How many of you have this Gary Sheffield card and never noticed his teeth? He has the letters GS inlaid in gold on his two front teeth. Why GS? Does it stand for "great smile"? Is his favorite TV show Get Smart? Or is he referring to grand slams, of which he has hit thirteen in his career. I can't think of anything else GS might stand for. . .
Ever have a baseball card for a long time and never pay that close attention to it, and then look at it closely for the first time and see something weird? That happened to me here. What are those giant bracelets that Bob Pate is wearing? They are much to big for his wrists, and look like they would fall off if he put his hands down at his sides.
Earlier this month Mark's Ephemera had a fun contest where you had to guess what a bunch of cards had in common. One unexpected aspect of playing in the contest was that I noticed a little variation within 1989 Fleer.
In that set, each team had a border of the same color. For example, every Yankee had a red border: However, for some reason, only the Oakland A's had two borders. Most cards had the A's signature green, but a few had red for some reason: Bet you never noticed that before!
How can a guy who played in the majors from 1974 to 1984 be a "Pre-Rookie" in 1991? I guess he is a "Pre-Rookie" Manager, though you don't usually hear a first-year skipper being called a rookie. And besides, Stearns clearly still wants to play - that's his glove on the railing, with the JS initials.
The readers have chimed in and overwhelmingly agree that an autograph goes on the front. Rod even goes so far as to write in the autograph space asking the player to sign the front. Several readers pointed out other sets which have autograph spaces on the back. Rod pointed out Mothers Cookies, which being West Coast based I have heard of but never seen, and GCRL pointed out a set called Permagraphics which I've never heard of.
Some more mainstream sets include Classic, pointed out by Night Owl. Here's an example from the awesome tiger-striped 1990 set: Pricelesspursuit remembers Starting Lineup cards having spaces for autographs on the back. I don't have many, but the ones that do have a facsimile autograph on the back. Those sets had a cool design, but I think the abbreviation O for outfield looks a bit weird.
There's no doubt about it, an autograph looks best on the front!
In the baseball card autograph world there is apparently a big difference between an autograph on the card and an autograph on a sticker on a card. But if the auto is on a card, does it matter where it is? I've only ever seen them on the front. Are they just as good on the back?
In the 1990 Best minor league set, and probably others, there is a place specifically set aside for autographs. Not on the front: But on the back! Is that considered as good as on the front? If you wanted this card signed, which side would you want autographed?
Last week I posted a bunch of mid-eighties Topps cards showing players at Wrigley Field looking like they just had a rough night out, after Chris Welsh's comment that the Topps photographer there often caught players hung over. I figured it would be fun to check out the 1981 Donruss set, as about 90% of that set was photographed in Chicago. Sure enough, there were a lot of players who looked like they had a rough night. Or maybe were just photographed facing the sun.
I got a nice stack of Blue Jays minor league cards from Kerry of Cards on Cards. The nice thing about being an omnivorous collector is that everything fits great into your collection. I love minor league cards for all the little weird touches.
A boyhood photo of Crabbie Crabtree!
This is the best of the lot - check out all the dents in the metal outfield wall!
"I have about 7 or 8 different cards . I know that in one of them that the picture was taken in Chicago that I like a lot ; Brooks Robinson told me that I was looking good. That was a perfect day to take the picture. He said 'looking good Benny today in case you have a bad game today.'
After that I always shave before the game, good hair cut, shine shoes, complete clean uniform, brand new hat. In case I have a bad game always looking good."
I can't figure out which card was taken in Chicago - none of those on the Beckett site look like they were taken there. Perhaps it is an oddball card like an Orioles postcard that he is referring to?
Even his card in the 1981 Donruss set, where most AL players were photographed at Comiskey, doesn't appear to have been taken there, due to the red seats in the background. He does look good, though.
Benny Ayala started his major league career with a bang, hitting a home run in his first major league at bat. He totaled 38 home runs in his ten year career, and hit .429 in two World Series with the Orioles. Fans interested in his autograph or those of other Puerto Rican former major leaguers should check out this post at Paul's Random Stuff. I wrote to him and he kindly responded with his thoughts on baseball cards.
"I have favorite cards - the 83 Orioles, the 79 Orioles and the 74 NYM; and all of the ex major league players from P.R. I don't collect baseball cards but I have the opportunity many times to get them signed by my teammates."
The other day I posted about how Chris Welsh said that the Topps photographers would come out to Wrigley Field early in the day and catch the players still hung over. That makes sense considering that, as they played only day games there back then, the players had the whole night to get wasted.
Now you know why Jim Frey needed dark glasses even when it was cloudy.
Rick Sutcliffe was out partying with Bill Murray again. I think Murray stole his hat.
Maybe Murray stole Steve Trout's hat too. And ripped the sleeves off his jacket.
I don't think Bob Sykes has even noticed yet that his hat is gone, too.
Dick Tidrow isn't hung over, but had way too many baked beans the night before.
And here are some more assorted "the sun is too bright/ow my head hurts" faces:
Yesterday I wrote about Chris Welsh's baseball card collection, how he bought two card-catalog cases full of baseball cards and wants to get rid of them. He is interested in selling them (cases and cards together) - $400 for one or $700 for both. Each drawer contains a complete set or close to it. If anyone is interested in buying them, let me know and I'll have him contact you.