Friday, July 12, 2024

Cake or gum? 1976 Boog Powell

 Last time Topps crushed Hostess, 9-0. Will cake fare better this time?

Boog flashes a big smile on his Hostess cards. It's a bit tough to see what's in the dugout behind him - is that plywood by the helmet cubbies? A bag of bats on the bench? Meanwhile Topps captures him in an action shot in what I believe is Anaheim Stadium. (Which is currently the fourth-oldest MLB ballpark - after Fenway and Wrigley it's the two LA stadium. When the A's leave Oakland #5 will be KC!) 

Powell played in just one day game in Anaheim in 1975. In the seventh inning, with Cleveland down 3-1, hits by Hendrick and Carty gave the Indians runners on second and third with one man out. The Angels took out lefty Frank Tanana and replaced him with righty Don Kirkwood. Cleveland countered by sending the lefty Powell to pinch-hit for righty John Ellis. Powell singled to drive in both runners to tie the game, and later came around to score the go-ahead run on a hit by Duane Kuiper. Powell stayed in the game as the first baseman, and in the eight hit a sac fly to make the score 7-4. Powell was followed by Alan Ashby who drove in another run with a single to give the Indians a four-run lead, and they needed them as California's Mike Miley hit a three-run HR in the ninth. Cleveland hung on to win 8-7.

Boog Powell was a big star on the great Orioles teams of the mid- to late-1960s. He hit 30+ HR four times between 1964 and 1970, and led the NL in slugging in 1964. His production tailed off in the early 1970s, and after the 1974 season the Orioles traded him to Cleveland. He had a nice bounce-back season in 1975, hitting .297 with 27 HR and 86 RBI. However, he tailed off to .215 in 1976. He was released by the Indians and signed with the Dodgers. He played in 50 games in 1977, hitting .244 with no extra-base-hits before being released in August, ending his career. Overall in 2,042 games he hit .266 with 339 HR and 1,187 RBI. He hit well in the postseason - in 33 games he hit .262 with 6 HR and 18 RBI. After his retirement, he did a series of popular commercials for Miller Lite. Since the opening of Camden Yards in 1992 he has operated a restaurant there, Boog's BBQ.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Wood vs. Wood #208

Last time 1962 crushed 1987, 11-0. Will '87 fare better this time?

Billy Martin had by far the most playing and managing success as a Yankee. He's a Twin here but it's still a great Yankee Stadium card, with the centerfield flagpole and the big red DiNoto's Bakery signs which were painted on the top story of the apartment buildings behind center field. This is Martin's sunset card; he was released by the Twins in 1962 Spring Training and accepted a job as a scout, eventually becoming third base coach, minor league manager, and in 1969, the Twins manager, immediately winning an AL East Title for the Twins. That success wasn't enough to keep his job, however, as the Twins fired him after the season due to fights, both verbal and physical, and his drinking problem. It was the first of nine managing stints for five teams, never for more than three years at a time, as his personal issues overwhelmed his on-field success.

Baltimore's John Shelby digs in at Memorial Stadium; we can see some Oakland A's in the dugout behind the switch-hitter, batting lefty here. This must be May 18, 1986, same as Tony Phillips's card. Shelby went 1-for-5 in that game, but the one hit was a home run off of Chris Codiroli to tie the game 2-2 in the 3rd. The Orioles would break the game open, scoring 11 runs in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings to cruise to a 13-4 triumph. Shelby was a solid outfielder with a little power and a little speed. As a rookie in 1983 he hit .258 with 5 HR, 27 RBI and 15 SB in 126 games, and hit .444 to help beat the Phillies in the World Series. However he struggled to cut down strikeouts and hit for average, and was traded to the Dodgers in 1987. He won his second World Series ring in 1988 despite not hitting well in the postseason. He ended his career in 1991 with the Tigers. After his career he was a coach for several teams, and he is now retired.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Evan Crawford on baseball cards

Evan Crawford pitched seven seasons of professional baseball, mostly in the Blue Jays organization. He pitched in ten games for the Blue Jays in 2012, going 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA. In 194 minor league games he went 11-24 with a 4.10 ERA. Now an Associate Broker at eXp Realty in Opelika, AL, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My most common story regarding my baseball card is that I was most often handed the outfielder "Evan Crawford" from the Chicago Cubs organization's card to sign maybe more often than my own. Clearly, he was the more exciting Evan Crawford of the 2. I actually have a signed card of the Chicago Cubs Evan Crawford on my desk as I write this response. Ha. I actually got to face him a couple of times in the Minor Leagues. Fun times. His card has him with a helmet on and batting, and people would still stop me as I was walking out of the bullpen to sign the card....clearly not a hitter, ha. The most amazing part of this, is that the Chicago Cubs Evan Crawford has almost the exact same signature as me. Our handwriting and letters look exactly the same! I definitely could have gotten away with signing his card!  

I only produced one Topps card, so that is most likely my favorite. 
However, I did have one with the Lansing Lugnuts where I had some pretty good handle bar mustache that I enjoyed getting on a card. 
I do not actively collect them, however my son is starting to enjoy that hobby a little and its fun to see him get cards of guys I played with."


Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Transfers, Rub-offs, and a quandary

I recently bought an interesting, fun vintage lot off of eBay - 17 1965 Topps Transfers, 45 1966 Topps Rub-Offs. Lots of big big stars, and only $15 shipped. 

There was just one catch.

They were all used!

I've seen pictures of the '65 transfers but never owned any. I did have five '66 rub-offs already. Any that I had seen were in unused condition. That means that the photo and words were reversed. You had to hold it up to a mirror to see what it should actually look like.

These were all used, so they are facing the right way. The only question now is what to do with them?

The 1965 rub-offs were all rubbed off onto this piece of fabric. As you may be able to tell from the pictures, the fabric is OK but not immaculate, and it smells a bit too. My instinct is to cut these up into card-shaped rectangles and put them into penny sleeves.

Mays, Aaron and Clemente, very cool. I think there is also some of the face of a 1966 Topps rub-off there, I might try to figure out who it is.

Unless a reader tells me a good reason to leave this intact, I plan to cut it up.

The '66s came on four pieces of construction paper.

Some big names here too. Most notably two Mickey Mantle's!

The presentation here is nicer than the fabric for the '65s, but I am still inclined to cut these up too. It will make it easier to integrate them with the ones I already have, and may get in the future. (I'm certainly not going to experiment with rubbing off the ones I have intact!)

I already have in my 1969 MLB PhotoStamps set a mixture with about half of them having heavy cardboard backing. And over half of my 1967 Topps posters are laminated. So there is precedent for me having this kind of "things done to cards" in my collection.

So unless anyone gives me a good reason not to, I do plan to cut these all down to individual "cards" in a couple of days. (Which would mean I would have a very off-condition '66 Mickey Mantle rubdown available!)

Monday, July 8, 2024

1974 Topps Deckle Dating - John Hiller

TCDB didn't have a back scan on this one, fortunately I found one on eBay. This one sold for $99!

Lakeland, FL, March 28, 1973.

There was a lot more going on at Tigers camp on March 28, 1973, besides picture day, or even losing an exhibition game to Houston, 4-2. The Tigers acquired veteran pitcher Jim Perry in a trade with the Twins. A few hours earlier, manager Billy Martin and minor leaguer Ike Blessitt were arrested in the parking lot of a bar, for loudly using profanity. Both were fined $32 for the transgression.

Later that week Martin would quit after an argument with management over a fine for star outfielder Willie Horton, though Martin returned the next day. 

It was Martin who insisted that the Tigers take a chance on Hiller, who had been a reliable reliever for the Tigers for several seasons, including for the 1968 world champs. Hiller suffered a heart attack and missed all of 1971. Martin gave Hiller a chance to come back, and he became the first major league baseball player to return to play after a heart attack. In 1973 he had one of the great all-time seasons by a reliever, appearing in a league-leading 65 games and going 10-5 with a 1.44 ERA, leading the league with 38 saves. He stayed with the Tigers through the 1980 season. In 545 games, all with Detroit, he went 87-76 with 125 saves and a 2.83 ERA. 

It seems likely this was also the day that the photo for Hiller's 1974 Topps Stamp was taken.

Perhaps his 1975 Topps photo too, considering that he had a big mustache in 1974.

Elsewhere on this day, 81 American POWs departed Hanoi for the Philippines, the prime minister of France and the President of Turkey resigned, and President Nixon's security coordinator told a closed Senate hearing that former Attorney General John Mitchell had prior knowledge of the Watergate plot.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

1986 Spokane Indians at the mall - Mike Basso


I think this is another clothing store. Maybe a rack of swim trunks? Looks like there is a mannequin behind glass, wearing a sweater vest.

Catcher Mike Basso played nine seasons in the Padres organization, including parts of four seasons at AAA. His best season was 1987, when he hit .252 with 9 HR and 53 RBI at Charletson. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days. After his playing career he spent over 25 years as a scout, minor league coach and manager. He now is a youth baseball instructor in Houston.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Al Fitzmorris on baseball cards

Al Fitzmorris came up with the Royals during the team's first year, 1969, and stayed with them through their first AL West championship in 1976, making him the last original Royal. He also had stints with Cleveland and California. Overall in 288 games (159 starts), he went 77-59 with a 3.65 ERA. He won at least 13 games a year between 1974 and 1976. Now the Sales and Marketing Manager at BTC Construction in Kansas City, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"As a kid growing up, I did collect baseball cards. I had quite a collection having been born in New York. I was a Yankee fan. One of the things that got me excited about playing baseball was then I wanted a card of myself someday. My very first baseball card came out in 70 and I was a rookie, and Scott Northey was on the card with me. It was pretty exciting. 

My favorite card of myself is my 1976 card with the Kansas City Royals. Although I played for a couple of other teams in the major leagues, I have always been a Royal.
I do not collect baseball cards, but my grandkids do."


Friday, July 5, 2024

1981 Topps Joe Strain


The front: For a long time this was my only 1981 Topps card, and one of the oldest cards I owned as a kid in the late 1980s. 

The back: The fact that he was a substitute teacher was also very interesting to me as a kid. Imagine one day you come in to school and your substitute teacher is a real big leaguer!

The player: Strain played in 169 major league games, for the Giants in 1979 and 1980, and the Cubs in 1981. He hit .250 with 1 HR and 29 RBI in 520 ABs.

The man: After his playing career Strain went back to teaching, for 20 years at Cherry Creek High School in Colorado. He was also a Giants scout, signing Sergio Romo among others. He is now an Assistant Coach at Metropolitan State University in Denver, a team head coached by his son Ryan Strain, who was a Giants minor leaguer for two seasons.

My collection: I have eight of his cards, from 1978 to 1982. I would be interested in trading for 1979 Cramer Phoenix Giants #9.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Time Travel/OBC/TCDB roundup

Some fun cards that have come in lately . . . 

My latest Time Travel Trade with Diamond Jesters. Some great vintage football and some modern baseball too.

A fun mix of cards in a trade with yrrcwc of TCDB. Fun photos, great players, nice looking cards.
Four stamps for my 1982 Fleer set, thanks to bhk5150.
Modern cards can come from OBC. This nice selection came from Gunny Musgrove.
Cooter Bankston sent one card, a nice one of the eventual World Champs of 1964.
Canadian Andrew Goguen sent this mixture of OPC, vintage Topps, and Leaf.
Finally, Mark Talbot sends a poster and also one each for my 1967-1971 sets. Now down to just 35 needs for 1967, 47 for 1968, 6 for 1969, 56 for 1970 and 61 for 1971. Not all the needs are stars or high-numbers, either.


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Vintage star cards roundup

Here's a Greg Morris lot that was very oddball-heavy. Lots of Venezuelan cards. '64 and '68 have very different backs. '66s are just kind of greyer on the front and redder on the back. Other highlights include two Babe Ruth subset cards. There's my first '53 Bowman B&W (Stu Miller). Two '61 Fleer cards of men in suits. The Ford Frick card mentions that MLB headquarters were in the RCA Building in New York. It is now known as "30 Rock" (30 Rockefeller Center). That year Frick got a lot of attention due to Roger Maris's asterisk.

The prior week saw slimmer pickings, though I did knock off another big name for my 1970 Topps booklets. Now just need Gibson and Mays. Occasionally I bid on a cheap football card, and I did that week. The Ditka had a lot of gum stuck to it that I was able to get off by scratching lightly, it looks better not than it did when I took the photo.
I bid more than I usually would for a lower-tier HOFer (no offense to Ashburn, a fine player who doesn't seem to have a strong market for his cards). However, this was one of a kind as someone wrote what appears to be a 1954-style phone number on the side. Even though the dash is in the wrong place I assume that's what it is. Bonus points for a great view of Manhattan apartment buildings outside of the Polo Grounds.
Vintage Stan Musial card for two bucks, great deal at any condition.
Happy to add another vintage Aaron for about $10.
Even better was a '61 Mays at that price. The ghouls all come out when a star dies, thinking there will suddenly be a big market for their cards. They overestimate how much collectors will overpay immediately after a death, leading to a temporary oversaturation of the market. I think that's why this one was so cheap.