Monday, August 14, 2017

Joe Knows

Got a neat package in the mail late last week for Joe Shlabotnik. He knocked off five of the remaining dozen or so 1970 Topps cards I needed. I threw them into one picture because I didn't intend for this blog to become a 'set blog' and that's kind of the way it was headed lately. 

Anyway, here are the 1970s. These are all from the semi-high number series which have proved to be just as difficult to track down in terms of reasonable price/condition as the high numbers. Included are an Expo and a Pilot player, two reasons I love this set. Plus a former Strat-O-Matic staple from my dorm days, Ted Uhlaender. 

Joe included a bunch of other stuff in the package. These next two cards are the most fun....

This card comes from the 1975 Topps (English) Football set. The design is familiar to everyone reading this. Just like the Topps baseball set of the same year it's about as colorful (colourful?) as a set can get. It would be fun to see this thing in binder pages. For an idea of what it would look like click to this hobby site. I don't have the time or inclination at the moment but this would be a fun set to chase. If you have even the slightest interest in soccer cards you should poke around this site. It's got tons of info and pics.

I don't remember Jim Holton but he also played in the old MSL or whatever it was they called the prior US pro soccer league. His time with Man United came when the club was struggling and they even suffered (gasp) relegation! Soccer fans, particularly English ones, love to sing/chant during games and apparently this was a thing in Holton's day:

'Six foot two, eyes of blue, Big Jim Holton's after you'

Interesting to note that the stat area on the reverse instructs you to 'fill in season's record' for 1974/75. Here is a closer look.

Hyun-Soo Kim is no longer an Oriole as he was dealt at the trade deadline as part of the Orioles 'pennant push' (try not to laugh at that). I scanned this one in the card sleeve so you could see that Kim is announcing to me that he's a variation! Good thing he told me, too because my card-ignorant ass would never have known. 

Joe hit me with more Orioles, too. Some suffered from my scanner's aversion to bright white borders but these were fine:

Shiny Bowman sluggers. I only realized in the last year that Bowman isn't all rookies/minor league prospects.

Brooksie Panini Diamond King. Sweet card. I sure wish they had a license.

University of Houston alum Michael Bourn. His Oriole career ended before it started with a hand injury. I had him a few years back in fantasy so this one will bump the old one. Orioles card--->any other card.

Added value bonus! A pic I found of Jim Holton from the 80s on getty. Him, his wife and kid are wearing the caps he was awarded for his International competition appearances with Scotland. Groovy, yes?

Thanks for the cards, Joe. And I'll have another Shlabotnik-centric post this week.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Show Haul II

Here is the second and final installment of 'Stuff from the Hotel Show'. Pales in comparison to what's been posted around the blogs and on Twitter after the National show but that's fine by me. If the National show ever finds its way back down my way I'll hit it up. 

I already have a 1970 Xographs/Kelloggs Brooks card but in case I ever decide to put the set together I'll have one for that binder and my Brooks/Orioles binder. Like the rest of these this came out of the 10 for $6 bin. I used my credit to nab them. 

Xographs evolved into the company that made Sportflics cards a decade and a half later. But those things can't touch the 1970 Kelloggs cards.

Darrell had a huge stack of the '69 Topps Deckle Edge inserts. I wish I had picked up more but I'm certain that they will still be in the bin at his next show.  Topps used this Juan Marichal picture in their 1965 set.

This shot of Brooks is from 1965.

Hawk Harrelson in his A's uni and an airbrushed BoSox cap.

Deckle Edge #4..Luis Tiant. This set was notorious for misprinted cards.

I brought home this much loved 1957 Topps Orioles team card. It was like a homely, sad, lonely puppy at the pound begging for a home. Even though I already have multiples of it I couldn't have slept had I walked away from it.

This is what team cards should always be. Team pic on the front, info on the back. I don't care about Gatorade bath shots from the previous June.

"Pennant Winning Teams: 1944" That would be the Browns. Someone, maybe a kid in Catonsville or Towson, edited the roster on the back using two different pens. One day after I retire and have the time I'm going to do some research and break the code of the red and blue. I thought I had it figured out but Dick Williams' comings and goings with Baltimore complicated things to the point I gave up.

The roster as seen on the back of one of my better examples of this card. Topps dropped a comma before the name of the last player listed, Chuck Diering, making it seem as if he's a bat boy.

Here is the original photo of the '56 Orioles.

I don't have plans to ever chase the Topps World on Wheels set from the early '50s these were hard to pass up.

When I was in Springfield Massachusetts a couple of years ago the hotel we were staying at was hosting a Kaiser-Frazer owners convention. There were some really neat and unusual cars in the lot.

These last two items came from the last hotel show I went to, in June I think. They were stuck in a pocket of my backpack and I didn't remember them until I went thru my bag after last weekend's show. Kelloggs' Presidential stickers. I've read that there was a card set and a sticker set put out by Kelloggs in 1980. But I think the truth is that there were two different sticker sets. Beckett's 2016 Non-Sports catalog is useless in finding any info. It has nothing (but it does had about 35 small print pages devoted to trashy Bench Warmer cards) and I regret wasting my money on it.

Anyway, here are JFK and George Washington.

Everything else I picked up went out in PWEs and such. The next show rolls around at the end of September. I can't wait.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Card show haul

OK, 'haul' is a bit strong but it was a well spent two hours on Saturday. First thing I did was show the infamous OPC 1970s to show promoter/dealer friend Darrell who took them back and offered me full credit and then some. I used that at his cheap-o vintage tables to hit some other folks' want lists and scrounge some cheap vintage for myself.

I have great memories of the Post and Jello sets of the early 1960s. There were plenty of them available Saturday and I took about a half dozen. Since I have almost no issue with whatever shape these are in I could easily be persuaded to chase one of the sets.

The Don Mossi and these next three are from the 1962 set. I probably should have bought every one he had (at .50 apiece) but I wanted to grab a few other things I saw.

Daddy Wags Leon Wagner. The Angels should cut the foolishness and call themselves the Los Angeles Angels again just so they could go back to this cap.

Pinch hitter deluxe Smoky Burgess. Not cut very well but I always remember that I was one of the kids who loved to cut the cats apart after we finished the boxes.

I'm sure I have this card of Hoyt Wilhelm already but I grabbed it anyway. Hoyt was awarded the Purple Heart after serving during WWII and being wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.

This is a '61 Hector Lopez. I always liked him because my father did.

Not every card I bought was vintage. This shiny Bowman looks way better in hand.

PSA has graded 75 of these 1965 Topps Embossed Boog Powell cards as 'Mint 9'. This is not one.

I'll end this post with a '68 Dooley Womack. I once had the idea that I would put together a Ball Four 'set comprised of a card  of every player mentioned in the index of Jim Bouton's book. It would have been what bloggers now refer to as a 'frankenset' but back then nobody knew that term. I don't know why I never went through with the goofy notion. It would have been fun!

I'll post the rest of the show haul next time.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Waiting for Maury

As a young collector in the early 60s it would have been nice to have had access to the internet, had there been an internet. It would have saved my friends and I a helluva lot of time trying to figure out why we never could find a Topps card of Maury Wills.

There was a Post cereal card of him. And he appeared (unofficially) on a card in the World Series subset in the 1960 Topps set. But other than that he was a ghost. Of course most everyone now knows the story of how he was snubbed by Topps until around 1958 when he was finally offered the standard $5 contract to appear in Topps products.

By then he was signed to appear only on Fleer products and what is considered his 'rookie' card is part of the wonderful 1963 Fleer set. There are several blog posts around that go into much more detail on the 'missing Maurys' but I'll direct you to the late Bob Lemke's entry. There he details the story and shows off a couple of his customs. I was happy to have added his '59 to my binder holding that set.

Enough about Wills cards we never got...I'm here to show off one I do have thanks for fellow blogger and Twitter friend Shane Katz. This super sharp example came along with a Bob Bolin card yesterday and brought me a couple of steps closer to finishing my 1970 set.

Look at the back of that card. That's a huge wall of stats and it chronicles Wills' long slow climb through the Dodgers' organization, an exceptional career in the majors to that point and his return to the Dodgers in 1969.

Interestingly the stat that put food on the Wills' family table isn't included... stolen bases. He led the NL each season from 1960 thru 1965 and then closed out the decade finishing 3rd, 2nd, 2nd and 4th. I don't think it's a stretch to say that he and Luis Aparicio changed the game in the 60s.

I'd forgotten that Wills was an expansion draft pick by the Expos prior to 1969. He was gone from the club in mid-June, traded back to Los Angeles, so I missed out on seeing him play in Parc jarry when I was there that August. I did see him play for both the Dodgers and Pirates. He also managed 83 games in Seattle over the the course of the '80 and '81 seasons. He had less than stellar results and his style never messed with the modern player.

Thanks again Shane...and look for the Bolin to appear in another post very soon.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Too Cool For Words..and an OPC Update

Thought I'd post a few fun cards from the 1970 Topps set...and these are Topps, not O-Pee-Chees!!

That Lowell Palmer card had been shown on plenty of blogs but it's always worth another look. There have been other players shown wearing shades on baseball cards (my fave is the '59 Topps Ryne Duren) but Palmer's opaque beauties made it look like he had just come from having his eyes dilated.

Palmer, of course, appeared on other cards wearing his sunglasses. The always entertaining Fleer Sticker Project has posted those and many other photos of the righthander. He has to be one of the most discussed career five game winners in history.

Willie McCovey is another guy (like Warren Spahn) who never seemed to have a lousy card. This 1970 is one of his best and IMHO one of the best cards in the set.

Nothing really remarkable about this Rich Morales card other than the great look it gives at one of my favorite uniforms, the White Sox' roadies from 1969/70.

I always get a little twinge of nostalgia when I see a card with the iconic Yankee Stadium scoreboard on it. Fritz Peterson may be the only reason I ever visit Facebook. He posts constantly and always has some fun stories and memories to share.

Finally this George Scott brought a smile to my face almost as big as his. I can imagine Boomer being interrupted by some goofing teammates around the batting cage while the Topps photographer waited for him to turn back to the job at hand.  I really like this one. And it's one of the few that I don't remember from back when this set was fresh.

And I'll wrap up with a word on my set building 'setback'. In my last post I discussed my discovery that some of the cards I purchased in the starter lot that launched this set build turned out to be O-Pee-Chees. The final tally ended up at 47(!!!), all numbered between 460 and 550.

 After a day or two of considering my options I decided that a 'hybrid' set, as several folks referred to it as, would be unacceptable. Just before typing this post I spent an hour on COMC picking up Topps versions of the OPCs. I paid between $0.41 and $1.25 for nearly all of them. The two Mets cards seemed to carry a 'NY tax'. The cheapest acceptable Al Weis card ran me almost $2 which upped my average cost. The only two cards which ran me more than that were Tony Oliva and Bob Gibson. The Topps Gibby I grabbed cost $5 and is actually an upgrade over the OPC one that came in the starter lot.

Bottom line is that I have solved my issue for under $45. Of course that's money I could have used to knock off several more high numbers but I'm considering it a lesson learned. And there's always a chance that I will offset my 'losses' by selling the OPCs and/or working something out with my dealer buddy who sold them to me in the first place. That'll be something that'll be discussed at next Saturday's hotel show. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 28, 2017

1970 Topps Seattle Pilots....wait, not so fast...

Yesterday I was pulling and scanning a bunch of the Seattle Pilots from my 1970 Topps binder for a post I intended to do today. And then I noticed something. Check out the fronts of two of the cards:

Nothing unusual there. My post was going to revolve around the fact that the Pilots never took the field as the 'Pilots' in 1970. As we all know they became the Brewers shortly before opening day and Topps never acknowledged that fact in the set, not even in their late series which was compiled after the season started.

I was also going to explore the variety of uniforms that appear on the Pilots in the set. I loved their look and always thought that their unis were terrific.

But as I put these cards face down on my scanner's platen something odd jumped out at me. Take a look:

Yup, the Buzz Stephen card isn't a 1970 Topps card at all. It's an O-Pee-Chee! And that isn't the only one I have in my '70 "Topps" binder. Turns out nearly 20 on the cards in my original lot purchase are O-Pee-Chees. Yikes.

Hard to believe that it took me this long to see it. In my defense I have been working off a checklist and putting my newly acquired cards for this set in a storage box. I really hadn't flipped through it very much. When it was offered to me the possibility of there being OPCs in the mix never occurred to me.

It came already in the binder in pages so it isn't a matter of me not noticing when I paged it up. I flipped thru the cards that were there, saw the nice condition they were in, figured out that the cost was under 50 cents a card said 'OK'. And let me say right now that I'm sure my dealer friend who sold it to me was unaware of this as well. I guess we both share some responsibility here.

It's disappointing for sure. I thought I was less than 25 cards from completing the set but now it is close to 45. Now I face a quandary.

Do I just finish off the cards I need and call it a day? After all, the fronts are identical. It 'looks' like the 1970 Topps set. I won't ever be selling it so it really has no effect on 'value'. When it's finished I can page thru the binder and enjoy the set just as much, including the cartoons. And the final entry in the 'fuhgeddaboudit' column is added expense. While none of the Canadian interlopers are high numbers I figure it'll cost me $50 to $75 to replace them with their Topps equivalent. That includes the one star card involved, Bob Gibson.

OTOH...I suspect knowing that my binder contains a 'hybrid' set will bug me. The first thing I did when I discovered the Stephen card was run to eBay to find a Topps replacement. 'Fixing the problem' was my gut reaction. Even before I thought to check the rest of the cards.

In the grand scheme of things (and even my hobby enjoyment) this is small potatoes. "First World problem" as they like to say in FB comments. Right now my plan is to finish the cards I need and then assess where I am as far as 'repeal and replace'.     :-/      Stay tuned for that.

And today more than most days your comments/thoughts are very much welcome.


In response to one of the comments I thought looking at the two different backs of the same player would be interesting. I threw this together in a hurry but it serves the purpose:

I failed to mention earlier what is pretty obvious in both scans of the backs...OPC was printed on a different, darker cardboard.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1970 Topps: Bat Rack Boys

I've been busy lately knocking off my 1970 Topps needs list...with the help of some very generous bloggers, friends and Twitter pals. Those of you that have contributed...I'm very grateful. As I type this I am 37 cards shy of completing the 720 card checklist. More than half of those are high numbers but I've been lucky in finding nice copies at good prices. The only costly card of those 37 is Johnny Bench.

So far it's been a fun ride. I've grown to appreciate this set quite a bit. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea (Cardboard Connection is pretty brutal in it's description) but that's fine. 1970 was a significant year for me as the Orioles won the Series and I headed to Houston for college. Baseball was a big part of my life. I was in my nerdy Strat-O-Matic playing days. There are very few players in this set that I don't remember.

I have no plans to do a card-by-card blog for this set. God knows I'm very far behind in posting on my '58 and '60 blogs. But I do want to do some updates and a few 'theme' posts as this effort winds down. This is the first. Players posing at the bat rack is a favorite card photo scenario of mine. It goes back to the wonderful 1961 Wes Covington card.

There may be a few more similar poses in the '70 set. One or two probably got by me as I quickly flipped thru the binder but these are enough for one post.

Up top Tony Taylor squints at the camera. He was nearing the end of a long run as a starter for the Cubs and Phillies. He'd move to the Tigers before ending his career back in Philadelphia in 1976. He played in the majors for 19 years.

Jay Johnstone casts his gaze towards home plate in what I believe to be Yankee Stadium's visitors' dugout. Another three of these cards have a similar background. You'd never know by looking at this card that he was known as one of the sport's great pranksters.

OK, Del Unser isn't actually at the bat rack. He's holding a few bats at what appears to be a shopping cart or wire basket. Unser finished second to Yankee pitcher Stan Bahnsen in the AL ROY voting in 1968.

In an interesting side note the NL ROY award went to Johnny Bench in a narrow one vote win over Jerry Koosman. Bench outpolled the pitcher 10.5 to 9.5. That surprised me until I looked at the two players' numbers. Bench showed promise with his .275 average and 15 homers but Koosman won 19 games and had a 2.08 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for the not-so-Amazi' Mets who finished 9th in the NL.

Here is the universally loved Coco Laboy rookie card. Again the bats are in a basket. I'm sure this was a spring training thing. The rookie trophy, Laboy's pose and the colorful Expos uni all combine to make this a great piece of cardboard.

Like Del Unser Laboy was a ROY runner-up. He trailed Ted Sizemore in the NL vote in 1969. 1970 was his last season to appear in over 100 games.

Juan Rios' pose is not unlike that of Wes Covington as he leans over and smiles (sort of). His only big league action came in 1969. By the time this card was issued he was back in the minors where he played in four different organizations before he retired in 1974.

Harmon Killebrew is by far the best player in the bunch and I'd venture a guess that he could use any bat in that rack successfully. In Killebrew's 22 year career he was named an American League All-Star 13 times, the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player and a six-time American League home run leader. At the time of his retirement, he hit more home runs (573) than any right-handed hitter.

Gerry Moses made the AL All Star team in 1970. He was the third catcher and didn't see any action but he did get to witness teammate Carl Yastrzemski bang out 4 hits in 6 trips to the plate. That was his only AS game and 1970 was the only year he had more than 200 at bats.

And finally here is Bob Oliver sporting the old school 'windbreaker under my jersey' look in what feels like a spring training photo. He played eight big league seasons, mostly for the Royals and Angels. 1970 was his best year as he hit 27 homers and barely missed a 100 RBI season. He is the dad of longtime major league pitcher Darren Oliver

I'll be posting some other cards from this set over the next few months. My goal is to track down my remaining needs by the end of the year.