Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Putting a bow on TCMA

My Fred Hutchinson 'sample card' from the 1979 TCMA Stars of the 50s set arrived this week. It follows the same pattern as the other sample card used by TCMA, Vic Wertz.

The front is identical to the regular card while the back lacks any stats or bio. And the card number, in this case it would be #138, is missing.

That finished off the checklists for my Michael Aronstein produced sets. But I was surprised when Tuesday's mail brought another 'extra' that I'll gladly slide into the binder. It's a three card set of proof cards of #232 Giants righty Al Corwin. These came courtesy of a generous Houston area friend/reader. 

All three have the regular back but all are mis-cut and have a ragged right edge. I don't normally go after these sorts of variations but this is a nice 'add on'.

As I was flipping through the binder I came across this wonderful Charlie Dressen which is #56 in the set. I don't know why I haven't posted it in previous looks at this set. The Dodger manager sits on a folding stool with what I believe is a 1950 Oldsmobile in the background. It's not Jim Brown's Caddy but it's still cool.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Another 80's Oddball Set

I hate spending more for postage than I do for the card I'm buying and because of that I find myself buying 'add-ons' to make my transactions 'worthwhile'. I can't recall what I was picking up or where when I grabbed these '86 Sports Design Products cards.

These have popped up on other folks blogs from time to time. They use photos from the collection of J.D. McCarthy who did postcards for sale to fans and players over the course of several decades. I love old McCarthy postcards and have quite a few in my various collections. Hobby icon Bob Lemke purchased the McCarthy archives and was in the process of cataloging it when he passed away about a year ago. So we may never see much more of that huge treasure trove of photos any time soon.

These are obviously a riff on the 1969 Topps cards. At least the fronts are. The backs are spare and look pretty amateurish compared to the front side. These remind me of the sorts of cards I'd see alongside Broders, Bammers and phone cards back when card shows attracted lots of 'dealers' looking to cash in on the sports card/memorabilia boom.

I think the seller had most of the set available but I just grabbed these because they struck my fancy. I don't have a favorite but I sure do like this shot of Sandy Koufax.

Just to slide a bit off-track I found a postcard that would seem to be from this same photo session. It's a McCarthy postcard. You can see his logo in the lower left corner. He used that on most of his postcards but not all of them.

Back to the cards at hand..... aren't those stirrups on Roberto Clemente grand?

I add Whitey Ford cards to my collection from time to time because he was a favorite of my father. And because I saw him pitch more times than I could count. I can't decide if this shot comes from his playing days or not. Ford had a couple of stints as a coach with the Yankees and I know he spent a lot of spring training time with the team after his retirement.

Looks like Yaz' picture was taken on the same day as Ford's. Maybe McCarthy drove from Ft. Lauderdale to Winter Haven one day in the mid-60s.

This last one, listed as #1 in the set's checklist is a bit different in that there only the rounded frame mirrors the '69 Topps theme. If you clicked on the Wrigley Wax blog link above you saw that the other duel player card in this set, Banks/Hodges, uses this same design. This one shows J.D. McCarthy himself posing with Ted Williams. I'd never seen McCarthy in a photo so I added this to my 'stack'.

There isn't much online concerning this set. Sports Designs put out a two part set in the years prior to this one. It used artwork by Doug West. It was featured in a couple of posts on The Oddball Card Collector blog.

For those interested here is the SDP/McCarthy checklist:

1 J.D. McCarthy / Ted Williams
2 Lou Brock
3 Carl Yastrzemski
4 Mickey Mantle
5 Roger Maris
6 Walter Alston
7 Ernie Banks
8 Billy Williams
9 Hank Aaron
10 Brooks Robinson
11 Joe DiMaggio
12 Casey Stengel
13 Juan Marichal
14 Jim Bunning
15 Matty Alou
16 Eddie Mathews
17 Sandy Koufax
18 Roberto Clemente
19 Gil Hodges / Ernie Banks
20 Duke Snider
21 Robin Roberts
22 Willie Mays
23 Willie Stargell
24 Whitey Ford

Saturday, January 27, 2018

1968 American Oil ('Mr.') Tom Matte

In my never-ending quest for Baltimore Colts items I somehow came across this oddball item (or half an item) and recently added it to the Colts binder. It's from 1968 and is an American Oil (aka Amoco) Mr. & Mrs. NFL game piece. The idea was to buy gas, get a game piece, match the two halves and win a car or a cash prize. I'm just a bit put out by the fact that the Matte pair only netted you 4 bits. 

BTW...Amoco was behind one of the strangest NFL promos ever...the 1966 NFL Stamps contest. same basic idea...gas station visits netted you a stamp that went on a game card. I blogged about that one in 2016

Captain Obvious is here to tell you that the other half of this was a photo of Mrs. Matte (or more likely the whole Matte clan). I've been on the lookout for one of those but so far haven't had any luck. 

It measures 2 1/8" by a 3 1/2" more or less. Here it is with a standard card for perspective.

I found this page with a detailed look at the set. Some of the 'Mrs.' photos are a hoot. Well worth a peek. If you stumble upon a Jim Grabowski or Mrs. Joe Morrison game piece Amoco owes you a 1969 Ford. Ask for a Mustang.

Friday, January 26, 2018

TCMA Bonus and Sample cards

I recently took advantage of my free time to organize and binder the SSPC and TCMA sets I completed in the last year or two. Lots of cards, lots of nine-pocket sheets. I always print out a checklist and stick it in a one pocket and stick it in the binder.

When I dug up and printed the checklist for the TCMA Stars of the 50s  set I saw this:

And I was stumped. I googled a bit and found that the BC1 and BC2 cards were 'bonus cards' of those two iconic 1950s teams. A few of the Google hits led to fellow bloggers' work so I probably should have been aware of them but I wasn't. A quick trip to eBay turned up several copies so adding them was easy.

They are 3 1/2" x 5" cards done in the same style as the rest of the set. I didn't find any info on how these were distributed but the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards says they 'came with' the regular sets so I'll go with that.

The scan of the backs reminds me that the set was officially called the Baseball History Series although the Stars of the 60s version doesn't carry that designation on the back nor do any of the other TCMA sets as far as I know.

Just for the sake of perspective here is the Dodger version again scanned with a regular Billy Pierce from the set.

The listing of the Wertz and Hutchinson cards at the end of the checklist, which I thought at first was some sort of mis-print, is for 'sample' cards. I went back to the dupes I'd culled out of my original large lot purchase and sure enough I had the Vic Wertz sample card.

The front is the same but the back has no stats or write-up.

No such luck with the Fred Hutchinson version but SportsLots had one. As soon as it arrives I've got myself what I guess is now a master set of the TCMA Stars of the 50s.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

E90-1 "Chief" Bender

I've had my eye out for an American Caramel card of  'Chief' Bender for awhile and finally landed one. It's a little rough around the edges but if fell within my 'retired guy' budget. I don't need sharp corners or original gloss. This thing was in the hands of a kid in 1909 and that good enough for me.

The American Caramel sets are interesting and this one, the E90-1 is the most popular. That previous link and this one (specifically about the E90-1) are good reads.  

My copy came in a holder and because it looks pretty delicate I'm going to leave it in there. I much prefer holding my cards in my hands but I make some exceptions.

The is likewise paper loss on the back, and if the front had this much I would not have bought it, but the more pristine copies I found were twice the price.

I became interested in 'Chief'' Bender some years ago when I came across this book. Highly recommended!

My Bender card collection is slowly growing. I have one of his T206 cards and am trying to pick up a 1940 Play Ball and another T206 (he has three counting variations).

Saturday, January 20, 2018

50 Years Ago Today

Hard to believe a half century has passed since the Game of the Century played out on the floor of the Astrodome in 1968. I can't say 'I remember it like it was yesterday' but I do have a lot of memories of that night.

I've posted about the game several times so I won't repeat all that. I just have a few photos and rambling thoughts.

Here's a postcard I received recently as part of the mailing from Joe Shlabotnik featured yesterday. It's a beaut. We had first arrived in Houston that previous summer (July '67) and seen Astros games and Houston Cougar football games. So the Dome wasn't new to me but it was still awe-inspiring.

This is not my ticket but I do still own mine. I stored it in a plastic case a few years ago to protect it. I need to pull it out and have a display made with it. This one belonged to a high roller who paid $5 to sit in the red field boxes. I had a better view.

We had $2 seats in the front row of the upper level directly across from where this photo was taken. In baseball terms we were right up behind home plate. Funny thing is I ended up in that section as a student for UH football games for years and bought them as a young alum after I graduated.

I have a folder of game pics that I save from various online stories.

I have the program and some replica covers that UH gave away. This one I got signed by Guy Lewis and Elvin Hayes and a dinner held for Coach Lewis.

The roster pages from the program. They are hard to read but Vern Lewis was on the team....Guy Lewis' son. In those days colleges fielded freshman teams.

Mike Warren of UCLA went on to become an actor and starred in one of my favorite shows, Hill Street Blues. He's now Jessica Alba's father-in-law.

Here's Mike Warren as Officer Bobby Hill in HSB.

Playing that night in the prelim game for Tyler JC was one Poo Welsh who ended up at UH as a shooting guard. He was the star player when I got to campus.

The Coogs won 71-69. Inexplicably Elvin Hayes found himself dribbling out the clock as the final seconds ran down. He's said it was the worst moment of his career. He was by far the worst ball handler on the court. How he ended up plodding around the backcourt among UCLA guys reaching for the ball is a mystery.

Game Over!

I remember the crowds coming out of the stands in waves from each side and people jumping over the press rows and team benches which were below floor level. Crazy stuff.

It took my father and me a looong time to get out of the parking lot and headed home. There were newspaper vendors selling copies of the Houston Post and Chronicle in the lots and at the exits to the streets out of the backs of trucks. I have part of this Post front page. I chose to cut the relevant parts out and saved it.

Finally here's a really lousy pic I took of my signed Hayes poster showing him in the GOTC. Unfortunately the reflection on the glass is my office. LOL

January 20, 1968 was the greatest sports night I've ever experienced. I've noted many times that because of that I chose to return to Houston and attend UH even though my family had moved back to New Jersey in 1969. If I had gone to Rutgers, or Fairleigh Dickinson or Glassboro State like I had thought I would my life would have been far different. I'm glad it turned out the way it did.

Guy V Lewis RIP

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hey Joe

Joe Shlabotnik of the ever-entertaining Shlabotnik Report recently packed a manila envelope full of goodies and fired it my way. What he included hit a bunch of my collections so without any much further ado let's take a look. But first a note...I scanned about half of the contents of the envelope. I figured I'd show off a representative sample of the stuff Joe sent.

Joe mentioned that he'd been to a postcard show which stopped me in my tracks. A POSTCARD SHOW?!?! How have I remained unaware of these all this time? A quick search turned up a show calendar and what do you know? There is a Houston show scheduled for March. I'm all in.

I'm holding back one postcard because it ties in very well with a post I have scheduled for tomorrow. The one below is of the remarkable Teddy Roosevelt of course.

It's not from his lifetime but it's old enough that it predates the use of Zip Codes as you may be able to tell from the reverse side.

This next one is of the entire Roosevelt clan.

Check out the cent postage 'Domestic and Canada'. Have you tried to send anything to Canada lately? What did we do to piss them off?  Nevermind, I think I know.

Hey, hey it's LBJ! I'm a member/supporter of the LBJ Museum in Austin. They have been sending me info for years on their terrific events. Every one of them seemed to be held on a weekday. Now I'm retired and work conflicts are no more. I'm gonna make some appearances up there.

Of course Joe shoved a ton of Orioles cards into the envelope. Modern, vintage, foreign, shiny and on and on. The enigmatic Chris Davis kicked off the post with a nice reflective Bowman. The O's are committed to Davis for awhile...for better or worse.

These next cards are from the 90s. I knew that without checking the back even though I was nor real familiar with the sets. Gold foil, big script fonts...yup, the 90s.

This Jimmy Haynes is even a Laser cut thing. I have nothing like this in my collection. I see something this and I wish I had stuff like it when we were flipping cards at lunch time in the St Mary's School playground in Jersey in the 60s. It would have been like hurling ninja stars at a wall.

Here's a Pacific Eddie Murray. Is there anything in the hobby more 90s than Pacific? It's from his chunky period. You can divide his career up kind of like Elvis' into Skinny Eddie and Fat Eddie. Just don't tell him I said that.

More cards with gold embossed lettering. Flairs..with their goofy stylized font adornments.

Leaf Studio cards...if they gave awards for the 'Set That Looks Best In A Binder' Studio makes the nomination list, at least. That sig is in gold despite how my scanner makes it look.

Alan Mills. Baseball needs two rules: 1) no more than two catcher visits to the mound per inning (call it the Brian McCann Rule) and nobody wears a number higher than 66. Just because.

Jimmy Key...big honkin' script font.

Man, I like this Fleer set. Borders, decent team caps, readable names, colorful-ness. Pretty cool.  So sue me.

O-Pee-Chee Orioles! I have scattered examples of OPC Birds in my collection but these were all new to me. I prefer the OPC's that look just like the Topps versions but have the OPC logo/trademark.

Modern Orioles! Dig those stirrups on AJ10. OK, here's a third rule for more pajama-style pants.

Modern shiny Orioles!

I always forget that Jones was a Mariner. Nice trade, Baltimore.

There were more Orioles cards from the above sets. And amazingly I think only one was a card I already owned.

Joe also remembered my Manchester United love and hit me with several cards of Red Devils including the great David de Gea. Lord knows where the Reds would be this EPL season without him.

I have been to several Houston Dynamo games in previous seasons but I somehow missed this past year. But I do spend many Saturday morning with the Man U Supporters club watching EPL at a bar across the street from the Dynamo stadium a.k.a. The Orange Oven.

More de Gea. Do you ever wonder if anyone actually plays the games with these cards?

That was a cool shipment of cards, Joe. Many thanks! Oh, and here is the late,great Jimi Hendrix doing his classic 'Hey, Joe'. This one's for you.