Monday, June 17, 2019

1981 Topps Rudy Law

The front: Looks like he is catching his breath in the dugout. What dugout had green walls? Philadelphia?

The back: In 2011 Night Owl did a retrospective on Dodgers who wore the number 3. The next three Dodgers after Davis were African-American outfielders from California. Law came after Glenn Burke and before Derrel Thomas. Unlike the others Law was not from LA (he was from East Palo Alto). Perhaps all three were paying tribute to Davis? After Thomas the next Dodger to wear #3 was Steve Sax. He was followed by two other white infielders, Jeff Hamilton and Jody Reed. Perhaps they were paying tribute to Sax?

The player: Law’s greatest asset by far was his speed. In 749 games, mostly with the Dodgers and White Sox, he hit .271 with 18 HR and 199 RBI, but stole 228 bases. In 1983 he stole 77 bases and was caught just 12 times. He reached base 186 times, so he stole almost half the time he was on base that year.

The man: Law is now a youth baseball coach in Southern California.

My collection: I have 22 of his cards, from 1979 to 1987. I would be interested in trading for 1983 Fleer Star Stickers #150.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Cards from Padrographs

I'm sending some of the non-sports stuff I got recently to Rod of Padrographs and he sent me a nice selection of cards from the last couple of years. Here are some highlights.

I've seen this card on a bunch of the other blogs. I'm glad to finally have a copy myself.
 I saw Matt Strahm pitch against the Yankees recently and he had very long hair. He was traded from the Royals to the Padres after the 2017 season; when he made his Padres debut he already had long hair. So this was a Royals photo that got photoshopped; Strahm has never had short hair with the Padres.
 Here's a variation - gold foil card with a "150 years" stamp.
 This year's infamous Topps Total set. It is thicker and glossier than the old ones. I believe this is the first time I have owned any online-only cards.
 Here is a game-worn basketball card from Christmas Day 2009. I don't collect basketball so it's up for trade if anyone wants it.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The road not taken

A couple of years ago I was at a crossroads in my collection. I had completed almost every major set from 1978 to 1994, covering the years I initially collected plus a few years earlier, and had many many thousands more from 1995 on. While certainly not bored of baseball cards, my collecting eye began to wander as I developed other interests.

As you can tell from my wallet card posts, I became more and more interested in "old things" - signs, advertising and other ephemera that harked back to early years, particularly the 1950s and 1960s. (I was born in 1977.) This was not because of any romantic notions of that era. I just found it fascinating to "time travel" - to peer into a past that was far enough away to be different, but close enough to be relatable. This was an era of immense social upheaval - for better and for worse - but it was also a time when people went shopping, got their car fixed, went out to eat, etc. In some ways very similar to today, in other ways very different.

What was holding me back? The first was price of course. With baseball cards you can get hundreds of cards for the price of one small sign or box or matchbook or whatever. Just as importantly, however, was the baseball card community. In other areas I did not see the same types of communities where people blogged about what they loved, and traded their extras to their peers, at least not anywhere near the extent that they are in this community.

A little more than a year ago, I came across a great Craigslist find of 1960s cards at a price that, while much higher than I ever spent on cards before, was actually a fantastic price. Some more beginners luck shortly after that got me most of the cards from the mid-1970s, including most of the big ones. I haven't had the same kind of luck since, but I have become a committed vintage baseball card collector, allowing me to enjoy collecting something older while remaining part of this wonderful community.

A while back, Matt of Once a Cub, formerly a blog but now only on Twitter, posted a card that I thought perfectly captured the two different directions my collection faced - the road I took (vintage) and the road not taken (general "old stuff"). One of my favorite things to find on older items is phone numbers with less than seven digits, either with letters in the exchange or just a shorter number. This card is a 1961 baseball card that someone stamped, presumably that year, with their name, address - and a five digit phone number! Once I got my own (unstamped) version of that card, I offered it to Matt in a trade. Now I own this card, and it is one of my very favorite cards in my collection.
I wonder how old this stamp was even in 1961. I found a great website called that says that Atlanta switched from six to seven digits (two letters/five numbers). About Columbus I learned just that they received dial service in the late 1940s, but some mid-size towns such as Valdosta did not get dial service until 1964.

Needless to say, if anyone else has a card like this, I'd definitely be interested in trading for it. I would also be open to trading baseball cards for any other kind of similar ephemera with defunct stores, old phone numbers, etc.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Wallet Card at Crown Coat Front

It's pretty faded, but it's interesting to see a sign for manufacturers of "civilian and military coat fronts" looming over Union Square. Coat fronts were a way of stiffening or retaining the shape of coat fronts. Based in Milwaukee, Crown Coat Front operated at this location from 1947 to 1958. The company went out of business a short time later.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

1981 Topps Charlie Liebrandt

The front: Delivering a pitch at a sun-drenched Shea Stadium. This must be July 27, 1980. Leibrandt started and was ineffective, allowing four runs in three innings. He was relieved with a 7-4 lead by Joe Price after allowing the first five batters to reach base in the fourth. Price got the win with 6 innings of shutout relief as the Reds cruised to a 10-4 victory.

The back: Leibrandt’s Indianapolis teammate Bruce Berenyi led the American Association with a 2.82 ERA in 1979.

The player: Leibrandt was a solid starter for the great Royals teams of the mid-80s and the great Braves teams of the early-90s. In 394 games he went 140-119 with a 3.71 ERA. The postseason was a nightmare for Leibrandt. In 13 games he was just 1-7 despite an entirely decent 3.77 ERA. He lost the last game of the 1984 ALCS, pitching a complete game but losing 1-0. In 1985 He Game 4 of the ALCS and Game 2 of the World Series despite taking a shutout into the ninth in both games. In the famous Game 6 of the 1991 World Series he was used in an unfamiliar relief role by manager Bobby Cox and surrendered Kirby Puckett’s iconic home run. The next year Cox again put Leibrandt in the same situation, and Leibrandt allowed Dave Winfield’s series-winning hit, again in Game 6.

The man: Leibrandt is now a youth baseball coach in Georgia.

My collection: I have 75 of his cards, from 1981 to 1994. I would be interested in trading for 1984 TCMA Omaha Royals #1.