Saturday, February 28, 2009

The man who never ages

Apparently Topps had no money in the late 1960s to hire photographers...

1968 Topps - Earl Wilson (card #160)

1969 Topps - Earl Wilson (card #525)

1970 Topps - Earl Wilson (card #95)

I left the following as part of a comment over at a blog I've started to read, Lake Effect Baseball Cards (which I like very much - but has left the blogosphere as of December, 2010).
I'm starting to collect Earl Wilson (1960's pitcher). I think that I'm going to start with only the Topps regular set issued cards.

There are quite a bit of 'extra' cards out there. Bottle caps, superballs, posters... things that were big in the '60s. If I should come across them for cheap, yeah, maybe. This will help me stay focused.
I've started to assemble a checklist for Mr. Wilson.  It is a work in progress, not yet completed.  I'm not sold on the format I'm using.  Basically, it is a quick reference tool for me.  And yes, some of the images were lifted from ebay.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm smashed

No, that's just my pennies talking. I like Elongated Coins. Smashed Pennies. A few good sites are:
But, I digress. I wasn't looking for them, but I found a few machines on our family trip last summer. Here they are...

We took some time and visited Cincinnati and then headed towards Chicago. On the way back we spent the night just north of Indy and then hit up the Brickyard Museum.

They had baskets of packs of cards. Free for the taking. 8 cards in a pack. Non numbered. Advertising, but cool. I picked up three packs, one for me and one for each of the kids.

I guess the cards for me are just a reminder of the good times we had on that trip, seeing old friends, eating great food, sharing in memories and making new ones.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More fictitious cards

I was asked about the elements of the cards. The border was snagged from one of those annoying ads that try to entice you to get your degree online. While browsing the web I stumbled upon it. Yes, that borders (no pun intended) on 'theft.' But so does the amount they charge for some flunkie to grade your paper. We're even.

The player images are from Touching Second, a 1910 book by Evers and Fullerton. There are other books from google that are in the public domain that have some nice photos of baseball.

I'm still working on the backs. It is a diversion for me. I'll probably create a 20 card set, just for kicks. Half of it is the baseball cards, the other half is learning how to use some software. Combine them and voila! Happiness everywhere.

Other happiness... My T206 Cy Barger arrived. Special post forthcoming.

Playing with

I've been trying to play a bit with the poor man's Photoshop. I've been using to create baseball cards. I'm not as gifted as some of the bloggers around these parts, but here they are...

Yes, these are real players. Harry Krause and Harry Lumley. I'm still working on the backs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interview with Red Grange's caretaker

I've been working on landing some interviews. One finally came in.

Earlier this month I contacted David B. Malone, Assistant Professor, Library Science and Head of Archives and Special Collections at Wheaton College (Illinois). In his role as Head of Archives and Special Collections he gets to oversee the Harold "Red" Grange Papers, 37 boxes of material. I asked him some questions about it.

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I was born in Cleveland and just like the town I've had my ups and downs. But I always remember, That We Built This City..... Well, that's another story. For the last 18 years I've worked in a library context and most of those within an archive and special collections. I get to work with old, rare, scarce and unique materials. Its a great job. I learn something new everyday.

What is the Red Grange Collection?
The Red Grange Collection has been at Wheaton College for over twenty-five years. Originally, it was a part of the Dupage Heritage Gallery, which was begun as a "hall of fame" for those folks from DuPage County, Illinois that have had a national influence, like Grange and Elbert Gary (US Steel) and others. The Grange collection and some other archival collections were transferred to Wheaton College when the Gallery could no longer house or care for them. This is the largest publicly-available collection on the hall-of-famer who put professional football on the map.

What is the funnest/most interesting item from that collection?
I would say that the most interesting item is the Red Grange Doll. We have affectionately called it Chuckie and I've always wondered what little boy in the 1920s said to his father, "Daddy, I want a doll." Sure you do, kid.

Can the collection ever be added to? If a sports card company issues a set of Red Grange cards, would you consider adding to the collection, or is it static?
Since the collection is the largest available to researchers and general gawkers we work to keep it that way. So, when things come out and as our meager budget allows we add things. I was just sent a list from a sports auction house, some of the items we don't have and would love to get, but when things run into the thousands of dollars we have to leave that to the deeper pockets (cough* NFL *cough).

Are there plans to convert the cassette tape interviews to a digital medium?
We are regularly digitizing materials in response to particular patron requests or projects. We haven't digitized much in the Grange collection yet as we've been putting a lot of effort into bringing up an archival management system that will enable folks to easily find what we have and, after we've got that up and running, to plug digital materials into it so that someone can search Google, find an entry, use our database and then click on a particular item and view or hear the resource.

Can you share some photos of the collection?
We have made our images available for a variety of uses. Our Grange images have been in various publications and productions. We license them for publication and for private use and we do charge a license fee. These fees help use recover our costs for staff time, but also enable us to acquire other items for the collection so that they are preserved for the future and make them available for people to see.

As a professional collector/curator, do you prefer quality or quantity? Would you purchase one expensive Shakespeare first folio or two third folios to round out the E. Beatrice Batson Shakespeare collection? Should a collector buy the best they can afford if it fits into their collecting scope?
Ah, this is the real question. A collector should begin by asking why am I doing this? If you ask anyone involved in developing a collection (public or private) they'll articulate a reason for the collection. Since we have the best public collection we want it to show the full career of Grange. The University of Illinois collection only focuses upon Grange's collegiate career. The Chicago Bears archive is only interested in his Bears career, not when he left Halas to start a rival league. Collectors, by nature, want things that are unique. Differentiation is a hallmark of the human spirit.

What is your earliest memory of sports cards or memorabilia?
I remember having baseball cards as a child and I don't think I was buying them for the gum, or were those shims? And I remember having playground discussions about sports, but my family weren't dyed-in-the-wool sports nuts--we did got to baseball games to see the Indians--but it wasn't our lives. So, sports were never the lingua franca of my childhood. I'm not sure what was, but I did enjoy reading. I think the thing that captured my attention was stamps. Someone gave my twin brother and me a stash of old stamps and albums from the 1920s. Going through these and thinking of a far away time and place kept my attention for quite a while.

Did you get ever personally collect sports memorabilia? If so, did you have a focus?
I've enjoyed sports as a participant throughout, but it wasn't my life. Even now, my wife and daughter know more about specific players and teams than I do. Unfortunately I could tell you how to format your hard drive or fix some HTML, but that doesn't fill up too much Sunday television, now, does it?

There is a part of the collecting industry that grades and protects cards (PSA, BGS , and others). Some collectors wish the cards to be released from their plastic prisons. As an archivist, what are your thoughts?
Even though Mr. McGuire urged Benjamin Braddock to remember one word -- Plastics -- this is a word of great concern archivally. One needs to be careful of the type of plastic one uses. PVC, or polyvynil-chlorate, is bad--very bad. Mylar is good--oh so good. In the 1950s and 1960s the big thing was to laminate everything. So, all these archives laminated these rare documents to protect them. Well, they created micro-environments that encapsulated all the negative elements (e.g. acids in wood-based paper) and the deterioration was hastened exponentially. I think protection is good, but sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

Any final thoughts or comments?
If you're ever in Chicago come for a visit, I'd be happy to show you around.

Note: David and I met about 18 years ago. We were both working at Wheaton College, both newlyweds and we lived in the same condo building. I've enjoyed his friendship, his knowledge and wit. He's a good friend and I thank him for granting this interview.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Screwdown Card Holder

Now that my T206 Cy Barger card is being sent to me, I'd like to put it in a screwdown card holder designed for cigarette cards.

Pro-Mold has one for $1.25 each.  Plus $8.00 shipping.

BCW also has one for $2.05 each.  Plus $9.95 shipping.  

I'd like to purchase them, but the shipping would kill me.

I'm having a hard time finding any others.  I've asked my local card store if they have any, but I haven't yet heard back from them.

I'd be interested in any help or direction that anyone would like to share.

Bonus: Pro-Mold is giving away a sample of their magnetic holder.  Fill out the form.  

I'm half tempted to order the T206 holder, fill out the form for the free magnetic holder and ask them to combine the two.

Church sign

Monday, February 23, 2009

Package out to BlueWorkhorse

This weekend I went through my cards and pulled about 50 cards from Atlanta teams to send to Shotgun Spratling. He won the contest I ran last week.

Not being content to just send him the cards, I actually looked at them for more than just the "Atlanta" connection. I decided to scan in four of them.
1991-92 Upper Deck - Stacey Augmon (card #5)
1981 Fleer - Rick Camp (card #246)
2001 Fleer Genuine - Rafael Furcal (card #80)
1990 Score - Bill Fralic (card #7)

Nothing says, "I want to be in the pros" like stone washed denim. Augmon was a great college player and bounced around the NBA for 15 years, averaging 8 points per game. He may be best known for certain locker room comments.

Nothing says, "Get me a bowlful of pancita" like Rick Camp's Fleer card. Camp is known for his 1985 HR in the 18th inning against the Mets. He's also known for stealing $2 million from the Community Mental Health Center in Augusta, Georgia. He was sentenced to a federal prison in 2005, so he should be out now.

Nothing says, "I'm bad" like untucking your pants pocket. Actually, Raffy hit .295 in this, his first year in the majors. That's bad... in a good way. I respect him. And I really like the Fleer Genuine cards.

Nothing says, "Who?" like a 1990 Score Bill Fralic card. Note the club of a hand that Mr. Fralic is sporting. Research says that he was the second overall pick in the 1985 draft and that he played in four Pro Bowls. A tip of my hat to Mr. Fralic.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Robbie Grossman

2008 USA Baseball - Junior National Team Jersey - Robbie Grossman (Card #USJR-RG)

This is one of the cards that I got in trade from John across the pond.  You might know him as the guy who is pursuing the '80s.

I'm greatful for this (and the other) card(s) John sent but I'm confused about the wording on the back.

You have received a Robbie Grossman Game-Used baseball card.

A Game-Used baseball card?  Really?  Now, how would one use a baseball card in a game? 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Books and such

The book that I ordered a few weeks ago finally came in. Smithsonian Baseball. It is gently used (meaning that the back cover has been folded under) and the envelope that it came in was thinner than a 1981 Donruss card.

But boy, what a book. This is a joy to read, a joy to look at. Oversized and lush. Each chapter focuses on a different collection. Bats. Equipment. Folk art. Games. Cards. There are 'How To' type tips tossed in.

The writing style is flowing, never bogging down. I skipped over the chapter on gloves and equipment. I did it to get to the chapter on cards. I'll go back and read it later. I wish that more time was spent with the collectors, but that is just me. Find a copy. Buy it. I found a hardback of it today at one of the used bookstores in town. Crisp and clean. $8.50. I paid more for this one. With tax, it works out to about the same. I might pick up that copy for my dad. He'd like it.

On the shelf just above the hardback copy were two Black and White photos of Yankee players Andy Kosco and Roy White. Both photos have one player with some other folks, like a meet and greet gathering. Both are signed and have a typewritten note to accompany them. They are offering them for $12.50 each. I'm not up on either of the players, but the year would have had to have been 1968. That was Kosco's only year with the Yankees. White was with them for all 15 of his seasons. The photos are about 8"x10", framed.

Last week I finished up reading Charles Euchner, Jr.'s book, The Last Nine Innings. I thought that George Will's Men At Work took you inside baseball. Not like this one does. The things I learned. I can't recite them off the top of my head, but he goes into detail about the forces behind pitching a ball. The strain on the body. He lays out with restrained minutia, but in terms that a layman can follow, statistics on the probability of a win, based on the events in the game (walk, hit by pitch, groundout, etc). He writes about the emergence of Latino players into the National Game. Reading it has made me watch baseball in a whole different light.

For Christmas my mom asked me what I'd like. She a practical sort. Knowing that I had a closet full of sweaters it was a safe bet I wasn't going to say, "A sweater." So I said, "You know, there's a DVD set of the 1988 World Series that would be nice." "Okay. What does it cost?" As I said, she is practical. "Well, it lists for about 70 bucks, but I think I saw it for about $18 somewhere." "Okay. Please order it for me, for you."

So, I've been watching the Dodgers take apart the Mets (NCLS) and then the A's (WS). Oh. You can get the DVDs from for $26.80 (as of early April, 2011). I got my set for $18.33. Merry Christmas to me. I drop this DVD in the middle of the books post because The Last Nine Innings has made me stop the DVD, rewind it and watch the pitcher face the batter again. How did he pitch to him? What was the batter thinking? What is the outfield doing? I won't look at baseball the same way.

I ordered up Pete Williams' Card Sharks from the library in the next county. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I went to my stack of baseball books that I keep telling myself I'm going to read someday. Well, I finally picked one of them up. Bob Wood's Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks. It is a recounting of his mid-80's trip to visit all of the Major League Baseball parks in one summer. Being a school teacher he feels he has to assign them grades. He starts out in his living town (I'm pretty sure it isn't his hometown) of Seattle. He's kind of harsh on stadium. But he does a good job defending his grades.

I'm not going to be reading this through at one sitting, but it is nice for a ten minute break finding out what he thinks of my favorite stadium. Oh, wait. Parc Jarry isn't in this book. Darn.

Card Sharks just arrived. I received it on Friday and have been gobbling it up. I'm still in the early chapters, where Mr. Williams is sharing the history of baseball cards, specifically the Bowman/Topps, Topps/Fleer issues. And by issues, I don't mean products that they produced. If the prologue is indicative of the rest of the book, be prepared for some salty language. Normally I only hear that sort of language on HBO. I wasn't expecting it from Mickey Mantle. It doesn't bother me, I just didn't want Lucy to pick it up and have to ask Patricia what some of those words mean.

I look forward to finishing this and then wonder what I'll be reading next.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Would the hat-check girl

please find Mr. Carlton's hat?
1981 Topps League Leaders (card #5)

Thank you. I'll tip you later.
1981 Topps League Leaders (card #6)

Yet another reason I really like Topps' League Leader cards.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What is a set?

I've been inputting a bit of data over at Zistle.  

The way to do that is to add it to the library.

You select a year (1971, 1989), a set (Topps, Donruss, Flair), a subset (Main Set or Franchise or Hot Gloves or All-Stars, etc), then add the card name (player) and card number.

If the set (or subset) isn't listed it is easy for the user to add it.

You have the option to add the Player's Team and images of the front and back of the card.

Then push the 'submit' button and wait a bit until the minds and fingers behind Zistle okay the data.

As more users add more cards, there is more likelyhood that the card you're adding to your collection will already be in their library.

But who builds that library?  Users do.  And not all users have the same methodology, knowledge set, attention to detail or concern.

So, Zistle has an interesting group of Sets.  For example, I selected a year at random - 2005.

I took the first Set name with multiple entries - Bowman.

There are:
- A-Rod Throwback
- Autographs
- Future Game Gear Jersy Relics
- Gold
- Main Set
- Relics
- Signs of the Future
- White

Bowman Chrome
- A-Rod Throwback
- Blue Refractors
- Gold Refractors
- Main Set
- Red Refractors
- Refractors
- X-Fractors

Bowman Chrome Draft
- Blue Refractors
- Gold Refractors
- Main Set
- Refractors
- X-Fractors
Bowman Draft
- Draft Blue Refractors
- Future Game Jersey Relics
- Gold
- Main Set
- Signs of the Future
- White

Bowman Heritage
- 51 Topps Heritage Blue Backs
- 51 Topps Heritage Red Backs
- Draft Pick Variation
- Future Greatness Jersey Relics
- Mahogany
- Main Set
- Mini
- Pieces of Greatness Relics
- Signs of Greatness

Bowman Sterling
- Main Set
- Original Autographs
- Refractors

Bowman's Best
- Blue
- Gold
- Green
- Main Set
- Printing Plates Cyan
- Red
- Silver

I haven't checked The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards to see if these are correct or complete.  Should these all be Bowman?  

But back to the title of this post... What is a set?  I'm still wrestling with this question.

1953 Topps.  That easy.  That was the only product that Topps produced that year for baseball.  280 cards.  No inserts.  No refractors.  No chase cards.  It is a set.  Period

Jump ahead a few decades to 1989.  Fleer had a slew of boxed cards.  Baseball All-Stars.  League Leaders.  Exciting Star.  Superstars.  These 40 or so card sets were sold in individual boxes.  Clearly, they are not part of Fleer's Main Set.  The World Series cards are, therefore they are a subset of Fleer. 

I still don't know how to categorize them.  I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts.

We have a winner

The answer is 179.  The closest guess was Shotgun Spratling (222) who is the main writer for The Blue Workhorse, "a sports blog encompassing MLB baseball, NBA basketball, NFL football, NHL hockey, PGA golf, NCAA athletics, and everything in between."  Quite fun.  Apparently Mr. Spratling and his cronies attended Maryville College, just a stone's throw away from where I live.

I've contacted Mr. Spratling to find out which team cards he'd like.  I'm assuming that it will be the Braves.

Here's the supporting information on the answer....

According to Gene Florence's Standard Baseball Card Price Guide (4th Edition) here is a listing of all players (last names starting with A-C) that were only issued one Topps Chewing Gum Company, Inc. card from the years 1951-1991.

They are listed alphabetically. Any errors with this list are mine and might have resulted from small print, failing eyes and fat fingers.
Name                    Yr      No.
---- -- ---
Abarbanel, Mickey 68 287
Adams, Mike 74 573
Adduci, Jim 89 338
Akins, Sid 85 390
Alcaraz, Luis 69 437
Aldrich, Jay 88 616
Alfaro, Flavio 85 391
Allen, Jamie 84 744
Alou, Moises 91 526
Alvarez, Ossie 59 504
Alvarez, Rogelio 63 158
Angelini, Norm 73 616
Ansley, Willie 89 607
Antonello, Bill 53 272
Appling, Luke 60 461
Arft, Hank 52 284
Arias, Rodolfo 59 537
Arndt, Larry 89TMLD 7
Aust, Dennis 66 179
Azocar, Oscar 91 659
Babitt, Shooty 82 578
Baez, Jose 78 311
Bakenhaster, Dave 64 479
Baker, Floyd 52 292
Baker, Steve 83TTR 6
Balaz, John 76 539
Baldwin, Reggie 80 678
Bales, Wes 67 51
Baller, Jay 88 717
Barbieri, Jim 67 76
Bargar, Greg 84 474
Barr, Steve 76 595
Bates, Billy 89TMLD 9
Bathe, Bill 91 679
Batton, Chris 77 475
Baumer, Jim 61 292
Beall, Bob 79 222
Beamon, Charley 59 192
Beamon, Charlie 80 672
Beard, Mike 76 53
Beard, Ted 52 150
Beardon, Gene 52 229
Beare, Gary 78 516
Beatty, Blaine 89TMLD 11
Beck, Rich 66 234
Becker, Joe 60 463
Bell, Dave (Gus) 51Trb 17
Bella, Zeke 59 254
Bene, Bill 89 84
Benton, Al 52 374
Berardino, Johnny 52 253
Bernier, Carlos 53 243
Bestwick, Jim 79 725
Bethke, Jim 65 533
Bevan, Hal 61 456
Birrer, Babe 56 84
Bittiger, Jeff 89 209
Bjorkman, George 84 116
Blades, Ray 54 243
Bladt, Rich 74 601
Blateric, Steve 73 616
Blaylock, Bob 59 211
Blaylock, Gary 59 539
Blaylock, Marv 57 224
Blocker, Terry 89 76
Blyzka, Mike 54 152
Bockus, Randy 89 733
Boehmer, Len 69 519
Bohammer, Jack 74 586
Bokelmann, Dick 53 204
Boles, Carl 63 428
Bollweg, Don 52 128
Bonikowski, Joe 62 592
Booker, Jim 76 243
Boone, Danny 82 407
Boris, Paul 83 266
Bourjos, Chris 81 502
Boyd, Gary 70 7
Boyland, Dorian 80 683
Bradely, Mark 84 316
Bradley, Tom 76 644
Brady, Brian 89TMLD 19
Brady, Jim 56 126
Braun, John 65 82
Brazle, Al 52 228
Breazeale, Jim 73 33
Brickell, Fritz 61 333
Brideweser, Jim 57 382
Brizzolara, Tony 80 156
Brown, Tom 64 311
Brown, Tommy 52 281
Brown, Winston 61 391
Browning, Brian 83 442
Bruhert, Mike 79 172
Bruno, Tom 79 724
Bryden, T.R. 87 387
Buchia, Johnny 52 19
Budaska, Mark 82 531
Burbrink, Nelson 56 27
Burdette, Fred 64 408
Burford, Don 64 368
Burke, Steve 78 709
Burton, Jim 76 471
Burwell, Bill 60 467
Buschhorn, Don 65 577
Byrd, Jeff 78 667
Caffie, Joe 58 182
Caffrey, Bob 85 394
Camilli, Lou 88 64
Campbell, Ron 67 497
Camper, Cardell 78 711
Canseco, Ozzie 91 162
Capel, Mike 89 767
Cardinal, Randy 63 562
Carpin, Frank 66 71
Casagrande, Tom 55 167
Cash, Ron 74 600
Casian, Larry 94 374
Castiglione, Pete 52 260
Cato, Keefe 85 367
Cedano, Andujar 91 646
Chambers, Al 85 277
Chapman, Ben 52 391
Chapman, Sam 51Tbb 52
Chappas, Harry 80 347
Chavarria, Ossie 67 344
Chiamparino, Scott 91 676
Chiffer, Floyd 83 298
Childress, Rocky 88 643
Chipman, Bob 52 388
Chittum, Nelson 60 296
Chlupsa, Bob 71 594
Chris, Mike 80 666
Chrisitiansen, Clay 85 211
Ciardi, Mark 88 417
Cias, Darryl 84 159
Cipriani, Frank 62 333
Clark, Al 52 278
Clark, Joe 85 740
Clark, Mike 53 193
Clark, Terry 89 129
Clarke, Stan 88 556
Clary, Ellis 60 470
Clemens, Doug 67 489
Clemons, Lance 72 372
Cochrane, Mickey 76TAS 348
Coggins, Frank 68 96
Cohen, Andy 60 466
Coker, Jimmie 67 158
Colbrunn, Greg 91 91
Cole, Alex 91 421
Collum, Jackie 57 268
Colpaert, Dick 73 608
Colson, Lloyd 71 111
Combs, Earle 54 183
Combs, Merrill 52 18
Compton, Mike 71 77
Conley, Bob 59 121
Consuegra, Sandy 56 265
Coogan, Dale 52 87
Cooney, Johnny 60 458
Cooper, Don 82 409
Cora, Joey 88 91
Corbett, Sherman 89 99
Cornell, Jeff 85 514
Costo, Tim 91 103
Coughtry, Marlan 62 595
Cox, Jeff 81 133
Cox, Jim 74 600
Cox, Terry 71 559
Craddock, Walt 59 281
Craig, Rodney 80 672
Cram, Jerry 71 247
Crosby, Ken 76 593
Cuccinello, Tony 60 458
Cuellar, Bobby 80 665
Cunningham, Earl 90 134
Curry, Steve 89 471
Cuyler, Milt 91 684
TAS = Topps All Star card of any given year
Tbb = 1951 Topps Blue Back
Trb = 1951 Topps Red Back
TMLD = Topps Major League Debut card set
TTR = Topps Traded card

It would be fun to create a set of these players by decade.  The 1980's wouldn't be terrible to create.  I'll let someone else do that, though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My First Contest

Okay kiddos. Time for Uncle Mark's first contest.

I'm calling it The One Hit Wonders, ABC edition

Here are the prizes...

That's right.  A 1998 Can-O-Jr. from Pinnacle and a bag of 1991 Donruss cards.  

The cards in a can were reviewed by capewood last year.  And Kevin reviewed the Donruss a few weeks later.

Okay, after reading the reviews, these prizes aren't that great.  I'll dig up something else to toss in.  Maybe a handful of your favorite team.  Except for Boston.  I gave the bulk of those to John across the Pond.

Rules of the contest:
Leave a comment with your answer.  Only one answer per entrant.  All entries must be posted by 11:59pm, Eastern, Wednesday evening, February 18.  (That's about 26 hours from now.  Plenty of time.)  Winner will be decided by me as the enty that is the closest to the correct answer.  In case of a tie, the earliest entry shall win.  Legal mumbo jumbo.

Gene Florence's Standard Baseball Card Price Guide (4th Edition) lists all players that had baseball cards issued between 1948 and 1991 by the following companies: Bowman, Donruss, Fleer, Score, Sportflics, Topps and Upper Deck.  This contest concerns only Topps, 1951-1991.

The question is: 
How many players (with their last name starting with A, B or C)  had only one (1) card issued by Topps during that time period?  That card might have been a Topps Traded,  Major League Debut or an All-Star card.  The player might have had a card issued after 1991, but I don't care for about that for this contest.

Basically, pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and post it in the comments.

I was originally going to include all players, but the task got too large, therefore it is only players with the last names starting with A, B or C.

The winner and a list of the players will be posted after the contest has ended.

Game on.

My collection on Zistle !

1992 Classic, Orel Hershiser (card #33)

I now have about 95 % of my Orel Hershiser collection on Zistle. "What? Why not the other 5 %?" one might ask.

Hmmm. I don't know where a few cards are, I haven't added the Topps coin and a few are oddballs... Burger King baseball. Starting Line Up figure. Giant Mask of Orel. (Yes, Mr. Owl, I found it. Too big for the scanner. Photos later.)

Now, one might be asking, "How can I see your collection on Zistle?"

Well, one could click here and then search for Hershiser.

You can also see my list here (includes a sheet of wants). This was taken from showing my collection in Zistle, copying the data into an calc sheet, minor editing, then copying and pasting the data into a Google docs sheet. Sort of a hack, but it works for me.

Now, there are still many more Hershiser cards that have not been entered into Zistle. I plan on doing that soon. Don't know when 'soon' is, but soon.

I also need to scan my cards and upload them to Zistle.

The best thing that I've found about Zistle is their attention to customer requests.

Ashley and Josh run the place. I don't know how they do it. They quickly answer my private questions, are open for a quick google chat, have a sense of humor. And they're sticking it to the man. Good for them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Antiques Roadshow

I just watched a part of the Antiques Roadshow on PBS. I was helping my son with his term paper on the Civil War when my wife called me to watch a lady who had an early photo of Mickey Mantle and one of his payroll checks.

Rather than give the whole story away, here is the link.

They have more stories about baseball memorabilia. Actually, I just searched for baseball. There's a story which includes the phrase, "Baseball Vase." The story isn't about baseball.

Go waste a few minutes. Better than a "Wax Heaven Box Break."

1936 Goudey 'Wide Pen' "Mickey" Cochrane follow up

I was encouraged to see that several of the 1936 Goudey 'Wide Pen' "Mickey" Cochrane cards available once again on ebay.

Thirteen to be exact. They are all of the "Buy It Now" variety. But not the card I was bidding on. In fact, ten of the cards for sale right now are graded. Lowest graded price is $45.00. Too rich for me.

I emailed the seller of one of the most expensive offerings asking for any details regarding the Bermuda Triangle that the cards flew into Saturday.

I have not yet received a response. I'm hoping for one but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sports filled Sunday

Today is the 58th NBA All Star Game and the 51st running of the Daytona 500.  I was able to watch some of the game with my son and some of the race with my wife.

To celebrate, here are some cards from my collection...

This is a 1970-1971 Topps - Rebound Leaders (card #5).  Three Basketball Hall of Famers.

1997 Upper Deck - Ricky Rudd (card # 48)
1997 Pinnacle Certified - Dale Earnhardt (card # 37)
2003 Wheels American Thunder Holofoil- Jeff Burton (card #P35)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Not so Happy Valentine's Day

I just received this email from ebay....

Thanks for your interest in this listing:


Unfortunately, the item is no longer available for purchase. This is disappointing for everyone, but sometimes it's necessary to protect you as a buyer.

There are three main reasons why we remove listings:

-- The listing doesn't follow eBay guidelines.
-- The item isn't allowed on eBay or can only be listed under certain conditions.
-- The listing contains pictures or words in it that may have created copyright or trademark issues.

If the seller is able to fix the problem and relist the item, we hope you'll bid on it again. 

We apologize for the inconvenience and have many other great deals on eBay. Just go to to continue your shopping today. We hope to see you soon.

Thank you,

eBay, Inc.

Please don't reply to this message. It was sent from an address that doesn't accept incoming email.

Well, my hopes for the Blog Bat Around IV valuable item are gone.  It appears that all of the 1936 Goudey "Wide Pen" Cochranes have been pulled.

I don't know why.  Perhaps my post sent the market into a frenzy and Bill Gates scooped them all up.

If I find out what happened to my dream I'll let you know. 

Happy Valentine's Day

1955 Topps # 44 "Corky" Valentine

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Word To Parents.

   After long and faithful study of the great necromancer, Tobacco, whose attributes are legion, and whose ways are multiform as the shifting sands, I supposed myself enlightened as to all his tricks and turns, his quirks and quavers. But I was mistaken.
   Never did general more skillfully marshal his forces for conquest than does this narcotic commander. His scent for prey is keen as a vulture's, and he scruples at no measure which will accomplish his ends.
  Every one know the passion of boys for all sorts of collections--postage stamps and pictured flags, coins, eggs and bugs. The other day I came across a lad who, I was told, had a fine stock of portraits of celebrated characters, military and civic. So, being interested in boys and all that concerns them, I asked him to show me his treasures.
   The moment I began to examine them a great surprise fell on me, and exclamations escaped my lips. Verily, I had stumbled upon a new craze, or rather, "fad," to use a popular and elegant term.
   I am moved to copy some of the things I found on the back of these various cards, the front being reserved for the advertisement:
   "This is the most complete and correct collection of all military and naval uniforms throughout the world."
   "We will pack in the celebrated _______ Chewing Tobacco the portraits of all the leading base-ball players in the country in full uniform."
   "Portrait of our leading actors and actresses in the costumes of all nations from 500 B.C. to the present time."
   On some of these cards important statements are made:
   "Figures never lie. The following statistics of our sales since 1882, showing the important increase from year to year, will convince you of the great and general appreciation of our cigarets by the public."
   Having given these statistics, the company continues:
   "Think of it! Four hundred and sixty-six million of them have been sold within the last six months, or an average of two millions for each working day; three thousand and twenty-two per minute, allowing ten hours per day!!"
   The exclamations are mine.
   Now behold the great unraveling! With every package of tobacco, in whatever shape, comes a slip or ticket, the card being regarded as a ticket, of which twenty-five, seventy-five or one hundred, as the case may be, are returned in exchange for some such premium as I have indicated. That is, to the lad who smokes or chews the required number of packages, or collects the slips or tickets from some smoker or chewer, is held out an attractive reward.
   In one case, the picture of a man on horseback, the name of the man and the horse and the advertisement are all mixed up together. Opposite is found:
   "Return 25 of these cards and we will send a large picture 8x10 inches, on heavy plate paper, of any horse in the series you may select."
   Or it is:
   "On receipt of 100 of these cards, we will deliver a beautiful illustrated Album of 'The Champions of the World,' or of 'The World's Beauties.'"
   I am obliged, moreover, to add that some of these cards should be turned over to the vigilant Comstock. So sickeningly suggestive are many of them of their antecedents that it has required not a little sacrifice to examine them, as I have done, in the interests of mothers and their boys.
   Would that I could reach the hearts of these tobacco-traders! How earnestly would I entreat them to stay their hands from laying such snares for unwary feet, from casting forth such nets into the great sea of human life! Can they realize what they are doing? Do they know that the tobacco appetite, once kindled, becomes a tyrant that binds its victims, hand and foot; that many a disease of body and mind follows in its train; that it tends toward inconsideration, discourtesy, selfishness and barbarism; and that it often awakens a thirst for strong drink which lead to the saloon and to ruin?
   Do they know all this? And will they not forbear? Also, no! for the greed of gain overcomes every scruple of conscience.
   So I must beseech the mothers and the sisters that they be vigilant in forseeing and forewarning and preventing.
   And I make my appeal to you, dear boys--that young army which will soon control our Republic. Will you not give an absolute and persistent No to every temptation, however attractive, held out by this relentless Tobacco-despot? To yield is to enter the pathway to an ignoble slavery. And how can you maintain the freedom of this Republic unless you yourselves are freemen? --Marblehead (Mass.) Independent.


This is from the November 29, 1889 edition of The Plattsburgh Sentinel.

Meta Lander, a pen name for Margaret Woods Lawrence, was an outspoken opponent of tobacco. Apparently she doesn't care much for baseball cards either, for that is just a path to greater evils.

Phone call

Last evening, after I got home from work, the phone rang. My wife answered and started to chat with a puzzled look. It was the owner of the card shop that is going out of business. He tracked me down (it turns out that he works with one of my neighbors, a lady that attends the same church as I do).

We spoke for a few minutes. He thanked me for the letter I wrote him and returning the change that I received by mistake.

He is closing his shop, but will still be involved in cards. I didn't ask, but I assume that the overhead of running a shop wasn't kind to him.

So, I owe him an email, inviting him to this and other blogs. I need to send him my want list because he just found some 1960s baseball cards. I need to be thankful for kindness.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog Bat Around IV

I have tainted my mind.  I have read other entries in this, the Fourth Blog Bat Around.  They are well written.  They sum up some of my thoughts.  They have sucked all creativity from my soul, for they are very good.

My summarization of the topic is:

Which baseball card or set do you believe will be valuable in ten years?

See, I have no creativity right now.  That is the topic.  No summarization needed.

The obvious answer is anything pre WWII.  HOFers.  Ruth.  T206s.  The usual suspects.

Some would say, "Duh.  What about the shiny of today?"  Seeing as how this is my entry to the Bat Around, I'll stick with it, but with some direction.

Let's examine the topic.  One definition of valuable is having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities.  Other definitions include having monetary value and worth a good price.

Most everything has a monetary value.  A loaf of bread, a used bumper car, a Hank Aaron rookie card.  In this sense, they're all equal.  Not of equal value, but equal in that they all have monetary value.

Many items are worth a good price.  If I could purchase a high quality Aaron rookie card for $600, I think that would be a very good price.  Two thousand early 1990's commons for $1,200 isn't worth a good price.

Here's a card that, to me, has desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities...

1936 Goudey "Wide Pen" Premium, Type 1.  

"Mickey" Cochrane.  Hall of Famer.  Happy to be playing baseball.

To me, it is aesthetically pleasing. It is from a simpler time. It was published the year that my mother was born.  I like it.  Will it be valuable in 10 years?  Sure.  Is it speculation?  I don't think so.  I see speculation as buying something low, hoping (perhaps with some intuition) that it will greatly increase in monetary value.

Currently, there are nine of these cards on ebay.  The low bid on one auction is currently $1.80 with almost three days left.  I could blow some money and use a 'buy it now' on a very nice graded specimen for only $200.  That's the top end.  I think I'll bid on the low end auction.

I'm back.  I'm currently leading the auction at $2.25.  If I win, I'll have paid less than $10, including shipping.  What will it be worth in 10 years?  I don't know.  There's a pin hole.  The corners are slightly worn.  $15?  $20?  $30?  It'll only be worth what someone will pay for it.  But I won't sell.  In 10 years, I'll pull it out of a drawer and fondly remember when I bid on it.  What I was typing.  The virtual friends that I made through blogging and trading.

No, it won't be priceless, but it will be valuable.  

At least to me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Baseball Boss

I was over at Zistle, thinking about adding a few more cards from my Hershiser collection and I saw a banner ad (as part of their revenue stream). It was for Baseball Boss. It is marketed as:
A free online baseball game that combines fantasy baseball and baseball card collecting.
I have not yet played this, but have only quickly reviewed some of their FAQs, but it looks interesting.

Standard disclaimer... I am not an employee of Baseball Boss, blah, blah, blah.

Here's a link from Zistle's site (thinking that they might get more revenue if you sign up through that) or the main Baseball Boss site.

Pinch me again

I try to be an honest man.  In my dealings with the card shop that is going out of business at the end of this month, I didn't think that I got my change back.  I called the shop, explained what happened.  The clerk agreed with me.  I returned to the store, got my receipt and change.

When I got home, I found that I did get the change, but not the receipt and I put the change in a pocket I normally don't.  So, Monday I wrote a letter of apology to the owner of the store for the honest mistake and included the cash.

(The above is not a story to make me feel better, just an illustration for blog filler.  But it is true.)

I also like to be truthful in my blog.

So, in the last blog post, I slightly retouched the card image.  The image I had was a bit ragged around the edges.   Using some paint-type tools, I made it look crisper.  I really should have left it the way it was.  Cards are cards and we should accept them for what they are, in whatever condition they are in.

I also stated that I wouldn't be editing that post.  So, in keeping with my word, I won't.  I'll just create a new post. 

I would like to point out to those that don't read the comments here that Mr. Owl posted a blog entry about Herb Washington and his card late last year.

He also just posted one of the funnier things that I've read this month in his entry for the 4th Blog Bat Around.  Sad thing is, he used up all of my ideas.  Verbatim.  Darn that man. 

Like A-Rod, I'd like to apologize to my fans if I've let them down in any way.

Pinch me, I'm a runner

In reading The Last Nine Innings before drifting off to sleep last night/this morning, I read about Herb Washington, a specialist. In the mid-1970s he was a brought to the Athletics to steal bases. He didn't bat, he didn't field. He did steal 31 bases in 105 games spread out over two seasons. And he had a baseball card. 1975 Topps #407.

Always good for a pinch runner to wear a batting glove. You don't want that pine tar messing up your hands. The mere presence of that white glove helps tone down the green/yellow of the uniform against the ... I don't even know how to describe those pinkish/purplish colors.

Oh, I had some other interesting comments about Mr. Washington, his career and this card, but research shows me that I was beat to the punch over two years ago. Josh does a very nice job at his blog and I don't want to just cut and paste. That wouldn't be very nice of me.

But, this card has reconfirmed my idea about an upcoming contest. I can't announce it yet because I don't have the complete answer, but I'm working on it. Stay tuned. Or better yet, check back because I'm not updating this post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

1967 Earl Wilson Topps cards

Here are the 1967 Topps cards that feature Earl Wilson. They are numbers 305, 235 and 237. In the middle of June of 1966 Boston traded Earl away to Detroit. His cards from 1967 reflect that. Sort of.

The card clearly states TIGERS, but the trained eye will still see the stylized B of Boston on his jersey.

Here we see Earl wearing a blue, airbrushed cap.

And then a partial airbrush job.

At least he's wearing a cap on the League Leaders cards. Look back at the first card. No cap.

This is what is known as BHNH* (Big Head No Hat) syndrome. Very convenient for the card producers when a player gets traded mid-season.

"Quick. We're supposed to go to press in an hour. Find that photo of Earl Wilson without his hat. You know the photo. Yes. That's the one. Good. Enlarge it to crop off the Boston from his jersey. No one will notice. Trust me. I'm in marketing."

Earl went 5-5 for Boston and 13-6 for Detroit that year. He completed 13 of his 37 games started for the season. He finished up the year with a 3.07 ERA. He also had 7 HRs. Producing them, not giving them up. He gave up 30 of them.

* I did not coin the term BHNH. I'm not sure where I read it, but it was probably a Baseball Card Magazine from 1989 or so.

National Optician Day

To celebrate National Optician Day, I present some late 1950s, early 1960s eye wear...

1961 Topps # 152 Earl Torgeson
1962 Topps # 114 Howie Koplitz
1959 Topps #485 Ryne Duren

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jack Armstrong, baseball guy

The ladies over at Dinged Corners had a contest recently. One of the questions was in dispute. It concerned Jack Armstrong. No, not this one...
1993 Topps Gold #434 - Jack Armstrong

This one...
This is a 1935 Wheaties cereal box card, Series 1. There are 26 'cards' in this unnumbered set. Two of them are pitchman, Jack Armstrong. No, not a ball hurler, the fictional character. Others in the set include Dizzy Dean, Lefty Grove, Pepper Martin and Lou Gehrig.
More info on these cards can be found at Old Cardboard, "Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards."

Scans from the day of shopping

Here are some scans from the day of shopping.

1963 Topps # 76, Earl Wilson.  This is only his second Topps card.  He spent 1961 with the Seattle Rainiers, Boston's Triple A team.

Here we see Earl on his 1965 Topps card # 42.  Note that they use the same factoid on the back of these two cards, worded slightly differently.  Also note the batting Red Sock in the banner below.  Why don't we have those sort of mascots anymore?

And these are the 2006 WNBA cards...
#37 Nikki Teasley
#53 Stacey Dales
#84 Kristen Mann


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another Topps 2009 Target pack break

No video.  No scans.  Just what I got and a bit of commentary.

#24 - Frank Thomas
#107 - Pedro Feliz
#77 - Jed Lowrie
#8 - Terry Francona
#66 - Dustin Pedroia
#266 - Todd Wellemeyer
#LLG-8 Thurman Munson
#TTT9 - Ryan Howard
#134 - Evan Longoria
#148 - Ty Wigginton
#9 - Dallas McPherson
# 54 - Dusty Baker

I really like the clean looks of the fronts.  Decent action shots.  Well, 9 out of the 12 are.  Pedro, Terry and Dusty are mostly standing there.  Out of the 10 base cards I got I did not receive any Outfielders.  I did get two Managers and four Thirdbasemen.

I noticed that the fronts of the cards really pick up the finger prints.  So, if you handle them, don't leave them at a crime scene.

The backs are nice.  Readable.  Except for Frank Thomas.  The man has played so many season in MLB they made the font very small to fit them on.  I knew I should have gotten a jeweler's loupe at Target yesterday.

I like the Legends of the Game front design.  I also like the back, with a little timeline.  The problem I have with this Munson card is that the photo looks like Darrel Hammond (SNL) made up to look like Jesse Jackson.

I haven't looked at the checklist to see how many cards are in the set, what chase cards there are, blah, blah, blah.   I'll do that later this evening.

At Wal-Mart today while picking up other items that I forgot to get at Target yesterday (and yes, I forgot one of them while I was at Wal-Mart) I made my way to the baseball card area.  Only Topps was there for 2009.  But the dispensers had a warning label...
Warning!  Choking Hazard!  Not intended for children under the age of 6.
I kid you not.  And just now I looked at the pack itself.  Fine print for a chance to win any of the insert cards by sending in a 3x5 card, etc, etc.
Potential Canadian winners will be required to first correctly answer the mathematical skill-testing question: 20 x 2 + 3 - 10 = ?
What?  Apparently there is a reason for this.  I won't explain it but will refer you to this site for the answer.

No, I didn't pick up a pack at Wal-Mart today.  Restraint.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A day of shopping

Today I took my daughter shopping. Actually, I had to run some errands, so she came along. I did no shopping for her. She liked it and had fun.

Our first stop was to Centerfield Collectibles in the next town over. They've been there for nine years. They'll close down at the end of this month. I've never been there and I wish I had before today. But if I'd gone before today I wouldn't have realized the discounts they were passing on to their customers.

I walked in, pleasantries were exchanged with the young clerk behind the counter. Typical stuff.
Nice weather for a change. Nice shop. What are you looking for? Hershiser and vintage. Oh, we don't have much of those. Okay, I'll look around, then. Okay.
It was basically a run-on sentence with the both of us speaking.

They had a large bin in the center of the store. Starting Lineup figures. Half of sticker price. I picked up a 1990 Orel Hershiser for $3. A 1990 Rickey Henderson for $2.

I looked through the 'star' cards. No Hershiser. I figured as much. My daughter was on the floor playing with her Dora the Explorer Old Maid cards. She was happy. The clerk asked if he could give her some WNBA cards. She came away with three. Actually, she put them on the floor and walked on them. I picked them up, dusted them off and put them in my shirt pocket.

The clerk was kind enough to offer some crayons and coloring books. That kept her happy for a few minutes while I looked through their 1960's Topps notebooks.

"Daddy, come here. Please color with me." "In a moment, dear. I'm almost done." "Okay." We don't carry on run-on sentences.

I found a few Earl Wilson cards, including two 1967 League Leaders cards. I also picked out a very rough looking Sandy Koufax card. It was a 1966, but it had been folded in half, vertically, and into thirds horizontally. It was rough. But it was Koufax. Then I found a Brooks Robinson card. The front was rather clean, but the back had about 20 % of it ripped away. Could have been tape, I don't know. I also selected a 1966 League Leaders card with Koufax on it.

My daughter was trying to decide whether to color in the princess coloring book or the dinosaur coloring book.

A family arrived so I wanted to finish the purchase to let the clerk deal with them and I could be a good dad and not walk out of the store and forget her. (note: I jest there. She is very dear to me and I'd never leave her.)

The first thing the clerk does is pull out the latest B*****t and start perusing.

Clerk: Koufax - $20.
Me: What? Look at the condition.
Clerk: Yeah, but it is a $100 card.
Me: Not like that it isn't. Not even close. I was thinking maybe $5.
Clerk: I can go $18.
Me: We'll set it aside for now.

Clerk (checking B*****t again): Robinson... I can let you have it for about $20.
Me: What? Half the back is ripped off.
Clerk: Yeah. What about $18?
Me: We'll put it with the Koufax.
Clerk: You know, if the owner was here he wouldn't have have been as generous.
Me: Thanks.

Clerk: These other ones, the '66 League Leaders - $2. Fifty cents each on the others.
Me (not wanting to argue more) : Okay, I'm good with that.

We finish up and I go and color a princess with my daughter and then head out for lunch at Dairy Queen. As I drive up, I secretly hope that they'll be running a baseball card promotion. "Buy a Blizzard, get a relic card for free." They weren't.

A trip to the mall to get my wife's engagement ring cleaned and inspected. A stop in a racing hat/tee shirt/jacket/collectible store on the way out. Nothing that interested me. Some scale cars, but I don't collect them. A few Peyton Manning football cards. Not for $2 each. They did have a nice set of University of Tennessee football cards, all autographed. $139. Probably a very good price, but I don't want to own them, nor did I have the money in my budget. (side note: visiting the jewelry store just before Valentine's Day can leave one's wallet lighter. I'm living proof. My wife will be happy.)

Then to Target to pick up some bird seed. I head directly to the sports cards section by the checkout registers. 2009 Topps is the only thing that is new. Another guy is looking at the Mayo boxes. We talk about the problems with the preproduction checklist and the actual product. He used to be a card dealer in South Carolina. He's out the business. He collects only quarterbacks now. He thinks that the manufacturers are charging too much for cards, especially since they "don't give us d*** crap." I nodded, fingering a pack of the new Topps. We talked about buying cards online, blogging, stuff like that. He told me that he sent a 3x5 card to Donruss with his name and address to get a free card as is often advertised. He figured what can go wrong with 42 cents? He said that the week before the Superbowl he received a Rothlisberger jersey card. He was pretty happy.

I put the pack in my cart and went off looking for bird seed. I kept telling myself that I didn't need to buy the pack, that I could use the $2 for more cards at I ended up buying them. Pack break for another post. Sorry.

So what happened today? I picked up some Earl Wilsons, 2 Starting Lineups, some League Leader cards, a pack of 2009 Topps. I learned that another card store is closing. I learned that gold is expensive. I learned that some clerks just don't get it (grading-wise). I learned that I love my daughter even more than I did yesterday.

The last one is the best.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I'm becoming forgetful. For the most part, I don't remember which blogger or reader is collecting which set/team/player. I don't remember which blogger wrote a very funny bit on the return of the vintage card look. I don't remember who turned me on to Zistle.

It is a collection organizing site that recently got off the ground.  Go there and read about the couple that started it.  How they're expanding their services.  How they rely on their members to fill the database. 

I'm constantly in the process of refocusing.  Meaning that I'm trying to weed out stuff I don't want/need to more clearly see what I do want.  Zistle is helping me do that.

So, if you're not happy with the way that B*****t tries to help you organize, check out Zistle.  I'm glad I did.

Somebody's lying at Topps

I purchased this 2002 Topps Stadium Club World Champions Relics Orel Hershiser card on ebay some time ago. It is a nice card. My first Game Used card.

I just really looked at the text on the front and the back. They don't quite match.

From the front:
World Series Game Worn Jersey
and the back:
Congratulations! You just received an authentic regular season game used relic card of Orel Hershiser from 2002 Topps Stadium Club Baseball.
So, which one is it? A World Series Game Worn Jersey or a regular season game used relic? Clearly, it is a card. It is a part of a uniform.

I'm telling myself that it is WS Jersey.

Will the real Earl Wilson please stand up?

I've been looking and bidding on Earl Wilson baseball cards.

But now I'm confused.

Take a peek behind Door #1.

Look behind Door #2.

Swing wide open Door #3.

Clearly, the seller was rushing their posts and didn't change the titles.

Hint: Door #3 is the real Earl Wilson.