Thursday, August 31, 2023

1981 Topps Bruce Kison


The front: Nice view of the mountains in this Arizona spring training shot.

The back: Kison would pitch in five more seasons, and went 10-3 in those Septembers, giving him a career 33-9 mark in that month! In all other months, he was a combined 82-79.

The player: As good as Kison was in September, he was arguably even better in October. In 10 postseason games (4 starts) he went 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA. As a rookie in 1971, Kison entered Game 4 of the World Series with the Pirates down by three runs in the game and 2-1 in the series. He pitched 6.1 innings of scoreless relief, enabling the Pirates to come back, win the game and ultimately the series. Primarily a starter with the Pirates in the 1970s, he was more frequently used as a reliever by the Angels in the 1980s. He ended his career with Boston in 1985. 

The man: Kison was a tough competitor known for pitching inside, and was involved in several bench-clearing brawls. After his career Kison was a long time coach and scout. He died of cancer in 2018.

My collection: I have 30 of his cards, from 1972 to 1986. I would be interested in trading for 1976 O-Pee-Chee #161.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

1976 SSPC Biff Pocoroba


The card, in brief: As I mentioned back when I started the "vintage equipment" series almost a year ago, that is Frank Tepedino's bat.

Playing career, in brief: Pocoroba played in parts of ten seasons for the Braves as a catcher, mostly a backup. He did make the All Star team in 1978 as an injury replacement for Johnny Bench. Overall in 596 games he hit .257 with 21 HR and 172 RBI.

Post-playing career, in brief: After his playing career, he worked in his family's sausage business in Atlanta. He died in 2020 at the age of 66.

My collection: I have 17 of his cards, from 1976 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1978 Hostess #99.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Cake vs Gum: 1976 Joe Morgan

Last time gum rolled to a 7-1 victory.  I've run out of '75 Hostess cards so it's on to the bicentennial '76 set. In the 75's, the Topps border was so thick that the photo space was actually the same as on the smaller Hostess cards. In the '76 design there is more room for the photo, I wonder if that will give Topps an edge.

Hostess has Joe Morgan striking a batting pose at Shea Stadium. On his Topps card he is in his home jersey, but looking down at the grass, don't know if it is spring training or Riverfront Stadium. Probably spring training as I believe Riverfront had turf and I think that is grass behind him. Joe Morgan is considered one of the best second baseman of all time. Morgan originally came up with Houston as a 19-year-old in 1963 and had several solid years there. He really blossomed after being traded to Cincinnati in 1971, with eight straight seasons as an All-Star, five straight Gold Gloves, and was MVP both seasons that the Reds won the World Series (1975 and 1976). 1976 was his best season, hitting .320 with 27 HR and 111 RBI, leading the NL in both OBP and SLG. In 1980 he returned to Houston as a free agent and helped them win their first NL West title, and at the age of 39 in 1983 he helped the Phillies win the NL pennant. In 2,649 games Morgan hit .271 with 268 HR and 1,133 RBI and 1,650 runs scored, walking 1,865 times compared to 1,015 strikeouts. In 50 postseason games he hit just .182 but did hit five home runs, scored 26 runs and had a 2:1 BB/K ratio (38/19). After his career he was a longtime announcer for ESPN. He died of leukemia in 2020.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #178

 Last time 1962 won, 4-2. Who will win this time?

Two nearly identical poses here, but Camilo Carreon has a nice background with the Yankee Stadium facade and left field bleachers. Carreon was a semi-regular catcher for the White Sox from 1962 to 1964 and also had brief stops in Cleveland and Baltimore. In 354 games he hit .264 with 11 HR and 114 RBI. After his career he was a youth baseball instructor in Arizona. He died of cancer on September 2, 1987, six days before his son Mark made his major league debut.

Cecil Fielder has a much simpler spring training background for his shot. Fielder played for the Blue Jays for parts of four seasons without making much of an impact. He played in Japan in 1989, where he refined his power stroke, and after signing with the Tigers for the 1990 season took the US baseball world by storm, becoming the first 50-HR hitter in 13 years. He led the AL in RBI three years in a row, and was still a productive hitter when the Yankees acquired him during the 1996 season to platoon with struggling 1B Tino Martinez. Fielder was a key part of the first Yankee world championship in 18 years, winning the Babe Ruth Award for most outstanding performance of the postseason, hitting .308 with 3 HR and 14 RBI. His biggest hit by far was his RBI double in Game 5 of the World Series, the only run in the Yankees' 1-0 victory that broke a 2-2 tie and set the team up to win the Series. He ended his career with brief stops in Anaheim and Cleveland, and overall in 1,470 MLB games he hit .255 with 319 HR and 1,008 RBI. Fielder currently makes a variety of appearances as a Yankees team ambassador. Like Carreon he is the father of a former big leaguer; Cecil and his son Prince are the only father-son combo with a 50-HR season each.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Expanded baseball cards XV


This last one I call "Dave Kingman and the Seven Dwarves".

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Vintage equipment: 1976 Topps (Part I)

Lots of interesting photos in the underrated 1976 set. I found enough interesting equipment shots for two posts, in fact.

Tito Fuentes's headband has been well-documented, but I would be remiss not to include it here.

Same goes for George Hendrick's Indians visor. Bonus points for the logoless warmup jacket, and personalized glove.
Is this the first aluminum bat on a card?
We had the first blue gloves in a set last time; now in 1976 is the first green glove, appropriately worn by an Oakland pitcher.
Speaking of pitching gloves, there were a couple more nicknamed gloves this time. Willoughby became Willo, which is OK . . .
. . . but I prefer Candy for Candelaria.

Friday, August 25, 2023

New York Times July 17, 1969

 The astronauts are off!

In New York, everyone watched the astronauts take off, then went back to watching the Mets.
As a fan of the old Pepsi privilege signs, I really enjoyed this photo. I wish they said where it was taken.
This was a very nice surprise. P.G. Wodehouse is my all-time favorite author, so finding an interview with him was a real treat. In other news, there may or may not be a big concert in the Woodstock, NY area in about a month.
The Mets take another one in Wrigley, creeping closer to the Cubs. Meanwhile, the lifeless Yankees lost another game. (Both yesterday and on this July 1969 date. Who would win a game between the '69 Yankees and '22 Yankees? Maybe nobody?)
Finally, a chance to talk hitting with the legendary Ted Williams.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Wallet card at Bohack

I've mention Bohack a couple of other times - it was a major Long Island/NYC grocery chain that operated from 1887 to 1977, with stores all over the NYC area. Though many of their former supermarket buildings still remain, any traces that they were once Bohack seem to be gone. The exception in Ridgewood, Queens, where a Bohack warehouse used for processing meat still stands, with the company name boldly visible on a smokestack.

In the previous photo you may have noticed the white wall of the building across the street. That building was once a Bohack store and restaurant (restaurants being a short-lived Bohack concept). The stylized B logo of Bohack is still visible on the building's facade.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

1981 Topps John Ellis


The front: Simple headshot of Ellis at Tiger Stadium.

The back: Ellis was nearing the end of a career long enough to not have a back blurb, despite never playing even 130 games in any season.

The player: John Ellis was a backup or platoon catcher, and occasionally first baseman, for the Yankees, Indians and Rangers from 1969 to 1981. In 883 games he hit .262 with 69 HR and 391 RBI.

The man: After his career, Ellis was a Rangers scout and owned a real estate firm. He died of cancer in 2022.

My collection: I have 19 of his cards, from 1970 to 1982. I would be interested in trading for 1971 Dell Stamps #NNO.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

1976 SSPC Vic Correll


The card, in brief: I don't know if Vic Correll is scowling because he's trying to look tough, he's annoyed at the photographer, or he's disgusted that he's just a .215 hitter.

Playing career, in brief: Correll was coming off his only 100+ game season in 1975, when the catcher hit .215 with 11 HR and 39 RBI. Overall in 410 games over eight seasons with Boston, Atlanta and Cincinnati, he hit .229 with 29 HR and 125 RBI.

Post playing career, in brief: After his playing career he lived in Georgia, working on plantations where he trained dogs and led hunting groups. He is now retired and lives in Perry, GA.

My collection: I have eight of his cards, from 1975 to 1981. I would be interested in trading for 1978 Indianapolis Indians #19.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Cake or gum? 1975 Thurman Munson

Last time, cake rolled to a 6-1 victory. Will it win again here?

Once again, we appear to have two photos taken at the same time at the same spot at Shea Stadium, but from different angles making for two very different looking cards. It must have been a cold day, judging from Munson's turtleneck and the coat being worn by the white-haired gentleman behind Munson on the Hostess card.

One of the most beloved Yankees of all time, Thurman Munson was instrumental in returning the Yankees to glory in the 1970s. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1970, when the Yankees surprised the AL by winning 93 games and finishing in 2nd place, and was MVP in 1976 when the Yankees won their first pennant in 12 years. That year he hit .302 with 17 HR and 105 RBI. In the postseason that year he hit .435 in the ALCS and .529 in the World Series. In six postseason series he hit over .320 four times and was never under .278. Before being tragically killed in a plane crash on August 2, 1979, Munson played in 1,423 games, hitting .292 with 113 HR and 701 RBI.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #176

Last time we had a 4-4 tie. Will there be a winner this time?

Eddie Yost smiles for the camera in a close-up shot. In one of the most significant green-tint variations in the '62 set, the other version has a completely different photo of Yost posing with a bat. I don't have that card. Eddie Yost, known as "The Walking Man", led the AL in walks six times and is 11th on the all-time list with 1,614. Playing mostly for bad Washington Senators teams, the walks often did not hurt the other team all that much, as Washington's paltry offense often couldn't drive Yost home. When Yost did swing the bat he was basically an average hitter, .254 with 139 HR and 682 RBI over 18 seasons. He was an excellent third baseman, however, setting many AL fielding records that were later broken by Brooks Robinson. Yost first came up with Washington as a 17-year-old in 1944, before being drafted in October when he turned 18. He was therefore one of the last World War Two veterans still playing in the majors. After his career, the Queens native was a longtime Mets coach, and in 1969 he finally won the World Series ring that eluded him as a player. He died in 2012.

A third baseman like Yost, Steve Buechele awaits the pitch on a sunny day at Yankee Stadium. In three day games in the Bronx in 1986, Buechele was 0-for-6. In two of the three games he was a late-game replacement for Geno Petralli, with whom he was platooning, though he eventually won the starting 3B job and held it until being traded to the Pirates in 1991. In 11 seasons with the Rangers, Cubs and Pirates, "Boo" hit .245 with 137 HR and 547 RBI. He was a fan favorite in Texas and is still among team leaders in many hitting and fielding categories. He has had a long career with the Rangers as a coach, front office executive, and announcer. He is currently an analyst for the team on Bally Sports Southwest. Steve, who roomed with John Elway while at Stanford, has a son named Shane who plays QB for the KC Chiefs, where he backs up the starting QB who is also the son of a former major leaguer (Pat Mahomes).

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Friday, August 18, 2023

Trade with BaltOrioles

As of today the Yankees are in last place, 14 games back of the first-place Orioles. Still happy to get a very fun grouping of mostly Orioles cards from TCDB member BaltOrioles.

Two vintage cards, from the 1969 Topps Deckle Edge set. With these two in hand, the only ones left that I need are HOFers or variations. That Freehan photo looked very familiar to me; sure enough, it's the same one that is on his base card that year.

Some minor league cards that were on my wantlists for various reasons, including interesting backgrounds and fun photos.
Speaking of fun photos, these three fun cards from a 1987 Charlotte O's set had been on my wantlist. To my surprise, the cards he sent were autographed!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Small transaction roundup

It's been a while since I've done one of these. I slowed down greatly on trading when I was having post office problems. I believe now all of my ruined trades have been rectified, and cards I send through the neighboring post office seem to be getting delivered without issues. Therefore I've started trading on TCDB again, it's nice to see some cards coming in!

These came from Jdogbarkn2. Some fun photos and set needs, including a checklist card that finishes my 1995 Score set. That card of Brady Anderson makes me thirsty just looking at it. (The one where he is drinking, not the one where he is sliding.)

With the anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing, there were a few King mentions on the blogs yesterday. Here's another Elvis card, along with Marc McGwire in the river, thanks to 80s90sHoopHead.
A few varied needs from swk473. My favorite is the Sanchez, my first instant replay card.
BobbyL sent me a nice mixture of set needs and fun photos. The four 2011 Opening Day cards finish that set.

As far as the fun photos, my favorite by far is the one of the old Penn Station, torn down beginning in 1963. The photo is actually from a 1962 protest. AGBANY as you can see on the sign is not a misspelling of the NY state capital or a Hawaiian Mets outfielder, but Action Group for Better Architecture in New York, an organization of preservationists and architects who assembled to protest the demolition. The woman in the yellow dress is Jane Jacobs, a visionary in the field of urban planning and fierce critic of Robert Moses who led the successful opposition to his plan to build a parkway through lower Manhattan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Vintage equipment: 1975 Topps

The famous colored bordered of 1975 leave a little less room for the photograph. It also seems to me that most of the photos seem to be a little farther away from the player, and the photos themselves are a little less sharp than in previous years. I found it harder to find many good photos showing interesting equipment, but I did find a little bit.

Ed Brinkman's bat has the "nickname" Brink. Most of the time players just had their full name. I was disappointed that George Medich's glove had "MEDICH" in big letters rather than "DOC".

Only one wrong bat that I could make out. #26 Dave Kingman has the bat of #30, John Boccabella.
A while back the Best Bubble blog speculated on what was the oldest card with a glove that was not black or tan. I noticed two blue gloves in this set. Steve Stone . . .
. . . and Ed Figueroa.
Manny Trillo was known for being the first player with a two-tone glove, a custom job he did with a marker. Checking the TCDB gallery, looks like the first instance of that glove appearing on a card was 1981 Topps.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Paul McClellan on baseball cards

Paul McClellan pitched eight seasons of professional baseball, including time in the major leagues with the Giants in 1990 and 1991. In 17 major league games he went 3-7 with a 5.26 ERA. In 149 minor league games he went 61-62 with a 3.93 ERA. Recently retired from a career in law enforcement in California, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I have a couple cards in my collection that I keep locked up. Most of my cards are Greg Maddux and Cal Ripken. I’m not really a big collector though, but I have a few. I usually get about fifty to a hundred of my own cards sent through the mail each month and sign them within a couple of days. When I was a Deputy Sheriff I would let the cards sit on the table for months because I worked so much. Now I sign and send them right back. Don’t want that karma bug following me. 🤣. My two favorite cards of myself are the 92 Fleer and 92 Topps with a gold border. Both good action shots. I’ve gotten a lot of cards from people all over the world including cards from soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pretty cool stuff with some great stories."


Monday, August 14, 2023

New York Times July 16, 1969

Former President Lyndon Johnson on the cover as the astronauts ready to launch. Other news include the war in Vietnam and scandal in the pharmaceutical industry.

Here's an old supermarket ad with some 1969 food prices. Bohack was a big NYC supermarket chain that went out of business in 1977. I know my mom said that was her family supermarket when she was a kid. (Incidentally, I finally have my first Bohack wallet card photos, I'll be showing them soon.)
The Mets win another big game in Wrigley, while the Yankees and Red Sox split a doubleheader (just like 2023, neither rival was very good that year). Note the Confederate Flag being waved by the bleacher bums after Ron Santo's home run. From what I've read, they would wave the flag for southerner Randy Hundley, but I guess Seattle native Ron Santo merited the flag as well. I wonder if they would wave the flag for Ernie Banks or Billy Williams. Not sure what Banks or Williams thought of the flag, but Black Canadian Ferguson Jenkins ended up becoming lifelong friends with one of the founding Bleacher Bums.
With the Red Sox in town, the Times has a feature article on young Boston star Reggie Smith.
I found myself fascinated by the classifieds in this newspaper. Most of the job ads were pretty similar to today's, but some had that old-fashioned language like needing "vivacious" or "honey-voiced" receptionists. And familiarity with modern technology was important - "needs recept to handle push button phones".
Lots of interesting items up for auction, from antique furniture to 3 million envelopes.
More items for sale, from office furniture to 1,000 gallons of pine-scented all purpose cleaner. And advertisements for those looking to add to their collections, from the Oklahoma collector interested in cowboy and Indian paintings to the person who would buy anything old! (Looked up Shanman at 1453 Coney Island Avenue - turns out June Emery Shanman was a South African actress who disagreed with her country's politics, moved to the US and opened up a boutique selling Zulu jewelry.