Thursday, September 30, 2021

Wallet Card at the Rockaway News

The Rockaway News published in Far Rockaway, Queens, from 1900 to 1941. Eighty years after the newspaper's demise, it's name still stands on this building on Central Avenue. A law office for many years, it is now a Pentecostal church.


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Joey Gomes on baseball cards

Outfielder Joey Gomes played ten seasons of professional baseball, mostly in the Devil Rays organization. In 459 minor league games he hit .297 with 50 HR and 267 RBI. Now the owner of PartyOutFront baseball instruction and the Head Coach for the Healdsburg Prune Packers of the California Collegiate League, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I have a few cards out there floating around. I gave the game what I had, while I had it. Truth be told I had to google search the cards because I don’t have most of them. Needed to see which ones I remember or liked. I suppose my 2 favorite card(s) are my first card & the Upper Deck quad card w/Joe DiMaggio (Brian Grant/Rich Hill). I was too young to put together the notion, “folks collect images of me..” Pretty cool and humbling now looking back."


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

1981 Topps Bill Nahorodny


The front: Nahorodny at bat in Shea Stadium. Can't tell who's more locked in - Nahorodny waiting for the pitch, or the batboy waiting to spring out of the dugout to grab a discarded bat. This must be May 24, 1980. "Naha" went 0-4 that day. The Mets would eventually win in the tenth on a walk-off single by Elliott Maddox.

The back: From the 1950s to the 1970s Rawlings awarded "Silver Gloves" to top fielding minor leaguers.

The player: Catcher Bill Nahorodny played parts of nine seasons in the majors with six teams. In 308 games he hit .241 with 25 HR and 109 RBI.

The man: He worked in a variety of jobs after his playing career, most notably as a guard at the Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center in Florida. He is now retired, focusing on his music and art. He recently produced a two-CD collection of baseball songs and stories, called "At the Ballyard".

My collection: I have eight of his cards, from 1978 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1985 Cramer #39.

Monday, September 27, 2021

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Ernie Lombardi


The player: Ernie Lombardi was a fan favorite in the 1930s and 1940s. The big catcher was the slowest player in baseball (holds the record for the highest GIDP percentage) but was a terrific hitter, twice winning the NL batting crown. In 1,853 games, he hit .306 with with 190 HR and 990 RBI for Brooklyn, Cincinnati, the Braves and the Giants. He became, unfairly, known for a play in the tenth inning of the fourth game of the 1939 World Series, when Joe DiMaggio hit a two-run single, then scored when Lombardozzi lay injured after a collision with Charlie Keller, who scored the second run. The Yankees already led the series 3-0, and the run was meaningless in a game the Yankees won 7-4, but for the rest of his life Ernie would hear about "Lombardi's Snooze". More positively, Lombardi was the catcher for Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters in 1938.

The man: In 1940, Lombardi's backup, Willard Hershberger, distraught over playing poorly while Lombardi was hurt, slit his throat in his hotel room, to this day the only suicide by an active ballplayer. Lombardi slit hit own throat in a suicide attempt in 1953, and battled depression throughout his life. Lombardi spent some time in a private sanitarium after his suicide attempt, and later worked as a gas station attendant and in the press box at Candelstick Park. He died in 1977.

My collection: I do not have any playing days cards of Lombardi. His last card as an active major leaguer was in the 1947 Tip Top set (he had a minor league card with the Oakland Oaks in 1948).

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Mike Bordick on baseball cards

Shortstop Mike Bordick played fourteen seasons in the major leagues, mostly for Oakland and Baltimore. One of the best fielders of his generation, he set the major league record for fielding percentage by a shortstop in one season (.9982 in 2002). He was also a fine hitter, with a .260 batting average, 91 HR and 626 RBI. Now the Chairman of League of Dreams, a Baltimore-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing all individuals, regardless of physical or mental capacity, the opportunity to play baseball, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I was the kid that put cards on the forks of my bike so when the spokes hit them it made a cool noise. I didn’t collect but loved getting my own cards and liked action cards with great players on them. Turning a double play while getting taken out by Dave Winfield is one of my favorites.

George Brett spiking me in my upper arm while I was tagging him at second was painful but cool to see on a card. I was as never a fan of my cards that had me bunting although I loved situational ball."


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Wood vs. Wood #41

 Last time, the 1987 card ran away with the voting, 9-1. Maybe this time a '62 will win for the first time. Today it's a battle of the Reds:

Too bad my copy of Cliff Cook's card was folded into quarters at some point, it kind of obscures the logo on his jacket. He is presumably at the Reds spring training site in Tampa. The '87 card features Bo Diaz in his catcher's gear minus mask, presumably warming up a pitcher between innings. The red railing makes me wonder if this is West Palm Beach, Topps took a lot of photos there in the '80s.

Cliff Cook was a power-hitting prospect who hurt his back and was unable to live up to his considerable potential. This card was out of date soon after it was printed, as the Reds traded him to the expansion Mets in May of '62 for Don Zimmer. He hit 193 minor league home runs but only seven in the majors. After his career he worked in sporting goods, and is now retired.

Bo Diaz was a fine catcher for the Indians, Reds and Phillies, hitting 87 HR over 13 seasons. Sadly, he was killed a year after his retirement in a freak accident while adjusting a satellite dish on his roof.

Friday, September 24, 2021

A Year of Topps Designs: 1978

 I have cards from Topps's 1978 baseball, football and basketball sets. The baseball design has a clean, classic look with lots of room for the photo. Football and basketball both have the team names going up the side, but that's where the similarities end. The football set is kind of plain, while the hoops set is "jazzed up" with an interesting font for the team name, and the small headshot photo in the corner.

I don't have any of this hockey set in my possession. It's a fun-looking set. The top left corner is rarely used as the only design element on a card, so it's a pretty unique look.

Once again, the soccer set re-used an American design, in this case the 1977 American football set.

No doubt buoyed by the enormous success of Star Wars in 1977, Topps tried to cover the movie market with four big releases. The designs on these are all very similar, with the logo in the bottom left corner and the card title along the bottom.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind has a black border with red outline.

Grease had pink borders (and green in a second series) with a white outline.
Jaws also used black, though with a yellow outline. The shark fin shape for the logo helps it stand out a bit.
Superman has a metallic silver/gray border with a red outline.

There was more variety with their three big TV releases. I have a card from the Mork & Mindy set, which features cartoon word balloons, similar to some past Topps TV sets.

Three's Company got a sticker set that was pretty similar to the four movie sets, though with a thicker outline.

Finally, Battlestar Galactica. It's a simple design; but, other than baseball and Superman, it's the only new set design that Topps put out in '78 that did not have a curved rectangle as the border for the photo.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

1973 TCMA Cedar Rapids Astros

Here is the oldest and final set in this series. According to this recent post from Night Owl, this was the second minor league set TCMA created, after doing the Cedar Rapids Cardinals the previous year.

The set is a little smaller and thinner than standard size. There are facsimile autographs on the cards. Topps used the signatures from player contracts when they put autographs on cards. I think what TCMA did was have players sign the actual photo and then reprint that. Steve Englishbey signed his name over his mouth and appears to have dotted the "i" with a heart. Despite having the signed photo available TCMA still managed to misspell his name.
Some players did not have an autograph. This is not the Mike Stanton who became Giancarlo, or the one who pitched in six World Series for the Braves and Yankees. He did pitch seven seasons in the majors for four teams.

Looks like Pancho Lopez awkwardly signed his photo along the edge. This card is the reason I think TCMA used signatures on the actual photos.

Despite Eleno Cuen clearly signing his name, TCMA still added an extra "h" to the beginning of his name.
Don Buckheister wearing a more formal outfit than on his 1974 card.

TCMA managed to correctly identify Rafael Tatis here; they called him Fernando (or Fernado) the next two seasons.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

1974 TCMA Cedar Rapids Astros

 Another black-and-white mid-70's Astros low minor league team set.

Future major leaguer Luis Pujols gets his name butchered here.
Joe Sambito from Bethpage, L.I. Pitched several years in the majors.
Manager Leo Posada got the most action-packed picture in the set.
Don Buckheister sporting some great facial hair and a rarity in baseball card fashion - a sweater.
Another card of Rafael Tatis masquerading as his (relative?) Fernando, father and grandfather to major leaguers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

1975 TCMA Dubuque Packers

 Astros minor league team.

This is not Fernando Tatis, the Padres slugger. It's not his dad, the former Cardinals star. His grandfather, also named Fernando Tatis was in the Astros minor leagues at the time. However, this is not him either. The Tatis on the Packers was named Rafael. Looks like they put Fernando's name on Rafael's card.
Clancy the dog gets a card.
Coach/Catcher John McLaren, who went on to manage the Mariners for a while.

Monday, September 20, 2021

1958 Topps borderless minis

 If you're going to try to collect every vintage set like I am, you have to cut corners on condition. Literally, sometimes. I was able to pick up a good-sized lot of 1958's for cheap because some kid in 1958 decided they'd look better without borders. 

I think they look rather nice without the borders. Almost all the cards are Orioles, Phillies, Reds or White Sox.

Trimming the borders didn't take any content away from the backs, which was an important consideration for me. The only downside is that it's a little annoying thumbing through my cards and having them be different sizes. But overall I am quite happy with them.

There were eight cards I had already. I can't really put them in my trade boxes, can I? I know most of you don't like trimmed cards, but if someone wants some as a novelty, or is as liberal as I am about card condition, I'll give some away (US only, and only if we've traded before).

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Six minor league sets

Here are the six minor league sets I referred to yesterday. Not as old as the ones I've been posting recently, but still a lot of fun.

1992 Bend Rockies. This team would have been quite a novelty as the major league Rockies didn't start until the following season. Lots of guys who got major league cards because they were early Rockies. Craig Counsell stood out to me because I don't think of him as a Rockie. Also highlighted the Angel Echavarria card (interesting composition, especially with the border) and the Joe Niekro coach card.

1989 Louisville Redbirds. There are two versions of blue-bordered 1989 ProCards, those with 1989 stats and those without. I had this set with the '89 stats; this version does not.
I didn't have these red-bordered Hagerstown Suns, though. Highlighting Don Buford's son (and Damon Buford's brother), Leo Gomez who had some big-league success, and a pticher with a bat.
1988 Glens Falls Tigers. I really like the '88 ProCards design. And, though I know it's an unpopular opinion, I really like metallic gray borders as well. Some fun cards including a pitcher batting, a shortstop playing first, and a first baseman who looks like he's going to take a throw from the dugout.
1990 Prince William Cannons. Some big names here are J.T. Snow and Brad Ausmus. All the cards are in front of empty stands except for Jerry Nielsen. I guess he was late to the photo shoot that day. The team photo is a nice touch.
My favorite of the sets was the 1985 Columbus Clippers. The GM was George Sisler Jr. The coach card is a nice touch. And some rare Yankee cards for Jim Deshaies, Rex Hudler, Butch Hobson and Sandinista Al Williams.

Virtual flea market

A couple of months ago, I went to the flea market and made several smaller purchases of cards, enough that before I realized it I'd spent a bit more than I expected. I did the same thing on eBay recently. There was a seller who had hundreds of auctions at once, and pretty good combined shipping, so I made a whole lot of bids and ended up getting some good individual deals, but it added up to a fair amount by the time I was all done. Still, it was fun and I don't regret it.

In football I beefed up my Giants collection with a few lots, including one that was LT only.

The rest featured a bunch of stars from the Simms/Hostetler era, the Collins/Barber era, and the Eli Manning era. Fun stuff. Also kicker Joe Danelo with his hands down his pants in one of the funnier cards I've seen in a while.
Some highlights from a lot of 50 stars that I got for just $6. Some cool vintage, and some big stars, including Payton, Karras, and even OJ!

Most of my focus was on baseball. Like the Giants, I picked up some cheap Yankee lots. They were less junkwax-heavy than I thought. I was particularly attracted to the cards from the Renata Galasso '61 Yankees tribute in the design of the '61 Topps set, and the '89 Score Yankees set, neither of which I had owned a card from before. To my surprise, the Catfish Hunter '76 SSPC was not a standard card from the set, but a promo card with instructions on how to order the set.

Like Lawrence Taylor, I was able to snag a lot of Jorge Posada cards. Today's Yankees could use players with the kind of intensity Jorge brought to the game.
Some minor league sets that will be fun to open.
Eighteen random autographs. I'm not an autograph collector but I do get the appeal of an on-card auto, particularly of a card that was not issued as an autograph card.

I was able to snag some vintage, of the "parallel" kind. All of these came to about 15 cents a card. Here's a lot of '75 Topps minis.

And some more vintage O-Pee-Chee's! One lot was a mixed group from throughout the '70s. There were a lot of 1970, which thankfully were mostly different from the 1970 lot I bought a couple days earlier. There were also 10 1976's, one 1977 . ..

. . . a bunch more 1978, and six from 1974. There were the first '74, '76, and '77 OPC in my collection.
Here are the backs of the '74s. I'd never seen '74 OPC backs before! I love the dark green backs of 1974 Topps, but these are pretty nice too. Unlike most bloggers I like yellow baseball cards.
Speaking of alternative yellow backs, here's one more lot I won, 1971 O-Pee-Chee.