Monday, December 31, 2012

40 Years Ago Today

40 years ago today, baseball lost a legend.  Roberto Clemente was killed when his plane crashed as he was attempting do deliver goods and relief aid to earthquake ravaged Nicaragua.  He passed away doing something he enjoyed, helping others.  Clemente was a legendary player, one of the all-time great people, let alone players.  At the time of his death, he had exactly 3,000 hits, 240 home runs and a lifetime average of .317.  He was a 4-time batting champion (1961, 1964, 1965 and 1967).  He hit more than 200 hits in a season 4 times.  He was the 1966 NL MVP.  He hit .300 or better 13 times out of 18 seasons.  He won the World Series with the Pirates in 1960 and 1971.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973 by a special election shortly after his death. 

His close friend, Manny Sanguillen, was the only Pirates player who did not attend Clemente's funeral because he was diving in the waters where the plane had reportedly crashed in an attempt to find Clemente's body.  That's friendship, right there.  True friendship.

So, tonight, as the curtain closes on another year, I am glad to shine a light on a true baseball legend and a great man.  Rest in peace, Roberto.

1951 Topps Red Back #44 - Sid Hudson

Sid Hudson (b. 1915 - d. 2008) played in the majors from 1940 to 1942, 1946 to 1954 for the Senators and Red Sox.  He was 104-152 in his career with a 4.28 ERA and 734 strikeouts.  He was a 2-time All Star and finished as high as 14th in the AL MVP voting in 1940 (his rookie season).

Deceased: 36

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Christmas - 1973 Fleer Baseball Wildest Days and Plays

Something really cool that I got for Christmas was this 1973 Fleer Baseball's Wildest Days and Plays featuring Buck Weaver fouling off 17 pitches off of Babe Ruth.  You can click on the scan of the back of the card and read more about the play.
I got this card from my brother Philip, who is a regular reader of the blog.  He and I have been discussing the 1919 Chicago White Sox (a.k.a. The Black Sox) and how Shoeless Joe Jackson should be allowed entry into the Hall of Fame.  I also thought that in his brief career, Weaver was also a very good ball player who seemingly got a raw deal from then commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.  Weaver apparently never took any money during the 'fix' of the 1919 World Series and his stats for the series (.324 batting average during the series) argue that he may have been playing 'on the level.'  Weaver might not have the career numbers that could warrant his inclusion into the hall, but had he been allowed to continue his career, that might be a different story.  He had 1,308 hits, 21 home runs and a ..272 batting average over 9 seasons, all for the White Sox.  He appealed his ban from baseball each year up until he died in 1956.

1951 Topps Red Back #43 - Maurice McDermott

Maurice "Mickey" McDermott (b. 1929 - d. 2003) played in the majors from 1948 to 1958 and 1961 for the Red Sox, Senators, Yankees, A's (Kansas City), Tigers and Cardinals.  He was a graduate of St. Patrick's High School in Elizabeth, NJ, which is significant to me because my Dad, aunt, uncle, grandmother and grandfather were all born in Elizabeth.  They didn't go to the school (they attended a school in nearby Roselle Park), but it is always cool to see people from that area.  The movie 'The Wrestler' took place in Elizabeth...  Just saying.

Anyway, McDermott had a career win/loss record of 69-69, with an ERA of 3.91 and 757 strikeouts.  He won the World Series with the Yankees in 1952.

Deceased: 35

Friday, December 28, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #42 - Ray Scarborough

Ray Scarborough (b. 1917 - d. 1982) played in the majors from 1942 to 1943 and 1946 to 1953 for the Senators, White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers.  He was 80-85 in his career with a 4.13 ERA and 564 strikeouts.  He was an All Star in 1950.  He won the World Series in 1952 with the Yankees.  Scarborough retired to Mount Olive, NC after his playing career ended and became friends with someone whom I later befriended as well.  So, there's a bit of a 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' between Scarborough and I.  I always though this was pretty cool.

Deceased: 34

Thursday, December 27, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #41 - Whitey Lockman

Whitey Lockman (b. 1926 - d. 2009) played in the majors from 1945, 1947 to 1960 for the Giants, Cardinals, Orioles and Reds.  He had 1,658 career hits, 114 home runs and a .279 batting average.  He was an All Star during one season (1952) and finished as high as 14th in the NL MVP voting.  He won the World Series in 1954 with the Giants.

He was the manager of the Cubs from 1972 to 1974 and had a career record of 157-162 (.492 win percentage).

Deceased: 33
Manager:  8

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas has come and gone once again.  It takes a whole year to arrive and then is gone in a flash.  This year, we stretched it out over the course of 3 days.  Christmas Eve was spent at my grandmother's house with my family, my aunt (my Dad's sister), her kids, her friend and my uncle (my Dad's brother) and his kids.  After a nice dinner and opening of gifts for the kids, we did our annual tradition of the 11PM service at my family church in Winston-Salem.  Christmas morning was spent at my parents' house with most of my brothers and sisters opening presents from my parents.  We left from their house Christmas day for Charlotte so we could spend some time with my wife's parents.  Finally, we left there this morning and headed home to open presents at our house.  Here is some of the stuff that I got this year.

My mom has had this ongoing tradition over the last few years of giving me minor league jerseys.  In the past, she has given me: Montgomery Biscuits, Lansing Lugnuts, LeHigh Valley IronPigs and Toledo Mud Hens.  I also have a couple Kinston Indians jerseys that I picked up on my own before they skipped town.
This year's jerseys were really cool (as always, of course).  I got a Greenville Drive jersey.  This one is actually a game used jersey from their July 31, 2011 Textile Night, I believe.  Startex is a local textile company in the general vicinity of Greenville, SC.  I'm not sure who wore the jersey, but they were available via silent auction during that game.  I would love to figure out who actually wore it during the game.  Greenville is the Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
The other jersey I got was this one for the Bowling Green Hot Rods.  They are the Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.  Pretty simple jersey, but I think it is pretty cool.  That is what Mom and I love about the minor league jerseys; the teams' names in most cases are very unique.  She has been enjoying looking for different teams.
No Christmas would be complete without an assortment of some Orioles stuff.  I have a plaque to hang on the wall, a little figuring for my desk, a magnet and a banner to hang.  Pretty sweet.  I'm so glad the O's went back to the cartoon bird.  I feel like it has character, so to speak.
Finally, Here is another assortment of stuff I got that wasn't baseball cards (which I got several packs of, plus one really cool vintage card that my brother gave me and will be posted later...).  I got the round baseball book from my in-laws and the rest were another item to hang on the wall and a couple books from my mom.  I always enjoy the Hall of Fame books that come out every year (because there are a lot of pictures).  The book in the middle is a sticker book that I will have a good time filling out.

I hope you all had a great Christmas with your loved ones and got all the things you asked for.  I had a great time with my family and will enjoy the next several days off recuperating from the holiday tour of NC.

1951 Topps Red Back #40 - Mike Garcia

Mike Garcia (b. 1923 - d. 1986) played in the majors from 1948 to 1961 for the Indians, White Sox and Senators.  He had a career record of 142-97, 3.27 ERA and 1,117 strikeouts.  He won 20 or more games twice in his career and won 18 or more game 4 times.  He led the AL in ERA twice (1949 and 1954).  He finished as high as 9th in the AL MVP voting (1952) and was a 3-time All Star.  He only played in one game for the 1948 World Champion Indians and did not appear in any games during that World Series.

Deceased: 32

Monday, December 24, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #39 - Ted Kluszewski

Ted Kluszewski (b. 1924 - d. 1988) played in the majors from 1947 to 1961 for the Reds, Pirates, White Sox and Angels.  He had 1,766 hits, 279 home runs and a batting average of .298 in his career.  He finished as high as second in the NL MVP voting (1954).  That season, he led the league with 49 home runs and 141 RBIs.  He hit 40 or more home runs 3 times in his career (1953 to 1955).  Kluszewski was a 4-time All Star.  He appeared in the 1959 World Series with the White Sox and went 9 for 23 (.391 batting average) and hit 3 home runs in the White Sox's loss to the Dodgers.

Kluszewski appeared on 15 Hall of Fame ballots from 1967 to 1981 but never received more than 14.4% of the vote (75% required for induction).

Deceased: 31

Sunday, December 23, 2012

COMC Pickup - 2005 Topps Retired Brooks Robinson

Another card I picked up from COMC, this Brooks Robinson made a nice addition to my Brooks PC.  I think I actually opened a pack of 2005 Topps Retired way back when it came out and pulled one of my first relic cards.  A George Foster bat relic.  I remember these being pretty expensive per pack, but I was able to get this one for $1.38.  Not bad.  I like his old school O's uniform.  Judging by his hat, I would say this was a photo from 1962 or so.  I could be wrong, though.

1951 Topps Red Back #38 - Duke Snider

Duke Snider (b. 1926 - d. 2011) played in the majors from 1947 to 1964 for the Dodgers (Brooklyn and LA), Mets and Giants.  he had 2,116 hits, 407 home runs and a .295 batting average over 18 seasons.  He led the league in  home runs with 43 in 1956.  He hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons from 1953 to 1957.  He won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955 and 1959.  He finished as high as 2nd in the NL MVP voting (1955) and was an eight-time All Star.

Snider was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980 (his eleventh ballot) when he received 86.5% of the vote.  Wow, what took the writers so long?  Were they misusing his WAR stat or something?

Deceased: 30
Hall of Fame: 7

Saturday, December 22, 2012

COMC Pickup - 1961 Nu Card Scoops Jim Gentile

I got this 1961 Nu Card Scoops Jim Gentile off of COMC near Thanksgiving mainly because it was the only Oriole card that I saw in the set.  Gentile was a monster for the O's early in their existence.  He went on to hit 46 home runs in 1961 (of course it was overshadowed by the shenanigans of two guys in the Bronx...).
Gentile signs TTM for free.  This would probably be a cool card to get signed, but I think I might go for the set, so I would have to leave it unsigned.  I probably should add more Gentile stuff to my PC, as I have only this one card (that I know of).  Might have to get on that soon.

1951 Topps Red Back #37 - Wes Westrum

Wes Westrum (b. 1922 - d. 2002) played in the majors from 1947 to 1957 for the Giants.  He had 503 hits, 96 home runs and a .217 batting average.  He was a 2-time All Star (1952 and 1952) and finished as high as 32nd in the 1950 NL MVP voting.  He won the World Series with the Giants in 1954 and received 1% of the vote when he appeared on his only Hall of Fame ballot in 1964.  He managed the Mets from 1965 to 1967 and then the Giants from 1974 to 1975.  His career managerial record was 260-366 (.415 winning percentage)  The oddest fact about him is that his middle name was Noreen.  I bet he thanked his parents for that one.

Deceased: 29
Manager: 7

Friday, December 21, 2012

COMC Pickup - 2011 Topps Jimmie Foxx SP

Here is another pickup from COMC that I got right after Thanksgiving.  Wow, I still have several of these cards I want to show.  I've been busy lately and unable to do more than one post a day, so I think I need to get on it and finish this series up.  I have stuff from last weekend's Raleigh card show and a trip to the card shop to go over as well...

So, here is a really cool Jimmie Foxx SP from 2011 Topps.  Again, I really enjoy the legends SPs that Topps has done lately.  They don't drown you in them, I think they are something like one per box, or one per 1.5 boxes or so.  I like the old school Philadelphia A's uniform and logo.  I really think the Philadelphia A's are one of my favorite vintage teams.  I was looking at Connie Mack signed baseballs lately and was amazed at how cheap his signature is compared to some other folks from that era.

Anyway, this is another Foxx for my PC, which is growing nicely.  I need to keep saving so I can add a Foxx baseball to my HOF autograph collection.  Or, maybe I need to just win the lottery.

1951 Topps Red Back #36 - Gus Zernial

Gus Zernial (b. 1923 - d. 2011) played in the majors from 1949 to 1959 for the White Sox, A's (Philadelphia and Kansas City) and Tigers.  He had 1,093 hits, 237 home runs and a .265 batting average in his career.  He finished as high as 18th in the AL MVP voting (1953) and was also an All Star that season.  Quite the power hitter, Zernial led the league in 1951 with 33 home runs.  His career high was 42 in 1953 when he finished second in the home run race to Al Rosen's 43 homers.

Deceased: 28

Thursday, December 20, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #35 - Al Rosen

Al Rosen (b. 1924) played in the majors from 1947 to 1956 for the Indians.  The 1953 AL MVP, Rosen had 1,063 hits, 192 home runs and a career average of .285.  He only played in 10 seasons and only 7 of those were full seasons, but when Rosen was in the lineup, he was a force.  He hit 20 or more home runs in 6 of those 7 seasons, with his career high being the 43 that he hit in 1953.  He was a 4-time All Star and had one at bat in the 1948 World Series, which the Indians won.  He is actually one of the few living players left from that 1948 team.

Rosen is a great TTM signer.  He was actually one of the first TTM successes that I got.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #34 - Grady Hatton

Grady Hatton (b. 1922) played in the majors from 1946 to 1956 and 1960 for the Reds, White Sox, Red Sox, Cardinals, Orioles and Cubs.  Over his career he had 1,068 hits, 91 home runs and a .254 batting average.  He was an All Star in 1952 and finished as high as 18th in the 1946 NL MVP voting.  He appeared on two Hall of Fame ballots (1966 and 1967) and received as much as 1.3% of the vote.  He was a manager for the Houston Astros from 1966 to 1968 garnering a 164-221 record (.426 win percentage) over 386 games.

Manager: 6

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

COMC Pickup - 1965 Topps Embossed Brooks Robinson

The card is pretty rough, but I had to get it.  This 1965 Topps Embossed Brooks Robinson has a number of creases ans the actual embossed area is pretty scratched up and worn, but it adds a nice touch of 'vintage' to it, I think.
The 1965 Topps Embossed set consisted of 72 cards; American League players were set against a blue background and National League players were set against a red background.  Personally, I really like the card and I was glad to get it.  Book value on it is $10.00, but I paid $2.25.

1951 Topps Red Back #33 - William Werle

William Werle (b. 1920 - d. 2010) played in the majors from 1949 to 1954 for the Pirates, Cardinals and Red Sox.  He was 29-39 with a 4.69 ERA and 283 strikeouts in his career.

Deceased: 27

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas From Drew - Frank Robinson Signed Baseball

My very good friend Drew really knocked it out of the park this year (pun intended).  Last year, he sent me a really cool package that included a really sweet Jim Palmer UD premier card, a Topps Tribute Eddie Murray relic and he also beat up on my 1971 Topps want list.  You can read all about it here.
Drew hooked me up with my 81st Hall of Fame signed baseball, former Oriole Frank Robinson.  I have been trying to get Frank for a long time now and it just hadn't worked out.  I intended to meet him at the National in August, I even bought a ticket, but he called out sick.  Then, on the last day of the show, I went to buy a signed ball of his, but that vendor had already packed it up and had made enough money already that they didn't want to sell it to me...
So, here it is, a sweet, PSA authenticated, HOF '82 inscribed Frank Robinson baseball.  The ball is really awesome.  It is so much better than the one I was looking at during the National.  Drew really knows me well.  He can knock out a Hall of Famer that I need and make it a really great ball as well.  As he should, we have been talking trades since 2009 and have gotten really close as friends in the process.  We met up during my vacation in 2011 for a Hudson Valley Renegades game.  His dad and sister came with us (along with my cousin Andreas) and I took Drew, his sister and my cousin down to the fence to teach some IP autographing.  We had a really good time at that game.  I was really happy to be able to meet up and spend some time with such a good guy and his awesome family.  His parents really did a fine job because he is definitely a great person.  I consider myself very lucky that he chooses to call me 'friend.'

Frank Robinson (b. 1935) played in the majors from 1956 to 1976 for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians.  He had 2,943 career hits, 586 home runs and a .294 career batting average.  He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1956.  He was the NL MVP in 1961 and won the AL MVP in 1966 (the year in which he won the Triple Crown).  He won the World Series with the Orioles in 1966 and 1970.

Robinson became the first African-American manager in MLB when he took the helm of the Cleveland Indians in 1975.  He went on to manage the Indians, Giants, Orioles and Expos/Nationals.  He was the first manager for the Washington Nationals.  His career managerial line was 1,065-1,176 (.475 winning percentage).

Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 when he was named on 89.2% of the ballot (you mean to tell me that there were writers who didn't vote for him?).  It was his first time on the ballot.

So, yeah, I suppose I don't have to tell you that I am really excited about this baseball.  Drew, you did an amazing job this year and I sincerely appreciate it.  You're a heck of a nice guy and I'm glad we could do this.  Thanks again and to all, merry Christmas!

1951 Topps Red Back #32 - Henry Thompson

Henry (Hank) Thompson (b. 1925 - d. 1969) played in the majors from 1947, 1949 to 1956 for the Browns and Giants.  He had 801 hits, 129 home runs and a .267 batting average.  He finished as high as 24th in the NL MVP voting in 1953.  He won the World Series in 1954 with the Giants.

Deceased: 26

COMC Pickup - 1961 Golden Press Jimmie Foxx

Something not uncommon, Jimmie Foxx's name is misspelled on the card.  He actually preferred it to be spelled 'Jimmie.'  This is the second of the two 1961 Golden Press cards that I picked up from COMC.
Book value on this one was $6.00, but I was able to grab it for my PC for $2.05.  I've got quite a few cards in my Foxx PC, now.  I definitely want to keep adding more.  It would be nice to find some from his playing days, but his 1933 Goudey is pretty expensive.

Foxx played in the majors for parts of 20 seasons and, yet, batted under .300 in only five of those seasons.  His highest batting average over the course of a full season was .364 in 1932, where he also hit 58 home runs, but did not win the batting title (he did, however, win the MVP award).  The batting title went to Dale Alexander that year, when he batted .367.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #31 - Gil Hodges

Dodger legend Gil Hodges (b. 1924 - d. 1972) played in the majors from 1943, 1947 to 1963 for the Dodgers (Brooklyn and LA) and Mets.  He had 1,921 hits, 370 home runs and a .273 batting average.  He was an 8-time All Star and 3-time Gold Glove winner.  He finished as high as 7th in the NL MVP Award voting (1957).  Hodges won the World Series with the 1955 and 1959 Dodgers as a player and also won in 1969 with the Mets as a manager.

Hodges was a manager for the Senators from 1963 to 1967 and for the Mets from 1968 to 1971.  His career managerial record was 660-753 (.467).

Hodges suffered a massive heart attack after playing golf with a few of his coaches on April 2, 1972.  He was among several former Dodger greats who were felled by tragedy early in life (Roy Campanella was confined to a wheelchair after a car accident and Jackie Robinson died of a heart attack a mere 6 months after Hodges died).

He appeared on 15 consecutive Hall of Fame ballots but never received more than 63% of the required 75% of votes to get in.  All signs point to Hodges getting enshrined sooner than later.  His numbers alone do not warrant inclusion, but if you also factor in the fact that he was the core of those legendary 1950s Dodger teams, I think that gives him the extra boost to get in.

Deceased: 25
Manager: 5

Saturday, December 15, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #30 - Warren Spahn

Warren Spahn (b. 1921 - d. 2003) played in the majors from 1942, 1946 to 1965 for the Braves (Boston and Milwaukee), Mets and Giants.  He had a career record of 363-245 with a 3.09 ERA and 2,583 strikeouts.  One of the greatest pitchers of all time, Spahn led the league in wins eight times; he won 20 or more games thirteen times in his career.  He led the league in ERA three times; he had an ERA under 3.00 nine times.  He won the NL Cy Young Award in 1957, the same year he won the World Series with the Milwaukee Braves.

Spahn actually appeared on two Hall of Fame ballots (one of which as when he was still an active player - 1958) and was elected to the Hall in 1973 when named on 83.2% of the ballot.  That means 16.8% of the voters let him off of their ballots.  What were they thinking?

Hall of Fame: 6
Deceased: 24

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Leo Durocher

The second baseball I got from Collect Auctions recently was of Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher.  Durocher is my 80th hall of famer.
Leo Durocher (b. 1905 - d. 1991) was a manager in the majors for 26 seasons (1939 to 1946, 1948 to 1955 and 1966 to 1973) for the Dodgers, Giants, Cubs and Astros).  He won the NL pennant 1941, 1951 and 1954.  He won the World Series with the Giants in 1954.

Durocher was elected to the Hall of Fame posthumously by the Veterans Committee in 1994.  When he retired he ranked 4th all-time in Wins (he was second to John McGraw in the NL).  His career managerial record was 2008-1709 (.540 winning percentage).

1951 Topps Red Back #29 - Bob Kennedy

Bob Kennedy (b. 1920 - d. 2005) played in the majors from 1939 to 1942 and 1946 to 1957 for the White Sox, Indians, Orioles, Tigers and Dodgers.  He had 1,176 hits, 63 home runs and a .254 batting average.  He finished 23rd on the AL MVP ballot in 1940 and won the World Series with the Indians in 1948.  He was a manager from 1963 to 1965 for the Cubs and in 1968 for the Oakland A's.  His career managerial record was 264-278 (.487 winning %) over the 4 years he was a manager.

Deceased: 23
Manager: 4

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Jocko Conlan

When I went to the National Card Show this summer, I picked up a catalog for Collect Auctions.  I'm always in the market for places to find signed baseballs a lot cheaper than their Ebay price, so I gave them a look when I got home from the show.  There was an auction ending at the end of August, so I watched it and saw that, when it ended, there were a bunch of hard-to-get Hall of Famers going for more than half of what their autos were going for on Ebay.  I decided that, when they offered their next auction (they have auctions quarterly, it seems), I would try to jump in on a ball or two and see what happened.
Well, they had an auction ending before I went on my trip to Vegas, so I looked and bid on several baseballs.  I won't get into the ones I DIDN'T win because it is too depressing, but I did get lucky and get two baseballs at fractions of their normal cost.  They're both PSA authenticated, too, so you know I'm happy.

The first ball I am showing is the above Jocko Conlan signed baseball.  Conlan (b. 1899 - d. 1989) played in the majors from 1934 to 1935 with the White Sox.  He had 96 hits, 0 home runs and a .263 batting average.  Not exactly knocking the socks off of the stat fiends is he?  How did he become a Hall of Famer, you might ask?  Well, Conlan was known more as an umpire.

Conlan was a National League umpire from 1941 to 1965.  He umpired five World Series (1945, 1950, 1954, 1957 and 1961).  He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1974, at that time, the 4th umpire enshrined.

Conlan is my 79th Hall of Fame signed baseball and my 2nd umpire (Doug Harvey being the other).  Stay tuned to see the other baseball I picked up.  Someone who had some clashes with tonight's subject, Conlan.

1951 Topps Red Back #28 - Elmer Valo

Elmer Valo (b. 1921 - d. 1998) played in the majors from 1940 to 1943 and 1946 to 1961 for the A's (Philadelphia and Kansas City), Phillies, Dodgers (Brooklyn and LA), Indians, Yankees, Senators and Twins.  I think it is kind of funny, he was with three different teams when they relocated to other cities (A's. Dodgers and Senators/Twins).  He had 1,420 hits, 58 home runs and a .282 batting average over his 20 season career.  He  finished 22nd in the AL MVP voting in 1955.  He appeared on one Hall of Fame ballot (1967), where he received 0.7% of the vote.

Deceased: 22

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

COMC Pickup - 2005 Topps Retired Gold Brooks Robinson

Here is another of the cards that I got from COMC a few weeks ago, a 2005 Topps Retired Gold Brooks Robinson.  I've been working diligently getting all of Brooks' recent Topps releases.  He has been a staple in Topps SPs, so it is really cool to see him in the more recent sets.  I also have the Cal Ripken out of this set, so I think I'm doing really well.  I'm pretty sure I have all of his recent SPs now, so I will begin to concentrate on his All Star cards.  I have a long way to go on those.  I got this card the Sunday after Thanksgiving off of COMC for $1.95.

1951 Topps Red Back #27 - Wally Westlake

Wally Westlake (b. 1920) played in the majors from 1947 to 1956 for the Pirates, Cardinals, Reds, Indians, Orioles and Phillies.  He had 848 career hits, 127 home runs and a .272 batting average.  He was an All Star in only one season (1951).  He appeared in the World Series in 1954 when the Indians lost to the New York Giants.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

COMC Pickup - 1970 Fleer World Series #27: 1930

Here is another really cool card that I picked up from COMC the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  This is a 1970 Fleer World Series #27 - 1930 A's vs Cardinals card.
The 1930 World Series is special to me, mainly because it is the only World Series for which I have held the actual corresponding championship ring.  I was afforded the opportunity by the generosity of the son of one of the 1930 Philadelphia A's.
The 1930 World Series pitted the AL Champion Philadelphia A's who were 102-52 against the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals who were 92-62.  Philadelphia won the series 4 games to 2.

Future Hall of Famers for the 1930 A's included: Manager - Connie Mack, Catcher - Mickey Cochrane, First Baseman - Jimmie Foxx, Outfielder - Al Simmons, Player/Coach - Eddie Collins and Pitcher Lefty Grove.

Future Hall of Famers for the 1930 Cardinals included: First Baseman - Jim Bottomley, Second Baseman - Frankie Frisch, Pitcher - Jesse Haines, Pitcher - Burleigh Grimes and a 20-year old rookie pitcher named Jay Hanna (Dizzy) Dean.

I got this card for $2.50, even though supposed BV is $1.50.  I didn't care, I thought it would be a cool addition to my Eric McNair and/or Jimmie Foxx PCs.

1951 Topps Red Back #26 - Luke Easter

Luke Easter (b. 1915 - d. 1979) played in the majors from 1949 to 1954 for the Indians.  He also played in the Negro Leagues from 1947 to 1948 for the Homestead Grays.  In his MLB career, he had 472 hits, 93 home runs and a .274 batting average.  He finished 13th in the AL MVP voting in 1953.

After his playing career was over, he went to work for the airline industry, becoming the chief union steward for TRW airlines.  He was murdered by two assailants in March 1979 outside a bank in Euclid, OH when he refused to hand over $5,000 worth of payroll checks he was transporting.

Deceased: 21

Monday, December 10, 2012

COMC Pickup - 1961 Golden Press Hank Greenberg

As you all know, I'm a huge fan of the Hall of Fame.  Many of the older Hall of Famers are interesting to me.  One player in particular, Hank Greenberg, is probably right up there with Jimmie Foxx to me.  Greenberg was a monster in his day, much like Foxx.  Greenberg played from 1930, 1933 to 1941 and 1945 to 1947 for the Tigers and Pirates.  He mentored Ralph Kiner during his last season, which was spent in Pittsburgh.

Greenberg was more than a power hitter.  He had 200 or more hits in three seasons.  He hit 40 or more doubles five times; hitting as many as 63(!!) in the 1934 season.  When he ended his career with 331 home runs, he had hit 30 or more in 6 of the 9 full seasons he played.  he led the league in homers 4 times, the same amount of times he led the league in RBIs.  he batted higher than .300 in 7 of his 9 full seasons.  Of course, he also won the AL MVP award twice, winning in 1935 and 1940.

Greenberg was a part of four Detroit World Series teams, winning in 1935 and 1945.  In 23 World Series games, Greenberg had 27 hits, 5 home runs and a .318 batting average.  Greenberg was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956 (his 9th time on the ballot) with 85.0% of the vote.

The 1961 Golden Press set consists of 33 cards that originally came in a booklet.  They were perforated to easy removal.  I looked closely at my card and, yes, you can see where it had been attached to its respective booklet.  At 33 cards, this might be another easy vintage set to put together.  I might have to make a note of it and see what I can do.  I got this card off of COMC the Sunday after Thanksgiving and paid $2.13 to a BV of $5.00.  Not too bad.  The card has a little creasing on the front and some scuffing on the back.  I like it though, it definitely makes a nice addition to my fledgling Greenberg PC.

1951 Topps Red Back #25 - Cliff Chambers

Cliff Chambers (b. 1922 - d. 2012) played in the majors from 1948 to 1953 for the Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals.  He was 48-53 with a 4.29 ERA and 374 strikeouts.  That is kind of weird, his won-loss record is the same as his years played.  Things that make you go... heh.

Deceased: 20

Sunday, December 9, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #24 - Hank Bauer

Hank Bauer (b. 1922 - d. 2007) played in the majors from 1948 to 1961 for the Yankees, and A's (Kansas City).  He had 1,424 career hits, 164 home runs and a .277 batting average.  He finished as high as 8th in the AL MVP voting in 1955.  He won the World Series with the Yankees in 1949 through 1953, 1956 and 1958.  Bauer was also a manager for the Kansas City A's, the Orioles and the Oakland A's.  He won the World Series with the Orioles in 1966 when the O's swept the Dodgers in 4 games.  Bauer's career managerial record was 407-318 in parts of 8 seasons, winning only the one pennant and World Series with the Orioles.

Deceased: 19
Manager: 3

COMC Pickup - 1975 Topps Mini Brooks Robinson

I still can't believe that I didn't already have this card in my Brooks PC.  It is one of my favorite Brooks cards, well, the 1975 Topps is.  I love the short bill batting helmet.  I just had never run across any of the Minis from 1975 on a regular basis.  That is really surprising since I have been to a number of card shows.  I put the normal 1975 set together several years ago and the Brooks was easily found.  This one, however, I believe, is the first one I've ever seen.  I could be wrong.  Anyway, it is mine now and I can move on in my Brooks PC and put an effort toward his checklist and All Star cards.  I got this one off of COMC the Sunday after Thanksgiving for $2.75 with a BV of $12.00.  Not bad at all!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #23 - Ray Boone

Ray Boone (b. 1923 - d. 2004) played in the majors from 1948 to 1960 for the Indians, Tigers, White Sox, A's (Kansas City), Braves (Milwaukee) and Red Sox.  He had 1,260 career hits, 151 home runs and a .275 batting average.  The father of former big leaguer Bob Boone and grandfather of Aaron and Brett Boone, he is part of one of the few three generation families in baseball.  He was a member of the 1948 World Series Champion Indians and was a 2-time All Star.  He finished as high as 8th in the AL MVP voting in 1953 when he split time between the Indians and Tigers that year.

Deceased: 18

COMC Pickup - 1961 Nu-Card Scoops Fred Merkle

I'll just let you all sit here for a moment and appreciate the sophomoric humor that I found in the headline on this card..........
Ok, my sense of humor, which is perpetually 14-years old still has me giggling at this card.  If one is offended at this, well, all I can say is, sorry.  The card makes me laugh.  Also, I'm sure I'll get at least one email about it being inappropriate and what not.  Oh well, it's my blog.
Anyway, Cubs fans can look at this card and rejoice at Merkle's 'Boner' (as it was called way back in 1908 when that word meant something entirely different that it does today) and sent the Cubs on their way to winning the NL pennant and eventually the World Series.  Click on the picture of the reverse of the card to get a better explanation of Merkle's blunder than I can ever come up with.  To summarize, he hit a ball in the final inning of the game with the game tied 1-1.  The guy on third scored, so instead of touching second base, Merkle turned around and ran toward the dugout.  A Cubs player took note, screamed for the ball and touched second, ruling Merkle out and causing the winning run to not count and the game ended as a 1-1 tie because it could not be continued as fans had stormed the field, thinking the Giants has won.  It sounds an awful lot like an infield fly called in the outfield to me...  The teams were neck and neck for the NL pennant at that time late in the season and the Cubs ended up winning it by one game.

Fred Merkle was actually a really good ballplayer.  Merkle (b. 1888 - d. 1956) played from 1907 to 1920, 1925 and 1926 for the Giants, Dodgers, Cubs (ironically enough) and Yankees.  He had 1,580 hits, 61 home runs and a .273 batting average.  He finished 7th in the MVP voting in 1911, which that MVP award is a different one than what is given out today; it means the same, but it is a different award supposedly.

The 1961 Nu-Card Scoops set consists of 80 cards numbered from 401 to 480.  I'm not sure why, if someone wants to fill me in on that, please do.  This would be a really cool set to put together.  i picked up 3 more cards from this set that I will show soon.  I think I would consider putting it together at some point.  A few of the premium cards (Ruth and Gehrig, of course) run a little higher than the others.  I got this one the Sunday after Thanksgiving for $1.75, even though it books for $1.50.  It was the only one I saw, so I didn't mind paying a bit more.  One of those supply and demand things.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this card as much as I did.  I really do think it is a cool one that I had no clue about until a few weeks ago.

Friday, December 7, 2012

1951 Topps Red back #22 - Bob Feller

Bob Feller (b. 1917 - d. 2010).  What can I say about one of my all-time favorite pitchers that I haven't already said?  He was the man, plain and simple.  He won 20 or more games 6 times in his career.  He won 27 games in 1940, the year in which he received his highest vote total for the MVP award (2nd place).  That's right, he never won the MVP award.  He also never won a Cy Young Award, but it didn't come into prominence until the latter part of Feller's career.  Feller's career numbers aren't staggering.  He didn't win 300 games.  However, one must remember that he lost three years during his prime after he enlisted immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Fitting that his card comes up on Pearl Harbor Day.

Feller was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1962 when he received 93.8% of the vote.  He was 266-162 with a 3.25 ERA and 2,581 strikeouts.  He also had a World Series ring with the 1948 Indians.  He is a legend of the sport and a true American hero.

Hall of Fame: 5
Deceased: 17

Thursday, December 6, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #21 - Larry Jansen

Kinda looks like Jamie Moyer, doesnt it?  A little maybe?  I wouldn't be surprised, since Moyer has been around since the Pre Cambrian.  Anyway, Jansen (b. 1920 - d. 2009) played in the majors from 1947 to 1954 and 1956 for the Giants and Reds.  He had a career record of 122-89, a 3.58 ERA and 842 strikeouts.  He finished in second for the 1947 Rookie of the Year award, to Jackie Robinson when he went 21-5, with a 3.16 ERA.  He won 18 or more games in 4 seasons and won 20 or more in two of those.  He finished as high as 7th in the NL MVP voting (1947).

Deceased: 16

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

1951 Topps Red Back #20 - Dom DiMaggio

Dom DiMaggio (b. 1917 - d. 2009) played in the majors from 1940 to 1942 and 1946 to 1953 for the Red Sox.  He had 1,680 hits, 87 home runs and was a .298 career hitter.  The brother of Vince and Joe DiMaggio, Dom was known in his day as an excellent fielding center fielder.  He was a 7-time All Star and finished as high as 9th in the AL MVP voting.  He was on 9 Hall of Fame ballots, gaining as much as 11.3% of the vote with 75% needed to gain election.

Deceased: 15