Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We're So Proud

A few weeks ago I did a blog post called "We're So Proud" on one of my other blogs. Basically it consisted of two YouTube videos that were captured here in east Tennessee.

Here's a WSP story that's sports related. The local hockey team, the Knoxville Ice Bears, champions of the SPHL, met the Fayetteville FireAntz in Knoxville late last week. There's been bad blood between the two teams all year, but it erupted on Saturday evening.

The League suspended 7 players and 2 coaches.

Here's the story from the Ice Bears' website.

Our local paper, the Knoxville News Sentinel, carried a few stories about it.

The local Fayetteville paper, the Fayetteville Observer, also ran a story.

The two teams face each other this weekend in the first round of the playoffs.

Yep. We're so proud.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Early Wynn Jersey Card

Looking out on ebay a few weeks ago I came across this Early Wynn relic card.

2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic, Classic Memorabilia, Early Wynn (card # CM-EW)

Early Wynn spent the 1937-1941 seasons in and out of the minors. He made his Major League debut in 1939 with the Washington Senators. He enlisted in the Army in 1944 and spent the 1945 season serving the US. In December of 1948 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians where he spent the next nine seasons. In December of 1957 he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. Five years later he was released. In June of 1963 he re-signed with the Indians. He got one win that year. It was his 300th.

Over his 23 seasons, he had five seasons winning 20 or more games. Six seasons he had a losing record. He ended up with a 3.54 ERA and 15 Saves. He started 612 games and had 290 complete games. 47.3 percent.

He made it to the World Series twice. In 1954 Cleveland lost to the New York Giants. In 1959 Chicago lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. During those two series, he gathered a 1-2 record.

He was an eight game All-Star and won the 1959 Cy Young Award, the 1959 Sporting News Major League Player of the Year and the 1959 Sporting News AL Pitcher of the Year.

He was not to be trifled with while at the plate. During 1,903 plate appearances he batted .214 including 17 Home Runs and 173 RBI. On the base path he was never caught stealing and pilfered one base. I guess if one doesn't attempt to steal, one can't get thrown out.

He ended his career with 2,334 Strike Outs. In both 1962 and 1963 he was the oldest player in the American League.

The writers elected him to the Hall of Fame on his fourth ballot, in 1972. After his playing days he did some coaching and even managed a minor league team. After that he hit the broadcast booth until the early 1980s.

He died in 1999 at the age of 79.

Back to the card. Big weave, a bit of staining. Good enough for me. I won the auction with a bid of $1.04. Shipping was $3.25. You do the math.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Huggins & Scott Auction Followup

The Huggins & Scott two day auction concluded earlier this week.

Let's see what how the items I selected turned out...

Lot 137
Johnston Cookies Complete Set of cards with Display Poster
Opening Bid: $400
Final Bid: $600

1887 Old Judge N172 Amos Rusie
Opening Bid: $300
Final Bid: $1,700

1912 S110 Baseball Silk Pillowcase
Opening Bid: $1,200
Final Bid: $1,300

1910 Williams Caramel E103 Ty Cobb
Opening Bid: $200
Final Bid: $700

Esskay Meats Bob Alexander Complete Box
Opening Bid: $7,500
Final Bid: $16,000

Not bad. More than I carry around in my wallet, but not bad.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back to School

My wife attended Milligan College in east Tennessee. Attended and graduated.

It is a beautiful campus. I've visited their library only once, and that was during a reunion a few years back.

Today I virtually visited them. I sent an email off to the Archives and Special Collections, P. H. Welshimer Memorial Library asking if they had any info on the three professional players that attended Milligan.

In very short order I received scans of yearbook pages with photos (and more) of the men in question.

Who, you might be asking yourself, are these men? Have I heard of them?

We'll start with the second question first. Perhaps one of them. Probably not the other two.

And the answer to the first question is:
  1. Dale Alexander
  2. Joe Price
  3. Horace Ozmer
Dale Alexander played for the Detroit Tigers from 1929-1932 and the for the Boston Red Sox from 1932-1933. In 1929 he led the AL in hits (215) and Games Played (155). In 1932 he led the AL in Batting Average (.367) and finished his career with a .331 lifetime BA. He played first base, occasionally stepping into left field.

1933 Goudey, Dale Alexander (card #221)

Joe Price played with the 1928 New York Giants. One game. He played center field and had one at bat. He struck out. The Giants beat the Phillies, 14-3.

Horace "Doc" Ozmer played with the 1923 Philadelphia Athletics. He, too, played in one game. He pitched for two innings, giving up one earned run. He did record a strike out. The Athletics lost to the St. Louis Browns, 14-3.

I've asked permission to reuse the images that the MC archivist graciously sent over, so you'll have to wait until I get those to see more of Dale, Joe, and Horace.

Image Credit: this ebay auction

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I pulled the trigger

and joined SABR.

The Society for American Baseball Research.

How will this affect my collecting habits? We'll see.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bisbee Ball

I received this baseball from my parents. I think that it was for my birthday at the end of last year. Or maybe Christmas. They're close. The dates and my parents.

It holds four autographs.

Sam Kitterman

Frank Lucchesi and Pete Vucurevich

Charlie Metro

What do they have in common? They were all part of the 1947 Bisbee Yanks, the Class C farm team for the NY Yankees. More info on that team can be found here (including a team photo).

My folks live the next town over from Bisbee, Arizona, which is home to Warren Park, the oldest professional ballpark in the US.

Mom and Dad, thanks for the piece of history.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Follow up

Last week I finished reading another baseball book.

A Donald Honig Reader
The sad thing (well, maybe it isn't sad) is that I started this book last year. Not in December, but last May.

I've read a slew of other books during these past 10 or so months.
  • The Baseball Uncyclopedia
  • Power, Money, & Sex
  • Schoolboy, Jim Tugerson, Ace of the '53 Smokies
  • The Last Commissioner
  • The Best of Spitball
  • Every Pitcher Tells a Story
  • Tales from the Dodger Dugout
  • Baseball Between the Lies
  • misc other non-sport books
It took me that long to read one book while I managed to read at least seven sports related books, hundreds, if not thousands of blog posts, news articles, magazines, technical reports and a mess of Caroline's library books. Now, how do I rationalize this?

Because I wanted to savor it. The Donald Honig Reader is actually a collection of two of his books (Baseball When the Grass Was Real and Baseball Between the Lines) and excerpts from two others (The October Heroes and The Man in the Dugout).

Honig coaxes memories from over 50 players and managers in this collection. It is one side of the conversation, but one can almost hear the leading questions being asked. They remain silent though. It is very similar to Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times. I don't know which came first and I don't think that one was copying the other. They both are great.

Interviewees include: Burleigh Grimes, James "Cool Papa" Bell, Charlie Gehringer, Lefty Grove, Bob Feller, Tommy Henrich, Ralph Kiner, Mickey Vernon, Enos Slaughter, Monte Irvin, Robin Roberts, Lloyd Waner, Joe Sewell, and scores more.

I have seen on various blogs that this is the year of vintage. You want vintage? Read this book. The interviewed participants will share with you what baseball was really like.

It annoys my wife that I have four or five books that I read at a time. My guess that this one really annoyed her because I've had it around for so long. Well, now the the stack by the bedside has changed. I've put Honig's tome back on the bookshelf and replaced it with David Jamieson's Mint Condition.

It arrived in the mail on Saturday, and I've already started reading it. This is not my official review, just a quick notice. Jamieson has a fluid writing style and the subject matter is near to my heart. It makes for a very easy read.

Now, I'm off to bed to read another chapter.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Huggins & Scott March Auction Catalog

I, like others, am behind on many things. I haven't posted for a few days (sorry, Alex). So, this is a timely post, for the Huggins & Scott two day auction will happen this coming week. Actually the auction is currently in progress. It wraps up this week.

I've done reviews of catalogs using various methods, cheap, man cave decorating, no holds barred, etc.

Let's see what category this review will fit in, shall we?

Lot 137
Johnston Cookies Complete Set of cards with Display Poster
Opening Bid: $400
Current Bid: $425

There's something about completion. When every slot is filled. When there are no missing pieces. The players in this set are unmatched. The simplicity and slight variations (bust shots and a few action shots) add to the charm.

1887 Old Judge N172 Amos Rusie
Opening Bid: $300
Current Bid: $1,200

Mostly because it is a baseball card over 120 years old. I don't know much about Amos Rusie. But I like this card. For being graded FAIR, it looks in great shape to me.

1912 S110 Baseball Silk Pillowcase
Opening Bid: $1,200
Current Bid: $1,200

This item was a mail-in offer. Send in five players and get this. Kids had to love their dads for smoking. I wonder if the kid had dreams about the players as he drifted off to sleep.

1910 Williams Caramel E103 Ty Cobb
Opening Bid: $200
Current Bid: $210

Ty Cobb. You liked him or you didn't. Most didn't. But he could play ball and was always straight up with you. You might not like to see his spikes flying at you, but he'd generally warn you that he was coming at you if you did something he didn't like. This card has a lot of character. Not even grade-able on SGA's number scale. And it is from a candy company.

Esskay Meats Bob Alexander Complete Box
Opening Bid: $7,500
Current Bid: $10,000

Nothing says baseball like being featured on the bottom of a box of processed meat. But this is a rare find. This is only the second complete Esskay meat box to be offered for public sale. How many more baseball doodles can they fit on the sides of the box?

So, what's the category? Food? Nope. Vintage? Sort of. Oddball? Maybe. Stuff that I like and probably would never even contemplate getting? Sure, we'll go with that.

Bids current as of Saturday evening, March 20th.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bipping from Beardy in Baltimore

Late last week a package shows up in my mailbox. I see that it is from the Baltimore area. Crud. It has to be from Beardy. It probably is a BIP. Good. It has to be from Beardy. He owes me $20.

I let the package sit a day or two, not wanting to get blasted by whatever is inside.

A 1959 Topps Billy Klaus. Sweet. Vintage. Big Head, No Hat.

Peeking through the back of the team pack is a 1956 Topps Don Ferrarese. I get it. I'm getting some of his Oriole's doubles. Heck, I'll take them.

What popped out? A USFR Series 2004, Andy Jackson. Nice. But the rest of the pack is thick. Beardy wouldn't toss that many cards my way, would he? I remind myself that this is probably the pity prize for almost barely not winning any of the top spots in the Ho-Ho-Holiday card creation contest. Dang those semi-professional artsy type bloggers. Grrrr.

Another 1959 Topps. Willie Kirkland. And some pink tinted 1986 card. Could it be a Dodger?

NOOOOOOO! Dale Murphy and his 13 twins. Darn Beardy. Can't BIP like a man. Has to hide them inside some nice cards, lulling me into a peaceful bliss.

There was also a 1959 Topps Leon Wagner. On the back of that card we find out that he was named after Leon Redbone and Richard Wagner. His folks liked all styles of music.

So, Greg, thanks for the cash. My family can eat again. And thanks for the cards. At least the ones from the '50's. I think I'll send those twin septuplet Murphys down to Atlanta where they belong.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

According to, there have only been 43 ball players to play in the big leagues that were born in Ireland.

The last one to play was Joe Cleary, who played one game in 1945. Andy Leonard was the first. He debuted May 5, 1871.

To celebrate, here's five players born in Ireland. And one in New Jersey. And a nice Irish Ballad by Tom Lehrer.

Patsy Donovan, Boston Red Sox manager, 1911

Tom Needham, Chicago Cubs

Jimmy Walsh, Philadelphia Athletics, 1913

Jimmy Archer, Chicago Cubs

Paddy O'Connor & Dots Miller, St. Louis Cardinals, 1914
(Dots was born in New Jersey)

Image Credits: Library of Congress

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gently Loved Cards

I was drawing another blank this evening, wondering what to post. Yes, I got a new auction catalog in the mail late last week. I haven't even opened it. And I received a few trade packages. One I've opened and one I haven't. One package is nice cards of OH. The other is obviously a bip, one that I invited.

So, I pulled the big binder o' cards from under the bed and took a quick look. Here's what I found.

1964 Topps, Tony LaRussa (card #244)

This is Tony's Rookie Card. Note the pinhole in the T of Athletics. The second T. How many times do they really need to put the player's number on his jersey?

1960 Topps, Chicago Bears Team Card (card # 21)

The schmutz on the front is wax. I always thought that it was some roller marking. The back is clear and clean. Actually, this is a nice card. The overcoat guy looks like he almost could be the mascot.

1965 Topps, Milt Pappas (card #270)

This card has some moisture damage on the right side and the smallest bit of surface wear. From the back I learned that Milt played in Knoxville in 1957. He recorded 9 Strike Outs and 10 Bases on Balls in 3 games. 1 loss and and ERA of 4.91. Go, Milt!

1970-71 Topps, NHL Assists Leaders (card #2)

The Bruins had quite the team that year. No one was selfish. They had the top 3 players in Assists. Bobby Orr had 102. Phil Esposito had 76. Johnny Bucyk had 65. Wait, there's more. Coming in at the fourth spot is Ken Hodge had 62. Slow down, Wayne Cashman was fifth with 58. Tied for sixth was Fred Stanfield with 52. They have six of the top spots. For posterity sake Stanfield was tied with Jude Drouin and Bobby Hull. Fine company.

1967 Topps, Whitey Ford (card #5)

Creases, we got creases. And corners so round you'd... well, you'd do whatever it is you do with round corners. From I find that Whitey attended the Manhattan School of Aviation. Cool.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Contest Entry

Chris, over at On Card Autos, is having a contest. Actually, it ends this evening. He wants to see your player collections. He told me that only a few other collectors have entered. I figured I could slip in and have a decent shot. Then I looked at the comments and saw who some of the collectors are. I don't have a shot. Really, I don't.

I collect Orel Hershiser cards. Mainly Orel Hershiser cards. Some Bill Wade football cards, some Earl Wilson and Carl Erskine baseball cards. I like cards of Negro League players and I've started a small collection of Baseball Hall of Fame relic / game used / autograph cards. If they're cheap.

I have over 400 Orel Hershiser cards. I think that's less than half of all of them that have been produced. And as I was creating the master list of OH cards (I can't just call him Orel) I noticed that many of the cards produced in the last few years are 1 of 1's. Or numbered to 5. I'm not going after those. I really don't care about them. If I was given one? Sure, but I'm not going to drop the price of a Yugo on one. Okay, bad example.

I only have one OH auto card. And it is on a sticker. I figured that I shouldn't show it for this contest. I've got three or four jersey cards, but they're nothing to write home about. I've got a few numbered cards, but again, not really stellar.

So, where does that leave me with regards to this contest? In the gutter. But, I figured, why not enter? Maybe the other contestants will have their email service dropped and I'll win by default.

I decided to select three cards that I really like.

1989 Upper Deck, 1988 N.L.C.S. MVP (card #665)

I like this card for a few reasons. First, it commemorates his work in the NLCS over the Mets. His scoreless pitching streak ended. He started 3 games that series, picking up 1 win and 1 save, with an ERA of 1.09 over 24.2 innings. He went on to win the World Series MVP just eight days later. Second, what a face. It really looks like he's having fun out there. And this was Upper Deck's first year doing baseball cards. They promoted themselves as being a better card and they were right. At least then they were.

1991 Score, Orel Herhsier (card #550)

I've always been a fan of the 1991 Score set. Nice framing, nice colors, nice photos. I'm drawn to OH's face again. That face says, "Bulldog." The purplish-blue goes nice with the Dodgers' blue. I guess they couldn't find any pink that year.

1989 Score, World Series (card #582)

This might be an odd one to be featured as part of a player collection. Dave Stewart, Jose Canseco, Kirk Gibson, and Orel Hershiser. Two great pitchers, three great batters. What? Three? Yes, OH, in the WS, went 3 for 3, with an RBI and a double. He also scored a run. His BA for the regular season? .129. Not terrible for a pitcher, but he really came through when he needed to. This card, to me, is a nice slice of the series.

Why do I collect Orel Hershiser cards? I had just gotten back into watching baseball in 1988. The 1985 work stoppage left a bitter taste in my mouth. I liked what I saw in OH. I saw a player who was giving it his all. Was a decent man. Who looked a bit goofy. Who won.

That's why I started to collect him. Why do I still collect him? Good question. For what he was. I'm not really keen on his poker playing days. I'm sad that he and his wife split up. And no, I don't know why, nor do I really care. I thought that he did a decent job as pitching coach in Texas. I enjoy listening to him when he comments on baseball games on television. I like it when he's on Baseball Tonight.

I'll probably never complete this player collection, or if I do, it will be many years in the making. I'm happy that I do collect his cards. Now, if I can just organize them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pi Day

Yes, it is Pi Day. You know, 22/7. 3.1415926...

To celebrate, let's look at a few photos of Baseball Pies. And I'm purposefully avoiding the PIFY cards. Knuckleheads.

Pie Traynor

Pie Traynor (action photo)

2008 Upper Deck Heroes, Felix Pie (card #142)

Pie Traynor photo credit: Library of Congress
Felix Pie photo credit: ebay auction

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thoughtful Cards

Yeah, I'm sure that the blog post title of "Thoughtful Cards" has been used before when one is posting about cards from Adam of Thoughts and Sox.

Out of the blue, Adam sent me an envelope with just two cards.

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites, Carl Erskine (card #24)

1961 Topps, Earl Wilson (card #69)

Both of these are players I collect. I already have these cards. I'm not complaining at all, even though it sounds like I just did. I'm very thankful I have them. I'm going to send the Carl to Anderson, Indiana, to see if Mr. Erskine feels like signing it. The Earl, I'm going to take to work. Put it next to my computer screen. Remind me of the Heritage. No, not the cards, but the Heritage of baseball. The Heritage of Black Baseball.

No, Earl Wilson didn't play in the Negro Leagues, but as the first black player signed to Boston, I'm sure that he heard some comments from the stands and perhaps his fellow players.

I was able to visit the McClung Historical Collection in Knoxville earlier this week. I took a long lunch after being released from Jury Duty and transcribed a week's worth of newspaper stories about Black Baseball in and around Knoxville. From 1921.

Very interesting stuff. This Sunday afternoon I'll be attending a talk and presentation about Negro League Baseball at a local library. Rick Mosley will share his boardgame, Legends of the Game and Bryan Steverson will present the talk portion of the afternoon. I've been in contact with Bryan over the last six weeks or so and he's been a great encouragement in my pursuit of information on the Knoxville Black Giants.

So, thank you very much, Adam. Unexpected gifts are always welcome.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cards from Marvin

Marvin, over at Trade Bait - The Great Chase!, sent me an envelope the other day. The main purpose of it was to include the "Where is Cliff Lee today?" card. He also included two packs of cards for my daughter, Caroline.

We've got some Nintendogs.

And we've got some Littlest Pet Shop. To me, all the LPS pets look the same. I couldn't tell the butterfly from the basset hound. Really.

Caroline likes puppies.

Here's a modified pack break...

The video was taken with my BlackBerry, so the quality is not great (read: a bit grainy). I wouldn't suggest that you make the video screen size larger.

So, here's Cliff Lee today. I'll be putting him in a package that should go out on Friday. Cliff, it has been nice knowing you.

Marvin, thanks. It is a pleasure to know you.

Cards from --David

I've been busy these last few days. Home stuff, work stuff, jury duty stuff. So, this is part one of the cards that I got from --David.

1978-1979 Topps, Atlanta Flames (card #192)

1970 Topps, Hank Allen (card #14)

1992 Upper Deck, Checklist (card #51)

2006 Topps Turkey Red, Ryan Zimmerman (card #606)

2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces, Ryan Zimmerman (card #67)

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter, Jordan Zimmerman (card #64)

Oh, there's about 250 more cards, but I won't scan them all. A boatload of Dodgers and a mini-stack of Expos. In the coming weeks I'll try to post a few of the other cards that I like. Well, I like them all, but you know what I mean.

Thanks, --David.