Friday, December 7, 2018

1964 Topps Jim Bunning

Jim Bunning had a long Major League career playing from 1955 to 1971. At least, I think 17 years is pretty healthy block of time. He played 9 years for Detroit, 6 years for the Phillies, and then played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers, too.

Jim Bunning was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans committee in 1996, which was one of those years where the BBWAA didn't vote in a ballot player. He represents the Phillies in the Hall of Fame. So, this is sweet!

This is Bunning's 1964 Topps card, his first as a Phillies in a year in which he appeared sometimes as  a Phillies and sometimes as a Tigers. Everything about it is a classic, quintessential "look" of a man in the 1950s and 1960s.

This is an delightful looking card, but the cartoon on the back is kind of faint which is why I think I got it for such a good price. Welcome to my collection!

Remember to enter the "Ugly Sweater" Ugly Baseball Card Contest! It closes in just 8 days!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Darryl Strawberry: 1989 Donruss Baseball's Best

I like 1989 Donruss. Am I alone? I got this 1989 Donruss Baseball's Best off Sportlots. And, no lie, about two days later I got another of the same card from a friend. What are the chances!

I like everything about this card which I got in September and let fester in my drafts until now. But I'm happy to show-off this sucker now. It's glorious.

Remember to enter the "Ugly Sweater" Ugly Baseball Card Contest! It closes in 11 days!

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

The 1980s

Kin wrote a post called I Love the 1980s inspired by Beckett Baseball's righteous decision to do a 1980s issue with Don Mattingly on the cover of their January 2019 issue. And he tweeted back that he'd be interested in seeing my rankings so without further ado, I'll present my favorite sets of the 1980s first and then my favorite cards of the 1980s.

My Tops Sets of the 1980s

I'd really love to include sets like Score and Upper Deck in my list, but I can't. Although I was probably astounded by the weird colors of the Score sets when it came out, I'm far too "traditional", for lack of a better word, to include them here. They don't exemplify the bulk of the 1980s decade for me. Donruss, Fleer, and primarily Topps, however, do. In an effort of full disclosure most cards were stolen from online resources.

Honorable Mention goes to 1986 Donruss.

#5 1981 Topps
I love the hats.

#4 1983 Topps
A set I feel like I got packs of as a 9 year old. It's certainly one I sought within a few years as a hardcore baseball card collector. This is the period where so many 1960s and 1970s stars were still active. Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, George Brett, Robin Yount, Johnny Bench... I mean it's loaded. And then Boggs, Sandberg and Gwynn rookies, Ripken second year. A divine set. Probably should be higher than 4.

#3 1988 Fleer
This set is so crisp and clean. I love the white borders and the blue and red stripes; it's a patriotic set.

#2 1986 Topps
A more quirky set due to the big bold font. Like my number 1 below, it just brings back a really wonderful happy period of collecting and innocence, particularly for the first seven cards of the set, an homage to Pete Rose.

#1 1987 Topps
This is for me a no-brainer.  It's not the first time Topps (or even Bowman) used a wood-grained border, but it best represents my memories of collecting as an earlier teenager.

My Top Cards of the 1980s

#5 Ripken's

Between 1982's Cal Ripken rookie and 1989 Bill Ripken expletive card, I'm sure there are more iconic cards from the decade but these two are amongst the most sought after many decades later.

#4 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr.
Pull this card out of a pack. I should've stopped then!

#3 1983 Topps Gaylord Perry
The 9-year-old in me remembers trading for this card in Cub Scouts.

#2 1987 Classic Yellow Update Andre Dawson

The 1980s had many iconic moments. For me the Mets winning the World Series in 1986 was one of them, but Andre Dawson's card here is one of those indelibly marked occurrences.

#1 Darryl Strawberry
This is predictable and I'm sorry to be predictable, but Darryl Strawberry was my favorite player at the time and so, as such, he's my default number 1 card of the decade. I really could have picked any of his Topps cards, but decided to go for one that I loved then so incredibly much, the 1988 Fleer Headliners.

If anyone is actually reading this blog post, well... what about you? Let's bat this sucker around!

Thanks Kin, for suggesting more input on this brilliant decade in baseball card production!

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Friday, November 30, 2018

1963 Topps Richie Ashburn

Alright! We have a Hall of Famer! This is Richie Ashburn who is a member of the Hall of Fame as a Philadelphia Phillies. He was elected to the Hall by the Veterans committee in 1995. I guess that makes it count, right? Ideally I'd like only people voted in by the BBWAA, but this isn't an ideal world. Also, it might be nicer to have a card of him as a Phillies player, but, again... I'll take what I can get whilst keeping within whatever budgetary constraints present themselves.

Richie Ashburn became a Mets in their first woeful season, 1962, but had a decent season for them. He played 135 games and batted .306 and was an All-Star. It was also his last year in the Majors. Kind of a shit way to go out, in some respects.

So, this 1963 Topps card also represents his last card as a professional ball player. I often wonder why last cards aren't more popular or valuable, especially for Hall of Fame players. But getting a Hall of Fame players last card is something I'm particularly interested in. What about you?

Remember to enter the "Ugly Sweater" Ugly Baseball Card Contest! It closes in 15 days!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Darryl Strawberry: 1988 Topps Coin

Worst scans of all time? Possibly. What you may not be able to tell is that these are the 1988 Topps Darryl Strawberry coin. Not good in vending machines or payphones, but they are great in my collection!.

The text on the back of the coin reads: "In 1987 he led Mets with 108 Runs, 29 HR, 104 RBI & 38 SB. Was selected as NL Rookie of Year for 1983."

The Topps coins were fun to collect, right? Do you have a favorite year of issue?

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Friday, November 23, 2018

"Ugly Sweater" Ugly Baseball Card Contest reminder

I hate to follow-up the gorgeous 1952 Topps Bob Elliott post with this one, but I must do it...

Just a friendly Black Friday reminder about the ongoing "Ugly Sweater" Ugly Baseball Card reminder.

There have been some excellent submissions so far including:

Nick V's CB4-esque 1988 Kevin Mitchell

Bo R's heinous Brooks Robinson

Marc's beheaded Kurt Suzuki

Matt's cartoon/airbrushed Carlos Gonzalez

Plenty of time still to contribute! Just comment with a link on the original post linked above. It isn't stated in the contest rules but perhaps should have some clarification. The card would be better if it was a part of your collection, but it doesn't have to be. Some of us have principles (ok, like maybe 2.35 of us) and so it might be that your favorite ugly card can't be a part of your collection.

Thanks for contributing the contest, which closes on December 15, 2018.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

1952 Topps Bob Elliott

I have to be honest with you--because, like, it's what you expect from me mostly, right? When I decided I wanted to collect some vintage cards and to try to have one card from each set, this 1952 Topps set was the main reason behind it. Ideally I'd have a Hall of Fame player represented, but as you know there are caveats to collecting and collecting strategies. In this instance, this particular card fills several of my requirements. First, it's a 1952 Topps card which speaks for itself. Second, it's of a team that no longer exists... There is NOT a team currently called the Boston Braves and don't try to tell me otherwise. Bob Elliott isn't a Hall of Fame player, but when I was trying to get a card from this set his name stuck out at me for very different reason... But first let us admire this beauteous card.

Ok. I knew of Bob Elliott not from his own merits. No, it has to do with my other life, one which I rarely mention on this blog or on my Twitter. But here is why I chose Bob Elliott It turns out the poet Sylvia Plath babysat for Bob Elliott in Wellesley, Mass., where she spent her adolescence. And she mentioned babysitting for him in a letter. She wrote, in a 11 August 1950 letter, "Then I grew up, and just like it says in Seventeen, You Too Can Be A Party Girl. So there were boys all of a sudden, and I’ve forgotten what it was like not to have some guy in the kitchen eating mother’s cookies and discussing the World Series with my brother. (I’ve gone babysitting of Bob Elliot, but I wouldn’t know a batting average if I saw one.)" For those who do not know, I co-edited her letters published in 2017 and 2018.

Elliott was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Braves in September 1946 and thus played for the other Boston team from 1947 through the 1951 season. In his first year with the Braves he was an All-Star and was awarded the MVP! Go Bob! This card was the last for him to be featured in Boston uniform. On 8 April 1952, was traded to the New York Giants. Another team that doesn't exist anymore. He played only two more seasons but managed to play for three teams in that time (the Giants, the no longer extant St. Louis Browns, and the Chicago White Sox). He didn't play again after 1953.

Do you have a 1952 Topps card in your collection? If so, who?

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