Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Trade with Rob Fitts

Rob Fitts is a member of OBC who is one of the US's leading experts on Japanese baseball, having published several books on Japanese baseball and Japanese baseball cards. He was starting a PC of Matt Murton, who played in the US in the late 2000s before becoming a big star in Japan. I sent him a few Murton cards I had, as well as some 1980s oddballs for his type card collection. In return he sent me some interesting cards.

Starting off with some standard vintage, nine '61s and a '62. 

He also threw in some interesting modern cards. I knew Topps had started making NPB cards but I didn't know they also had Topps 206 versions. Seiya Inoue has played ten seasons in the NPB, all for Lotte. The Marines uniforms look a lot like Marlins uniforms. The other card is a promotional card for one of his books. The other card is a custom promotional card for one of Rob's books, about early Japanese ballplayers in the US. Tom Uyeda played on the first Japanese team in the US in 1906, and was later unjustly arrested as a spy during WWII. You can see more about him on Rob's website. If you look at the photo in the link you can see that the photo for the card was altered in an important way.
Here are the backs of the cards. The Topps card is mostly in Japanese. The custom card has an interesting synopsys of Uyeda.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Cake or gum? 1976 Ron Blomberg

Last time cake rolled to an 8-2 victory. Who will win this time?

The kid with the raggedy scissors did a better cutting job than the Topps printing press in this case. Both photos appear to have been taken at the same sitting. Blomberg's brief but memorable career was almost over at this point. A high-average hitter with an excellent batting eye and some power, Blomberg was a fan favorite in New York but had only one season of 300 at bats due to a variety of injuries. In 1973 he earned lasting fame as the first designated hitter in baseball history, walking with the bases loaded. That was his best season, hitting .329 with 12 HR and 57 RBI in 100 games. Four knee injuries and two shoulder injuries ruined any chance of a long career for Blomberg, who played one game in 1976 and missed all of 1977. He had a short comeback with the White Sox in 1978, ending his career. Overall in 461 games he hit .293 with 52 HR and 224 RBI, walking 140 times against 134 strikeouts. Since the end of his playing career, he has been involved in many charitable endeavors and youth and fantasy-camp coaching in the US and Israel. He is also a Yankees scout and has managed professionally in Israel.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Wood vs Wood #189

Last time it was 1987 with the 6-3 victory. Who will win this matchup?

Dick Hall gets a simple spring training headshot photo, with lots of green grass and trees behind him. Hall came up with the Pirates in 1952 as an outfielder. He played parts of three seasons for the Pirates without showing much promise offensively. Hall had been experimenting with pitching in the Mexican winter league, and in 1955 decided to commit to pitching full-time. He started the season at Class-A Lincoln and pitched so well that he was called up to the Pirates in July. In 15 games for the Pirates he went 6-6 with a 3.91 ERA, a very solid season for someone who hadn't pitched professionally before that season. He struggled over the next few seasons and was traded to the A's in 1960. After one season in the A's starting rotation he was traded again, to Baltimore. The Orioles converted the 31-year-old Hall to a reliever, and he responded by becoming one of the best in baseball over the next decade, saving 60 games over nine seasons in Baltimore, with a 2.89 ERA. In three World Series he was sensational, going 2-1 with 2 saves and a 0.00 ERA, helping the Orioles win two World Series. (He lost Game 4 of the 1969 World Series on an unearned run, allowing a leadoff double and an intentional walk before being replaced by Pete Richert, who threw away JC Martin's sacrifice bunt to lose the game). After his baseball career he was an accountant. He died this past June at the age of 92.

Joe Hesketh delivers the ball in a spring training game. Hesketh was able to put up some good numbers during his career, but he was often injured. He was having a great rookie season in 1985 (10-5, 2.49 ERA) before breaking his leg in a home plate collision in August. Nerve issues in his shoulder limited his effectiveness over the next few seasons. He was traded to the Red Sox in 1990 and had a big comeback season the following year, going 12-4 with a 3.29 ERA, leading the AL in winning percentage. He was unable to replicate that success in future seasons, and retired after the 1984 season. Since his playing career he has kept a fairly low profile, but has been involved in some youth coaching.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

OBC/TDCB roundup

I've had a few of these come in recently, too.

It's 1984 at OBC. Member Aaron Shirley does this each year - gathers up the wantlists for everyone who wants to participate for a certain year (last year it was 1983) and everyone trades around their extras. Aaron sent me these OPCs plus a couple of Brewer oddballs.

Not surprising to get OPCs from Andrew Goguen, who is Canadian. But he also included three from the Topps Traded set!
Mark Zentkovich hits my football set with these great cards. You don't see airbrushing nearly as often in football sets, but Richard Todd's Saints helmet and jersey are a standout of the genre.
Erik Greenwood sent most of the 1984 Galasso Reggie Jackson set. Some great vintage photos here. Part I . . .
. . . and two, with a great action sequence of Reggie's big swing.
These came in from Eddie Bankston, and went right into my 1984 stickerbook.
Two more OPCs from Dan Angland.
Not everything incoming from OPC was a 1984. I love the Topps Super cards, though this photo probably isn't the best use of the large format. Still a great card from Steve Sankner.

Later on Steve sent this great 1952 card, of Monte Kennedy. On the back Topps notes that “His pitching at Camp Wheeler was the talk of the Army.”

On that subject, Joel Freedman sent three 1952s! My small set is slowly but consistently growing.

Not 1984, nor vintage, but Chris Kodl helped whittle down several modern sets.

I've recently completed a few TCDB trades as well.

A couple of great NY photos on Giants cards from the 1998 Metal set, courtesy of dbishop93.

Speaking of 1998 Metals, some rougher-conditioned cards from the baseball set from oldschool72.
These were in better shape, some fun photos and a '72 high number. At least with vintage cards you don't have to worry about bricking.

An odd baseball photo, plus three non-sport-focused baseball inserts, from billwill305.
Very nice trade with whacks_packs, who is a newer TCDB member. If you haven't traded with him check him out.

Latest vintage star pickups

I was out of town for work for a few days, and came home to a lot of cards, mostly ones I needed but there is some trade bait sprinkled throughout.

This included two Greg Morris packages.. I'm getting pretty good at getting some star cards at decent prices in a not-too-large lot. My first two '59 Fleer Ted Williams cards are a highlight here, as well as All Star cards of both of the Robinsons.

The Robinsons strike again here, plus a Joe Morgan rookie.
These were the other cards that came in while I was away. I managed to win two '56 Whitey Fords from the same seller. The trimmed one is available for trade. So is the Dodgers Big Three, which was in a '63 lot with Aparicio and Tresh. There was also a '63 commons lot I picked up, where I needed about half the cards. The Mantle Topps game card is another highlight. I don't mind the rip because you couldn't really see the Yankee logo in the photo anyway.
Here's a great Yankee card.
I've been wanting to add an OJ Simpson card to my small vintage football collection. Just a macabre fascination, I guess.
Always happy to add an affordable Koufax . . .
. . . or Clemente.

This was a small lot of '70 Topps booklets. I only needed Reggie and Rose, the rest are available for trade. I'm down to just four needs, all HOFers, to complete the set.
Stan Musial was a longtime Topps holdout but finally relented at the end of '58. Not enough time for him to get a base card, so this was his first Topps card.
This was by far the coolest card that came in recently. 1941 Play Ball Bill Dickey! This was one of the cards I had a Dover reprint of as a kid. It's trimmed, inexpertly so, and stained, but still in quite good shape. $16 shipped was a really good price for this one.


Friday, January 26, 2024

1955 lot

 I got quite lucky on a lot of 92 1955 Topps cards for under $0.20/card shipped. Rough shape of course but that's fine with me.

This was all commons, with heavy duplication, and only from cards 1-90. Still, for a set that old there were 23 cards I needed. Considering that the entire set is only 206 cards, that's pretty substantial.

That leaves me with lots of cards to trade! If you have any needs from this set, let me know. Cards from 1-90, mostly commons but a few stars, including a couple of Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

New York Times July 30, 1969

This is the last newspaper from July 1969. I still have a few other random papers that I will share at some point.

Unintentionally hilarious ad from Reader's Digest. So dated.
Several years before he became NYC Mayor, Ed Koch hosted works of art in his Congressional office.
Willie Mays sighting! He helps the Mets by leading the Giants to victory over the Cubs. Meanwhile, Dick Allen returns from suspension to a multitude of boos.
Most of the league was playing night games. Apparently the practice at the time was to just post the line score as of whenever the paper went to press. I'm not sure how helpful that was to readers.
Nice writeup on Joe DiMaggio, who was understandably quite proud of that "Greatest Living Player" designation. I imagine that Mays would be considered that person today.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

1974 Deckle Dating - Steve Carlton

Batters beware - it's Steve Carlton!

Beware - the ides of March!

Carlton's other 1974 cards all are at MLB parks, and on his 1975 cards he has a mustache, so this seems to be his only card from that day. 

On the same day that Carlton's photo was taken, President Nixon held a press conference where he threatened to resume fighting in Vietnam, and refused to allow the FBI to turn over their Watergate files to Congress. Meanwhile, in Hill Valley, CA, author George McFly was murdered by Biff Tannen/received an award for his work.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

1986 Spokane Indians at the Mall - Brian Harrison


I can't tell what store he is in, but it's kind of funny he's just standing at the check-out counter while people make purchases behind him. There is a big red display and the price tags are red. Something (jewelry?) is on sale for $2.99 next to him.

Brian Harrison pitched in the Padres organization from 1987 to 1990. After a breakout year in 1990, when he went 5-2 with 18 saves and a 1.19 ERA at Class-A Riverside, he was a Rule V pick by the White Sox and pitched for the major league team in 1991 spring training. Unfortunately injuries kept him out of baseball from 1991-1993, but he did stage a comeback in 1994 and 1995 with San Bernardino and Memphis. Overall he pitched in 221 minor league games, going 26-24 with 37 saves and a 3.83 ERA. After his career he was a youth coach in San Diego. In 2017 he answered my questions about baseball cards. He passed away in 2019.

Monday, January 22, 2024

1981 Topps Glenn Hoffman


The front: The background is interesting and colorful but I can't tell where this is.

The back: Hoffman was robbed of a Rookie Cup card by the Topps design team, who elected not to have them during this era. This had to be one of the weakest Topps All Star Rookie teams: Dan Graham, Rich Murray, Damaso Garcia, Hoffman, Ron Oester, Joe Charbonneau, Rick Peters, Lonnie Smith, Doug Corbett, Britt Burns. Charbonneau was the most famous at the time but flamed out quickly.

The player: Glenn Hoffman was a good-field, no-hit infielder. He was primarily a third baseman in 1980, but after that mostly played shortstop. He was a regular through the 1983 season and was a backup through his trade to the Dodgers in 1987. He also played for the Angels in 1989. In 766 games he hit .242 with 23 HR and 210 RBI.

The man: Hoffman stayed in the Dodgers organization after retirement, working as a minor league coach and manager. He was promoted to manage the Dodgers in 1998 after Bill Russell was fired. He went 47-41 as an interim manager, and then served as the team's third base coach for several seasons. He joined the Padres as their third base coach, and stayed in that role for 15 seasons. He is now an advisor for the Padres.

My collection: I have 21 of his cards, from 1981 to 1990. I would be interested in trading for 1988 ProCards #465.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

1976 SSPC Pedro Borbon

The card, in brief: Borbon's uniform looks dirty, even though the game hasn't started yet. I'm guessing it's just shadow.

The player, in brief: Pedro Borbon pitched twelve seasons in the majors, ten of them for Cincinnati, where he was an ace reliever for the Big Red Machine. In 593 games he went 69-39 with 80 saves and a 3.52 ERA. He was terrific in the postseason, going 1-1 with 3 saves and a 2.42 ERA in 20 games.

The man, in brief: Borbon was known for a hot temper - at various times in his career he bit Pirates pitcher Daryl Patterson, a bouncer in Ohio, and a Mets hat. His relationship with his son Pedro Jr., himself a long-time MLB pitcher, was distant and strained. He was a regular at Reds alumni events and fantasy camps. He died of cancer in 2012.

My collection: I have 14 of his cards, from 1970 to 1980. I would be interested in trading for 1971 Topps #613.

Equipment: 1984

The 1984 design doesn't lend much for this series. 1985-1992 should be better, after which I'll probably cut it off.  This series needs sets with close-up photos, and I'm not about to squint at all those little heads in boxes.

Just two quick ones here. First one from the base set. There's an error, but it's not on the card. I've been using Baseball-Reference to check for players' numbers. Ricky Adams is wearing the batting glove #31. According to B-R, Adams wore the number 3. I then go to Wikipedia to see the full roster for the team to see who wore the number in question. Went to the 1983 Angels and found that #31 belonged to . . . Ricky Adams. Looks like an error in the Baseball Reference.

I don't have many cards from the '84 Traded set, but I do have this one. Tim Teufel is wearing #11, but the number on the bat is not 11, looks to me like a 34. While Wikipedia just lists Teufel as #11, with no #34 in 1983, B-R has Teufel wearing both #34 and #5 in 1983 and then taking #11 in 1984. (#34 in 1984 was a rookie outfielder named Kirby Puckett.) This photo is from 1984 - its at Yankee Stadium, and Teufel didn't play against the Yankees in his '83 September callup. This is undoubtedly April 10, 1984, the Yankees' home opener. Teufel must have one of those #34 bats leftover from the prior year. (Puckett didn't make his MLB debut until May). Teufel went 0-for-3 with a walk as the Twins fell to the Yankees, 4-1.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Fun random lot

I picked up a fun random lot of various oddball vintage cards and other stuff. I really enjoyed this one.

Starting off with three large oddballs, three 1970 Topps posters. Two HOFers and Joe Horlen who twice led the AL in WHIP (though I wonder if he ever knew that).

From big oddballs to small oddballs. These were my two favorites and the main reason I bid on it. I had come across an image of the Amalfitano 1955 Golden Stamp and had wanted one, so was happy to see it in this lot. It looks like he's sitting in front of a giant map of the earth, though I guess it's just the sky with a bit of trees. The newspaper, the logo-less shirt, the minor league cap - all very unusual for a vintage card. And there's my first 1971 Bazooka - those are hard to come by, and what better than a great Yankee for my first one!
This oddball is a 1961 Fleer decal. These came one-to-a-pack with their Hall-of-Famer set.
Here's what the back looks like. I'm just a little tempted to try to stick it to something but won't.
These are two 1984 Perez-Steel postcards of Hall of Famers. They're listed in the Beckett book, which is good enough for me to count them as cards.
Not this though. It's a 1984 Fun Foods pin.
Here's the back. I like the comic-book style writing, something Topps was doing a lot at this time. This is available if anyone wants it.
I've never owned a Japanese menko card before. I don't know if this is a real 1940s menko, or some kind of reproduction. I can't find any legit sets that match the design here. Anyone know anything about this? The back is blank cardboard, and I believe it was perforated.
I like this 1971 Reds schedule. It's a single card pocket schedule, the back as the Reds' home games listed. I like the "Right on Reds" slogan, and the little ad about the men's store in the mall in Louisville. The card is not ripped, that is the design. (The tape marks are not.) As far as I can tell, Burkhardt was a major Cincinnati department store that had a few other locations. The Louisville one does not appear to have stayed open long. Looks like Oxmoor Mall opened in 1971 so this must have been brand new.
An 8 x 10, slightly blurry photo of Mets stars, 1985 or 1986. I like how you have uniform #s 15, 16, 17, and 18. Hopefully I can find a Mets fan who can give this a better home than I can.
I'll end the post on a much better note, with a Yankee legend. It's a facsimile autograph but still a nice photo of one of the best pitchers in Yankees history. Allie Reynolds won 182 games, twice led the AL in strikeouts, and in 15 World Series games, over six World Series (all Yankee triumphs) he went 7-2 with a 2.79 ERA.