Monday, February 28, 2022

Error - shortstop

I don't know if this is something that just happens to me, or happens to other collectors as well. Sometimes I'll see a card so many times online, either in blogs or eBay listings, that I'll forget whether it's familiar to me because I own it, or just because I've seen it so many times. I'm sure there are times I've passed on a card thinking I had it already when I merely recognized it from online. For example, when Penny Sleeves sent me a '73 Johnny Bench recently, I could have sworn I had it already, but no, I'd just seen it on every other blog.

I recently goofed in the other direction recently. I "broke my rules" to bid $3 on a lot of three cards highlighted by a '54 Topps Phil Rizzuto. What a great card of one of my favorite vintage players (and all-time favorite announcer). While I remembered the '54 Bowman Rizzuto I'd gotten from Tim Wallach Cards, I'd completely forgotten that I bought a lot with a '54 Topps Rizzuto a short time later. I didn't remember until after I won the auction. Oops! At least I didn't spend a lot. Now I've got this as trade bait:

At least I needed the other two cards in the lot. Jim Greengrass had a couple of 20-HR seasons with the Reds in the 1950s; and Johnny Klippstein won 101 games and led the AL in saves in 1960.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Kevin Wickander's favorite card

Kevin Wickander pitched for four teams over his six-year major league career. In 150 games, all in relief, he went 5-1 with 2 saves and a 4.02 ERA. He kindly answered my question about his favorite card.

"The Desert Storm card is my favorite."

Thanks! I don't have that card, but do have his regular 1991 Topps card.

Kevin Pasley on baseball cards

Catcher Kevin Pasley played in parts of four major league seasons for the Dodgers and Mariners. In 55 major league games he hit .254 with 1 HR and 9 RBI. The home run came in his final big league at-bat, though he stayed active in professional baseball until 1982. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My rookie card has Dale Murphy HOF, Gary Alexander and Don Werner on it. I collected religiously as a kid."


Friday, February 25, 2022

A Year of Topps Designs: 1989

The designs for Topps's three main sports issues in 1989 don't really have a unifying theme, other than "simple".

The icy effects on the hockey cards are a nice distinguishing feature. The football design has a little bit of stripes. The Topps design is very minimalist, somewhat similar to the '78 design.

While these were the only Topps sports cards issued in the US in 1989, there was a small soccer set produced in the UK. Another minimalist design, though it does accentuate the photograph well.

As was the case throughout the '80s, Topps was all over the big pop-culture highlights of the year. As a 12-year-old in '89 I remember all of these well, even though I didn't collect the cards, other than baseball and football.

The Batman movie was the biggest event of the year, and Topps put out a set that looked very similar to their movie sets of earlier years; very simple design accentuated only by the movie logo.

The Ghostbusters II set had another staple of previous Topps movie and TV sets, jagged lines.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set was a little more interesting, with it's "ooze" background.

Another sequel set was Back to the Future II. Not much going on here, though the border is nice and colorful. This card, like the three sports cards up top, is available for trade.

New Kids on the Block was one of a long line of Topps sets devoted to teeny-bopper music. It does look like this is the most complex Topps design of the year.

Finally, there was a Nintendo sticker set. Not much to do design-wise here other than the yellow background.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Wood vs. Wood #80

Last time '87 took six out of nine votes. We've got a good matchup this time.

Vada Pinson was one of the best hitters of his era; some people believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, in one of the great all-time seasons for rookies, the one who made the biggest initial splash was Wally Joyner; this card was a big deal at the time.

Vada Pinson is wearing the Reds' sleeveless jersey and white cap, certainly some relics of older baseball fashion. At the time of this card he was one of the great young hitters in the National League. In four of his first seven seasons (1959-1965) he topped 200 hits four times, twice leading the league. He also led the league in doubles twice. A speedy center fielder, as Pinson got older he had a hard time holding on to his elite form, and was merely an average player in the late 60's and early '70s. Still he retired in 1975 with a .286 career averaage, 2,757 hits, 485 doubles, 256 HR and 305 SB. He died of a stroke in 1995.

Wally Joyner also had a fast start to his career. "Wally World" took the baseball world by storm as the rookie first baseman helped the Angels to a surprise NL West championship, hitting .290 with 22 HR and 100 RBI. He also was famously hit by a knife thrown by a fan at Yankee Stadium that year. (That was a night game; the photo on this card would have been at one of the three day games the Angels played that year.) He had even better numbers in homer-happy 1987 (.285, 34 HR, 117 RBI), but was basically just an average player after that. In 16 seasons he was a high average player with below-average power for a first basemen, still finishing his career with a very respectable .289 career average with 2,060 hits, 409 2B and 204 HR. After his playing career he coached for a while and is now involved in a variety of business interests. He has also done some acting; appearing in a few movies produced by the LDS Church (Joyner was one of the most prominent Mormon ballplayers).

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Hollywood bit players on baseball cards: Part 15

Today's bit player had a brief Hollywood career. Here he plays a Nubian Guard in the 1970 film The Notorious Cleopatra, holding a knife to the throat of a Roman. Recognize him?

It's former Dodgers star Tommy Davis! Davis starred for the Dodgers in the early and mid-60s, winning two straight batting titles in 1962 and 1963. In the second part of his career he was the ultimate journeyman, playing for ten teams between 1966 and 1976. He was the roommate of last month's bit player, Vida Blue, with the A's in 1971, and appeared briefly with him in Black Gunn. He also had a bit part in the 1970 Western Cain's Way.

Here are my earliest and latest Topps cards of Tommy Davis.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Cards and vintage stuff: May 19-22, 1963

I'm not sure what the N.C.A. was, but they held their 80th Annual Convention May 19-22, 1963, and had matchbooks printed up for the affair.

News highlights that occurred during the convention included the assassination of Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis, the election of Israel president Zalman Shazar, Medgar Evers being allowed to deliver an anti-segregation speech on Mississippi TV, the World Chess Championship (won by Tigran Petrosian), the Rome Grand Prix (won by Bob Anderson), and Lamar Hunt announcing that he was moving the Dallas Texans to Kansas City and renaming them the Chiefs.

The local Senators had just broken a six-game losing streak the day before; they now embarked on an eight-game losing streak with four losses in these four days, at home to Detroit and Chicago. Chuck Hinton was one of the few Senators bright spots with five hits, including two doubles and a triple, and two runs scored.


Monday, February 21, 2022

Vintage backgrounds: 1972 Topps Dodgers team card

The Topps team photo cards of the 1970s are an underrated producer of some fun cards. This particular card is the only one I am aware of where the team photo was taken right before the game, with players on the field in the background. There were some on-field team photos taken June 6, 1971, the occasion of the Dodgers' first Old-Timers Day. There are photos online from that event for the Old-Timers photo; perhaps that is when this was taken as well. (The Dodgers then went out and beat the Mets that day, 4-3. Al Downing got both the win and the game-winning RBI.)


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Wallet card at Disc-O-Mat

If taking photos of these kinds of signs is "collecting", then this one was my "white whale" for a long time. I knew this sign was hiding behind a billboard on 7th Avenue and 36th Street, right past where I would walk from Penn Station to my office every day. I knew that every once in a while the billboard would come down for a short time, revealing the sign, before going back up. I would walk by every day to see if the sign was revealed, with no luck. I even one time came in the morning just as some workers were up there taking the ad off. I stayed for 20 minutes but it turned out they were just taking the overlaying ad off, but not the backing of the billboard.

In March 2020 I stopped going into the city for work. At some point in 2021, I noticed pictures of this sign going up on a couple of websites, though they were undated so I didn't know if the photos were new or old. In December 2021 I was finally back in the city and would have a chance to see if it was finally revealed. I didn't go in the morning because it was in the opposite direction of the Pepsi sign I wanted to capture, and that one would be harder in the dark. I would have liked to capture this one in the light as well, but the area is lit well enough that you can still read the sign.

Disc-O-Mat was a chain of stores that sold, as the sign says, cheap records. They lasted for a few years in the NY/NJ area. These days the sign is probably better remembered than the store.

1981 Topps John Castino


The front: This must be May 11, 1980, the only day game the Twins played in Yankee Stadium this year. Note the umbrellas in the crowd - the baseball-reference boxscore notes that it was overcast at the time of the first pitch. I never noticed that they included that information before. Tommy John allowed just six hits in a complete game shutout as the Yankees cruised to a 5-0 victory. Only one of those hits went for extra bases - a double by Castino.

The back: Castino shared Rookie of the Year honors with Alfredo Griffin.

The player: Castino started off his career in outstanding fashion, following up his 1979 Rookie of the Year season with an even better 1980. In 1981 he led the American League in triples, but hurt his back diving for a fly ball by Dave Winfield. The examination at the time of the injury revealed a degenerative condition that Castino had been born with but unaware of. Castino played through pain for a couple of more seasons but his back continued to worsen, forcing him to retire at the age of 29 in 1984.

The man: After his playing career Castino went to business school, got his MBA, and embarked on a long career as a financial advisor. He is now retired and living in Florida.

My collection: I have seventeen of his cards, from 1980 to 1985. I would be interested in trading for 1982 Fleer Stamps #230.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Ten years: The aftermath

Recently Nick of Dime Boxes celebrated the tenth anniversary of his blog with one of the biggest giveaways the blogosphere has seen. Dime Boxes is one of my favorite blogs - his collecting interests are very similar to mine - vintage, fun photos, oddballs. I am constantly seeing cards on his blog that I've never seen before and I put on my wantlist for fun or unusual photos. For the same reason, I couldn't help but pick out several cards per round - 52 total over ten rounds. I had to restrain myself from picking a lot more! I do have a thank you package en route to him, I imagine many others of you do as well.

The cards I picked fell under a few broad categories.

Vintage Topps. Mostly oddball sets but a new '59 was nice to get. A rookie card of Al Downing was fun to get. Nick described the Thurman Munson card as "well loved" - it continues to be! I've wanted that card for a long time.

Vintage oddballs! As great as the McCovey is, my favorite is Tony Lazzeri sitting backwards on a wooden chair. When Night Owl sent me that '76 Kellogg's Pete Rose this week, I'd forgotten I'd claimed one way back in the first round of this giveaway. (So in the spirit of the giveaway, I'll send this Rose out to the first person who wants it, US only.)
Speaking of Rose, I couldn't resist some modern cards of him too. I started following baseball right after he broke the all-time hit record, so he's always had a special fascination to me as an elite player, his personal issues aside.
Lots of Yankees from past and present! This may be the only way I get a Jasson Dominguez card. Hopefully he lives up to the hype. The DJ LeMahieu is a Stadium Club refractor; I did not realize that when I claimed it, I didn't know there was such a thing as a Stadium Club refractor.
Oddballs! I love the two "privilege sign" Coke cards even if they're Red Sox. I'd seen those Bohemian Hearth cards on blogs for years but never owned one. And is Tom Prince the most obscure player to get a Broder card? Probably not, though it might be a fun experiment to try to figure out who is.
Some fantastic photography of vintage players on modern cards. I'm fascinated by the Frank Robinson card, looks like the ballpark is in front of a high school.
I couldn't resist these minor league cards, like one with "Robbie Dibble" or that Gators jersey.
These would fall under "miscellaneous", I guess. There's a story for each of them for me, like the '88 Fleer Star Stickers, which is one of the few sets left that I bought a few packs of as a kid but still haven't completed.

There are all fantastic cards. This one just might be the best. I've wanted this card with Jose Lima playing bat guitar for a long time.

To my surprise, the back photo was just as unique! I haven't seen a card of a player kissing his hat before.

This giveaway was extraordinarily generous, but Nick outdid that by adding ten bonus cards! Seven were modern cards, mostly Yankees.

Three were vintage. Post cards are always a fun treat.

This was my favorite, though. As I said earlier, Pete Rose and his cards held a special fascination for me, and so by proxy did the '63 Rookie Parade cards, of which his is the most famous. I'd never owned one - until now! Jack Cullen had the best career of the four by WAR, mostly on the strength of his solid 1965 season in the Yankees' starting rotation. However, this is best known as Dave DeBusschere's rookie card, as he became an NBA Hall of Famer after his unsuccessful baseball career.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Braydon Fisher on baseball cards

Braydon Fisher was the Dodgers' fourth-round draft pick in 2018. He put up good minor league numbers that year, then lost his 2019 season to UCL surgery and his 2020 season to the COVID pandemic. He returned to action in 2021 at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, going 5-3 with a 6.56 ERA, striking out 83 batters in 70 innings. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I was reading the back of my card and realized that my birthday says I’m born in the year 100.
When I was a kid I collected cards just for fun. I didn’t know they had value or anything. I have a Lance Berkman card that’s pretty cool; it’s white and looks like leather. I don’t really know which card it is."


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Spanning the decades with Night Owl

I got another really nice trade package from Night Owl. This one spans all the decades of the second half of the 20th century.

Starting off, here are three "modern cards" that aren't really that modern anymore. The two Dodgers are from 1998 Upper Deck, a set that is almost a quarter of a century old. Meanwhile the '80's card is a 1986 Sportflics Mike Young.

The 1970s are represented by these great bicentennial oddballs! Hard to beat a vintage Pete Rose.

These cards span four decades. Fleer Laughlin cards produced in 1970 with a 1968 copyright date, featuring the World Series from 1940 and 1917.

A quartet of cards from the late '60s (I always think of 1970 Topps as a 1960s set). The Campanis is a high number.
The early 60's are represented by two great cards from the Bill Wetmore Collection. I particularly like the Barry Latman card, with the trees visible behind the seats at Comiskey Park. I wonder how late those trees were visible from that location; I imagine they were either torn down or blocked by new construction in later decades.
The 1958 Athletics had just finished their third year in K.C. It's always weird to see vintage A's cards where they're not wearing green. Their old uniforms were very generic. (I spy Billy Martin - technically this is his only card as a KC Athletic.)
Closing off with this fantastic card, a 1954 Bowman Carl Furillo, one of the bigger names of the great 1950's Dodger teams, coming off his 1953 NL batting title.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Penny Sleeve knocks off some '73s

 Jon of A Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts sent me some big names for my '73 setbuild:

As these things often go, I went from zero '73 Don Sutton's to two in less than a week. The one Jon sent is much nicer so it will go in my trade boxes (that's not a pinhole on top, just a printing mark). I now have every Topps base card of Don Sutton, from his '66 rookie card through his '88 last card. He's by far the oldest Hall of Famer I can say that for.

The other three I still needed. That Johnny Bench card is fantastic! I am now down to needing a bunch of high numbers plus these: #190 Bob Gibson; #255 Reggie Jackson; #284 Glenn Borgmann; #305 Willie Mays; #473 Hank Aaron (all-time leaders); #475 Ty Cobb (all-time leaders). Five of the greatest players who ever lived, and a guy who hit .229 over nine seasons. There's always one of those!

Jon also sent some fun minor league oddballs. Not often you see a card of anyone, major or minor league, bunting in the batting cage. And great sidearm shot for Laddie Renfroe! I'm kind of surprised nobody has a mini-collection of these kind of photos.

Monday, February 14, 2022

More from the eBay dime boxes

I picked up a couple more cheap eBay lots. One was a 12-card, all shiny lot, came out to just under a dime apiece. I do love shiny cards. All were from 2021.

Half Topps . . .

. . . and half Panini.
I picked up another random lot, actually four nine-card lots combined, came out to a nickel a card. All stars from the late '80s to early '00s. I figured with star cards, I'd be more likely to need them, and more able to trade the others. I ended up needing half of the cards, not bad.

These were the cards I needed. Highlights for me were the Jeter, and the Giambi insert. Happy to add all of them.

Here are the dupes. I guessed I would need some of the '95 Score but I was wrong. Maybe there's a card here that will interest someone . . .


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Minor league fun

I enjoy '80s minor league sets, and was fortunate to pick up this lot for about a dollar a set. Can't beat that.

Most of these lots were from 1987 ProCards. Two Phillies teams. First Reading. The most interesting part of these cards were the hilly backgrounds.

The Clearwater team had a little more interesting personality. Harvey Brumfield is missing his position (OF). Check out the guy in his undershirt sprinting behind Todd Howie. Meanwhile pitcher Travis Walden posed with a bat and got his name misspelled.
Fun little miscut action here. 

'87 Memphis Checks - Royals farm team. Not a whole lot happening here, except for the first card of Jim Eisenreich's remarkable comeback.

'87 ProCards Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers). Some blogger favorites on this team.

Some fun photos too. These guys had a lot of fun mugging for the camera.

A couple of big names stopped by for minor league rehab stints, and got themselves into a minor league set.
Those cards are keepers, but there was also an '87 TCMA set of the team. I already had this set, so these cards are up for trade. Yes, James R. Wright is the same person as Ricky Wright above.
Nothing too unusual in the set, though pitcher Bill Laskey has a bat, and manager Leon Roberts is trying to hold back a laugh.

Finally, the oldest set in the lot, 1984 Toledo Mud Hens (Twins team at this time). Kind of funny to see a serious Keith Comstock minor league card.

Comstock was serious but his teammates were having a good time. That Ray Smith is my favorite card in the lot. And the Andre Davis is an awesome minor league action card at a time when they were virtually nonexistent.