Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I can't help falling in love with you


My first glimpse of the 1910-1911 T3 Turkey Red Cabinets.

Jed Drinkwine had a nice offering of these cards at the recent card show. According to The Catalog, the

"Turkey Red cabinet cards were obtained by mailing in coupons found in Turkey Red, Fez and Old Mill brand cigarettes. Turkey Reds measure 5-3/4" x 8", and feature full-color lithograph fronts with wide gray frames."

"The series consists of 25 boxers and 100 basebaseball players. Coupons issued in the cigarette boxes indicate the first 50 baseball player cards were produced for spring, 1910, delivery, with the 25 boxers produced later that year and the final 50 baseball players issued in 1911."

"Backs are known in three styles: 1) checklist with no ordering information, 2) checklist with ordering information, and, 3) with an illustrated ad for Turkey Red cigarettes. The checklist backs are found on both low-and high-number cards, the ad backs are only on cards #77-126."

To me, the cards had a camel-colored edge, not gray. The colors were striking and the cards looked like they were printed yesterday, save for the wear. I wanted one. Couldn't afford it. And seeing as how I've promised to take my wife on a cruise to someplace warm for our upcoming 20th anniversary, I won't be getting one this year.

The above photos, which I took at the recent card show, don't do them justice.

Here are some links for more info and better photos of the T3 series:
* PSA's T3 HOF set registry (there are 25 Hall of Famers in this set)
* My old friend, Orval Overall (image hosted at CenturyOldCards.com)

If you want to impress your friends and dazzle them with your disposable income, Robert Edward Auctions will have a 1911 T3 Turkey Red #9 Ty Cobb PSA EX 5 up for bid (est. $10,000/$15,000; res. $5,000).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Card Show dealers of note

Last weekend I attended a card show in town. I met and spoke with three dealers that I want to share with you.

This is Mark Dill. He is the owner of Dill's Sports Cards, based out of Dandridge, TN. A county over from me. He had a very nice selection of 1950's and 1960's cards. I was only interested in the baseball. He might have had other sports. I really don't remember. Turns out that he works with a friend of mine at a school in my county. That friend bought my old house a year and a half ago. Small world. One thing that I really liked is that he had all of his cards sorted in binders by year. Prices were clearly marked by card. Example: $1 for all cards, except for high number. $2 for high number. Makes it pretty easy. When he asked me what I was collecting and I said, "Earl Wilson" he was able to comment on the player and guide me towards the correct binders. We talked about what he collects, the state of the hobby and the show. If you want to get in touch with him, he can be reached via: dillssports AT cs DOT com .   Edit: The email I just sent Mark bounced.  I'll contact him via phone and see if he has another one.

This is William D. Campbell, Jr., CEO of Pinespursports. They specialize in Autographed Sports Memorabilia. He's holding up an Andre Thomas game used jersey. Among other things he had a very fun offering of Travel Reports and Spring Training Reports from 1976 and 1978. William was generous with his time and stories.  Edit: The Andre Thomas jersey is to William's right.  He is holding up a coach's jersey from a Brave's OldTimer's game.  Jersey number 16.

Jed Drinkwine is the owner of Jed Drinkwine's Vintage Cards. Jed is holding an autograph of Babe Ruth from an autograph book. The page is fully intact with a photo of Babe. The signature is the largest that I've ever seen of Babe. Bold and crisp. Jed also had some great singles from the late 1950's through the 1970's that he was selling for $1. Buy more than 10, get a better deal. I pulled about eight of them aside, hockey, baseball, football, but I returned them to the box as I was trying to stay in my assigned budget.

Jed also had a very nice collection of T3 Turkey Reds. Not the ones that Topps calls Turkey Reds with current players, but the ones from about 100 years ago. I fell in love with them and will share some photos and my thoughts on them in another post.

All three dealers were kind enough to let me take the photos and spend some time with them. I learned some, saw some things that I probably won't see again and look forward to doing some business in the future.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I just read an interesting article over at USA Today's website.  The story is about four MLB teams that have scheduled games on Good Friday afternoon.  The teams are the Tigers, Rockies, Royals and Brewers.  According to the MLB schedule site, the Indians are also playing a game during the afternoon.

Now, in light of my declaration of not wanting to discuss religion on this blog, I'm going to step up to that line and put my foot on it to see if it is paint or chalk.

My thoughts are that it is okay.  As far as this entry's title...  I think that Jesus would enjoy a nice game of ball on Good Friday afternoon.  In a stadium with real grass and the sun warming the crowd.  And it would be the National League.  If a pitcher is going to play, he should bat.

I don't mean to stir up the pot, I just didn't have much to talk about on cards or memorabilia tonight.

1954 Topps Luke Easter (card # 23)

image lifted from an ebay auction

Random cards

Knowing that I hadn't posted anything today I was scratching my head as far as what to share, which reminded me of the 1981 Topps Scratchoffs. The cards were to be played as a game of baseball. They were sold, with bubble gum, three cards to a panel. National League cards were green, American League were red. 108 different players but 144 possible panel combinations. Years and years ago I started a small Dale Murphy collection to have to trade with a Murphy collector. We never traded and now I've got some oddball stuff hanging around. Dale Murphy was one of the premier outfielders of the 1980s. He was a seven time All-Star, winning the Golden Glove five years stratight (1982-1986). He was also the National League MVP two years in a row (1982 and 1983). This is a 1981 Topps Scratchoffs Dale Murphy (card #72).

Here's a card that I forgot that I had. I've got a binder that has some older cards in it. I guess I tried to get one card of each year for Topps. I had to look up some info on "Red" Kress. He started playing major league ball in 1927 with the St. Louis Browns. He played his final game in 1946 with the New York Giants, after a five year absence from playing baseball. He was coaching in the minor leagues. He then coached for the Cleveland Indians, the Los Angeles Angels and finished up coaching the New York Mets in 1962. He died in November of that same year.

This is a 1954 Topps Ralph "Red" Kress (card #160). Note the crown that the mascot is wearing.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time to update the reading queue

I figured that it is time to let you know what I'm reading...

A few years ago my parents got me some baseball books. The one that I'm currently working on is A Donald Honig Reader. That is not an accurate statement. I'm not working on it, for it is a joy to read. Very similar to Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times. Interviews with players from years (and decades) gone by. Reading the stories of pitchers brushing back Ruth or comparing sore arms with Walter Johnson is nice and pastoral.

The Ultimate Baseball Book is a collection of essays, generally grouped by era, but not always. I find it hard to sit and read it in a straight line, so I generally leaf through until I find an interesting passage. And the pictures. Wonderful, wonderful pictures. I picked up my copy at a used bookstore for $2. Worth every penny, even though it is "updated to include the 1980's." The older stuff hasn't changed. I'm happy with my copy.

I received a package in the mail yesterday from... yup, my folks. They really support me and my hobbies. Thanks, mom and dad.

Anyhow, there was a book. Les Krantz's Reel Baseball: Baseball’s Golden Era, The Way America Witnessed It – In The Movie Newsreels. The book contains a DVD with the footage that was seen in cinema houses across the country. I look forward to reading (and watching) this..

And lastly, Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodger Dugout. I'm borrowing this from the library. It surprised me to find that the book that I checked out was an autographed copy. I'll start reading this one tonight.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I need to climb up onto my soapbox for a moment. When I started this blog a few months ago it was my intent to stay away from hot-button topics. Politics. Religion. Even steroids. But I feel I need to bring a topic to light.

Reading the sports card blogs has opened my eyes to many things. Some wonderful, some, well, not so much. I have seen bloggers and those that comment use the word retard or retarded. I find this type of language hurtful and painful. I'm sure that those that say or write those words probably don't give it a second thought. It may just be part of their normal vocabulary.

My daughter, Caroline, has Down syndrome (Ds). She has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. Clinically she has mental retardation. I know that, but seeing the r-word used with such casualness is disturbing to me.

I would ask that the readers of this blog to take a moment to think before they speak (or write). Words are powerful tools. Please stop using this demeaning word. It isn't fair to those with intellectual disabilities.

There is a campaign underway to address this issue...
Some resources about Ds and those with special needs can be found here:
* National Down Syndrome Society
* Special Olympics
* r-word.org

The other night, Caroline had a fever. She couldn't sleep very well, so into daddy's chair we went. The World Baseball Classic was still in full swing. Japan was beating Cuba. Yoennis Cespedes had just dropped a fly ball and they were playing that clip over and over again. Caroline started to giggle and laugh. She thought that it was the greatest thing. Then she said, "C is for Caroline. Also for cat. And also for cookie." She saw the C on the hats of the Cuban players. She got it.

She likes to watch gymnastics on TV. We call it flip. When watching NASCAR she'll pump her fist in the air and say (to my wife's delight), "Go Jeff Burton. Go Junior." She loves to watch her older brother play middle school football. She can identify the letters on my Rockies T-shirt and will point to them and spell it out.

The other day I mentioned that Carl Erskine and I shared something. It is that we both have a child with Ds. Albert Pujols has a step-daughter with Ds. It isn't that uncommon.

This is Caroline...

So, as you speak or write and are tempted to use the r-word, think of Caroline. Think of me. Think of the 7 million people in America that have intellectual disabilities. Think about using a different word. I thank you. And they will, too.

I'm stepping off of my soapbox now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Autograph Day (2008)

This was a blog entry I did on my other blog, about a year ago. I have not edited it, save to add a scan of the actual autographs.


At the end of March, Edison and I went to Tucson to be with my mom (and dad) as she went through a knee replacement surgery. The day after we arrived (and the day before the surgery) we went to Hi Corbett Field to see the Chicago White Sox play the Colorado Rockies.

It was a warm, sunny day. We got there before the gates opened, because it was Autograph Day. Who would be signing? Who knew? Not us. We rushed in with a sea of fans. Mom, not wanting to stand in line, went and found our seats behind home plate. We saw the small table where the Rockies players would be signing. After standing in line for about 30 minutes, Edison decided that it wasn't worth it. Dad and I toughed it out and had Eric Young, Jr. and Micah Bowie sign our ticket stubs. Micah commented on my Nationals hat.

Then we made our way to our seats. We watched the Rockies warm up and the grounds crew finish their preparations. The White Sox arrived in a bus, a left field gate opened and they ambled to their dugout. Edison tried to get one of them to sign his ticket, but not many were signing. Even few acknowledged their fans.

Shortly before the game started Clint Hurdle, manager of the Rockies, was behind home plate talking with some of the fans. Edison and I managed to get our tickets signed. Clint was very generous with his time.

We got to see some good players, including Todd Helton (UT alum) in a 5-2 Sox win.

Sunburns and nachos during spring training. Now that's baseball.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blog Bat Around V

So, the topic that dayf over at The Card Junkie has asked for the Fifth Blog Bat Around is:
"What is the best experience you have had acquiring cards or memorabilia?"
Most of the blogs deal with baseball. Mine does, most of the time. This time, to keep with the topic, I'm going with a different sport. Basketball.

It was June of 1991. Saturday the 15th. A small, nondescript card show in Downers Grove, IL. I planned to attend it with my friend, Kevin.

A week or so before I read a Bob Greene column in the Chicago Tribune. He was following the Bulls and did a story on B.J. Armstrong. It talked about how B.J. kept a Bible in his locker and would often read it before and after games.

B.J. was scheduled to be signing autographs at the show.

Kevin and I wanted to attend for a few reasons. We liked sports cards, we liked doing things together and we were really curious as to what Mr. Armstrong thought of the Bible (Kevin and I were in the worship band at the church we attended. He played drums and I played bass.)

We arrived, paid our few dollars, said some pleasantries to B.J. and I pushed the card I brought along to him. It was a 1990 Fleer. Number 22. It was his rookie card. He accepted it and signed it with a black Sharpie. He signed whatever it was that Kevin brought along.

It was a small show. Not many people were in attendance and even fewer were at the table where B.J. was signing. Kevin had his camera with him. Kevin asked if we could get a few photos. B.J. was gracious. I took one of he and Kevin. I was too shy or didn't want to impose, so I didn't get my photo taken that day. I wish that I had.

B.J. was tired. You could see it in his eyes. The Bulls had finished a very good season (61-21) and an excellent post season (15-2) defeating the Lakers in the Finals just three days before.

Since there was no one behind us in the line, we started with some small talk. It moved to the Bob Greene article.

Yes, he did have the Bible in his locker and yes, he did read it. To him it was just another book, like a best-seller. Something to pass the time.

Many years have gone by since that day and I've purchased many packs and singles since then. Some of them I remember, most of them I don't.

But I remember the day that Kevin and I spent some time together with B.J. Armstrong at a card show in Downers Grove.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Card Show recap

Things I leared from attending the card show this weekend...

Know where the show actually is.
I knew the area, but wrote down the address and plugged it into my GPS.  It helped.

Make sure you have plenty of time.
Since card collecting is a pastime for me and not my vocation I made sure that my attending the show did not interfere with any family obligations.  I was clear and my wife even said that I deserved a bit of time away.

Have your checklists ready.
I knew what I wanted, but I was scrambling on Saturday morning, assembling and printing the checklists.  I had one on a work computer, one on the laptop and one that I'm continually working on and is in no shape to print.

Know what you want.
This goes with having your checklists ready.  I ended up only bringing two checklists.  Earl Wilson and Carl Erskine.  I wanted to fill in as many Topps Earl Wilsons spots as I could and I wanted to see what was available for the Erskines.

Set a budget and stick to it.
I set my card buying budget at $20.  I didn't count the entry fee.  It was $5, but they offered a $1 coupon.  I did print that in advance and used it.  I should have brought a mess of 1's and 5's.  I just had the 5's.  Nothing like two guys fumbling with their money pouch and wallets, digging in their pockets while juggling a handful of cards.  In the end I was probably within 10 % of my budget.  I went over by just a bit.  I was waffling at the end over an early 1950s slabbed Bowman.  No, I don't know what year or even who the player was.  But the card was good looking.  I looked at it.  Went back.  It was half off the stickered price, but it would have put me over my allotted funds.  I left the card there.

Budget your time.
Once I got to the show I scoped the place out.  It was a small show.  I walked by the tables, getting an idea of who I wanted to come back to.  That lasted about half way through the floor and then I just started looking at the cards.  I ended up with plenty of time and then made a second pass.  It was a toy/comic/sportscard show.  The second pass consisted of looking at the toys.  Don't spend an hour flipping through a big box of 25 cent star commons when there are two more aisles to look at and the show closes in half an hour.

Talk to the vendors.
I spent time talking with seven vendors.  Finding out where they came from.  Did they have business cards?  Surprisingly, only about half of those I asked had them.  But then again, I didn't have any of mine.  I really should get some printed up.  Blog and contact info.  That sort of thing.  I wanted to find out where they were from in case they had something back home that I was interested in.  Several were locals (within a few counties).  Some were from several states away.

Be open to new things.
I wasn't looking for hockey cards, but I saw quite a few that I liked.  I didn't buy them, but I liked them.  Same with some older football.

So, what did I get?  It is now time for show and tell...

1961 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 69)
1967 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 305)
1968 Topps AL Pitching Leaders (w/Earl Wilson) (card # 10)
1968 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 160)
1970 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 195)
1971 Topps Earl Wilson (card # 301)

This put a serious dent in my Earl Wilson base set.  I'm starting to go with the collecting philosophy of getting the widely distributed cards (Topps, Bowman, Fleer, Donruss, UD, etc) of the player I want when they were actually playing.  Other cards (oddball and regional) are cake.

The other part of the my collecting philosophy is to get the best quality card that I can afford, but also get the best bang for my buck.  I think that I'd rather have three Near Mint cards rather than one Gem Mint card.  Now, that depends on the card, but I think you know what I mean.

I also picked up two relic cards.  Keeping with some of my earlier collecting intents, I stayed with Hall of Famers and cards that interested me.  Okay, one of each.

2006 Fleer Decade Greats, Steve Carlton (card # DEC-SC)

I had a Brooks Robinson bat card in my hand for the longest time.  I already have a Brooks Robinson autographed card, so I thought I'd go a different route.  "Wait", you're saying. "Why a Carlton bat card?  He's a pitcher."  That's what got him into the Hall, but he was also a decent hitter.  For a pitcher.  Batting Average of .201 with 13 Home Runs.  The HRs put him into 21st place on the "MLB all-time leaders in home runs by pitchers" list.

2001 Upper Deck Legends of New York, Legendary Dodgers, 
Game-Worn Jersey, Carl Erskine (card # LDJ-CE)

1959 Topps Carl Erskine (card # 217)

Carl was a pitcher with the Brooklyn (and then the Los Angeles) Dodgers.  He ended his career with 122 Wins and 78 Losses over 12 seasons.  His ERA was 4.00.  Not great.  He was selected to the All-Star team in 1954 and wears a ring from the 1955 Dodgers' World Series championship.

The jersey card is thick.  Well, in the jersey part of it.  Thick wool.  It has a great look and feel.  The fabric isn't shiny.  It is what uniforms used to be like.  Not slick and full of breather holes.

I decided to start collecting Carl Erskine cards this week.  Although we've never met, we share something.  But that's for another post, at another time.

I picked up a small set for a family member, but since he reads this blog, I can't share it here.  I will reveal that purchase in the future.  If he lets me.  I'm sure he will.

Later this week I'll post about some of the vendors and product that I saw.  And liked.  My budget won't allow me to collect them, but darn, I liked what I saw.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Poem


The baseball bug's the first we note,
A bug of tough and brazen throat,
Whose ordinary tone of speech
Is half a roar and half a screech.
On bleachers he is mostly found,
Creating divers kinds of sound,
Like "Oh, you robber!  Oh, you chump!
Who ever chose you for an ump?
Yah!  Slide, you Hogan!  That's the style
What!  Out?  He made it by a mile!
Aw, get an umpire!  He's too raw!
Ain't he the worst you ever saw?"
The baseball bug when he's at home
Has baseballitis in his dome.
He reads the dope, he keeps the score,
At office, restaurant and store.
He talks the game with wisdom deep.
He dreams and talks it in his sleep.
You well may smile with comfort snug
If you are not a baseball bug.
-- Berton Braley in Puck.

This poem was published in the Watertown Herald, Saturday, June 24, 1911.
Digital scan courtesy of the Northern New York Library Network.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Expos Exposé

Here's a look at some Expos...

These are the other Wallace Johnson cards that I have. Two more helmet heads.

What is it in Stade Olympique that these batters were looking at?

Why is the umpire dancing with Hubie?  Or as my wife just said as she walked by, "Hold me closer, tiny dancer."

And why does Hubie have seven fingers?

Card info, in order:
1990 Fleer Wallace Johnson (card # 351)
1990 Donruss Wallace Johnson (card # 570)
1990 Topps Wallace Johnson (card # 318)
1987 Topps Tim Raines (card # 30)
1987 Topps Hubie Brooks (card # 650)
1987 Topps  Al Newman (card # 323)
1990 Upper Deck Hubie Brooks (card # 197)


In like a
Out like a

2005 Topps Brandon Lyon (card # 402)
2005 Topps Mike Lamb (card # 495)
images lifted from ebay, who lifted them from B*****t.

Jack Horkheimer explains the origin of the saying in this wonderful cartoon.

I'm telling myself I'm ready for the card show tomorrow. I'm not. But I'm setting a budget and do have a plan. I still need to print off a few checklists. And head towards bed.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Legacy Sports Rarities Auction Catalog

The other evening, Monday, I guess it was, I was poking around the Old Cardboard site.  I came across their upcoming show and auction calendar.  So, I took some time and visited the auction sites, requesting a free catalog where I could.

Tuesday morning I received an email from Jennifer Heard at Legacy Sports Rarities thanking me for my interest and letting me know that she would be sending me an
inaugural catalog auction of Classic 19th and 20th Century Sports Rarities, which ends on March 28th, 2009.
It arrived in my mailbox on Thursday afternoon.  I am always impressed by good service.  They have good service.

The catalog is 8-1/2" by 11" with a slick, glossy cover.  The 96 pages are also glossy, full of the 235 lots being offered.  All but one of the lots are single cards (lot 183 consists of four cards).  All cards in the catalog are either PSA or SGC graded and slabbed.

The cards themselves are mostly baseball (203 lots), some American football (18 lots), basketball (1 lot), boxing (2 lots), hockey (3 lots), golf (3 lots) and the remaing five lots are split between the 1934 National Chicle Sky Birds and the 1938 Horrors of War sets.

The cards are from many different eras.  The earliest cards are from 1887 and the most recent cards are from 1967. 

Current prices range from $85 up to $56,000.  From what I can tell, these are all quality cards, the cream of the crop.

The photography is stunning and the layout is attractive.  Some lots, like a 1933 Sports King Gum Babe Ruth, get two pages, while others get a single page or are force to share with another card or two.   Or five.  But they don't seem crowded.

The descriptions are clear, without too much fluff.  Sometimes the set is described, then the card.  Other times, just the card is dealt with, with a leaning to tell how many of cards are graded the same or better.  There aren't many.  The name of this auction is: Classic 19th and 20th Century Sport Rarities.  These cards live up to that name.

One (very minor) issue that I have with the descriptions is the variety of narration style.  Sometime the writer would say, "Within the last few years, I recall a couple of unopened Red Man pouches..."

And, "I find it highly unlikely that PSA will have the opportunity to certify a superior example."

And,  "With just a touch better north to south centering, I'm certain that this card would've graded NM-MT."

First person.  The writer is telling me his (or her) experience.

"Let's start off with the centering - absolutely perfect east to west..."

Then (same lot), "If you've been searching for the ultimate..."

Now the writer is taking me into his confidence and then talking directly to me.

I'd prefer it if the writers stayed neutral, not using personal pronouns.  Yes, this is very minor quibbling on my part and should not distract from the heart of this catalog.

Good cards, well photographed, superbly printed.  Ask for a catalog or view them online at Legacy Rarities.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Helmet Heads

I'd like to thank Marie over at A Cardboard Problem for the Expos cards. I tossed her some postage money and she tossed me some Montrealesque cards.

Then another thanks goes to David over at Indians Baseball Cards. And then some.... In his recent (wife inspired, I think) house cleaning he sent over some Rockies. And some Diamondbacks.

There were many fantastic cards in these packages, but I've decided to showcase three others here.

I call them Helmet Heads.

The batting helmets draw my eyes toward them so much that I ignore everything else on the card.

1994 Team Stadium Club, Walt Weiss (card # 98)

What a horrid color combination that Topps used on this card. It is almost unforgivable. Almost. If I squint, I can almost blur where Walt's helmet and the background fade into each other.

1988 Topps, Wallace Johnson (card # 228)

I know that the Red, White and Blue of the Expos just screams: American. But they were a team based in Canada. Psssst. It is Red and White.

1987 Topps, Wallace Johnson (card # 588)

But no. They designed the helmets in such a way that it looks like some sort of clown hat that showed up on the Fat Albert cartoon TV show. Most of the cards of Wallace Johnson that I've seen have him wearing his batting helmet. I'll dig through my Expos later tonight to see if I can find an non-helmeted Wallace Johnson.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

T206 Cy Barger

So, here it is. My ebay T206 purchase. I picked it up for less than $10. Yes, it is creased and the edges are very rounded. I kind of like it that way.

T206 Cy Barger, Piedmont back.

There's another one, slabbed, for sale as a $25 Buy It Now on ebay. It looks much crisper than this one. I like mine better.

Cy Barger was a right handed pitcher that played for five leagues. American, Eastern, National, International and Federal.

In 1909 he had 23 wins with an ERA of 1.00.

His real name was Eros Bolivar Barger. I would have gone with Cy as well.

Photo of Cy Barger from volume LXXI of the American Magazine.

According to William F. McNeil's The Dodger's Encyclopedia (2003), Cy, in 1910,was the best Fielding Pitcher (.990) in the history of the team.

1913 Newark Indians.

Cy Barger is on the far right, third row.
Photo swiped from Baseball in Newark (via google books).

Before closing this entry, I should mention a few vintage baseball card sites I recently became aware of on the 'net.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Emerald Guide to Baseball 2009

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm going to point my readers to a free e-book.

SABR, the Society For American Baseball Research, has published, and is giving away this fantastic guide to last year's baseball season. From the SABR site:

Edited by accomplished and acclaimed baseball historians Gary Gillette and Pete Palmer and published by SABR, The Emerald Guide distills the 2008 season down to 586 fact-filled pages that contain the pitching, fielding, and hitting statistics for every player active in the major and minor leagues in 2008.
All you have to do is visit SABR.org, click the link to the book, fill out a form with your name and email address and bingo, they send you an email with the link.

Also available are the 2008 and 2007 editions.

Thank you, SABR.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Worst Card Back Ever?

Probably not the worst, but I couldn't believe it when I saw this...

Here's the front. Not bad.

2000 Fleer Tradition, Rob Ryan & Nick Bierbrodt, card number 389.

Here's how a card back should look...
And the front....
2009 Topps Heritage, B.J. Upton, card number 162.

At first, I thought that the Fleer was just a bad ink job. But no, they decided to keep the color scheme and print black over a dark green background. On dark tan card cardstock. It actually looks better in the scan than it does in person.

And yes, I broke down and purchased a pack of 2009 Topps Heritage at Wal-Mart on Saturday. I shouldn't have. But I did. I like the feel of them. I like the design. It is clean. But the production on the cards seems to be lacking. Or perhaps I am used to ultra crisp photos on other cards. These just looked a bit... I don't know... sloppy.

What I don't like is the Trade Mark symbol that is cropping up all over cards these days. Yes, I know that the team names are trade marked. And their logos. I know that it is important to protect the trade mark. But some cards have three, four or even five of those pesky TMs on the front of the card. But I digress.

I'd be curious to see if there is a worse card back than the one above.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Combating March Madness

One word. Scones.

My wife made some wonderful chocolate chip scones. After I paid some bills online I watched UT handily defeat Alabama in the first round of the SEC Tournament while eating a still warm scone with a tall glass of cold milk.

I know that March Madness isn't truly yet upon us, but it was good to see the Vols win another one. I'll watch some of the Big Tournament and I'll fill out my bracket. I'm much more a fan of college basketball than I am of the NBA. Sure, I'll gladly watch LeBron James on the Sports Center highlights, but I can't stomach a full game.

To honor the student athletes in March, I present three of Kellogg's 1992 College Basketball Greats.  These are cards numbered 1, 4 and 14 of the 18 card set.  These slightly oversized cards came in some breakfast cereal.  You can pick up the whole set on ebay for about $6.00.  Individual cards sell for about a dollar.

Happy bracket filling.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Training Autographing in the News

The Detroit Free Press has an article about players signing autographs in Wednesday's online edition.  Here's the link to the article.

Here's the video (note: Dan - Curtis Granderson talks about the deterioration of his signature)

No, I didn't find it on my own. I found it through the Sports Collector's Daily website.  They have a nice variety of Industry and Business news, Card and Memorabilia News and even their editor has a blog.  (note: JayBee, please add him to the Sports Card Blogroll.)

Ahead of Schedule(s)

These are some of the schedules I've picked up over the years.  I'm not a completist on these and often pick up a few extra.

If you are interested in collecting pocket sport schedules look at PocketSchedules.net.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cards in the North Country

While in Plattsburgh, NY, I stopped in a card store.  Ed & Mike's Cards and Collectibles.  
Ed and Mike are brothers.  I couldn't keep them straight.  They had some very nice older wax packs at a decent price.  Lots of hockey cards.  I asked about cards from the 1960s.  They had them at home, not in their shop.  So, I asked about Hershiser.  They didn't have cards sorted by name, but they printed out their Hershiser inventory via B*****t.  I took it, cross referenced it against Zistle.  They had 17 cards that were on my want list.  I dropped the list off the next day and asked if they could have them prepared by Saturday morning.  They did.  Prices were B*****t, but Hershisers are relatively cheap.  They put them in a hard snap case.

Ed and Mike will probably be closing shop in August of this year when their lease is up.  On to the internet.  Good service.  If you're in Plattsburgh, look them up.

I remember purchasing my first pack of cards at Zukes.  It was just down from the library at the State University.  My mom took classes in the early 1970s.  I'd hang out and do my homework while she did hers.
You know you're close to Canada when they have a neon Labatts beer sign in the window.  Time and circumstances didn't allow me to attend the Plattsburgh/Oswego hockey game.  And I saw a TV ad for McDonald's Hockey Star Helmets.  I dropped in to the local McD's and didn't see them.  Maybe they're just available in Canada.

Things are different when you return to your home town.  Not better, not worse.  Just different.