal Koufax

One of my hobby quirks is that some cards are better if they are not perfect. Case in point...Post Cereal cards. Back in the day my friends and I ate a lot of Alpha Bits, Rice Krinkles and whatever it was that they called their version of Frosted Flakes (Frosted Post Toasties?).

There were families with six or so boys that lived at either end the street back then (heavily Catholic town) and we all collected and traded these. And we all did terrible jobs of cutting up the boxes. After I bought this Koufax recently the seller messaged me to say that he had failed to mention a crease that ran thru the card in his description. He offered to cancel the sale if I wanted to. Cancel it? Hell, no. Send that puppy my way!

The other thing I don't do is binder these or my Jello cards. I keep them in a stack in a shoe box on the top shelf of my hobby closet. (I'd prefer a cigar box but I haven't had one of those around is ages.) I love shuffling thru them when I'm feeling old and need a shot of nostalgia. Like this week when I got my official Medicare card in the mail from the SSA.

Speaking of Medicare... when they showed Sandy at the World Series recently my first thought was "He looks like he could still give 'em and inning or two...and he might have to". He also looks remarkably like my father. Even my wife mentioned it.

Anyway, here he is at the World Series. The best lefty I've ever seen.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Card Show Stuff

After a series of unavoidable events caused me to miss a few months I finally made a hotel card show in October. I'm not chasing any baseball sets and the one football set I'm building (1964 Philly Gum) wasn't in great supply among the dealers of vintage cards. I was able to add a couple of stars from that set.

So I made do with grabbing some cheap cards that just caught my eye. I'm not sure what attracts me to cards of coaches like this 1954 Topps Ray Blades. But I added it to my stack and I'm glad. Blades was a player I wasn't aware of but in the 1920s he carved out a nice career as an outfielder with the Cardinals. As the back of his card notes Blades hit .342 in 1925 during a string of .300+ seasons. You can check out his SABR bio here.

Blades was one of those baseball 'lifers' who played, coached, managed and scouted for numerous clubs thru several decades. He managed the '39 Cardinals to a second place finish in his first year at the helm but was fired early the next season after the team stumbled early.

When I see these cards of coaches I always wonder if Topps someone else in the checklist originally but had to remove them for some reason.

Here's my first Dom DiMaggio card, a decent 1953 Topps.

Not much to say other than I don't think I was aware of the fact that Dom was four inches shorter than his more famous brother.

I love this 1960 Topps of Ralph Felton. I didn't know him when he played but a quick search showed that he won a national title at Maryland and played 11 seasons of pro football with the Redskins and Bills. He was better known as 'Rass' Felton and opened a grocery after his playing days.

There is something about the 1960 Topps football set that just makes it appear to be a much older set. I can't really explain it but the set strikes me as something from the mid 50s.

George Webster was a terrific player in his day with the Oilers. He was an All American safety at Michigan state but the Oilers made him a linebacker. The story goes that as a rookie in a 1967 exhibition game against the Cowboys he caught Bob Hayes from behind. I was at that game at Rice Stadium but I have no recollection of that. I do remember Hayes made a long catch and run on what was a rainy night.

My scanner didn't do a very good job on this 1970 Kelloggs' 3-D Webster. It's a really neat set. Very underrated.

One of Webster's teammates at Michigan State was Gene Washington. His is a pretty remarkable story of growing up as an athlete in Texas. His home town had no high school that would allow blacks so he took a bus to Baytown, across under the Houston Ship Channel, to all black G. W. Carver High School. He played football and ran track and set records against other black high schools in the Prairie View Interscholastic League. 

He went on to become an All American for the Spartans and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. As for's still there in Baytown. It's no longer a 'stepchild' and no longer a high school. I've taught and coached there for nearly 29 years. Gene has visited a few times and is a gracious, soft-spoken gentleman. When I look up from my door at school every day I see a fantastic framed nearly life-sized photo of him in posed action for Michigan State. Next to that are framed banner listing the football, hoops and track state titles the Gene Washington and his schoolmates won while at Carver. 

This is a 1971 Topps Gene Washington game card. It's the spiritual brother of the 1968 Topps baseball game inserts. Pretty neat. I can't believe I never thought to pick it up for my GW collection before this. Washington played seven NFL seasons, all for the Vikings. There is a neat video on the Vikings site. It's part of a documentary done by Gene Washington's daughter chronicling his 'road' to Michigan State and the pros. It's well worth the 10 minutes. 

And finally a Cal Ripken medallion card from one of the Topps issues of 2017.  This was a freebie. One of the regular dealers at the show was ripping mini boxes (probably looking for Aaron Judge cards) and this was some sort of insert. I've bough enough stuff from him that he will sometimes toss Orioles things my way. 

And yes, the medallion appears to be crooked. That's not a scanning error. 

I'm actually closely reading the back for the first time and see that it came out of Update. Likely to be the only card out of that set I'll own. 

I was only mildly disappointed at the lack of vintage football at the show. There are plenty of dealers who carry football cards but they stock mostly new stuff.