Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Wood vs. Wood #71

Last time 1962 cruised to another easy victory, getting 7 out of 8 votes. Is another '62 rout up next?

Dick LeMay gets a simple headshot on this card. LeMay was a solid, if unspectacular rookie for the Giants in 1961, going 3-6 with 3 saves and a 3.56 ERA. He was unable to replicate this success though, getting belted around in nine-game stints with the Giants in '62 and the Cubs in '63. He had a long career in baseball after retiring from playing, scouting, managing in the minor leagues, and coaching high school basketball. He passed away in 2018.

Another Giant, Mike Aldrete, gets a little more interesting pose on his rookie card. Aldrete was a PH/1B/OF who was a capable backup to Will Clark, most notably hitting .325 with 9 HR and 51 RBI in 1987. After the 1988 season he was traded to Montreal, and he embarked on a journeyman career with stops with the Padres, Indians, A's, Angels and Yankees. His final career at-bat was in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series, pinch hitting for Jeff Nelson immediately after Jim Leyritz's memorable game-tying home run. (He grounded out.) Aldrete has gone on to a long big league coaching career, currently as first base coach for the Oakland A's.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Fun lot from Canada

I picked up a fun mixed lot of vintage cards from a Canadian seller. The lot was described as a mix of OPC and Topps, but turned out to be 90% OPC which is fun.

These look like ordinary, beat-up Topps cards from '65 to '67 . . .

But these cards are from the first three O-Pee-Chee sets! I learned that the only way you can tell is the back, where it says "Printed in Canada". I went back through all the cards from these years that I already had, and found one '66 Lou Johnson in my trade box that was also printed in Canada. You may want to look through yours!
My first OPC Deckle Edge cards. They are blank backed, and have black signatures, instead of Blue like the Topps issues.
Somehow '70 OPC keeps finding me! It must have been printed in higher quantities than other years, right? I added 54 new cards to that set, and I now have twice as many from '70 as I do from the other vintage OPC sets combined.

Some big names that were in the '70 OPCs. I don't even have Marichal, Bunning or Palmer in my '70 Topps set.

I've seen plenty of Topps cards from the '50s that were pulled from a scrapbook. I guess in Canada kids were still doing that as late as 1970. A lot of these cards had paper bits glued to the back. Some of the more interesting things on the backs of some of these cards were typewritten pages (in French!), stickers, and what I think was a postage stamp.
A few from '71-'73. Might as well show the backs as you wouldn't know they were OPC from the front.
A checklist-heavy group from '77, with one big name.

And rounding out the late 70s with some Big Red Machine notables.

There were Topps cards too. The seller had photographed the cards in a random mess, and I only saw this fella in the background of a shot. My first vintage Rapid Robert!

A few more Topps needs from the '60s.
Someone was doing their math homework on the back of Joe Torre's card.

A nice oddball pickup was this '71 Kellogg's Willie Stargell. These cards were known for their interesting writeup. This one notes that Stargell "has worked in ghettos in conjunction with the War on Poverty".

Here's another card I didn't have already, but won't be going into the '63 setbuild. It does appear to be an authentic autograph, from what I can see online, so this will be going into my autographs binder.

On to the trade bait! Perhaps you are working on a team set, or PC one or more of these guys. I should have better conditioned cards to trade so don't worry about the damage.

A few other available OPCs. The lot had two copies of the '66 checklist and the '79 Morgan, and I already had the '80 Blue Jays team.
Some older Topps cards that are available. For some of these I may have better conditioned cards, others not.

Four from '64.

Some '69 Topps cards, highlighted by an NL Home Run Leaders card with some big names, and two-high number rookie cards.

Closing out with a couple from the '70s.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Getting very close

I recently decided to see if I could make some headway on my nearly complete '74 and '76 setbuilds, as trading for them seemed to be stalling out. I played a bit with TCDB and found someone who had most of my needs, and was also on Twitter. I reached out to him through Twitter and put together a very nice trade. I should probably try more Twitter trades. Here is what I got from @tbart19cards:

Two of my last three remaining '74 needs. A Hall-of-Famer and a Met - Mets were hard to come by for me as the big lots I purchased early on were from Met fans on Long Island and the Mets were missing from those.

1976 #1 Hank Aaron Record Breaker. He also threw in a damaged card so I have one to trade. Not sure which one I would trade but I'm open to offers.
Ron Guidry rookie card! It's great to see it in person finally. Gator looks great here, totally focused as he begins one of the most successful pitching careers in Yankee history. 

Five others, mostly commons, leaving me with just two to go on this set.

So what's left? Three second-year cards of Hall of Famers. In 1976 I just need George Brett and Robin Yount. I was fortunate to get their rookie cards in one of my first-ever vintage purchases. Those second years have still eluded me. And in 1974 it's Mike Schmidt. His rookie card will be a lot harder to obtain.

I'm going to hope one more time that one of you readers has one to trade, but assuming not, I'll try TCDB again, and then just look for the cheapest copies of those cards I can find online. I am guessing they can probably all be had in the $5-10 range for poorer copies.

Looking ahead: 

1973: I am three low-numbered commons (Glenn Borgmann (284), Cesar Cedeno (290) and Claude Osteen (490)) away from just needing Hall of Famers and high numbers. Once I get those three I'll start being more aggressive on the leftovers. Still need some big names like Mays and Reggie.

1972: Still need most of the semi-highs and highs. I have just about all the low-numbered commons and have a fair amount of big stars, but still need Ryan, Aaron, Mays, Reggie.

1971: Definitely trailing other sets of this era. Need plenty of commons and pretty much all the big stars.

1970: I have the entire first series which is pretty cool. Still need a fair amount of other low-numbered commons, all of the very big names, and just about all the high numbers.

1969: This set is a bit of a sleeper, in terms of being close to completion. I actually am down to less than 100 cards needed. '69 high numbers aren't as bad as most other years, and I have a fair amount. I have a few big stars like Clemente and Rose but still need Aaron, Mays, Ryan, the Reggie RC and of course Mantle.

A Year of Topps Designs: 1964

In 1964 Topps went for a pretty simple look for their baseball and football sets. The big design elements were the big team name on the top of the baseball cards, and the star border on the football cards. To me, the lack of backgrounds on the football cards is a big detriment. So much is lost with just a plain background.

The hockey design is a lot more memorable. It is very reminiscent of the 1962 Football design, with a big color portrait and a small black-and-white action shot. The hockey stick is a fantastic design element. However, the room for the action photo is quite cramped - most don't look as good as this one does.

1964 was a big year for non-sport cards for Topps, though in most cases there wasn't much work for the design team. The company put out a 77-card set for the late President John F. Kennedy, killed tragically near the end of the prior year. The set was just a black-and-white photo on the front, including this one of the President at a ballgame.

1964 was, of course, the year of Beatlemania in the U.S., and Topps was fortunate enough to have their trading card license. They put out five Beatles sets that year. Four of them were, like the Kennedy set, simple photo fronts. Two of those sets were black-and-white, and two were in color.

Topps also put out Beatles "Plaks". Plaks were oversized cards that had a funny saying or photo, and the "wooden plaque" could be detached from the card and attached to others. Many Beatles fans in 1964 strung Beatles Plaks across the walls of their rooms.

A little more effort went into the design of the other non-sport issue by Topps in 1964, for the horror TV show Outer Limits. The black, ragged background was appropriate for a set that was basically a collection of space-monster images.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Hollywood bit players on baseball cards: Part 10

Today's actor made several screen appearances in the 1990s. Among them was a 1993 episode of Baywatch, where he plays Dr. Corey, towered over by David Hasselhoff and John Allen Nelson.

In the 1995 slasher Ice Cream Man, he plays Mr. Spodak, the wimpy dad of one of the main characters.

Also in 1995, he played Major Tillman in the direct-to-video Bloodfist VI: Ground Zero. Here he shares an intimate scene with Cat Sassoon, daughter of stylist Vidal Sassoon.

Perhaps you recognized long-time Dodgers and Padres first baseman Steve Garvey? His "Mr. Clean" image sullied by personal scandals, Garvey briefly tried his hand at acting before turning to other business ventures. He also appeared as himself in many shows. I have all of his Topps cards except for his first two, 1971 and 1972. Here are Topps cards I have from the beginning and end of his career.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Art on the back: 1962 Topps

As a kid collecting cards in the 1980s, one difference between Topps and the other card manufacturers was that Topps cards seemed a little more kid-focused. The designs were a little more whimsical, and the fonts at times seemed almost like comic book lettering. 1987 Topps is a good example of that. Of course, one of the key ways that Topps indicated that cards were fun for kids was the cartoons in the back. They were usually drawn in a quite goofy way. In '62, for whatever reason, Topps went with a much more serious, realistic look for their cartoons. It's not a bad look, but quite different from previous years.

For certain subjects the more serious tone worked quite well.

I usually like to pull a few examples of non-baseball-related cartoons for these posts. In previous years these would have looked quite different, maybe a cartoonish senator on Willie Tasby's card, and Sammy Drake would have been running track in his baseball uniform.

It is worth noting that three of the four players in the above image are Black, and unlock most other years (save '56), the cartoonist actually drew them as Black. Most of the time Topps drew players of all races as white. Incredibly, they even did so in the 2011 Topps Heritage set, which used the '62 design.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

#TRENDING: cheap cards

I picked up a trio of cards in separate eBay auctions this week, all for a dime or less.

Here's a 2020 Bowman Platinum card of Deivi Garcia, who was one of the Yankees prized pitching prospects but had a lousy 2021. This card is much less shiny than Platinums from earlier years.

I don't have many cards from the 1994 UD American Epic set. This is a simple shot but I like the set.
This is my favorite one, a very shiny Gleyber Torres card. The hashtags seem silly to me but maybe kids find it fun?

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

A nice door prize

I recently won the door prize from the Collector's Crack World Series contest. He sent me a really nice selection of Yankees cards, just about all "hits" of various kinds, like parallels and inserts.

Here are most of the cards. Some I chose to highlight were a recent card of Dave Winfield as a Yankee, something I haven't seen that often, a card of Corey Kluber as a Yankee (his no-hitter was one of the few highlights for the team this season), and a very shiny Chrome parallel of Luke Voit.

Many people consider these to be hits; personally, the stamping does not turn them into new cards. So, I am happy to trade these to anyone who collects buybacks. Maybe someone is working on a '78 buyback set?

But these are unquestionably hits. Autographs of Yankee prospects who didn't make it (well, Acevedo did, just not with the Yankees) and some big name relics.

Remember the old trifecta? Autographed card, relic card and rookie card of the same person. I now have that with Tony Clark, and in a rather unique way as I have signed versions of both his Topps and Score rookie cards. It's my first trifecta of someone I've interviewed for the blog, which for me makes it even cooler.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Cards and vintage stuff: baseball and sports-related matchbooks

I recently picked up a sports-heavy matchcover lot. Here are some highlights.

Here are a few of them. The 79-80 Trailblazers cover is very shiny in person, as is the mid-60's Astrodome cover. The Giants matchcover has a '65 schedule on the back. Two copies of Brett Hull's restaurant, so one is available for trade, as are the Mets cover and the Bull Zuber cover, which I have already. The baseball card collector in me is variation-conscious enough that I consider those two Dodgertown golf course covers different enough that I want to keep both.

A really nice one for Lefty O'Doul's restaurant in San Francisco. O'Doul was a longtime player and coach and is up for consideration in the next round of Hall of Fame Veterans Committee voting.
There were a lot of college-related covers I didn't photograph, but I had to include this one of a funeral home really invested in WV Mountaineers football.
Anyone collect vintage hockey? Just like in baseball, in the mid-1930s Diamond Match put out hockey "cards" similar to their baseball issues. So I consider this a "card" and as I don't collect hockey, this card of Black Hawks manager Clem Loughlin is available for trade. Interesting writeup on the back. He is "of the old school of hockey" - Loughlin's pro hockey career started in 1910!

I also picked up a Long Island/NYC-centric lot which featured a couple of relevant matchbooks.

Greg Buttle played for the Jets in the late 70s/early 80s, a bit before my time. However, he had a gym near where I lived, so I was always aware of him, as it was the only business around owned by a former pro athlete. Apparently he also owned a restaurant nearby at some point, as I learned from acquiring this matchbook.

This low-key matchbook just says Rusty's. You would never know from looking at it that it was actually the restaurant owned by former Met Rusty Staub. It's typical of his modest demeanor. Staub was a beloved Mets icon in the team's rough years in the late '70s/early '80s.