Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hidden in my Collection - 1966 Topps Sandy Koufax

A while ago I wrote about players who may have hung on a little too long, and used my 1973 Topps Willie Mays as an example. you can read the post here.
I got this card at the shop from a collection that was brought in, same as the 1967 Mantle I posted about here. This is Koufax's last Topps base card. He would retire after the 1966 World Series with the desire to still have the ability to have the full use of his arm later in life, rather than pitching a few more seasons and risk permanent damage. Koufax won 165 games in his career, but one has to think that if medical technology that is available today were available back then, he would have been able to pitch a lot longer. Something I've always found interesting is that his final game was a loss in the 1966 World Series.
Koufax pitched for the Dodgers in Game 2 of the Series against the Orioles and was matched up against a young 20-year old pitcher named Jim Palmer. The Dodgers committed 6 errors in the game and the O's won by a score of 6-0. The last batter that faced Koufax was Andy Etchebarren who grounded into a double play.
I have 3 Koufax cards in my collection so far, his 1955 Topps RC, 1956 Topps and 1966 Topps.

1955 Topps #61 - Spook Jacobs

Forrest 'Spook' Jacobs (b. 1925) played from 1954 to 1956 for the A's and Pirates. He had 164 hits and 0 home runs in his career. He earned the nickname 'Spook' because of his speed. Jacobs was a teammate of Tommy Lasorda's on the 1956 A's and found himself opposing and being thrown at by Lasorda while in the minor leagues in 1957. After Lasorda knocked Jacobs down, Jacobs charged the mound, going after Lasorda, then turned his attention to the opposing second baseman, Sparky Anderson.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thoughts on Topps Vintage Legends

I have to say, the best insert set to come out in a long time is this year's Topps Vintage Legends set that was in Series I and II and UH.
I love the concept of classic players on vintage designs, like the 1963 Topps Eddie Murray that I have shown. These are very sharp cards and I am definitely looking into completing the set. These may be one of the rare sets which I put into an album instead of a storage box. If I do end up doing the set, I may do a card for card entry like I have been doing for the 1955 set. That may be a ways down the road, though, because I have a long way to go for my 55 set.
What do you guys think? What is your favorite insert set? What is your favorite vintage design? My favorite vintage design is probably 1954 because of the bold colors, but I have so many favorites.

1955 Topps #60 - Dean Stone

Dean Stone (b. 1930) played in the majors from 1953 - 1957, 1959, 1962 - 1963 for the Senators, Red Sox, Cardinals, Colt .45s, White Sox and Orioles. Primarily a reliever, he retired with a record of 29-39 and a 4.47 ERA. He was an All Star in 1954 and is known for having recorded the win in that game without retiring a single batter; he came on in the 8th to face Duke Snider and gunned Red Schoendienst down at the plate as he was attempting to steal home. The AL went on to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th and our old friend Virgil Trucks came on and recorded the save in the 9th.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Random Card Pickup at the Shop

While working at the shop yesterday, a lady came in looking to get back into cards. We talked for a while about the hobby (she is focusing more on football) and looked over a few of the albums she brought in. It is always nice when people come into the card shop who will actually listen to you when it comes to collecting, etc. Usually, I get the people who come in thinking they know everything about cards and that the 1990 Donruss Ben McDonald that they have is worth THOUSANDS of dollars. Usually, that leaves me as the one who has to break it to them that their late 80s - early 90s stuff is pretty much kindling...
It was refreshing to have a woman come in who 1. knew about sports and 2. was interested in cards. I am lucky to have a good friend (Babe) who seriously knows sports. Trust me, you don't want to play her in any fantasy league, because she will OWN you... Growing up, my mom had a big interest in sports (yeah, ok, it was mostly because she thought Don Mattingly was cute, but hey, thats a start), so that helped me along in building my interest.
I'm glad to see that the hobby and the blogs are a diverse bunch; I believe this is a good sign that the hobby will be ok, even in this world of exclusive licensing, etc. I hope the lady who came in keeps her enthusiasm, even if she focuses on football, because any new or returning collectors we can maintain makes it better for all of us.
I noticed that I didn't talk about the card at all, haha. She had the above 1993 Conlon Collection Walter Johnson/Nolan Ryan in her album and I asked her if she'd part with it. She gave it to me for free, which was unnecessary, but a nice gesture from her. I think the card looks pretty sweet. I was never a fan of the Conlon stuff, but this card is pretty sharp and I like the novelty photo of the Big Train and the Ryan Express. What do you guys think?

1955 Topps #59 - Gair Allie

Gair Allie (b. 1931) played only one season in the Majors (1954) for the Pirates. During his cup of coffee, he had 83 hits, 3 homers and a .199 average. He is from Statesville, NC, which is about half an hour from the house I moved from last year. Pretty cool. He also attended Wake Forest University.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

1955 Topps #58 - Jim Rivera

Jim Rivera (b. 1922) played from 1952 to 1961 for the Browns, White Sox and A's. He led the AL in triples in 1953 (16) and tied for the lead in stolen bases in 1955 (25). He retired with 911 hits, 83 home runs and a .256 average. His nickname was 'Jungle Jim', which automatically earns him some cool points.

Friday, November 26, 2010

1955 Topps #57 - Billy O'Dell

Billy O'Dell (b. 1932) pitched in the majors from 1954 to 1967 for the Orioles, Giants, Braves and Pirates. His career record was 105-100 with an ERA of 3.29 and 1,133 strikeouts. He was an All Star for the O's in 1958 and 1959.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

1955 Topps #56 - Ray Jablonski

Ray Jablonski (b. 1926 - d. 1985) played in the majors from 1953 to 1960 for the Cardinals, Reds, Giants and A's. He had 687 career hits, 83 home runs and a .268 average. He was an All Star in 1954.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ebay Pickup - 1949 Bowman Bob Feller

Check this out! I got this 1949 Bowman Bob Feller off of ebay the other day! I know it's pretty rough, but I don't care. I think the color is still sharp and it sure pops off the page, doesn't it?
You guys all know that I am a big Feller fan, so, now I have his: '48, '49, '50 and '52 Bowman cards. I'm really happy that I have been able to add to my Feller collection pretty cheaply. I really like this offering from Bowman, and some other vivid vintage stuff such as 1954 Topps, 1955 Topps, 1950-1953 Bowman. I think my scanner does a good job of capturing the color and it shows on my blog!

1955 Topps #55 - Rip Repulski

'Rip' Repulski (b. 1928 - d. 1993) was an outfielder in the majors from 1953 to 1961 for the Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers and Red Sox. He retired with a career average of .269 and 106 home runs. He was named to the NL All Star team in 1956.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

1955 Topps #54 - Lou Limmer

Lou Limmer (b. 1925 - d. 2007) played two seasons in the majors (1951 and 1954) for the A's. He had 107 career hits and 19 home runs. Limmer holds the distinction of hitting the last home run and last base hit for the A's before they moved to Kansas City.


Monday, November 22, 2010

1955 Topps #53 - Bill Taylor

Bill Taylor (b. 1929) played outfield for the Giants and Tigers from 1954 to 1958. He ended his brief career with a .237 average and 7 home runs. He was a member of the 1954 World Champion Giants as a backup for outfielder Monte Irvin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hidden in my Collection - 1964 Topps Ed Mathews

I got this card from a guy who used to come in the shop all the time; he was looking to unload some vintage stuff and quoted me a decent price. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but it was for this card, as well as several other vintage cards that I may get around to posting as part of my 'Hidden' series.
I'm a big fan of the 1964 set and definitely want to build it sooner rather than later. I think they are very sharp looking cards. I liked the Mathews, because at the time I didn't have too many of him. As it stands now, I have his 1955, 1956 and 1964 Topps and his 1955 Bowman. Not too bad. From what I could tell, his 1952 Topps rookie card is the second-most valuable card in that set (behind the Mantle, of course). I have a lot of friends who are Braves fans, so I have taken an interest in their players. Mathews was a heck of a player for sure, and I just imagine a lineup featuring Mathews and Hank Aaron as well as a rotation that featured Warren Spahn. It's no wonder they won the 1957 and 1958 NL pennants and the 1957 World Series.

1955 Topps #52 - Bill Tremel

Bill Tremel (b. 1929) pitched 3 seasons in the majors (from 1954 to 1956), all for the Cubs. There isn't a whole lot of information on him. HIs career won-loss record was 4-2 with a 4.05 ERA.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

1955 Topps #51 - Jim Hughes

Jim Hughes (b. 1923 - d. 2001) pitched in the majors from 1952 to 1957 for the Dodgers, Cubs and White Sox. His career won-loss record was 15-13 and an ERA of 3.83. He was a member of the 1955 World Series champion Dodgers.


Friday, November 19, 2010

1955 Topps #50 - Jackie Robinson

Another legend of baseball. The man who broke the infamous color barrier, Jackie Robinson!

Jackie Robinson (b. 1919 - d. 1972) played in the majors from 1947 to 1956, all for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was primarily a second baseman, but playedfirst base, shortstop, third base and outfield as well. He was the 1947 Rookie of the Year and won the World Series in 1955. Robinson's uniform number (42) was retired by all of MLB on April 15, 1997. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962 on 77.5% of the ballot.
No one can deny Robinson's cultural impact on the game. Many people don't realize how upset Negro League players of that age (such as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson) were when Robinson was chosen to be the player who would break the color barrier. He interviewed with Branch Rickey for three hours and was asked to agree that, no matter how bad the racial taunts were, Robinson would agree not to fight back. Rickey believed that Jackie Robinson was the perfect choice for that monumental task, and Robinson didn't let him down.
Many also don't realize that Robinson was traded from the Dodgers to the arch-rival Giants after the 1956 season. The trade was never completed, however, because Robinson announced his retirement from baseball through an article in Look Magazine in January 1957. He was another legendary Dodgers player who would end up not traveling west when the team uprooted from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Robinson's health had been in decline due to complications from diabetes; he was nearly blind by the time he died. He died in 1972 at the age of 53 from a heart attack.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

1970 Topps Mailday

Because I felt like I had been neglecting some of my set building lately, I bought a few 1970 Topps off of Ebay. I took a look at the ones I needed and decided that I should try to knock a few of the remaining big names off of my list. All of the cards look great, they only appear off center because of my scanning program.
I picked up this sweet Ernie Banks for $15. Not bad, the back looks great, almost brand new, in my opinion. I was surprised that I still needed the Banks. Oh well, I have it now.
I kind of figured I didn't have the below Frank Robinson. Seeing as it is a high number, it made sense that I didn't have it yet. I was just biding my time until I saw a decent looking one at a reasonable price, and I got this one for $10. Definitely not bad.

I also picked up the below Willie Horton. He was a really good player in his day. I got him for $2.50.

Finally, I picked up a really sharp looking checklist. Unmarked, of course.

So, I knocked 4 more cards off of my list. I'm getting ever so close to completing this set. If it weren't for the high numbers, I'd have been able to afford to complete this a long time ago. Johnny Bench and Al Kaline are the two biggest names left.

1955 Topps #49 - J. W. Porter

J. W. Porter (b. 1933) played in the majors was a catcher, outfielder, first baseman and third baseman from 1952, 1955-1959 for the Browns, Tigers, Indians, Senators and Cardinals. He finished up his career with 124 hits, 8 home runs and a .228 batting average.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hidden in my Collection - 1975 Topps Dave Winfield

I have had this card for probably 16 or 17 years. I can't remember where I got it, I mean I know my mom bought it for me, but I'm not sure if I got it from the card shop that ended up becoming the one I help out at, or the other card shop that was in Winston-Salem at the time. I kept this with my Cal Ripken collection, because for a long time, it was the oldest card in my collection.
I'm a big fan of the 1975 Topps set. I love the funky colors. I really believe that this set is probably in the top 5 all-time when it comes to best sets that Topps has put out. I like it when they throw a curveball and come out with a 'different' design. This one is right up there, along with the wood bordered sets of 1962 and 1987, or the burlap 1968s. Along with the design, the set also has some sweet cards in it, namely the George Brett and Robin Yount rookie cards. Building the set was difficult because it is very popular among collectors, so many of the cards hold a premium, but I was able to finish the set in less than a year.
Dave Winfield was an awesome player as well, hitting over 400 home runs and collecting 3,000+ hits. This is his second-year card, so it didn't come too cheap, but Mom did well on it, as always. When I put the 1975 set together, I got a separate Winfield so the one Mom got me stayed in its righful place, stored with my other 'treasures.'
Finally, I enjoy the old school Padres uniform. I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed their old brown and yellow helmets. I hear their stadium and the City of San Diego are beautiful, as I have had several friends who have visited there. I'd definitely like to at some point.

1955 Topps #48 - Bob Kennedy

Bob Kennedy (b. 1920 - d. 2005) was a right fielder and third baseman for the White Sox, Indians, Orioles, Tigers and Dodgers. He won the World Series in 1948 with the Indians. He played in the majors for 16 seasons and ended his career with 1,176 hits, 63 homers and a .254 average. He also managed the Cubs from 1963 to 1965 and the A's in 1968.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1955 Topps #47 - Hank Aaron

I've been waiting to write this one, but what can I say about the True Home Run King that hasn't already been said?

One of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank Aaron (b. 1934) played from 1954 to 1976 for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. He has an amazing list of accomplishments:
  • 1957 World Series Champion
  • All Star from 1955 to 1975
  • 1957 NL MVP
  • 3 Gold Gloves
  • 3,771 Career Hits
  • .305 career average
  • 755 Home Runs (Damn you Barry Bonds)
  • 2,297 RBIs (MLB Record)
  • 6.856 total bases (MLB Record)
  • 1,477 extra base hits (MLB Record)
  • 17 seasons with 150 or more hits (MLB Record)
  • Uniform Number 44 retired by the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers
  • Elected to Hall of Fame in 1982 on his first ballot with 97.83% of the vote (6th best all-time; behind Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken, Ty Cobb and George Brett)

Amazingly, Aaron never hit more than 47 home runs in a season. Instead he was a model of consistency. He hit 40+ home runs in 8 seasons. He led the league in home runs 4 times, 3 of them were with 44 homers... maybe he should have chosen uniform number 50 or something? He led the league in hits twice and was the league batting champ twice.


Monday, November 15, 2010

1955 Topps #46 - Ted Kazanski

Ted Kazanski (b. 1934) played from 1953 to 1958 for the Phillies. He ended his career with a .217 average and 14 home runs. He once hit an inside the park grand slam and started a triple play in the same game.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TTM Success - Monte Irvin

Ok, so I am really late in posting this, but it was my intention to get this done when I got it in May. Oh well, better late than never.
Irvin cost me $20 for a ball, but it was a donation to a college that he supports, so that was ok. So far, I have only paid for one TTM, that being Irvin. I have autographed baseballs from the 6 oldest living hall of famers (MacPhail, Doerr, Feller, Irvin, Musial and Kiner) and 12 living hall of famers total (Aaron, Kaline, B. Robinson, Marichal, Palmer and Ripken). I also have Phil Rizzuto, which I got pretty cheaply. Pretty cool, right? I'm debating on who I want to send off next for TTMs. I heard that Schoendienst doesn't do TTM. I'd like to try Earl Weaver soon. George Brett would be good. Vin Scully or Bob Uecker too. So many choices.

1955 Topps #45 - Hank Sauer

Hank Sauer (b. 1917 - d. 2001) was a feared power hitter in the early 1950s. I had to verify his birthdate with 2 different websites, and it appears that the back of his card is wrong. Sauer was the 1952 NL MVP after hitting 37 homers and leading the league with 121 RBIs. He played from 1941-1942, 1945 and 1948-1959 for the Reds, Cubs, Cardinals and Giants. He had a career average of .266 and 288 homers. One must wonder if he may have gotten some consideration for the Hall of Fame had he not had to fight in World War II.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Virgil Trucks TTM Part 2 - The Book

So, after I got my awesome TTM back from Virgil Trucks (which you can read about here), I thought I should send him a thank you note and a check for $30 for a copy of his book.
The book arrived today, which was a really nice surprise in my mailbox when I got home. Inside the book were two autographed cards, like the one seen below. Since my wife is from Detroit, I'm giving her the other one.
Also, inside the book, Mr. Trucks left me a note thanking me again for ordering the book, wishing me well for the holidays and saying that it was his pleasure to sign the book for me, which he did. So, by my math (courtesy of UNC-Charlotte), that's 7 Virgil Trucks autographs. I'm just amazed at how awesome this guy has been. Words cannot describe what an asset Mr. Trucks is to baseball, and to America. I encourage everyone to send Mr. Trucks a note of appreciation for his contribution to the game. At 93 years old, he is definitely giving back to the game that he loves. Thank you Virgil Trucks for being such a gracious person!!! I hope you all enjoy!