Saturday, December 29, 2018

One-upped by my father

A short while ago I was talking to my dad about baseball cards and I told him about my new collecting interest of Hall of Fame players and teams that no longer exist as separate little collections and he thought it was interesting. Well, it prompted him to go out and get me 10 baseball cards for Christmas. I had only been thinking in terms of (more or less) random players (i.e. affordable players) depicted the uniform of a long-gone team. But what he did was something different: he got me the last card of a player for a team that moved, and the first card of the same player after the move.

So here are the cards! Let's start in the 1950s. Here we have a 1952 Topps Del Crandall from the Boston Braves followed by the 1953 Topps card of Crandall for the Milwaukee Braves.



Let me just point out I now have two 1952 baseball cards and both are Boston Braves. Crandall's cards are really great and could represent another subset collecting interest for someone of player's who had baseball cards issued in years in which they did not play due to military service, which is the case for him in 1952. Crandall returned to professional baseball in 1953 having missed the two previous years; he also had to relocate from Boston to Milwaukee. Perhaps some might say that's adding insult to injury.

And then BOOM: a 1953 Bill Hunter for the St. Louis Browns (a team I obviously knew of but had completely forgotten about) followed by his 1954 Topps card (as Billy -- they are more casual in Baltimore, I guess) for the Baltimore Orioles. This is my first Browns card and my oldest Orioles card.



Hunter, an All-Star as a rookie with the Browns, had a short six year career and played also for the Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and the Cleveland Indians. I need a KC Athletics cards and might as well try to find Hunter's 1957 collared issue.

The remaining cards are from the 1971 and 1972 Topps cards depicting Washington Senators and Texas Rangers. Here we have cards for Frank Howard, Manager Ted Williams, and the Team card, which features, perhaps, Topps at its extreme and most lazy.

Here is Frank Howard who, in 1971 sported double-bills and a lost look, and in 1972, the year he turned 36, looking even more lost and like he's in his late 50s or early 70s and could be working at Home Depot, wondering where LED lights are stored for a bearded Hipster customer in jeans so skinny his tattoos look like blood clots.



Not sure what Ted Williams was smiling about as his 1970 Senators were 70-92 and finished 6th in the AL East. And they had a worse record, slightly, in 1971: 63-96. If you do the math, that's 159 games so they had three rain outs that they were (mercifully) not made to make up. But at least they finished 5th, ahead of the Indians.


Topps, it seems, was intent on making all Rangers in 1972 look lost and clueless. These two cards are my first Ted Williams cards. But do they count? Williams was largely an unsuccessful manager, and was not back as skipper of the Rangers in 1973.


And then there is the 1971/1972 team card. Looking at the cards...Hey, wait! That's the exact same picture!



And, wait a sec... are you telling me the at the Senators had the exact same stats in 1970 and 1971?? Because that's what Topps printed.


Perhaps this is well-known in the baseball card industry but it was new to all of us. Topps totally at its laziest when there was ample warning of the team's move from Washington, D. C. to Texas.

Thanks, Dad!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Darryl Strawberry: 1989 Fleer Heroes of Baseball

When I look at this card I say, in my best Cameron, "Darryl Strawberry you're my hero."  I really love action shots for baseball cards, but ones like this are just so beautiful, too. Huge smile, NY Mets uniform. Just awesome. 

This Fleer Heroes of Baseball are one of the standard 44 card issues from back in the day. It seems like there were dozens of these over the years from Fleer? At least this was one of six mini-sets that celebrated All-Stars, MVP's, Exciting Stars, League Leaders, and SuperStars. As you might expect after his 1988 season, Strawberry was in all the sets. I didn't check them all, but it might be that all 44 players were each in every set.


What kind of picture do  you like depicted best on your baseball cards? Batting? Fielding? Casual? Something else?

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Friday, December 21, 2018

My First Hank Aaron Baseball Card

Well, since I tweeted about getting this card the other day, I decided to let it jump the queue in my exploration into Vintage baseball cards. For some reason, I like to capitalize the V in Vintage.

In my quest to acquire some Hall of Fame baseball players, one of the the ways which I am finding it to be both enjoyable and economical, is to go for a given player's final Topps cards. (Topps is the preferred card maker for this project).

This card here is Hank Aaron's final Topps card released in a regular set. In 1976 he played 85 games; or, just over half a season. His final game was October 3, 1976 and his last at bat was an RBI single. It was all for naught, though, as the Brewers lost the game 5-2. Some might say he wasn't clutch. The game lasted 2:09 and there were 6,858 people in attendance. One thing this illustrates is that more people show up for baseball games that last longer and should silence any "pace of play" commentary that Millennial's complain about.


I'm not a Millennial, thank goodness, but I would like to complain. I think players should get a card the year after they retire to present their complete stats. It's probable that some of Aaron's 1977 or after cards do show everything, but this is not the point.

This card is slightly miscut, a little bumped on the corners, etc. etc. But it's a graded a PKS 10 to me. It's my first Hank Aaron card! First in the sense that it's from his playing days. I did get a couple 2018 Stadium Club Aaron's.

Do you like Nilla wafers?  I do.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Favorite 2018 Baseball Card

P-Town Tom has done it again and is hosting a Favorite Card of the Year contest. I have entered them both years. I know I entered one with an embarrassing post. The second one was more sentimental. However, in neither instance did I win which I have to assume is random.org's way of saying I suck.

I just checked my scans and according to that I have eight 2018 cards. This is faulty as I did make a complete 2018 Topps Stadium Club set. So I have actually a really healthy batch of cards from which to choose.

Here are the eight unique cards... Though unique is a slight misnomer as the Stadium Club card is in my set as well as my Strawberry PC.




These are all really nice cards. I really like that Darryl Strawberry card in the first row, last one, in the 1983 design. But it falls short of being my favorite card. I put it at number 4.

If it was a favorite card acquired in 2018 that would be a different story as I started dipping into Vintage cards and have a number of glorious ones.

Second runner up is Johnny Bench. I love having a modern Johnny Bench card to accompany a 1974 card of him.
First runner up is Will Clark. This card is both intense and bad-ass. If I was a baseball I would not want to meet his bat in a dark alley.
But I think my favorite card is Dexter Fowler's. He's a injury-prone Cubs defector but if it's any consolation he had a really atrocious year. But the card is sweet. It's all about the view and the perspective here.


I'm sure choosing a Cardinals will lose me some opportunity in the contest, but I just find this particular photograph & perspective remarkable.

Thank you, Tom, for hosting this contest. Happy Holidays to all!

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

"Ugly Sweater" Ugly Baseball Card Contest Gallery and WINNER!

Here is a gallery of the hideous grotesque cards you submitted for the "Ugly Sweater" ugly card contest. The winner, decided upon by random.org, will be announced at the bottom of the post!







  

  








Thank you all for submitting such a gluttonous feast of ugliness. The moment you've all been waiting for, the winner of the contest and the winner of a card (or cards) valuing $35, is:



Mark of The Chronicles of Fuji! Mark's contribution can be read on his blog.

Marc's entry: Beheaded, yet autographed, Kurt Suzuki
CONGRATULATIONS MARK! Let's be in touch via email about what you want!

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