Monday, July 31, 2023

Expanded baseball cards XIII


Vintage epuipment: 1974 Topps

Vicente Romo's glove has #15, but he never wore that numbers. He wore #44 in 1973. The only Padre to wear that number at the time had been Dave Roberts, a left-handed pitcher, so that wasn't his glove. Not clear whose it is, though.

Oscar Gamble wore #23 for the Indians, but his batting glove is #14. That number was worn by teammate Chris Chambliss.
This is the oddest one - Jackie Brown came up with the Senators, and was still with the organization when they moved to Texas. He spent all of 1972 in the minors, but came back to the big leagues for good in July of 1973. Even though he got into 25 games that season with the Rangers, I guess Topps only had old photos of him with the Senators. Brown wore #23 in Washington, and #31 in Texas, but his hat says #24. Most likely it's a number he had either in spring training or in the minors.


Saturday, July 29, 2023

New York Times July 15 1969

Remember a few weeks ago when I bought a bunch of old newspapers from the flea market? I've started going through them, and enough of you seemed interested that I'll post about them once in a while. There were a few random newspapers from important events (Calvin Coolidge death, FDR death, Israel/Egypt peace treaty, last issue of the Long Island Press) but by far most of the papers dealt with the moon landing. There were a few Newsdays, and an almost complete two-week run of the New York Times.

I've started with the Times. I knew it would be interesting to read these old newspapers, but I expected the Times to be a little less fun. However, I am really enjoying it. I've read two papers so far, easily spending an hour over each one. It really does feel like a little trip into 1969, reading about the news, sports, entertainment, business, etc. My interest in the past is not some kind of Polyanna "the past was so much better" delusion. It's more like peeking into a bit of an alternate dimension. I don't spend much time on the big conflicts like Vietnam or civil rights, and even the moon stuff is only of superficial interest to me. It's all the little things that I read carefully and enjoy.

I didn't want to stop and keep taking pictures of everything that interested me, and I know this isn't the preferred topic for most readers, so I will keep these posts pretty brief, with just a few things that I decide to share, plus always the baseball news of course.

Front cover. The astronauts getting ready to launch are the big story, but I was interested in the one about three retailers extending store credit to welfare recipients, given my interest in retail history. The three retailers were EJ Korvette, A&S and Gimbels. All three are long gone.

Another defunct retailer, Best & Co. I found the ad for Peanuts toys in a space theme more interesting than the actual space articles.
A little bit about collecting, I figured that was relevant for a collecting blog.
Finally, the baseball news. In 1969 the surprising Mets and Cubs had a tight, intense pennant race. Mets lost in Chicago to the delight of the Bleacher Bums, the relatively new contingent of hardhat-wearing Cubs fans.



Friday, July 28, 2023

Wallet card is going postal

Might as well knock these out while I'm still mad at the post office.

This sign on the wall of the Chinatown post office in Manhattan says "This is your community post office, please help keep it graffiti free". I usually hate seeing graffiti on old signs, but in this instance I approve.

Before the introduction of the zip code in the 1960s, cities with large populations had multiple one or two-digit postal codes. Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn was Brooklyn 35 (now Brooklyn 11235). It looks like the post office painted over the old sign but over the years the new paint has worn off and the old sign is visible.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

The best way to get cards

Like last year, I took a few vacation days to walk around the city taking wallet card photos. Those posts are kind of the opposite of my expanded baseball card posts - they are my favorite posts to create, but get probably the least engagement overall. (Not surprising as they are not really on-topic for a baseball card blog. And I do like making the expanded posts.)

Anyway, while in the city I took the time to visit my street vendor buddy Al to exchange some cards. An in-person trade is definitely the best way to get cards. No need to rely on the USPS, not even a purchase or taxes or shipping.

These are some cards I chose just because they seemed unfamiliar. (Turned out I had Braun and McGwire already.)

I found a few shiny cards I liked. Al always has a lot of those silver pack cards.
Finally, a couple of Nolan Ryans. When I saw the gold stamp on the 1993 card I thought it was a parallel like the Marlins or Rockies sets. Turns out it was just part of a 1999 insert set where Topps reprinted all of Ryan's cards. Still, a card I did not have. The other one is really fun, though. It's an unlicensed, shiny, colorful card from a short-lived magazine called Profiles in Sports, and was a promo card for the 1992 National in Atlanta.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Cards that arrived late but got here

So the P.O. only held onto my incoming mail for a single day. I'm probably being paranoid thinking it was about my complaint. And the two PWEs I mailed from the neighboring post office got to their destinations with no problem, so hopefully now I can square away all of my messed-up TCDB trades.

One of the PWEs was my latest contest winnings from Johnny's Trading Spot.

Three nice cards here, even Yankees bust Jacoby Ellsbury looks good. I really like that particular Topps Fire design with the 1980's style name and background. Reminds me of watching the Transformers as a kid.

A couple of shiny Yankees, present and hopefully future.
Finally, a few cards from a set that I had never seen before. It is from 2000 and looks like it chronicles all of the Yankees World Series wins up to that point.
They are thick cards and numbered to 500. Somehow, Johnny managed to get both Tommy Henrichs with the same number! (387/500)

1981 Topps Lynn Jones


The front: Very simple photo of Jones. The orange T-shirt under the uniform provides a little visual interest.

The back: The Tigers had five rookies in 1979, and their Rookie of the Year was fifth out of five in WAR. Of course WAR wasn't around in 1979; batting average meant a lot more back then. (Dan Petry 2.0; Pat Underwood 1.2; Tom Brookens 0.9; Dave Tobik 0.6; Jones 0.4)

The player: Outfielder Lynn Jones played in 527 games over eight seasons with the Tigers and Royals, hitting .252 with 7 HR and 91 RBI. He helped the Royals win the 1985 World Series, with a double and triple in three at-bats against the Cardinals.

The man: Jones had a long coaching career in the major and minor leagues, and is now an volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Thiel College in Pennsylvania.

My collection: I have 12 of his cards, from 1980 to 1986. I would be interested in trading for 1984 Topps Traded #58.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

1976 SSPC Craig Robinson

The latest in my ongoing mail saga: It's been past three business days since I sent my stolen mail service request; they say they will get back to you in 1-3 business days but of course they did not. Meanwhile, in my USPS Informed Delivery daily email, I was supposed to get two PWEs of cards today, but neither arrived. Given the timing, it seems quite possible that this is retaliation for the stolen mail claim. So now the USPS is stealing my mail coming and going, and I can't do anything about it. I really don't want to think about what happens to my collecting if I can't rely on mail coming or going.

Anyway . . . 

The card, in brief: I guess there was a time when aviator sunglasses were cool? By the time I was a teenager in the early '90s and old enough to be aware of those things, they definitely were not. I started wearing glasses around that time and that style was definitely one to be avoided.

The player, in brief: Craig Robinson played 292 games in the major leagues, almost exactly half (145) in 1974, when he was the Braves regular shortstop, hitting .230 with 0 HR and 29 RBI. In six seasons with Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco, he hit .219 with 0 HR and 42 RBI.

Post-playing career, in brief: Robinson held a number of unusual jobs after his playing career. He managed in the Braves organization, was a cameraman for TBS, ran a steel foundry, and worked his way up from dealer to pit boss to host manager at a casino.

My collection: I have four of his cards, from 1974 to 1976. I would be interested in trading for 1975 O-Pee-Chee #367.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Cake or gum? 1975 Elliott Maddox

 Last time we had a 5-5 split! Will there be a winner this time?

The Yankees were in the heart of their Shea Stadium era at this time. Lots of players milling about in the background on both cards, but Topps's card shows the left field outfield while Hostess shows the grandstand down the third base line. Though the backgrounds look quite different, Maddox appears to be standing in the area of the first-base-side on-deck circle, so these photos may well have been taken in the same shoot.

Maddox was coming off his best season in 1974, hitting .303 and earning a top-10 spot in MVP voting. Unfortunately, he badly injured his knee the next season and was never the same again. In 11 seasons for five teams, he hit .261 with 18 HR and 234 RBI. After his career he worked as investment banker, ice cream shop owner and foster care counselor. He also coached youth baseball in the US, Poland and Israel. The 75-year-old Maddox is now retired and lives in Florida.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #166

Just a brief mail update - I mailed two envelopes in blue boxes on Tuesday night. The one I mailed in my town is probably gone forever, but the one I mailed from the next town over made it to it's destination. I mailed two from the neighboring town's post office today, and I am hopeful they get to their destinations quick and I can start resolving my outstanding trades.

In the comments yesterday Fuji had a good question - how many stamps cover a PWE with 19 or 20 cards? I have been successful with 18 cards and two forever stamps. What have you readers found for essentially another layer of cards? 

Anyway, on to tonight's wooden battle. Last time 1987 won easily, 7-3. Can it continue the winning streak here?

The background on Don Lee's card is blurry, but I'm pretty sure that's center field in Yankee Stadium. The son of major leaguer Thornton Lee, he pitched nine seasons in the majors for five teams. A sport starter/middle reliever, his teams were rarely competitive. In 244 games (97 starts) he went 40-44 with a 3.61 ERA. He has kept a low profile since his playing career ended. The 89-year-old Lee is presumably retired, and lives in his home state of Arizona.

Looks like Bob Boone is squeezing a pop-up securely in his mitt. The son of major leaguer Ray Boone, he caught for nineteen seasons, mostly for the Phillies and Angels. He was the regular catcher on the great Phillies teams of the late 70s and early 80s, helping the team win the World Series in 1980. He was traded to the Angels in 1982 and helped them win a division title that year and again four years later. Primarily known for his defense, Boone won seven Gold Gloves. His hitting numbers were modest - .254, 105 HR, 826 RBI in 2,264 games. He did well in October, however, hitting .311 with 2 HR and 13 RBI in 36 postseason games. After his playing time he spent some time as a manager, with six seasons for the Royals and Reds, all with losing records. He was a VP with the Nationals in 2021, when he resigned rather than get a COVID vaccination. The 75-year-old Boone is presumably retired, and lives in his home state of California.

Friday, July 21, 2023

1998 Metal football cards

I've mentioned before my love for the 1998 Metal set, with it's unique design with a non-baseball photograph behind the player. I've been looking out for a cheap complete set, as I don't want to spend $100 for a 220 card set. It seems that whenever I don't check eBay, someone auctions a set off for $20-30, but when I check regularly those are never there. I did however come across a cheap lot of 1998 Metal football cards, and I ended up winning a 60-card lot for about $5. I'm not really looking to collect this set but they make a nice addition to my football card collection, and I'd still like to pick up the NY team cards from the football and basketball sets.

Fantastic card of Chris Calloway here. The World Trade Center dominates the photo, of course, but it is also a great view of the whole Financial District, the Lower East Side, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and even downtown Brooklyn.
Moving to midtown with Jason Sehorn, who was always one of my favorites. Hard-hitting DBs have always been a favorite of mine. This appears to be a sunset shot dominated by the Chrysler Building. The 59th Street Bridge (Queensborough Bridge) and the smokestacks of the Ravenswood Generating Station in Long Island City are in the background, while the Socony-Mobil building, across the street from the Chrysler Building on 42nd and Lexington, is visible at Sehorn's feet. Today there would be several more skyscrapers in this shot.
As great as skyline shots are, street-level shots are even more fun, because that is where we actually can go. That is why this card of Wayne Chrebet is the one I was most excited to get. You can see behind him the Chrysler and Socony-Mobil buildings, making it pretty easy to place this photo. The giant Jet is making his catch on Lexington Avenue between 38th and 39th Streets. Next to him is 320 Lexington Avenue, an apartment building constructed in 1880. On the next block you can see a green awning and just make out the name of the restaurant, Fagiolini, which opened in the 1980s and closed around 2012. In the foreground are a yellow cab as well as another car, whose license plate number Metal left in full view.
The non-New York cards are lots of fun too. Lots of landscapes, random machinery, and photos of the team's namesake (a Chicago Bear with a bear, a Pittsburgh Steeler in a steel factory), etc. One thing that threw me was the use of the team name "Tennessee Oilers". I had completely forgotten that they didn't change their name to Titans until their second season in Tennessee.


Thursday, July 20, 2023

Expanded baseball cards XII

Thanks everyone for your helpful comments yesterday. It seems that I was the last person left mailing baseball cards in the blue sidewalk mailboxes. We do have the new-style, "tamper proof" mailboxes, and I mailed hundreds of PWEs with zero problems, until, literally overnight, they stopped going through. One last question - those of you who mail PWEs from the post office: do you put them in the blue mailboxes at the post office, or do you actually have to go when the P.O. is open and wait on line to hand them to a clerk?

On to the latest expanded baseball cards! I started this off as a random one-off with something I would occasionally do while sorting lots of duplicates, and it has turned into my most popular series of posts based on views.


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

My trade PWEs are not being delivered

I have never had a situation like this in all of my years of collecting, and nothing collected-related has made me as upset as this. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I mailed out PWEs to five traders on June 29, and nobody has gotten them yet. A couple of trades I mailed out since then did get through, so I figured it was a one-time glitch. However, I mailed out two more on July 5, one on July 10 and one on July 12, and those haven't been received either. The only ones that did get received I mailed out on July 3 and July 8. I made a chart and realized the ones that got delivered I mailed out on weekends where I was out doing other things and did not drop them in the mailbox by my house like I usually do.

I have sent hundreds of PWEs over the last few years without any problem. The only thing I can think of is that whoever is collecting mail from the mailbox, or is involved in sorting mail when they get to the post office, has started stealing the envelopes, perhaps recognizing from the feel of the envelope that it has trading cards so might have value. Last night I sent a filed a stolen mail report on just to see what would happen; supposedly I will get a response in 1-3 business days. I figure it's a longshot but maybe I can get some answers that way. (It also occurred to me that I might somehow be on some kind of watchlist, but I doubt it. I did go to the post office on Saturday to mail a large card package, and it was delivered on Tuesday with no problem.)

Testing my theory about the mailbox, I mailed out one more card envelope from there last night. It was a small TCDB trade and I told the trader not to send me anything until he got his cards. I then sent an envelope of cards to a blogger, from a mailbox in the next town. I am very curious to see who, if either, gets their cards. If it ends up being that I have to go to the next town to mail out PWEs, its an inconvenience but certainly a manageable one.

I am very upset by the idea that my trading is being so disrupted, with no idea why and no idea when/if the problem will go away. I don't think I would even continue collecting cards if I couldn't trade, even though this hobby is a big part of me. At the very least, I have nine trades now that I am going to have to somehow make right. Fortunately most of them are bloggers or TCDBers whom I have traded with multiple times. I think only a few of the TCDB ones might be difficult. Still, how can I even make them right if I have no idea if my envelope will get through?

Has this been happening or has happened to any of you? Do any of you have any suggestions for what I should do?

I am also wondering if something has changed with mailing PWEs? I know postal rates have gone up but I use Forever Stamps. I do notice that the last three TCDB trades I received, in sizes easily small enough to be sent by PWE, were sent with tracking. For example, I received these in a PWE yesterday from Cardsrule. However, he sent it with tracking. Cost him $5.05. I certainly don't want to be spending $5.05 to ensure that a $0.66 PWE gets where it is supposed to. Delivery tracking should be an extra service to track a package, not extortion money to ensure that a properly-stamped envelope gets where it is supposed to. I don't see anything on the TCDB forums to indicate that people are moving away from PWEs so maybe it's just coincidence.

These were what was in his envelope. Lots of stickers for my 1983 Fleer sticker set.

If I were in a better mood I would really be enjoying photos like Jim Gantner with the ball in midair.
Lots of stars in this group like George Brett with no cap.
Steve Carlton, who is also on the one full-sized card that Cardsrule sent. If I were in a better mood I'd be trying to figure out what that interesting-looking mural was in Veterans Stadium.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Vintage equipment: 1973 Topps

There were a couple of cool nicknames on gloves in the '73 set. Tom Hall was six feet tall but just 150 pounds, a body shape that earned him the nickname "Blade", as can be seen on his glove.

Tug McGraw's nickname wasn't "Hammer", but as Shlabotnik Report points out, teammate John Milner's was. Pretty impressive for a rookie in spring training (as Milner was) to already have such a nickname.
There were also a couple of less cool nicknames on gloves in '73 Topps. Bert Blyleven was "Bly" . . .
while John Stromayer was "Stro". These might not even really be nicknames, could just be the equipment manager not wanting to write a long name.
I've shown writing on gloves, hats and bats in this series, but this is the first time I've come across personalized shoes.
Some interesting Johnny Jeter material in this set. He is airbrushed into White Sox colors, as the Padres traded him to the Sox right after the 1972 season. However, despite playing for the Padres in 1971 and 1972 (110 games in '72), Topps seems to have used a photo from 1970, when Jeter wore #25 for the Pirates.
While Jeter's Padres uniform did not make it onto a card in '73 (it did in '72), his bat did! Jeter wore #8 for the Padres, which is the bat in the hands of #32 Jerry Morales.
Tom Grieve wore #4 for the Senators in 1970, spent all of '71 in the minors, and when he returned to the majors with the team, now in Texas, in '72 he wore #6. However, in spring training it appears he wore #55.
Finally, Carl Yastrzemski famously wore #8 for the Red Sox, but here he has bat #7, belonging to Reggie Smith.


Monday, July 17, 2023

Wallet Card with an early 20th century manhole cover

In my last wallet card post, I showcased a 50-year-old bus route sign, and some commenters wondered how I even knew about it in the first place. There are a lot of great blogs and Flickr accounts that document the little hidden obscurities in the NYC area. That one I found on the Flickr site of Ben Hagen, who had probably the best eye for these things that I have seen.

I do keep my eyes open and occasionally find things on my own. While walking over to the sign in Rosedale, I noticed a manhole cover with BSBQ. I knew BQ stood for Brooklyn and Queens and it has been a very long time since there were government agencies specific to just those two boroughs. I did a little research and while I could find that it stoood for Bureau of Sewers of Brooklyn and Queens, I could not find any record of when this was incorporated into the NYC Bureau of Sewers. Best guess based on the history of consolidation in NYC would be before World War II, probably decades before.