Friday, June 29, 2018

#9 Dream

Daniel, over on his It's Like Having My Own Card Shop blog, is having a contest to celebrate nine years of blogging. He has asked other bloggers to enter by concocting a nine card post, theme TBD. That sounded easy enough to complete and a post of cards I've scanned/blogged of players who wore the number 9 popped to mind. I haven't gone through the other entries so it's highly possible that this isn't the only such entry but so be it. they are. (I wanted to hit the Big Four sports but a basketball entry eluded me. Outside of Bob Pettit (look him up, kids) I can't even think of a hoopster who wore that number much less find a scan of a card of one so I went with the other sports.) These are in no particular order other than this is how I came across them.

Roger Maris came to mind quickly and I was going to use the card from Topps' 1961 MVP subset but that scan was awful. I considered his 1959 card but he wore #3 with the Athletics so I went with my third choice. The 1960 All-Star cards have grown on me since I built the set.

In my mind the #9 in baseball means Ted Williams. His '58 All-Star card is likely the first career-era Teddy Ballgame card I owned as an adult collector.

Here is a Dexter Press postcard of my favorite #9 Orioles player, Don Buford. He was an underrated member of the great Orioles teams of 1969-71. These DP postcards (anything by Dexter Press actually) are things of beauty.

Reggie Jackson wore #9 in his brief Orioles stint. Here he is, my least favorite Oriole wearing their worst uni combo on a modern Topps card.

Moving on to football we find "Two Minute" Tommy Kramer, the pride of San Antonio, Texas. He was my first 'stud' fantasy football player.

Jim McMahon on a Pro Set wearing a Chargers uniform. This looks wrong.

I'm a huge fan of Philly Gum football cards. This is the 1967 Sonny Jurgensen.  If you don't know much about him you could do worse than spend some time checking out this NFL Films feature. He was a great one.

And now on to hockey for a pair of cards.

Adam Graves has his #9 in the Madison Square Garden rafters. We are currently working on plans for a fall trip to the East Coast and at least one Rangers game in on the agenda. I can't wait.

And finally Mr. Hockey. Nowadays you can't read a sports-related article in print or online without some clown throwing the 'G.O.A.T.' label on somebody. Just know this.....if someone uses it in reference to Gordie they are correct.

So there are my nine cards, all of players who wore that number. Congrats to Daniel on his milestone. Nine years of blogging is something to celebrate for sure.

And what better way to wrap up this contest entry than with my favorite John Lennon song. The same song that inspired the title of this post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How could I forget Stan The Man?

The 1953 Bowman Color cards are (IMHO) some of the most beautiful cards ever produced.  I'd never be ambitious (or foolish) enough to attempt to collect the set but I pick up inexpensive ones when I stumble across 'em. Just like the Bob Cain card I posted from my latest card show haul

I bought this not-so-inexpensive card late last year so technically it wasn't part of my recent graded card 'binge' but I'm as happy with it as I am with any of the others. I saw the '53B Musial being discussed on Twitter and I was struck by how this seems to be the 'most Musial' of all Stan Musial cards. I love the shot, his expression, the bat rack in the background and the uniform top the Cards wore.

I don't collect Musial cards in particular because I have enough PCs to keep me busy already but I do have a soft spot for him. My oldest and dearest friend has always been the biggest Cardinals (and Musial) fan. When we shared an apartment for a year after college the third occupant was his dog 'Stosh', another Musial nickname.

The first line of the bio on this card might well have been written by my friend as it proclaims Stan the Man to be 'the greatest'.

Finally here are the other '53 Bowman Color cards I have scanned and have posted previously. Enjoy!

Early Wynn

Russ Meyer

Billy Pierce

Jackie Jensen

Bob Cain

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Graded Jackie Robinson

This is the third of three graded vintage cards I acquired in a fit of spending frittering away my kids' inheritance over the last few weeks. And among the cards I own this one jumps up near the top of my list of favorites. This '55 Topps Jackie Robinson has rounded corners but it's all in one piece and the colors are still nice so it'll do just fine for me.

I've wanted to add a career-era card of this iconic player for a while. I'm not sure what kept me from picking one up other than always having other projects occupying my attention. This time I used an eBay coupon code to land something not for a set or player collection, but just because I felt I should have it.

There are more popular JR cards out there. Obviously, the 1949 Leaf would qualify. And for my money, his 1956 Topps is more attractive. But this fit my budget and I do like the '55 design quite a bit. 

One thing I noted on the back of the card was that in the write-up Topps referred to the Dodgers as 'the Brooks'. I lived in Brooklyn when I was very young, spent many summers there at my grandparents' house and knew plenty of older relatives that had been Dodger fans during their time back east and I've never seen or heard that particular reference before.

It's also interesting that Topps was detail-oriented enough to list Jackie's height as 5' 11 3/4". 

And so ends my trio of postwar graded acquisitions. I have a few other cards from the 50s that I picked up within the last few months and I'll get them scanned and posted. I also have some Charles Bender cards and some 1962 Topps stars I'll post. I don't think I'll take on a '62-specific blog anytime soon (I'm too far behind with my '58 and '60 set blogs) so the better 1962 cards will show up here.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Graded Ted

In my previous post featuring the '62 Willie Mays, I mentioned that these three posts were of cards I'd wanted for awhile. That's not technically true in the case of this '54 Ted Williams card.

What I HAD wanted was to upgrade my 1958 Ted Williams card. From time to time I had hit the usual places looking for a nicer copy at an affordable price. I pretty much knew that wasn't going to happen but whatever. During one of my visits to eBay, I came across this Ted from 1954...the #1 card on Topps' checklist for that year's set. I'm thinking it popped up because I did my search for 'Williams #1' since the '58 Williams is also card #1.

This one (its one of two Teddy Ballgames in the '54 set) had a really decent price so I put it on my watch list. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to forget the '58 upgrade. If I did find a better '58 Williams it probably wouldn't have been much of a bump given what I hoped to spend. And in the end, I would have two mediocre copies of the same card.  So when eBay did one of their 20% Off days I grabbed this '54.

It'll probably stay in the shell because I have nothing to gain by breaking it out. Looking at the back it occurred to me that when I was growing up I loved cards with full career stats on the back. But now that stats are so easy to find anywhere I'm happy that there were wonderful cartoons like the ones on the back of this great card.

The third and final post of these graded cards will feature a card of an iconic player whose absence in my collection had bugged me for an awfully long time. I'll get that one up early in the week.

Friday, June 22, 2018

A Graded Willie

Over the past couple of months I've added about eight slabbed and graded cards to my collection. Most of them are Charles Bender T- and E- cards. But three of them are cards I've wanted from the 50s and 60s.

The first one I'm posting is the best conditioned and ironically the only one destined to be broken free of its plastic prison and land in a binder. It's this 1962 Topps Willie Mays. I'm collecting the '62 set at the moment and this Mays, with its scuffed corners and off-center trimming, fits in perfectly. I love the pose and that's one reason I wanted to be sure I had a decent copy for my set. Honestly, I would have probably grabbed this one even if I wasn't collecting the '62 set.

I'm down to needing 133 cards of the 598 count base set. I also have the numerous pose variations and the 'cap logo/no cap logo cards'. I've decided on how to handle the 'green tint' variations. I'm just going to fill one binder page with nine random examples. You can check my needs list over in the right side column.

Most of the stars are already accounted for. I'm lacking the Mantle All-Star and the Bob Gibson card. Outside of those, it'll be the high numbered multiplayer rookie cards that will take some time and careful bidding.

The 1962 Topps set doesn't get much love but I have fond memories of opening packs, flipping dupes and swapping cards in the playground of St. Mary's School in Nutley N.J. It's a challenge to even decide what constitutes a complete set. But like the other sets from that era that I've built, it's a fun ride.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Newest Card Show Pickups

It's a little difficult to concentrate on cards and such these days given the fact that this country has gone to hell in a handbasket but I'm gonna give it a shot. Maybe doing a blog post is what I need.

I went to the hotel card show a couple of Saturdays back Darrell has changed locations for the West Houston show and it was a welcome surprise to see the room he's booked. Space to breathe! How nice. And more dealers table as well.

I had a couple of goals at the show. One was to scrounge the cheap vintage boxes for 1962 Topps baseball. The other was to help out a couple of blogging friends with their current needs.  To one extent or another, I managed to accomplish both. Plus I was able to nab a few cards that fall into the 'Just Because' category. Those are the ones I'll post here.

I might as well just call the 1972 Kelloggs set a collecting goal. I found a couple more at the show. The best of which is this Vida Blue.

I'm also calling myself an official Dick Allen collector. I mean why the hell not? I love this '74 card. Both front....

....and back:
"Dick likes to listen to stereo music." Awesome!

This is probably my third or fourth Brooks Robinson Deckle Edge. None of them are centered correctly. The bottom edge of this one does have the deckled edge but my scanner refused to acknowledge that fact. 

I'm not sure if I already had this '66 Elston Howard card. That's a problem that will rectify itself once I finish my grand scheme to re-organize. My hobby room/office is now completely re-done with shelves and bookcases. I made a bulk purchase of binders and pages. Now the real work begins.

This 1958 Jackie Jensen All-Star is an upgrade to the one I have in my '58 set. I'll do a fifty cent '58 card upgrade anytime.

I'm sure I've mentioned previously how much time I wasted as a kid studying the backs of these things. I loved seeing who hit what against whom. I don't know why for sure but it fascinated me no end. For example, I see that Jensen has a nice '57 versus the A's. in 19 games he smacked 6 homers, had 20 RBIs and hit .324.

A 1964 World Series subset card with Koufax will always jump out of the box and into my pile.

I don't have much Ali stuff outside on my autographed SI cover to I pick up cheap stuff when I find it. Like this '83 Olympic card.

I picked up a bulk starter lot of 1975 Topps cards recently because it was dirt cheap. But it was all commons so I bought these starts for a buck apiece. I'm not sure I'll ever get around to really pursuing the '75 set because I have several other things on my list but you never pass up stars for a dollar.

I found a few football cards as well. I bought this 1954 Bowman Buddy Young because I figured it might be an upgrade to the one in my Colts collection. It isn't but it's still a nice card to have a dupe of.

'Crazy Legs' Hirsch from 1956 because it's tough to pass up something like this.

This '59 Lenny Moore IS an upgrade. So I feel vindicated.

Back to a baseball card. this is one of those cards I just can't pass up even though it was two bucks and I'll never even try to complete the '53 Bowman set. I just thought it was a beauty of a card. I've been trying to find one of those Browns caps for a long time but I never can locate one to fit my huge head. I've got a nice gray and brown version but it's not the same.

Man, just look at this card. It's art.

Here's the back. I don't think I've ever really noticed that Bowman made room for kids to fill in 'this year' stats below the player's career numbers.

And finally here's my favorite card from the show. From out of the quarter box comes this 1975 Topps Seattle SuperSonics team card. Yup, that's Bill Russell on the tarmac. This card jumps immediately to the list of my favorite hoops cards. 

I don't know many of these guys but that's Slick Watts with the headband above Russ. Tom Burleson is (I think) the tall guy at the bottom of the stairs. Jim Fox is two guys to Burleson's right with John Brisker in between them. I think that's Spencer Haywood at the bottom of the stairs but I wouldn't bet on it.

All in all another fun show. Next up is the July TriStar extravaganza. That one should be great for working on want-lists.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

1951 Topps Ray Robinson

I used to be a boxing fan. Probably stemming from my days as a kid when we lived with my grandparents in Brooklyn. My grandfather watched lots of boxing and wrestling. Nowadays other than viewing some Showtime fights (usually repeats) I haven't a clue about the current state of the sport or many of the fighters.

But that doesn't keep me from nabbing a few cards from the 1951Topps Ringside set when I come across them at a good price.  These two Sugar Ray Robinson cards were offered by a guy on Net54 and I bought them. I usually wouldn't bother with graded versions but these were a bargain.

Ray Robinson, who died in 1989 and won the middleweight crown five separate times, was considered by many to be the best boxer in history. I remember him only as a former champ who fought in the early '60s while well past his prime.

The top card is a beauty on the front. Probably my favorite in the set. The poor grade comes from issues on the back.

The action card is one of a handful in the set that features a specific fight.

Pretty sweet both front and back.

I'll let these two sit in the graded cases until I get more of the set (I have about a dozen of the 96 in the set) and into a binder they'll go.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

1954 Bowman Memo Luna

I really enjoy oddball baseball stories, especially when I have a card to go with the story. And that's the case with this Memo Luna card from the 1954 Bowman set I came across in my collection a while back. I remember when I first saw this card that I couldn't figure out what made it different until it dawned on me that Luna's name was not in the 'signature' style of the rest of the set. He got plain sans serif type.

Guillermo Romero Luna was a 21-year-old phenom out of Mexico when he signed with the old San Diego Padres of the PCL. He debuted stateside in 1949. He'd won 52 games in three seasons in Mexico before he came north. As the back of the card notes Luna was a multi-sport star growing up.

He spent two years with San Diego before being acquired by the Cardinals in September of 1953 for three players and $75,000. The understanding was that Luna would pitch a bit that winter in Cuba and then return home to Mexico to rest his arm and await his first spring traing as a major leaguer. 

Instead of resting after being shut down for the winter Luna cranked it up in the Mexican winter league, blew out his elbow in a February start and was never the same. Luna, who featured a curve, slider and knuckleball, had a poor spring but managed to make the Cardinals '54 roster and drew a late April start. In that game against the Reds he was KO'd in the first inning and sent down to Rochester, the highest ranking of the Cardinals 22 affiliates. Yes, the Cards had 22 farm clubs in 1954!

Luna had respectable numbers in Rochester (although a losing record) but he slipped down the ladder in the Cardinals' chain and eventually ended his career back in the Mexican Leagues in 1961. Although he never again pitched in the majors he had established enough of a legend to be elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame.

There is something that intrigues me about Luna and especially that card of his. The back featured a nice write-up and a big empty box where his record would  normally be.

I went looking for the original photo that was inhanced for the Bowman card. I found it on the St Louis Post-Dispatch site. The story isn't accessable without turning off my ad-blocker so I can't link it. But here's the photo showing Luna in his Padres gear before Bowman painted him into a Cardinals uni.  

Luna's story, fleshed out a bit. can be read on this Cardinals fan blog. And the artisitc wizard Gary Cieradkowski just last month showed off his Luna card on his Infinite Card Set blog. And he tells the whole colorful Luna tale far better than I can. Highly recommended!

Birds In My Mailbox

Over the past month I've received a pair of Orioles-laden PWEs (or maybe they were manila, I forget). The cards got buried during my office makeover but they emerged over the weekend. I warmed up my scanner today after a rather long break so let's take a look.....

Oh, before I show the cards I have to say that yes, I know the O's are awful. And that takes a shine off the season but I've been through a lot of ups and downs as a sports fan for lo these many decades. I'm used to it.

The first group of cards came from Tom of The Angels, In Order blog. Of these four the highlight is the Zack Britton card from last years Topps All Star run. Poor Zack is gonna return as the O's closer and rarely have a game to close.  The Chris Davis-Jim Palmer spat was embarrassing but JP fired from the hip. I can't fault him for telling the truth. And I don't think Crush is gonna make it to 500 homers. But I do like that card.

I need to tweak my scanner to show the chrome/foil elements on my cards better. This Chris Hoiles card is a Topps Gold from 1994. I'm not sure what that means but it sure is glittery! I don't buy Bowman so I seeing current stars like Manny Machado on Bowmans makes me stop for a second. I always associate the brand with kids I've never heard of. This Machado is pretty nice. I stuck it into my fantasy baseball binder tonight. It bumped a Heritage. Variety counts in that binder don't ya know. 


The binder had no Gypsy Queens of this style either so Trey Mancini makes it. I've had (and cut and re-claimed) Mancini on both my teams this year.

Finally this bad boy...

That looks like a '78 Murray but it actually comes from a Topps reprise Rookie Cup in 2017. Again, I'm lost when it comes to keeping up with the comings and goings at Topps but this card is currently propped up against the base of my new lamp here on my desk because it's a way I can look at my favorite card regularly without risking ruining a real one with a coffee spill. This one has that shiny coating that's probably impervious to coffee.

Thanks, Tom. I know I have some Angels around here someplace for ya. 

The next envelope came from Joe Shlabotnik. Joe is an Orioles guy (well, he's a Mets guy but the O's are his second team). He was probably happy to get these out of his house. Me, I'm just enough of a masochist that I enjoy Orioles cards even though they serve as a reminder of how lousy my team is. 

The O's won on Opening Day this year but it all went south from there. The first card from Joe's pile is a '17 OD card featuring The Bird. He also sent a card of the nat's Racing Presidents which will land in my Presidential cards binder once I firgureout where I put it.

There are five Presidents on that card. Must be a reunion of all the ones they've used.

Joe sent a group of Orioles from the current year and the past two. All but one is new-to-me. My favorite of this first group is Chance Sisco. He's not hitting much but I like his grit. Next to him is Kevin Gausman winding up to serve a hanging slider that will be launched 495 feet towards the Warehouse.

In this next bunch we have Manny, Schoop and AJ10. My three favorite current Orioles. Plus Ryan Flaherty who I miss. As of tonite he's hitting .270 for the 1st place Braves. I'm happy for him.

Nice cards, one and all. Thanks, Joe! Here's something for you.