Thursday, February 25, 2016

Another Round of Vintage

Here's another handful of the vintage cards that I snatched up at my monthly card show.  

Cookie Rojas split his big league time almost evenly between the Phils and Royals (He put in some time with the Reds and Cards as well but those stints didn't account for much). And when I say split I mean split. For example...Rojas played 880 games with the Phils, 880 games with the Royals. He had 3354 plate appearances with Philadelphia, 3369 with Kansas City. He hit .268 with the Royals, .262 with the Phils. And so on. I find that interesting, even if you don't.

Wally Bunker won 19 games for the Orioles in 1964 at the age of 19. He had some success after that including a shutout win in Game Three of the 1966 World Series but he never again reached the level of his rookie season. I found this quote from Bunker in his SABR bio:
“One day you’re skipping school to watch the Giants play in the ’62 Series against the Yankees. … (Two years later), you’re pitching against Mickey Mantle.”
My Rawlings Wally Bunker glove was the first major purchase I made with my Newark Evening News route earnings in 1965. 51 years later I still own it. I pull it out about once a year for a game of catch with one of my boys, just because it's fun. I didn't use it much when it was new as I wasn't out in the field much but I played intramural and city league softball for decades and it got a ton of use.

Bunker was picked by the Royals in the expansion draft and here he is on his 1970 Topps cards. He still looks like a kid on it.

Here is Bunker chatting with the Orioles broadcast team a couple of years ago.

He's an interesting guy. He and his wife recently collaborated on an illustrated childrens book. They owned a company that manufactured and sold artistic refrigerator magnets and he had a home remodeling company.

This Stan Bahnsen card is a nice companion to the Vada Pinson of the same set. I've told my story of my greatest day at a ballpark at least once on this blog. A fight between those two guys was just one of the highlights of that really fun doubleheader. You can read more about it, including Tony Horton's dugout crawl, the fireworks that blasted Ray Fosse and Bobby Murcer's four dingers by clicking back to this post.

In the 60's and 70's the Astrodome had a restaurant they called the Domeskeller (sp?). It ran along the outfield wall under the bleachers. They had picnic style tables tables and wire windows you could watch the action through. Before games fans (mostly kids) would congregate there during batting practice as pitchers did their running on the warning track. They would sometimes sign through the opening in the wire. 

Anyway, one Sunday afternoon in 1968 my younger brothers asked Ray Washburn of the Cardinals to sign their program. He clearly and loudly told them (and me) to 'go to hell'. We told my folks when we got back to our seats. My mom was pretty upset as I recall but I think my father was more amused than angry. Either way Washburn's career slid off the rails after that season. Karma.

I found this pic of the Domeskeller online.

It was just as charmless as this shot makes it seem. one and only experience as a card show table holder was here many years later. But that's a story for a different post.

I can't end this on a negative note so here is the Wes Covington/Johnny Callison special from the 1966 Topps set. I'm pretty sure I already had this one someplace but I collect both guys so now I have a copy for both players sections of my 'Other Dudes I Like' binder.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Blog Neglect

I've been off the grid for awhile. I hope to remedy that with posts of the vintage cards I picked up at the last monthly card show I attended.

The show always has a lot of cheap vintage boxes. I'll hit up the dime, quarter, fifty cent and dollar boxes. The ten cent stuff is frequently 90's junk so I concentrate more on the others. The fun part of digging through those boxes is that I can spend five bucks at the show and come home with a nice-sized stack of cards I picked up just for the hell of it. Cards that I grab for no reason other than they strike my fancy or bring back a memory of my hobby youth.

Like these:

I was a catcher back when I was a kid, Little League, Babe Ruth League, etc. Then I wised up and moved to first base. But I still have a soft spot for cards that show catchers mitts. I still have a couple of my old mitts stored away. I got Sanguillen's sig on a program at Shea Stadium once. If you didn't know who had signed it you've never guess it said 'Manny Sanguillen'. I remember laughing about the fact that he may have written "Go Bleep Yourself, kid' and I'd never know by looking at the scribble.

Rico Petrocelli had a brother who was a Yankee Stadium usher (or security guy, I forget). That brother told us he was 'authorized' for sign Rico's autograph for him. Never took him up on it.

Clint 'Scrap Iron' Courtney. One of the great baseball nicknames. I wish the other kids had called me 'Scrap Iron'. In high school I was called 'Piano' for awhile because our coach swore I was carrying one as I ran the bases.

I will admit to altering some of my cards as a kid to 'update' player movement. I don't think I re-bought my own '58 Courtney though. Doesn't look like my handwriting.

If I had a buck for every card I own that shows the old Yankee Stadium scoreboard I'd be very wealthy. I loved these White Sox road unis with the white lettering. I wonder if they ever use these as a throwback.

Bobby Wine looks odd to me as an Expo even though I saw him play at Jarry Park. He was the Mario Mendoza of his era.  But he owns a Gold Glove from 1963.

I guess Gil Hodges will never make the Hall of Fame now. That was a lively topic for awhile but the Bonds-Clemens-Rose debates have pushed Gil back into the shadows. That's a shame because I think he belongs. And his job of managing the 1969 Mets still ranks among the best of all time. Even though it killed my soul.
Speaking of the '69 Mets....another great nickname belonged to Ed Charles. He was called 'The Glider'. I can hear their broadcasters' (Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson) voices in my head using his nickname. I love this card, btw. That gold and green, Yankee Stadium, the Glider's smile...awesomeness. 

I've got plenty more but these are all I have scanned for today. Cheap vintage rules!

Friday, February 12, 2016

2015 Stadium Club....a glimpse

I ordered and opened a box of 2015 Stadium Club. Not being that familiar with contemporary sets I thought I'd come closer to having a complete set when I added in the cards I already had. But I guess I'll just keep digging.

I'm not going to post any regular cards for the '15 SC set. they've been all over the blogs for a year now. But when I get something I think is worth scanning it'll show up here.

The highlight of the box by far was the Eric Davis autograph I put at the top. I always enjoyed watching him play for the Reds and was very happy that he brought his talents to the Orioles during his 'second career'. Davis of course fought and defeated colon cancer at an all-too-young age and returned to the game after missing the 1995 season.

The other auto was this one:

Not only do I not know who he is but that's a very, very lazy sig. A waste of cardboard and coating.

I got a handful of the various subsets. I got two or three of the die-cut cards. I'd rather take a stick in the eye than mess with those things.

These two True Colors cards aren't bad. Shiny, multi-dimensionalish (I made up a new word?) and very different than anything else in the box. A kind of 1992 vibe for me. And I don't mind a Mays card. And anything is better than die-cut.

I got more dupes than I counted on so they are off to a couple of SC collectors. I'm hitting the TriStar show this weekend to 'Tri' and fill a few holes in this set.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fuji's H-Town Takeover

I got a great manila envelope from Fuji a week or so ago. He always sends some cool stuff. He sent cards that hit a bunch of my collecting habits. The two highlights are bookending this post.

Isn't that an awesome '67 Topps card of Andy Etchebarren? There is no mistaking that face. Etch is wearing the O's '64/'65 home uni. The last time these were worn was Spring Training of 1966 so that may be when this shot was taken. I love the 'Yoo-Hoo' sign on the outfield fence. Our fantasy football league used to award a ceremonial bottle of the stuff to our champion each year. But it got harder and harder to find so we ended that tradition.

Ryan Minor is the guy who 'replaced' Cal Ripken at 3B for the Orioles. He also was a big time basketball player at OU. I believe he is still in the Orioles system in some non-playing capacity but I'm not sure about that.

Remember 'Pogs'? They were all the rage when I moved over to elementary school teaching in the 90's. These things came from the Ted Williams card sets. I've never seen them before. When I was a kid the glass milk bottles that we had delivered to our door had round disks inserted into the opening on top and they frequently featured baseball or football players. That brings back some memories.

These next two cards are Topps Museum Collection items. This Brooks Robinson is one of those textured deals. It looks a lot better in person than it does in the scan.

I still put Raffy cards into my Orioles 'star' box while railing against Hall of Fame votes for Clemens and Bonds, etc. Sue me.

The fact that this next card features the great John Mackey of the BALTIMORE Colts far outweighs the fact that it also has a guy from that other place. It goes in my Mackey pages...I'll just try to look only at the top half of it.

And now to address the H-Town Takeover reference in the title. Fuji sent along some signed cards of Houston Cougars! My Cougar collection has been stagnant for the longest time. I believe now is a good time to kick-start it.

Gee Gervin is the son of Hall of Famer George 'The Iceman' Gervin. Gee played a couple of seasons for the Coogs, ending in 2000. He averaged 19.2 points a game which is 10th all time for UH. He played for the Globetrotters for awhile and he plays in Sweden now. 

Tim Moore played in the mid-90s here and averaged just over 19 PPG. I was still a ticket holder during Moore's time at UH so I saw a lot of him.

And the coolest card of all of them is this Case Keenum auto/swatch card from Upper Deck. Case is one of the best players ever to don a Houston uniform, a regular folk hero among UH fans. And he's a helluva guy to boot.

Case wasn't drafted by the NFL after his time here but Gary Kubiak, then with the Texans, immediately signed him to the Houston practice squad. He ended up playing eight games for the Texans in 2013. He then moved on to the Rams, back to the Texans and then back to the Rams for 2015 where he again found himself as a starter. He's beaten some long odds and negative perceptions in carving out a spot as an NFL qb. He doesn't have a huge arm but he makes the throws he needs to, doesn't make mistakes and can manage a game well.

I hope he continues on this path as the Rams head west for 2016. He deserves every bit of success that comes his way.

Thanks a ton, Fuji. Just a great group of cards.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

An Owl On My Shoulder

About two or three weeks ago I read another in a long line of posts about the 2015 Stadium Club set. Again I saw a couple of cards that I thought were very cool. It dawned on me that maybe I should try to collect it. I had a few of the Orioles and a handful of others so I wouldn't be starting off empty.

I gave it some thought, looked at the checklist, and decided to go for it. I determined that I would not worry about inserts or variations and all that sort of thing. I read that the base set comes in various foil colors (SC guys, help me out here) but I can't tell the difference without looking hard at them so I'll just fill slots with whatever foil color I happen to get.

I looked at eBay and started bidding on a few lots, mostly 100 or so card lots, but I kept missing out. So last week I decided to just order a box. Not an hour later I grab my mail and there is a manila envelope from upstate New York courtesy of Night Owl. And damn if it didn't contain a big stack of Stadium Club (among other things). It was a weird but wonderful (and timely) coincidence. That's part of the stack up top.

Collecting a contemporary set is going to be unusual for me but Stadium Club is an unusual set. I'm not going to blog it step by step because by now every card has been posted at some point by someone, probably a dozen times. but I will post a wantlist as soon as I have one.

I'm just going to put up a couple of the cards N.O. sent, ones that I don't remember seeing on the blogs I frequent. I ususually complain about cards where the subject is just 'one of a crowd' in the photo but even with about a dozen birds in this shot Britton remains the focus. Fun photo.

I like this card of Alex Cobb for two reasons. First that 'fauxback' uni is so hideous that it's cool. And for another there is just so much of it! Pajama unis...harumph. Get off my lawn! Neat stirrups though.

But Night Owl didn't limit his envelope to just Stadium Club. He added a fistful of Orioles cards, all of which were new ones for my O's box.

In 1994 Brady Anderson was still evolving from 'skinny' Brady to 'bulky' Brady. He was still a couple of years away from his outlier 50 dinger performance. I'd like to think that 50 homers were due to the fact that MLB jazzed up the ball in hopes of making the game more attractive post-lockout/strike. But I'd also like to believe in the Easter bunny.

Dylan Bundy. He's been the Orioles 'next great hope' for what seems like 10 years. I think I read he's out of options, or nearly so. Welcome to Charm City, Dylan.

Score brand of my secret fetishes back in the day. I had a zillion Score baseball. But I never saw these. I dug a bit and found out why. These are from a set sold in conjunction with a book at big box book retailers.

Here is what Baseball Card-pedia has to say about these: "1991 Score 100 Rising Stars is a 100-card set issued as a factory set, in a blister pack, with an accompanying book. The sets (with the book) were sold primarily through mass-market chain bookstores with a suggested retail price of $12.95. Each factory set also included six Magic Motion Trivia cards."

I also received a couple of new Cal Ripkens.......

It's impossible to estimate what one player has had the most cards issued for them but if you made a list of guesses I'd sure stick Cal on it.

...and a shiny Kevin Gausman (I have the non-shiny version). Some days on the mound Gausman looks good, some days, well, not as much.

All-in-all it was a great batch of cards that I received from Night Owl. I'm looking forward to getting my Stadium Club set off the ground and this made for a nice start. Thanks again, Greg.