Friday, September 30, 2016

Bump and Run Baseball Cards

I traded a bunch of football cards to Trevor of Bump and Run Football Cards - despite the blog name he collects baseball too - and he sent back a bunch of cards from my 2015 Topps wantlist, plus a couple others as well. Anyone else collect football cards? I have plenty to trade.

This was certainly an interesting picture. What stands out to me is that Schafer is in his home park making a great catch but all of the fans look very worried.
  Got these cards yesterday, and last night CC had another excellent start. Hopefully he can keep it up in 2017.
 He also sent a couple of 1996 Ultra cards, including this bittersweet card of the late Rod Beck.

Taylor Grote on baseball cards

Outfielder Taylor Grote played in the Yankees organization from 2007 to 2011. In 297 games he hit .221 with 12 HR, 105 RBI and 15 SB. Now a Sales Representative at Dolphin Debit Access in Spring, TX, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards. 

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?

Actually pretty funny story about a card that our affiliate made, my teammates got me with the eye black on the inside of my cap trick and you could lightly see the eye black on my face in the card. No one knew a picture for the card would be taken that day. I still had my revenge!


 - Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?

I like my 2007 Tristar Prospects Plus card, but enjoy them all.


- Do you collect baseball cards?

I did a bit as a kid but do not collect.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Todd Torchia

Outfielder Todd Torchia played in the Padres organization in 1987 and 1988. In 89 games he hit .206 with 1 HR and 18 RBI. He was quoted in the recent article about the set, saying "Fun and embarrassing describes it best for me. It was a strange way to introduce a team to the city. Most of us were wondering who set this deal up. 25 guys in baseball uniforms walking through a busy mall. In the end, we had fun with it, guys posed with scarfs, women's hats, jewelry, and mannequins when taking their photos."

Percy Howell opened the Golden Hour restaurant at the mall's opening in 1965. Upon his death in 1984 his daughter renamed the restaurant Percy's. It closed in 2009.  A 1995 review praises the "consistently good food at reasonable prices" and tells readers to "ask for a window seat, where you can watch the shoppers stroll through the mall."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the mall - Pedro Aquino

Pedro Aquino, better known as Pedro Martinez or Pedro A. Martinez, pitched for the Padres, Astros, Mets and Reds from 1993 to 1997. In 122 games he went 7-4 with 3 saves and a 3.97 ERA.

J.J. Newberry was a national chain of discount department stores based out of Pennsylvania, that was in business from 1911 to 1997. They had one in the Green Acres Mall on Long Island. The Newberry sign is still visible from the roof, but unfortunately unless you can get up on the roof you can't see it - would make a great wallet card photo if I ever got access. The University City location in Spokane closed in 1995.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wallet Card at another ORegon phone exchange

The Adams Real Estate sign is not the only painted ad with an ORegon phone exchange still visible in midtown Manhattan. A few blocks away on Third Avenue there is another one advertising air conditioned apartments for rent. Unlike the Adams Real Estate number this one no longer is for a current organization.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the mall - Terry Gilmore

Today is a sad day for baseball, of course. The Jose Fernandez accident instantly reminds fans of the Steve Olin/Tim Crews deadly boating accident, and Yankee fans of course remember Thurman Munson, another big star who died suddenly during his playing career.

Terry Gilmore pitched in the Padres organization from 1987 to 1991. 101 of his 149 games were at the AAA level, but despite the extended opportunity he never found success at that level - 24-25, 5.24 ERA - so the major leagues eluded him. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

He is at some kind of frozen-yogurt or soft-serve ice cream establishment, but the logo on the caps is way too small to read.

Even more subjective and arbitrary

Got some more cards in a trade with Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. He hit my wantlists for several mid-1990s sets.

Weird to see Mark Eichhorn apparently pitching overhand.
 Todd Hollandsworth looks like a 1960s coffee shop sign with a Coca-Cola logo on either end.
 Also brought to you by Coca-Cola.
 One of Deion Sanders's 53 career interceptions. I now need just one card from 1992 Stadium Club, and it is a common - Marvin Freeman, #264. Anyone got an extra to trade?
 He also threw in some cool newer stuff, like this super-shiny Yankees prospect. Gosuke Katoh had a down year this year in A-ball but is still only 21.

Friday, September 23, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - David Bond

David Bond pitched in the Padres organization from 1987 to 1989, going 5-15 with a 5.45 ERA. He is now a youth baseball instructor in Texas.

He is in some kind of boot/shoe store. Hard to read the name on the bag though. Stott's? Platt's? Whatever it is, it wasn't in the 1982 directory.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall: Paul Faries

Second baseman Paul Faries was one of the few players in this set to make their way from the mall to the majors. He played in 96 games for the Padres and Giants from 1990 to 1993, hitting .201 with 0 HR and 14 RBI.

The Crescent was a department store with seven locations, including three in Spokane where the company started in 1889. The University City location opened in 1969, the same year the store hired Dolores Del Monte, Playboy's Miss March 1954, to demonstrate scarves and scarf clips, breaking all company sales records for scarf accessories. The Crescent was renamed Frederick & Nelson in 1988 and closed in 1992.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Some players I don't much care for

Did a big street trade with Al, with about 40 cards going each way. Probably my last one with him for a while unless he sells his last card of somebody. I was picking through his big box of star players that is organized by individual. I'd picked through this a few times so was pretty much down to guys I had passed over before because I didn't care for them - either players I disliked or ones that I respected but were big Yankee killers.

I never liked Cal Ripken, a far inferior player breaking Lou Gehrig's record. Still, I'd never had an Etch-A-Sketch card and I do love anything unusual. I took a few Ripkens because Al was trying to get rid of him, I guess he's a player that just doesn't sell.
I disliked the Braves even before they ended up playing the Yankees in a couple of World Series. I guess it is because of TBS they used to have all of their games on TV, and familiarity breeds contempt. In fact some of the rare times I rooted for the Mets was when they played the Braves in the World Series. Nothing really against Glavine, just a guy associated strongly with those teams.
 I actually like Ken Griffey quite a bit but 20+ years later I still can't look at replays of the end of the 1995 ALDS. Al was trying to convince me that this was a "very rare" card because of the gold foil.
 Chipper Jones is another Brave I always disliked. I am a sucker for shiny cards though. Had to photograph at an odd angle to get it to shine which is why this card looks weird - it's not actually twisted.
 Haha, a lot of Braves here. I lost all respect for Maddux when he took a smaller offer from the Braves than the one the Yankees gave him because he was afraid to pitch in New York.
 I don't actually dislike Randy Johnson at all, but between the 1995 ALDS, the 2001 World Series, and his own mediocre Yankees stint I've got quite a few negative baseball memories of him.
 I don't dislike Manny Ramirez either, but he is probably the single most prolific Yankee killer in my thirty years of watching baseball.
There were also plenty of guys I had passed over not because I had any negative impression of them but just because they weren't terribly interesting - Gwynn, Sandberg, Bonds etc - a lot of NL guys I guess.

And I did find a couple of Yankees cards I had missed previously. Fun to find mid-80s Yankee cards I still needed.

Nice 1987 Topps Rickey Henderson All-Star.
 I had just thought this was a Fernando Valenzuela card - turns out it was one of those three-player cards. From this angle you can see Dave Righetti, Rick Sutcliffe and Fernando's legs all at once.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wallet Card at Scribners

Scribners bookstore was located in a Beaux-Arts building on Fifth Avenue across from Rockefeller Center, the only landmarked building designed to house a bookstore. The famous bookstore had numerous famous regular customers, including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Caroline Kennedy. Scribners closed in 1988 (the name still exists as a publishing company owned by CBS) and the location is now a Sephora. However the Charles Scribners' Sons sign can still be seen above the Sephora.

Monday, September 19, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Francisco DeLaCruz

Francisco DeLaCruz pitched in the Padres organization in 1986 and 1987. In 19 appearances he went 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA.

I had written about Dodson's Jewelers previously, at the time I thought the photos were taken in NorthTown Mall. Here is a link to a Dodson's ad from 1985, which doesn't even list NorthTown as a location (but it does have University City!)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wallet Card at Adams Real Estate

This sign for Adams Real Estate goes back to the early 1960s. Note the phone number in the last line of the sign - ORegon9-5500. Always cool to find exchanges names on an existing sign. What is really great in this case though is that the phone number is still valid - you can still call the company today at 212-679-5500.

Spokane Indians at the Mall - We were at the wrong mall!

When I first started this series about cards taken (I thought) in Spokane's NorthTown Mall, I noted that the Spokane uniforms looked more like Royals uniforms than those of the parent club the Padres. Reader Adam made a comment on that post explaining the cool reason why they looked like KC uniforms. Then he dropped a bigger bombshell:

" Actually, Spokane was the San Diego Padres short-season A affiliate at this time. Spokane lost AAA baseball after the 1982 season, when they were affiliated with the California Angels. The franchise returned in 1983 with the Padres organization, and then was bought by George Brett and his brothers in 1985, who changed the team's uniform style and colors from the Padres' brown and yellow to a style and colors similar to that of the Kansas City Royals, with whom Brett played.
Also, since the set was sponsored by University City (check the back of the card), another prominent mall in town at the time, I'm inclined to think that the photos were taken there rather than at Northtown. I couldn't imagine that U-City would have its name on the back of the cards but then have the photos be taken at a competing mall."

Not the NorthTown Mall? The recent article that brought the cards their recent notoriety said they were taken in the NorthTown Mall, based on their interview of someone who was working for the team at the time. But what if his memory was faulty? It was 30 years ago. Adam is right, all the cards had a logo for University City on the back - I did not realize it was a mall, just that it was "easy for you".
 However, every store I had been looking up seemed to be in NorthTown Mall. Turns out they were all in U-City too. Perhaps that is why both malls have had their struggles - in fact U-City was demolished in 2015, fifty years after it opened. Maybe Spokane didn't need two different malls with apparently identical stores.

Check out this 1982 University City mall directory, from flickr user ky24941:
Harvey's, JC Penney, Candy 'n Carmelcorn, Rosauer's, Hickory Farms, Regis Hair Stylists, Dodson's, Mandell's, DJ's Sound City. All had U-City locations. I think it is safe to say that Adam is right and these photos were taken at University City and not Northtown.

In fact, it turns out there is even a 1986 set taken in the mall, and it is just called "Spokane University City". However it appears to be very rare. STB Sports, the site where I got the other three sets for under $10 each, lists it at $130.

I am going to leave a comment on the site - I doubt they'll address it, but at least maybe someone will see it. Thanks Adam!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Ken Reitz on baseball cards

Third baseman Ken Reitz played eleven seasons in the major leagues, mostly for the Cardinals. A Gold Glove winner in 1975 and an All-Star in 1980, he hit .260 with 68 HR and 548 RBI for his career. Now a player community services representative for the Cardinals, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"The cards we had were taken mostly in NY. We never knew what the guy was taking pictures for. We just did it. We got 125 dollars for our contract with Topps. But didn't really care, was doing what I loved. Favorite card? One blowing a Bubble."


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Street trade

I gave Al my last four Yankees cards of Nettles. He told me the reason they are so hot - "Everyone named Craig wants his cards because they have the same name". Turns out even Al thought that Nettles's first name was Craig and not Graig.

Here is what I got in return for four Nettles cards:
Two Andre Dawsons, a Tim Raines and a David Justice. Turns out I already had the Justice (hard to tell from the photo, it is a 1994 Sportflix) so that is up for trade if anyone wants it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nelson Rood on baseball cards

Infielder Nelson Rood played in the Astros, Brewers and Angels organizations from 1983 to 1990. In 708 games he hit .259 with 3 HR, 172 RBI and 176 SB. Now the Director of Operations at H5 Media, an aerial filming company in Scottsdale, AZ, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players? 
I do not have any real stories about other players cards.  I do know that it was completely random when the card companies would arrive to take pictures.  They would arrive early and would request a picture before warm up as they wanted us in our uniforms.  Some card pictures were taken in practice uniforms.  It was really random.  But that was in the 80's.  So who knows if it is now more organized or not.
- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
I have a bag of minor league cards of guys that I played with.  Most of the sets have never been opened.  Ken Caminiti and Craig Biggio's Triple A cards are probably my favorite.  I enjoyed playing with both of those guys.

- Do you collect baseball cards?
Actually I do not collect cards.  My collections are very small.  I have a signed page in a large picture book of Nolan Ryan.  The only reason I was able to get that autograph because my locker was next to his in one of my three Major League camps.
Yogi Berra was one of the coaches on that team and I had a ball autographed for my father-in-law.  Yes, I could have collected so much more stuff, but I have never been a collector of anything.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Kevin Farmer

Back-to-back Farmers on the Spokane Indians. Safe to assume that Reggie and Kevin are not related. Kevin Farmer was a catcher and outfielder in the Padres organization from 1987 to 1989. In 175 games he hit .218 with 2 HR and 60 RBI.

Appropriately for a man named Farmer he is posing in the supermarket with what appears to be a shopping cart with a box of vegetables. Rosauers is a supermarket chain that originated in Spokane in the 1940s. They currently have 22 stores across four states.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Wallet Card at Greenwich Savings Bank

High above 57th Street and 5th Avenue looms a sign for Greenwich Savings Bank. Greenwich Savings Bank closed in 1981 due to financial troubles; at the time it was the 16th-largest bank in the US.

The bank's main office was on 37th Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway. The location is now an events hall called Gotham Hall. (Can't you just hear the narrator for the old Batman show saying "Meanwhile, at Gotham Hall..."?) On the Broadway side of the building an automatic deposit drop-off box remains as testimony to the building's former purpose.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Reggie Farmer

Outfielder Reggie Farmer played five years in the Padres organization, all in A ball. In 507 games he hit .265 with 22 HR, 177 RBI and 107 SB. After his baseball career he became an elementary school teacher and he is now Principal of the Somerset Academy of Las Vegas. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

Reggie is at a hair salon, posing with some hair products whose names are impossible to read at this size. Cards from later seasons show the salon more clearly as a Regis salon. Yes, Reggie at Regis. The first Regis Salon opened in Minneapolis in 1922 and there are now over 10,000 around the country, making them the world's largest salon chain. The NorthTown Mall location still exists, making it the first store so far in this series that still exists in this mall. Check out the salon customers who I am sure never expected to be on a baseball card while getting their hair done.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the mall - Steve Lubratich

Steve Lubratich got into 64 games in the major leagues with the Angels between 1981 and 1983, hitting .209 with 0 HR and 8 RBI. Later on he was a Padres minor leaguer where he had another unusual minor league card. After injuries ended his playing career he joined the Padres' minor league coaching staff for several years, before moving on to other roles in other organizations. He is currently Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Cleveland Indians.

I can't tell what store he is in. Looks like something that starts with "The Perfect"? It's funny how almost all of the players are posed with a store sign, bag, etc but the name is often obscured. There appears to be some kind of model bedroom behind him - maybe it is a furniture or decor store? But what is up with that weird doll slouching on that top shelf?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wallet Card at Chemical Bank

First off, some sad news - former Mariners pitcher Robert Ramsay passed away last month. He shared his baseball card stories here in 2011.

Now, on to the subject of today's post. Some recent construction on 52nd street revealed an old sign for Chemical Bank & Trust. One the third-largest bank in the world, Chemical Bank disappeared twenty years ago when it merged with Chase Manhattan Bank.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the mall - Monte Brooks

Outfielder Monte Brooks played in the Padres organization from 1987 to 1990. In 313 games, all in A ball, he hit .212 with 0 HR, 94 RBI and 61 RBI. He is now in his sixteenth year as head baseball coach at Masters College. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

There is not much online about "The Depot" - it was a men's and women's clothing store that originated in Lewiston, ID and had a few locations in Idaho and Washington. The chain closed down in the early 1990s. A 1985 Spokesman-Review interview with the store's merchandise buyer was quite similar to the one later given by Harvey's Fine Clothes (see Tony Lewis's card). The "Miami Vice" look was big for men here too, as was denim in a variety of colors.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wallet card revisits the IND and BMT

In 1953 the three New York subway lines, the IND, BMT and IRT, merged into one unified line, rendering the old acronyms obsolete. Yet over 60 years later you can still find a reference to the Independent (IND) in the Herald Square subway station:
Even better, another sign lists the BMT along with the H&M and Penn R.R. Penn R.R. refers to Penn Station back when it was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and H&M, which refers to the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, which was renamed the PATH train in 1962. Ironically a clothing store called H&M, no relation to the old railroad, opened in Herald Square last year, lending new significance to this old sign.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Charles Hillemann

This is an error card - Hillemann's last name is misspelled here. An outfielder who reached as high as AAA, Charles Hillemann played five seasons in the Padres organization and one more in the Brewers organization. In 575 games he hit .254 with 29 HR and 211 RBI. He is profiled in The Greatest 21 Days. Currently he is a Mortgage Banker at Stifel Bank & Trust in St. Louis.

Mandell's operated several jewelry stores in the Spokane area for 65 years before closing in 2001 due to the retirement of its owner.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Baseball card story from Mickey Pina

Outfielder Mickey Pina played five seasons in the Red Sox organization, three of them at AAA. His best season was 1988, when he hit .273 with 21 HR and 108 RBI for Lynchburg, leading him to be Carolina League MVP. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I do have a story about my Score card. It was in spring training, I hit a home run off of Mark Davis. He was the reigning Cy Young winner with Kansas City. He got me to a 3-2 count and I fouled off a couple of pitches. I walked out of the box, thinking I was going to strike out. Tony Pena was in the dugout and went up to the top step. He had played against him in the National League. He yelled out “Watch for the curveball!” I waited for the curveball and hit it, it took off and went a mile, out of the ballpark.

I had a great collection of NFL and MLB cards from the ‘60s and ‘70s. I sold them all years ago. I do still have a great collection of Sports Illustrated. I have every issue from 1965 to 1980 in trunks in my basement."


Sunday, September 4, 2016

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Dave Hollins

Dave Hollins is one of the biggest stars to appear in this set. He spent twelve years in the major leagues, but none of them with the Padres. A Rule 5 selection by the Phillies, he stuck with the team and became a key contributor to their surprising 1993 pennant-winning team. Overall in 983 major league games he hit .260 with 112 HR and 482 RBI. He is now a Phillies scout.

Hollins is pictured at Candy 'N' Carmelcorn. There is not much online about this one-time food court mainstay, which opened in the 1970s and lasted until the remodel in the early 1990s. A recent TBT post on the mall's Facebook page highlighted the store. The very first comment was: "To bad you took there space away when you remodeled!!!!"

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Flaming hot new cardboard

Had a great trade with a pretty new blogger, Rekindling the Cardboard Flame. I traded a few hundred 2008 Topps cards I didn't need for a similar amount of 2014 Topps Update, 2015 Topps, 2016 Topps, and 2016 Topps Chrome. Sets like these I'd rather fill from blogger trades than paying street vendors.

Traded sets are fun because you see players in unexpected uniforms, like the Giambino's last hurrah in Cleveland.
 This is a card I had been wanting for a long time. Finally I have it.
 I think 2016 Topps is a step up from 2015, because there is more room for the photo in this design.
 Getting a bunch of chrome is always a cool bonus.