Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a Yankee!

 Those were a weird few days. First I see that Isiah Kiner-Falefa was traded to the Twins, and I'm disappointed. I'd seen rumors of him going to the Yankees, and I was really hoping for that. I care less about the Twins than the Rangers, which is saying a lot. 

And next thing I know he's traded to the Yankees. Yes!

He looks weird without a beard.

For those who don't know why I'm so excited, I'm a big fan of Isiah because I watched him play with the Frisco Rough Riders in 2016 and 2017. As I said in a post earlier last year: 

"It seemed like every time I went to see the Rough Riders, Isiah would be playing. He was a constant, an oasis in an ever-changing roster. I have very fond memories of the P.A saying " Isiah Kiiineerrr FALEFAAAAAA!!!!!!" "

He's not a great player, but he's good. He's a very good fielder at shortstop and third base, and he's adequate at catcher. (He might be the Yankees' best option at catcher, actually.) Not much at the plate, but he's fine. 

I think that it was a good trade. I'm so glad to see Gary Sanchez go. He was a constant frustration. I'll miss Gio Urshela. He was good, and it was also nice to have someone named Giovanny. 

But it'll be good having Josh Donaldson at third, as long as he stays healthy, and I'm obviously glad to get Isiah Kiner-Falefa. 

Can't wait to get my first Yankees card of him. 


Friday, March 11, 2022

The best purchase I've ever made

 A few weeks ago I made the biggest purchase of my life. But I should back up a little.

Remember the cards I got for Christmas? The huge lot of low-mid grade cards from 1948 to 1959? They were from the same guy. I wrote him saying that I really enjoyed the cards... and did he have any more like them available?

Well, he did. He's a set collector with a lot of duplicates, and they were all available. In the end, I got over 700 cards from 1939 to 1973 for $176. I completely blew out my baseball card budget (and I may have dipped a bit into savings), but it was worth every penny and more.

I'll be spreading this out over several posts, because there's a lot that's worth showing. 

The cards were split into several groups, and the largest was the group of 1960s Topps cards -461 cards for $100, or about 22 cents per card. 


So beautiful...

There wasn't a ton from 1960, but this was my favorite. I like the 1960 manager cards, and it's cool to have the manager of the 1960 Pirates. I also like how he's wearing a helmet.


I like the cartoon too.

Here are four sluggers from 1961 Topps. (Klu!)There was a pretty good amount of 1961 Topps, a set I like. Yeah, the design's pretty boring and there are a lot of hatless pictures, but when the picture's nice they're beautiful.

Rocky Nelson didn't do much in the majors, but had some great seasons with north-of-the-border minor league teams. From 1953 to 1955, with the Montreal Royals, he had triple crown stats of .308/34/136, .311/31/94, and .364/37/130. In that last season he had more homers than strikeouts (36). He started 1956 hitting .394 with 12 homers, getting a call to the Dodgers. He hit .208, and was traded to the Cardinals. 1957 and 1958 he played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, hitting .294/28/102 in 1957 and .326/43/120 in 1958. He went to the majors in 1959, and two of his three seasons with the Pirates were very good. 


My first card of Pumpsie Green.

Always great to get cards of Mudcat Grant and Don Mossi.
I think this card is gorgeous.

I always love getting cards featured in the Great American Baseball Card book. 
These are two high numbers. I have a disproportionate amount of 1963 high and semi-high number cards. 
And here's some more cards from the Great American Baseball Card book. 
Colt. 45s, 5'5'' Albie Pearson, and the rookie card of the famous Angel Billy Cowan, seen here without his halo. 
Jim Umbricht's last card is the more subtle counterpart of Ken Hubbs'. 
I like these. A little pencil (or pen) transformed Hal Smith into Hal McRae, Woody Held into Merv Rettenmund, and Jim Duffalo into Dick Dietz. 
1966 Topps was the set with the most representation -126. Most of them are in very nice condition, too.

It's ironic how Smoky Burgess's card was trimmed thin. 

Yankees!
Wes Stock was coach for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1972, so that means his card was modified in 1972. Interesting. 
Dick Allen, the floating, disembodied head of Mickey Mantle, and two Mets. I love 1967 Topps  ( I say every time.) 
These are high numbers.
I love Vic Davalillo, but he looks like a gremlin on this card.
I was glad to finally get the semi-famous 1969 Mel Queen. 

As you can tell, I got some great cards for a great price. This is just the beginning. 

Thanks G1911 for the cards, and thanks everyone for reading!




Monday, February 28, 2022

Two 110-year old pickups

 A few weeks ago, I bought two very old cards from a seller on Net54. My collection has gotten a lot more advanced over the last year or two, but cards this old will never be common in my collection.

The first was an American Caramel of Highlander Ed Sweeney,

Sweeney caught for the Highlanders/Yankees from 1908 to 1915. He wasn't much with the bat, hitting .235 in that period. To be honest, he wasn't much with the glove either, which says a lot about the pre-Ruth teams. 

It's in great condition for a card so old. It's off-center, has a big crease, and the back has something sticky on it, but it presents beautifully. 


I also got my first Obak. It's in pretty bad condition, but the price was good (both were under $20 shipped each). 
Roy Hitt didn't have much of a major league career (6-10, 3.40 ERA), but he had a 12-year career in the Pacific Coast League. He won 201 games, and his best season was probably 1906, when he was 31-12 with a 1.90 ERA. 

I love the back. It's beautiful, but the message is hilarious too. "Smoke them all day long, if you like. No aftereffects." Oh dear. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The most beautiful set you've never heard of

 I think all of us love 1953 Bowman Color. Its simple design, paired with its early use of color photography, makes it one of the most popular sets of all time. 




And it certainly is beautiful. 

But there's another set that was released in 1948, was probably the first set to ever have color photography, and is arguably even nicer looking. It's the 1948 Signal Oil set, and you've probably never heard of it before.

It's a 24 card set of the Oakland Oaks. They were given away in gas stations. (Why don't they give away cards at gas stations anymore?) And they're so beautiful.

I mean, look at these:

Ray Hamrick. No power, and made 54 errors at shortstop in 147 games in 1947.

Despite being a minor league set, it has plenty of star power. From left to right, bottom to top, we have Cookie Lavagetto, Ernie Lombardi, Casey Stengel, and Billy Martin. They went 114-74, finished first, and beat the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Rainers in the playoffs to win the championship. 

The lesser-known Nick Etten was the real star, though. He was a star for the Yankees during World War II, leading the AL in home runs in 1944 with 22 and in RBIs in 1945 with 111. He hit just .232 in 1946, though, and was in the minors in 1948. He had an incredible season, hitting .313 with 43 home runs and 155 RBIs in 164 games. He had a .587 SLG, and .408 OBP. Had a good season with Milwaukee in 1949, but not spectacular, and 1950 was his last pro season.


Will Hafey, who hit .282 with 34 RBIs in 131 at-bats in 1948.


Charlie Gassaway, from Gassaway, Tennessee. 


Billy Raimondi, one of the great minor league catchers. Didn't have much power, but hit .276 and caught well over 2,000 games in a 22-year career.

Even the announcer gets a card. 

They remind me a lot of the 1970s Calbee cards. To be honest, I don't have a Signal Oil card or a Calbee card, but I'll get some someday. Maybe I'll even complete the 1948 Signal Oil set.

1978 Calbee Koichi Tabuchi. Picture courtesy of Sean at Getting Back into Baseball Cards... in Japan







Monday, February 7, 2022

The greatest card show I've ever had

 A few weeks ago, I went to a card show. It had been a long time since I'd last gone to a card show -- January 2021. 

And, as the title suggests, I got some pretty awesome cards. 

For card shows to be a success, I need some decently priced vintage and a good dime box. If it has that, it's a success. Anything beyond that is a bonus. There was well priced vintage at this card show, and a good dime box, but what made it the greatest was what lay beyond that. 

The dime box was almost exclusively cards from 2000 to 2021. I was able to get some good cards for my player collections. I got over about 240 for $20. 

Ichiro! I have 39 cards of him.

There were a few refractors mixed in with the chrome cards, which was a nice surprise. 
These two were actually a quarter. The Dioner Navarro is numbered to 100, and the Judge is a pre-rookie card. Has a crease, though. 
These two bring my Mariano Rivera collection up to 70 cards. I got two others, but they were both duplicates. 

Also put some work in my Yankee collection. I had less than a dozen 2021 cards before this show. 

Yankees from the most boring and common parallel set ever.

These are nice, though. There was a good amount of 2020 Stadium Club. Beautiful. 

These minis were my first Obaks. I was hoping for Steve Dalkowski, but Moe Berg and Walt Whitman are good too.

The affordable vintage came from an unpriced table. I know some of y'all really don't like it when dealers have their cards unpriced, but it was a good experience. The prices were very fair, and negotiations weren't contentious. 

Some nice semi-stars here. They were all in great condition.
All of these were $1.25, except Becquer and Schofield who were $1. I'm now at 278/572, or 48.6% through 1959 Topps.


Very glad to get Wally Moon with the Cardinals.

$1.25 was great price for Bobby Richardson. It has some writing on the back, but not much, and it's in great shape. 

All I've shown is good, but standard card show fare. What made this card show stand out (and justify its ridiculous $12 admission fee) was great prices on pre-war cards.

I hadn't gotten a 1933 Goudey in forever, but got six at this card show, all priced between $5 and $10.  I now have 18 of the 240. Probably never going to complete it, but you never know. :)

"Howling Dan" Howley is a treasured minor league card, as he was managing the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time. He had a mediocre career as a catcher, mostly spent in the minors, and managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1927 to 1932. 

Jack Burns was a mediocre first baseman with the Browns and Tigers from 1930 to 1936.

Adam Comorosky wasn't very good either. He did hit 23 triples in 1930. 

Earl Whitehill, in contrast, was a very good pitcher. He won 218 games in his career, and 1933 was his best season. He was 22-8 with a 3.33 ERA for the Senators that year.

Tommy Thevenow is legendary for his weak bat. He hit two home runs in his 1229 game career, and both were inside the park. He had a .247 batting average in a hard-hitting era.

I don't think many people have heard of Ray Kremer, but he was a great pitcher in his prime. He led the NL in ERA in 1926 and 1927 with marks of 2.61 and 2.47, and had a 143-85 record for his career. But by 1933, he was 38 (he looks even older) and over the hill. He had a 10.35 ERA in 20 innings that season, and went back to the PCL. He was terrible there, too, with a 7.26 ERA. 

Speaking of the PCL...

I've never seen Zeenuts at a card show before, but one of the dealers had a good stack of them. (He also sold me some of the Goudeys. The other ones came from the dealer without prices.)

Johnny Bassler was $6. He was a very good catcher with the Detroit Tigers. In his nine year career, he hit just one home run, but had a .304 average and 437 walks against 81 strikeouts. After his major league career was over, he spent 10 years in the Pacific Coast League, and did very well. He hit .354 in 1931 (the year of the card), and that was pretty typical for him.
These two, also 1931 Zeenuts, were $4 each, and I'm undecided which is in worse condition. 

Carl Holling had a 4-8 record in the major leagues, and a 65-72 record in the minors. 1930 was his last season.

Eddie Bryan had a long career in the minors, winning 209 games from 1921 to 1936. He was okay.
I love this one. It's a 1912 Zeenut, $18, and it's beautiful. Deacon Van Buren had a super long career in the minors, from 1895 to 1914. He was 41 in 1912, but still hit .313. 

I'd been wanting a Zeenut of Harry Krause for a long time because I have his American Caramel Rookie card. To recap, he led the AL in ERA in 1909 as a rookie with a mark of 1.39, hurt his arm, went to the minors, and pitched in the Pacific Coast League until 1929, ending up with 309 pro wins.
They look good all together. The 1927 Zeenut was $8, and the 1929 Zeenut was $10. 
This was on the back of one of them. 

This 1927 Zeenut Gus Suhr goes well with his 1933 Goudey, which I got last year. He had a good career in the majors, but his best season anywhere was probably his 1929 season with the San Francisco Seals. That year he hit .381 with 51 home runs and 62 doubles in 202 games. The great season and long schedule gave him an other-worldly 526 total bases. 

I had just two Zeenuts before this card show, so it was pretty awesome getting seven new ones.

To make things even better, a few days after the card show, I noticed that the 1999 Topps Gallery Larry Walker I got for a dime was numbered to 250. It turned out to be a Player's Private Issue parallel, whatever that is. 
Notice the lettering on the top left corner.

A fitting postscript to the best card show I've ever had.