Sunday, July 31, 2022

Time traveling - the farthest distance yet

This month's Time Travel Trade with Diamond Jesters featured the oldest cards yet to change hands between the two of us. There was quite a lot of variety this month.

We'll start our journey in the present with some current cards.

Inching a bit further, here's some from the early 2010s.
A little bigger jump, to some 1990's cards, some of which are masquerading as 1954.
Now here's a big jump, all the way back to 1961!

Ordinarily, a card like this with a square jaw and square hair would be the oldest in a package. However, it feels very modern compared to . . . 

A 1934 Goudey! This is my first ever Goudey card, my first ever non-matchbook card from the 1930s. Frank "Shanty" Hogan was a power-hitting catcher for the Braves, Giants and Senators. The card is a bit smaller than modern cards, but has a fun background and of course the awesome "Lou Gehrig says", even though Gehrig is a bit obscured. It's awesome to realize that Lou Gehrig was an active player at the time of this card's release.

I've had lots of reprints of Goudey cards, so it's so cool to have an original. Here is the back. Lots of small print, but that's fine. The bio is in quotes because you are supposed to believe Lou Gehrig said it.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Art on the back: 1970 Topps Football

I'm not really interested in doing these for baseball anymore. There were no cartoons in '78 or '79, and the 80's sets that have cartoons are less interesting to me. There are some fun ones in the football sets, though. I don't have much from before the 1970s, so I'm starting here with 1970.

Vibrant orange backs on the '70 set. For some cards you need to scratch off the cartoon with a coin. I'm not showing any of those here. I guess Randy Johnson chose the wrong sport. After his playing career his life spiraled out of control with drug and alcohol abuse. He ended up dying alone with nothing but his football cards in his wallet, and it took police days to find anyone who could claim his body.

On a happier note, here are some fun cartoons. Tom Dempsey is the former wrestler, and Floyd LIttle the special assistant to the governor of Colorado.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Small Yankees lot

I picked up a 9-card Yankees lot for fifty cents. I guess there's not that much demand for them now that they're playing poorly. Aaron Judge is pretty much carrying them single-handedly these days.

While it's a bit silly to have buyers remorse at this price, I probably should have taken a closer look to see what I actually needed. Turns out these four I already had, and there's two of the same card.

This was supposed to be the photo of the cards I needed, but it turns out I had the Gerrit Cole card too. Still, not bad to get a Judge and a Stanton, a very shiny #Trending card, and Gleyber Torres turning a DP over old friend Didi Gregorious.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Cards and vintage stuff: August 16-20, 1967

Major world news from Wednesday-Sunday, August 16-20, 1967 included state police in Mexico firing on a union protest in Acapulco, killing dozens. Alliances were made and broken in Africa as fighting continued in both Nigeria/Biafra and South Africa/Rhodesia. Pope Paul VI drastically re-organized the Roman Curia, and NASA published the first extensive chart of the far side of the moon.

In Long Beach, CA, the 27th annual Rathkamp Matchcover Society convention gathered collectors from around the world. John L. Woods was elected president, and Sam Schroeder was elected Outstanding Collector of the Year.

Nearby, the Dodgers were putting a little bit of life into a disappointing season. At the start of the convention, the defending NL champions were 50-64, 21.5 games behind the Cardinals. They split Wednesday and Thursday's games in Houston, then swept the weekend series at home against the Braves. The punchless Dodgers were winning with pitching and timely base hits - their only home runs over the five games were the two that Lou Johnson hit off of Atlanta's Denny LeMaster on Friday the 18th.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Vintage backgrounds: Hank Aaron, beginning and end

Hank Aaron had the first and last card in the 1975 Topps, and both have some interesting backgrounds. 

This card has a good use of shadow, with Aaron's silhouette ready to hit behind him. Remember when Johnny's Trading Spot used to do shadow card posts?

It was also a card on Johnny's blog that made me curious about card #660. A few months ago he posted a 2021 card of Aaron signing autographs, that I recognized as being from the same autograph session on his 1974 Topps All Star card. I realized that when Topps airbrushed his Braves uniform to recognize Aaron's trade to the Brewers, that was also from whenever it was Topps got photos of Aaron signing autographs before a night game. Topps used a few different similar photos of Aaron on cards at the time and since.


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Wallet Card at the Lining Store

412 Washington Street in Hoboken, NJ has had a long and complex history. In 1853, an Odd Fellows Hall was built here. The original building burned down in 1893 and a brick building was erected in it's place. That building was gutted by fire in 1914. In 1915 merchant Max Hurwitz bought the property and built the current fireproof structure. Hurwitz moved his dry goods store, called The Lining Store, into the first floor, and rented out much of the rest of the building to the Odd Fellows. During World War One, the US government seized the building to house soldiers. The Odd Fellows never returned, but Hurwitz reopened the store after the war, and eventually owned several department stores in the area. In 1927 Hurwitz sold out to the W.T. Grant chain, which had a store in the building for 25 years. The upstairs floors became the Palace Garden Hall and hosted basketball games, boxing matches and dances. In the 1950s Grant sold out to another merchant and the location became Queen's Department Store, later Queen's Quality Furniture. By 1979 the second floor was home to a circus school run by Soviet immigrants. In 1981 the property was sold to a real estate developer who remodeled the building and turned it into a condominium.


Monday, July 25, 2022

1981 Topps Rich Dauer


The front: Dauer is at home, at Memorial Stadium. Not the prettiest swing, but maybe the ground ball got through for a base hit.

The back: Dauer was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021. In 1974 he had 108 hits, 181 total bases and 92 RBI. The current record-holders set their marks in 1985: Tim Barker of UCF had 142 hits, and Pete Incaviglia of Oklahoma State had 285 total bases and 143 RBI.

The player: Dauer played ten seasons, all for the Orioles, and was an excellent fielder, though just an OK hitter. In 1978 he set the AL record for consecutive errorless games for a second baseman, a record currently held by Placido Polanco. In 1,140 games he hit .257 with 43 HR and 372 RBI.

The man: After his playing career he was a coach and minor league manager for many years. He was the first base coach for the Astros when they won the World Series in 2017. During the team's victory parade in Houston he fell on the stage, suffered a subdural hematoma and nearly died. He is now retired.

My collection: I have 26 of his cards, from 1977 to 1986. I would be interested in trading for 1983 All Star Game Promo Inserts #NNO.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Frank Robinson


Some great action photos, better to see the card in person. Nice shots with the Reds at Wrigley Field and the Orioles in a World Series game.

The player: Outfielder Frank Robinson was one of the best players in the major leagues in his ten seasons with the Reds from 1956 to 1965. He hit at least 29 home runs in nine of the ten seasons, hitting .303 with 324 HR and 1,009 RBI in his decade in Cincinnati. After the '65 season, calling Robinson "an old 30", the Reds gambled that Robinson was past his prime and traded him to Baltimore, despite coming off a season when he hit .296 with 33 HR and 113 RBI. Robinson responded with his best year in 1966, winning the Triple Crown with a .316/49/122 season, and earning World Series MVP honors with two home runs off Don Drysdale in the World Series. Though he never came close to Triple Crown type numbers again, Robinson was still a highly productive player throughout the late 1960s, and was considered the leader of the team that won three straight pennants from 1969-1971. He was traded to the Dodgers for the 1972 season, and after one disappointing season was traded to the Angels, where he took advantage of the new DH rule to eke out a couple more productive seasons. He retired with a .294 batting average, 2,943 hits, 586 HR and 1,812 RBI.

The man: Robinson was a tough competitor and respected leader, and in 1975 he was named player-manager for the Indians, becoming the first Black manager in the major leagues. He hit a home run in his first game as manager. Though he won a Manager of the Year award in each league, Robinson was unable to make the playoffs in any of his 17 seasons managing four different teams between 1975 and 2006, with a 1,065-1,176 career record. He died of cancer in 2019.

My collection: I have Robinson's 1966, 1967, 1969, and 1972-1975 Topps cards. I have three oddballs of his from 1969: Globe Imports, Milton Bradley, and MLB Photostamps.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

A Year of Topps Designs: 1981

Topps put out rather standard sets for baseball and football in 1981. They brought back a colored border for the baseball set, for the first time since 1975. Other than that, there was a cap and tiny ball for visual interest. The football set has a ribbon held down with either a pushpin or flagpole, not sure which.

In other sports, it was all about innovation for Topps. In hockey, the set was produced with a coating over the puck requiring the collector to scratch it off to reveal the player's name.

For basketball, Topps was even more innovative. They took the design of the '78 baseball set, smooshed it into a third of the set, and made a three-part card with perforations. 

Topps did the same thing in the UK for soccer, though with a much simpler design.

Maybe Topps designers were coming up with wacky ideas because they had a lot of time on their hands, as non-sports work seemed to dry up for the company in '81. There was only one non-sport card set in '81, for Raiders of the Lost Ark. With only one set to concentrate on, Topps seemed to put a lot more effort into the design than most of their typical non-sport sets of the era.

Though not cards, there was one more non-sport offering in 1981, an Annie sticker book. The stickers had a simple red border.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Wood vs. Wood #108

For the second post in a row, '62 triumphed by the highly appropriate score of 6-2. Will we get three 6-2's in a row?

Here we have two very similar photos, with one important difference. On the '62 card, we get a simple headshot of Willie Davis, at what appears to be a spring training stadium, though it's hard to say for sure. Davis had 2,561 hits over an 18-year career, and also did some acting in everything from Which Day to the Front to Mr. Ed. He died in 2010.

Did you know that the Brewers' logo is supposed to be an M and an B? I didn't know that for many years, and apparently neither did the Topps photo editor, as Jim Gantner's photo is reversed. That's really the only interesting aspect of this otherwise boring photo. Gantner had 1,696 hits over a 17-year career. He did not act but was known as "Gumby". He lives in Wisconsin where he is part-owner of a car dealership and a bar.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Hollywood bit players on baseball cards: Part 24

 Who played the character Terry Lennox in the 1973 film The Long Goodbye?

It's former Yankees star Jim Bouton! After his playing career ended and his famous book, Ball Four, was published, Bouton tried his hand at acting. This was his only non-baseball acting role. In 1976, he starred as a fictional version of himself in a short-lived TV version of Ball Four.

I have Bouton's last five Topps cards:

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Tobacco cards from 1910 and 1911

I was fortunate to snag a lot of 1910/1911 tobacco cards for well under $2 each. Mostly boxing but some other sports including one baseball card.

This 1911 Mecca Double Folders T201 is by far the oldest baseball card in my collection now. This card would have folded out so the owner could flip it open and have a drawing of another player that matched the bottom of the player on top. Topps later put out a similar set in the 1950s, and Fleer in the 2000s. This one is in three pieces but all the parts of the card are there. I decided to keep the pieces in the toploader they came in; they were put in very nicely and I would just mess it up if I tried to take them out and put them back in. I did take out the top part just to hold it in my hand for a bit.

Here's the reverse. This was one of the first card sets to feature statistics on the back.
The card featured the Reds' third baseman and catcher. Just for fun, here it is with the Reds' 3B and C from exactly 100 years later.

Here's the sad part, though: this card has to be one of the most tragic baseball cards of all time. By the time the card was a decade old, both men had died violent deaths. Eddie Grant played for the Cleveland Naps, Phillies, Reds and NY Giants from 1905 to 1915, then enlisted in World War One in 1917. He was killed by an exploding shell in France in October 1918, the first of eight MLB players to die in the war. The Edward L. Grant Parkway near Yankee Stadium was named for him, and there is a plaque in his honor at Oracle Park, the Giants' home field (there used to be one at the Polo Grounds). John "Larry" McLean was a talented but highly-troubled catcher for six teams between 1901 and 1915. The alcoholic McLean got into numerous fights, and his baseball career ended after a brawl with manager John McGraw while with the Giants. In 1921, he got into a fight at a Boston speakeasy and was shot and killed by the saloon manager, John Connor. Connor served a year in prison for manslaughter.

Here are the other cards in the lot. Most of them were boxing:

There were actually two copies of this Jim Stewart card. They are identical except one says Hassan on the back and one says Mecca. One copy will be going to Diamond Jesters for a Time Travel trade. I imagine others of these may end up there as well; though most of the below are open for trade for something else pre-WWII or possibly other things as well; I'm not in a hurry to get rid of any of these but am open for offers, especially if any of these cards particularly fit into someone's collection.

Jim Stewart was a boxer for several years and worked various jobs in Brooklyn and upstate New York. Like Eddie Grant, he died in World War One, succumbing to the Spanish Flu at Fort Dix in September 1918.

Eddie Walsh, "the Harlem bricklayer" according to the back of his card, had a 3-4 record during his brief boxing career.
Harry Stone, from New York's Lower East Side, was one of many Jewish boxers of the era, but the first one to wear a tallis (prayer shawl) in the ring - you can see it on this card. Stone fought in World War One, and after the war moved to Australia, winning that country's lightweight title in 1921. Stone lived in Australia for the rest of his life, dying in 1950 at the age of 57.
Billy Papke from Spring Valley, IL, is considered one of the greatest middleweights of all time, and was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. Sadly, in 1936 Papke killed his wife and himself; it is believed he may have had undiagnosed brain trauma which led to the incident.
Brooklyn's Sailor Burke twice fought Billy Papke, losing in 1908 but defeating him in 1911. In 1907, Burke famously fought Jack Johnson and lost, though some at the time though Burke was faking (there is no evidence to support that). Interestingly, the back of the card lists the losses against both Papke and Johnson as "no decision". Perhaps because they were not KOs? I don't know much about boxing. Burke died in 1960 at the age of 75.
On to track and field. Jersey City's Frank Riley, of the Irish-American Athletic Club, competed in the 1908 Olympics in London. He later worked as a real estate broker, and died in Los Angeles in 1950 at the age of 67.
Harry Jensen of the Pastime Athletic Club in Connecticut, won at least three marathons in the NYC area in the late 00s and early 10s, and placed highly in several others.
Gil Nicholls was born in England in 1878, emigrated to the US in the late 1890s, and went on to a successful golf career, winning five PGA tournaments in the 1900s and 10s. In 1914 he was named the golf pro at the Great Neck Country Club on Long Island, and was the highest paid golf pro in the country. He died in Great Neck at the age of 71 in 1950.

For those that are interested, here are the backs of the cards. All are Mecca or Hassan from 1910 or 1911. 

Part I:

Part II:

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Art on the back: 1977

I generally prefer the sets where the cartoons are about the player on the card, rather than a random baseball fact. 1977 Topps has the latter, but these are actually well done. Instead of dry stats like the Giants' all time walks leader, there was a lot of interesting trivia and genuinely fun facts in here. The pictures are well done too.

Here's Sparky Lyle's card as an example. Time's running out on the big Sparky-themed contest at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop! The prize pool keeps growing.

I found lots of fun cartoons to show from this set.

Eisenhower supposedly played semi-pro ball in 1910 under an assumed name, but this story has never been confirmed.
Odd to have Jim Bouton referred to as a television personality who used to play baseball. He never came close to having a career separate from baseball/sports.
I am guessing that the 1977 Topps Bill Russell card is the only baseball card from a major manufacturer to mention Playboy magazine.

Joe Garagiola and Gerald Ford were good friends; Garagiola was part of the small circle of individuals who watched the election returns with Ford at the White House.
Finally, ending with the cartoon about Marty Pattin impersonating cartoon characters. Kind of like the Sparky Lyle cartoons that referenced birthday cakes without telling the whole story. If you've read Ball Four, you might remember the depiction of Pattin's X-rated Donald Duck impression.