Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Vintage backgrounds: Expansion of the upper deck at Candlestick Park

While it's not uncommon for baseball stadiums to undergo partial renovations during the off-season, in-season construction is quite rare. During the 1971 baseball season, the upper deck at Candlestick Park in San Francisco was expanded across the outfield in preparation for the 49ers to move in for the '71 football season. As a result, 1972 Topps photos taken in the park show the upper deck in different phases of construction. These two cards are taken from the same spot (left field corner) and show the outfield upper deck looking very different.


Monday, April 6, 2020

1981 Topps Nolan Ryan

The front: If not for the iconic subject matter, this would be a pretty boring card.


The back: Ryan was already enough of a veteran to not have room for a blurb, but was only barely past the halfway point of his impressive career.


The player: Nolan Ryan was one of the greatest pitchers of all time. His 5,714 strikeouts and 7 career no-hitters are among the 51 MLB records that he holds.  He won 324 games in his 27-year career. His record might have been better had he not spent his peak years with some bad Angels clubs. Between 1972 and 1977 he lost 16+ games five times despite sub-3.00 ERAs in four of those seasons. The one knock on Ryan was the high amount of walks he issued; his 2,795 are another all-time record.

The man: Perhaps the greatest testament to Ryan as a man is the fact that at least ten of his former teammates named a son after him. After the Astros’ controversial 2019 World Series, Ryan left his role as special advisor to the team. He also sells Ryan Express Non-Tobacco Antioxidant Dip & Snack, and Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef. Ryan even has a blog about beef.

My collection: I have 145 of his cards, from 1973 to 1994. I would be interested in trading for 1968 Topps #177 (wishful thinking!), 1969 Topps #533, 1970 Topps #712, 1971 Topps #513 and 1972 Topps #595.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

PWE stuffing champion

What's the most items you've ever fit into a PWE? 10? 20? I got a PWE from Tom of The Angels, In Order with 85 items, and without even needing any extra postage! That's because those items were 85 1982 Fleer Stamps. Light in weight, heavy in fun early '80s Fleer photography. Like the Fleer stickers, I consider these as cards in my collection. Here are some highlights.

Lots of star power, big hair, and big mustaches.
 Who is the mystery Phillie taking a whack at Manny Trillo's head?
 The multi-player combo cards are the best.
Thanks Tom!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Cards from MrHaverkamp

I had seen the name MrHaverkamp on various other blogs. Recently we had our first trade. I got some great stuff from him.

The impetus of the trade was my mentioning that I didn't have Mike "Poison" Ivie's 1976 Hostess card in my recent profile of him. He sent me that card, as well as eight of the remaining 15 needs on my 1974 Topps setbuild.
The remaining seven cards - who can help? Two hall of fame third basemen, two World Series cards and three commons:
#16 Orioles team
#160 Brooks Robinson
#283 Mike Schmidt
#474 World Series Game 3
#475 World Series Game 4
#536 Duffy Dyer
#543 Danny Cater

He also sent me most of the 1983 Fleer Stickers set, about 200 or so. I love early 80s Fleer photography. I have all the base card sets so now would like to get the stickers/stamps from those years. Unlike the Topps album stickers I consider these to be cards. Below are some photos of some of the more interesting photos.
The Ryan/Ashby card below has a story behind it - see my interview with photographer Steve Babineau (almost ten years ago now). Most of these other photos are probably his too.
That Ron Reed card in the upper right below is as early-80s Fleer as it gets, with the arm of another pitcher in the foreground.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Stuck stickers

I finished putting my stickers in my albums. Here's a look at the page in each album with the most stickers.

I only have one sticker from 1981, Ron Guidry.
 I have nine stickers from 1982. Eight of them are the Mets team set. I don't remember when I accumulated these.
 I had a lot of 1983's from a big acquisition over the summer. Some big names in the future stars, including Boggs and Ripken.
 I don't have many from 1984; most I actually had since I was a kid, but didn't have the book to put them in. Three big names on the Phillies.
 Not many 84's either. Those oddly-shaped stickers must have ripped a lot for young hands.
 The 1986 book was my introduction to baseball. While I am not actively trading for stickers at this time, if I was, this would be the one I'd want to collect.
 I only have two stickers from 1987, this one and the lower half of the two-part Dave Righetti record breaker. I didn't realize until I had stuck them that they were actually O-Pee-Chee's, not Topps.
 1988 was a big change as the sticker backs were now cards themselves. This means I had a lot more of the stickers for the last three books. Also, stickers that came off the thicker cardboard were harder to stick after 30+ years, so I often had to tape them in. Eight stickers on this page!
 Five was the most for any one page in 1989.
 I have by far the most for the 1990 book, including a whopping 15 of the 20 All-Stars!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Worn and dirty cards for $30

One more internet purchase I made in the past week. I've got to stop spending so much time online! 158 cards for $30, all vintage, mostly in pretty bad shape. Though I generally don't care about condition, and there were a lot of good cards here at just under 20 cents per card. I'll show the keepers first. For the dupes, I will usually make available better-conditioned cards than the ones here.

First, the keepers. The big card is the '61 AL Home run leaders. My first "league leaders" Mantle card. Anything with Mickey on it goes for a big premium so I was happy to get that card for so little. My first '69 decal is a great one, even is some of Clemente's face is missing. And any vintage Bowman card is a great acquisition. I particularly love the '53 Sid Gordon, those '53s are just fantastic looking.
 1950s Topps. My first '52! Also three '54s. William Harridge is card #1 in the '56 set. That Sievers all-star is heavily trimmed but still pretty cool.
 I wanted to show off the back of the card of Cubs coach Ray Blades. It's not every day you get a card from someone active in the game at the time of the card printing, with a birthdate in the 1800s!
 Early 60s. Got quite a few '63s, which is a set I don't have much from. I particularly like the Series Foes card.
 I did real well with '65. Whitey Ford! Denny McLain rookie card! And the Yankees rookies is a high number.
 Three '66's highlighted by the Yankees team card. Technically this has Mantle on it too.
 I noticed something strange about this picture though. There's Yogi Berra in the front row, and he was with the Mets in 1965.

This couldn't be a 1965 photo! A little internet research reveals the picture was actually the '63 Yankees. The '64 Topps card (one I don't have) has almost the same photo, clearly from the same shoot. In the bottom row Yogi is fourth from right, Mickey is second from right.
I got a few '68 needs, including a Frank Robinson checklist and three high-numbers.
 Four '70s needs. Jose Pagan is a high number.
 Vintage oddballs! My first '73 Fleer Wildest Plays, my first '69 Milton Bradleys, my first '63 Post. I don't go after vintage oddballs like I do the Topps sets, but it's nice to have a little sample. The '78 Randolph is the Burger King version, the '79 Seaver is an OPC.
 Now, what you have been waiting for - here's what's up for trade! An extra Fleer Wildest, a '63, a '64. 1965 Don Lock is a high number. The best one is the '67 Koufax league leaders - I know Night Owl is working on a '67 set, anyone else? I might have a better-conditioned version to trade, will have to check.
 Lots of '68s. Marichal has some writing. Aparicio is missing a corner but I probably have a better one. At least one of each of the first six checklists. Tsitouris is a high-number.
 '69-72. Mostly commons here.
 Some big names in '73-75, though, including one Aaron-related card in each set.
 '76-78. Anyone desperate enough for a '77 Brooks Robinson or a '77 Dale Murphy rookie that they would trade for these? If not I will probably insert them randomly into some trade packages as a surprise extra.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Phil Niekro (?) shares his favorite card

This morning I passed by Stop 'n Shop near the end of Senior Hour and I saw an old man come out who looked kind of familiar. He did have a big mask on his mouth and nose, but with the white hair I thought maybe it was Phil Niekro? As he hurried to his car with his cart full of groceries, I stopped and asked him what his favorite card was. It was hard to tell with his voice muffled by his mask, but I think he said

"My 1988 Score card - a dignified capper to a distinguished career, a wonderful reminder that I was able to spend twenty-five years in the major leagues."
Or maybe it was
"Get out of my way, jerk, before you give me the COVID!"

It was hard to tell with the mask.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Also not baseball cards, but getting closer

I made another online purchase recently - I guess all this time inside has me surfing the web too much. One thing I had occasionally looked into doing was getting the old Topps baseball stickerbooks. My introduction to baseball was the 1986 Topps stickerbook when I was nine years old. I didn't actually start collecting cards until the next year. I had the Topps baseball stickerbooks from 1986-1989, the Topps football stickerbooks from 1986 and 1987, and the Panini baseball sticker books from 1988 and 1989. Unfortunately I didn't keep any of them. Over the years I have accumulated stickers from various card acquisitions, and would regret not having the books to put them in.

Recently I saw a lot of 1981-1990 Topps stickerbooks - the entire Topps run - with no stickers inside, for a very reasonable price (about $40 total). I jumped on that deal and now these are mine. Here are photos from each book (I've yet to put the stickers in - will do another post later with some of those).

Here is the first book, 1981. George Brett on the cover.
 The insides were pretty simple, without the stickers it is just line drawings of ballplayers. Each stickerbook had a setup that was pretty similar throughout the ten year run - a page for each team, a page or two on the postseason and record breakers at the beginning, All Stars (with shiny stickers) in the middle, and top rookies at the end.
 I won't show all the back covers but this one was pretty funny, with "quotes" from Reggie Jackson, George Brett and Jim Palmer. They're probably not real, but if you were to pick three stars from that time period who might actually have paid attention to cards, it would probably be those three. Maybe Gary Carter too.
 Speaking of Carter, he's the cover boy for 1982.
 The insides are more interesting with photos for the team pages.
 1983 features Reggie Jackson.
 The insides are very interesting. They have silhouettes which at least sometimes are clearly famous players from the history of each team. I recognized Cy Young for the Red Sox, Babe Ruth for the Yankees - below that's clearly Sandy Koufax for the Dodgers. Don't know who the Astro would be - Morgan? Cedeno? I think I will revisit these in some future posts.
 1984 has an unusual action shot cover.
 The inside team pages are pretty boring, so here is one alongside a more interesting "Stats Stats Stats" page.
 1985 features the biggest star in baseball at the time, Dwight Gooden.
 The insides were more boring team pages, so instead here is the really cool All Star insert page.
 But why the strange airbrushing-in of a hat on the White Sox pitcher? This must be Rich Dotson, who had a Topps card so it's not like his face had to be airbrushed out for contract purposes.
 1986 - my introduction to baseball.
 Full color photos of the team stadiums were an instant nostalgia hit. Many of these photos are still my "head image" when I think of these parks.
 1987 features Mike Schmidt on the cover.
 The team pages are interesting, as the two teams are often mixed into one action painting. The made-up name on the Indians catcher always intrigued me.
 1988 featured Mark McGwire on the cover.
 Full-page photos for the team pages.
 1989 cover with Orel Hershiser.
 The insides had a small photo but lots of color.
 Too bad I never picked up this great Don Mattingly cover in 1990. I guess once Topps realized I wasn't buying the sticker books anymore they stopped making them.
 The insides were pretty similar to the previous year.
Later on I'll show photos with pages with the stickers in them. I'm not really looking to get more in trades but I've got quite a few I've accumulated over the years.