Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Free cards from Crocodile

I was fortunate to win a free box of cards in a recent giveaway by Crocodile Sports Cards. I had no idea what would be in there, and was happy to see that there were plenty of cards that I needed.

Four shiny refractors!

More shiny cards! The Koufax looks fantastic in person, and is probably my favorite in the box.
An autographed card? Quite possibly. The signature does seem to match other Tom Brookens autographs online. I'd be curious to know what others think.
However, there were also these cards, most of which appear to be signed with the same pen, which look nothing like other signatures online. Curt Young's doesn't appear to even say Curt Young. Though perhaps I am wrong?
Lots more cards from modern sets, most of which I needed. Some cards that might look like base cards but are actually Update, team sets, parallels like UD Electric Diamond and Special FX, etc. Lots of great additions to my collection.
Naturally, there were lots of cards from sets that I had completed already, but that's OK! I pulled out the best of those and am offering them for free, in the spirit of Crocodile's generous giveaway (and those of other recent bloggers). If you live in the US and we've traded before, claim some cards you would like (all the stars are on the bottom, but you can claim something like "I need '84 Fleers, check my wantlist"). If you want more than 3 of the star cards, please wait 24 hours before claiming more than 3 so others have a chance. You can also claim the bogus auto cards if you like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Cake or gum? 1975 Rick Reuschel

Last time, cake won in a shutout, 6-0. Will this be another easy win for cake?

These photos were almost certainly taken at the same time. As was often the case, Topps went for the tighter shot on the player, while Hostess went with the photo where the background was much more prominent.

Born Ricky, always known as Rick, and never Rickey, Reuschel was the ace of the Cubs' staff in the mid-to-late 1970s, and after losing a lot of time to injuries, enjoyed a resurgence with the Pirates and Giants in the late 1980s. He was not considered a Hall of Fame candidate during or immediately after his career. However, with the recent popularity of the WAR statistic, some writers consider him Hall-worthy based on his high WAR total. However, others remain unconvinced of a candidacy based almost entirely on one statistic. Over his 19-year career he went 214-191 with a 3.37 ERA. He did pitch for a lot of bad Cubs and Pirates teams which may have depressed his win totals a bit. However, he did make three postseasons and was quite bad in October, going 1-4 with a 5.85 ERA in seven starts. Since his career he has stayed out of the spotlight, retiring to his family farm.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #161

Last time, 1987 triumphed, 4-2. Who will win this time?

There's a lot going on in the background of Frank Baumann's card as he strikes a pitching pose for the photographer. Baumann came up with the Red Sox in 1955 and had several undistinguished seasons in Boston. He was traded to the White Sox before the 1960 season and had by far his best season that year, going 13-6 in 47 games (20 starts) and leading the AL with a 2.67 ERA. He was unable to replicate that success over the rest of his career, which ended with a brief stint with the Cubs in 1965. Overall in 244 games (78 starts) he went 45-38 with a 4.11 ERA. After his career he worked for several businesses in the St. Louis area. He died in 2020.

A lone palm tree makes up the background for Steve Ontiveros's card. Much like Baumann, Ontiveros was an unheralded part-time starter/reliever who had one excellent season resulting in an AL ERA title. Ontiveros came up with the A's as a reliever in 1985. In 1987 Tony Larussa made him a starter and he had a solid season, but injuries curtailed his usefulness from 1988-1990, and kept him out of the majors in 1991 and 1992. After a comeback with Seattle in 1993, Ontiveros made a triumphant return to Oakland in 1994. In 27 games (13 starts) he went 6-4 and led the AL with a 2.65 ERA. In 1995 he was good enough to make the All-Star team, but injuries cut his career down after that, and he did not return to the major leagues for five seasons, when he made a brief 3-game return to MLB action with the Red Sox. Overall in 207 games (73 starts) he went 34-31 with a 3.67 ERA. He is now a youth baseball coach in Arizona.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Vintage Equipment: 1970 Topps (Part II)

 There may be no better set for bat-rack shots than 1970 Topps. There are lots of great ones, but for this series the relevant cards are the ones where you can see numbers on the knobs.

Jay Johnstone: Most are pretty blurry but I can make out a #12 in front. That would make it Ruben Amaro's bat.

Tony Taylor: Also tough but I think there is a #23 in front? That would probably then belong to Don Lock, the veteran outfielder who started the season with the Phillies but was traded to Boston in May. Later in the season the number was worn by Rich Barry, who made his big league debut on July 4.
Harmon Killebrew: Some of these have small writing on them, but I can see a #22 quite clearly. That would belong to catcher Tom Tischinski.
Gerry Moses: #2, #10 and #11 are clearly visible. The #10 would be Moses's bat, while the other two belonged to Mike Andrews and Dick Schofield.
Juan Rios: There is definitely a #7, and I think #9 and #31 too. #7 was infielder Chuck Harrison, #9 was Sweet Lou Piniella, and #31 was outfielder Hawk Taylor.


Friday, May 26, 2023

1981 Topps Sid Monge

The front: This is a more interesting background shot than most of the posed photos. By all accounts it was not unusual to capture Monge smiling.

The back: Monge's actually gave up a double in his no-hitter, but the batter was called out for missing first base.

The player: Sid Monge spent 10 seasons in the major leagues for five different teams. He was known for being able to pitch almost every day and doing whatever was asked of him. His best season was 1979 with Cleveland, when he went 12-10 with 19 saves and a 2.40 ERA, making his only All-Star team. Overall in 435 games he went 49-40 with 56 saves and a 3.53 ERA.

The back: A baseball life, Monge had a long career as a coach in both the US and his native Mexico. He was elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.

My collection: I have 20 of his cards, from 1976 to 1985. I would be interested in trading for 1984 Padres Smokey NNO.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

1976 SSPC Larvell Blanks

 The card, in brief: This is a nice photo - it appears the photographer tried to get as much blue sky as possible behind Blanks, with just a bit of the Shea Stadium right field upper deck in view.

Playing career, in brief: "Sugar Bear" was a pretty good hitter for a shortstop, but fielding woes curtailed his attempts to be more than a backup/pinch-hitter. In nine seasons with Atlanta, Cleveland and Texas, he played in 629 games, hitting .253 with 20 HR and 172 RBI. In 407 games at SS, he had a .957 fielding percentage (62 errors).

Post career, in brief: After his career he was a teacher and tennis coach at his old high school in Texas. He has remained very active and is an accomplished golfer. Last year at the age of 72 he won the two-day Texas Individual Golf Tour tournament in Fort Worth, and was the oldest player in the tournament.

My collection: I have 11 of his cards, from 1973 to 1980. I would be interested in trading for 1977 Pepsi Discs #NNO.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Not-so-small transaction roundup

I've had a few more trade packages from TCDB come in this week. None have been very large, but they were all filled with some really great cards.

I recently traded with OP_Cards for a 1970 Thurman Munson rookie. He reached out to me for another trade which I was very happy to do. I sent him about 30 cards, vintage and modern, a lot of Piazzas (he is a Mets fan). In return I was able to knock off two big names from my 1969 setbuild, which has gotten down to just 62 to go. It's a nice pairing of two pitchers who would square off in the World Series that year and go on to be the best pitcher in each league for the next decade.

Another all-vintage trade with Brandon Miller. Not as big names but some really nice-looking photos. I like how Lyman Bostock's necklace color-coordinates with his uniform.
MarcoD70 sent a nice variety of modern cards. My favorite is the Sportflix card of Tino 1st Base, traded to the Yankees. That worked out very well!

Finally, I got a nice six-pack of cards from nozzlemaster. Here are four of them, including a couple of cereal cards from different eras.
The other two were particularly fun. Of all the fading superstars the Yankees have acquired at the end of their usefulness, I think Jose Canseco was the most incongruous. I never got used to seeing him as a Yankee when he was with the team for the 2000 world championship run, and I still enjoy coming across cards of him in a Yankee uniform. The other one I found browsing TCDB's various tags for funny cards. Young Joey Wendle appears to be giving the photographer the finger, kind of in the spirit of older legends Billy Martin and Frank Thomas.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Cake or gum? 1975 Amos Otis

These have been some tight battles - last time it was cake by a 6-4 score. Another KC Royal to decide on today.

Two very different photos here. Hostess has Otis behind the bleachers at spring training. There is a catcher (or at least someone on one knee) about to toss the ball behind him, and a rolling cart of bats is also visible. Meanwhile, Topps goes for a simple headshot but you get a very nice view of Royals Stadium behind him. I don't think there were many Royals Stadium shots on Topps cards of this era.

Amos Otis was one of the stars of the great Royals teams of the 1970s and early 1980s, though he retired before the team finally won the World Series in 1985. A four-time all-star and three-time Gold-Glover, he led the AL in doubles in 1970 and 1976 and steals in 1971. In 1,998 games (including a brief stint with Pittsburgh in 1984) he hit .277 with 374 2B, 66 3B, 193 HR, 1,007 RBI and 341 SB. After his playing career he was a long-time hitting coach, and is now retired.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Small transaction roundup

Got some more cards in from various TCDB members. Also have NOT gotten cards from one member - I sent him cards in March, it's now two months later and no reply, not even an indication if he's gotten it. He's logged in a few times since then, but no response to my messages, I don't even know if he's gotten the cards that I sent him. Have any of you been in that situation? Do you change status to "Problem" and/or give bad feedback? Fortunately not much of value was going either way.

On to the good guys of TCDB (and it does seem to be all guys):

BLWinborn40 hit my wantlists again with a few more '18s.

Some of you may remember former blogger Mjprigge, a Brewers fan. He hit a variety of my wantlists with this mostly-Milwaukee trade.
MViP likes to haggle, which is fine with me. We ended up with a nice-sized variety trade.
My favorites were these from the 1998 Metal set, which I am trying to complete because the backgrounds are so interesting. I'm a long way from done but when I am I think I'll do a set blog on it. I love the view of Central Park, circa 1997. There would be some more supertall skyscrapers in that view today.
This is my third trade already with Jaskau82, who further whittled down my '21 set.
Finally, here's one from eBay. It's a few inserts from the 1994 Fleer Excel set. The lot cost $1 with free shipping. The free shipping meant the cards were just mailed off loose in the envelope - nothing to even secure the cards in place. I am sure it will surprise some of the cereal-cardboard fans out there that there was no damage worse than some dinged corners, the cards didn't get eaten up by postal machinery or creased en route. And not being condition-conscious, a few dinged corners are fine with me, good for laugh is all.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #160

Last time 1987 won, 6-1. Who comes out on top this time?

Dick Stuart poses for the photographer at what I think is Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. Stuart was best known as a terrible fielder, famously nicknamed "Dr. Strangeglove". From 1961 to 1964 he was one of the best hitters in baseball, topping 30 HR and 100 RBIs with the Pirates in '61 and the Red Sox in '63 and '64. He was not able to maintain that success thereafter as he bounced around several teams in the US and Japan. After his career he hosted several sports TV shows. He died in 2002.

Julio Franco displays his unique batting stance on a sunny day in Anaheim. Franco was 3-for-8 in two day games at the Angels in '86. Franco was 27-years-old on this card, but still had another 20 years of baseball to go. Franco spent 25 years in the US major leagues, as well as time in Japan and Korea. His best seasons were with the Rangers from 1989-1991, when he was an All-Star three times and won the AL batting title in 1991. From age 42 to 47, Franco was a solid pinch-hitter and backup first baseman for the Mets and the Braves; from 2002 to 2006 he played at least 100 games a year, and hit at least .273 or better each year. He holds just about every batting record for a player over 40, or for oldest to accomplish something. Franco has stayed in baseball since his retirement from playing, coaching and managing in the US, Japan and Korea, and is currently a hitting coach in the Mexican League.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Cards from Night Owl

I sent Night Owl a PWE with some of his 1965 needs, and he sent me a really fun PWE packed with a fun vintage and modern variety.

Spencer Strider is the next-to-last card I need for the 2022 set. Now I just need Wander Franco. Might be a while until I get that one. Hardball Galaxy is a fun insert set, but my favorite is that Joe DiMaggio card, mostly for the patch on the Clipper's sleeve. The pyramid and sphere are the Trylon and Perisphere, the symbol of the 1939-40 World's Fair in New York. I've seen World's Fair patches on photos of the Yankees in 1939-40 and the Mets in 1964-65, but that is the most prominent one I've seen.

Some fun vintage too! A couple of 77 OPCs, a '75 Kelloggs Bake McBride and a '61 Fleer Joe Sewell provide some variety, while Jose Tartabull and Ron Santo help the 1970 and 1971 setbuilds.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Trade with Stats on the Back

I've been blogging for a long time, and I don't take old blogs off of my blogroll. (Sadly, Blogger doesn't seem to let me add new blogs to it anymore.) Recently, a long-dormant blog called Stats on the Back, which used to have a lot of fun posts about interesting card backs, came back up. Mark, who now runs the very successful IDrawBaseballCards twitter site, had updated his want lists and it showed up in the blogroll. I saw that I could help him out with a lot of it, and reached out to him for a trade. I ended up sending him a couple hundred cards to finish off his "Childhood Collecting" frankentset and help out with a few others. In return, he sent me a really nice package that was a combination of some of my wantlist needs and a lot of fun random cards.

He whittled down some of my needs for recent Topps flagship sets, which is greatly appreciated.

But I think going through random surprise piles like this is a lot more fun.
Some highlights include some unlicensed 90's art cards, and the Heritage News Flashbacks I'm really starting to enjoy more.
A few shiny cards.
Some more random highlights - that 1991 Fleer box card is so weirdly random. Apparently the box cards highlighted the many no-hitters of 1990, but they also would have one card that was a team logo card, which is why there is a Pirates no-hitter (they did not throw a no-hitter that year). That Eckersley card is so weird but funny. And I love getting a new Aaron Judge card!
Mark threw in one of his creations, as well as a couple of unopened packs.
He also sent some vintage needs! All great cards, but Rocky Bridges certainly stands out here.
But these were my favorite of the lot! I really like the 1970 and 1971 Topps Super cards. These are all from 1970. I love how big they are, it allows you to really appreciate the photography. I even like the clacking sound of the heavy cardboard cards banging into each other! Couple of big HOFers there in Williams and McCovey, too.

Thursday, May 18, 2023