Saturday, December 31, 2022

Some '73 high numbers

I completed a nice little vintage trade with a TCDB user named woodmangb. I sent him some of his vintage needs, and he sent me back some '73 high numbers. Right now my only wants up on the site are for 1973 as that is the set I am closest to finishing, but in 2023 I plan to put the rest of my vintage wants and my priority modern wants on there.

Here are the seven cards I got in the trade. Looks like I forgot to update the site at one point because two of them I had already, Hickman and Newman. Oh well, maybe a blogger will want them, and if not they will be pretty good trade bait on TCDB.

My favorite of these by far is Twins pitcher Bill Hands, who by the miracle of airbrushing is pitching an interleague game at Wrigley Field a quarter of a century before the start of interleague play.

Friday, December 30, 2022

A Year of Topps Designs: 1956

Topps gave the images plenty of space to shine in 1956. In baseball, Topps improved on their 1955 design by including the backgrounds in the action photos, going from a good design to an all-time great. Unfortunately, football replaced the backgrounds with a wall of solid color, making it seem quite dull in comparison.

Topps didn't put out any other sports cards in 1956, but did very well in the non-sport area. They put out a set for the biggest celebrity of 1956, and one who certainly had some staying power. The 1956 sets really emphasized the photography, with usually just one simple design element for the name of the card. Such was the case with the set that capitalized on the most popular celebrity in America. The Elvis set used a simple guitar logo for it's design.

If Elvis was the biggest star for teens and adults, the biggest star for children was Davy Crockett, and Topps put out a set for that TV show with a simple design as well.

Topps also capitalized on Western fever with a historical set of notable names and scenes from the old west, called Round Up. The design was very similar, a simple text box over the picture.

Round Up was one of several educational sets Topps put out in '56. Flags of the World continued the pattern of a simple text box in a picture-dominated design.

Jets featured photos of the top flying craft of the day. The red border at the bottom is the only color border of any kind for Topps in '56.
The US Presidents set featured a painting of the President as they were in the office, with the background being a drawing of an event from earlier in their life. The banner with their name, coupled with the Presidential logo, makes this one of the more involved designs for Topps in a year where their sets were simple but quite effective.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

TCDB Trade: Torcato

I pulled off a nice little TCDB trade with a member named Torcato. I sent him ten cards, mostly minor league cards, and he sent me ten needs for my 2014 Topps set. I still need 36 cards from that set, more than any other set between 1973 and 2017 (though '73 and '09 are close).

Nice variety of photos here, and everyone here had a solid major league career. Hopefully Nelson Cruz signs on with someone and gets a shot to make a run at 500 HRs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Wood vs. Wood #124

Last time 1962 came out on top, 4-2. Who will win this time?

Some great serendipity here, with a pair of Twins relievers at #124.

Bill Pleis poses for the photographer at Yankee Stadium. Pleis was coming off a solid rookie season in 1961 where he went 4-2 with a 4.95 ERA. He was a part of the Twins bullpen throughout the early and mid-1960s, sometimes splitting the season with AAA Vancouver. In 190 big league games, all for the Twins between 1961 and 1966, Pleis went 21-16 with 13 saves and a 4.07 ERA. After his career he was a longtime scout for the Astros and Dodgers, and is now retired. His son Scott was a longtime Tigers scout and executive but was fired this October.

While this was a rookie card for Pleis, Fontenot's was his sunset card. An August trade acquisition from the Cubs, Topps rather awkwardly airbrushed a Twins uniform and cap over Fontenot's Cubs outfit. Fontenot came up with the Yankees as a starter in 1983 and had immediate success, going 8-2 with a 3.33 ERA. He struggled in 1984 (8-9, 3.61) and was traded to the Cubs, where he did even worse in 1985 (6-10, 4.36). The Cubs moved him to the bullpen in 1986 where he did OK (3-5, 3.86, 2 saves) and traded him to Minnesota in August, for whom he was pretty bad (0-0, 9.92 ERA in 15 games). He signed with the Giants in 1987, was released in spring training, was picked up by the Astros and spent the season in the minors, never again reaching the major leagues. He is now a Business Development Manager for Polaris Engineering & Construction in Lake Charles, LA.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Vintage equipment: late 1950s Topps

Writing on equipment doesn't seem to have been very common in the 1950s. It was only in 1954 that players were banned from leaving their gloves on the field when their team was batting, and nobody seemed to worry about what would happen to their equipment. I did find a couple of interesting bits on equipment in my oldest cards.

There is a lot of writing on this card, but the writing on the glove is from the actual photo. This is the earliest card I have where a player's name is written on his glove.

Most bat knobs did not have a number on them in the 1950s cards I looked at. There were a small number that did, and the bat belonged to the player on the card. The first exception that I found was Chicago's #17, Earl Torgeson. The bat knob is black, with a white #1. Did the bat belong to #1 Jim Landis? Or was there another reason for the strange bat knob?
My suspicions that the bat did not really belong to #1 deepened with the 1960 Topps card. Both Rocky and Tito have bats that appear to say #1, one of them a white-on-black variety. Did these both belong to Billy Martin, #1 on the '59 Indians? Or do the markings mean something else? (Seems hard to believe anyone would just go stealing Billy Martin's bats, though I suppose these two big guys could handle him in a fight.)

Monday, December 26, 2022

Odds and ends

There have been a fair amount of cards trickling in in ones and twos, not enough for a post by themselves, but enough to fill one out all together.

Everyone's been posting their 1991 Fleer holiday gifts from Baseball Card Breakdown. Here is mine:

Here it is without the Santa overlay. I'm the rare person who actually likes the yellow borders on '91 Fleer, but this is a fun variant. Thanks Gavin! (And now I know why he asked me for some 1991 Fleer star cards a few months ago, for a "special project". Glad to have helped with it.)
Everything else here was a cheap eBay pickup. I broke my rules for a $2 1971 Topps Willie Mays. The seller had worded it very poorly. Mays's name was nowhere in the title or description, so my bid ended up being the only one. It's a semi-high number of an all-time great, so I'm happy to pick up a pretty good copy so cheaply.
On the other end of the spectrum were these 1988 Kmart cards. 1982, 1989 and 1990 Kmart seems to be very plentiful, other years much less so. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the red of the card bleeds into the white areas alot, most notably in the Kmart logo. It's like white socks that were washed with a red shirt. Still, for a buck, it was nice to get some cards I still needed from the era when I first collected.
Sometimes you just have to grab cards you've never seen before. Ordinarily, I'd never spend a dollar on just three modern cards, but these bright pink Broder-style Bo Jackson cards were certainly worth it. In person those borders might be the brightest I've ever seen on a card. I think these are my favorite cards in this post.
Last one here is a panel of cards from a 1991 Baseball Cards Magazine issue. Whole thing cost $0.20 shipped. I've got a soft spot for those unlicensed ripoffs of vintage Topps designs. I already had Jefferies but the rest were new to me. And yes, I cut them out after taking the photo.
The backs are worth a look too, with some pretty good cartoons, especially for Jefferies and Zeile.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

1964/1965 lot

I picked up a lot of 1964 and 1965 cards that managed to fall into my quarter/card vintage requirements, while still having some cards that I needed. There's a lot more trade bait than needed cards, but they're in good enough condition that I wouldn't be embarrassed sending any of these out in a trade.

Ten needs from 1964 Topps. The league leaders with Koufax and Marichal is definitely the highlight, though there are also some great Polo Grounds background on Roseboro and Kuenn's cards. Fritz Ackley shares a rookie card with Don Buford, and the next year would share one with Steve Carlton. He was hardly a real prospect though - a 10-year minor leaguer at this point, who would total five major league appearances.

Lots of '64's available to trade, mostly commons and almost all between #1-111.
My '65 setbuild is well behind others of the era, and I was able to add 12 more cards to my set with this lot. My favorite by far is the AL ERA leaders card. The NL card only had two players on it because the #3 man in ERA, Chris Short, did not have a Topps contract. I'm guessing Topps wanted the two leagues' cards to match, so #3 Whitey Ford was not included on this card. Still, there are two great photos with nice Stadium backgrounds, most particularly that great scoreboard behind Dean Chance, with the huge Hamm's Beer ad and the Longines clock, once a staple of most big league scoreboards. I'm not sure of the location but it's a great card, one I've wanted for a while. The other cards are really nice too, including Hoyt Wilhelm, Steve Hamilton with a Mel Stottlemyre cameo, and an early Pete Rose appearance on the Reds team card.
Got some '65 tradebait too, ranging from a Sandy Alomar rookie card to a couple of Hall of Fame pitchers.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

1989 Sportflics from Crocodile

I traded some cards to Crocodile Sports Cards and he sent back a very nice package of 1989 Sportflics, with probably over half of the set. I enjoy the original years of Sportflics a lot and will put this and 1990 up on my wantlists along with the others.

It's tough to show off Sportflics in photo form, but here are some of the biggest stars from what he sent me.


Friday, December 23, 2022

Holiday cheer from Wax Pack Wonders

Jeff from Wax Pack Wonders surprised me with a fun trio of vintage baseball cards.

There are a couple of mismatched socks on top (one big and white, one small and red). And Joe Ferguson is one of my remaining 1973 high number needs! Thanks Jeff!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Dime Box giveaway cards and more

Dime Boxes recently had another very generous giveaway. Nick has so many great cards in these giveaways that it is hard to restrain myself, but at the beginning I claimed "only" nine cards. Then I waited for the picking to die down and claimed some more, and Nick surprised me with many extras too! I didn't feel too bad about picking a lot of cards, because now that my tradelist is mostly up on TCDB, I can attack people's PCs better. I was getting tapped out on Nick's mini-collection needs, but was able to send him a 200-count box of PC cards this time.

Of the initial cards I picked, I think only two would likely to have had a lot of demand from others, the two vintage Dodger oddballs. And the Dodger fans probably would have had them already. The other cards nobody else would have liked anyway, six Yankees and Bryce Harper. (Harper I don't have any strong feelings about, I just really liked that photo.)

I waited and watched while others picked, then when 24 hours went by with nobody picking, I claimed a bunch more, like these oddballs. Really surprised that another vintage Garvey had slipped through.
I also claimed these three shiny cards. I didn't realize the Yount card would be shiny until I had it in hand, just thought it was a cool photo.
Some more miscellaneous fun cards that were left over. The Bryant is my first TBT card, I find that concept very interesting (the concept of using old designs from outside of baseball, not the concept of making them expensive online exclusives). And the mystery Yankee on the Conlon card turned out to be Leo Durocher, which is pretty cool.
Nick packed the bubble mailer with a lot more fun cards! There were many Yankee cards, and I needed most of them.
These were my favorites. Somehow I have very few '85 Donruss Highlights. Torres and Cole are my first time seeing '22 Topps Fire, and I actually like the graphics. That '90-Leaf style Jasson Dominguez is a real licensed card, though it looks and feels like a custom card, below the quality of the stuff defgav or gmixo put out. Hopefully Dominguez lives up to the hype and I'll be able to enjoy the card for more than just it's cheesiness.
Not every extra card was a Yankees. Some great oddballs here, including another vintage Garvey! The Kiki Cuyler is from Old Style Beer. Oddly enough I can't think of any card sets from beer companies, though I'm sure there must be some.
Thanks Nick!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Johnny's Trading Spot Contest winnings

Participation is getting better on the Johnny's Trading Spot daily contests. There were 19 comments on the last post, triple what there used to be. Looks like the prizes keep getting better too!

Eight of the cards in the envelope were vintage Kellogg's. I already had Blomberg and Ryan, the rest are all new to me and greatly appreciated!

This was just as cool as the cards. It's a wallet-sized 1980 schedule for the NY Giants. Phil Simms is on the cover, having just completed his rookie season. #45 and #28 in the background are Alan Caldwell and Beasley Reece. Reece was a bit of a star for the Giants for a while. First National State Bank was acquired by another bank in 1983, and through a series of further mergers, is now Wells Fargo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Wallet card at some defunct appliance stores

In my recent Pennysaver post I mentioned Friendly Frost stores. Friendly Frost was once one of the largest appliance chains in the US, but it went out of business in the early 1980s. Their former location in Park Slope, Brooklyn, still has painted signs on two walls. "It's Friendly Frost for lowest cost!" Check out the appliance brands, most of them long gone: RCA Victor, Bendix, Admiral, Frigidaire, General Electric.

As you can see they also sold furniture, as well as other merchandise such as gardening supplies. They even owned some radio stations at one point.
ABC Electrical and Appliance on Canal Street in Manhattan was not a chain, it was a single store that closed back in 2004. The sign prominently advertises Zenith Appliances, which went out of business in 1999, and the sign probably dates back 20-30 years before that.
A more familiar New York-area appliance retailer was The Wiz, AKA "Nobody Beats the Wiz" (the company changed their name to their slogan. At it's peak they had 80 stores, mostly in the Tri-State area. They went out of business in 2003. This painted sign, likely from the early '80s, is on 14th Street in Manhattan.


Monday, December 19, 2022

1986 Topps stickers lot

My introduction to major league baseball came via the 1986 Topps sticker book. It was the first baseball thing  I collected, any my first introduction to most players active in 1986 when I started following baseball came from these stickers. Unfortunately I did not keep my old sticker books but I have new ones for all of the 1980s Topps baseball sets and have occasionally been adding stickers. Sadly I did not have many for my favorite book, 1986, but I was able to somewhat rectify it with a lot of over 100 stickers for just $2 shipped.

In 1986 I collected maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of the stickers, so most of these photos are very familiar and bring back fond memories. It is also fun to see stickers I never got the first time around.

Pulling out a few of my favorites. SO many interesting poses like Mike Davis sitting almost cross-legged as he stretches, Herm Winningham looking like he's falling down, crawling to the base. One-armed Willie Hernandez. Willie McGee with stats written on the bill of his cap. Chet Lemon being interviewed. Etc etc
There was some duplication in the lot, and I had a few already. When I was done putting stickers in the book, these were left over as trade bait. Hopefully these will be useful for someone else's collection!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

1956 football lot

I picked up a lot of 32 cards from the 1956 Topps football set for just 6 dollars shipped. It was so cheap because the cards are trimmed, but I don't really mind. On the front you are missing the white borders; just a little bit of the text on the back, most notably the last digit of the birth years.

All in all it's a nice representative sample of the set, which is quite reminiscent of the 1958 baseball set.

Here are some of the bigger names. The only Giant in the set was a good one, and I'm glad Hall-of-Famer Elroy Hirsch has a photo that lives up to his "Crazy Legs" nickname.
These, however, were the best cards in the lot. Both are rookie cards of Hall-of-Famers, and even in their condition are easily worth more than the price of the whole lot.

Modern cards can be fun

I rarely pick up lots of cards from the last few years, which are shaping up more and more to be a second junk wax era. Still, I liked this lot of 20 I picked up for $2.

Six cards of teams on opening day.

Six cards of players relaxing in spring training. Two of these are Yankees now.
The most fun were these of ballpark traditions, like the Yankees groundskeepers doing YMCA each game.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Cards from a box of tea

I picked up a lot of 22 cards on eBay for $3.25. Free shipping. So how did the seller save money shipping the cards? He stuck them in a box of tea he probably took out of the garbage, stuck the cards in (in toploaders at least), closed the box, and mailed it off without even sealing it! The box arrived open but miraculously all the cards were there and undamaged. Nice work by the post office there.

The reason I bought this lot was these four cards: My first ever 1977 Topps cloth stickers! Some big names, too.

The rest of the cards were modern, though almost all were stars of the past. These 11 I also needed. My favorites are the Roger Maris cards.
These seven cards are trade bait. Hall of Famers all.