Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Wallet card with a Pepsi privilege sign

 I recently found another vintage "privilege" sign on Long Island. These were store signs that soda companies would give to stores - the store got a free sign, and the soda company got some prominent advertising. These would date back to the 1970s, and these yellow-bordered Pepsi signs are my personal favorite. I was in a hurry so I didn't get a great photo, and as you can see there has been significant fading over the decades. This is the Uniondale Beverage Center in Uniondale, NY.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

1981 Topps Charlie Lea


The front:  simple dugout photo. Background and border make it a very green card.

The back: That September 24 win was important because it kept the Expos a half game ahead of the Phillies in the NL East. Lea was actually removed in the sixth inning after allowing the Cubs to cut the lead from 5-0 to 5-4. The Phillies took over the East lead the next day anyway, and eventually won the division on the next-to-last day of the season. Lea didn't pitch again until the meaningless Game 162, getting the win in relief.

The player: Charlie Lea was a key member of the Expos starting rotation in the early 1980s. His best season was 1984, when he was an All-Star with a 15-10 record and 2.89 ERA. His career highlight was a no-hitter in 1981. Unfortunately injuries caused him to miss the full 1985 and 1986 seasons, and most of 1987. He came back with the Twins for one year in 1988 but then retired.

The man: After his career Lea was a minor league announcer. He died of a heart attack in 2011.

My collection: I have 27 of his cards, from 1981 to 1989. I would be interested in trading for 1986 ProCards #668.

Monday, June 28, 2021

1986 Fleer Classic Miniatures - some highlights

 Here are some of my favorite photos from the '86 Fleer Classic Miniatures set I bought yesterday. By 1986 the photos were not as quirky as the Fleer issues from '82-'84, but there still some fun images in here.

Ron Guidry checking out a sky-high pop-up.

Fun, busy photo of Gary Carter at spring training.
Another great Mets photo.
Fan favorite Steve Garvey loosens up.
The late Hall-of-Famer "Suttoning" in front of the Comsikey scoreboard. The pinwheels look like peppermint candies.
Weird, awkward swing from Rich Gedman. Looks like he chopped the ball straight into the ground.
Very unhappy Red Sox dugout.
Green jersey for St. Patrick's Day?

I went to the flea market

 Today I went to an outdoor flea market - my first in-person card-buying experience in over a year. It was fun looking at all the old magazines, toys, campaign buttons, owners manuals, etc., but a collector must specialize and my specialty is baseball cards. Quite a few vendors have baseball card among their various wares, and I was able to pick out a few reasonably good deals. I get jealous when I see bloggers who live in areas where college football or NASCAR are king, and can find things like vintage Warren Spahn in dollar boxes. Here in baseball country, it's more like 1990 Topps Gary Carter with "$1! Cheap!" Still, I was able to find some pretty good stuff.

These were piled loosely on a table with a lot of random stuff. 13 1987 O-Pee-Chee cards, not in the best shape but OK. I offered $1 and the guy took it.

One guy had a bunch of boxed sets for $3 each. A lot of stuff like 1990 Donruss Rookies. I found six sets I wanted but the guy had disappeared. I came back later and two of the sets were gone - both 1990ish Yankees minor league sets with Bernie Williams on top. Still managed to score a Diet Pepsi set, 1981 Drake's, a McDonald's Diamondbacks set, and a Blue Jays team set sponsored by O Henry! bars and the Ministry of the Solicitor General of Ontario, because what goes better than baseball and chocolate and litigation?
I saw he also had a stack of 1989 Baseball Talk cards in a box of loose oddballs. I had been aware of them since they came out but had never seen any in person. I asked how much they were, thinking maybe I'd buy one or two if they were cheap. He said "$2 for all". Wow! Some big names in there, and dupes of Mattingly, Henderson and Blyleven for trade.
There was one guy whose setup was mostly cards, and I think I've bought from him before (I'd been here in previous years). He had a 600-count box of random cards for $10. Most of it was what you see here: NBA Hoops junkwax basketball, a few hockey, and 2017-2020 Topps. That included a lot of '18 Holiday, '19 Update and '20 Opening Day which was random enough for me. It had been a long time since I'd picked up a box of random like this so I went for it.
A fair amount of cards from sets I've already completed, like '81 and '86 Topps. Some Nolan Ryan's and a Box Jackson from 1990 UD; Some early 80s cards of Gary Carter and Mookie Wilson. All there up for trade.
And lot's of random I probably need, mostly inserts from the past few years. I know I already have that first pitch card of actor Bob Odenkirk, that is up for trade.
For $5 I also picked up a 1986 Fleer miniatures set. I love early '80s Fleer and Night Owl's post the other day reminded me how much fun the photography was even as late as '86. I knew this set had different photos than the base set so this was an easy decision. I'll post more cards from this set later on, but I figured I'd highlight the fantastic Dwight Gooden card that has been on a few other blogs.
But the big treat was being able to go through some quarter boxes of 1970s vintage commons. The cards were sorted by year but not by number, so it took some time to go through each card to find some needs. That included 13 1970 needs, including some high numbers. (Tom Tresh as a Tiger?) But a big treat as I pawed through the '70s was finding some O-Pee-Chee mixed in! I took all those I found, ten in all.
I also found some set needs for '72 (including some high numbers), '73, and three from '74, leaving me with just four needs left for that set - Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Duffy Dyer and Danny Cater. Help!
Finally, another table with a lot of random stuff, including a lot of 1988 Topps and one small team bag with 21 '67 Topps cards in it. I asked the kid at the table how much. He had to ask his dad (who was just hanging out in his van, beating the heat while the kid worked the table). He said $5. I went through my wantlist and found I only needed two cards. I asked the kid if he could do $0.50 for the two, after all they could then sell the rest to someone for $5. The kid had to ask dad again and came back and said he didn't want to break up the set, but he'd go for $4. For other sets I might not have done it, but '67s are usually pretty easy to trade so I went for it. Available cards: 9, 13, 15, 18, 115, 141, 190, 199, 211, 268, 270, 293, 373, 396, 410, 434, 440, 453, 508
This was a fun morning at the flea market, and certainly scratched that particular itch for a while.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Card from the Collective Mind

 I sent Collective Mind a couple of PWE's worth of cards from his want lists. In return he sent me a very generous return package.

This towering stack of cards, taller than a single base card, puts a huge dent in my 2020 Topps wantlist.

Some other Topps set needs from recent years.

Also some 1990's Score needs I needed from that brand's last three sets. Some big names in the '96 group.

Friday, June 25, 2021

1969 Globe Imports set - a tale of redemption

Last month, I saw an eBay listing for 94 mini baseball playing cards. I recognized them as the 1969 Globe Imports set, and thought it would be cool to get that many at once. With about a day left there were no bids, so I made a bid for the minimum $9.99 plus $5.00 shipping. Later that day I kept thinking about the cards, thinking they would make a fun oddball addition to my vintage collection and decided to make a higher bid. However, I forgot to actually do so, and found that I lost by 50 cents - someone had bid one higher and that was enough. I was disappointed but figured that was that.

Fast forward to last week. I saw what was clearly the same lot again! 94 cards from the 1969 Globe Imports set. Had to be the exact same cards with such a random number. Clearly the first buyer was a flipper, and knew at least a little bit more about the set, at least he knew the name. I bid, and I won - for $10.49 plus $5.00 shipping! Same amount to the penny that the flipper bought it for. And he would have had to pay tax, so he actually lost a little bit on the flip. Meanwhile, I got it for less than I would have last time, assuming I would have had to fight the flipper for the cards. Amazing!

There is not a lot of information online about this set. The blog Number 5 Type Collection has the best overall summary. It was a set of playing cards that were sold in a shrink-wrapped deck in gas stations in the South. The set was apparently unlicensed. Black and white photos were printed on a flimsy stock - almost feels like typing paper. The backs are blank. 

It appears that in the original printing you could see team logos on the uniforms, but they were removed in later printings. On some of the cards you can see how they weren't even airbrushed, it looks like just a little scrap of paper was put over where the logo was on a player's jersey or hat. For example, the Number 5 blog has a Bud Harrelson card with his Mets jersey visible. Here is my Harrelson card:

Very amateurish job of covering up the logo. Here is something else interesting though. On the Number 5 Blog, the author Matthew assumes that Globe just photocopied Harrelson's 1967 Topps card. However, while it is clearly the same photo, it is NOT a photocopy of the card - Globe would have had to remove the facsimile signature and METS team name that obsure parts of the card. This was probably too difficult for a big company like Topps in 1969, let alone some fly-by-night outfit that was using scraps of paper to cover up logos. Perhaps Topps and Globe got some photos from the same distributor?

I took a photo of a similar card, also to show the scale of these cards versus a standard card. As you can see, it's the same photo but clearly NOT a photocopy of the Topps card.

These examples aside, there was actually some great photography in this set. This is a very rare set for the 1960s in that it is mostly action photos, some quite good ones when you get beyond the bad print quality.

Now here is something else cool. As it is a 52-card deck I knew that there would be lots of multiples in a 94-card lot. However, what neither seller seemed to realize was that there was a complete standard 52-card deck in the lot! (There are some variations that I still need, as some cards featured different players in different printings. 2S Tovar; 3C McCormick; 3H Drysdale; AC Yazrzemski; AS Mantle)

 Here is the full set:

2-5 - Reggie Smith, Chris Short, Paul Casanova, Denny McLain, Jerry Koosman, Juan Marichal, Tony Conigliaro, Rick Monday, Tony Oliva, Jim Fregosi, Bill Freehan, Richie Allen, Bud Harrelson, Earl Wilson, Willie McCovey, Mel Stottlemyre

6-8 Rich Reichardt, Tony Horton (VERY interesting - Horton was a talented but troubled slugger for the Red Sox and Indians who quit baseball at the age of 26 in the middle of the 1970 season, for what was later revealed to be a suicide attempt after a game. He got his life in order but has refused to acknowledge the baseball part of his life in anyway. Horton also refused to sign a Topps contract so has very few baseball cards), Joel Horlen, Tommy John, Billy Williams, Harmon Killebrew, Ernie Banks, Don Mincher, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver, Jim Wynn, Chico Cardenas (my personal favorite photo in the set)
9-J Jim Maloney, Curt Flood, Brooks Robinson, Willie Davis, Tim McCarver, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Robinson, Campy Campaneris, Max Alvis, Bob Aspromonte, Al Kaline, Ron Santo

Q-A Ron Swoboda, Lou Brock, Gene Alley, Al Ferrara, Johnny Callison, Jim Lonborg, Rusty Staub, Clete Boyer, Richie Allen (same photo as 4S), Bob Gibson, Willie Mays, Ken Harrelson

This set has some drawbacks but there are lots of really great photos in there! Not every big name in the sport (Aaron and Clemente are notably missing, for example) but a great collection of players.

94 - 52 = 42 extras to trade! This would make a unique addition to a PC or team set, or maybe someone wants to try to build a set. Kind of a precursor to the "Broders" or the 1980s. There was no more than one extra card per player. A couple of these have a number handwritten on the back.

Trade Bait Photo 1: Paul Casanova, Denny McLain, Tony Conigliaro, Tony Oliva, Jim Fregosi, Bill Freehan, Richie Allen, Bud Harrelson, Mel Stottlemyre, Tony Horton, Joel Horlen, Tommy John, Billy Williams, Harmon Killebrew, Ernie Banks, Don Mincher, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver, Jim Wynn, Chico Cardenas, Jim Maloney

Trade Bait Photo 2: Curt Flood, Brooks Robinson, Willie Davis, Tim McCarver, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Robinson, Campy Campaneris, Max Alvis, Bob Aspromonte, Al Kaline, Ron Santo, Ron Swoboda, Lou Brock, Gene Alley, Al Ferrara, Johnny Callison, Jim Lonborg, Rusty Staub, Clete Boyer, Richie Allen, Ken Harrelson

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Some recent ebay pickups

 Are prices on vintage cards going down a bit? Seems like they might be. Let's hope so. Here are three random lots I picked up for very low prices. None of these are vintage baseball cards though.

I've got pretty much every junkwax era set complete or very close to it, but I somehow still need a ton of '91 Bowman. I picked up this lot of cards for a nickel each. Some big stars but the best card is definitely that Aaron Holbert rookie.

Here are the cards I already had, so up for trade. Highlights include Don Mattingly and rookie cards of Carl Everett and Kenny Lofton.

My brief madness for vintage football cards is largely past, but I still look for old Giants cards once in a while. I picked up this four-card lot for a dollar, mostly because of the great action card with Doug Kotar. The quarterback is Jim Del Gaizo, who played in four games for the team, the blocking back is Joe Dawkins. Those were some bad football teams.

Why yes I did get some more matchbooks. Who is this pervert and who are the "Brownies" he's spying on?

Why, it's the St. Louis Browns!

Some other cool matchbooks I picked up recently. Matchbook collecting societies sometimes print up their own matchbooks; such is the case for the Eli Manning one. The Cardinals matchbooks is from the Lou Brock Sports Shop in Lambert International Airport. I picked up the Queen Elizabeth matchbook because I thought it was cool to have a matchbook from 1953 and the person on it was still alive. This has got to be my oldest matchbook where the person on it is still alive.

For fun, I figured out that the oldest baseball card I have of a living player is this 1951 Bowman Johnny Groth. Groth was born two months after Elizabeth in 1926. 

I never get extras when I buy baseball cards on eBay. However, one of the matchbook lots came with a couple of vintage postcards thrown in. They're pretty cool but I'm open to trading them for baseball cards if someone would like them. Rockingham Race Track in Salem, NH operated from 1909 to 2009. It was torn down in 2017. The El Jebel Mosque in Denver is not an Islamic house of worship, but a meeting hall for Shriners, who sometimes called their halls mosques (Shriner rituals often have an Arabic theme). Built in 1907, it was sold in 1995 to a real estate developer who converted it into a convention/banquet hall. It is currently unoccupied.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Joe DiMaggio


The player: Very few ballplayers were revered the way Joe DiMaggio was. Idolized by millions of fans, even the greatest ballplayers of his age called him the greatest. Stan Musial said "There was never a day when I was as good as Joe DiMaggio at his best. Joe was the best, the very best I ever saw.” Ted Williams said  “I have always felt I was a better hitter than Joe, but I have to say that he was the greatest baseball player of our time. He could do it all.” An outstanding fielder and baserunner, DiMaggio lost his age 28-30 seasons due to the war, and played in a home stadium ill-suited to his righthanded swing, but still put up fantastic career hitting numbers - .325 average, 361 HR (fifth all-time when he retired) and 1,537 RBI. He played in 10 World Series, on the winning team nine times, and hit .271 with 8 HR and 30 RBI in 51 games against the NL pennant winners. (In the celebration at City Hall after the 1996 World Series, DiMaggio made a speech where he singled out rookie star Derek Jeter and said something like "When you win nine World Series . . ." I thought right then and there he was jinxing Jeter, and I was right - Jeter only won five.) Of course, the accomplishment that he is best known for was his 56 game hitting streak in 1941. When the streak got into the 20s and then the 30s, he started getting national attention, with radio broadcasts interrupting their programming to give updates. When he broke George Sisler's record of 41 straight games in Washington, the crowd gave the visiting Yankee a three minute standing ovation. DiMaggio hit .374 during the streak, but most importantly, the Yankees won 41 of the 56 games, moving from fourth place, five and a half games out, to first place, seven games ahead of Cleveland.

The man: DiMaggio was known more for his grace and presence rather than friendliness or warmth. However, he was beloved by millions of fans, and his fame went well beyond the baseball field. The son of immigrants, he was one of the first Italian-American celebrities, and his distant persona was likely in part a way to combat some of the prevalent stereotypes of the time. DiMaggio served in the Army Air Forces in World War II as a physical education instructor (he requested a combat assignment but was turned down). During the War he and his first wife, actress Dorothy Arnold, divorced. In January of 1954 he married actress Marilyn Monroe, one of the most famous celebrity marriages of all time. The marriage lasted just nine months, with Monroe filing for divorce in October. The couple was supposedly on the verge of reuniting when Monroe died, presumably by suicide, in 1962. DiMaggio never remarried but was linked to numerous blond actresses over the next few decades, from Lee Meriwether to Morgan Fairchild. Later in life DiMaggio was best known as a spokesman for Mr. Coffee and Bowery Bank. In the 1990s he raised over $4 million for a children's hospital in Florida that now bears his name. After his death, Manhattan's West Side Highway was renamed the Joe DiMaggio Highway, though most people still use the former name. Few baseball players penetrated popular culture the way DiMaggio has; Wikipedia lists 52 examples of DiMaggio in art, comic books, literature, music, movies, theater and TV, ranging from Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea to Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" ("Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.")

My collection: I do not have any playing-days cards of DiMaggio. His last card as an active player was 1952 Berk Ross.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Wood vs. Wood #19

 Last time, seven people commented on the post. Six of the seven preferred the '87 card. Will '87 win again here?

Once again we have a portrait going up against an action photo. At least time the '62 photo features the player's hat. I'm so used to seeing red Cardinals hat that the dark blue hat just looks wrong to me. Meanwhile, Matt Young's delivery is captured in a standard but well-composed photo.

Both pitchers had ten year major league careers. Washburn pitched for the Cardinals from 1961 to 1969, and the Reds in 1970. A part of the starting rotation of the Cardinals teams that won pennants in 1967 and 1968, he went 72-64 with a 3.53 ERA in 239 games (166 starts). Young pitched for five teams from 1983 to 1993, going 55-95 with a 4.40 ERA in 333 games (163 starts). He pitched an eight-inning losing no-hitter for the Red Sox in 1992.

Monday, June 21, 2021

A year of Topps designs: 1975

 I have cards from three 1975 Topps sets, baseball, football and hockey. It's not hard to see why young Night Owlet and other children that year were drawn to the baseball set. The vibrant, colorful set really stands out, especially compared to the highly generic efforts in football and hockey.

How was basketball doing in '75? A little better. Not as good as the baseball design, but the picture-in-picture design is pretty nice. Take away the background and it's virtually identical to football and hockey, with the main design element being a single representation of the sport (a football, a hockey stick, a basketball). The placement of the team name is more interesting here, a strong foreshadowing of '84 baseball.

Topps put out another sports-related set in 1975. It is a "Footballers" set of UK soccer players. My first thought on seeing this set was, "Does Night Owl know about this?" (He does).

Topps put out several non-sport sets in 1975 as well. "Planet of the Apes" has a full bleed photo design, with just the caption breaking into the picture. 

The Bay City Rollers were a cool musical group in 1975, cool enough to get their own Topps set. The simple pink design is accentuated by the funky and colorful letters for the caption.

One movie set, one music set, and one TV set - that one was "Good Times". There were comic-book style cards with a photo from the show and a word balloon with a one-liner, often with saltier language than you would expect to find on a Topps card. The caption on the back of this card reads "BernNadette (Thelma) Stanis, actually a 20 year old, constantly watches her weight, being careful not to eat herself out of her 16 year old role!"

Speaking of comic books, Topps put out a set of Comic Book Heroes stickers, featuring artwork of Marvel characters. Each sticker featured some standard artwork of the character and a word balloon with a funny line.

Another silly sticker set were these "wanted" stickers, featuring an assortment of family members and professions.

Also in 1975 were sets for Bazooka Joe comics and Wacky Packages, though those used consistent designs (or in the case of Wacky, no particular design) as other years.