Sunday, February 28, 2021

Camelot-era cards

 These days it's pretty rare to get vintage cards on eBay at a cheap price that I'm willing to pay. I was glad that this little lot of cards, almost all produced during the Kennedy administration, slipped through with no other bids. The cards are pretty rough but that's OK by me.

Four needs from '61 Topps. Heavy on the pen markings but most of my '61s have some, so they'll fit right in.

'62 was the meat of this lot, and I have so few from that year. Highlights include Jimmy Piersall and Herb Score. "Pride of the A's" is about three former Yankees doing well with the KC A's. Of course the Yankees did pretty good without those guys in '61.
More new ones from '62. Heavy on the checklists, but Al Lopez and Floyd Robinson are some fine-looking photos.
One from '63. I paid about $9 for this lot. Bob Friend here is a high number who goes for at least $5 or more all by himself, usually quite a bit more.
Trade bait! These are rough but if I have a better-conditioned card I'll usually trade that one instead. Here are the extras from '61. That set had the best-looking checklists of all time, in my opinion. 
Some more trade bait, '62-'64. Again, if the card looks pretty rough I might have better versions to trade, particularly the '64s.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Cameron Smith on baseball cards

 Cameron Smith was a third-round pick of the Tigers in 1993 and pitched thirteen seasons of professional baseball. His best season was 1995, when he went 13-8 with a 3.81 ERA for Fayetteville. Now a financial advisor at Wells Fargo in Pensacola, FL, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I had a huge card collection as a kid and would go to all the conventions.  I believe they are all still at my mom’s house.  My favorite card of myself was the one in the Detroit Tigers uniform.  It was my first big league spring training.  I still get people sending me cards to sign every so often and my kids think it’s the coolest thing."


Friday, February 26, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats: Pie Traynor


On-the-field: For most of baseball history, there were far fewer superstars at third base than at any other position. Although the first Hall-of-Famers were elected in 1936, it took twelve years for a third baseman to make the Hall. That man was Pie Traynor, the best third baseman of the first half of the twentieth century. In 1,941 games for the Pirates from 1920 to 1937, he hit .320 with 371 doubles, 164 triples, 58 HR and 1,273 RBI. He had great range at third base, though a shaky arm. In the 1925 World Series he hit .346 and homered off of Walter Johnson as the Pirates edged the Senators in seven games. In the 1934 All Star Game he stole home; the only such steal in All Star history.

Off-the-field: Harold Traynor was called Pie Face as a boy, because he liked pie. Traynor never learned to drive, instead walking for miles every day. In his career as a radio announcer in Pittsburgh after his playing career, it was common to see him walking the streets of the city, being greeted by numerous people throughout his walk. Even during his playing career he would walk from the hotel to the stadium, even when the Pirates were playing in Brooklyn and staying at a hotel in uptown Manhattan, a 3.5 hour walk.

My collection: I do not have any playing-days cards of Traynor. His last solo card as an active player was 1936 National Chicle Fine Pen Premiums R313 #100.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Cardboard cousins: '60 Topps/'17 Archives

 The first part of the '17 Topps Archives set featured the 1960 Topps design. And #17 in that set matched quite nicely with the #17 in the original. Two White Sox outfielders in almost identical poses, though the backgrounds (Yankee Stadium centerfield vs. someone's backyard) are quite different.

As a National Leaguer (Phillies), Johnny Callison was MVP of the 1964 All Star Game, hitting a walk-off home run. As a National Leaguer (Giants), Melky Cabrera was MVP of the 2012 All Star Game, with two hits including a home run.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Football fun

 I did a little vintage baseball-for-football trade with Steve of the blogs 1975 Baseball Cards and Athletes on Phones. I got some really great additions to my low-key vintage football collection.

Starting off with possibly the only neck-rub card around, and a couple of interesting backgrounds.

Some great Giants additions. I know it says "Browns" on Homer Jones's card, but the Giants logo and Yankee Stadium make it a true Giants card for me.

This however is my favorite card of the bunch. I have an unofficial mini-collection of Jets cards which show Hofstra University in the background. This one has the clearest building I've seen yet. I believe this building is actually the Nassau County courthouse which was next to one of the football fields, though I could be mistaken. It definitely looks like a typical Hofstra building.
Steve seems to be in on the new trend of using vintage stamps for postage. Very cool! The Viking and writing stamps are both from the late 1970s.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Cards and vintage things: June 26-28 1967


I'm not sure what DDU was, or what their annual conference would have covered. But with the theme "Nearer to Heaven in '67", they hopefully enjoyed the high altitudes and mild weather. Actually June 1967 was the record cold month for Denver, with a mean temperature of 61°, but that was mostly due to 14 straight days of thunderstorms earlier in the month. Elsewhere in the world, there was civil unrest in Buffalo and Libya, the world's first ATM began service in London, and the US and Panama came to an agreement to give Panama sovereignty over the Canal.

A day's drive out from Denver, 1967 was a heavenly year for St. Louis. The Cardinals won 101 games and the World Series that year, though late June was a rough stretch for the team, losing 5 of 6 between the 25th and 29th, all at home. While DDU was having their conference the Cards beat the Giants 3-1 on the 26th, then lost 6-0 and 9-1 the next two nights. Tim McCarver had a double, two walks and a run scored in the Monday night victory, and had a hit in each of the two losses as well.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Jim Mecir on baseball cards

 Jim Mecir pitched eleven seasons in the major leagues for the Mariners, Yankees, Devil Rays, A's and Marlins. Winner of a World Series ring for the 1996 Yankees, he went 29-35 with 12 saves and a 3.77 ERA in his major league career. In seven postseason appearances he had a 1.74 ERA. Now a successful motivational speaker, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I definitely have a least favorite card.  1991 Topps Stadium Club.(it might say 1992 because it was released that year).  All the rookies were dressed in street clothes.  I had an ugly shirt on and was unshaven.


The best card was a 2002 Upper Deck 40-man Electric Rainbow card.  I was wearing an old school Athletics uniform.


I don’t collect cards now but have a lot from late 70’s early 80's."


Some 58's

 With the other $5 coupon I got from eBay a while ago, I purchased a small lot of '58s. This one was buy-it-now and as it turns out, was also "guaranteed delivery" that ran late. So I should be getting another $5 coupon, basically flipping this one.

Here are the keepers from this lot. The big draw for me was the card with Casey Stengel on it. A Jim "Mudcat" Grant rookie card was another particularly nice addition. He is called Mudcat on the back. The most interesting card, however, turned out to be the Tigers team card.

The back notes that Stan Musial appears on a Topps card for the first time. Turns out this is a somewhat rare variation. Most just have a checklist over the whole back. I have a Beckett Almanac that says a mint version of the card goes for $100, same as an Ernie Banks or Yogi Berra card. Silly, I know, but looking a bit online I couldn't find a single version of this card for less than $15, three times what I paid for this lot.
Three of the cards in this lot I already had, so they are up for trade:

Sunday, February 21, 2021

1998 Collector's Choice: Series II: Part II

 Here's the final post in this series. Some more fun stuff from this set.

The front of the Jim Edmonds card is fantastic.

The back is fun too. Is that Tim Salmon with him? Someone better worn them about the van about to drive onto the field behind them.
It seems like the photographer forget to take a picture of Ryan McGuire until they had turned off the lights in the ballpark and put all the bats away.
Any guesses as to why there was a fishing pole in the Padres bullpen?
Can you Jeter?
Not many cards of players jumping rope.
This is my favorite photo in the set. - a future legend relaxing on his boat. Mariano Rivera's father was captain of a fishing boat in Panama and the Yankees reliever worked on it throughout his teenage years. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Baseball card stories from Arnie Beyeler

 Infielder Arnie Beyeler played six seasons in the Tigers organization. In 584 games he hit .254 with 7 HR, 171 RBI and 69 SB. Now the manager of the Erie SeaWolves, the Tigers' AA affiliate, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I do collect baseball cards and have always been a baseball fan.

My favorite card is my 1991 AAA Line Drive card.  It’s the only card I ever had that was sold in stores, it was in a wax pack set that came out.  Mike Mussina ended up being the big card in the set, and was the hardest to find.  Because they were wax packs they were very random and hard to find the pack with my card in it.

My favorite card/autograph is a ball I have signed by both Trammell and Whitaker since they played in front of me throughout my minor league career. (I now get to coach with Tram and he’s an amazing person as well as a great coach for our young and old players alike.)

My best card story is when I was a minor league rookie in 1986 in Bristol, TN with the Tigers and minor league cards were just getting started back then. A guy came up to me yelling about what a big fan he was and wanted an autograph, He said he knew my brother Don!  As in Don Baylor.  I acknowledged what a big fan he must be, signed the autograph and still tell that story to this day."


Thursday, February 18, 2021

1998 Collector's Choice: Series II: Part I

 On to Series II. One subset was about the history of baseball cards. This one was about printing errors in early sets. It is intentionally miscut and misaligned. 

Here's another one about the great UD photography. According to the back Bonds is filming a pregame event.
It's been done a few times, I guess at spring training, but I really like "ballplayer at the water" cards.
Another great autograph shot. Someone is giving Vizquel a sweat-stained hat to sign.
This is one of a handful or Orioles with the #24 on their helmets. #24 was teammate Eric Davis who was battling cancer at the time.
Here's an interesting angle, view into the dugout as a pitcher selects a batting helmet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

1998 Collector's Choice: Series I: Part II

 Some more gems from '98 CC:

Any Twins fans know who is getting pranked here?

Big hug for Ugueth Urbina, who served seven years in prison in Venezuela for attempted murder.
There are lots of great autograph shots in this set; this one was my favorite.
Jose Canseco has a lot of cards like this. I'm guessing this pose was his idea.
Masked Marauders is a cool name for a subset on catchers. This was the first year of the hockey-style mask pioneered by Charlie O'Brien.
Nolan Ryan was long gone but UD still found a way to get a football on a card.
Jay Buhner in typical 1998 attire. One of the most unusual cards in the set.
Sure, it's posed, but this is still a fun card.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

1998 Collector's Choice: Series I: Part I

 For years I've had all of the Collector's Choice sets, 1994-1997. It's one of my favorite sets because there are so many wonderful, quirky, unique photos. There was also a 1998 set but I'd never had much of it. Recently I decided to check out what it went for on eBay. I was able to find a complete 530-card set for $25 shipped, which I decided was a great bargain. Over the next few posts I'll share some of my favorite photos from the set. (And I now have about 100 extras to trade, if anybody wants me to check out cards for a minicollection or something.)

I'm not sure what is in front of Todd Greene here - some kind of net, I guess. Looks like he is in the cross-hairs and it is certainly a unique take on a rather standard pose.

This was the first "player behind the camera" photo I came across in the set. There are a few others as well.
I'm kind of surprised mascots don't show up on cards more often. This looks like a cold day in Detroit.
Last one for today - NBC is Channel 5 in Chicago. Nice mixture of "modern" technology with a uniform from well before most of that technology existed.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Vintage backgrounds: The Mets say "Thanks"

 One of the best things about 1968 Topps is that they stopped cutting the background out of the team photo cards. Here on the Mets card you can see a message on the Shea Stadium scoreboard:


You can also see that the Mets are hosting the Cubs, and in the out-of-town scoreboard, Atlanta is at Philadelphia, SF is at Houston, the Orioles are at KC and Detroit is at Minnesota. This means the photo was taken on Friday, June 16, 1967. The Mets hosted the Cubs that day. The other out-of-town scores are actually from the night before (it took me several minutes looking at 1967 schedules to figure this out). Looks like the scoreboard was still being set up for the new slate of weekend games. It was a rough night for the Mets and their league-leading fans - they lost to the Cubbies, 4-3 in 10 innings, on an unearned run due to an error by Mets catcher Hawk Taylor.

Wallet Card at Spitzler's

Spitzler's was located at 34 West Merrick Road in Freeport, NY from the 1930s to the 1960s. It was a women's clothing store. The location is now home to Bernhard's pharmacy. You can still see the sign for Spitzler's under a mat in front of Bernhard's.

Bernhard's has been in business for many decades, but until at least the 1970s was located down the street at 54 West Merrick Road. That location is now Champions Taekwondo but here too there is a hint of the former store in front of the door.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

1981 Topps Billy Sample


The front: Sample strikes a cool pose - don't know if this was posed or a well-timed candid, but this photo has a lot of personality.

The back: Sample's .382 average was 25 points higher than the runner-up, Jim Gaudet.

The player: Sample played nine seasons in the major leagues for the Rangers, Yankees and Braves. In 826 games he hit .272 with 46 HR and 230 RBI. His best season was 1983, when he hit .247 with 12 HR, 57 RBI and 44 SB for Texas.

The man: He has written the script for a baseball movie that was released in 2013 called Reunion 108, (available on Amazon and and has acted in that and several other movies. In 2016 he wrote an autobiography, A Year in Pinstripes ... And Then Some. In 2014, he shared some great baseball card stories with this blog.

My collection: I have 28 of his cards, from 1979 to 1987. I would be interested in trading for 1983 Affiliated Food Stores Texas Rangers #5.