Friday, March 31, 2023

1976 SSPC Maximino Leon


The card, in brief: Leon strikes a standard pitching pose. No baseball is visible in his hand. Meanwhile, it looks like there are as many non-players as players on the field early before the game.

The player, in brief: Maximino Leon pitched for the Braves from 1973 to 1978, going 14-18 with 13 saves and a 3.71 ERA. He had a long career in the Mexican league, winining 126 games from 1968 to 1984, and was elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. 

Post career, in brief: At last report he was still living in Mexico and coaching baseball there.

My collection: I have four of his cards, from 1975 to 1977. I would be interested in trading for 1976 O-Pee-Chee #576.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Opening Day - latest incoming

Happy Opening Day! A few recent acquisitions, mostly from TCDB:

From OP_Cards:  Seven semi-high-number 1972 needs. Lots of airbrushing here. The Ryan Braun rookie card has a photo shot by photographer Phil Ellsworth. You can read some backstory on the photo here.

In a one-for-one trade, I sent a 1965 League Leaders card to zrbecker13, and got this 1953 card!
A trade with mcgral netted me the 1973 Ty Cobb card. Now the only cards I need for that set are Willie Mays and some high numbers. Appropriate that a huge star like Mays is the last one, even if he's slumming it in a Mets uniform on the card. Speaking of high numbers, that's a 1965 high number in Woody Woodward.
I also got three 1977 Hostess needs in the trade.
Some modern needs from eric51. Two players I've interviewed, but didn't have cards of, and two interesting Stadium Club photos.
Finally, a dollar bid won a nice little collection of modern cards from eBay. The highlight is the prism refractor (which I still think of as fishfractors), but I needed almost all of these cards anyway.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Time travel to 2023

It's a yearly tradition at Diamond Jesters to add a pack of the new year's flagship set to the Time Travel Trade stack, and for the last few years it's been my tradition to make the leftovers from that pack my first cards of the new year.

The bottom of the cards really stand out to me in this year's design. Unfortunately we are back to small names on the front, but the large team logo and headshot provide a little visual interest. Otherwise, these feel like the same kinds of cards Topps has been putting out for the past ten years or so.

I picked a couple more baseball cards I happened to need.
Most of what I have been picking lately is football. Here are a bunch of stars from the 90s and 00s. (And one from the 80s.)
Lots more 70s cards. Some big names and great photos from the era.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

TCDB Trade: Rob Hammond

These cards from Rob Hammond took three weeks to make their way up the east coast, but they were worth the wait. Glad the post office decided to finally deliver them. Rob sent a nice mixture of 1960s cards.

12 from 1961. The minimalist design looks great on the rare instances the Topps photographer pulled back from a headshot. 

One 1963. Topps used almost the same photo on Alusik's 1964 card. When I saw it I had to check to see if I had it already, it looked so familiar. Bunch of 1966s too.
Four great cards from 1967, highlighted by the World Series Game 4 card. That photo with Brooks Robinson jumping about four feet high is one of the best baseball cards I'd never seen before.
Finishing off with some '68s, highlighted by a Manny Sanguillen rookie card.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Cake or Gum? 1975 Burt Hooton

Last time cake won, 3-2. Who will come out on top this time?

Hostess misspelled Happy's first and last name on the front of the card, but got them right on the back. I guess the fronts and backs were assembled at different times by different people. The photo on the Hostess card is Candlestick Park, I believe - combination of green wall and orange seats. A few people starting to fill in the stands. Topps went for a simpler spring training shot. Hooton appears to be rubbing up a baseball, though the ball is not visible, and Topps was known to fake a ball in pitcher poses.

Nicknamed "Happy" because he rarely seemed to be, Burt Hooton was an unremarkable Cubs pitcher who was traded to the Dodgers after three bad starts to open the '75 season, undoubtedly while his Cubs card was still on grocery shelves. He immediately blossomed in LA, winning 18 games that year, and for the next few years was a reliable member of the starting rotation as the Dodgers won three pennants. In 1981, he was the NLCS MVP and was the winning pitcher in the last game of the 1981 World Series. Overall in 480 games he went 151-136 with a 3.38 ERA. After his playing career he was a long-time minor league pitching coach, and is now retired.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #146

Last time 1987 cruised to a 7-1 win. Will this be a tighter contest?

Don Demeter gets a simple headshot, presumably at Connie Mack Stadium during pregame warmups. Demeter was a highly-regarded prospect with the Dodgers. He hit well when he played, but struggled through some injuries. He was traded to the Phillies in 1961 and hit 20+ HR for four straight seasons. He also played for Detroit, Boston and Cleveland. Overall in 1,109 games he hit .265 with 163 HR and 563 RBI. After his career he started a swimming pool company, briefly owned the Oklahoma City 89ers, and founded a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma City. He died in 2021.

Tracy Jones also has a simple headshot, this time in spring training. He is wearing #57, a number he never wore in the majors. He made the opening day roster as a rookie in 1986 and wore #29. Jones was a part-time outfielder for five teams in his six year career. In 493 games he hit .273 with 27 HR and 164 RBI. After his career he was a sports radio announcer for many years in Cincinnati. He is now a financial advisor in Northern Kentucky.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Small transaction roundup

Thank you to everyone who answered my envelope questions yesterday. Seems like I may have been overthinking it a bit, as the general consensus seems to be that envelopes from the dollar store, Amazon, etc work just fine for everybody.

On to a few small recent acquisitions. 

Here's a TCDB trade that could also be considered a blogger trade. PKSteinberg used to have a blog, Baseball Every Night. It's still on my blogroll but the link is dead. Those that read that blog may remember he PCs Darryl Strawberry. I sent him a couple of Donruss variations he needed, and got back this fun unlicensed card, from the shortlived Showcase Baseball Card Price Guide.

A couple of recent tiny eBay wins:

A 1961 Post need for a quarter? Yes!

Two shiny cards for two shiny dimes? Yes, yes!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Envelope question (and some great cards from a great blogger/trader)

Many years ago I got a 500-pack of envelopes from Costco (Ampad brand). It finally ran out this week as the number of PWE trades I've done over the past couple of years has really taken off. Without giving it too much thought, I ordered a box of 100 envelopes off of Amazon - Quality Park brand. When I got the envelopes, I was surprised and disappointed at how flimsy they were. They basically seem like someone took computer paper and folded it into envelope shape.

I looked online at reviews for Ampad and other brands. The comments seem to be pretty consistent across the board that envelopes are made more cheaply than they used to be. This morning I went to Staples and bought a 100-count box of their brand. They're sturdier than the Quality Park, but still seem a little thinner than the old Ampad.

I was already going to address this in my post today, but it was very timely that I got an envelope with cards in the mail this morning as well. The envelope seemed to be the same sturdiness as my old Ampads, and it was packed the same way I would, in three pockets of a nine-pocket page. And yet:

Not a big rip, and I might not have noticed it if this wasn't on my mind. Since this was packaged the same way I package cards, this brings up two questions I'd appreciate being answered:

1) If you've received a PWE from me, do they ever arrive ripped or damaged? I haven't had a single complaint yet, so I've assumed I'm doing everything OK. Maybe envelopes are getting a little ripped all the time and it's no big deal.

2) What brand envelopes do you use to mail out PWEs?

On a happier note, these cards came from one of my all time bloggers/traders, Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts. And to make it clear, I'm not criticizing Jon in any way - again, this was mailed the same way I've always done it, and the cards themselves were not damaged in any way. Just luck that this envelope arrived right when I'm going through a little envelope dilemma.

The cards Jon sent were all really fantastic, not just in condition but in content.

My 1969 setbuild is quietly getting surprisingly close to completion. These take me to exactly 600 out of the 664 cards in the set. I still need most of the big ones, but Jon crossed another HOFer off the list with Cepeda.

Some more vintage variety, including some big stars on oddball cards. That '71 is one of the best-conditioned cards from that set that I have seen.
Jon noticed my appreciation for the '62 Topps football set, with its great design and action photos. So I was really happy to get a Giants card from the set! Patton was one of the Giants' best all-time defensive backs, with 52 interceptions. If you think the other card is just a simple junk wax dupe, you'd be only half right. It's a blank back! Fun little oddball to hang on to.
Thanks for the cards, Jon!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Expanded baseball cards II

 Very long bat for Casey Candaele.

The dark-colored bat looks like he's swinging a large piece of pipe when it is extended.
Same thing here.
The effect doesn't work quite as well for a lighter bat, I think.
Maybe a little better for this one.
Alone at the batting cage.
Increased foliage.
The whole umpiring crew is at third base.


Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Had three envelopes arrive yesterday. One from TCDB and two from eBay. On a side note, I have a situation with TCDB where someone mailed me cards two weeks ago and they haven't arrived. I assume there is not much I can do but hope the cards turn up at some point. The guy has a high feedback score so I guess this is just a bit of bad luck. Fortunately no big cards either way.

I've added some modern cards to my TCDB wantlist, including some that have gotten mentioned in the various player interviews I've done. I like to go back to those posts when possible and switch out the images I used at the time for my own copy of the card. 49ants picked off four of those needs in a recent trade. Three of these guys I interviewed, while the Mattingly card was a favorite of former Rockies pitcher Ryan Cameron.

I picked up a 1958 lot on eBay that is more than I would usually pay per card, $6 for 9 cards. Still, cheap 50's Yankees are hard to come by, and I'd been on the lookout to upgrade by Darrell Johnson. I virtually never upgrade cards but my copy was in particularly awful shape, basically most of the front and virtually zero back. I moved the old copy to the little pile of vintage dupes I have that are too bad to even put on my trade list. Of these the only other ones I needed were Kucks, Throneberry and Ennis. The rest are available for trade.

I did better with this lot, modern cards around a nickel each. I don't buy every lot like that I see, even at cheap prices they'd add up quick. But I really liked this Bernie Williams insert, with his 10th-inning home run in the 1999 ALCS.

Most of the other cards in this lot were needs as well. Needed all of these but the Ryan. They are all from various semi-obscure UD sets from around 2000. Hard to see in this photo but Ryan is wearing eye black. I can't think of another pitcher who did that.
These three are also tradebait.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Vintage equipment: 1965 Topps

I don't have as many 1965s as I do some other sets, and photo selection was already starting to go downhill at that point for Topps, so I only found one card with an interesting equipment note. Stan Williams was traded from the Yankees to Cleveland at the end of spring training, 1965. Williams was noted for his love of the nightlife and this well may have been the morning after a late night. Even before the Steinbrenner era, seeing that much five o'clock shadow on a Yankee was extremely rare. He also perhaps misplaced his glove, and borrowed that of newly acquired minor league prospect Gil Downs for the photo.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Wallet Card miscellaneous megapost

Here is a variety of other wallet card photos I've taken recently. A few are still from my little jaunt around the city in August, others are from more recent work-related trips. Since the pandemic I've been working from home and also changed jobs; when I come into the office (rarely) it's to Hoboken, NJ, a short train ride from NYC, and I try to take a wallet-card photo or two before or after work, as well as arrange a street trade when I can. (Sorry, to those of you who want to know more about me, I don't share much about my personal life here, or elsewhere. Hopefully that little bit is enough.)

There is still so much history poking it's way through, usually in the form of old signs, that I still greatly enjoy documenting.

The Scribner publishing house had their headquarters and printing press at this location until 1955. The building with the larger SCRIBNER sign was recently bought and will soon be torn down and replaced by a fancy high-rise.

I love spotting old Pepsi signs in the wild. This one popped up recently at a garage on West 52nd Street. Almost certainly a reproduction, but I appreciate it.
Kern Meat still exists but no longer has a location on West 38th Street where this large sign is still visible.
New York Savings Bank was bought by Buffalo Savings Bank in 1981 and closed in 1987. This location on Eighth Avenue is now a CVS.
Don't know much about "Stop & Look". Sign was recently revealed during construction. 14th Street.
Emigrant Savings Bank still exists, but it has not been at this location at Chambers Street, across from City Hall, since 1969. The building was bought by New York City in 1964 with plans to turn it into a civic center. That never happened and the building was vacant for decades before being converted to condominiums in 2017.
Craig's Shoes was one of the last remaining stores in the old "shoe district" in now-fashionable Tribeca. Craig's moved from this location in 1981 and closed for good in 2006. Barely visible next to Craig's is Mark's Aquarium, a briefly-run business raided by the ASPCA in 1989.
Bernard Semel, on Worth Street. Was an important textile dealer in mid-century US. Converted to apartments in 1979.
Rocco Restaurant was in business on Thompson Street from 1922 to 2012. The new restaurant has sort-of preserved the great old neon sign.
Thomson Water Meter had a factory at this Brooklyn location from the 1890s to 1909. These were the first mass-produced, affordable water meters. The location has since been home to a variety of other businesses, including many decades as an Eskimo Pie factory. The building's owners have been careful to preserve and occasionally repaint the Thomson sign.
Robert Gair invented the modern cardboard box in 1864. His company had several buildings in Brooklyn, before moving upstate in 1926.
The Paragon Oil brand still exists, though it was sold to Texaco in the 1950s. This was there headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.There is a great film of NYC in 1968 that really fueled my initial interest in old NYC signs. There is a large painted Paragon sign at 7:15.
More signage on the other side of the building.
Decades ago, many of the streets in Astoria, Queens changed names, including 2nd Avenue becoming 31st Street. This building-mounted enamel sign still stands, though.
The Yippies (Youth International Party) were a major part of the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s. Their newspaper, the Yipster Times, was published from 1972 to 1978. A faint sign for the newspaper can still be seen in the East Village.
Also in the East Village, signs for a decades-old children's clothing store preserved by the current tenant, the 2A Bar.
Another shopping district replaced by expensive housing was the furniture district on Avenue A. Benson Furniture seems to have closed in the 1980s.
The Provident Loan Society of New York left this Avenue A location (across from the Benson sign) decades ago. It has served a variety of purposes since (including a studio for Jasper Johns in the 1970s). It is currently undergoing renovations.
Ben Freedman has been operating at this space on Orchard Street since 1927. Though still an existing business, the sign for "Ben Freedman, Gents Furnishings" has to be many decades old.
Though not necessarily one of the oldest NYC painted signs (there is a reference to videos), the S. Beckenstein Fabrics sign is still a classic. The company still exists but moved from this location in 2003.
This Wholesale Grocers sign on Ludlow Street must be over 100 years old. The last grocer at this location, Bernstein & Wolfson, sold the building to a candy company in 1919.

I've posted other photos of Bowery Savings Bank before, but this was the ban's headquarters, on (where else?) the Bowery.
Another Bowery location nearby, in Chinatown, on Canal Street.
I couldn't find any information about "Benny M.G.", but it's always nice to see old terrazzo flooring still in existence. Also Chinatown.

Old shoe store sign. Canal Street.

The Harlem Savings Bank was founded in 1863. It changed it's name to Apple Bank in 1983. This location on Broadway in Washington Heights has both bank names on it.
A Rayco auto parts dealer was at this site in Morningside Heights from 1964 to 1993. Unfortunately the large Rayco sign was recently defaced by vandals, though a couple of interesting smaller signs are still visible.
Mr. Pupi Fashion Boutique operated in Washington Heights at some point in the 1980s.
First National City Bank changed it's name to Citibank in the 1970s. I've had a couple other First National City sightings over the years. This building on Canal Street and Broadway has been derelict for many years.
French Garment Cleaners was a laundry service in Brooklyn for decades. The location later became a fashionable clothing boutique that kept the old name and sign. The boutique closed in 2016, and another boutique called Cliq has recently opened at the site. Fortunately, the great old French sign still stands.
Old furniture store sign still hanging in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
I've posted Bickford's locations before. This one is in Flatbush, Brooklyn. This is very similar to the one near Penn Station that I posted back in 2015. Sadly, that one was recently torn down.
Lincoln Savings Bank was acquired by Chase in 1993. Nice 1970s or 1980s painted sign still holding on strong in Flatbush.
Beverly? Old sign visible in Flatbush.
Gaines Motors opened an Oldsmobile dealership in Flatbush in 1947, hanging this beautiful neon sign with a small clock at the bottom. The dealership went out of business in the late 1970s, but the sign still hangs today.