Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I am not worthy (From Joe S.)

I was on the receiving end of a couple of terrific card packages that arrived within days of each other over the past week. The most remarkable thing about these two gifts is how similar there were. It's as if the two bloggers got together and planned it.

I'll feature both of these in separate posts in the order they arrived.  When I have them both posted you'll see what I mean by 'similar'. First up...the 'fat pack' set by 'Joe Shlabotnik'. I'm gonna run through the cards I scanned rather quickly as we are headed north to Arlington for the Roma-Barcelona match tonight.

Joe kicked in a big stack of 1979s. Over 40 of them and they took a nice slice off my needs list.  It's a fun set with plenty of stars, colorful unis and old favorites of mine.

Enos Cabell...I like those rainbow unis now more in retrospect than I did when they were being worn. Saw lots and lots of the Astros in this era so there is a bit of nostalgia involved in my feelings.

Craig Reynolds was one of the nicest guys to play baseball. I saw him at one of those free mall signings that used to come around pretty frequently in Houston. He was great with the fans. Seeing him in a Mariners uni is pretty weird though. But that trident logo they used was the cat's meow!

Pete Rose...whatever became of him anyway? I mean after he shot JFK and all that.

'Should be' Hall of Famer Lou Whitaker. C'mon...he's overdue for induction.

Rod Carew...never gets the attention he deserves. Loved watching him play..except against the Orioles. He was one of the few players that got me to drive up to Arlington to see play.

Paul Molitor. Looking at his BR page I see he was drafted by the Cards in 1974 in the 24th round but didn't sign. the Cards had drafted Garry Templeton in the first round. Funny how things work out.

Joel Youngblood, the only guy to get a hit for two different teams in the same day. You can look it up.

And the awesome Don Baylor. He always played his ass off. RIP

There were more than thirty other 79s in 'Joe's' bundle. All in great shape and that brought me to under 150 on my list.

He also sent along a card for my ever-so-slowly-being-chased 1970 Toops hoops set. That thing is a bear and I'm just about finished with the 'easy' cards. Down to the 'SPs' now. Paying in blood for a Luke Jackson card is gonna be tough.

But finishing it off will be worthwhile if for no other reason than the wonderful backs on these things. One fun cartoon after another.

Stallworth had an interesting path...born in Dallas, on to Compton and then off to Wichita State and finally the Big Apple.

Joe also tossed in some shiny Orioles and wanna-be Orioles. These two picture Cedric Mullins and  Austin Hayes both popping up to second. They'll fit right in the O's lineup!

Hey look...it's Cal!

I must have 100 Dylan Bundy cards...but I didn't have this one. He was an NFL* member of a couple of my fantasy teams.

*='Not For Long'.

Caleb Joseph got off to a horrible start to the 2018 season and ended up spending some time at AAA. He's back and his average is climbing, even if my Orioles aren't.

To round things off there were Presidents! Sure makes me wish we had one.

William Herny Harrison looks like Dracula.

I'll need to check and see if these Goodwin Champions made up a complete set of Presidents. If so I bet I can nab them pretty easily. My Presidents binder is growing by leaps and bounds.

Joe...this was one fabulous gift package. Many thanks. Now it's off to Jerry Jones World for some futbol. When I get back I'll be posting the other great group of cards that came my way!

Monday, July 30, 2018

1943 Ranger Hockey Program

July in Houston is ridiculously hot and humid but helping to cool things off for me was picking up this 1943 Rangers game program. I just love the cover's artwork. Even the 'helpful' addition of the year written on the player's shoulder can't ruin it for me.

I wasn't really expecting much on the inside pages given what I've seen of programs from that era. Turned out to be more interesting that I thought it would be. 1943 was wartime and nearly every page in the program reflects that. Even the cigarette ads had a patriotic bent. Check this one out. It ran on the inside of the cover.

The table of contents page is below. The program is from a November 6, 1943 game against the Chicago Black Hawks at the old Madison Square Garden. Chicago won 4-3 sending the Rangers to a 0-4 mark for the season. The Blueshirts wouldn't win until mid-December and would finish the season 6-39-5.

The president of MSG is shown in his uniform. John Kilpatrick was an interesting and accomplished guy. He served in both World Wars and was inducted to both the NHL and College Football Halls of Fame (he played at Yale).

Frank Boucher was a long time Ranger player who was their coach in 1943. The story below mentions the possibility of him playing again during the current season. He actually did play in 15 games and scored four goals. He was 41 years old at the time having begun his playing career in 1916!

This is the gameday insert with lineups and a few ads. My Dad had an impressive collection of Botany ties back in the day. I claimed a few after he passed away.

the flip side of the insert includes this sepia picture of Rangers' captain, Ott Heller. He was the only guy to play on both the Rangers 1933 and 1940 Stanley Cup teams.  

As you'd expect there are some stat pages in the program. The '42-'43 Rangers also were terrible though not as bad as they were in 1943.

This next page is pretty interesting. Instructions on what to do in case of an air raid alert, a remarkable Phillip Morris ad and part of the two page 'Buy War Bonds' spread. 

Seagram's did their part for the war effort reminding one and all of the need to keep their mouths shut.

The back cover has another military-themed cigarette ad. This one features the beautiful Betty Grable ("Nice Gams!") for Chesterfields.

All in all a pretty nice addition to my publication collection.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Charles Bender 1911 Helmar Stamp

I recently added this 1911 Helmar Stamp to my Charles Bender collection.  These things are not rare or nearly as expensive as some other issues from that era. By themselves, they don't seem that attractive but a page of them is pretty neat. Check out the Google search I posted below to check that out.

The Helmar Stamps came in cigarette packs. There were 180 ballplayers in total. They also issued stamps of actresses. A Google Image search turns up examples of both. The stamps are blank-backed and have straight, not perforated, edges. They run roughly an inch by an inch and a half. For the sake of perspective here is the Helmar scanned next to a modern, standard sized card.

And here's a 12-year-old article from SCD complete with quotes from Mr. Mint. <eye-roll emoji goes here> The Baseball and Tobacco website has a picture of the cigarette packs and the little envelope the stamps came in. Old Cardboard ( a wonderful resource btw) has the checklist and some additional info.

Adding to my Bender collection isn't like adding to my Ed Charles collection. With the cost of career-era pieces, it's slow going. But I'll plug along. One day I'll luck into something like the Bender Cracker Jack card.

Monday, July 23, 2018

One Project Finished, Many To Go

Over the weekend I avoided the deadly Houston heat as much as possible and spent about 7 hours on a hobby project. Over the last year or two I've wasted countless hours searching for cards of my fantasy players as I picked those players up either in drafts or thru waivers. I wanted a better system than shuffling among small boxes, assorted desk stacks, etc. This was something I felt was long overdue.

I pulled out a couple of 1600 count card storage boxes and made two sets of section dividers using rigid card sleeves and labels. I gathered all my cards of current players. After sorting them into hitter and pitcher stacks I alphabetized each group. My new sorting tray came in handy!

Now that I'm done I won't waste time searching for a card of a player I think I have and maybe, more importantly, I won't end up buying cards of players I already have. I can't tell you how many times I've done that.

OK, so this isn't such an interesting post. And no cards in it!

I'm fixing that with this card of White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez. I liked what I saw of him when I went to see the Sox play the Astros and nabbed him for a couple of my teams. Then I found that he doesn't have any mainstream cardboard.

On eBay I found a Honus Bonus card of him. I had no idea these were real cards. I remember hearing the name of the set somewhere, either on a blog or in a hobby publication but never thought much about it. I assumed (wrongly) that it was some sort of online thing like eTopps or the cards that people chase with phone apps.

Googling told me these were a 2017 issue, was an unlicensed set, the cards were used as some sort of fantasy baseball game, and there is no sign of the brand in 2018. Easy come, easy go.

When the card arrived I saw that sure enough, the back is contest-related.  I got a chuckle out of how they designated his team as 'Chicago (South)'. I figured the Cubs would be 'Chicago (North)'...they are. Curiosity got me to COMC where I saw the Yankees cards were listed as New York (Bronx) and the Mets were 'New York (Queens)'. For some reason, I liked that a lot.

Sooo...happy day. I have a Narvaez card and it even fills one of my preferences...a bit of variety among my fantasy binder cards.

Now that my fantasy baseball cards are in order I'm going to move on to football. Then other projects will be tackled including putting my player collections into binders and doing the same with my non-sports sets. All those are in boxes. Wish me luck.

Campy, 1956 Topps Style

EDIT: I'm not sure what happened to this post. It reverted back to draft form and much of it was lost. Anyway I am posting it again after rewriting what I recall of what was here before. Blogger hasn't been kind to me lately.

In my neverending quest to acquire cards I don't really need but really want I bought this 1956 Topps Roy Campanella when it was put up for sale by a Net54 member. I previously had no other career era Campy's and, as with Jackie Robinson, I wanted to rectify that. The closest was my 1959 Symbol of Courage card that Topps included in their high numbers that year.

I don't have to tell any card hobbyists how wonderful the 1956 Topps set is. It's almost universally beloved as one of the iconic vintage card designs. Campy's card is a great example.  The front, in addition to the portrait, shows Campy slinding into home. Odds are the opposing catcher is Yogi Berra. But a Getty Image search of the two Hall of Famers didn't turn up anything that might be a match as the original. It could also be the New York Giants catcher Ray Katt who wore #8 in the 50s. Then again we all know that Topps' artists sometimes snagged a photo and painted it as  someone else. (Sliding Willie Mays sez 'Hi!')

Some Campy notes:

  • He made the All Star team in 8 of his 10 seasons in the majors. He missed out in his first and last years.
  • He began playing for the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1939 as a 15 year old and was the regular catcher at 16.
  • He was taken to Glen Cove Hospital on Lomg Island following his accident in January of 1958. My sister had been born there just a month eariler. My brothers were born at GCH in '59 and '61. 
 Here is his NY Times obituary.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Five For Fighting

I've read some blogs lately that revolved around a Blog Bat Around-ish theme..."Which aspects of your collecting would you keep if you were limited to five?" Or something like that. Gavin's entry was the first I read although I'm not sure his was the first posted. Robert followed up with his and I'm sure there are others.

This sort of thing is right up my alley. I like lists. I particularly like lists related to collecting. I thought this would be an easy one. Turned out not to be so. I spun my chair around in my newly re-done hobby room/office and jotted down my hobby 'interests' in broad terms. I tried not to put too fine a point on it. I mean would my Billy Pierce collection be an 'aspect' or is it part of my larger player collection? See, I was over-thinking it all. This is not the LSAT. And when I think about it this will be very similar to my post in response to Night Owl's 'Hobby Projects' theme.

So after reading and rereading those notes, I came up with the following list in (almost) no particular order (and subject to change at any moment):

1) Orioles and Baltimore Colts Publications.

This is, and always has been, my hobby priority. When I was a kid I got a program at every game I attended. My Dad always brought me to Manny's Baseball Land before games in the Bronx to check out the yearbooks. And so on. I've completed my Colts publication checklist and am nearly there with the Orioles.

2) Fantasy Sports Player Collection

This is my longest lasting and most extensive card project. In 1980 I started a fantasy football league among my college friends. We are still going strong as we get set for our 39th season. I began picking up cards of players I had on my team about a year after we began. I've kept it up ever since and now I also collect cards of guys on my fantasy baseball teams and the other FB teams I've managed. It's been fun, alternately frustrating and satisfying. Especially over on the football side. Pre-Internet days meant you had to hunt for cards at shows and through hobby publications.

I enjoyed tracking down obscure cards of obscure kickers and backup QBs. The Jose Cortez saga is the perfect example. I put out an APB for his one and only actual card one day on this blog and not four hours later I got a response and soon had the card in my binder! I was so happy I thought I'd cry! (Thanks again, Raz!!!) Sometimes I had to to make my own custom cards and with my sad graphics skills, that's an ordeal. Then there's the whole Randy Burke fiasco.

I have too much invested (in time and dedication if not money) to give this collection up.

3) Vintage Set Collecting 

The chase is the thing. As a collector there is no feeling like getting down to the last few cards needed for a vintage set. I'm inside of forty cards needed to finish off the 1962 Topps set. It's by far the most difficult of the sets I've attempted. Those woodgrain borders and terrible centering make finding acceptable yet affordable cards a challenge. The 'green tint' and photo and numbering variations throw you a curve when it comes to deciding on what a complete set consists of. But it'll be worth the effort when I can flip through the filled binder pages.

Another fun thing about set collecting has been blogging them. Yes, I'm way behind of the '58 and '60 blogs but I'll get them back on a regular schedule soon. And doing the research is a kick. Perhaps my favorite post ever on any blog I write is the one for Don Rudolph's 1959 card. Warning: That link will introduce you to Miss Patti Waggin, Don's lovely wife.

Oh, and I'm considering all my vintage sets here. I dig old basketball sets.

And non-sports sets. Is this fudging the five area limit? My post, my rules I guess.

I collect the Philly Gum sets from the mid-60s. Only have 1964 finished as of now.

More non-sports.

And chasing hockey is fun, too.

Yup, vintage sets and the collecting of same has to be one of the five areas of the hobby I'd continue with.

4) Player Collections

It would be impossible to sacrifice my player collections as I bet it would be for every hobbyist. If I really was forced to consolidate I could give up collecting some players. After all, I really don't need to chase Ed Charles cards, do I? But my Billy Pierce collection is sacred!

As are my Johnny U.....

....Charles Bender....

...Connie Hawkins....

...Dennis Martinez...

....Sandy Koufax...

....Brooks Robinson....

..and Elston Howard Collections.

5) Non-Sports Sketch Cards

I'd keep collecting sketch cards because I find them so much fun. Seeing all the different versions of  Batman, etc is a kick. And to be honest some have been fairly pricey and that's a consideration.

Luckily I'm not going to have to face this type of decision. Because if I did I'd be giving up a bunch of stuff. Out the door would go my postcards, presidential pins, bobbleheads, Starbucks mugs, Baltimore-related glassware, pennant collection, commemorative coins (state and park quarters, mostly), Orioles stars binders, Orioles and Colts oddball items, signed 8x10s, etc, etc. That would be a sad day indeed.

Oh, the title of the post? I was vaguely aware of a music act with that name and I thought it was appropriate. I had to look up the group and I'm still unsure if it's one guy or several. No matter, he/they sound like the Dave Matthews Band to me (and that's not a compliment). I did recognise this tune though. For whatever that's worth.