Friday, January 31, 2020

1981 Topps Derrel Thomas

The front: Simple headshot in the spring training sun.

The back: Thomas caught in five games in 1980 and another one in 1985.

The player: A true utilityman, Thomas played in 1,630 games over 15 major league seasons, including over 300 games each at 2B, CF and SS. He played for six different teams, primarily the Dodgers, Padres and Giants, hitting .249 with 43 HR, 370 RBI and 140 SB.

The man: Thomas had a lot of personal problems before and after his career, including cocaine-related arrests in 1989 and 1997. He seems to have turned his life around, and his Derrel Thomas Foundation provides mentorship programs to challenged youth.

My collection: I have 25 of his cards, from1972 to 1986. I would be interested in trading for 1984 Fleer Update #116.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Vintage backgrounds: Tinker Field

One more from 1970. The building in the background that looks like a house was what caught my eye.
The Twins' spring training home was Tinker Field in Orlando. The Washington Senators started training there in 1936. When the team moved to Minnesota, 1,000 seats from Washington's Griffith Stadium were added to Tinker Field. The Twins stayed there until 1990. It remained a minor league park throughout the 1990s, but is no longer in use, as the next-door Citrus Bowl's expansion has made the field too small for baseball.

What about the house? In this photo from Spring Training Online, you can see the house just beyond the fence of the practice field. The large structure behind Miller is not in this picture, but maybe it hadn't been built yet when this aerial photo was taken earlier in the decade. Today that lot, at the corner of Tampa Avenue and South Street, is vacant.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wallet Card with some more Childs Restaurant remnants

Childs was a local NYC restaurant chain, one of the first quick-service chains in the area. Their buildings were known for having lots of decoration, often with a nautical theme. Back in 2015 I photographed a McDonald's which had some great remaining seahorse decorations. Unfortunately McDonald's "modernized" that restaurant shortly after, eliminating the old decorations.

Forgotten NY has an extensive list of former Childs restaurants and I took photos of a few more remains of that old chain, which went out of business in the late 1960s.

604 Fifth Avenue was built in 1924. Its curved corners were an unusual innovation at the time - it was the first structure ever built with no corner columns. You can see a bit of the old Childs ornamentation sneaking out under all the signage.
Six months after the Empire State Building was opened in 1931, with few lunch options for the swarm of new workers, Childs moved into this location on 36 West 34th Street, right down the block. The only remains of Childs here are the copper urns on the top windows.
Similar urns can be found at another ex-Childs location a block away, at 377 Fifth Avenue.
Here some more decoration lower down on the building still survives as well.
I couldn't get a great picture of this one, but some seahorses and other nautical elements still exist at 245-01 Jericho Turnpike in Bellerose, Queens (just past the Nassau County border). I took this one from my car when I picked up those cards and sleeves with the Cheap Johns sticker in Floral Park a few weeks ago. You can see more if you click on the photo to expand it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

1981 Topps Jim Palmer

The front: Nice shot of Palmer’s delivery at Memorial Stadium, with another Hall-of-Famer, Eddie Murray, visible in the field.

The back: Sixteen years in the major leagues doesn’t leave room for a blurb.

The player: One of the greatest pitchers of all time, Palmer won at least 20 games for eight out of nine seasons from 1970-1978. He twice led the league in ERA, and his 2.86 career ERA is third lowest since 1920. He was a six-time All Star and won three Cy Young Awards. In his 19-year career he never allowed a grand slam or back-to-back home runs. In 558 games he went 268-152 with 2,212 strikeouts.

The man: Well-known for a variety of advertising and commercial appearances, most notably for Jockey, Palmer has been an Orioles and national TV announcer since his 1984 retirement.

My collection: I have 28 of his cards, from 1971 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1966 Topps #126, 1967 Topps #475, 1968 Topps #575, 1969 Topps #573 and 1970 Topps #449.