Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Yearbook stickers

I got all the Topps sticker yearbooks a few years ago, and while I don't go seeking out the stickers, if I can find a little lot like this one, about 25 stickers for a buck, I'll go for it. There were several years represented.

1982 had the most, including the base and all-star versions of George Brett.

Five from 1983.

One each from '84, '85 and '86. That '85 Gary Matthews card at Wrigley Field is awesome, one of the best sticker photos I've ever seen. What a great card it would have made! I love the view of the house in the background.

Finally, a few from '87.

And, after sticking the stickers in the yearbooks (i'ts still fun!), here is what is leftover to trade. Two Chris Chamblisses, Ellis Valentine, Johnny Bench and Terry Puhl.

Monday, May 30, 2022

'63s and stuff

I picked up a little lot of '60s cards for about sixteen cents a card. Worth it to me because there were '63's and those are so hard to get cheap. I needed all six '63s in the lot.

There were 21 other cards in the lot. How many did I end up needing? Turns out, just one. At least it was a Yankee!

So, 20 cards to trade. Some of these are pretty rough but I might have better conditioned versions to trade instead. Mostly '67s. Used to be that whenever I had '67s available they'd get snatched up immediately. Not as much lately, but hopefully there are cards here someone needs. I recently read somewhere that the first series of '67s have no dot between the player's name and position. I'd never noticed that before! One column here of first series, one of other series.

Here are the rest of the traders. Stargell is the big name here. Not sure I'm going to want to switch this one out. Maybe.

Time traveling through the Archives

The last few years I have gotten my first "pack" of the Topps base set via the Diamond Jesters Time Travel Trades. This time I got a pack's worth of 2021 Topps Archives. It makes sense as the set is kind of a "time travel" of Topps sets past, present and future. I see 1957, 1962, 1973, 1983, 2001, 2012 and, I guess, 2091. The 2012 has gold foil instead of silver foil which looks pretty good. Nothing on the 2091 card is anything that wasn't seen on cards in the late 90s. I imagine 2091 Panini will be a lot more interesting but suffer from the lack of logos.

Two other "modern" cards, one from 2021 and one from 1980.

Lots of vintage, too. Six from the real '62 set.

And six horizontal cards from '60 and '61. I just got a '60 Giants team card the other day, so this one is up for trade.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

A Year of Topps designs: 1968

Topps went with the burlap look for their '68 baseball set, a bold yet controversial move that no card company has repeated. Football, on the other hand, had a classic but simple design of diagonal shapes along the border, a look they used multiple times in '68.

As was customary, Topps's hockey design featured the player superimposed on a generic hockey scene. Topps went all-horizontal for the '68 set, and had a footer for the player information very similar to what was on the football design.

Topps also tested out a basketball set, which looked a lot like 1960 Leaf baseball, but the set did not get a full release. 

Topps put out a few non-sport sets in '68. For example, there was the hot rod set which featured a design that looked a lot like the football and hockey sets.

Land of the Giants was a short-lived TV series that got the card treatment. This style is very reminiscent of other TV and movie sets of this era.
Another simple design, Target: Moon cashed in on moonshot hype, but the set covered a wide range of space topics. Like this one - what the hell?

Finally, Topps was able to ride the wave of the enormously successful TV show Laugh In. With word bubble gags, this set is more reminiscent of the company's gag cards than their TV show cards.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Wood vs. Wood #93

Last time '62 won easily, 7-1. Who will triumph this time?

Topps may have insisted on calling him John, but he was always known as Johnny Blanchard. He gets a classic photo holding four bats with the Yankee Stadium facade in the background. Called "the most famous third-string catcher in history", Blanchard sat behind Elston Howard and Yogi Berra on the Yankees' depth chart but managed some big moments. He was a reliable pinch hitter with considerable power. In 1961 he hit 21 home runs in 243 at-bats, including four straight at one point, and hit .400 with two home runs in the World Series. Overall, in 516 games, mostly with the Yankees, he hit .239 with 67 HR and 200 RBI. After his career he owned several business in the Minneapolis area. He died in 2009.

Jim Leyland never played a game in the major leagues, but he managed 3,497 of them. He gets a pretty good dugout pose, with some overturned yellow helmets in the foreground. He was barely over 500 as a manager (1,769-1,728, .506 winning percentage) but had several significant highlights, most notably winning the World Series for the Marlins in 1997, and pennants for the Tigers in 2006 and 2012. He also won three straight NL east titles for the Pirates, 1990-1992. He is now a special assistant for the Tigers.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Big rulebreaker lot

28 cards for 28 bucks. That's a big violation of the "quarter a card" rule. I think it was worth it. There was one card in the lot that I always knew I would break the rules for, then there was a second which made it an easy decision.

Let's start with the trade bait. I already had 9 cards in the lot (which covered 1959-1963). These five from '62 are up for trade.

And these four from other years. The 1960 Topps Yankees team card is a pretty good one. Most of these cards are in good shape.
On to the new cards for me. Starting with these two from 1959.
Five from 1960 including my first World Series cards from that set. They are really great looking. In a comment yesterday, Brett Alan mentioned that the '61 Post Maury Wills could be considered his rookie card. A year earlier, he was quite prominent on the "Luis Swipes Base" card.
One card from '61, and it's fantastic. Who cares about an inconsequential corner when you have Mays AND Clemente?
Skipping ahead to '63 for a moment. J.C. Hartman was known as "Spider" for his long arms and legs. You can see that clearly in his photo. He was the first Black Houston Colt .45 and later the first Black supervisor in the Houston Police Department. At the age of 88 he is still very active in the Houston community.

Finally, on to the '62s. The Kubek Makes the Double Play card is a fun one.

Some big star power on these cards - Elston Howard, Al Kaline, Warren Spahn.

But this was the one that I was looking for. Of all the non-base vintage Mantle cards out there, this was the one I wanted the most. Is there a better League Leaders card in all of history than the one that documents the legendary 1961 home run race? I guess the circle penciled around Maris brought the price down for this one, but to me it just accentuates his victory.

The back is fascinating. Six players with over 40 home runs, but nobody between 30 and 41. Only one grand slam for Mantle, and none for Maris. With the DH still years away, there weren't as many baserunners for players near the top of the order to drive in.

If I wasn't sure whether to pull the trigger after seeing this card, I was convinced when I saw this card in some of the last photos of the lot. It's a little rough but still looks great. As a kid, I had the Dover reprints book and had a reprint of this card, it's still burned in my brain like some other cards in that book ('65 Clemente, '57 Ted Williams, '63 Mantle for example). It's amazing to me that I now own a real '62 Ernie Banks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

1961 Post

I picked up a lot of '61 Post for a bit more than I usually pay for vintage - right at $0.50 a card. I went that high because there were some reasonably big stars. Not something I'd do all the time, but once in a while I'll do it.

Whitey Ford was the big draw for me. Didn't realize the card would look quite so bad in person, but I'm OK with it.

Four other big stars. Wills and Flood who are not in the Hall of Fame are arguably bigger stars than Aparicio and Fox who are. Still, nice to have them all. It's cool that Post numbered Aparicio and Fox back-to-back too. Wills has the same water damage or whatever it is that the Ford has.
The rest of the bunch. All "commons" but no card this old is really a common, in my eyes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Art on the back: 1974

The 1973 set was an all-time great set for cartoons on the back. In 1974, despite getting only half the room on the card back from the previous year, Topps artists still had a lot of fun, creative cartoons that often looked at the "regular" side of the players on the cards.

Once again I found no shortage of fun cartoons to highlight.

The cartoon about Tom Timmerman being eligible for his MLB pension is an odd choice - there was nothing else interesting about him? He was 33 at the time.

Notice the "likes to read comics" cartoon is almost exactly the same as the one I showed earlier.
Willie McCovey got a better comics cartoon. Meanwhile, Ron Santo is Batman.

Another Ron Bryant teddy bear sighting.
Remember in '73 when Bobby Bonds was an 1890s white man? This time it's Willie Stargell. And in case you don't know about Sparky Lyle and birthday cakes - read this Night Owl post from 2010. (I did a quick Google search on Sparky Lyle and birthday cakes, well known to old Yankee fans, and of course one of the first things that pops up is Night Owl posting about this very card!)

Monday, May 23, 2022

Hollywood bit players on baseball cards: Part 21

Half Nelson was a 1985 TV movie, a pilot for a short-lived TV series about a vertically-challenged New York cop played by Joe Pesci. In this scene you can see Pesci in a club with three athletes cameoing behind him. Left and center are former NFLers John Matuszak and Fred Williamson. Do you recognize the baseball player on the right?

It's former Dodgers star Jerry Reuss! Reuss was also credited as appearing in another short-lived crime series, 1991's P.S. I Luv You.

Here are Reuss's first and last major league cards.