Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tommy Manzella on baseball cards

Shortstop Tommy Manzella played nine seasons of professional baseball, making the major leagues in 2009 and 2010 with the Astros. In 90 games with Houston he hit .224 with 1 HR and 21 RBI. Now a Mortgage Loan Originator at Gulf Coast Bank in New Orleans, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I wasn’t much of a card collector growing up.  I do have a few different ones of mine that were given to me by fans, but that’s about it."


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Final Wallet Card post of the year

It's been a lot of fun showing one of my other interests: obscure bits of NY history and anachronisms - leftovers of defunct businesses, sometimes decades old that remain to this day. Some of the signs wallet card visited have already been covered up - was fortunate to get them when I did. I will still post wallet card content from time to time - in fact there are still a few already photographed that I haven't posted yet - but it will not be regular like it was in 2015, the Year of the Wallet Card. Thanks DefGav for the great idea!

For this post, I have a few odds and ends that I photographed that were not really strong enough for an individual post but that I still found interesting. But first, here is the first photo of Wallet Card back in January, when it was in a whole lot better condition than it is now.
Now for the current battered version with a few more random points of interest throughout Manhattan.

An Asics store opened on 42nd street earlier this year, than abruptly closed due to a dispute with an investor. The store used for some display space a real subway car that started running in 1961, and was covered in graffiti in the 1970s. The car still sits in the abandoned store.
 Here is a side view. Note that one of the graffiti images is a man in a Yankees hat.
Gimbels closed it's flagship department store on 34th street in 1986. However the site of their former warehouse still has "Gimbels" painted down the side of the building.
 This liquor store on East 34th street not only has an ad for MLB Wine (who knew that existed?) but an old-school neon sign with an "LE" telephone exchange. LE in this case stood for Lexington.
 Near an exit ramp for the Queens-Midtown Tunnel is an old black and white enamel street sign. It is very rare to see one still in use - most have been gone for decades.
 The current subway system is made up of the old IRT, IND and BMT systems. Although the terms have not been officially used since the 1950s, an old IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) sign remains on 28th Street.
The classic Pepsi-Cola neon sign in Long Island City, across the East River from the UN building. Built in 1936, it is threatened by real estate developers but others in the city are fighting to get landmark status for the sign.
 The Hell's Kitchen Restaurant at 9th Avenue and 47th Street occupies the location of the former Captain Best Fish Market. A bit of the old sign remains on the top of the restaurant - you can make out the word "Captain" if you zoom in on the top.
 When the Mayfair Building in Times Square was torn down recently, it exposed an ad for the long-defunct Hotel Longacre, with rooms for $1.00, or $1.50 for a room with a bath. The sign had been hidden for nearly a hundred years (and will be again when the new building is erected).

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Player Profile: Benito Baez

I have one card of Benito Baez, from 1999 Just.

Playing career: Benito Baez pitched ten seasons of professional baseball. He made the major leagues with Florida in 2001, going 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA in eight games.

Where he is now: Owner of Gifted Hands Baseball in Grand Rapids, MI.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Benito Ba, between Benito Barrera, a recent high school football player in Indiana, and Benito Bautista, a documentary director. Another prominent Benito Baez is a Vice President at UBS.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Rod Bair.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Wallet Card with some vintage buses

Every December the MTA rolls out real vintage buses to run on the M42 route along 42nd street. It is much more fun to see these out and about doing what they were supposed to do, rather than just collecting dust in a museum. I was fortunate to be able to photograph several of these in action.

Bus #3100 - the General Motors TDH-5106 was introduced in 1956. This particular bus was actually a demo bus (which may explain why it has stayed in such good shape over the last 60 years). This was the first air-conditioned bus in New York City. Most of these pictures were taken while the bus was parked at Herald Square, but I was able to catch it on the road briefly later on.

Bus #9098 - I was only able to get a couple of brief shots of this 1958 version of the TDH-5106.
Bus # - 4727 This is a Flxible 111CC-D5-1 from 1969. These ran through the early 1980s.

  Note the sign for the 15 cent fare.
Bus #100. A 1959 General Motors TDH-5301.
Bus # 8466is a 1966 General Motors TDH-5303. Note the ad on the side for the musical Chorus Line and the logo for the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, which would later be replaced on active buses by the MTA logo.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Player Profile: Charlie Babineaux

I have one card of Charlie Babineaux, from 2004 Pepsi Grandstand Salem-Keizer. This is one of the personally-autographed cards I got in a recent trade with Prowling Cat.

Playing career: Outfielder Charlie Babineaux played in the Giants organization in 2004 and 2005. In 102 games he hit .229 with 12 HR and 51 RBI.

Where he is now: An insurance agent at Dwight Andrus in Louisiana.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Charlie Babi, between Charlie Babbitt, a character in the movie Rain Man, and Charlie Babie Rosario, a DJ. There do not appear to be any other prominent Charlie Babineauxes.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Benito Baez.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Wallet Card at a two-color traffic light in Central Park

In the 1960s New York City permanently made the switch to three-color traffic lights (including the yellow light). A very few two-color lights remained into this century. In 2015, pretty much the only ones left are along Central Park's East Drive, such as the one below.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Player Profile: Chad Ashlock

I have one card of Chad Ashlock, from 2001 Pepsi Grandstand Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Playing career: Chad Ashlock pitched for Class-A Salem-Keizer in the Giants organization in 2000 and 2001. In thirteen games he went 4-3 with a 4.24 ERA.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Chad Ashlock is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is sixth when you type Chad Ashl, between Chad Ashley Football Coach and Chad Ashley White Oak, both of which refer to a former Georgia high school football coach. The first entry when you google Chad Ashlock is not the ballplayer but a high school teacher in Texas.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Charlie Babineaux.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Baseball card story from Joel Estes

Joel Estes pitched in the Astros and Giants organizations from 1986 to 1990. In 216 games he went 21-24 with 24 saves and a 2.60 ERA. Now a financial advisor at Wells Fargo in Tucson, AZ, he kindly shared this baseball card story.

"My favorite card is with the Columbus Mudcats.  As a pitcher, I used to hit thousands of fungoes to the infielders during batting practice. So in my card, I took the fungo, blacked out the GO, so it said “FUN” and got my picture taken with it.  It might be the only baseball card ever with someone holding a fungo."
Thanks! I don't have that card, but I do have this one from his time with the San Jose Giants.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Player Profile: Keith Anderson

I have one card of Keith Anderson, from 2001 Pepsi Grandstand Salem-Keizer.

Playing career: Catcher Keith Anderson played in the Giants organization from 2001 to 2004. In 227 games he hit .243 with 14 HR and 100 RBI.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Keith Anderson is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Keith A, between Keith Apicary, a fictional video game character, and Keith Ape It G Ma, a Korean rap star and his song. There are no references to the ballplayer on the first page of Google results; most are for a country singer.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Chad Ashlock.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cards from JediJeff

Got a package from JediJeff of 2 by 3 Heroes that filled a bunch of set needs. May the Force be with you! (And go see The Force Awakens if you somehow haven't yet already.)

Lots of 2010 Topps.
Some 1992 Stadium Club - down to just ten needs for this set:
 And quite a few random gems as well, like this neat throwback card:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Player Profile: Tim Alvarez

I have one card of Tim Alvarez, from 2003 Pepsi Grandstand Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Playing career: Tim Alvarez pitched in the Giants organization from 2003 to 2005. In 106 games, all in relief, he went 7-15 with 24 saves and a 4.40 ERA.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Tim Alvarez is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Tim Alv, between Tim Alvino, a corporate lawyer at McDermott Will, and Tim Alvarado, financial advisor at Summit Pointe Financial. There are no mentions of the ballplayer on the first page of Google results; the first is for a workers compensation attorney in Kansas City.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wallet Card at some Deskey lampposts

Donald Deskey was one of the leading industrial designers of the twentieth century. Perhaps best known for designing the interior of Radio City Music Hall, he created iconic designs for brands like Crest, Tide, Jif, Pampers and Bounty. In 1959 he was commissioned by the City of New York to create a modern lamppost design, and the result became the standard for the city through the 1980s. Examples of his work still stand in some parts of the city, including on Fifth Avenue.

Single-pole Deskey lamp:
Twin Deskey lamp:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Player Profile: John Acha

I have one card of John Acha, from 2004 Pepsi Grandstand Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. This is one of the personally-autographed cards I got in a recent trade with Prowling Cat. [A few of these cards will be showing up soon.]

Playing career: Third baseman John Acha played in the Giants organization in 2004 and 2005. In 78 games he hit .223 with 2 HR and 33 RBI.

Where he is now: Special education teacher and baseball coach at Pitman High School in Turlock, CA.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type John Acha, between John Achari Parsons, an architect in Dubai, and John Acharya, a news personality in India. Another prominent John Acha is CEO of Action Estimating.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Tim Alvarez.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cards from Baseball Card Breakdown's Giveaway

Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown sent a very generous PWE as part of his giveaway. I feel kind of bad because I had sent him a PWE as well and that one never arrived. Still, I appreciate the awesome cards he sent.

This one jumped out at me right away when I opened the envelope. Such a beautiful card, I thought it must be Stadium Club or something. Turns out it is one of Gavin's own customs. Awesome!
Here is the back. Holostar black ink parallel!
There was also this custom reprint of a John Elway baseball card that he sent with a note on the back.
There were also some very cool "real" cards in the package as well, like this great Mariano card.
 David Lough spent two years with the Royals and two with the Orioles and is now a free agent.
 Hard to see in the photo but this is a textured black/gold parallel.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cards from Jaybarkefan's giveaway

Got some cool "hits" from the always-generous Jaybarkerfan's giveaway.

It's slightly faded, but very cool to get an on-card autograph from a well-known 1970's star.
 Nice Yankee pinstripe uniform card. It's not clear in the scan but the card has some nice holographic shine to it.
This was the weridest hit in the envelope - a game-used card of a rugby player. He was the captain of the US national team but was dismissed for conduct violations. Does this card interest anybody?