Tuesday, October 31, 2023

New York Times July 22 1969

Seems like the astronauts just got to the moon, and they are already leaving. The moon is quickly becoming yesterday's news; half of the front page is given to other stories.

 With all my interest in local history, I somehow never knew that the designer of the lunar module was from my home town. It was interesting reading this and doing some more research online. Thomas Kelly seems to have been very well regarded in his industry and in his community.
 A full page ad from an industry group with dire predictions about what might happen to their industry are usually unreliable, but they certainly ended up being right about the dangers of reliance on foreign oil.
 I found this article about panhandlers very interesting. The guy washing windows on the Bowery anticipated what would became a huge trend. By the 1970s and 1980s you couldn't drive into the city without having your windows "washed".
Baseball All Star Game! Lots of great coverage here. Reggie Jackson was the big breakout star in the league, threatening Roger Maris's home run record. That photo of Reggie and Steve Carlton is a fun one.
 Of course Reggie was destined to be a Yankee. The Oakland coach who greatly influenced him was Joe DiMaggio!
 Interesting to read the selections of the Greatest Players Ever. The only active player to make the roster was Willie Mays.
The business section always had a page or two dedicated to advertising agencies. This ad for licensing cartoon characters caught my eye.
 Finally, the TV listings, including All Star Game festivities with the freshly-retired Mickey Mantle.









Monday, October 30, 2023

Wallet Card with some old telephone exchanges

I always enjoy finding signs with old alpha-numeric phone exchanges. Some I find on other websites, others I discover on my own. Most of these signs would date from the early-to-mid-70s at the very latest, but in most cases are older than that.

I have not had much finding old signs like these on chain link fences. People who post them usually do not say where they are located. I did find one in Manhattan a few years ago. I was fortunate to find this one over the summer while walking through Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

These Goldsmith Roofing signs used to be on buildings throughout Brooklyn and elsewhere in the city. They've been disappearing lately, but I was fortunate to find one still extant in Midwood.
Here's another fun find. I posted one of these last year from a building in Manhattan, proclaiming the building "adequately wired". Despite the Queens reference on the sign, this building was in Brooklyn (Sheepshead Bay, I think).
This scrap metal dealer in Coney Island has their ES.2-5348 number in the front . . .
. . . and side of the building. I had to take these photos quickly as I didn't want to get too close to the security guards with dogs.
Staubitz Market in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, opened in 1917 and advertises itself as the oldest butcher shop in New York. The neon sign has the old MAIN 4-0014 number.
An interesting mixture of eras at this auto parts store in Bushwick. Alpha-numberic phone numbers were phased out in the early 1970s. However many New Yorkers stubbornly clung on to the old style even after it has officially gone. Apparently in this case, it persisted at least as late as 1984 when the 718 area code was introduced for New York City's outer boroughs.
I like the fully-written Whitehall extension on this tailor shop in Long Island City, Queens.
Just a few blocks away, this sign for an electrical contractor is missing lots of letters, but the old phone number is still visible, if faded.
While all of the photos above were in Brooklyn and Queens, here is one I found on Long Island. At  Clay-Time Tennis in East Rockaway you can see signs with both the old and new-style phone numbers.


Sunday, October 29, 2023

1986 Spoane Indians at the Mall - James Austin


James Austin pitched for three seasons in the major leagues, all with the Brewers. In 83 games, all in relief, he went 6-4 with a 3.06 ERA. For the past 22 years he has worked as an Emergency Services Coordinator at Belfor USA in Virginia.

Unfortunately the background is dark, so it is hard to tell where he is. It looks like he might be sitting on some exercise equipment, possibly for weightlifting. Whatever he is sitting on appears to be on some cardboard boxes, not the floor. According to the 1982 mall directory I used for the previous series, there weren't any sporting goods stores (other than shoe stores), so this is probably one of the three department stores in the mall - The Crescent, JC Penney or Newberry's.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

1981 Topps Byron McLaughlin


The front: A relaxed pose in front of the seats at Tiger Stadium, with a reminder that some fans in that old ballpark had an obstructed view.

The back: The Mexico reference is quite notable considering his post-career escapades.

The player: McLaughlin's unremarkable major league career was almost over at this point. McLaughlin, who got married in Mexico in 1979, pitched in that country in 1981 and 1982, before returning to the US to pitch for the Angels for 16 games in 1983. Overall in 129 games (35 starts) he went 16-25 with 16 saves and a 5.17 ERA.

The man: A year after his playing career ended, McLaughlin sold cocaine to an undercover police officer in California. McLaughlin failed to appear at his court appearance, instead fleeing to Mexico. With business contacts from his years pitching in the Mexican League, McLaughlin embarked on a lucrative career in the rapidly-growing counterfeit sneaker industry. McLaughlin would serve as the middleman between counterfeit shoe manufacturers in South Korea and Mexican associates who would bring the counterfeit sneakers into the U.S. McLaughlin made millions of dollars in this venture before a warrant for his arrest was issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1990. Again, McLaughlin posted bail only to flee the country, this time to France. Subsequent attempts to extradite McLaughlin to the US have been unsuccessful. He has been rumored to have been seen in France and various African countries. It is not even certain if he is still alive.

My collection: I have five of his cards, from 1979 to 1984. I would be interested in trading for 1978 Mr. Chef's San Jose Missions #17.

Friday, October 27, 2023

1976 SSPC Dave May

The card, in brief: Must be a cold day, May looks like he's wearing a sweatshirt under his jersey.

The player, in brief: Dave May came up with the Orioles in 1967, and was traded to the Brewers in 1970. He was a regular for Milwaukee and had his best seasons there, making the All-Star team in 1973. After a down year in 1974 the Brewers traded him to Atlanta for Hank Aaron. He was used primarily as a pinch-hitter for the Braves. He also had brief stints with Texas and Pittsburgh. Overall in 1,252 games he hit .251 with 96 HR and 422 RBI.

Post-playing career, in brief: After his career he coached for a short time in the Braves organization, and worked in a variety of sales jobs. He died from complications of diabetes in 2012.

My collection: I have 14 of his cards, from 1968 to 1978. I would be interested in trading for 1978 SSPC #92.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Overpaying for vintage cards, Part I

When I went to the card show a couple of weeks ago, I was rather pleased with the vintage stars I picked up for $5, $10 or $15 each. Heady with that experience, I went on eBay and found it surprisingly easy to find vintage star cards at those prices. I won a few auctions at what I thought were pretty reasonable prices. Those $10 and $15 cards add up quickly though, and I forced myself to put on the brakes. I did a little research (which I should have done first) and I think with some more patience I could have gotten most of these cards for a lot less than what I spent. Bit of an expensive lesson learned, but I don't think I overpaid too badly on any one card. Not all of them have come in yet but here are the first few that have, plus one other "splurge" purchase I made around the same time which actually makes me the happiest of all of these.

1959 Whitey Ford - $10. Probably shouldn't spend more than $5 on any post-1956 Ford.

1958 Yankees Team card - $4. Not too bad a price for a team card, but probably shouldn't do that high regularly.
1962 Hank Aaron - $10. This is still a good value, I think. I don't mind the missing corner.
1972 Roberto Clemente in Action - $2. I've wanted this card since I was a kid. This was a good price.
1971 Bob Gibson - $3. Better than the $6 I spent on a 1970 Gibson at the card show. His cards are undervalued for some reason. Whitey Ford too - except for the big no-hitter/strikeout guys, pitchers tend to be undervalued.
1971 Willie Stargell - $1. A combined shipping throw-in with . . .
1959 Stan Musial - $15. My first Musial card, and this is one of the cards I had a Dover Reprint of when I was a kid. It probably would not have been hard to get one for less, his cards don't go for as much as I thought they would. Still very happy to have the card.
With that "higher spending" mindset, I finally pulled the trigger on a set I'd been thinking about for a long time. Long-time readers may remember my enjoyment of the late 1980s Spokane Indians sets where the photos were taken in the local University City Mall. 1987-1989 were plentiful, but 1986 was a lot rarer. At the time I was posting these, the only available set online was going for over $100. Recently someone starting having multiple sets on eBay for $40 each. I resisted a long time at paying $2/card for 1980s minor leaguers but finally pulled the trigger and I'm glad I did. These cards are so much fun. And like the other sets, I will be doing a card-by-card series on these. No big stars in the set but a lot of guys who made it to the big leagues, not bad for a low-A team.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Incoming roundup

Here are the incoming OBC PWEs from this week. The welcome gifts are about done, these are almost all people I've exchanged cards with at least once now.

Steve Archibald sent these three big hitters from the National League, in the form of 1965 Topps Embossed.

A wonderful sampler of 1950s cards from Greg Henthorn. I actually picked up a 1983 reprint of the 1953 Bowman Color Hank Bauer at the card show last week, not realizing the real one was on the way.
These nine '60s cards were from Don Berg. Bud Daley and John Blanchard were traded away from the Yankees but are both still clearly wearing the pinstripes in their photos.
This 60's variety pack came from Mark Holland.
Rounding out with some semi-high and high-number from Mike Rich.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

1970s O-Pee-Chee lot

I picked up a cheap lot of 1970s O-Pee-Chee cards. I'll show what I got that I needed, then some trade bait, and then finally a cool non-OPC thing that was mixed in.

1971, 1973 and 1974 needs. For some reason OPC went with yellow instead of green on the backs in the early 70's. I do like how it makes the cards seem more different.

1975 and 1976. It appears the Great Canadian Green Ink Shortage was finally over.
A few '78s and '79s.
Trade bait 1974-1977. While I'm sure I can find takers for these in OBC, I'd like blog readers to get first crack. Let me know if you see cards you would lke.
Lots of 1978 to trade.
A few 1979s as well!
This card was mixed in with the OPCs. It looks like a regular Astros team card that someone took some scissors to.
But on the back, you can see it is a much lighter background than standard OPCs (probably why it ended up in this lot). In 1976 Topps had a mail-in offer for all the team checklists on one sheet. This would have been one of them, cut out from the group. In person you can also tell it's not a standard card because it is on thinner stock. This is my first card like this.


Monday, October 23, 2023

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Cake or Gum? 1976 Bobby Grich

Last time Topps cruised to a 6-1 victory. Will it win again here?

Two very different photos here. Topps goes with "Bob", with no hat, wild hair, drenched in sun. Hostess goes with Bobby, and a simple batting pose with some activity in the background before a game in Oakland.

Bobby Grich is generally considered one of the best players not currently in the Hall of Fame. He was a very good defensive second baseman, winning four gold gloves. His hitting numbers don't blow you away but for a second baseman they were quite good: .266 batting average, .371 OBP, 224 HR and 864 RBI. An unusual thing about Grich's hitting numbers is that they changed so dramatically. With Baltimore in the 1970s he didn't hit for a lot of power, but he took a lot of walks and stole a fair amount of bases. After signing with the Angels in 1977, and enduring a couple of difficult seasons due to injury, he reinvented himself as a power hitter with more home runs and strikeouts and fewer walks an steals. It all adds up to a player who put up some interesting stats but didn't really put it all together at the same time, someone who did everything well but was not truly phenomenal in any one area. Since retiring he has been a community ambassador for the Angels, and an insurance agent for Fidelity National Title for over 20 years.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Wood vs. Wood #183

Only six votes last time, five for 1962. Will this matchup draw more interest?

In an expansion year, Topps had to do a lot of hatless photos in anticipation of players being drafted by new teams. Such was the case for veteran Roger Craig, who after seven seasons with the Dodgers, helping them win two World Series, he was left unprotected after a poor 1961 season. He spent 1962 and 1963 with the Mets and led the NL in losses both years. The Mets then traded him to the Cardinals and he won his third World Series ring in 1964. He also spent a year each in Cincinnati and Philadelphia before retiring after the 1966 season. In 368 games (186 starts) he went 74-98 with 19 saves and a 3.83 ERA. He then went on to a long, successful career as a pitching coach and had managerial stints with the Padres and Giants, winning a pennant with the Giants in 1989. He died this past June at the age of 93.

Andy Hawkins doesn't look terribly enthusiastic as he looks into the camera for his card. Hawkins had a great 1985 season, was so-so in 1986 and 1987 but bounced back to have a solid 1988 in his free agent season. The Yankees signed him and he became one of the premier symbols of the team's struggles in 1989 and 1990. In 1989 he led the AL with 111 earned runs, and was even worse in 1990 when he went 5-12 with a 5.37 ERA. In one of his few good starts in 1990, he famously lost a no-hitter to the White Sox, 4-0, as two walks and three errors allowed four Chicago runners to score. After his playing career he coached for many seasons in the Royals and Rangers organizations, but he appears to now be retired.