Friday, February 3, 2023

Vintage equipment: 1963 Topps

Here's another one of those bats which just have the #1. Obviously it's not Al Smith's number. Jim Landis was #1 on the White Sox, so it could be his bat.

There's not doubt that this is Jack Fisher's glove, though. Most players write their name on the outside of the glove once, it at all, but he's got FISHER prominently above the fingers and along the thumb.
And this is definitely not Paul Foytack's glove. I saw a name written on the glove that didn't look like it started with an F or a P.
Zooming in close it looks like it starts with a B. The only pitcher for the 1962 Tigers with a B name was Hall of Famer Jim Bunning?

Could it be? I decided to look online for more photos of Foytack with a glove. That's where I found this Topps original photo, much clearer than what is on the card. You can clearly see here that the name is Bunning. This came from a Flickr account called tibob1. He has hundreds of these kinds of photos that I guess are from the Topps archives. Lots of cards I recognized from photos, and lots of obscure players and zero-year uniforms for notable names. Is there a full repository of these somewhere?




Thursday, February 2, 2023

Wallet card with a 100 year old Department of Street Cleaning sign

It's not unusual to see signs on public buildings in New York or any other city with elected officials names on them. You might have the commissioner of that particular department, but you can be sure the mayor will want their name on top. It is unusual for that sign to last a century.

There is a building near the Brooklyn Bridge, now in use by the NYPD, but was originally built for the Department of Street Cleaning. The mayor's name is John Hylan. Hylan served as NYC mayor from 1918 to 1925. The Department of Street Cleaning was renamed the Department of Sanitation in 1929. This sign must be right around 100 years old!


 


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

1981 Topps Ray Knight

 

The front: Knight has a laugh while taking batting practice at Shea Stadium, site of his future glories.

The back: Knight's 1979 season was impressive for a young player who had to replace the superstar Pete Rose, who had left the team for the Phillies via free agency.

The player: Ray Knight played for five teams over 13 seasons, but is best known for his contributions to the 1986 Mets. A decent-hitting third baseman who would hit around .300 with a little power, he saved his best hitting for the World Series. In his only Fall Classic, he was the MVP, hitting .391. He scored the winning run on Bill Buckner's error in Game 6, and in Game 7 his home run broke a 7th-inning tie to win that game as well. Overall, in 1,495 games he hit .271 with 84 HR and 595 RBI.

The man: Knight briefly managed the Reds, and was later a longtime announcer for the Nationals. He is now retired. His 27-year marriage to golfer Nancy Lopez was one of the more notable two-sport marriages.

My collection: I have 48 of his cards, from 1978 to 1989. I would be interested in trading for 1982 Fleer Stamps #18.


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats: The Finale

I started this series about two and a half years ago after winning a set from a big contest at A Cracked Bat. Hopefully Julie comes back to blogging at some point; I see she's on TCDB but not trading for the moment. It was a lot of fun seeing all of these vintage players in the Sportflics format. I'm not really enthusiastic about doing posts for the '70s and '80s, as the photos from these decades aren't really that different from what you would see on a Sportflics card normally. I'm going to close out this series with some of my favorite photos from the '70s and '80s cards. I'm not done doing a set blog, however. Next time this spot comes up in the "batting order", I am going to start my 1976 SSPC series.

As a Yankee fan, it's so weird to see Reggie Jackson wearing #9.

That's much better.
1986 was a big year for Pete Rose and his shaggy hair to appear on cards. So it was a nice bit of variety that Sportflics went with the crew-cut '60's Rose for this set.
Great photo of Lou Brock with lots of Wrigley ivy in the background.
Lots of bloggers love Steve Garvey. I thought this was an interesting photo, though it was hard to get a good angle.
Few, if any Yankees, are more beloved by their fans than Thurman Munson.
Vida Blue doesn't have the highest leg kick of a Giants pitcher in this set (that title still belongs to Juan Marichal), but that's a great effort.
This set came through halfway through the '80s, so some of the players in there probably would not make an all-80s team. Tony Pena is one of those, but this is still a great photo.
I love the Yankee photos in this set, but I have to give credit to a great Mets card when I see one. This Gary Carter photo is another one that is hard to get a good angle on, but really evokes '80s Shea Stadium in the cold weather of April or October.
I love that Sportflics captured the quirky motion of Fernando Valenzuela looking up at his glove during his delivery.
Ending with a couple of great Yankees, Rickey Henderson tearing up the basepaths . . .
. . . and Don Mattingly's classic swing.


Monday, January 30, 2023

A year of Topps Designs: 1965

Topps produced a simple but classic design for their 1965 baseball set. The team name in the pennant remains popular with collectors to this day.

They got a little lazy elsewhere, however. The football set was an unusual, smaller shape with a very bland design, with no background and a minimal design.

Topps liked this look so much they went with it for hockey as well.

There were plenty of nonsport sets for Topps in 1965. By far the most effort went into Battle: The Story of World War Two, which had minimal design features, but did have full-color, sensationalistic paintings from the war, which had ended 20 years prior.

Another unusual set was the mixed sport/non-sport set Push/Pull, where you could push or pull a tab to reveal one of two subjects of the card.

For the rest of their entertainment sets, Topps apparently decided color ink was too expensive, and tried to see if kids would buy black-and-white cards of their favorite TV shows.

Other than being in black-and-white, Gilligan's Island had a familiar design, with an island-and-palm-trees logo that probably would have looked good in color.

The Man from UNCLE went with the color autograph on black-and-white photo look that Topps used a few times on various non-sport and sports sets . . .
. . . and they did the same for the short-lived Soupy Sales set.

Daniel Boone got a horizontal look, with minimal design.

A similar design was used for a test issue of a Flash Gordon set. At least Topps attempted a logo on this one.

One other set produced in 1965 was one of Topps's typical humor sets, Monster Greeting Cards. The front seems like a standard greeting card . . .

. . . but the back has some adolescent dark humor.









Sunday, January 29, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #133

Last time 1987 came out on top, 7-3. Who will win this time?

Felipe Alou poses a follow-through for the photographer. Just a bit of the bleachers is visible behind him, other than a clear blue sky. Alou may be best known for being part of one of the all-time great baseball families. Two of his brothers and one of his sons had long major league careers; another son managed the Mets and is now the Yankees' third base coach. Alou deserves recognition for his own significant baseball accomplishments, though. In a 17-year playing career for six teams, mostly the Giants, Braves and Yankees, he hit .286 with 2,101 hits, 206 HR and 852 RBI. With the Braves he twice led the NL in hits. He later had a 14-year managerial career with the Expos and Giants, winning 691 games. He is still with the Giants as a special assistant to the General Manager.

Jose Oquendo poses in his warmup jacket at the Cardinals spring training headquarters. The building in the background, which to me always looked like a house, appears on many Topps Cardinals cards and stickers of this era. Oquendo started his career with the Mets before being traded to the Cardinals, for whom he has played or coached for the past 37 years. Best known for his versatility, he played every position in 1988 (though not all in the same game). He spent the bulk of his career at second base and shortstop. In 1,190 games he hit .256 with 14 HR and 254 RBI. After retiring as a player in 1996, he took a minor league managing job with the Cardinals. In 1999, he was back in the majors as Cardinals bench coach, and later served as their third base coach. He is currently the team's minor league infield coordinator.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

TCDB trade: FiresNBeers

I got a nice lot of 2022 Topps from TCDB member FiresNBeers. Most of the cards I sent him were copyright variations, they sure have been a great way to get some trades going, and clear out cards I probably never would have moved otherwise. This is a lot more cards than I sent him, or that I expected him to send, so I'm going to send him some more cards too.

Some of my favorites of these are in the bottom row. An interesting sign like the one behind Gio Urshela - that's what I like. Tapia's wild hair (which Topps has showcased on other cards) and Alberto's crazy face stood out to me as well.

Friday, January 27, 2023

118,630 cards

Almost exactly a year after I started, I have all my baseball cards available for trade input onto TCDB. I was guessing it was somewhere over 100,000 and I was right. I've been doing it backwards, starting with tradelists rather than wantlists. Besides getting me more involved with TCDB as a resource for trading, it has also been a great way to trade with bloggers who have player collections, because it automatically sorts by player. I've reached out to some of you already, will be reaching out to more, and welcome any others to use my TCDB trade list to generate some new trades. I sort my cards by set, so PC trades were always difficult, and this makes it much easier. 

When I started this project, I figured I would eliminate my own tradelist at the end, but I've decided to hold on to it. (I was definitely going to keep the wantlist up for ease of use if I needed to quickly access it at a store, vendor, etc.) However, it is still useful to have an easy list by set, and the site is still buggy enough that I would be wary of losing my whole list, temporarily or permanently. 

The stats feature is pretty interesting (when it works, fortunately it is today). TCDB "values" the cards at a total of $28.051. Honestly, I'd take 10% of that if someone wanted to take them all at once. Here are my top 20 highest value cards. Not that high value for the most part. The biggest ones are vintage (which are generally in rough shape) and some modern rookies. #4 is a shocker - even though it's a copyright variation, no way it's a $2 card let alone $20. TCDBers do love those variations though - the majority of trades I've done recently on there have been from people reaching out to me about them.

 

Here's my top 20 most common players. TCDB counts multiple copies of a card here, so for example Tom Glavine gets boosted from the 95 copies I have of his 1991 Upper Deck. Nolan Ryan gets a boost from all of those Pacific cards. Naturally these are all junk wax era names, and heavy on Yankees and Mets from buying local collections. If you've been thinking about PCing any of these guys, let me know!

 

I'll always be a blogger first, but TCDB is a great resource for trades. I'm not sure how involved, if at all, I'd get involved in the community there. For example, I'd like to be able to note card errors where they're not noted. Sometimes in player or photographer interviews, they've mentioned a wrong photo or other error. I tried submitting one once, using "See Any Inaccuracies?", but never got a response. Does anyone know the proper way to submit an error?

Anyway, in the 12 months of going through all of my dupes, finding interesting variations, mistakes in my filing (another reason I decided to do TCDB is that my tradelist was getting pretty mistake-filled), and learning more about my cards, I spent a lot of time looking at cards I hadn't looked at in a while. This was actually the genesis of my vintage equipment series, which will extend to modern cards. And sometimes I would have some fun with the large quantities of individual cards. Mitch "Tarzan" Webster had a pretty good rope to swing from in 1988.

But he had a much longer one a year earlier.
OK, one more and then I'll stop.