Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for Cards!!!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love most everything about it. I mean how can one not love turkey, family, football and maybe a trip to the movies. And I'm thankful for a lot of stuff not the least of which are the friendships I've made since I got into this silly world of blogging.

One such friend, Fuji who's The Chronicles of Fuji is among the best blogs on the net, sent me a totally unexpected manila envelope which arrived yesterday. As I told him last night when you go to the mailbox expecting a shipment of thyroid meds and you get instead a shipment including vintage Orioles and Baltimore Colts cards, well that's a hell of a day.

And it was an fantastic and wide ranging group of cards that emerged rom the package. These were the first things I saw.

These are Topps Archives representing some of the '54 Topps Orioles cards and each of them is autographed! Pretty astounding I'd say. Hard to pick a favorite but I'd say mine is the Bullet Bob Turley card above. The autograph really jumps off the card at you and that posed B & W action shot is classic 50's baseball photography.

Of course all of them have the wonderful Bird On A Ball logo. that has a lot of nostalgic value to me.

Next up, BALTIMORE Colts. That blue colored font is not a tribute to Fuji who loves to highlight his blogs with a rainbow of hues, but it's how I always try to reference the team I grew up worshiping from the one that was stolen in the night plays in Indy.

David Lee punted for the Colts for more than a decade.

It's The Rabbit, Billy Ray Smith on his '68 Topps card. He played for the Colts through the decade of the 70s and was a defensive captain. His son Billy Ray Jr. is a College Football Hall of Famer who played at Arkansas like his father.

Don McCauley is a College Football Hall of Famer who played for North Carolina and went on to become a Colt for the decade of the 70's. He was a starter for just a couple of seasons but stuck around because of his work ethic and willingness to do anything that was aksed of him.

It's David Lee again! Do punters get cards these days? 

The Rustin Rifle, Bert Jones. Here is how old I am... Bert is 62 years old but I actually had him on my first fantasy football team. That was in 1980. 

here is a smaple of the backs of the football cards Fuji sent. I chose these three because they have great cartoons.

Now for some vintage Orioles. All of these cards are in nice shape, btw. These two '61s will replace those I have in my Orioles team set from that season. Kevin at Orioles Card O' The Day just had a post that featured a card with the pitcher Mark Williamson displaying this pose. That was the first thing I thought of when I pulled this Gene Stephens out of the envelope. I hate to sound like an old 'Get off my lawn' grump but those Orioles caps sure look good, don't they? They are among the better ones worn in Baltimore.

Old Blue Eyes, Steve Barber. I saw him beat the Yanks in Yankee Stadium on the first day I ever saw the Orioles play in person.  He won the second game of a doubleheader. Whitey Ford, who by law I believe HAD to pitch every Sunday I went to the Stadium, beat my Orioles in the first game that day.
Roger Maris homered in that game.

Mike Cuellar, what a guy! Posing at the batting cage.  Great card.

Don Baylor, a Texas kid, played as hard as anyone in the game. I even rooted for him after he left the O's. Roric Harrison and the late Johnny Oates.

The eEarl of Baltimore and....

Pat Kelly who's card isn't as off center as my lousy scan makes it appear. I can't see a Pat Kelly reference without remembering the great story Kelly tells of the time he, a 'born again' carouser turned clubhouse evangelist, tried to 'save' Earl.

Kelly told him  "Earl, it's great to walk with the Lord, it's great to walk with Jesus." To which Weaver responded "Pat, I'd rather have you walk with the bases loaded."

A 1970 Bobby Floyd. He didn't hit enough to justify that batting glove. And I just noticed that his bat looks brand new and un-scarred. I bet it still looked just like that at the end of the season.

Ken Singleton. He was 'class' personified. A damn good hitter, too.

Here are a pair of shiny Albert Belle cards. This Topps subset sort of card has Hank Aaron featured more prominently than Belle.

This is one of those cards with a protective film. I wasn't collecting when this tecnique was first used by Topps and I never have figured out if it's better to take the film off or not. I'm going to pull this one because the card should shine more without it, Plus, it's pretty annoying.

Two card from this year. A mini Adam Jones flashing his Gold Glove skills and...

Chris Davis. he's a fun guy to watch when he's in a groove. This reddish border davis scans better than the regular white border new Topps I have. Topps likes these garish borders don't they? 

That's not nearly all of what my Thanksgiving gift from San Jose contained. But that's all I have time to do tonite.

I hope everyone gets to spend some family time today and do the kinds of things you enjoy on Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Football is killing me

The Texans suck. My fantasy team sucks. The Houston Cougars have lost three straight. I need a 'pick-me-up". And what better tonic for a case of the 'football blues' than a 1965 Pro Football Almanac with not just a Johnny Unitas cover but a whole Johnny U. section! I bought this on eBay a few weeks ago. It was as if I knew that my clubs would go into the dumper at this point in the season. I've gotten a kick out of reading through it.

This was published by Sport magazine. When I was a kid my friends and I would argue and debate the relative merits of Sport and Sports Illustrated. I was a Sport guy. I thought SI was snobby and wasted too much space on stuff like tennis, horse racing, skiing and swimming while Sport was more 'meat and potatoes' with coverage of just the big four sports. And besides, Sport used full page pictures that were perfect for slicing out and putting on my cork board at home while SI liked to get fancy and run pics across parts of two pages or (horrors!) stick the caption into the picture itself. And who wanted a weekly magazine anyway? The Sporting News was THE weekly publication and everyone knew it, right? It wasn't until I got to my later teen years that I came to appreciate the SI stable of writers like Tex Maule and Frank Deford.

Anyway here is the title page. The 'stories' listed are in general very short. "The Jimmy Brown Secret" runs just three or so paragraphs. (His secret is courage if you are curious.) Some, like the feature on my guy Lenny Moore, and the old time player bios are longer. Those are the ones with a byline. Several of those writers, particularly Ed Linn and Arthur Daley were pretty well known to Sport readers.

Most of the pics are in black and white but there are some nice color shots of Lance Alworth, Jim Brown and Tommy Mason among others.

Every team had a write-up for the upcoming season including a pencil drawing of a star player in action. The whole 'preview' section was printed on the beige paper you can see below.

The All Pro team doesn't feature enough Baltimore Colts for my taste. And Ditka over John Mackey? No friggin' way!! But they did include to two greatest football players to ever put on a helmet, John Unitas and Jim Brown. Don't bother arguing, you would be wrong.

Inside the back cover was this self promoting ad for Sport. Note the list of sports they claim to cover. Pffft. Hunting?!?! I'm here to tell you that if a hunting article ever appeared in Sport I'd have been first in line to break the windows at Bartell Publishing in NYC.

At least every other month there seemed to be a story entitled 'So and So at the crossroads' or some similar career crisis statement. I remember the Johnny Callison cover. He was a big favorite of mine back then.  

If I saw this back cover ad for the La Salle Extension Law School once I saw it a thousand times. We all thought the guy in the ad looked like the father of a friend of ours.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oddball Orioles Stuff #6

These cards were issued with fuel purchases at Atlantic gas stations in 1968. There 60 in the set and they came in pairs that were issued in the form of a 'booklet' sort of arrangement. The baseball scene was on the front and the rules/regulations on the back. The edges were perforated and removing the border allowed you to separate the cards to see who you got.

There were a total of 60 players split between the two leagues with NL players getting blue bordered cards. These are the three Orioles I have but there was a card issued that featured Andy Etchebarren that is more difficult to find. The idea behind these is that certain combination of numbered pairs were good for a cash prize.  The fine printed details are on the card-back shown below.

They were licensed by the MLBPA but not major league baseball itself so the logos are airbrushed out.

The pictures used were also seen on the Dexter Press 5x7's and Starliner 'stickers' that I showed in this post. But the Dexter Press items were licensed and the logos were seen. (Those Starliner stickers show the logo but they are a rogue product).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oddball Oriole Stuff #5

Topps put these stamp albums out for every team in 1969. I remember the stamps more so than I do the album itself. I'm pretty sure I picked this one up in the 80's when I was hitting every card/memorabilia show in Houston. And back then there were several every month of various sizes. I loved nothing more than going through the paper junk that many dealers would have in boxes on their tables. I found some really cool pocket schedules, bumper stickers and Topps inserts that way.

Most of the core of the '69 AL championship team is included. Notable in their absence are Mike Cuellar who had been acquired from the Astros in December of 1968 for (the included Curt Blefary) and Jim Palmer. Palmer had spent the '68 season rehabbing his injured shoulder/elbow and had gotten just scattered minor league innings that year. In fact he had been placed on waivers at one point late in the year and was left unprotected in the expansion draft! He pitched in winter ball for Frank Robinson in Puerto Rico and the soreness that had affected him for over a year disappeared.

The back page with the lame facsimile autographs shows the Orioles' album to be "No. 13 of 24" which indicated that they were numbered in alpha order with the NL first. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Help a Fella Out, Will Ya?

I opened a pack of Topps Update and I was happy to see an Andrew McCutchen card among the others of guys I've mostly never heard of. I really like McCutchen. I had him on my fantasy team this past season and he was a real star (Ed. note: I finished last in the league. Maybe I should learn more about the other guys on these cards?).

This afternoon I was waiting for some updates to run on my laptop and was examining the cards. I wasn't totally sure Gerrit Cole or McCutchen was the 'forerunner' part of this combo so I turned it over and found this:

The write up features Pedro Martinez and Allen Webster and says nothing about either of the Pirates. Is this a trick? Part of a puzzle subset? An error? I looked at one eBay listing for the card and it was going for $1.00 and didn't say anything about it being an mistake so I'm guessing it is supposed to be this way.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Vending Machine Stickers

When my kids were younger we had a regular hamburger place we'd hit a couple of times a month. My boys loved it because not only were the burgers top notch but the place had some terrific vending machines. I dropped a ton of quarters into two in particular. One had the mini football helmets. Not the crappy little cheap ones that you had to apply the sticker logos to yourself, but a nice quality little painted helmet. I know that over time we put together the whole set. My boys had them displayed in their room.

The other machine pushed out the shiny sparkly stickers I have posted here. They came inside a folded cardboard 'pack' and ran a quarter or fifty cents apiece. The burger place always had NFL stickers and the two up top came from there. They are dated 1995 which would have made my boys six or seven when we picked them up but I'm guessing they were purchased a few years later than that date.

I don't know where the hockey one and the snazzy Colt sticker were obtained but I suspect some other place we came across in our shopping/eating travels. I used to be interested in goalie masks and I had a nice little stack of those stickers myself. That Colt helmet sticker is dated 2000.

I came across these when I was clearing out the binders that my sons kept their collections in. Makes for some fun family nostalgia. They had Mark Brunell and Junior Seau PCs along with tons of junk wax 'stars' (or guys they considered stars) and plenty of non-sports cards. I think I posted a Pink Power Ranger collection I came across on here some months ago. I couldn't argue with their taste if you know what I mean.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So I bought a pack of hockey cards

Really, I did. Don't get me wrong, I love hockey. But I bet I haven't bought a pack of hockey cards since the Pro Set cards circa 1990. But I was killing time in a Target store yesterday while my wife was shopping. I looking at the stuff they had in the card display aisle and I was totally uninspired by what was available in terms of football and baseball. But I just had the 'itch' to buy a pack of SOMETHING, anything.

And I spotted an open (and probably untouched) box of this:
I opened them at home and saw there were only five cards. I guess I shouldn't be surprised given that a) that's probably pretty much the norm these days for anything that not a base set and b) it says 'five cards' right there on the pack but I didn't bother to read it.

Anyway the cards I got were pretty nice. No Rangers were in there but at least most of them were either from Original Six teams or a team I root for over in the West.

Those first two guys I know nothing about (I like hockey, that doesn't mean I follow it all that closely). Doug Gilmour is another story. He played for just about every team in existence and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame a few years back. This is my favorite card out of the pack because he is, well, a H-O-F guy and that Leafs sweater is just about as nice a uniform element in existence. Love the Leafs' gear.

One of my sons is a big Avs fan and he is pretty pumped about Patrick Roy's coaching job so far. 

Here is a look at the back of one of the cards. Nothing special. 

The fifth card in the pack is a New jersey Devil. Ugh.

Too bad is wasn't THIS card:

Or this one: