Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gary Majewski on baseball cards

Gary Majewski pitched six seasons in the major leagues for Montreal, Washington, Cincinnati and Houston. In 231 games, all in relief, he went 9-13 with 2 saves and a 4.76 ERA. Now the General Manager of D-BAT West Houston, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I remember when I was in Burlington, Iowa, Topps came into town and I had to sign 1,000 cards in one sitting. For most people it wouldn't be a problem. Since my first and last name have 12 letters in it it took a long time. Being drafted out of high school also made it difficult since I never really had to have a professional signature. Now I tell you, signing 1,000 cards at a time will shorten that signature up real quick. It took me just over two hours to complete. Before I found the signature I have today it took me 1 minute to sign 10 cards. You do the math on that one haha. Once I got the hang of a short version of my signature I was able to double my production time. 
My favorite card is one of me in the 2000 Burlington Bees blue uniform. I'm wearing my glasses cause my contacts were bothering me. I have a mean look on my face and it looks like I'm about to throw the ball really hard. 
I used to collect baseball cards as a kid. I still have quite a few boxes of them stashed away in our garage. Being in Houston my favorite player was Bagwell but I always used to trade for any David Justice and Frank Thomas cards I could find. It has been a long time since I pulled those things out and I have no idea what I have."

Thanks! Here is a card of him from my collection.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Garey Ingram on baseball cards

Infielder Garey Ingram played for the Dodgers from 1994 to 1997. In 82 games he hit .261 with 3 HR and 12 RBI. Now a minor league hitting coach in the White Sox organization, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I always get mixed up with Riccardo Ingram who passed away a couple of years ago. We both were from Georgia and everyone always said we looked alike and that we walked around with the same body motion, so I just started telling people we were cousins.

My favorite card of myself is the 1994 Leaf Limited Road Jersey card of me swing the bat.
I am not a card collector . I do have maybe 50 cards that I saved along the way while playing against some form big leaguers during my stint."


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Craig Pursley on baseball cards

Artist Craig Pursley has been painting and illustrating for over 40 years. His work can be seen in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, The Nolan Ryan Museum, and The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. His work includes the 1990 Bowman Art Insert set. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I loved the early 50s Bowman cards where each one was painted (apparently by at least 5 different artists all trained in the same style). So when I was working for the California Angels as an illustrator I began doing paintings of current (then, in the late 80s) American League players. Then when their teams came to town, I would get them to sign the painting. I had one for each American League team with players like Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly and Nolan Ryan. At some point, it occurred to me that maybe the current Bowman company might be interested in having these as insert cards so I contacted them and sent examples of my work. They responded that they would like to have 11 of them for their next set and determined to have the previous year’s Cy Young winners, Rookies of the Year and MVPs plus 5 other stars they chose. I was happy to do them and even more so when they decided to make it a sweepstakes with very nice prints as prizes. These prints were also offered to card stores as Hobby Samples and these still turn up of Ebay often. The prints were extremely high quality and they flew me to Connecticut to sign 500 in a limited edition plus 500 more as Hobby Samples. A whole set of them would be worth $440 according to the back of the insert cards but I don’t know how they arrived at that odd number and I don’t think many ever paid that for them. It did give me a national platform though and I was able to trade the prints that I was given for baseball memorabilia that I collected, for example old stadium seats or antique equipment. Most of that is all gone now but it was a good time in my life.

My favorite card of that set is the Robin Yount card as I felt it was the best done. My favorite card all time is the Stan Musial Bowman 1952 card. I loved “The Man” and the card was beautifully done.
I no longer collect cards. I did as a kid wanting a Mickey Mantle card every time I opened a pack. When I got back into baseball in the late 80s – early 90s, I did buy or trade for a few more but they were always older cards and I wasn’t so concerned with condition or value; they were just cards or players that I liked. The card that I am most proud to have is a 1929 (?) Jimmie Reese card when he was in the PCL with the Oakland Oaks I think. He was best known as Babe Ruth’s roommate with the Yankees in the early 20s and had great stories to tell. I got to know him a bit when he was in his 90s and STILL a coach for the Angels! He was an amazing guy and a very kind gentleman. The first time I met him I asked if there was ever a card made of him in his playing days and he told me a couple were made (I don’t remember by whom) in his minor league days. Anyway, shortly afterwards I received the pair in the mail. He had taken them off some display he had at home and sent them to me! They are in poor condition but they are valuable to me."

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Terrmel Sledge on baseball cards

Outfielder Terrmel Sledge played four seasons in the major leagues for Montreal, Washington and San Diego. His best season was 2004, when he hit .269 with 15 HR and 62 RBI for the Expos. Now a minor league hitting coach in the Dodgers organization, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I remember as a child I use to ride my bike to the local liquor stores to buy packs of baseball cards which seemed like everyday. I would harass my mother for just a few bucks so by a small chance I would get one legit card within the ten packs I purchased. 

I don't have a favorite card of myself, but I do remember my most favorite card which I believe was a Darryl Strawberry 1984 Fleer card. He was by far my favorite player and I used to always watch him playing on television playing in right in the old Shea Stadium. I would always tell myself,"One day I will be in that exact same spot!" In 2004, my rookie year, I found myself playing right field in Shea Stadium...it was a thrill!"


Friday, January 27, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the mall - Kevin Towers

Kevin Towers became a coach for Spokane in 1989 after pitching in the team's minor league organization for seven years, in which he went 29-40 with a 4.64 ERA. He did pitch in one game for Spokane in 1989. He eventually worked his way up through the organization and became General Manager of the Padres in 1995, staying in that role for fifteen years as the team won four division titles and one pennant. After being fired by the Padres in 2009 he was the Diamondbacks General Manager from 2010 to 2014. He is currently Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Reds.

Another Washington Photo appearance. The bag reveals that the full name of the store was actually "Washington 1 Hour Photo".

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cards from Tim Wallach Cards

Got a nice group of set fillers from Tim Wallach Cards recently. Remember to send him all your Wallachs!

Some highlights:
There were a few from 2009 Topps, a surprisingly difficult set to complete, it seems.
 And lots of 2015 Topps. I'm not a big fan of the repetitive close-up images of pitchers but at least this one is an interesting angle.
 A-Rod got a card even though he had been suspended for the whole season.
 This is a photoshopped image (Callaspo hadn't played for the Braves yet) but its one of the better ones I've seen, the shiny effect on the alternate jersey looks good, as long as you don't try to pretend its a real photograph.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bart Evans on baseball cards

Bart Evans pitched nine years of professional baseball, mostly in the Royals organization. He made the major leagues with the Royals in 1998, going 0-0 with a 2.00 ERA in eight games. Now a Producing Branch Manager at Benchmark Mortgage in Houston, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players?  Not anything crazy but the Signature Rookie cards are all personally signed and they sent them by the boxes, I spent hours after every game signing those.
- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?  Topps Bowman, I think every player looks forward to their first Topps card since that is what we all grew up on in the bubble gum packs. 
- Do you collect baseball cards?  I do, I have a ton.  My son is 18 now and we have has a lot of fun with them over the years and looking at some of my cards ironically playing against a lot of those guys.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wallet Card with the Wallet Card Champ prize

Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown introduced the Wallet Card in 2015, and most bloggers stopped doing it at the end of the year. I kept plugging along though (even I thought it was over) because I was enjoying doing it and it provided an outlet for another interest of mine that I didn't really have a blog space for. I was quite surprised then that Gavin declared my efforts the Wallet Card Champ for 2016. Pretty awesome to receive a prize you didn't even know you were competing for.

 And what a prize!
 An autographed Don Mattingly card! Needless to say that immediately becomes one of the biggest highlights of my collection. Thanks so much Gavin!

-  -  --- ----o

I figure I'll also use Gavin's method of breaking up his blog posts to break up this one and highlight something I should have done with my last trade package. When SpastikMooss threw in a Nick Johnson autograph in his trade package, it gave me my first ever trifecta - autograph, relic card and rookie card for one player. A few years ago it was a big thing on the blogs. You don't really see it much anymore but I thought it was cool that I finally achieved it for one player.

Monday, January 23, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Bobby Sheridan

Here's the 1989 cards of Bobby Sheridan. He pitched in a total of five minor league games, yet had four baseball cards released according to Trading Card Database. How very late 80s. Also how very late 80's - ALF. Here he is advertising some kind of children's learning series.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Colton Murray on baseball cards

Colton Murray was drafted by the Phillies in 2011 and has quickly moved his way through their system. He has pitched in the major leagues in 2015 and 2016, going 1-2 with a 6.18 ERA in 32 appearances. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I do not have any of my own as I have given them to my family. Yes, I used to collect cards as a matter of fact and have a few special ones stored away for safe keeping."

Cards from SpastikMooss

SpastikMooss and I have a nice setup going where I send him a big box of cards that I don't need (i.e. non-baseball, non-sports, etc) that he can sell on COMC, and in return he sends me a few cards that I ask for from that site. Hopefully what I send him is enough that he can make a nice profit - I know that I get some great cards out of the deal. A few highlights:

This is my oldest O-Pee-Chee card. How can you tell it's not Topps? Because there's no card logo of any kind on the front! I'm not sure about older sets but at least in 1978 O-Pee-Chee just deleted the Topps logo from the design, they didn't add their own. I didn't realize that until I had this card in hand.
 I got a few Yankees needs from 1986 Sportsflics. I got the Mattingly but I've been showing him a lot, so here's a beautiful night card of Dave Righetti.
 Speaking of beautiful I love sparkly cards!
 I didn't even ask for these two autographs - Mooss was kind enough to throw them in. Thanks!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Don Mattingly Art Insert

While I have had the complete factory set of 1990 Bowman for some time, I only have about half of the art inserts from painter Craig Pursley that were inserted into packs. One of the cards I needed was that of Don Mattingly, and when Peter of Baseball Every Night offered one up on his blog I was glad to claim it. It really is a nice-looking card, one of the better art sets out there.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

1987 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Bobby Sheridan

I was going to post his 1989 card but I realized I skipped his 1987 card, so posting this first. Bobby Sheridan was drafted by the Padres in 1987 but didn't play until 1989 - I assume do to injury? His entire career consisted of five starts with Spokane in 1989, going 0-3 with a 6.88 ERA. After his career he became a youth baseball coach where his combativeness and repeated use of profanity (even gaining notice on a youth umpires forum) eventually got him fired.

The Rosauers supermarket chain built a store on University Road and Sprague Avenue in 1959. The University City Mall was built around this spot in 1965. Though this location closed with the mall there are still 22 Rosauers locations throughout the Pacific Northwest including nine in Spokane.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wallet Card at Manufacturers Trust

A few days ago I showed the still-extant safe door of the long-defunct Manufacturers Trust Bank in one of the first modern bank buildings. Here is an older remnant of the bank (the name was last used in 1961), on this door at its former branch outside the New Yorker Hotel.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Chris Gollehon

Chris Gollehon pitched in the Tigers and Padres organizations in 1988 and 1989. In 24 career games (12 with Spokane) he went 0-2 with an 8.07 ERA. He did seem to make the most of his brief time in Spokane though - a 1995 article has the announcement of the engagement of the Florida native to a woman from Spokane.

The only optical store listed in the 1982 directory is called U-City Optical. There is no other reference to the company on the internet. By the time the mall closed in 1997 there was a store called Vista Optical so presumably it could be that as well.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Wallet Card at Elk Leather

What's that sign peeking out behind the awning for Utmost Fashion Corp at 1204 Broadway?

It's Elk Leather, which operated for just four years in the early nineties, and yet their sign lives on almost 25 years later.

1989 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Steve Martin

Infielder Steve Martin played in the Padres, Orioles and Angels organizations from 1989 to 1993. In 418 games, he hit .249 with 26 HR and 163 RBI. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

I covered Hamer's in a previous set. You wouldn't even know it was a men's clothing store from this photo, which just shows the store's cash register.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wallet Card at the Manufacturers Trust vault

I've shown a few stately old bank buildings on this blog recently, all of which were imposing, fortress-like buildings. In 1954 Manufacturers Trust designed a radically new bank building designed to inspire confidence and trust, with glass-windowed walls and a bright, open design meant to encourage confidence in banking, instead of having it seen as some shadowy, mysterious transaction. This was most clearly evident by the placement of the bank's vault, placed not in the bowels of the building, as was usually the case, but right in the main window.

By 2011, Manufacturers Trust had long become a part of JP Morgan Chase and the bank was no longer in this location at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, yet the interior - at least, what remained of it - was given landmark status (the exterior had achieved this status some years earlier).  The current tenants of the building are two clothing stores who work around the landmarked parts of the interior, particularly the vault door (the vault itself is long gone).

Friday, January 13, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Troy Cunningham

Spokane native Troy Cunningham made his professional debut for his local team but was not successful, going 1-2 with a 6.15 ERA in eighteen games. He pitched one more season, going 4-11 with a 4.33 ERA for Charleston, ending his career. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

I already covered JJ Newberry in a previous post. It doesn't get more '80s than a neon mall arcade sign.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wallet Card at Sunrise National Bank

Sunrise National Bank in Baldwin, NY has been defunct for decades, but its name still graces a building that today houses a wig shop, a cell-phone store, and a cash-for-gold place.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Scot Welish

Infielder Scot Welish played in the Padres organization in 1988 and 1989. In 157 games he hit .271 with 3 HR and 64 RBI.

Can't tell what store Welish is at - not enough of the sign is visible. There are bathing suits and a surfboard - maybe s surf shop, or more likely a clothing store using a surfing theme for their display.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wallet Card at Abramson Brothers

Back in 2015 I posted a property management sign from Abramson Brothers that had an old phone exchange - MU7-2655. I checked out the other properties they are listed as owning and several others had these cool old signs. Even better, the phone number still works!

Monday, January 9, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the mall - Brian Span

Outfielder Brian Span played in the Padres organization in 1988 and 1989. In 142 games he hit .225 with 8 HR and 58 RBI.

He is at DJ's Sound City, hanging out with the same Whitney Houston cutout that Steve Lubratich posed with in the 1988 set.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Wallet Card at Greenwich Savings Bank

A few months ago I posted some remnants of Greenwich Savings Bank, defunct for over 35 years. Another can be found on a faded sign on 14th Street on top of what was until recently an HSBC.

The removal of the HSBC signage reveals that Greenwich had noted that this was not the head office but the "14th Street Office".

1989 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Kerry Knox

Kerry Knox was the ace of the Spokane staff in 1989, going 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA in fourteen starts. He could never replicate that success, though. In seven seasons, for four organizations, he went 39-39 with a 4.11 ERA. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

There is no store sign here, but given all the men's clothes in the picture I assume it's Harvey's Fine Clothes, which was in the other two sets.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Wallet Card at two long-defunct Union Square Banks

Still pressing on with the same Wallet Card in 2017. Here are a couple of old bank buildings that retain the name of their long-defunct original inhabitants.

Union Square Savings Bank opened in this location in 1907, in a building designed by Henry Bacon, best known for his later creation, the Lincoln Memorial. The bank later opened several branches throughout New York City, and in 1968 it became the United Mutual Savings Bank after a merger with another bank. After subsequent mergers it ceased becoming a bank entirely in 1992. It is now a theater.

Bank of the Metropolis opened this location in 1901. That name would last less than twenty years; the bank was acquired by Bank of the Manhattan (later known as Chase Manhattan Bank) in 1918. This location is now a restaurant.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the mall - Tom Brassil

Coach Tom Brassil's name is misspelled on this call. He was an infielder in the Padres organization from 1982 to 1988. In 705 games he hit .278 with 31 HR and 277 RBI. In 1989, retired from playing, he became a coach for Spokane. Since then he has worked in a variety of roles in the corporate field and is currently IS Administrator for Toyota Carlsbad.

Mandell's Jewelers was also in the 1987 set. Brassil almost looks like he is holding a heavy trophy rather than a shopping bag.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wallet Card at Panasonic Bicycles

Best known for its electronics, the Japanese conglomerate Panasonic exported bicycles to the United States from 1971 to 1989. Above a bike shop on 6th Avenue, the yellow and blue painted sign for Panasonic is still clearly visible (though the Panasonic name has been covered over with graffiti).

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

1989 Spokane Indians at the mall - Rick Davis

Rick Davis pitched in the Padres organization from 1989 to 1993. In 166 games, mostly in relief, he went 28-30 with 27 saves and a 3.45 ERA. A fuller account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21 Days.

Not much to go on to figure out where Davis is here. A flower shop? A restaurant? Or somewhere else entirely?