Friday, April 30, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Enos Slaughter


The player: Like all the players in the 1940s section of this set, Enos "Country" Slaughter lost his prime years to the war, serving in the Army Air Force (he wanted to be a pilot, but was discovered to be color-blind and became a physical education instructor instead. In 1942 the Cardinals outfielder led the National League in hits and triples, and when he returned in 1946 he led the league in RBI. That year, in one of the most famous plays in baseball history, he scored the Series-winning run in the eighth inning of game seven, scoring from first on a single from Harry Walker, ignoring the coach's "stop" sign, while cutoff man Johnny Pesky hesitated before throwing home too late. (Various reports indicated Pesky was confused by other Red Sox players screaming at him, was surprised that Slaughter was trying to score, or was momentarily blinded by the sun.) He was traded to the Yankees after the 1953 season. After a year and a half in New York, he was sent to the KC A's, but returned for the 1956 stretch drive, with the Yankees releasing Phil Rizzuto to make room for Slaughter. In the 1956 World Series the 40-year-old Slaughter hit the game-winning home run in Game 3, and in Game 6 was the oldest player in Don Larsen's perfect game. He remained a valuable member of Casey Stengel's bench in '57 and '58, and ended his career with a brief stint with the Braves in 1959. He retired with a .300 average and 2,383 career hits.

The man: Slaughter was known for his hustle (he ran everywhere on the diamond, an inspiration for Pete Rose), and his aggressiveness. In 1947, the southern-born Slaughter spiked Jackie Robinson when he was turning a double-play. It was widely assumed that this was a racist act against Robinson. Slaughter was also rumored to have tried to get the Cardinals to boycott playing against Robinson. Slaughter always denied the rumors, during and after his playing career. Monte Irvin, who has called Slaughter a friend, said "One time he and Jackie got into a scuffle, and he told Jackie, "I'm not hard on you because you're black, but I'm hard on all rookies. He and Jackie got it all squared away and shook hands." Lou Brock has also called Slaughter a friend. After his retirement Slaughter was the baseball coach at Duke University for many years. He died in 2002.

My collection: I do not have any playing-days cards of Enos Slaughter. His last card as an active player was 1959 Topps #155.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

A highly generous package

 Recently Brian of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary posted some vintage cards he upgraded, one of which was a '48 Bowman. I asked him if he would be trading the previous version of that card, and he accepted my offer of some hits to his 1974 Topps setbuild. I was quite surprised when he threw in seven extra vintage cards as well!

Here are six of them. Three from the 1959 set!

This is my favorite of the throw-ins. Great look at old Connie Mack Stadium and it's left field wall. I also love the Alpo sign on the left, the Yellow Pages sign on the right, and Dick Allen in his batting helmet, sitting on the ground second from right.
Here is the centerpiece of the trade, a 1948 Bowman Bob Elliott. It is card #1 in the set, and my first ever '48 Bowman! In fact it is now the oldest non-matchbook baseball card I own. This card is in such nice condition, I don't even know why it needed upgrading.
The back is worth taking a look at too. Blony bubble gum - the bubble gum with the three different flavors! I have to admit I had not heard of Elliott but he was actually the reigning NL MVP!

Thanks Brian! This was such a nice trade package that I will find some more cards to send out to you.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wood vs. Wood: #15

 Here's one more new series, comparing to the two great wood sets, 1962 and 1987. For any card # where I have cards from both sets (and both cards are base cards, not a subset), I'll put the two cards side-by-side and decide which one is better. Let me know in the comments which ones you like, and for the next post I'll announce which one is better.

'62 has a darker shade of wood, and a simple rectangular design, with the flourish of the Kodak paper peeling away, revealing the player's name, team name and position. '87 has lighter wood, a slightly more angular photo space, a team logo instead of the name, and the Topps logo instead of a position. As a kid I was not a fan of angular designs, and I like to have the position on the front. I know some people really prefer a team logo over the name but it's never been a big deal to me. So for overall design I'd go with '62.

In my comparisons I am not going to judge the quality of the player, as I have very few star cards in the '62 set (in fact, I don't own any base cards of Hall of Famers in this set).

Here's the first number where I have both cards, #15.

Which card is better? As a ten-year-old in '87, I loved a card like Washington's. Of course his being a Yankee helped, but it's a nice action shot where you see the whole player, nice follow-through in the swing. He's in his home uniform so you know it's Yankee Stadium. (For those who ask me how I can so easily tell the stadium, it's just something I picked up from staring at my cards for hours when I was a kid). I had just gotten into baseball in 1986, Washington's first year with the Yankees. For older collectors, this would have been their first chance to have a card with the veteran outfielder in a Yankees uniform.

What would a ten-year-old in 1962 have thought of the Dick Donovan card? Supposedly in that time, when many if not most games were not on TV, and those that were would have been fuzzy black and white images, seeing the player's face was still somewhat of a novelty. Still, it's hard to imagine young kids getting that excited over just a face. With no hat and a jacket under his jersey, he barely looks like a ballplayer. Donovan had been a Senator in 1961, traded to Cleveland in October for Jimmy Piersall. That is why Topps went with the generic-looking photo. Largely forgotten today, he was actually the reigning AL ERA champion at the time of the trade. So seeing him with the updated team name would have been nice in an era when kids often used their cards to keep track of what team a player was on, often scribbling out the old team and writing in the new one after a transaction.

Donovan won 122 major league games, including 16 in 1957, when he was runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award. Washington hit 164 major league home runs, including the 10,000th in Yankees history. Both men died of cancer in their 60s; Donovan in 1997, Washington in 2020.

I would have to pick the dynamic photo on the '87 card over the hatless portrait on the '62. Let me know in the comments which one you would pick!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A year of Topps designs: 1973

 I thought it might be interesting to take a look at Topps designs year-by-year, as they would have been consumed by the card-buying public (mostly kids in the vintage era). Here's a start with the only year where I currently own cards for all four sports, 1973. I have a few vintage basketball and hockey cards to trade. I happened to pull the baseball and football card from my trade boxes too:

First thing that stands out is how different the hockey design is from the other three. I wonder if the hockey cards were designed by the folks at O-Pee-Chee, where the other three sports were designed in the US?

The second thing that jumps out to me is that the other three designs are actually quite similar. All have white borders with a thick black line, and then a single addition to the design - the little baseball player, the banner, the large team name. While each design is certainly unique, there is enough similarity among the big three American sports that it felt like a unified brand for 1973.

The subsets in baseball and football mostly stayed within the pattern of the base cards. One similarity is that both baseball and football included Boyhood Photos cards. While there were six in baseball, each a separate card from that player's base card, there were only three in football, and those were the base card - for example this is the only card of Roman Gabriel in the set, and his full stats are on the back.
Certainly some similarities in design, most notably the blue font on top and pink on bottom. 

What other cards was Topps producing in '73? There were Wacky Packages, of course. Not really relevant for a design comparison because those were just the wacky package and nothing else. 

Creature Feature/You'll Die Laughing was a rehash of a 1966 set with monster jokes. The difference was that the '66 set had artwork of the monsters, the licensing of whom was from Universal. In '73, they just used photos instead of hiring an artist to make new drawings. The one exception was that the human faces could not be re-used - those were all replaced with the heads of Topps employees. Read this article from The Wrapper for more info on the set. Certainly as bare-boned a design as they come. Here is an example where you can see how the human heads do not fit naturally.
A much more polished look could be found in the 60-card set produced for the hit movie, Kung Fu. A pretty simple design, but much more clean and finished looking.
A very similar design was used in a test issue for another TV show, The Waltons, but a full card set was never produced. You can read more about it on the Topps Archives blog.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Hollywood bit players on baseball cards: part 1

 I've figured out a way to do the ballplayers-in-entertainment series that I hope will be fun. While just about every baseball star has played himself on a TV show or two (sometimes more, particularly LA Dodgers), there have been quite a few, stars and otherwise, who have played roles other than themselves. I thought it would be fun to present it as an obscure Hollywood actor who just happened to appear on some baseball cards, revealing the player only at the end.

Starting today with one of the more prolific of these examples, today's subject appeared in over a dozen TV shows and movies, mostly in the mid-1970s.

His "big break" came in 1977, when he landed a supporting role in a Norman Lear sitcom, "All That Glitters". Lear's idea was a soap-opera spinoff where all the gender roles were switched. While being cast in a Lear sitcom was huge in the 1970s, "All That Glitters" ended up being one of his rare flops. Our hero played Glen Langston, the eye-candy trophy husband of Anita Gillette's character Nancy Langdon, a powerful businesswoman.

Most of his other roles were minor characters on various TV show episodes. Here he appears behind Martin Brooks and Richard Anderson in a 1976 episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, "Carnival of Spies", filmed at the Pike Amusement Park in California. During filming in the amusement park, the arm of a wax dummy fell off, revealing human bones. It turned out to not be a wax dummy at all but the mummified remains of a bank robber named Elmer McCurdy who was shot and killed in 1911.  When no next-of-kin claimed McCurdy's embalmed body it was sold to a traveling carnival, and was exhibited in various forms over the next 65 years, though by the time it had arrived at Pike, probably in the late 1960s, it's original form had been forgotten and it was thought to be a regular wax dummy.
Also in 1976, our hero played a police officer on an episode of McMillan & Wife, here observing a confrontation between characters played by Rock Hudson and Paul Benedict. John Schuck is on the far right. (Thanks Jon for correcting me on a couple of these!)
Finally, a publicity still of our hero's co-starring role in the TV Movie "Pleasure Cove" from 1979, where he and fellow con-artists played by Tom Jones and Barbara Luna pose as vacationers in a holiday resort.
Have you guessed who our mystery actor is? He had almost as many baseball cards as acting credits.
Wes Parker played nine seasons in the major leagues, all with the Dodgers, before retiring suddenly in 1972, partially to pursue his acting career. I have eight of his ten Topps cards (missing '64 and '68). He was known primarily for his defense, and set several records for first base defense during his career. He was also an announcer for the Dodgers for a short time. In 1985 he largely quit acting after he became a Christian in 1980, though he continued to do some commercial work, and more recently a few video game voices. Other acting credits included the movies Cry from the Mountain and The Courage and the Passion and appearances on episodes of Police Woman, Police Story, Matt Helm and Emergency. He also played himself in an episode of The Brady Bunch. In a 2011 interview with the Hidden Films blog he gives a lot of detail on his acting career.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Art on the Back: 1953 Topps

 Here's the first in a regular series looking at cartoon art on the back of vintage baseball cards. I'll do other sports too, and maybe some modern cards as well. Some sets ('73 Topps baseball for example) are a wealth of entertaining cartoons with a wide variety of subjects and will be the subject of many posts. Others have pretty standard "just the facts" cartoons. Going in order, I'm starting here with the '53 Topps set. I have a few cards from that set, and the cartoons are pretty standard fare with "Dugout Quiz" baseball facts. I picked out a few favorites.

Most of these are pictorial descriptions of baseball lingo. The "horsecollar" you still hear about from time to time today. I'd heard of "banjo hitter" but not "ukelele hitter". Thankfully "Tissue Paper Tom" seems to have died out pretty quickly after this card was printed; the only reference to that phrase I found in a Google search was from a 1937 newspaper article. Glad they didn't call him "Nancy Boy". My favorite though is the drawing of "Leo the Lip" Durocher, the fiery New York Giants manager who was one of the biggest celebrities in baseball at the time.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Cards and vintage things: May 18 & 19, 1973

 Friday and Saturday, May 18 & 19,  1973, were quiet news days. In Europe, the "Cod Wars" between Britian and Iceland were intensifying, with UK Royal Navy frigates beginning to accompany fishing trawlers in disputed waters. In Australia, Victoria Premier Rupert Hamer won re-election. In the US, the biggest news was Secretariat winning the Preakness Stakes, setting him up for a potential Triple Crown.

The York Hospital Fete was an annual fundraiser in York, PA. Highlights in 1973 included an autcross race, vintage car show, auctions, musical acts, rides, a petting zoo and more. The Flying Wallendas made an appearance, as did former Penn State running back Lydell Mitchell, coming off his rookie season for the Baltimore Colts. $500,000 was raised for the hospital, while prize winners won appliances, vacations, and even a 1973 AMC Hornet four door sedan.

The local baseball team, the Phillies, was struggling through another rough season in '73, and lost two out of three games during the fete, losing on Friday night at home against the Cubs, then splitting a twi-night doubleheader the next day. Bill Robinson, who didn't play on Friday night, was the hitting star of the doubleheader, with six hits in nine at bats, including a big RBI in the 3-0 win on Saturday.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Vintage backgrounds: 1969 Topps Brant Alyea

 There's lots going on with the background of Brant Alyea's card. A catcher and an infielder can be seen on the spring training diamond to Alyea's left, while on the right #42 watches the action. #42 was Hall-of-Famer Nellie Fox, in his first season as a Senators first base and hitting coach. Fox had been brought on by former White Sox teammate Jim Lemon. When Lemon was fired Washington was preparing to name Fox as manager, but after the city's NFL team hired Vince Lombardi as coach, the owner wanted to bring on a big-name baseball manager, hence the team's hiring of Ted Williams instead. Fox went with the team to Texas 1971. When Williams resigned he recommended that Fox replace him, but Billy Martin got the job instead. In 1975 Bill Veeck was in the process of acquiring the White Sox and planned to hire Fox to manage the team, but Fox passed away from cancer at the age of 47 before the sale was completed.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Baseball card stories from photographer Dan Arnold

 Dan Arnold was a photographer for Fleer for almost 20 years. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I was a contract photographer for Fleer from 1986 until 2005 and for Photo File from 2005 till 2015. I shot at least 10,000 MLB and NFL cards during my time with Fleer. The players were not all that interested in their own cards, with a few exceptions. The players were very interested in the baseball cards that showed their children. I am sending 2 examples of this. One is from Beckett, the other is a compilation. 

The 1996 Ultra card of Albert Belle is right before he threw the baseball at us. One throw hit Tony Tomsic who was standing next to me. Belle got suspended for that one and lost a law suit. The Casey card shows one of the nicest guys I ever encountered, the Belle card shows the opposite.
I do collect baseball cards still. I just completed the 1968 Topps set and Reds team sets from 1954-2021. My son and I also collect the new Topps cards when we can find them.

My favorite card is my oldest that I collected from the factory. A 1961 Topps card of Gus Bell."


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

1981 Topps Bob Boone


The front: A rare action card! It's a play at the plate, and appears to be a Cubs runner based on the blue pinstriped sleeve. Assuming this is 1980, this would be June 8, the only day game that Boone caught at home against the Cubs. The Cubs won the game 2-0. The two runs were scored by Lynn McGlothen and Tim Blackwell. McGlothen was Black, so this must be Blackwell, dashing home from second on Ivan De Jesus's single, to score the second run of the game. Boone was 1-for-4 in the game.

The back: In that famous 23-22 game, Boone hit a 3-run home run in the first inning to make the score 6-0 Phillies. His third inning single made it 8-6 Phillies. He was hit by a pitch later in the inning. He was intentionally walked in the fourth and fifth innings. In the seventh he doubled to make it 22-19 Phillies. He lined out to lead off the ninth. 

The player: Bob Boone played 19 seasons in the major leagues, catching 2,225 games, which at the time was an MLB record. He was a seven-time gold glover, and was known more for his defensive prowess than his hitting skill. A career .254 hitter, Boone hit .311 in eight postseason series, most notably .412 in the 1980 World Series as the Phillies won the championship.

The man: Boone managed for six seasons in the major leagues, never with a winning record. He is now a Senior Advisor to the General Manager of the Washington Nationals. Part of the legendary Boone baseball family (who trace their roots back to Daniel Boone), he was the Nationals' advance scout covering the Yankees in the 2019 playoff, observing the team managed by his son Aaron. Last year the Nationals signed Jake Boone, son of Bob's other son Bret, potentially making giving the family a fourth generation major leaguer.

My collection: I have 74 of his cards, from 1973 to 1991. I would be interested in trading for 1978 Hostess #29.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats: Lou Boudreau

 Thanks everyone for the great feedback yesterday! I am excited to start all of the new series as I got some interesting ideas for each from those comments.

Moving on to the next card in a series inspired from one of A Cracked Bat's giveaways, the 1986 Sportflics Decade Greats set. As we move further into the decade one of the best parts of this series is going to be the great action shots of long-past stars that Sportflics dug up, like this great double-play card.

The player: A star athlete at the University of Illinois at a time when college-educated major leaguers were fairly unusual, the 23-year-old Boudreau developed into a bona fide star at the age of 23 in his second full season in the majors in 1941, leading the American League with 45 doubles. After the season the Indians' managerial position opened up. Several veterans on the team applied for the job, but at the urging of team co-owner George Martin, President of the Sherwin Williams Paint Company, the team went with the youngest applicant for the job, Boudreau. Despite some initial conflicts with the older players, particularly the pitchers, Boudreau developed into a respected manager while remaining the best-hitting shortstops in baseball. He was particularly noted for his use of analytics - his shift on Ted Williams is considered the first of it's kind in baseball history. In 1948, Boudreau had arguably one of the best seasons one man ever had - he had a career year at the plate (.355, 18 HR, 106 RBI), and managed the team to a first-place tie with the Boston Red Sox. He then hit two home runs in the one-game playoff, and hit .273 in the World Series as his Indians defeated the Braves in six games. He is the only person to be voted the league MVP and win the World Series as a manager in the same season. After that season injuries hampered the career of Boudreau the player, and front office conflicts hampered the career of Boudreau the manager. He ended his playing career with two seasons for the Red Sox and had brief managerial stints with the Red Sox, A's and Cubs.

The man: Boudreau was a key figure in the integration of the American League, as Larry Doby's first major league manager, as well as bringing in Satchel Paige for the 1948 stretch run (Paige went 6-1 for the team that won a pennant by one game). After his managerial career he was a Cubs announcer for 30 years. He was the father of four children, including daughter Sharyn who married Tigers pitcher Denny McLain.

My collection: I do not have any playing-days cards of Boudreau. His last card as an active player was 1951 Bowman #62.

Monday, April 19, 2021

What now?

 Normally this would be the time in the rotation for "Cardboard Cousins", but I've run out of modern sets with vintage designs. It was a fun series to do, and I would like to do some more series on this blog. I have a few ideas of possible series, but would rather do ones that interest my readers. Here are four possible series ideas I would like to get your feedback on:

Wood vs. Wood: Two iconic Topps sets. I think '87 Topps gets short shrift from a lot of collectors, due to it's overproduction at the time and recent oversaturation of Topps cards borrowing that design. However, that set probably launched more baseball card collections than any others (mine included), so is it fair to discount it like a great song that is overplayed? Meanwhile '62 is a vintage set which is always great, but is older always better? I love both '87 Topps and all things vintage so would be pretty impartial, and I think this could actually generate a bit of controversy.

Year in Review: On a somewhat similar vein, I thought it might be interesting to look at Topps cards of a certain year across sports. For most years I only have baseball and football, and not always football. And starting in the 1990s Topps began unifying their design across sports. However it might be interesting to compare sets that came out in the same year and would have been contemporary to each other.
Vintage cartoons. I'm not exactly sure how I would do this, but there are so many fun cartoons on the backs of vintage cards, particularly the ones that go beyond sports.
Finally, another topic that I think would be interesting but I'm not sure how I would present in a series, is vintage baseball players in other forms of entertainment. I recently mentioned the the 1967 MLB vs. Celebrities softball game on my blog; Night Owl recently posted a 1968 Dodgers yearbook that highlighted team appearances on TV. I think something with a baseball card and some old TV show might be fun. Maybe I would even take a crack at making custom cards?

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Cards and vintage things: Hockey Stamps and Matchcovers

 I picked up my first matchbook lot in a while recently. I wasn't even going to show it on the blog until I got the package. It was mostly US matchcovers but the seller was in Canada. When I saw the stamps on the package I knew I had to post it:

Those are lenticular (Sportflics-style) stamps of Canadiens legends Maurice Richard and Guy LaFleur. (I guess you don't have to be dead to get on a stamp in Canada.) They really look quite nice in person. I like them, but I'm not really a hockey collector so they are up for trade if anyone wants them.

I figure I might as well show off the matchcovers I got too, for those of you who like seeing that sort of thing. I'll highlight some matchbooks paired off with a hockey card I have available for trade (I kept all the "good" ones when I sold off that lot of tens of thousands of hockey cards a couple of years ago). The lot was Matchorama and similar matchbooks from the '60s which are notable for their full-color photography, probably my favorite vintage matchbook style.
Here are a couple of gas stations, one Canadian and one in the US. Have you noticed Sinclair and their dinosaur logo have started coming back? One recently opened up near me.
Matching a Canadien card with a couple of Canadian Historic Forts.
A vintage New York Ranger with three matchbooks from New York City and one from Coney Island - Coney Island Cincinnati, that is. 
Union Pacific Railroad put out a very nice series of landscape-themed matchcovers. There were dupes of a few of these if anyone has interest.
Matchbooks selling random objects like shirts and phones, with a hockey card in the shape of a TV.
A dated matchbook (our new home in 1956) along with a very dated space scene, matched with a very modern looking hockey card.
Some appetizing matchcovers.
Lots of '60s trucks!
Finally, nothing says mid-20th century USA like a diner at night. And nothing says early 2000s like a refractor hockey card.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Vintage backgrounds: 1967 Topps Art Shamsky

 By request, I decided to look into the background of this great card I recently got in my trade with Baseball Card Breakdown.

It's a nice shot of the future Miracle Met in kind of an unusual place, behind a fence (batting cage?) that appears to be next to the dugout, with a partially covered grandstand behind him. He is in his road grays, so it's not Al Lopez Field. However, there were 14 other ballparks in the Grapefruit League in 1966, and almost all of them had a grandstand pretty similar to that one. What is confusing me is that there appears to be two kinds of "windows" at the back of the grandstand, narrow archways on one side and larger rectangles on the other. Perhaps one of you readers can figure out where this is?

Friday, April 16, 2021

1981 Topps Mickey Hatcher


The front: Hatcher was known for some goofy baseball cards, but here as a rookie he is pretty subdued. Looks like Shea Stadium.

The back: In 1976 Oklahoma crushed Wyoming 41-7 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Sooners ran for 415 yards, and all five of their touchdowns were rushing. They only attempted five passes in the game. Three were caught, two by Hatcher, making him the team's leading receiver.

The player: Hatcher was a backup outfielder/pinch hitter who hit for a high average but little power (.280 with 38 HR in 1,130 games). Despite hitting just one home run all season in 1988, Hatcher hit two in the 1988 World Series as the Dodgers stunned the favorite Oakland A's.

The man: Hatcher was known for his jokes and pranks, often at the expense of manager Tommy Lasorda. Baseball card collectors know him as the guy with multiple cards with giant gloves, and one where he is getting a hotfoot. A longtime coach for the Angels, he now works in a PR capacity for the team.

My collection: I have 48 of his cards, from 1980 to 1991. I would be interested in trading for 1989 O-Pee-Chee #254.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Bob Feller


The player: Moving into the 1940s with the decade's best pitcher, Bob Feller. Feller had a sensational rookie season in 1936 at the age of 17; in eight games he went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA, striking out over a batter an inning in an era when batters tried to keep strikeouts to a minimum. He immediately became one of the biggest stars in baseball. After the season he returned to his high school for his senior year; his graduation in 1937 (while recovering from an arm injury) was broadcast nationally by NBC Radio. From 1938 to 1941 he struck out over 240 batters a year and one 20+ games three times. Feller, the first American athlete to enlist in the military in World War II (two days after Pearl Harbor), undoubtedly lost the best years of his career to the war, seeing combat in the Pacific instead of on the mound. In 1946 he returned with a flourish; his 348 strikeouts stood as an American League record until broken by Nolan Ryan years later. He started slipping noticeably in the early 1950s, with down years in '52 and '53. In 1954 Feller went 13-3 despite low strikeout numbers; Manager Al Lopez did not use him in the World Series as Cleveland was swept by the Giants. He retired in 1956 with 266 wins and 2,581 strikeouts.

The man: Feller served on the USS Alabama, earning six campaign ribbons and eight battle stars, and was discharged as a Chief Petty Officer. In 1947 he and Satchel Paige organized a series of barnstorming exhibitions that pitted Major League vs. Negro League players, designed partially to show that the skill of Negro League players were equal to those of Major Leaguers. Participants included Stan Musial, Phil Rizzuto, Buck O'Neil and Hilton Smith. After his retirement he became the first president of the Major League Baseball Players Association and was an early advocate for free agency. Feller was one of the first professional athletes to sign autographs at conventions, and baseball write Rob Neyer has estimated that Feller signed more autographs than anyone in history.

My collection: I don't have any playing-days cards of Feller. His last card as an active major leaguer was 1956 Topps #200.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Cardboard cousins: 1962 Topps/1986 Woolworths

 When Topps put together a set for Woolworths in 1986, they reused the photo-peel design of the '62 set. The next year, of course, they paid homage to that set's 25th anniversary with another wood-grain set that was arguably even better than the original.

Here are #16 in each set. Darrell Johnson managed seven years in the major leagues between 1974 and 1982, all for AL teams. Dave Kingman was in the NL for all but a month of that time, so he never faced a Johnson-led team in a regular season game. However, as the manager of the pennant-winning '75 Red Sox, Johnson managed the AL in the All Star Game in 1976, facing an NL team that included starting right fielder Dave Kingman. Neither had a great night, as Kingman went 0-for-2 but the AL lost the game 7-1.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cards from a desperate trade

 When I put up a sidebar on my blog, it was a good reminder to myself to check on the sidebars of some other blogs to see if I could initiate a trade with anyone. Happily, I found I had a couple of cards to trade to Baseball Card Breakdown for his Desperate Double Dozen. In exchange Gavin sent me these great cards.

Lots of vintage goodness here. I was very excited to get my first vintage Bobby Thomson card. In person you barely notice the hole-punch, it's a great looking card. Several other fun vintage set-fillers, as well as one modern card, my first from a "player curated" set - the Bryce Harper set. I know a lot of people don't like Harper but I've never really had a strong opinion on him.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Wax Pack Wonders spanning the decades

 I completed another trade with Wax Pack Wonders this week. Jeff sent me some want-list hits from a variety of eras.

Here are three early 90s cards I still needed, as well as one from my '70s football wantlist. Football cards are great if you like random cars in the background.

I still try to complete each year's Topps set. Here are some 2020 Series II needs.
But best of all is vintage baseball! Jeff knocked off two of my bigger '76 needs. Down to just eleven to go on that set, mostly commons. Check out the list on my sidebar.