Wednesday, May 25, 2022

1961 Post

I picked up a lot of '61 Post for a bit more than I usually pay for vintage - right at $0.50 a card. I went that high because there were some reasonably big stars. Not something I'd do all the time, but once in a while I'll do it.

Whitey Ford was the big draw for me. Didn't realize the card would look quite so bad in person, but I'm OK with it.

Four other big stars. Wills and Flood who are not in the Hall of Fame are arguably bigger stars than Aparicio and Fox who are. Still, nice to have them all. It's cool that Post numbered Aparicio and Fox back-to-back too. Wills has the same water damage or whatever it is that the Ford has.
The rest of the bunch. All "commons" but no card this old is really a common, in my eyes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Art on the back: 1974

The 1973 set was an all-time great set for cartoons on the back. In 1974, despite getting only half the room on the card back from the previous year, Topps artists still had a lot of fun, creative cartoons that often looked at the "regular" side of the players on the cards.

Once again I found no shortage of fun cartoons to highlight.

The cartoon about Tom Timmerman being eligible for his MLB pension is an odd choice - there was nothing else interesting about him? He was 33 at the time.

Notice the "likes to read comics" cartoon is almost exactly the same as the one I showed earlier.
Willie McCovey got a better comics cartoon. Meanwhile, Ron Santo is Batman.

Another Ron Bryant teddy bear sighting.
Remember in '73 when Bobby Bonds was an 1890s white man? This time it's Willie Stargell. And in case you don't know about Sparky Lyle and birthday cakes - read this Night Owl post from 2010. (I did a quick Google search on Sparky Lyle and birthday cakes, well known to old Yankee fans, and of course one of the first things that pops up is Night Owl posting about this very card!)

Monday, May 23, 2022

Hollywood bit players on baseball cards: Part 21

Half Nelson was a 1985 TV movie, a pilot for a short-lived TV series about a vertically-challenged New York cop played by Joe Pesci. In this scene you can see Pesci in a club with three athletes cameoing behind him. Left and center are former NFLers John Matuszak and Fred Williamson. Do you recognize the baseball player on the right?

It's former Dodgers star Jerry Reuss! Reuss was also credited as appearing in another short-lived crime series, 1991's P.S. I Luv You.

Here are Reuss's first and last major league cards. 

Cards and vintage stuff: May 18-25, 1940

The German invasion of France and Belgium was the overwhelming news story May 18-25, 1940, as several cities in both countries fell to the Germans. In other news, an earthquake in Mexico killed nine people, and Leon Trotsky survived an assassination attempt.In the US, the Supreme Court's decision in Cantwell v. Connecticut affirmed that federal protection of religious freedom extended to state governments.

Meanwhile, in Tulsa, OK, valvemaker Ohio Injector attended the International Petroleum Exhibition. The exhibition was held every few years in Tulsa, the "Oil Capital of the World". Ohio Injector made valves for a variety of purposes, including for the petroleum industry. The last IPE was held in 1979, and Ohio Injector went out of business in 1983.

While the Ohio Injector men attended the exhibition in Oklahoma, the local Indians were mostly at home, and mostly successful. They lost to the Senators on the 18th, took two out of three from the Yankees from the 19th-21st, and beat the Red Sox on the 22nd. They then traveled to St. Louis, and spoiled the Browns' first ever home night game with a 3-2 victory on the 25th. Bob Feller, who had beaten the Yankees on the 19th, was the star of that St. Louis game as well, not only pitching a complete game but hitting a home run as well.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

1959 lot

I picked up a little lot of 1959 Topps. Just over a quarter a card. I hadn't realized how far along I am with '59, but I had over half of these cards. Still did OK.

Eleven to keep. Some reasonably big names, like World Series stars Bob Turley and Clem Labine. The Joe Jay has to be one of the earliest "pitcher batting" cards.

Thirteen to trade. Anyone working on a '59 set?

Friday, May 20, 2022

Vintage backgrounds: Ron Bryant's teddy bear

There are so many fun surprises in Topps's team photo cards of the '70s. One example is the '74 Giants card, which features Ron Bryant's teddy bear in the front row. Bryant's nickname was "Bear", and he started carrying the giant bear around for luck, often keeping it in the Giants dugout during games. He was coming off a 24 win season in '73, but tore up his side attempting a stunt in a hotel pool in spring training of '74, and would win only three more major league games.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

1990 Topps TV

My big card project this year has been populating my tradelists into TCDB. It's a lot of work but I know it will make trading easier both on and off the site. Recently one user, YanksFan876, noticed a card I had put up that he was looking for, and we ended up working out a little 3-for-3 trade.

On my end I received my first three cards from the elusive 1990 Topps TV set, certainly one of the harder-to-find junkwax-era products. Luis Polonia was one of my favorite players on that team, but I was even more excited to get the Snider and Burns cards. I didn't have a big league card of Snider with the Yankees (he played for Cincinnati but never made it to the Bronx). The Burns is my favorite - the Yankees traded for him after the 1985 season and he never pitched a game for the team due to some serious hip injuries. In 1990 he attempted a comeback that was shortlived. It's his only card in a Yankee uniform, other than a TCMA postcard if you count those.

The full-color photo backgrounds were unusual for Topps at the time. Check out Burns's stat line with the many years of "out of baseball".

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Play Ball!

Other than some Diamond Matchbooks, my vintage collection had not gone before World War II. I've certainly eyed plenty of pre-war cards before but wasn't going to pull the trigger on any. Certainly not going to be able to get them for a quarter each.

So why did I pick up two Play Balls for $5? I'm pretty sure I've passed on cards that were cheaper than $2.50 before. I guess I was two cards with a low starting bid and no bids, and did a "what the heck" bid and for once nobody outbid it.

I'm of a divided mind with these cards. On one hand, I feel like I overpaid (though I know I didn't) because I try to restrict my card spending, and sure don't want to spend $2.50 a card regularly. I had never heard of either of these guys before (Hal Schumacher and Bill Lohrman) so there was no connection that way.

On the other hand, though - I really do enjoy these cards. I like having them in hand, I like looking at them. While they are both missing a small amount, it's not in places that detract from the card. I was worried they would be flimsy in person, falling apart if I didn't handle them very carefully. However they are actually quite sturdy, with the rips not causing any damage to the rest of the card.

I'm going to keep a little bit more of a lookout for cheap pre-war cards, not enough to start seeking them out actively, but definitely a little more on my radar screen.

1939 has a very simple design. Kind of uninteresting though the photo is a good one. 

Back writeup is pretty extensive. "Save to get them all."

1940 has the classic Play Ball design that has been reprinted many times (though usually the reprints are of the color 1941 set, not the black-and-white '40 version).

The Superman ad on the back is a fun extra. #210 actually means it's a high number; even for this set high numbers are more expensive.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wallet card at a Breyer's privilege sign

First off - yesterday I mentioned that Kevin Garner, whom I had interviewed for this blog over ten years ago, recently passed away. Reader Brett Alan found a photo of the error card Garner had mentioned (at the time there was no TCDB and a lot of minor league cards were not available to see online). I've updated that post. In addition, reader Alex sent me a note that Garner is involved in another error card - he is pictured on the back of Scott Coolbaugh's 1991 Leaf card. He even got Garner to sign a couple of copies of the card.

The most common privilege signs are for sodas - usually Pepsi or Coke. Other companies paid for store signs as well. One of the more common in the northeast was Breyers ice cream. This old sign hangs over a sushi restaurant in Hoboken, NJ.


Monday, May 16, 2022

1981 Topps Vida Blue

First off, RIP to former minor leaguer Kevin Garner. He shared his thoughts on baseball cards with this blog in 2010.

The front: Very simple, kind of boring photo of one of baseball's more colorful personalities.

The back: Twelve years in the league don't leave room for a bio blurb.

The player: Blue burst onto the national scene as a 21-year old rookie in 1971, going 24-8 with 301 strikeouts and a 1.82 ERA. He held out for much of 1972 and slipped considerably, going 6-10 and being demoted to the bullpen. However, his strikeout and ERA numbers, though not as good as '71, were still better than most pitchers in the league. He rebounded to win 20 games in '73. Blue was never again as dominant as he was in '71 (he never struck out 200 batters again, let alone 300), but he still put up excellent numbers for Oakland and San Francisco though the 1981 season. Blue was traded to the Royals before the 1982 season, and quickly became embroiled in the cocaine scandals that engulfed that team. He was suspended for the 1984 season, though he returned in 1985 and 1986 as a solid starter for the Giants. He signed with the A's in 1987 but abruptly retired in spring training, presumably due to more drug problems. His career 209-161 record and 3.27 ERA compare well to other pitchers of his era who get Hall of Fame consideration. He is hurt by not living up to his rookie-year hype, his history of drug abuse, and a poor postseason record (1-5, 4.31 ERA in 17 games).

The man: Blue was one of the players most directly involved in the cocaine scandals of the 1980s, eventually serving 81 days in jail. Substance abuse continued to haunt him after his career, with at least three DUI arrests in the 2000s and 2010s. Recently he has been an announcer for the Giants and been involved in various charitable endeavors.

My collection: I have 37 of his cards, from 1970 to 1987. I would be interested in trading for 1971 Topps #544.