Monday, May 21, 2018

A Tale of Two Mickeys


A few years ago when I was putting together my '58 Topps set I had to hunt around for a Mantle card that was in decent shape yet still affordable.Atone of the TriStar shows here in Houston I found the card above in a dealer's case and asked about it. The price he quoted seemed too good to be true but he proceeded to mention that he had submitted it to PSA and had it sent back ungraded. He suspected it was trimmed. After showing it to a couple of people at the show that I've dealt with and trust I ened up buying it.

As you can see it's really a beauty. I stuck it in the slot in my '58 binder, knocked off the last few cards I needed for the set, and figured I was done. But something nagged at me. What if PSA had rejected the card because it was a reprint/counterfeit? Trimmed I could live with. Heck, I have cards with writing on them and it doesn't bother me. But the thought that it might not be real bugged me.

Flash forward to this spring and during one of eBay's 20% off days I happen upon a cheap graded Mantle for a good price. With that discount and beaucoups of eBay Bucks I nabbed it for less than $70.


Meanwhile, with a verified Mantle in hand I did what I'd wanted to do for a long time. I sent my trimmed(?) Mickey to SGC for authenticating. It was my first venture into the world of paying to have cards graded and slabbed. SGC has a box on their submission form which allows you to request them to slab a card even if it is altered as long as it's deemed to be real. It took a couple of weeks and about $30 but back it came, looking good in a slab:


It was a relief to know it was a real 1958 Topps mantle even though by now I had another one. And it didn't stay cooped up in plastic long. Once I' scanned it I broke it free and Mickey returned to his rightful spot in my '58 Topps binder. Right there in the sheet with, among others, Don McHahon, Les Moss and my slot-filling Bob Lemke-made #145 Ed Bouchee card.

It's a beautiful thing.


That newer Mantle will stay in it's slab until I decide what to do with it.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Charles Bender M101-2 (Sporting News Supplements)


This is my first venture into these Sporting News Supplements. I really knew nothing about them until I was digging into affordable pieces for my Bender PC.

This one is from the M101-2 set which was distributed as a subscriber incentive with TSN between 1909 and 1913. Here is what Old Cardboard has as a summary:

  • Second major supplement series issued by The Sporting News
  • Borderless eight-by-ten-inch images printed on heavy paper
  • Vast majority of the M101-2 cards were blank-backed
  • Promotion offered with $2 annual subscription
The M101-1 series was issued ten years earlier. Those, btw, are just incredible

M101-2 contains 100 photos (cards?) with a checklist that features some of the game's great names from its early years. Bender was included with the December 8, 1910 TSN and it followed supplements of the A's and Cubs which had been the World Series match-up that year. Bender and Jack Coombs combined to pitch every inning of the five games. Bender went 1-1 with a tough-luck 10th inning loss in Game Four.

The copy I picked up is obviously flawed but with really old items like this that's going to be the condition of the pieces that fit my budget. I'm excited to have it, chipped corners and all. 

For the record here is one I found on the 'net in prime condition. 



Monday, April 23, 2018

Blog Bat Around -- Autograph Lineup

The Torren Up Cards blog started a Blog Bat Around where bloggers present a baseball lineup using autographed items from their collection. I'm not much of an autograph collector but I have enough to put this together. I played fast and loose with the original guidelines but I'm sure nobody cares. 

For one thing I expanded the lineup to a nearly full team. I used signed items I had already scanned (most have been posted here previously) and it is heavily weighted towards the Orioles. But let's roll with it. 

The Starting Rotation:

Sandy Koufax kicks it off. Not the best card ever produced but when you have to purchase a Koufax auto card you take what's affordable. 


After a lefty you schedule a righty. Jim Palmer on an Orioles team postcard. It was signed to my son when we met JP at a Jockey promo event in 1989. My boys were just a few months old.


Next in the rotation...my man Billy Pierce. This '61 Topps is one of the cards I sent him to sign.


The back end of my four man rotation is El Presidente!! Dennis signed this O's postcard for me a few years ago when he was the Astros bullpen coach.


Spot Starter: 
Do they even use the term 'spot starter' today? Back in the day when I heard that I immediately thought of Dave Leonard for the Orioles. Holding down the slot for my 'all sig' team is Hideo Nomo on a '96 Fleer. This one should get an asterisk because that signature could be anything!


The Closer:
Tippy Martinez on an 8 x 10. I believe I've told this story before but my wife brought it up again not long ago. I dragged her to Arlington to watch the O's one night about the time Tippy was debuting for the O's. Her being Mexican-American and me being an idiot I convinced her to ask him in Spanish if he was happy in Baltimore. He looked at me and said "I hope to do well in your city" in perfect un-accented English. I later learned he was from Colorado.


The Set-up guy: 
Kent Tekulve on an Archives sig card. Cool shades, bad uni. I got this card to fill out a '4 for $5' purchase at a recent card show.


The long man:
Moe Drabowsky on a Milton Bradley game card. A long-ago card show purchase.

And the position players.....

Catcher (and team ambassador):
Ellie Hendricks on another Orioles postcard. Outside of maybe Ernie Banks nobody loved being a big leaguer more than Elrod. He signed this for me at Yankee Stadium during his coaching days.


First Base:
Boog Powell on a Ted Williams Company card. Show pickup I think.


Second Base: 
Davey Johnson, lousy sig on O's postcard. Obtained at Memorial Stadium by my uncle who, btw, pretty much gave up on the club when Peter Angelos ran Johnson off as manager. Me? I was already pretty much off the baseball boat due to the '94 strike. But what little rooting interest I had at the time was lost when Johnson was pushed out the door.


Shortstop:
Yet ANOTHER Orioles postcard.  Cal Ripken signed this in Arlington on one of my last visits to the old (and much funner) Arlington Stadium.


Third Base:
The great Brooks Robinson. Not long after we had our daughter in 1987 we received this 8x10 from Brooks. It arrived out of the blue from his office at Crown Petroleum. He obviously had even filled out the address and return addy himself. Turns out my aunt got his phone number from a mutual friend and called him. He sent two pics when my boys were born a couple of years later, that time personalized to them. Again prompted by my aunt.


Bonus Brooksie sig on an Exhibit card, just because.


The Outfield:
Stan the Man on an Exhibit reprint. I got this thru his estate's website when they were selling off signed items.


Paul Blair on an Archives sig card. Bought on eBay.


Frank Robinson on a banner I made for display at Yankee Stadium in 1969. The story as posted here previously:
In 1969 I went with a buddy, also a Oriole fan, to see the O's play at Yankee Stadium on a mid-week afternoon. We'd decided that we'd make a couple of banners to support our club. We set to work dividing an old bed sheet and, with orange paint and a marker, we each created a work of art. His was the number '5' for Brooks Robinson. Mine was a '20' in orange with 'RF' added on.
We missed the Orioles' batting practice session but we hung out near the third base dugout in hopes the players would see our signs when they warmed up. Then a batboy approached me and asked if I would like him to take my banner to Frank in the clubhouse and show it to him. I said 'Sure' and handed it to him not knowing if I'd see it again. Moments later here comes my banner up the dugout steps being carried by Frank Robinson himself. He asked whose it was and brought it over to me and thanked me for bringing it. He asked for my pen and signed it right in the middle on the '0'. 42 48 years later I still have it. It's discolored and been stained a bit along the way, the orange color had darkened to a pinkish red and the autograph has faded some. But that banner still means more to me than any piece of memorabilia I own. 


A better look at the sig.


And a better FRobby sig on a Nabisco card.


Designated Hitter:
Manny Machado's card came from a Topps Now preseason set (I forget what they called it). Manny is the only reason to watch the O's in 2018.


Pinch Hitter:
Minnie Minoso. This was from a stack of $1 signed cards from a dealer I've known since we worked together at the Houston Post in the early 70s. More of these used below.



The Bench:
Rick Dempsey is the backup catcher, porn 'stache model and rain delay entertainer. I bought a bunch of these signed 4x6 photos years ago. They are made from 'Tadder' photos. Mort Tadder was the Orioles' team photographer from 1961 through 2003 when he retired at 74. During those years he shot thousands of pictures of Oriole players, stars and otherwise. 



Lee May, Tadder 4x6


Richie Ashburn from that $1 stack.


Eric Davis. This was my first (and only) big-time player sig pull from a pack. Colon cancer survivor, Comeback Play of the Year, Oriole late in his career.One of the most talented players I've ever watched.


Kenny Singleton. $1 stack card.


Alan Trammell. Ditto. He's headed to Cooperstown in late July. Well deserved.


Bip Roberts. Because it's a blog. $1 signed card stack.


Ron Hansen on a 1960 Rookie Stars. I love this subset.


Manager:
Earl Weaver. On the couple of occasions that I met Earl and had a chance to talk to him I didn't want to ask for an autograph. This Tadder photo may be the only sig I own.



Coaching staff:
Cal Ripken Sr. on a Donruss from 1982. Once a friend and I (he was a huge O's fan as well) were among the first to enter the old Arlington Stadium when the gates opened in the late afternoon for an Orioles-Rangers game. We went down behind the Orioles dugout and found Cal Sr. sitting in the box seats near the field, smoking. We asked him a few questions and he talked with us for quite awhile. I don't recall what the conversation was about but I do remember he said something funny about Earl Weaver.

Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Sparky Anderson. Just imagine sitting around a table at a hotel bar and listening to the baseball stories this staff would tell. All these are $1 stack cards.




General Manager:
Fuji...on a signed Fuji card! This team will need a smart, funny front office guy who's a tough negotiator. I figure Fuji, with his flea market-honed dickering skills, would be perfect.


So there it is. My Blog Bat Around signature All Star team. I'd go to war with these guys.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Billy's Billfold


A large stash of Billy Pierce items hit eBay a month or two ago. I bid on one lot containing over 100 paper pieces and got out-sniped. Probably for the best considering my current hobby-related storage/organizational issues. Based on the auction descriptions it seems that the Pierce family is thinning out Billy's collection of personal memorabilia.

Other auctions featured trinkets, small awards and things like that. A wallet and this billfold caught my eye. Bidding on the wallet surpassed what I was willing to pay so I went all in on this.


Not much else to say about it besides the fact that it's nice to own a personal piece from one of my favorite players. There is something embossed right below the signature panel on the front but I can't read it even with my jeweler's loupe.

BTW...the Algiers Hotel in Miami Beach is long gone. It was an oceanfront spot on Collins Avenue built in the early 1950s. Much swankier than the Holiday Inn I called home last time I was over that way.



I did end up with a few pieces that I suspect came from the breakup of that large lot of Pierce photos and ephemera. I'm waiting on some of them. That'll be another post.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Japanese Cards Pt 2 The Rectangles

I'm finally finding the time to post the followup to the first half of SumoMenkoMan's generous gift of a padded envelope stuffed with Japanese menko cards. This post shows off the rectangular cards. 

The first four all come from the JCM 2 (Blue Baseball Back) set of 1948.


I first thought the above card was Hall of Famer Tetsuharu Kawakami. A better guess is Takehiko Bessho. The cards come with different backs so identifying them is problematical.

I hope it's Bessho. Read this from Baseball Reference:
A star pitcher in high school, he had one of the most famous performances in the history of the spring Koshien in 1941 when he threw 14 innings despite his left arm being broken and in a sling. He lost the game 2-1 but won widespread recognition for his courage and guts. His catcher had to roll the ball back to him after each pitch and he fielded barehanded. His explanation was "I want to play as much baseball as I can before I die."
The scrambled reverses mean I'd be guessing on some of these. But these are among the most colorful and detailed cards I own. The second card IS Tetsuharu Kawakami.


This one of the pitcher in the striped uni is my favorite. I'm fairly certain that it's Juzo Sanada. I had a copy of this card previously but this one is focused properly.


The next card is likely one of the two generic players depicted in the small set. If not then it's Torao Ooka.

The backs reflect the set's name.

I can't find a match for this card in the guide. The colorized photo image suggests the 1950s but who knows? It's about the size of the Topps mini cards they put out now in Gypsy Queen, etc.


The back is interesting. I figured I'd spot the set with a parachute on the reverse pretty easily but I can't find it.


This die-cut was the example used in the guide making it a snap to ID. The player is Rentaro Imanishi and the card is from the 1949 Hoshi Gangu set JDM 21. After a solid rookie year in 1946 he won 73 games over four seasons. Then he seemed to flame out and never had more than two wins a year after that.



We jump to 1958 for this card from the Doyusha borderless set JCM 30a. The player is Katsuya Nomura who was active in the Japanese pro ranks as a player and manager from 1954 to 2009.



This is the first team card I've ever come across. The back is identical to the cards in the 1976 Viking set but Engel's guide doesn't mention any cards but those of players. And the ink color used on the back of the '76 set was black. Call this one a mystery.




We jump ahead to a more modern set, the JCM 55 1962 Doyusha Menko. This one is in rough shape but it's still pretty sweet. Shinichi Eto was a catcher/1B for the Dragons for 11 seasons and won a couple of batting titles. He played a total of 18 seasons.



This next one is one of two cards issued for Shigeo Nagashima in the 1959 Marusho Two Bat JCM 38b set. He played his entire 17-year career at 3rd base for the Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants.



And finally, we have a card from an almost modern Japanese set, JCM 15b, the Kankan menko from around 1973. These are very thick, sturdy cards with nice photography. A similar set on thinner cardboard had been issued the previous year. This is Koji Yamamoto of the Hiroshima Carp. He had an 18-year career with them as an outfielder and later served as their manager for 10 seasons.


It's fairly common for the backs to be off-center even for cards which are centered on the front.


That wraps up the great envelope from Ryan. Posting it late doesn't reflect on how much I appreciated it. Thanks again, Ryan.