Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Also not baseball cards, but getting closer

I made another online purchase recently - I guess all this time inside has me surfing the web too much. One thing I had occasionally looked into doing was getting the old Topps baseball stickerbooks. My introduction to baseball was the 1986 Topps stickerbook when I was nine years old. I didn't actually start collecting cards until the next year. I had the Topps baseball stickerbooks from 1986-1989, the Topps football stickerbooks from 1986 and 1987, and the Panini baseball sticker books from 1988 and 1989. Unfortunately I didn't keep any of them. Over the years I have accumulated stickers from various card acquisitions, and would regret not having the books to put them in.

Recently I saw a lot of 1981-1990 Topps stickerbooks - the entire Topps run - with no stickers inside, for a very reasonable price (about $40 total). I jumped on that deal and now these are mine. Here are photos from each book (I've yet to put the stickers in - will do another post later with some of those).

Here is the first book, 1981. George Brett on the cover.
 The insides were pretty simple, without the stickers it is just line drawings of ballplayers. Each stickerbook had a setup that was pretty similar throughout the ten year run - a page for each team, a page or two on the postseason and record breakers at the beginning, All Stars (with shiny stickers) in the middle, and top rookies at the end.
 I won't show all the back covers but this one was pretty funny, with "quotes" from Reggie Jackson, George Brett and Jim Palmer. They're probably not real, but if you were to pick three stars from that time period who might actually have paid attention to cards, it would probably be those three. Maybe Gary Carter too.
 Speaking of Carter, he's the cover boy for 1982.
 The insides are more interesting with photos for the team pages.
 1983 features Reggie Jackson.
 The insides are very interesting. They have silhouettes which at least sometimes are clearly famous players from the history of each team. I recognized Cy Young for the Red Sox, Babe Ruth for the Yankees - below that's clearly Sandy Koufax for the Dodgers. Don't know who the Astro would be - Morgan? Cedeno? I think I will revisit these in some future posts.
 1984 has an unusual action shot cover.
 The inside team pages are pretty boring, so here is one alongside a more interesting "Stats Stats Stats" page.
 1985 features the biggest star in baseball at the time, Dwight Gooden.
 The insides were more boring team pages, so instead here is the really cool All Star insert page.
 But why the strange airbrushing-in of a hat on the White Sox pitcher? This must be Rich Dotson, who had a Topps card so it's not like his face had to be airbrushed out for contract purposes.
 1986 - my introduction to baseball.
 Full color photos of the team stadiums were an instant nostalgia hit. Many of these photos are still my "head image" when I think of these parks.
 1987 features Mike Schmidt on the cover.
 The team pages are interesting, as the two teams are often mixed into one action painting. The made-up name on the Indians catcher always intrigued me.
 1988 featured Mark McGwire on the cover.
 Full-page photos for the team pages.
 1989 cover with Orel Hershiser.
 The insides had a small photo but lots of color.
 Too bad I never picked up this great Don Mattingly cover in 1990. I guess once Topps realized I wasn't buying the sticker books anymore they stopped making them.
 The insides were pretty similar to the previous year.
Later on I'll show photos with pages with the stickers in them. I'm not really looking to get more in trades but I've got quite a few I've accumulated over the years.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Something different

Regular readers of this blog have probably noticed that over the last few years my interests have evolved from just baseball cards to other "old things" as well, particularly vestiges of older retail. I have had thoughts about starting a collection in this vein for a while, and recently put together a starter mini-collection via a purchase from a website called Don and Chris' Old Stuff. It seems to have the cheapest prices for a variety of old items. Most things on their site cost a couple of dollars; many are under a dollar. Though I didn't buy any cards in this purchase, they do have a trading card section. It's mostly non-sport (they have packs of 1991 Pro Set MusiCards at $0.25 each) but there are some sports oddballs like 1970s Pepsi cards. The shipping minimums make it impractical to buy say, one pack of cards, but overall their prices can't be beat as far as I can tell (if anyone knows of similar sites, do let me know!).

Here is what I got from them to start my collection - all of this came out to under $60 including shipping. This has nothing to do with baseball cards but if people find this interesting, I'd be happy to do more posts on specific items here. If you don't find this interesting, I'll stick to cards from now on!

For now I am using my kids' old changing table as my little "museum".
I love the old soda stuff, especially Pepsi, from my interest in vintage signs. The Pepsi cups are from the 1960s, except for the red one which is 1970s. The matchbook has the "Say Pepsi Please" logo from the 1960s. There is also a 1968 payroll check from a Pepsi bottling plant. Also seen in this picture are a 1930s Carlson's Ice Cream box (I just liked the art deco look of it), a 1964 New York World's Fair ticket, a 1950s bandage box manufactured in Valley Stream, NY, right near me; a 1927 Studebaker check, and a 1961 Hires Root Beer store display insert with Bob Hope.
A whole lot of milk bottle caps, most from the 1930s and 1940s. I picked these (most under $0.25) because they showed phone numbers - lots of variety in the number and layout of the digits.
A variety of presidential campaign pins, 1952-1972. I was glad I saved this green felt box from some previous card purchase, it works perfectly for displaying these. The Nixon's came as a set. Not taking political sides here - I'm interested in the pins for their representation of the history of the era. No safety pins back then, I got stuck a few times from the old-style pins.
I'm tempted to get another Johnson/Humphrey bumper sticker to put on my car. The envelope is from the Socony Mobil Oil Company (1950s) and the check is from 1887.
Lots of Coca-Cola stuff here. The cups date from the 1950s and 1960s. The straw is 1960s. A variety of other mid-20th century Coke ephemera, including menu paper for McCrory's.
Under the Coke items - a 1948 Sun Life ink blotter, a french fry bag with an early version of the Colonel, and a pack of Eastern Airlines playing cards.
It's funny how much Nixon memorabilia has "Committee to Re-Elect the President" on it. None of them actually abbreviate it to CREEP though. I thought it was cool to have these flyers that would have been put up around town. Behind the Ohio banner is a letterhead for a blade company with an old-style phone number.
For $5 I bought a mystery grab bag of 50 vintage labels. Lots of unfamiliar names but some cool stuff here; I could be persuaded to part with some of these but others are definitely keepers. Most are from the 1930s and 1940s.
Part 1:
Part 2:
Finally, a couple of purchases that are not related to this collection but interested me anyway. One is this 1979 Supermag with Mork & Mindy. It's one of my all-time favorite shows. The kids magazine is not very good (and was missing a page, though not from the Mork & Mindy section), but it's fun to own it.
Finally, because I've acquired a lot of late-70s early-80s football cards recently, I picked up this 1980 Kessler Football guide, as my knowledge of football history is not nearly as good as baseball.
Bringing this post back to cards, here is the Giants section of the Kessler book with one of my recent card acquisition from a few months ago. The description of Phil Simms's rookie season sounds a lot like Daniel Jones, hopefully he can be as successful as Jones was. And to bring it back to trading, I have LOTS of 1979 and 1980 Topps football to trade if anyone is working on those sets.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

1981 Topps Rick Miller

The front: Nice classic baseball card pose with some Arizona mountains in the background.

The back: Miller had four singles in 16 at-bats for a .250 batting average in the ALCS.

The player: Center fielder Rick Miller played in the major leagues from 1971 to 1985. Except for his 1978-1980 stint with the Angels, he spent his career with the Red Sox. A fine fielder who won a Gold Glove in 1978, miller hit .269 with 28 HR and 369 RBI in 1,482 major league games.

The man: Miller has been a youth coach since his retirement, and has done some coaching at the professional level as well.

My collection: I have 26 of his cards, 1972 to 1986. I would be interested in trading for 1982 Brigham’s/Coca-Cola Red Sox #11.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

1981 Topps Willie Hernandez

The front: A disgruntled-looking Hernandez glares past the camera.

The back: Hernandez compiled that 0.00 ERA against the Braves in exactly one-third of an inning, making this one of the funnier card backs in the set.

The player: Willie Hernandez was an unremarkable middle reliever for the Phillies from 1977 to 1983, where he was traded to the Phillies mid-season. Right before the 1984 season, the Phillies traded Hernandez to the Tigers. With the Tigers, Hernandez started using two new pitches, the screwball and the cut fastball, that he had learned the previous year. They vaulted him to superstardom, as he was the AL Cy Young and MVP winner with his 9-3, 32 save, 1.92 season, helping the Tigers win the World Series (he had three more saves in the postseason). It didn’t take the American League too long to figure Hernandez out though, and by 1987 he had lost his job as Tigers closer. Overall, in 744 games he went 70-63 with 147 saves and a 3.38 ERA.

The man: Toward the end of his career Hernandez insisted that he be called Guillermo, not Willie. Since his playing career ended he seems to have used both his given name and his nickname. He has been involved in a variety of business and coaching ventures.

My collection: I have 44 of his cards, from 1978 to 1990. I would be interested in trading for 1984 Fleer Update #51.

Friday, March 27, 2020

1981 Topps Charlie Moore

The front: Moore played most of his career with a mustache, but this appears to be his only card where he has a beard.

The back: In 1972 Moore had 721 putouts and 91 assists for Danville. Steven Haug of the Quincy Cubs was runner-up in both categories (715/74). Haug never made it past AAA.

The player: Charlie Moore played for the Brewers from 1973 to 1986, and the Blue Jays in 1987. Though primarily a catcher, the versatile Moore also spent significant time in the outfield; he was the regular right fielder for the 1982 pennant-winning team. ’82 was Moore’s best season – he hit .254 with a career-high six homers and 45 RBI in the regular season, hit .462 in the ALCS, and hit .346 with three doubles in the World Series. Overall, in 1,334 games, Moore hit .261 with 36 HR, 408 RBI and 51 SB. He was the rare modern catcher with more steals than home runs.

The man: Since the end of his playing career, Moore has been a sales representative for Birmingham Fastener in Alabama.

My collection: I have 33 of his cards, from 1974 to 1988. I would be interested in trading for 1984 Brewers Police #22.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

1981 Topps Mike Ivie

The front: Interesting photo with lots of players visible in the dugout and lots of fans visible above it. Spring training?

The back: No one had hit two pinch grand-slams in a season before the Phillies’ Davey Johnson accomplished the feat on June 3, 1978. It took only 27 days for Ivie to become the second. Since then the feat has been accomplished by Darryl Strawberry (1998 Yankees), Ben Broussard (2004 Indians) and Brooks Conrad (2010 Braves).
     Unsurprisingly, Ivie’s doubleheader record also still stands. The others with five are Chick Hafey (1933 Reds), Joe Medwick (1935 Cardinals) and Red Schoendienst (1948 Cardinals). The MLB record is 6 by Hank Majeski of the Philadelphia A’s in 1948.

The player: Ivie was the first overall pick of the 1970 draft, but his major league career failed to live up to expectation. This was partly due to emotional and mental issues that Ivie opened up about later in his career. Overall, in 857 games for four teams over 11 seasons, he hit .269 with 81 HR and 411 RBI.

The man: Ivie originally came up as a catcher, but developed a mental block about throwing the ball back to the pitcher and was moved to first baseman. After the 1979 season, when Ivie seemed to finally be putting it all together, (.286, 27 HR, 89 RBI), Ivie badly cut his hand with a hunting knife. The Sporting News Guide said, "The sensitive first baseman couldn't cope with the long rehabilitation process, and the injury also affected his brittle confidence." Since his troubled major league career ended, Ivie appears to have kept a low public profile.

My collection: I have 17 of his cards, from 1972 to 1983. I would be interested in trading for 1976 Hostess #103.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

1981 Topps Scott Sanderson

The front: It’s weird seeing Sanderson, seen here at Shea Stadium, with a mustache. He had one his first three seasons, then was clean shaven for the rest of his lengthy major league career.

The back: This is an error card – the Pan American Games were in 1975, not 1976.

The player: Scott Sanderson was an excellent starting pitcher for the Expos, Cubs, A’s and Yankees from 1978 to 1992. His best season was 1991, when he made his lone All-Star appearance, going 16-10 with a 3.81 ERA as the ace of the Yankees’ staff. He signed with the Angels after the 1992 season, but was pretty much done as an effective pitcher. Overall in 19 seasons he went 163-143 with a 3.84 ERA.

The man: Sanderson was a long time player agent after his career. He died of cancer in April 2019.

My collection: I have 97 of his cards, from 1979 to 1996. I would be interested in trading for 1992 Upper Deck Team MVP Holograms #47.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

1981 Topps Lou Whitaker

The front: Simple, classic baseball pose at spring training.

The back: This is an error card. The home run, a walk-off hit off of the Mariners’ Enrique Romo, came on 7-28-78.

The player: Lou Whitaker was one of the better second baseman in the American League in the 1980s. The 1978 AL Rookie of the year and a five-time All-Star, Whitaker played in 2,390 games and hit .276 with 244 HR and 1,084 RBI. He was an excellent fielder and walked more than he struck out. Some people want him in the Hall of Fame because of his high WAR and OPS numbers. Craig Calcaterra of NBC, one of the most vocal of his proponents, does so in part, in all seriousness, by comparing his OPS to Matt Stairs, Charlie Blackmon and Jesse Barfield. He also writes, “If your Hall of Fame standard is ‘I only want the best of the best — the guys who we can call immortals — in the Hall of Fame,’ then sure, Lou Whitaker is probably not your man.” Maybe I am old-fashioned but yes, that is my standard. The way I see it – if you are not a fan of his team (so in this case, excluding Tigers fans), would you be excited to get a card of him? In my opinion, guys like Whitaker, Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Ted Simmons et al whose cards would be considered commons don’t really belong in the Hall of Fame, even if they were above-average players for many years.

The man: Whitaker was an instructor for the Tigers for many years but is now retired.

My collection: I have 142 of his cards, from 1978 to 1996. I would be interested in trading for 1983 Fleer Star Stickers #249.

Monday, March 23, 2020

1981 Topps Skip Lockwood

The front: Not the best look for Skip on a cold day in Detroit.

The back: This card back is actually missing Lockwood’s first major league season – he was a “bonus baby” third baseman for the Kansas City A’s in 1965, hitting .121 in 41 games. He converted to a pitcher in the minor leagues in 1968 and made it back to the majors to stay as a pitcher for the 1969 Seattle Pilots.

The player: 1980 was Lockwood’s final season, making this a sunset card. He spent most of the first half of the 1970s as a starter for the Brewers, going 28-55 despite a 3.75 ERA. He spent most of the second half was the Mets closer, with 65 saves over five years.

The man: The son of a Radio City Rockette, Lockwood is the only MIT graduate to pitch in the major leagues, having earned a master’s degree in finance and economics there after his playing career. He owned a sales and marketing company and also did some work in sports psychology. He recently wrote an autobiography, Insight Pitch: My Life as a Major League Closer.

My collection: I have 14 of his cards, from 1971 to 1981. I would be interested in trading for 1965 Topps #526 and 1970 Topps #499.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

1981 Topps Mickey Klutts

The front: Not a typical picture for this set, featuring Klutts in the on-deck circle with lots of fans behind him.

The back: There were three co-winners for the 1976 International League MVP – Klutts, Rich Dauer (Orioles) and Joe Lis (Indians).

The player: Injuries prevented Klutts from reaching the potential indicated by the minor league MVP awards. In eight major league seasons he spent more time on the disabled list than the active roster. Overall, in 199 games for the Yankees, A’s and Blue Jays he hit .241 with 14 HR and 59 RBI.

The man: A favorite of Billy Martin for his scrappy demeantor, Klutts has done a few interviews and appearances from his playing days but it is not clear what he has done since retirement.

My collection: I have 12 of his cards, from 1977 to 1983. I would be interested in trading for 1992 The Wiz Yankees #93.