Sunday, December 3, 2023

1974 Deckle Dating: Darrell Evans

Recently I came across a set I'd not been familiar with before, the 1974 Topps Deckle set. Unlike the common 1969 set, this set was a small test issue and the cards are pretty rare. I don't own any myself. However there is something about this set that is very unusual for Topps cards of any era, let alone this time period, and I thought it might be a fun, if fairly brief, blog series.

Here is card #2, Darrell Evans. (Using TCDB scans for these.)

At first glance it looks like the photo was taken in a hotel lobby, but it's actually in front of a building at spring training, maybe the locker room or an equipment shed. 

However, it is the backs that make these cards unique:

You have the date and location the photo was taken! This is very rare for any card set. The only other one that comes to mind is Upper Deck in 1997 and some cards from 1998.

I thought it would be fun to match up cards from the Deckle set with other cards that might have had the photo taken at the same time. #1 Amos Otis has a spring training photo in the deckle set but all his other cards that year (and checking '73 and '75 as well) seem to be from the regular season, so I am starting with #2, Darrell Evans. His '74 Topps Stamp appears to be at Shea Stadium, but his base Topps card is in spring training, also in his home uniform and seemingly in a location well off the main diamond.

Perhaps this too could have been taken on March 12, 1973. The Braves hosted the Yankees that day and lost, 10-8. The big news was that it was Fritz Peterson's first appearance since swapping wives with teammate Mike Kekich, which was big national news. Kekich had pitched two days before and was hearing remarks from the fans; Peterson, who allowed two runs over three innings, said he heard nothing. In other baseball news, Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch died at the age of 74, from injuries sustained in a car accident the previous month.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

TCDB/OCB/Blogger roundup

A few trades and a nice surprise package from a blogger in the past couple of weeks.

From robglessner on TCDB, an eclectic assortment of 1980s and 1990s cards.


On to OBC, with Mark Camps sending some nice 1962s. 

Scott Duguid went the modern route with some 1990 Leaf cards, including some big names.

Joel Freedman sent some 1960 cards, heavy on the World Series theme, and 17 1961 Topps stamps. A few I had already, so George Altman, Jackie Jensen, Frank Bolling and Bud Daley are available for trade.

Also 1960, a single card but a good one, Bob Buhl from Gunny Musgrove.

Rick Svetecz sent some 1955s, a 1959 and a 1969, most of which look like they came straight out of the pack.

Finally, the ever-generous Bob of The Best Bubble surprised me with 11 semi-high-number needs from 1972 Topps!

That Minor League Player of the Year card is certainly interesting. The award was given out by Topps. It doesn't explain why there are two different trophies but both of those trophy designs sure look familiar!

The list of winners is interesting. Almost all had a decent career in the majors but only Tiant and Grich were really stars. (Later winners include Jim Rice, Derek Jeter, Buster Posey and Mike Trout.)

Friday, December 1, 2023

Wallet Card with a WLIR bumper sticker

Reading Night Owl's post today about a 90's alternative band and record I'd never heard of, I realized it was the perfect time for this Wallet Card post. In the 1980s and 1990s, WLIR was one of the country's leading alternative rock radio stations, and many leading alternative bands were aired for the first time on this station, and their slogan was "New Music First!" By the time I became aware of music in the mid- and late-1990s, alternative was mainstream and WLIR didn't particularly stand out anymore. Ratings continued to decline and it went off the air in January of 2004.

Nearly 20 years after going off the air, I came across this WLIR bumper sticker attached to a pole in Oceanside, NY.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Overpaying for vintage cards Part V

I feel that I have been getting better at maximizing value from my eBay star vintage purchases, so I think this is the last time I will use "overpaying" in the title.

I did pay a lot, enough to give me pause, in last week's Greg Morris auction (I managed to be far more restrained this week). I actually didn't do too badly on most of these cards individually, most of the time keeping it to under $4 for most HOFers and under $1.50 for everyone else (mostly high numbers). Rookie cards of HOFers are a different story, kept my cap to $15 and wound up with a Palmer and a Fingers. I also did just over $20 on a '56 Berra, which in my research is actually a good price. Similar for the $7 for the 1960 Banks and $8 for the '55 Bowman. The overpays were probably the '63 Perry ($7 and it's not really his RC); '59 Cepeda for $5 (but it's a great photo). The '54 Mathews is decent at $6 but there is a reason I am hiding half the card (much of his face is ripped off). The backwards card is my first ever Venezuelan card, a '67 Jim Kaat ($5). Are Venezuelan cards the same size as US cards or a little smaller? Not sure if this one was trimmed.

There must not have been a lot of interest in 1966's last week, as I won auction on two of each of some pretty big stars, leaving me with some trade bait. Not in really bad shape either.
$12 was probably too much for this card, but the star power and funny pose make this arguably the best multi-player star card Topps produced.
Under $10 shipped for a '70 Mays is not bad considering it's a semi-high number.
Don't worry this was not an overpay. A rare $0.25 win for a vintage need.
$2.25 is too much for this card but you don't see '63 Fleers very often and they had such good photography, especially compared to Topps.
$3 is solid for this card, I think.
Getting this iconic card for under $10 shipped was fortunate, helped out by the seller calling him "Robert Maris".
This was definitely my favorite of the week, though. Under $9 for a '53 Rizzuto. Like the Mantle last week, I lingered on putting it away, leaving it on my desk for a few days because it is such a delight to look at. Great looking card at my favorite announcer and one of my favorite vintage (i.e. before my time) players.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

New York Times July 24, 1969

 The front page is ripped, but as you can see the astronauts are nearly home.

Some interesting information about moonquakes and moon rocks. Everything was still so mysterious at that point. One nice thing about looking at old newspapers is that you can just look online to see what happened. Turns out that there is constant tectonic activity on the moon, so detecting a moonquake was no big deal.
All-Star Game! As was almost a yearly occurrence, the NL won and won big, 9-3 with five home runs. Maybe it's just me but I feel like newspaper sports pages had more dynamic photos back then.
Kind of an amusing article about Denny McLain.
I found this article very interesting. Already by 1969 there were serious discussions about cleaning up Times Square and moving from a diverse variety of unique (and often somewhat scandalous) amusements, to a clean, modern square of office buildings and theaters. It took until the 1990s but that transformation has taken place, making for a Times Square that is much safer but less interesting. One thing that is funny is that there was a lot in the article about sign companies being concerned that they would lose out in the transformation, but everything ended up being covered in big signs everywhere, now all digital of course.


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

1986 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Rob Picciolo


Picciolo is posed next to the mall directory. I can't remember seeing one framed in wood before. Very fancy.

Rob Picciolo was a semi-regular shortstop for the A's in the late '70s and early '80s, and also had stints for the Brewers and Angels. He retired after the 1985 season having played 731 games, hitting .234 with 17 HR and 109 RBI. After he retired the Padres hired him to manage the Spokane team, the start of a 15-year career with the Padres at the minor- and major-league level. Later he spent several years coaching for the Angels. He died of a heart attack in 2018.

Monday, November 27, 2023

1981 Topps Larry Christenson


The front: Other than a couple of team-issued photo-cards, this is Christenson's only card where he is not clean-shaven.

The back: Christenson was only a .150 hitter, but did hit 11 home runs in his career, including three in 1977.

The player: Christenson's entire 11-year career was with the Phillies. The Phillies were one of the best teams in baseball at the time, so he had good W-L records despite mediocre ERAs and strikeout totals. His best season was 1977, when he went 19-6 with a 4.06 ERA. He was exposed in the postseason, where he was 1-2 with a 7.40 ERA in six games, including a disastrous start in his one World Series appearance in 1980, lasting just 0.1 inning allowing four earned runs. Overall in 243 games he went 83-71 with a 3.79 ERA.

The man: After his career he had a long career in the investment management industry, running his own firm outside of Philadelphia for many years. He appears to now be retired.

My collection: I have 21 of his cards, from 1974 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1981 Philadelphia Phillies Photocards #NNO.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

1976 SSPC Bob Beall


The card, in brief: It must be getting closer to game time. Lots of fans getting into their seats. Beall has his own bat but did not turn it so his number faced up the right way. They usually are facing the right way so I assume players and/or photographers did often care about that.

The player, in brief: First baseman Bob Beall played for the Braves and Pirates from 1975 to 1980. In 148 games he hit .231 with 1 HR and 18 RBI.

Post career, in brief: He retired after a long career at Nike in 2009, culminating as Director of Planning for Jordan Apparel. He was also a board member for the Hillsboro Schools Foundation in Oregon.

My collection: I have two of his cards, this one and 1979 Topps. I would be interested in trading for 1980 TMCA Richmond Braves #19.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Cake or gum? 1976 Dave Kingman

Last time gum squeezed out a 4-3 victory. Who will come out on top this time?

Hostess goes with the batting helmet, on the field at Shea Stadium before a game. Topps goes with a relaxed, conversational dugout shot, with an unidentified Met peeking at the photographer in the background.

Dave Kingman was the forefather of today's big-HR, big-strikeout sluggers. He twice led the NL in home runs, hitting over 30 seven times and finishing with 442 in his 16-year career. He also struck out over 100 times in 13 seasons, back when 100 strikeouts for a batter was a lot for one season. As a rookie he played in the 1971 NCLS with the Giants, but never again made it back to the postseason as he was usually the biggest star on some bad teams, most notably with the Cubs and Mets. Overall in 1,941 games for seven teams, he hit .236 with 442 HR and 1,210 RBI. He was known to be one of the more difficult personalities in the league, especially when it came to dealing with the media. After his career he owned a tennis club in Lake Tahoe and continues to reside in the area, where he raised his family. His son Adam, a carpenter and designer, won season three of the reality show Making It.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #185

Last time 1962 cruised to a 6-3 triumph. Who will win this battle of New York pitchers?

Roland Sheldon is pictured in a very green area, lots of grass and trees. This was before spring training fields became huge complexes. Sheldon was a rookie on the legendary 1961 Yankees and did fairly well as a part-time starter and reliever, going 11-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 35 games (21 starts). He did not pitch in the World Series. He struggled in 1962, and spent all of 1963 and much of 1964 in the minors, though he did return to the Yankees in 1964 and even pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in the World Series. He was traded to the Kansas City A's in 1965 and pitched OK for them for two years. He was traded to the Red Sox, the team he rooted for as a child, but pitched very poorly for Boston, going 1-6 with a 4.97 ERA. He spent the next four years in the minors before retiring. Overall in 160 major league games (101 starts) he went 38-36 with a 4.09 ERA. After his career he worked for Allstate Insurance for many years. He is now retired and living in Missouri.

Roger McDowell is also shown in spring training, delivering a pitch during a game. McDowell came up with the Mets in 1985 and quickly became co-closer with Jesse Orosco, helping the team win a World Championship in 1986, going 14-9 with 22 saves and a 3.02 ERA. In the 1988 NLCS he allowed a big home run to Kirk Gibson that helped propel the Dodgers to their upset victory in the series. Perhaps as a reaction to that home run, the next year the Mets traded McDowell and Lenny Dykstra to the Phillies for Juan Samuel in one of the worst trades in team history. Two years later the Phillies traded McDowell to the Dodgers for Braulio Castillo and Mike Hartley, negating some of the positive aspects of the prior deal. He was very good for the Dodgers through the 1993 season, and hung on with stints in Texas and Baltimore through 1996. Overall in 723 games he went 70-70 with 159 saves and a 3.30 ERA. During his playing career, McDowell was known for a variety of pranks, from funny wigs to more dangerous activities like hotfoots and throwing firecrackers at teammates. A darker side of his personality was publicly revealed in 2011 when, as pitching coach for the Braves, McDowell yelled homophobic slurs at some fans in San Francisco and threatened another fan with a bat. He later spent two years as the Orioles pitching coach but now appears to be retired.

Equipment: 1981 Topps

Can't really call this series "Vintage Equipment" anymore, but I want to continue at least into the 1980s. Will start with Topps but eventually look at other cardmakers as well.

See this post for why the defensively-challenged Morrison wrote "E-4" in his hat.

The clearest part of what is written on Jackson's bill is CK. It's probably his nickname "Buck".
Not the most exciting, but I like DAC42 on D'Acquisto's glove.
A nice shot of the batting helmet rack on Rick Dempsey's card. The helmet of #25 Rich Dauer is clearly visible on top.
Sal Butera wore #11. His bat appears to be #10, belonging to Hosken Powell.
The first full traded set was issued in 1981, in this case as an appendix to the base set. Unsurprisingly, there are a few players with number issues. Bob Bailor would wear #4 for the Mets. #17 was Ellis Valentine.
Roy Howell is clearly wearing #13, but for his picture he grabbed the bat of #4, Paul Molitor.
Cliff Johnson also grabbed bat #4, in his case perhaps more understandably as he wore #44. No Oakland player wore #4 during the 1981 season; perhaps it was a leftover from Orlando Gonzalez in 1980.
Finally, here is Terry Kennedy, #16. Perhaps it was a leftover Bob Shirley bat. The Padres traded Shirley to get Kennedy, so perhaps they originally gave him bats with Shirley's old number. No Padre wore #32 in a game in 1981, indeed not until Ed Whitson in 1986.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Overpaying for Vintage Cards Part IV

I think I am starting to get a little better at not overpaying too much, maybe I can start renaming this segment soon. Maybe a bit fewer cards this week. One in particular though I am very excited to have, even though it's the most I've spent for a card yet.

 I did better with the Greg Morris auctions this week. Perhaps it's a bit tacky to list every price I paid for something. But I was able to keep it well under $100 this round. (These were purchased two Fridays ago but have just arrived. This past Friday I was not so restrained. I guess it's not time to rename this segment.) 

Almost everything here was under $3, the "commons" (1950s, team cards, high numbers) were all around $1. I will readily pay more for a low-numbered star than a high-numbered common, even if they are equal "value". I just get more excited to have an Ernie Banks card than a Gary Geiger. The more expensive ones here were Giant Gunners ($4, awesome photo of Mays and Cepeda), Fergie Jenkins RC ($10), '68 Banks ($8); '68 Brock ($5).

 I ended up with a bit of trade bait as well. I bid $3 on two different '68 Killebrew All Stars and won them both. And I just plain goofed, thought I needed the '66 Perez but I had it already.

Some more trade bait with a '72 Joe Morgan, in a $4 lot with a Rod Carew high-number I was glad to get a that price.

$16 seemed like a good price for eight 1967 Topps pin-ups. These are very nice but are basically newspaper so are very flimsy. One big name here . . .

. . . four more here!
$8 for a '64 Ford might be a bit much. I do like the p-Coach position.
"Hustler Banks" makes me laugh. And I love the unusual Cubs uniform. $7 maybe a little high but not bad.
Could say the same for the $7 I spent on a Post Koufax.
$12 for a second-year Kaline might be a little high but I like this card.

Finally, my first ever vintage Mantle! Not a Topps base card, but one of my favorite alternative Topps sets, the 1964 Giant! $23 shipped which is a lot for one card, but getting any kind of Mantle for under $20 is nearly impossible. It's really nice to have my own Mantle card in hand.