Monday, November 30, 2020

Cardboard Cousins: 2008 Topps Trading Card History

 This was a set that used a variety of older card designs, both Topps and non-Topps. It's perhaps most notable for using some old Japanese card designs. Card #30 uses the 1966 Topps design. Like the actual #30 in that set, it features one of the most notable players to ever wear the Reds uniform.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Cards and vintage things: Matchbook Roundup

 Some highlights from various matchbook lots purchased over the last couple of months . . . 

Let's start off with a bang - my first playing-days Joe DiMaggio! He opened his San Francisco restaurat, Joe DiMaggio's Grotto, after his 1936 rookie year. This matchbook was produced in the 1940s.

George Blanda delivers for REA Air Express. This is what I wanted the Blanda card for. Hiring Blanda as their spokesman didn't stop them from going out of business in 1975. This was a cool get for me not just for the NFL connection but my grandmother worked for REA in the 1960s.

Here's another football-related matchbook. This one must have come from the Wisconsin area, right?
Nope, it's from a wire and cable company in Ridgewood, Queens. The Packers ended up going 8-8 in 1981. James Lofton was probably the biggest star on the team, with 1,294 receiving yards.
Here's a variety of fun matchbooks from the same lot, including a Peter Max Uncola 7Up, the long-forgotten Jack Nicholson movie Hearburn, and the restaurant owned by 1930's wrestling legend Howard "Hangman" Cantonwine.

All Dodger fans, and many baseball fans, know Abe Stark's clothing store for the famous sign at Ebbets Field - "Hit Sign, Win Suit".  Outfielder Carl Furillo won a free suit for preventing a lot of balls from hitting the sign.
Bill Zuber pitched for four teams between 1936 and 1947. After his baseball career he owned a restaurant in his hometown of Amana, IA for decades.
Here's my first Topps matchbook. They had several matchbooks advertising gum in the 1940s and 1950s.

Some patriotic matchbooks from World War II.
Matchbooks are an effective way to create a cultural snapshot of the 1940s-1970s, both the good, and the very bad. Look closely at this detail of a 1950s Tennessee State Parks matchbook.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Time Travel Football Trade

 If you haven't yet, you really need to get in on Diamond Jester's Time Travel Trades. The concept is very simple - to trade for a card on his list, simply send him an older one. This time I decided to pick off some of the vintage football that had been on the list for a while. I'm not jumping into vintage football like I did vintage baseball, but it's nice to have a few. Some of the best designs for Topps sets in the 1960s and 1970s came from football, rather than baseball. At some point I should try to get a card or two from the '62 Topps football set, it might be the nicest-looking vintage set from any sport.

Here is what I got:

Here are two Wonder Bread oddballs from the mid-70s, plus a baseball card I happened to need.

Four '69 Topps cards, including Joe Morrison, one of the two best Giants ever to have a name starting with "Joe Morris". Also the 1967 Philadelphia brand Giants team card, which notes that the team went 1-12-1 that year.
Finally, a '71 base card (love that design), a '71 game card, and two '72s.

Vintage backgrounds: Managers in 1965 Topps

 A couple of minor oddities found in the '65 set.

What happened to Dick Sisler that left him needing a bandage on his forehead?

Here's one for the car guys out there. Looks like a van under Bill Rigney's armpit.

Friday, November 27, 2020

1981 Topps Dwight Evans


The front: As someone who started following baseball in the mid-1980s, it seems weird to see Evans without a mustache. Looking at his cards, though, it appears 1981 was the year he decided his upper lip was missing something and started to grow one.

The back: Evans hit the walk-off homer off of the Mad Hungarian, Al Hrabosky.

The player: Dwight Evans was the regular right fielder for the Red Sox for most of his 20-year major league career. In 2,606 games he hit .272 with 385 HR and 1,384 RBI, and was a three-time All-Star. A fine defensive outfielder, Evans won eight gold gloves. 

The man: Evans was nicknamed Dewey by a minor league manager who nicknamed two other teammates Louie and Newie. The nickname stuck throughout his career. He is currently a Player Development Consultant for the Red Sox

My collection: I have 100 of his cards, from 1973 to 1992. I would be interested in trading for 1991 Studio #2.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Jimmie Foxx

 Last time I got a question about how I put together these GIFs. First I take three photos of the card. As you probably know it can be difficult just to look at a Sportflics card and clearly see all three photos. That goes even more when trying to line up the photo with a camera. Once I get the three photos I upload them to a site called It was just the first link that came up when I searched Google for a GIF maker but it works just fine. I click on "GIF Maker", and upload the three photos. The photos then come up on the screen with some options. The only one I change is to move the delay from 20 to 40 so the image doesn't whip by too fast. You then click "Make GIF" and you will get a saveable image. Any ideas for improvements to this process are certainly welcome!

Today's card is #2 in the set, legendary slugger Jimmie Foxx.

Some great photos here. The one in the Red Sox uniform, with a big crowd in the stands, really looks great in person. I wish I could find the photo online. There is also one in an A's uniform in spring training that shows his unorthodox swing. 

On-the-field trivia: Foxx made his major league debut at the age of 17, on May 1, 1925. He was a junior in high school at the time. (He was not a major league regular until the age of 20). In 1940 he became the youngest man ever (at the time) to reach 500 home runs, but a variety of maladies linked to a 1934 beaning would end his career soon after.

Off-the-field trivia: Foxx was a manager in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1952; Tom Hanks's character in A League of Their Own was loosely based off of him. He died in 1967 after choking on some food in a restaurant, a year after his wife died the same way.

My collection: I do not have any playing-days cards of Foxx. Foxx's last solo card as a contemporary player was in the 1943 MP&Co set.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tony Barnette on baseball cards

 Originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006, Tony Barnette pitched for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows from 2010 to 2015. He returned to the US in 2016 and made his major league debut for the Rangers that year at the age of 32. He pitched for the Rangers from 2016 to 2018 and the Cubs in 2019, going 11-4 with 2 saves and a 3.53 ERA. He retired in 2020 and is now a scout for the Swallows. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I’m in search of all my 2016 variations. I’m missing the 1/1 if it even exists. My favorite cards of myself come from Japan. Growing up south of Seattle, I watched and idolized Griffey Jr. I have his Bowman and Upper deck rookies and sheets of his cards. I got back into collecting in 2011, as my best friend is an avid collector. He has a room of his house dedicated to cards. We recently pulled an /50 Topps Chrome Luis Robert gold wave recently. That was an exciting rip. Project 2020 got my attention and I’m collecting the Trout and Griffey set. Any other card I like I will get as well. I really just enjoy the thrill of ripping packs. My daughters have grown fond of the rainbow foils."


Monday, November 23, 2020

More Cracked Bat generosity

 As if the Ballot Box wasn't enough, I got my latest pickpockets from A Cracked Bat this weekend. Here's the latest in what I've gotten from Jenerous Julie.

Looks like I was going with a theme of retired greats. It wasn't really intentionally, I just kept seeing cards I liked. My favorite is the DiMaggio with the War Bonds and Gem Razor signs. The shiny Gibson is pretty fantastic too.

I had forgotten about the pickpockets until it was a couple of days in. I don't know how a '62 Post was still around, or a shiny autographed refractor. Also, just a day or two before I was looking for a George Blanda card for a different post and realized I didn't have one. Serendipity! There is one of the all-time great faces in football, a man who played in the NFL through the age of 48.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Final Star in the Gallery

 Back when I got the '92 Triple Play box from A Cracked Bat, I mentioned that the only card I would possibly need is the Bobby Bonilla Gallery of Stars card, as it was the only insert that I didn't have already. Fortunately, the Diamond King had an extra Bobby Bo to send my way, and now it makes the decision very easy to leave the box shrink-wrapped for some future use.

Quite a nice-looking card. For a Met.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Cards are already coming in

 I'm still gathering all the cards from the Ballot Box giveaway and setting up PWEs for a big mailing some point this week. Meanwhile, I already got my return cards from The Angels, In Order. He sent me eight set needs from 2018 Topps, and a few from various Upper Deck sets. Half the '18s are Yankees, funny I still needed so many. Two who are remembered fondly (Gregorious and Holliday) and two who are not (Ellsbury and Bird).