Monday, August 31, 2020

Frank Robinson

Today would have been his 85th birthday. I've posted more Frank Robinson items than I can count. Here are some of my favorites.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

1960 Union Oil Patti Waggin's Husband

Sidebar......We here in the Houston area got very lucky when Hurricane Laura moved east before landfall. It came in just below Cat 5. Bad news. But here on the far east side of the county we had hardly a hint of wind all night. Wish I could say the same for the folks nearer the state line and in Louisiana. I have several college friends living in Lake Charles and I believe they all got out of harm's way yesterday.

Ok, so it's a Don Rudolph card. But you wouldn't have even clicked in your reading list had I used that as the post's title, right?

A little background is in order.

Sorry, not THAT sort of background.

This is what I meant....

When I came across Don Rufolph's card for my 1959 blog I flipped it over and saw that this was the cartoon.

THAT got my attention. I dug around and found that Don had married burlesque star Patti Waggin. That's her that is referenced as a 'professional dancer' in the cartoon. Down the rabbit hole I went and found that Miss Waggin (born Patricia Artae Hardwick) was a Baltimore star and, by all accounts, a peach of a lady.

Here's a bio I dug up on IMDB:

Patti was born in 1926 and was married three times. A second marriage to championship motorcycle racer Bill Brownell took place in Chico, California. She attended Chico State majoring in dance and acting. She was athletically gifted and played sports in college.

After her divorce in 1950, she took the stage name of Patti Waggin, given to her by then manager Lillian Hunt. She continued performing until 1960. She married baseball pitcher Don Rudolph in 1955 and stayed with him until his death in a truck accident in 1968. They had one child, a girl.

Patti incorporated athleticism into her act and was considered one of the friendliest girls on the burlesque circuit. She was alternately billed as The Educated Torso, The Sex Oomph Girl, and the Fresh Faced Girl Next Door. She answered all of her own fan mail and kept the letters. These were incorporated into a book, "Fan Letters To A Stripper: A Patti Waggin Tale."

She died in 1992 from an intestinal disorder.
As noted in that bio she had previously been married to a motorcycle racer and I just found this bike site that has an article and some photos (some locked except for members apparently) of Patti in her riding days.

But back to the reason for this post. As I got more familiar with Don Rudolph I picked up the rest of his Topps cards. He had cards in '58 and '59 as well as '62 through '64. The first three issued all used the same photo.

He also had several food/retail cards from his days with the Seattle Rainiers of the PCL in '59/'60. Some are quite pricey so they are off the table for me but this Union Oil issue, from a 1960 set of nine, had a small pinhole and came cheap.

Neat little reference to Don's marriage on the reverse as well. Look below for a bigger image.

 Just for reference, here is the Union Oil card scanned with his '59 Topps.

All his cards are here on the Trading Card Database site. And there is more info and plenty of pics in my post of that '59 Topps card.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Modern Day Benders

This post has been stuck in my drafts folder for so long I can't remember starting it.

Now, as we prepare for what may be a sizeable hurricane mid-week, I figured this may be the last chance to post for a while. No time to do any scanning.

This is a mix of Charles Bender 'art cards', legit issues, and nonsense I've picked up over the last few years.

These Helmar 'art stamps' pay homage to the original cigarette premiums smokers were collecting in 1911. The 'modern' versions are nicely done and look a lot like the vintage ones but differ in that these are not as wide.

Next up is a strip panel from the artist known as Gypsy Oak. I've picked up a few things from him in the past. We communicated when I was on Twitter buy he subsequently blocked me. Politics most likely. (ง •̀_•́)ง

The Topps Bazooka Chief Bender below comes from 1963. It's interesting in that it uses a photo of Bender from his coaching days. This set was unlike many of the candy/food issues in that it was not part of the box but rather a bonus that was inside the box. The checklist counts 41 players/personalities and were done in either silver (scarce) or gold tone. More info here.

Another modern piece done in throwback style. This 'Turkey Red' Bender isn't in front of me right now so I can't do much more than posting the scan. The real Bender Turkey Red has a different pose and is just a bit more costly.

Up last is a Panini 'postcard' that shows Bender's Hall of Fame plaque. I think I added this to my last SportsLots order. It's standard card size.

That's it for now. I hope anyone in the path of these two storms in the Gulf stays safe. See ya on the flip side.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Pandemic Life

Things have been pretty quiet as far as my hobby activities are concerned. No card shows mean I'm cut off from my chief source of want-list killing. I've had some stuff arrive in fits and spurts so I figured they'd make a post if I stuck 'em together.

Up top is the Tom Flores card from the 1961 Fleer set. It was one of the three pricey rookies that I put off finding until the end. The others are Don Meredith and Johnny Robinson. This card was an absolute bargain due to the pencil mark on the front. Oh, and a worn-down corner. Paying $14 for a card that averages 10 times that is a small victory. The Meredith card is going to be much tougher to nab.

It was just announced that Flores is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for 2021. He was the first Hispanic coach in the NFL. I hope he makes it into the HoF. But the good old boys that do the voting have some strange ways.

This next card falls into a category I mentioned in my last post, the "I'd have sworn that set was done but turns out I need it!" thing. When I bought the Bart Starr card for this 1960 Topps set I thought I'd put it to bed. Nope. Flipping through the pages showed me an open slot where Dave Middleton should have been so it was off the SportsLots I went.

Middleton played halfback and split end (I'm showing my age, I know what those positions are) for the Lions from 1955 through 1960 after a college career at Auburn. He finished with the expansion Vikings in 1961 (he's got a card in the '61 Fleer set). His claim to fame is catching a TD pass in the NFL title game in 1957 when the Lions destroyed the Browns, 59-14.

No story behind the rest of these other than the '79s being upgrades to that finished set. Yes, it really is finished, I checked.

I bought a '96 Topps set to commemorate my fantasy football title that season and the thing was missing the Farve card on the right. That's the second or third time in the last year that a set listed as 'complete' on eBay has arrived with something missing. Luckily, the cards I've had to track down were easy to locate and cheap enough.

I added the one of the left to the order because I liked it. And if I'm going to spend a buck for shipping on a 50 cent card I might as well buy a second fifty center and call it even.

That's it for now. I'm taking advantage of the quiet hobby time to write up a bunch of posts for my 1960 blog and finish up my look at the many color combos that Topps used. Lots of work, but some fun research.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Art Imitates Life

Well, it's nice to know that our government has the money to start investigating UFOs while unemployment is at 10%, but whatever.

I guess I'm one to talk. I just spent too much on the crown jewel of the 1962 Topps/Bubbles Mars Attacks set. Card #1, The Invasion Begins, is a tough one. Many suffer from the common 60s card issue of having been the top card in a rubber-banded stack.

Then again, 'too much' is a relative term. I see graded copies of this thing going for silly prices. I was able to finagle some PayPal funds I'd earned to reel it in for under a hundred. Yeah for me. It's in pretty good shape. Better than some others I have in the binder.

Here's the back...and the backstory:

Small nick in the upper corner is fine by me. This isn't the last card I needed, just the spendiest of the final few. I nabbed the last couple over the last day or two by going 'off the grid' and finding some card stores that were on the net but were not eBay! Imagine that.

This one, #39 Army of Giant Insects, makes me laugh. If you've spent much time in Houston you can relate to this scene. this came a week or two ago. But it didn't help my list shrink. I realized after it arrived that I had one in my binder but I had failed to cross it off my want list. Sure, tell me you've never done that.

I'll be back with the last two cards for the set next week. try and curb your excitement.

Of course, that's not counting the five that are sitting at COMC with an expected shipping date of sometime in 2023.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Say hey!

I was recently digging thru my 'stuff' and came across my stack of 1970 Topps booklets. I'd built the set from junk boxes at card shows and a sweep of COMC a couple of years ago. They are a cheap, fun item.

The problem was, while I had a bunch of dupes, I didn't have the Willie Mays folder in the stack. It's the #24th, and last, in the set which appears to be just a coincidence. Now I wasn't about to spend hours digging through boxes trying to find one folder so I went to SportsLots and tacked it on to my box order. It came last week.

The first panels have tidbits that some fans may not have known, even if Mays was among the most well-known players of the time (and, obviously, all-time). For example...while I knew about his Army service time and that he was on deck for the Thomson homer, I didn't know he was only 15 when he began playing in the Negro Leagues or that his first hit was off Spahn. or that he hit .477 in the minors his second year.

I kind of like that they reference the Wertz catch in the '54 Series with fans conversation rather than showing the catch itself. I don't think the artist made Willie look all that perturbed that the 'Dodgers still ran away with the pennant'! I bet he was pissed.

Wille was indeed 114 shy of The Babe at the end of the 1969 season. He had 28 in 1970 but his incredible five-tool skills were betraying him at 39 and he finished his career with 660. Hank Aaron passed Mays (he was 46 behind him at the time of these comics) and we all know the rest ofthe  story. Mays remains third on the list of untainted homer run hitters in history. YMMV of course.

The checklist contains a player from each of the 24 teams from 1970. They are numbered in alphabetical order according to the city with the AL coming first. That's what puts Willie in the #24 spot. As with all insert sets issued back then that 'covered the majors', it leads to an up-and-down checklist with some superstars and some lesser players. And you have to figure that Topps probably wanted to share the wealth and bypassed some of the games biggest names in favor of some solid support players. Brooks or Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente make way for Mike Cuellar, Orlando Cepeda, and Bob Moose as their team's rep in the set.

But each of the comics has some informative nuggets and many have some cringe-worthy, cornball comic panels. Here are some examples featuring Walt Williams and Tommy Harper.

The full stack is now sitting on my desk so maybe I should scan a few of my favorites and post them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Project 2020 Sandy K.

On Monday I received this Koufax from the Topps Project 2020 effort from Justin, a friend I met a couple of years ago through Net54. He's a Red Sox guy and this was paired with a Ted Williams card he wanted and he was kind enough to send it to me knowing I do enjoy Koufax cards.

To be honest, I don't keep up with what Topps is doing with this project and the Topps Now cards. The card back tells me that 20 artists did twenty cards. I've seen a couple here and there on blogs and many of those were pretty abstract. This card, however, is close enough to the original to be recognizable. And since the iconic '55 Koufax is one of my favorite cards ever, it's a very welcome addition to my collection.

The artist is Lawrence Atoigue and I'm guessing he's done or is doing, 19 other cards for this project if I'm following the description correctly. From what I saw on their page the 20 artists are doing their own versions of the same cards. From what I saw this is one of the better Koufax'.

I may go check some of the other ones out. I think keeping it in the holder is probably for the best so it won't go into the binder. But my original '55 Sandy is in a slab as well so they can keep each other company in my box of graded cards.

Thanks again, Justin. It was very nice of you to have had me in mind for this. You've inspired me to actually read my emails from Topps!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

NY State Of Mind

I'd gone through a long stretch without picking up any cards until last week. Then my long-delayed COMC and none-too-exciting SportsLots packages arrived. Honestly, I'd been concentrating on some holes in my publication collection and hadn't done much with cards other than the couple of football sets that I posted here.

But I got those boxes and I had a good time filling empty binder slots for a day or so. On Monday (Tuesday?...pandemics tend to scramble calendars) an envelope arrived from Western New York. Yup, Night Owl had thought of me and sent along some really choice material.

The envelope was bigger than the usual PWE that folks use. Here's why:

It's a Tommy Davis Johnny Pro Standup! This was a terrific promotional set from 1973 that was sold through the mail as complete sets (I think). They are die-cut and were intended to be 'punched out' and stood up. They measure just a touch over 5x7 which leads me to tell you why I was happy to get Tommy D. I bought a set many years ago, it included a couple of the variations and was really nice. But I was dumb, and not sophisticated as a collector. I trimmed my cards to fit into those two pocket pages. Wasn't a big trim, but it was a trim. So I've been picking up singles when I find them inexpensively to replace the ones I mangled. LOL

BTW...Johnny Pro also issued sets for the Baltimore Bullets and Philadelphia Phillies. 

And, as I told Night Owl, Tommy Davis is one of my favorite 'oh, hey...he was an Oriole?' guys. That group is comprised of short-term Birds better known with other teams, Eric Davis is another fave. Reggie is one of the group (eye-roll emoji here). Fred Lynn, Jim Northrup, Doug Drabeck are a few more. Let's not bring up Sammy Sosa, OK? Thanks!

Greg included some 1967 Topps in pretty nice condition. I think there were six or seven of them but I was anxious to put them in the right slots and realized later that I hadn't scanned 'em. You can't deny you've done the same. I was able to quickly pull these and I present them for your entertainment now. Nice cards from a very nice set.

Oh, did I mention that every '67 that Greg sent blindly ended up being useful? I think five of them filled open slots. One was a definite upgrade. Then there was Phil Roof.

I had three or four copies of this card. None of them were as good as the one NO sent. LOL.

Mike Ryan and Jimmy Davenport were the two I liked most. I'm pretty sure that's a subway train headed past the Yankee Stadium scoreboard over Ryan's shoulder.

Davenport was one of those guys I saw a lot of when I was living in Jersey. My best friend and his Dad were Giants guys and I went along on their many trips to Shea. Jim Ray Hart and Davenport both played third and became my favorite Giants for some reason. Maybe it was my affinity for third basemen.

Greg also included some shiny Birds of recent vintage. The Hayes card bumped a minor league card of his out of my fantasy baseball binder.

I saw Andrews Cashner pitch last year on Opening Day in Yankee Stadium. Seems like a loooong time ago. Hard to believe that the Orioles win two days later (which I didn't attend) was the last time they've beaten the f'ing Yankees. LOL

Finally here is Hanser Alberto. Yes, he's a big-league player. Heck, he homered last night in an Orioles win. The bad news is that the Orioles likely couldn't win a pennant in a 60-game 'season' even if you spotted them p-e-n-n-a and another 'n'. That's how it goes I guess.

Thanks again, Night Owl. Your generosity is much appreciated. Hoping you and everyone out there stays safe!