Friday, June 26, 2020

Graig Kreindler Negro League Centennial Set

A few months back I saw an ad (somewhere..Twitter?) for a new Negro League set. It was produced in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League in 1920. Of course, black baseball in the Staes and the Caribean goes back to the 1860s. There are included cards of players and pioneers that reflect that.

The cards were to feature the artwork of Graig Kreindler. I love his work and the set looked promising.  I ordered one and pretty much forgot about it until I got a shipping notice last week.

The set, produced by the site, arrived yesterday and I'm happy with it. Kreindler's art is super. The set consists of 184 cards plus a couple of unnumbered extras. There are cards for every star and multiples of many which reflect different teams they played for.

The backs give the player's vitals and contain a short write-up. When there are multiple cards of a player the write-up is different for each one as they reflect the team/career path of the player.

Included was a two-sided card that gives some background on the project. I'm showing it and any other text-heavy cards because the font is not easy to read otherwise.

Just gonna toss a few of my favorites up here. There are many of the Cuban and other Latin American players here, and some of the Negro leaguers played winter ball in those spots and have cards showing them in those unis.

Josh Gibson, as you'd expect, has a few different cards included. Beckett has the checklist and other info on their site.

There are also cards for some of the well known MLB stars that got their 'professional' start in the Negro Leagues.

When Jackie Robinson's KC Monarchs club took the field even Bob Uecker would have known where they were from.

Minnie Minoso looks like he's 40 years old here but he played for the NY Cubans in 1948 which would make him 22.

I love this card of Elston Howard in his Monarchs gear. I may pick up a single for my Howard PC.

Here's something I didn't know...Luis Tiant's father was a baseball star in Cuba. Orlando Cepeda's father has a card in the set as well.

Goose Tatum became famous for his Harlem Globetrotter success, but he played ball, too. The card mentions that his super-human 'wingspan' helped him as a first baseman but put a huge 'hole' on his swing.

Pioneers get cards including Toni Stone who played right alongside the guys.

Some of the unis that were worn were very sweet:

In a nice touch, Kreindler included a card of an 'unknown' player as a tribute to the many, many guys who played in obscurity. As noted on the reverse, teams traveled with small rosters and sometimes picked up local players to fill out lineups. Some players slipped through the cracks of the spotty recording and chronicling of teams/games and never got credited in a boxscore. Others played briefly before giving up due to the tough travel conditions and the difficulties of travel in a country where they were not welcomed everywhere.

As an 'early adopter' (i.e. I think that I ordered a set when it was still being financed) I received an extra copy of card #23 which depicts Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson signed by the artist. It was a nice surprise.

Even the box is attractive.

With the borders of the cards being a what they are I'm not wasting any time sliding the set into binder pages. And I may unfold that box and stick it in a one-pocket if I can.

EDIT: P-Town Tom was posting his thoughts on the set about the same time this went up. Check out his post here.

The set runs from $55 to $60 depending on where you purchase it. I've seen it on eBay and at the site I linked at the top. Net54 members can get it thru one of the authorized dealers who posts over there. Search for member 'buythatcard' and you'll find Howard's post about the set.

Money well spent for me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Mystery cards!

A few days ago a PWE arrived, and I put the emphasis on 'plain'. 😊 There was no return label or written addy. The postmark was running off the top of the envelope but I could make out a bit of it, and it read OSE, CA. But I knew cards were inside it, you can always tell.

Popping it open revealed shiny things, mostly Orioles from various and sundry sets from earlier in the last decade. Back before Topps had the only license. There was also no clue as to the sender but I suspected that the OSE, CA meant the cards were from San Jose, California, and that meant Fuji. Either that or they came from my wife's 92ish-year-old uncle and that seemed pretty unlikely.

So, wanting to confirm the sender (a thank you note to someone who hasn't sent anything would be dumb), I consulted the oracle of hobby mysteries, my Magic 8-Ball.

I asked the ball who sent the PWE. Got the answer:

Yup, I figured as much. And here they are (the ones that scanned decently, anyway):

Nick Markakis which signifies 10 games with 3+ hits by featuring the number '5'. I don't understand but I like the card anyway. The irony of it referring to Atlanta isn't lost on me.

Upper Deck 'X' card of Nick.

Upper Deck sure was fixated on 'X', yes?

Next up is a Fleer card from 2007 that has embossed gold and is's channeling the 90s.

I'll never understand how Machado wasn't an Orioles lifer. OK, I actually do know why but I don't have to like it, do I?

Cal, shiny.

Cal, textured (and tinted).

I saw someone online wearing a shirt that read "Davis Got A Hit!". I was going to seek one out but wearing it here in Houston would just draw quizzical looks.

That was referring to this, of course.

A couple of Miggy cards. In a fun coincidence, he was the subject of a story on The Athletic's site yesterday. Apparently, he wants to get back into baseball as the Athletics' hitting coach. If you have access to the article it's an entertaining read.

Melvin Mora was an Oriole whose career I completely missed. And I missed the Topps Total sets as well. It was a nice idea and something I wish they still did. But I do realize why it won't happen.

When you look at the 'Similar Batters' listing for Javy Lopez on Baseball-Reference the top name is Roy Campenella. Just sayin'.

I have no idea why Jake Arrieta is wearing a blue uni top on this card. But it's from 2008 which is two years before he made the majors so I'm guessing the photo is from the Futures Game or something like that.

And finally, this is a clear plastic Magglio Ordonez. He wasn't an Oriole at any point so I figure Fuji was using this to fill space in the folded 9-pocket or he wants to see me try to use it as a credit card somewhere. It's unique, that's for sure.

So, thanks Fuji! I hope the fall brings you a more normal teaching experience. All my friends in the business told me that the past spring semester was no fun at all.

In the near term, I hope we all get to enjoy some baseball. I'm not holding my breath though.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

I'm Still Here

But I haven't really had much going on hobby-wise, at least when it comes to picking up new 'stuff'. I've been plowing through the 1960 set and writing as many posts as I can. I'm set through July and into August I think.

I finally dug into a project I've been mulling for quite some time. The 1960 'colors' breakdown. With two main colors plus two (or more) text colors the combinations mount up fast. But I'm still tinkering with the spreadsheet so it'll be a few days before that gets posted.

Meanwhile, enjoy a football card from my 'These Need to Be Put In The Right Binder' box.

I posted my new(ish) 1986 Topps football set a few weeks back. Topps was putting 1000 Yard Club insert cards into packs back then and I bought the '86 group through SportsLots. (My "SportsLots is the worst designed card-selling website ever!" rant can wait)

I also picked up a signed Eric Dickerson from that insert set. I ought to hate Dickerson, he used to absolutely kill my Houston Cougars and I'm no fan of the SMU program. But ED was a ton of fun to watch.

Here's the card:

And the back:

They did versions of this insert through much of the 80s. 

Kind of surprising that the backs were colored so differently than the regular cards:

Then again, it's Topps, so maybe not.