Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Baseball cards amid the chaos.

Well, it was a big disappointment to hear that the MLB season was set back two weeks or more. It's always a real pleasure to follow a Yankees game in the evening, and I'll miss doing that. Especially so in summer break, when school is out for me and I sometimes have a hard time finding things to do.

I'm also concerned about my little league season, which is at present delayed, and may be cancelled. For Major League baseball if the season is postponed, you can still play a shorter season, but there is no baseball in a Texas summer (Unless you have a air-conditioned stadium like the Rangers).

However, throughout all the madness surrounding the Coronavirus, there is still baseball cards, which is comforting. Recently I got a order from Comc, sparked by the card above. What you're seeing is a 1939-46 Exhibits card of Bob Feller, which, when I saw it on Comc for a mere $9, I knew I had to get. I'm a big Bob Feller fan, especially as I share his birthday. He had a pretty great career too, winning 266 games and making it to the Hall of Fame despite being the 1st baseball player to enlist in the army, missing 4 years.

As Comc has flat rate shipping, I got some other cards so I wasn't just getting 1 card. I decided to focus primarily on knuckleballers, as I collect practically all knuckleballers, and I wanted to build up my collection with some vintage examples. They also offer a nice contrast to Bob Feller, who was a flamethrower.
For a guy who won 318 games, Phil Niekro's cards certainly don't break the bank. These two were a mere $2.25 combined, which I count as a genuine steal. Phil pitched until he was 48, which is incredible however you look at it.
I also added a couple of Hoyt's to my collection, as he's won of my favorite knucklers. Ray Katt was kind of a random buy, but I'm pretty sure his 1954 Bowman rookie card was the only card in the set without a facsimile autograph.
I guess the glare got in Hoyt's eyes. Not sure how many other cards there are with the player's eyes closed. 1959, the year before, Hoyt was a full time starter for the only season in his career. He actually did very well,  winning 15 games and posting a ERA of 2.19, best in the league.
I personally think it's weird how Hoyt bounced around so much at the end of his career, though he continued to pitch well. I've noticed, just from poking around on Baseball Reference, that that happened to a decent amount of older relievers around that time. Maybe it's just that many teams took their relievers for granted.
The card on the right is from a obscure issue from 1969 that was supposed to be pasted into an album, and is very thin.

The day I got this package I also received an autograph return from Bobby Shantz, which I'd been putting off for too long. I was definitely glad to get it, as Shantz was both a MVP and a ERA champ. He also won 8 straight gold gloves from the start of the award to the end of his career.
Thanks Bobby, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Short One Card Post

(Sorry about my month-long hiatus.)

Recently I was looking on Ebay for Zeenut Pacific Coast League cards, and when I noticed some for affordable prices, I looked into the seller, and when I noticed they had a 1940 Play Ball Earl Averill for just $10, I bought it.
Though it's kind of a random buy, the cards in decent condition, and it's a hall of famer from 80 years ago. Also, I learned from the back of the card that Averill came from Snohomish, Washington. 

1940 was Earl Averill's next-to-last season, as he played in just 64 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

More cards from Nick's

I wrote on Wednesday that I had gotten some good cards at Nick's on Saturday, and I definitely did. I started off by getting some nice discount vintage. 
Dick Donavan's 1960 Leaf card was just 50 cents because of a crease, but it isn't in bad shape overall. One thing I really like about this picture is that Dick looks like a very disapproving grandmother. I think it's because of his pursed lips and his expression. Dick was actually a very good pitcher, winning 122 games in a 15-year career and leading the league in ERA in 1961.
Pete Runnel's 1960 Topps card was just 50 cents also. It has some paper loss, but not in central areas of the card, so it isn't too bad. Pete Runnels was a good player, winning two batting titles and retiring with a batting average of .291.
This is the only purchase from that day that I regret. For one, it was $1, the most I spent on a single card that day. Also, the combination of the hatless picture, the print defect on his lip, and the glasses all make him look like he just stumbled bleary-eyed out of bed. He looks a lot better on his other cards. On the other hand, he retired with a career batting average of .295, and had power.

It was getting near time to go when my Dad pointed out a bag of  '60s cards for $5 marked " bad condition". I wasn't sure about it at first, but I felt how many cards there were in the bag, and I decided it was a good deal. My only fear was that the cards would turn out to be in really terrible condition, but as Nick's generally has high condition standards for the vintage cards they have, I figured the rejects couldn't be too bad. I also got some pretty good cards that I'll save for last.
All my fears were put to rest when I saw the first card, a 1970 Topps Denny McLain in OK condition. I also got another one later in the bag, which highlights the only problem there was: duplicates. There were about 80 cards overall, but about 30 duplicates.
The bag definitely helped me make some progress on some sets that I'm trying to build, like 1965 Topps. I only had 5 1965 Topps cards before getting these, so the help was definitely appreciated.
I already had a comparatively large number of 1969 Topps, but in reality that means barely any. I liked the Don Wilson card, and I also really liked the pose on Rich Reese's card, though it's mostly obscured ( top row, 2nd from left).
It was definitely nice getting rookie cards of longtime big leaguers like Merv Rettenmund and Mike Torrez for around 7 cents each. It's also great getting a card of Bob Gibson from 1969, after his historic year.
I also got a lot of 1968 Topps, a set which I don't really like. There were also a ton of duplicate 1968 cards.
Some of the cards were written on, and these particular ones interest me because they look like they were all owned by the same person, who had the same way of making note of team changes.

Most of what I've shown so far, though nice, are mostly commons. However, there were definitely some good cards too.
This was the lone 1966 Topps card, but it certainly packed a punch. A hall of famer in Yastrzemski and a very good player in Oliva and... Vic Davalillo. ( Which one of these are not like the other.)
I'd been wanting to get a 1963 Fleer card for a while, so I was happy to get one for the low, low price of 7 cents! Billy O'Dell lasted 14 years in the majors, winning 105 games.

I was really surprised to see this one. It has a bad crease in the middle of the card, but it's a '50s card of a Hall-of-Famer! As a bonus, Nellie was the 1959 AL MVP.

Anyway, I definitely think I got my money's worth with those cards.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Branching out at the local card shop

There was a time, and not terribly long ago, when I thought that I had explored pretty much all the different things Nick's (the card shop near me), had to offer. The 1950's cards were generally a bit more than I wanted to pay, not so much because they were overpriced, but because they were mostly in very good condition. Outside of that, I thought, there wasn't a whole lot else.

Part of it was that I don't go to Nick's that often, so when I did, I generally covered the same ground. This time, I also looked through some cards from the 60's (I'm really not sure why I'd never done that before), and I think I did pretty well. I didn't look through a whole lot, but I think what I got was pretty good.

I've always liked the design for 1969 Topps, especially the circle for the player's name. The Bobby Klaus is an interesting card, as he never played for the Padres, and spent 1969 in AAA in the Pirate's system. My best guess for his inclusion as a Padre is that he had spent the previous 3 years for the San Diego Padres when they were a minor league team. Though he posted low batting averages for them, he had  walked from 107-154 times for each of the previous 3 years.
I thought this card of Hall of Famer Ron Santo was a good deal at $1.

Nick's vintage cards are generally in very nice condition which is nice.
I was very happy to get a card of Bullet Bob Turley, who won the Cy Young award that year. The card is in rough condition, but that was the reason I got it for a dollar, so I'm not complaining.
I was going this way and that on whether to get this card, because I thought my Dad might already have it, but as it was $2 and a Yankee from 65 years, I decided to get it. It turned out that my Dad does already have this card, but it's still a good purchase.

I also did what I've never done before: I actually bought a football card! I know there's many people who collect both football and baseball, but I'm for the most part a one sport guy. However, when I saw these vintage football cards at 50 cents each, I thought it would be good to get a couple.
Because I know almost literally nothing about football from way back when, I'd never heard of these guys, and just assumed they were mediocre players. However, when I looked them up, it turned they were actually all pretty good ( pro-bowlers and all-pros and stuff like that.

I also went to Nick's on Saturday, and got some very good stuff, but as it's getting late and I want to get this post out tonight, I'll tell about that hopefully on Friday.

Monday, January 6, 2020

An ode to 1953 Bowman: Christmas edition.

Every year, for my birthday and Christmas I get most of the Yankees from a certain 1950's set. It's nice because I really like a lot of sets from the 1950's, and most of the cards are definitely out of my price range. Also, my dad has an affection for the 1950's Yankees because they were the team his dad told him about when my dad was a kid. I think the 1950's were definitely one of the best (possibly the absolute best) decades ever for baseball cards, as you might have been able to tell from my Black Friday purchases. This year I got 1953 Bowman, from both the Color and the Black and White set, like the Bob Kuzava above.
I think it's pretty cool seeing the patch the Yankees had on their uniforms because of their 50th year of baseball (1903-1952). Overall, I think Bowman had much the better set in 1953, and I think that explains something of it. In 1953 Topps, because basically all the cards are just head shots, and while they're very beautiful and detailed head shots,  you can't actually see a lot., while in Bowman, there are a lot of really nice pictures where you can get a better sense of the time. Allie Reynolds had his best season the year before, as he won 20, lead the league in ERA with 2.06, and threw 2 no-hitters.
 Interestingly, this card ( Jim Brideweser) was actually the hardest card for my dad to get. He had tried to get it on Comc on Black Friday, but the one he wanted to get ended up being stored remotely, and he had to get it on Dean's Cards.

The big reason I like Bowman more than Topps that year is that the pictures are just beautiful. One card that I really, really, really want to get someday is the 1953 Bowman Pee Wee Reese. I definitely won't get it for a long, long time, but it might happen someday.
Bill James credits Gil McDougald for the defensive success of the 1950's Yankees even  as Casey Stengel shuffled 2nd basemen and shortstops in and out of the lineup. James wrote in his Historical Baseball Abstract that Gil McDougald was around even, per inning, in his defensive win shares with Red Schoedienst, Frank White, and Nellie Fox at 2nd base, and even with Mark Belanger, Dal Maxvill, and Lou Boudreau. At 3rd base he ranked around even with Aurelio Rodriguez, Buddy Bell, and Ken Boyer. 
The Black and White set is also pretty nice, I think. The Color set is a lot more, well, colorful, but the photographs are still really good. Bill Miller traded to the Orioles in the 17 man Yankees-Orioles trade, which also included Don Larsen, Bob Turley, Gene Woodling, Gus Triandos, and many, many more.
RIP, Irv. When I asked my Grandpa about him ( we're on vacation in New York and staying with my grandma and grandpa), my grandpa said that he was very solid as a player, you could put him anywhere in the lineup from 1-3, and he was a very good fielder.
This picture really reminds of the 1957 Topps Ted Kluszewski, even though Hank Bauer was in reality 2 inches shorter and 33 pounds lighter than Kluszewski.
I'll close out with my dad's personal favorite of the Bowman's I got for Christmas. Johnny Sain won 14 games and lost 7 with an ERA of 3.00, and  lead the league in saves with 26 in 1954. My grandpa says that he was glad when the Yankees got him near the end of his career.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Black Friday Shipment #2

The big reason why I only got vintage cards on Black Friday is that my budget doesn't allow me to get them consistently throughout the year. If I spent all of my normal budget on vintage cards at a card show, I'd only get around 15 cards. It's a lot more satisfying to get a couple hundred cards from the dime box, even though I really like older cards. Occasionally, I get some vintage cards from a card shop, but's that's pretty much it.

So I was really glad to get a lot of cards from the 1950's and '60's at bargain prices. Actually, the most expensive card in this post was the 1957 Topps Ken Boyer, which was just 82 cents.
I really like infielders, and getting cards of infielders, and I think these two cards do a very
good job of showing why.
You can make a pretty good hall of fame case for Ken Boyer ( 11 time all-star, 5 time gold glove, 282 home runs, and a MVP award).  Anyway, I thought it would be nice to get a card of him.
I might end up completing the 1957 Topps set some day, as it's a very nice set ( as I have said), and it's fairly cheap. I think the only expensive rookie card is Frank Robinson, which can be had for less than 100 dollars.
The card on the left is Earl Battey's rookie card. He ended up playing until 1967, and was a 4 time all-star, so I think I got a pretty good deal for his rookie card, at 70 cents. The Camilo Pascual was just 70 cents too. Camilo Pascual ended up being a pretty good player too, playing until 1971 and winning 174 games.
I wanted a Bobby Avila card for my collection after reading about him a little in the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Bobby was on the down end of his career by 1957, as he hit .224 in 1956, and retired after 1959. Billy Pierce is kind of underrated as he won 211 games, and was probably  better than Don Drysdale, Jesse Haines, Rube Marquard, and other hall of famers.
Jack Harshman had an interesting career, as he started out as a 1st baseman . He hit 40 homeruns for Minneapolis in 1949, and 47 for Nashville in 1951 in the minor leagues, and reached the majors leagues as a 1st basemen,  but only played 14 games in the major leagues as a position player before he converted to the mound. Clint Courtney was called both " Scrap Iron" and " The Toy Bulldog", which I think justifies the purchase.
I think it's funny how Topps never really decided how to spell Lew ( Lou ) Burdette's 1st name. It was nice how I got two of his cards so that I could compare.
I, for some reason, have always had an odd fascination with utility outfielders who hit .300, walk a lot, and have no power. Elmer Valo definitely as he hit .282 in his 20 year career with a .398 on base and 58 home runs. The only other player I can think of who fit the description is Greg Gross, so it's a pretty select group.
I really like the Christmas colors on the Zack Monroe card. His card is also made interesting as he never pitched in the major leagues after 1959, and that Topps apparently mispelled his 1st name ( Zach). I also like the catcher-outfield-1st basemen designation for Elston Howard.
I'll close out with Pedro Ramos at the start of his career, and 10 years later, and worse the wear after leading the league in losses 4 times.

Anyway, thank you all for reading and have a merry Christmas! Or more likely, considering that I posted this at 8:30 PM central time, have a merry December the 26th!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Black Friday shipment #1

Last Saturday I was very disappointed because I had to miss a card show for a practice speech tournament. The tournament wasn't too bad, but going to a card show is one of my favorite things in the world.

However, the disappointment was lightened by my 1st Comc shipment of cards! It was great going through the cards! I mostly got Topps cards from 1954-1960, but I also got three relatively big cards for me. I'll start off by showing what is now the oldest card in my collection, one of the three "big" cards I got:

I got this 1887 Sweet Caporal card for less than $5! It doesn't really fit in with anything I collect, but it was really cheap, really old, and the background is very interesting. ( I'll show the other two cards at the end)

I really like the towels behind Dusty Rhodes, and I like 1957 Topps. I remember way back when when I didn't like 1957 Topps because it was too boring, but I've come to appreciate it.
I like how it was the 1st set ever with the now standard card size, and, as a baseball statistics nerd, I really, really like how it was also the 1st set ever with complete career statistics!
Another set I like is 1960 Topps. It's nice and colorful, and I think the font is very interesting, as it is in different colors and the letters aren't in a perfectly straight line.
I've always been interested in Eddie Yost, which is kind of funny because I basically never walk in little league. This is my 2nd card of him, and my 1st of him as a Tiger. In 1960 he hit .260, and lead the league in walks with 125, but just spent 2 more years in the big leagues, hitting .215.
Fun fact for the day: Johnny Antonelli was elected to both All Star games in 1959 ( they had two for a couple years back then), getting the win for the 1st one.
I think somebody drew glasses on my 1954 Bowman Tom Gorman, and it has a lot of creases, but I thought it was a good deal at $1.06.
The condition notes for the Mike Garcia card said it was trimmed, but I got it anyway. It's pretty noticeable by a regular '54 Bowman card.
1956 was Johnny Kuck's big year, as he won 18 games, but he never won more than 8 games in the majors outside of that year. He finished his major league career with a 54-56 record.
I really like the yellow background on this 1954 Topps Roy Sievers. And here are two "big" cards, which I've probably been overhyping:
Play ball! I really like Play ball in all of it's 3 years, so these were nice. It looks like somebody carved some random things on the surface of this card, but it's in good condition otherwise, and it was around $5.
The other card was a 1940 Play Ball card of "Buddy" Hassett. I'd never heard of him before I got his card,  but he hit .292 over 7 years before the war stopped his career, including playing the 1942 season with the Yankees. As a bonus, it's my 1st Boston Bee card, because that's what the Braves were called back then.

I still have one more Comc shipment ( explained in my last post), so hopefully you'll be reading about it soon.