Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Shiny and more shiny

 I picked some more of A Cracked Bat's generous pockets and got a dazzling array of cards. These are mostly Yankees, but all have shiny elements. Some days I'm into dirty old vintage cards; some days I like dazzling new cards that shift color at every angle.

These car could fit into two categories. Shiny . . . 

And more shiny! My favorite is the 2020 Prizm Gio Urshela. I don't know if that is a parallel or base card (my Panini knowledge is quite limited) but it caught my eye immediately and I think it's fantastic.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cardboard cousins: '62 Topps/'11 Topps Heritage Minors

I have a lot of 2011 Topps Heritage Minors - not the big stars but all the commons people get rid of when trying to pull Trout, Harper, Machado, etc. I was able to make a couple of links to my '62 cards.

#162 Hot Corner Guardians. I'm sure it's a coincidence but at least they paired it with a third baseman. Francisco Martinez played eight seasons in the minor but never reached above AA.

#188 I just liked that two middle infielders got matched up with interesting fielding poses. Chuck Hiller played eight years in the major and is best known for a grand slam in the 1962 World Series. Tony Wolters converted to catching and has been in the majors with the Rockies since 2016.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Cards and Vintage Things: May 20, 1956

 Kaplan's Deli was a dining institution in Chicago for much of the 20th century. Apparently they held a Food-A-Rama in Sioux Falls, Iowa on May 20, 1956 and printed matchbooks for the occasion. The biggest news of the day was the US conducting the first ever air drop of a hydrogen bomb, at Bikini Atoll. 

May 20, 1956 was a bad day for baseball for the Upper Midwest teams. (Actually, except for the Braves and to some extent the White Sox, it was a bad decade for major league teams in the region). The KC A's and Milwaukee Braves all lost, and both Chicago teams dropped doubleheaders. So the "honor" of having a card pictured with the matchbook goes to Jim King, who homered off of Hall of Famer Don Drysdale today. King is largely forgotten today, but he was a pretty good slugger for some bad Cubs and Senators teams in the late 1950s and the 1960s.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Vintage Backgrounds: Yankee Stadium, old and new

 Through the magic of airbrushing, Gene Tenace appears on his 1977 Topps card in a Padres uniform in the old Yankee Stadium, which had not been used since the 1973 season. 

1976 was the first season of the new Yankee Stadium, which can be seen on many cards in the set, like this one of Von Joshua. Obviously nobody at Topps thought the Marlboro sign clearly seen in the background was a problem here . . .
. . . but for some reason it was a problem on Jack Brohamer's card, as someone at Topps used a black marker to cover up the Marlboro sign. I know I have a lot of marked up cards but this is what all the '77 Brohamers look like. 
This is not the only case where someone at Topps marked up a background sign. Stay tuned . . . 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

1981 Topps John Candelaria

The front: There are not too many cards of the Candy Man with a beard. I am guessing this is a between-innings warmup pitch as several fans are not looking at the field. This is Shea Stadium, making this July 10, 1980 a Thursday afternoon game that lasted two hours and 11 minutes. Candelaria was outdueled by Pat Zachry 2-0, done in by a Lee Mazzilli home run in the third inning.

The back: The Baseball Bulletin may have called Candelaria their 1977 NL Pitcher of the Year, but he was only fifth in the Cy Young voting, behind Steve Carlton, Tommy John, Rick Reuschel and Tom Seaver.

The player: Candelaria had several excellent seasons for the Pirates in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Highlights included a no-hitter in 1976, 20 wins in 1977, and winning Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. After being traded to the Angels in 1985, he pitched for eight teams in eight years with varying degrees of success. Overall, in 19 seasons he went 177-122 with a 3.33 ERA.

The man: During his career Candelaria was often a problem personality, with three DUI arrests and numerous conflicts with managers and other players. Since his career ended, however, he seems to have kept a low profile.

My collection: I have 74 of his cards, from 1976 to 1993. I would be interested in trading for 1989 Sportflics #202.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Card board cousins: 1969/1990 rookies

 The 1990 Baseball Card Magazine set uses the 1969 Topps design. Kirby Puckett and Zoilo Versalles match up so I thought I had an easy post - two Twins MVPs. But it turns out Kirby never won an MVP! So instead I'm doing these two cards that match up pretty well, rookie cards at #31. The photos match up pretty well. Each card has one guy who went on to a long career. The BCM card actually has an error - the back says Expos Rookie Stars, not Cardinals Rookie Stars.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cards and Vintage Things: The Matchbook Dating Game

 Stealing a title concept from Nine Pockets. Or I could have stolen Baseball Card Breakdown's Ignorable Filler Post as my matchbook posts don't generate much interest. But the latest matchbook lot I bought gave me an idea for a new series that may make them more interesting. Or less.

I actually bought three different lots from one eBay seller.

One lot was Matchoramas. These are oversized matchbooks (30- or 40-strike books) from the 1960s and 1970s with full-color photography. This lot was all hotels. I love the ones with the interiors, it really feels like stepping into a 1960s hotel room.

Another lot was of various New York State matchbooks. Some fun Long Island ones there including a long-gone strip club from a town right near me. Also I wonder if a certain Watertown-based reader might know the Crystal Restaurant. Note the four digit phone number!

But the big draw was several "dated" lots. Unlike baseball cards matchbooks are rarely dated; often it is hard to guess even what decade it is from. Every matchbook in this lot had at least a year, if not an actual date. These ranged from the 1930s to the 1980s, with most in the 1960s. Some highlights: my first Horn & Hardart (Automat restaurants) matchbook; a shiny matchbook from 1942, 1967 and 1969 calendars, an old Bell telephone matchbook, local supermarket ShopRite and the Garden City Fire Department, and a Coca-Cola 100th anniversary.
The dated matchbooks also gave me an idea for this blog. I thought it would be fun to pair up matchbooks with a specific date during the baseball season with the local player who had the best game that day.
To start off, here is a matchbook that sort of fits in. This matchbook from O'Brien's Restaurant in Waverly, NY was not printed with a date but someone stamped the back "August 2, 1963". August 2, 1963 was a light news day; headlines were primarily about reactions to the Nuclear Test Ban and some civil rights protests in Alabama. Waverly is on the NY/Pennsylvania border about halfway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. On that date the Phillies, Pirates and Yankees all lost. The only "local" team to win was the Mets, who won 3-1 in 11 innings in Milwaukee. I don't have a card of Joe Hicks, who got the game-winning hit, but perhaps more impressive was Galen Cisco, who pitched ten innings without allowing an earned run to get the victory.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Baseball card stories from Shawn Tolleson

 Shawn Tolleson pitched for the Dodgers and Rangers from 2012 to 2016. His best season was 2015 when he went 6-4 with 35 saves and a 2.99 ERA for the Rangers. Now the owner of Tolleson Health Advisors, which provides a variety of health and wellness services, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards. 

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?
At all of the autograph signings that I have been a part of, the most popular card of mine seems to be on where Rougned Odor is dumping a cooler of red Powerade on me.  You don't even see my face in the card!  My friends always give me a hard time that the most popular baseball card I have of myself is really a Rougned Odor card!

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
My favorite baseball card of all time is a Mark McGwire rookie card.  There used to be a baseball card shop in my hometown of Allen, Texas.  It was next door to Cici's Pizza, where we would eat often as a family or after baseball games.  Every time we went, I would finish my pizza and walk next door to browse the cards.  The Mark McGwire rookie card was in the glass case and I wanted it so bad.  It was $15.00.  I remember that vividly.  I can remember working to save up my money to buy it.  My dad was a veterinarian and he payed me $2.00/hour to clean the cages and kennels.  I worked 30 hours to save up the money!  My biggest regret was not having Mark McGwire sign it when I had the opportunity when we were both with the Dodgers, you can say that I was a little shy.  Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
- Do you collect baseball cards?

I don't collect them anymore, but I do have thousands of them.  I recently went and got them from my childhood home so that my two boys (5 and 3) can start the hobby.  I forgot how many Michael Jordan cards I had!  I also have 3 boxes of unopened Topps cards from 1988, 1990, and 1992.  That has been fun to go through, but the gum is not so good anymore! Haha.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Vintage backgrounds: Tampa Stadium

 In 1966 Tampa Stadium was constructed right next to the Reds' spring training site of Al Lopez Field. In 1974-75 the stadium was significantly enlarged to accommodate the NFL's expansion Buccaneers. The Buccaneers now play at Raymond James Stadium, constructed in the location of the old Al Lopez Field. You can see a great view of the then-newly-expanded Tampa Stadium just past the Al Lopez left field wall on this 1977 Topps Doug Flynn card.

Monday, September 14, 2020

1981 Topps Jim Norris

The front: Simple spring training headshot.

The back: Norris's diving catch of a line drive by the Angels' Tony Solaita with two outs in the ninth inning saved the game for the Indians.

The player: The best baseball player to come out of Seaford, Long Island, Jim Norris played for the Indians and Rangers from 1977 to 1980. In 489 major league games he hit .264 with 7 HR, 110 RBI and 59 SB.

The man: Norris seems to have kept a very low profile during and after his playing career.

My collection: I have six of his cards, from 1978 to 1981. I would be interested in trading for 1975 Oklahoma City 89ers #17.