Thursday, April 30, 2020

Vintage cards and things: 1927 Studebaker check

This is not the oldest check in my collection, but it is very interesting. A 1927 check from A.J. Atran, seller of Studebaker and Star Automobiles. Atran called themselves the oldest Studebaker dealer (though there is some dispute), as they started selling horse-drawn carriage products for the company in 1889. The Atran garage not only outlasted the short-lived Star Automobile company, but it even outlasted Studebaker, staying in business through the 1970s. (The last Studebakers came out in 1966.)

Being a 1927 check, my first thought was to pair it with a 1927 Yankees card, but I thought that was too obvious. Instead, here is the youngest photo I could find of Joe DiMaggio, who would have been 12 years old in 1927, growing up in San Francisco. Arbuckle is a small town about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco. Who knows, maybe young Joe D took a ride in an Atran Studebaker at some point?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Vintage backgrounds: Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium

Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium was the Spring Home of the Senators/Rangers franchise from their inception in 1961 through 1986. The stadium was torn down in 2008 and there are now youth baseball fields at the site.

I was drawn to the signs behind Bill Fahey in this photo. Harris Imperial House was a Tiki Bar/Chinese Restaurant owned by Greek immigrant Sam Harris and his Irish wife. Clint "Pappy" Fowlkes bought Mays Chevrolet in Pompano Beach in 1968, and retired in 1983. It is now Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

1981 Topps Ed Figueroa

The front: Simple shot, though Figueroa’s serious expression makes him almost look melancholy here, as if he is reflecting on the imminent end of his career.

The back: His SABR bio says Figueroa was the eldest brother, not the youngest. I couldn’t find any other information to confirm which was in error.
The player: Ed Figueroa’s big league career got off to a fast start, going 16-13 with a 2.91 ERA for the Angels in 1975, his second season. After that season the Angels traded him and Mickey Rivers to the Yankees for Bobby Bonds, one of the greatest trades in Yankees history. Over the next three seasons he went 55-30 with a 3.18 ERA, helping the team win three pennants and two World Series. In 1978 he became the first Puerto Rican to win 20 games in a season. Unfortunately, he injured his arm in 1979, and his success quickly dried up. In fact, after this card Figueroa only pitched in two more games, for the A’s in 1981.

The man: Figueroa owned a trucking business with his brother, dating back to his playing career. Later he owned two hotels in San Juan.

My collection: I have 13 of his cards, from 1975 to 1981. I would be interested in trading for 1977 Kellogg’s #42.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Free vintage football from Johnny's Trading Spot

Johnny's Trading Spot has been having some great contest in his weekly Big Fun Games. The May signup is up - 25 players are needed and somehow only eight people have joined - what are you waiting for?

I got some awesome vintage football in the April game. I was particularly excited about getting a card of Homer Jones from the 1967 Philadelphia set. He is before my time of course but once I asked my dad what Giants he remembered from when he was younger. He didn't answer one of the big names like Gifford, Rote, or Huff. Instead it was Homer Jones. Largely forgotten today, Jones was a very exciting player, a wide receiver who was considered the fastest man in football. He is also credited with inventing spiking the football as a touchdown celebration.
Hey Night Owl, I already had the two '79s, they are going in your pile.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Cards from Lost Collector giveaway

So many bloggers are giving cards away. One of them is AJ, The Lost Collector. I claimed an Ozzie Smith insert. He also threw in a DJ LeMahieu card from '19 Topps Update.
 AJ wrote a note saying that if I didn't need the DJ I could probably trade it to Al. I did need the card (I didn't have any '19 Update), and I don't know when I might see Al again. Hopefully he'll be around whenever I am back to going into the city.

I also wanted to show off how AJ sealed the envelope. Pretty funny.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Cards from Night Owl

Night Owl is one of many bloggers whom I owe packages to. I've got a box of football cards waiting for the pandemic to die down a bit more (I live on Long Island, one of the biggest hotspots in the country. Two blocks away from my house is a hospital which is at least 2/3 filled with COVID patients, and at least three employees have died.)

Night Owl sent my package off anyway, and I received it this week. A nice mix of baseball and football. I am not really actively collecting football so do ask me before sending any out. These however were a good boost to my '77 set.
I am a huge Yankees and Giants fan. Baseball more than football but I still follow the Giants very closely, though the last few years with growing children and sucky team means I rarely am in front of the TV on Saturdays anymore. But growing up I had lots of books on baseball and Yankee history. I know far less of football and Giants history. I knew of Ray Rhodes as a coach but didn't realize he was an ex-Giant. The other three Giants here are completely unknown to me. I'll have to find a book or something on Giants history.

There was baseball in the package too. A few '77 Galasso Greats. Some great photos here.
 And a nice boost to my '67 set. An oddity for me in this set is that I have a fair amount of high numbers but still need lots of commons for the earlier sets. '67 is maybe my favorite vintage set so I was very happy to get these.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Through the years

I've thought about doing something like this for a while, since I've gotten into collecting vintage cards. Just a fun little exercise . . .

"OK, it's time to make a full-size set. Let's put those Bowman boys out of business! What can we give our cards that theirs don't have?"
"How about the player's name on the front? And team?"
"Perfect! And put that name in lights so no one will miss it!"
 "OK last year's set was great! How can we make '53 even better? Nothing too different of course . . ."
"Maybe we lose the lights? They're a bit much. Let's add a position too."
 "We're doing great boys! We've really got Bowman on the run! How can we make '54 even better?"
"How about photos instead of painting? They're a lot cheaper. We can do two photos for the price of one photo."
 "Hey, I kind of liked the paintings. Let's go back to those, but with the two picture concept."
"I hear Bowman's going horizontal this year. Let's beat them to the punch!"
 "Last year's paintings were great. But the backgrounds were bland. How about full backrounds on the paintings?"
 "Guys, it's 1957. It's the space age. Paintings on cards looks so old fashioned. How about a full color paragraph? A modern card for a modern age."
 "OK, last year's cards were pretty nice. But maybe having a full background is a bit radical? Let's try a blank monochrome background this year."
 "Last year's backgrounds were great!"
"No, the '57s were much better with the full photo!"
"Let's compromise . . ."
 "Hey guys, I'm thinking back to those mid-50s designs. What if we used photos instead of paintings?"
 "Let's not do horizontal ever again. Go back to what we did in '57. A simple photo works the best."
 "You know those new Kodak ads where one corner of the photo is turned up? I think those look great! Let's make that our design for '62!" (This one is real).
 "Eh, last year's design was a bit much. Let's go back to focusing on the photograph, and keep the design elements minimal."
"Hey, you know what's better than one photo? Two photos!"
 "OK, the art department has to work twice as hard to come up with two photos per card. One photo, simple design, let's go."
 "OK last year's design may have been too simple. Let's jazz it up just a bit with something baseball-related. A ball? A bat?"
"How about a pennant flag?"
 "OK, the flag may be a bit over-the-top. 1960s kids are more sophisticated. Just give them a simple, clean design."
 "Let's get even simpler, even cleaner than last year. Maybe if we make our photos really pop, kids won't notice they're the same ones from last year."
 "All right, the designs are getting a little stale. We need something new. Any ideas?"
"Me neither."
"Hey did you see our new receptionist, Sheila? Fine looking woman."
"Yeah. Fashions are getting weird though. What was her dress, burlap?"
"Looked like it. Looked real good on her though."
"If burlap looks good on Sheila, maybe it'll look good on the cards too?"
 "OK guys, let's never ever do burlap again. Rest of the card design looked fine though. Let's do the exact same thing, without the burlap."
 "OK, it's the 1970s. We need to create a more sophisticated-looking product. Let's put some serious color into the card design."
"Well, gray is a serious color . . ."
 "Even more serious! We have to show that cards aren't just for kids!"
"Can't get any more serious than black . . ."
 "What's with all the somber-looking cards lately? Card designs should be fun, exciting!"
"How about putting the team name on top, make it look like an old theater marquee. 'Now showing, the Philadelphia Phillies!'"
"Sounds good, but we need more, what else?"
"Hmm, psychedelic colors seem to be a hip new thing. Want to try it?"
 "Last year's cards were too busy. Let's keep it simple. Just a simple border with maybe a little graphic to make it clear that it's a baseball card."
 "OK, what do you want to do for card design this year?"
"I don't know man, I just spent two hours on line for gas. I really can't concentrate on BS like this."
"Yeah me neither. Watergate's got me down too. Let's just knock out something real quick and take the afternoon off."
 "Ok we got lazy last year guys. Kids are expecting something more vibrant with our cards."
"'72 was nice and exciting. Let's do something like that."
"OK, that was a bit much. Let's just have the team name jut out a bit, not as much as last time. And we can do colors but again not as wild as '72."
 "All right, 1976! Bicentennial fever! Red, white and blue baby!"
"No, no, no. Baseball cards are going international. We've got a team in Canada, probably another one soon. We want to be able to sell these cards in Europe, Japan, who knows? I don't want any 'Sprit of '76' anywhere near these cards."
"Oh man, bummer."
"I tell you what, the Hostess cards are US-only. You can put a red-white-and-blue design there."
"All right!"
 "OK guys, can we do a bit less color this time around? Ink is getting expensive. Let's use as much white space as you think we can get away with."
 "OK, maybe that was too much white space. Nothing fancy though, please. Just name, team and position. Nothing else."
"Come one, can't we even have a little baseball on it?"
 "OK guys, marketing has come up with an exciting new logo for Topps. Let's make sure it's prominent on the card."
"Sure, if you let me put a baseball in the design again."
 "Hey, can I put a baseball in the design again this year?"
"Fine, then no logo either."
(muttering to himself) "F that guy. I'm just gonna rehash that lazy-ass '74 design and take the afternoon off."
 "Well I'm sure you heard the news. We're going to have to deal with some competition this year."
"Competition? What's that?"
"Seriously though, we'll need to put more thought in the design. That means we need to have a logo."
"Fine, if I can put it in a baseball."
"Yeah sure. And let's do colored borders this year. Maybe the other companies will feel pressure to do the same. The cost of ink will kill them!"
 "Well, the other companies didn't bite on colored borders. We have to get more aggressive. Corporate came up with a new logo. Very modern, very '80s."
"Hey I like it. Looks . . . fast. How about a racing stripe on the card?"
 "Donruss and Fleer keep cutting into our market share. How can we show that we're twice the company they are?"
"How about twice the photos?"
 "Last year's design was great! Let's do it again. The only complaint I heard though, was that the team names were a little hard to read. Can you make them more prominent this year?"
 "OK, no more double-photos. No one is looking at the corner headshot anyway. Just focus on the photo and shove the other details to the bottom.
 "Hey, have you notice more and more adults collecting baseball cards lately?"
"Yeah, time to get more serious. How about those black borders from '71?"
"That was maybe a little too extreme. Don't do black all the way around this time."
 "Man, the older guys are really starting to take over the hobby. I went to some card shows and the middle-age guys were going nuts over the '62s. They really liked those wood borders."
"Wood paneling is very classy. Let's do it!"
 "These '60s looks are going great. We can't print the cards fast enough. What do you want to do this year? A corner stripe like '66? Block team name in the photo like '67?"
 "Hey, did you hear about this new company called Upper Deck? Going to have some big action photos, a real focus on photography. And holograms!"
"Eh, the kids will never go for that. Just give them a re-hash of the typical baseball card of the last thirty years. Bland design, bland photos."
 "Um, you're 'go bland' strategy did not work. It's the 1990s, we can't keep operating like it's the '60s. Have you seen what the kids are wearing these days? Colors, lots of them! Bright and wild!"
 "OK, I think we need to rethink our strategy. What if we used better photos? And a clean design that accentuated them?"
"Sounds good. And let's put those newcomers in their place by reminding them how long we've been around."
 "OK, I admit it, time to modernize our cardstock. An improved cardboard will also allow us to catch up to Upper Deck and Score and put photos on the back."
"All right, a second photo of the player on the back!"
"No, no, why would we do that? I was thinking a heavily distorted photo of the player's home park. That's what the kids want!"
 "Simple designs work best, and they always do. This one is clean, and really makes the photo pop!"
"Looks great! Also, I see what you mean about the photo on the back being of the player. That does make a lot more sense, don't know what I was thinking."
 "Hey, check out the new design software the art department got! Colors, patterns - we can do so much more!"
"Well, that software was expensive so you'd better get the most out of it!"
 "Sorry guys, revenue was way down this year because of the baseball strike. We can't afford to spend much on the design. We already bought all that foil before the strike, don't want it to go to waste. . . ."
 "Been playing with the software again. Look what we can do the player's face with distortion! The kids will love it!"
"Yeah but the adults will hate it."
"Fine, let's compromise."
 "No fancy stuff this year. Simple design, OK?"
"Can we have colored borders at least?"
"I guess so, we just have green and red. Can you just do those two? One for each league?"
 "Home runs are back! Baseball is back! Let's make sure baseball cards come back too! Let's make the borders gold to show how valuable baseball cards are!"
 "Last year's gold borders were great!"
"I don't know they were a big gaudy."
"OK, let's use a classier font this time. That ought to take care of it."
 "I'm hearing that collectors think the gold borders are a bit much. Can you dial it back just a bit?"
"Just a bit? I guess that means silver instead of gold."
 "No more metallic colors! Can you come up with a design that might make people think about money and value, without using metallics?"
 "OK, that was terrible. Fine, you can go back to gold."
 "Hey, since we're using colored borders again, how about blue? We haven't done blue yet?"
"Um, sure. Hey, we've got a lot of extra photos of the players this year. Can you cram a second one into the design?"
 "Hey look what our software can do now! An exact outline of the player in action!"
"You know, I'll bet back in the '70s when they had those player outlines in the design, that was probably just what they wished they had . . ."
 "OK guys, last year's design was great. Just lose the player outline and we're done."
"I think people will notice if the designs are that similar. How about we flip the player and team names?"
 "Hmm, the designs are a bit boring lately. Can you add in a few elements to jazz it up? Nothing too fancy. Maybe throw in something patriotic, too. There's a war going on, you know."
 "Hey, remember those black borders in '71 and '86? They looked great!"
"Yeah, but creases showed up so easily on the black."
"Cardstock is a lot thicker now, let's give it another try!"
 "OK, we need something eye-catching. What can we do that is brand-new, but looks like it could fit in with an earlier era?"
 "I don't think people are going for the retro look. Let's put together something more modern. Simple, responsible . . ."
" . . . forgettable?"
 "Hey, did you hear that Upper Deck lost their baseball licence but is going to show logos anyway?"
"F those guys. We're the only ones allowed to use team logos. Let's make that very clear in our design this year."
 "All right, no more competition! Let's not get lazy though."
"How about a round border, we've haven't done much of that?"
"Sounds good. Remember to use lots of foil. Everyone loves foil."
 "Last year's round elements worked great. I was wrong about the foil though. Could you use a little less this time?"
 "I keep hearing people say baseball is boring. Let's try to bring more exciting into the border. Some whooshing lines or something."
"I've got an idea, it'll bring back the excitement of being in the ballpark . . ."
 "These round elements are working great, guys. Let's do a few of them this year."
 "We haven't done colored borders in a while. Let's bring them back."
 "Not so much color guys. Look at how millennials design their homes, their clothes, heck even their music. They don't like color. Heck they probably don't even like borders at all."
 "OK, last year's design went well. Let's just accentuate the diagonal lines a little more and we're done."
 "OK, let's keep the designs simpler this year. Just add one design element and you're done."
"Got it. Can't wait to wrap this up quickly - leaving tomorrow for vacation. Taking the kids to a water park. Let's see, one design element . . . "
 "You know, I think we should bring back borders . . ."
"No way, full bleed photography to the end of the card is the only way to go."
"Let's compromise!"
 "I don't think the design really matters. People by the card for the player and the photo, not the design. Just throw some random crap on the computer and send it out to marketing."
"Loading random crap generator . . ."