Monday, May 31, 2021

HOF Warren Spahn

Growing up, Warren Spahn was one of my favorite players from the vintage era. I bought his 1960 and 1961 Topps cards at some point when I was a kid. I love the 1961 set a lot, and the 1960 set is pretty righteous, too. 

This is Spahn's final base Topps card, issued in 1965. 

Like Duke Snider, featured a couple of weeks ago, you probably don't see guys looking like such old geezers anymore. What with hair dye and hair transplant treatments and all. But he looks gloriously weathered here.

Though his last year in the big leagues pitching was 1965, he wasn't elected into the Hall of Fame until 1973, which was his first year on the ballot, with 83.5% of the vote. He went in with Whitey Ford, also on his first ballot, though Ford played until 1967. 

Wait. Both are on their first ballot in 1973, but Spahn's last card was 1965 and Ford's was in 1967.  For Spahn, that is, if you're quasi-decent at math, a difference of 8 years. I don't know how that works unless he didn't officially retired until 1967? But I can't find anything from searching on the Google. I might not be looking in the right place. Any Spahnologists know?

When he retired, Spahn had the most career strikeouts for a left-handed pitcher. He won a Cy Young (1957), was a 17-time All-Star, won the World Series (1957) and three ERA titles. He earned MVP votes in 15 of his 21 years of playing time. In his final season he started the year with the Mets who sold him to the Giants, which means he was teammates with both Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, and Willie Mays. How many players in MLB history that can say that?

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Friday, May 28, 2021

John Kruk: 1993 Topps Full Shot

In 1993, Topps tried something called Full Shots. It was a 21 card insert set featuring a who's who of baseball stars of the time: Bonds, Griffey, Jr., McGriff, and, uh, ... 


Dave McCarty. 


Not all teams were represented and some teams, like the Phillies, had more than one: Darren Daulton and John Kruk. You may have surmised, being reasonably intelligent people, that this blog post is about the Kruk card in that set. If I've given you too much credit, then, well, maybe that says more about me than it says about you. 

I'm not sure what's "Full Shot" about this. Or what the point of the set was. You cannot see all of Kruk's body, he's de-legged at the shins. And you can barely make out the fullness of the bat as it's obscured by the slightly opaque S in PHILLIES and is touching the border on the card. Likewise on the back, you cannot see all of Kruk's physique. But my does he have glorious head-hair. 

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1989 Cadaco-Ellis

Who doesn't like disc cards? This is the 1989 Cadaco Ellis disc card which, despite being copyright of the MLB Players Association, is air-brushed. I'd've thought that with their copyright it might mean it was licensed, but I'd've thunk wrong. I guess. This is clearly a spring training shot because on the gnarly, nappy fence in the background.

Do you like disc cards? Do you have a favorite? 

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Monday, May 24, 2021

HOF Nellie Fox

Nellie Fox's last Topps base card was this 1965 beauty. Topps is whimsical with the font on the back of the card; and the number-in-baseball features just one row of stitching. 

Nellie was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame in 1997 by the Veterans Committee. He earned MVP votes in ten seasons and won the award in 1959, beating out teammate Luis Aparicio. Fox was a 15-time All-Star and won three Gold Gloves. 

Fox's 19 year career was predominantly in the American League, but he did end his career with the National League Astros of Houston. He played 21 games in 1965 before hanging up his stirrups. 

The year he won his MVP was the only year in which his White Sox of Chicago appeared in the postseason. He's like the Mike Trout of his era.

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Friday, May 21, 2021

John Kruk: 1993 Kenner Starting Lineup Hit Men

In the late 80s and early 90s the Starting Lineup figures & cards of sports players were quite a popular thing. I remember having some Strawberry's and a Dominic Wilkins (which I sent a few years ago, still in its packaging, to a friend on Twitter). I don't think I still have any other figurines, but I'm not sure.

I'm pretty sure I never had a Kruk figure as by the time he was issued one I wasn't really collecting any longer. This card seems to have been a subset or something off the base card. Maybe someone else knows?

I heart a term today for the first time that irked me. "Bat path". Isn't that "swing"? What's wrong with "swing"? Why do they have to science-ify everything?

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1990 Card Collector's set

Ok, so I actively avoided this sixteen card Card Collector's set of Darryl Strawberry cards for the longest time, but the pandemic can do really strange things to one's feelings about card. 

The cards chronicle Strawberry's early life from childhood through high school. There are evident yearbook photos, like cards 1 and 11. And them some sporty ones showing him playing basketball and baseball; the baseball ones are my favorites. Then there are the other cards that are reproduced from family photographs. Card 13 is perhaps the best of them all. Just look, you'll see why. 

Was I ever tempted to have "Stein" etched into my head as a hair cut? No. Not really. Which only serves to confirm how boring I am.

The cards are on fairly thick stock which makes them appear way more legit than I felt before I owned them. I was able to get the set on eBay for a Best Offer of $16 (before shipping) which works out to $1 per card. For a limited set such as this is, I feel like it's a decent price. And it got be 16 cards closer to 1,000...

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Monday, May 17, 2021

HOF Duke Snider

The first thing I think about with Duke Snider certainly isn't the New York Mets. But, this was his final Topps base card, issued in 1964. In 1964, he played in 91 one games for the San Francisco Giants, but was not featured in the '65 set. 

Snider was elected into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 1980; it was his 11th year on the ballot (he went in with Al Kaline). He received 86.5% of the vote that year after earning 71.3% the previous year. 

Snider was an 8-time All-Star and was on two World Series winning teams. In eight of his eighteen seasons Snider earned MVP votes; he was the runner-up in 1955. 

This is a really nice looking card; Snider's looking up and out of the stadium, appears to be thoughtful; wistful. He was just about 37-38 in this photograph but the gray hair had taken over. Which makes me wonder since you don't see a lot of players in their mid-30s with that much gray hair these days, how many of them would be grayer if it weren't for hair coloring?

I often, somehow, confuse Duke Snider with Gil Hodges thinking that Hodges is the one in the Hall of Fame and that Snider isn't. One day I'll actually remember instead of having to Google it. 

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Friday, May 14, 2021

John Kruk: 1993 Red Foley stickers

Sticker cards! Kruk was such a stud he had two stickers in the 1993 Red Foley issue. Though, to be honest other players had two stickers, too. One shows Kruk in the field; the other whiffing at the plate. Possibly in the same game at Veterans Stadium.

The 1993 Red Foley set consists of 130 small stickers.  

The backs are saying "Move along. Nothing to see here." Though, maybe that's not the case as the verso of the sticker is showing a bit of itself through the back. Ghostly! 


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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 1989 Pacific Cards

Hi! Today's post looks at three cards issued by the Pacific Cards & Comics company back in 1989, which I think was the waning days of pre-steroids baseball. Sure it was in the game then but the results weren't as whack as they would be in the 1990s and early 2000s.  And, I think, it might have been the last days of the kind of baseball many of us miss and yearn for when we watch the game we love now. 

Below are some more Spring Training cards. Pacific Cards and Comics released at least 15 sets in 1989. At least that many as Strawberry is in that many of them. I have four, so I need 11.* There is one with George Brett that is particularly nice. 

But these three are from Big League All-Stars (the top two) and "Crossed Bats" (the third).

ALERT*** ALERT*** Seriously. Bad. Photograph. Detected. ALERT*** ALERT*** 

What an absolute trash card! 

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* I did order two more. So, Yeah?!?!!