Sunday, October 31, 2010

A good time to Read!

I came across this poster while poking around the Library of Congress Digital Collections. I knew that I had to use it and the hours were slipping away. So, count this a teaser of some upcoming posts.

First up will be Jinxed.

And then Fay Vincent's We Would Have Played For Nothing.

The poster is wrong.  Any time is a good time to read.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm a Non-Medalist

Thorzul has spoken. I'm a non-medalist. But I'm the first non-medalist.
You've seen this before.  I just needed a segue to bring you the actual movie.

I present, for your viewing pleasure, Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Contest - not mine

No, not mine.  I still need to send out some of the winnings from my last contest.  Don't look here for contests anytime soon.

A new (to me) blog, Georgia Mindset, is trying to increase his follower base. And what better a way to do that than with free stuff?

Free stuff being a hobby box of 2010 Topps Chrome Baseball.

So, meander on over to his blog.  Follow him, post a link, comment about the link on his blog. Tada. Sit back and wait a few days.

While you're waiting, you could read some of his entries.  My favorite was his Game Used Cards posting.  Gave me something to think about.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Contest Winnings - Beardy

Many moons ago, Beardy attended the National.  That was back when he was yet unmarried and the Orioles played baseball.  He had some contest where if you guessed which holes he filled in his Orioles wantlist you could win some cards that he picked up from his Super Sweet VIP package swag.

I made a calculated guess and bingo!  I won.  I selected the Jimenez and Romo relic cards.

I liked the Jimenez card because I had him on my fantasy team.  He had a very good season, including pitching the first no-hitter for the Rockies' franchise.  He blew up in a few games, but the strength of his pitching took me to the championship game in my baseball fantasy league. Thanks, Ubaldo.

2010 Topps, Series 2, Peak Performance, Ubaldo Jimenez (#PPR UJ) 

Then comes Mr. "Ow.  My shoulder" Romo.  I've never been connected to Tony Romo.  Whenever I hear his name I think of an Italian restaurant.  The overall design of  Sunday's Best is good.  Panini could have done a better job with this relic card, though.  The big space beneath the fabric?  I bet there is an autograph version of this card and that is where he'd put his John Hancock.

2010 Panini Classics, Sunday's Best, Tony Romo (#6), #/299

At least the Romo jersey was "cut from an Authentic Jersey personally worn by Tony Romo in an official NFL Game."  The Jimenez "relic contained in this card does not come from any specific game, event or season."  My guess is that Topps went down to Benjamin Harrison Middle School and asked the soccer coach for some uniforms after the season ended and slipped him a twenty.

And Panini could have done better.  The same photo on the back as on the front?  Couldn't find another one?

So, thanks Beardy, for the wonderful cards.  Even if it is two months late.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 Topps, Series 2

A few weeks ago I had a very nice experience at one of my local card shops.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  I walked in to Sports Treasures with Caroline.  The owner, Eddie, had a customer that he was dealing with.  Caroline became very interested in the Vols' collectibles.  Santa on an orange fire truck.  Santa on an orange VW Bug.  I'm trying to keep her from knocking down some signed footballs and basketballs.  I'm successful. Then I hear from across the store, "Hey, Mark."  I look up and say, "Hey, Eddie."

It makes one feel good when the store owner calls you by name.

Eddie is the good kind of local card shop owner.  I don't frequent his shop often because it is on the other end of town.  I'm rarely in that neighborhood.  But he'll always take the time to talk with me, answering any questions that he can.  He sends out about 4 or 5 emails a week to his customers.  Standard stuff really, what's coming up in releases, what new jerseys or memorabilia he's been able to procure.

So, I asked him some questions about the Topps Series 2, specifically the one card per week that Topps is giving away through the local card shops with a purchase of new Topps product.  The week that I stopped in it was the Evan Longoria card, HTA-22 of 50.  Yeah, Topps is stretching this promotion out for a whole year.  Cardboard Connections posted the whole checklist back in February. 

So, what does the HTA stand for?
Home Team Advantage.  Brick and mortar stores.  Just like Eddie's.  From what I understand, they get some special cards and deals that the internet stores don't get.  It makes sense.  Topps is supporting them.  And I got a card.

I'm a fan of Dan Uggla, mostly because he used to play for the Smokies.  I saw him a few times.  I'd like to say that I saw some talent in him way back when, but mostly I saw a solid player with a funky name.  I do like how the back of the card photo could almost be the other side of the front of the card photo.

Legendary Lineage?  And just how do they make that leap?  Well, they're both first basemen.  They're both six feet tall and they both were, at one time, the youngest player to hit 50 home runs in a season.  It is a stretch, but I guess it will do.  Jimmie swung the bat a whole lot differently than Prince does.  But watching old film of Joe Dimaggio and Ted Williams, maybe all the old players did that.  I think I'd rather have Jimmie, Joe or Ted on my fantasy team over Prince.

History of the World Series cards.  Bob Gibson.  Wow.  I didn't know that he started 9 World Series games.  And went the distance in 8 of them.  His total WS record is 7-2.  Wow.  With a 1.89 ERA.  92 strike outs over 81.0 innings.  Wow.  Darn right he won the Cy Young Award and the MVP in 1968.  Now, to be fair, Detroit's Mickey Lolich went 3-0 in the 1968 series, with a 1.67 ERA.  He completed all 3 of his games.  A tip of the hat to Mickey.

I didn't try to straighten up these images from my scanning.  I'm not really sold on the base card design and I'm not going to try to complete any of this set.  I just wanted the HTA card.  And that was so I could blog about it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nightmares on Cardboard III

Once again it is time for Thorzul's Nightmares on Cardboard. In this third edition, he has called for entires. I tossed these to him the other night. Actually, it was the early morning of the final day to enter.

I think that I started off with the idea of making a small set paying homage to Plan 9 from Outer Space.  Who doesn't love that?  Well, my wife.  But my son does.

Then, I thought... why limit myself?  Although he did not ask for a movie theme, I've been too busy to try to be creative.  I fell back to something that I felt comfortable with.  Stealing images from movies.

I liked working with the 1972 Topps design, mostly for the subtle tie-in of being called the Tombstone Set.  The back of the Criswell was too busy to spread out over many cards.  How many is many?  I think that I was shooting for 10.  Had I been clever I would have gone for 13.  Time and imagination thwarted me.

I watched the film clip of Tyler Colvin getting hit with a broken bat a few weeks ago.  I wanted to tie-in the stake in the chest with a vampire thing, but I couldn't quite find the hook.  So I dropped that and went to the teenage rage, Twilight.  I haven't read them, nor have I seen the movie.  But he's so dreamy.  A splash of fine poetry caps it off.

Then back to Plan 9.  Nobody does Bela like Bela.  Not even a chiropractor.  I've got the DVD with both black & white and color versions.  Wow, am I lucky.

So, there you have it.  My entry for Thorzul's contest.  Perhaps they will give him nightmares.  I look forward to seeing some real entries.

Note to self: file under unimaginative, pedestrian, ripoff.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jaco Likes the Phillies

I found this on Rick Suchow's youtube channel.The Phillies had a decent team in 1976, the same year that this solo was filmed.  They went 101-61, but lost 3-0 in the NLCS.

For more info on Jaco Pastorius, visit his website.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Allegheny County Free Fair

While searching Google Books I came across a set of baseball cards I hadn't heard of before. Technically I guess that they're a subset or something, being issued cards with sponsor printing on the back. But, I don't view them too differently than some of the older tobacco and candy cards that use the same front and regional back printing.

Rather than just write about the cards I thought that I'd put them in context of the way that they were shared with the public.

Hop in your time machines and set the landing year to 1948...

The Billboard
July 10, 1948

Pittsburgh Annual Inks “High Lights”
  Pittsburgh, July 3. – The inking of High-Lights of ’48 from Ward (Flash) Williams and Edagr [sic] I. Schooley, American Theatrical Agency, Inc., Chicago, for the 11th annual Allegheny County Free Fair, September 2 thru Labor Day (6), was announced here today by Fair Director John L. Hernon.  This will probably be the year’s biggest grandstand musical revue since the 1948 crowds are expected to exceed the 1,500,000 view last year’s fair attractions here.
  The production will have 24 girls in line, 10 singers and dancers and include two high acts among the 10 acts of the revue.
  The fair here differs from many other fairs in that there is no admission charge, no carnivals or concessions, except for food.
  Site of the fair is probably one of the most beautiful in America.  The grounds are located in spacious county-owned South Park, a few miles from Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle.
  The High-Lights and other entertainment features will be presented from the center of South Park, a natural amphitheater which can seat approximately 90,000 persons in permanent concrete stands.
  Director Hernon said a baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates, of the National League, and district semi-pro all-stars will open the spectacle.  The fair will also resume harness races in the stadium.
  As usual, the fair will have commercial and educational exhibits, agricultural show, livestock and poultry exhibits, flower show and the like.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - September 4, 1948

The Pittsburgh Press, Sept. 1, 1948

The Pittsburgh Press, Sept. 4, 1948
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 4, 1948

The Pittsburgh Press, September 5, 1948

The Billboard
September 11, 1948

150,000 Attend Pittsburgh Bow
Free annual features athletic events, night show – KDKA programs aired

  Pittsburgh, Sept. 4.—An announced 150,000 persons jammed the opening of the 11th annual Allegheny County Free Fair here Thursday (2).  Nearly half the crowd arrived late, since the 3 p.m. estimate of John L. Hernon, fair director, was 80,000.  Hernon predicted that the total attendance for the annual, which ends Labor Day, would reach 1,500,000.
  Various athletic events and a parade featuring army personnel were presented opening day.  Hi-Lights of 1948, a revue and fireworks, are featured nightly.
  A large crowd is expected to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Second Army.

The Billboard
October 16, 1948

Card, View Vender Promotion Sights New Coin Business

  Chicago, Oct. 9. – In what may well usher in a new use of coin-operated machines, heads of various publications are now assaying the results of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s successful promotion of its features and columnists by use of card venders and view machines at the recent Allegheny County Free Fair and Industrial Exposition, Pittsburgh (The Billboard, September 4).
  Using six card venders and three See-a-View machines purchased outright from Exhibit Supply Company, and three foot vibrators and two scales borrowed for the occasion, the Pittsburgh newspaper set up its unique display in 300 square feet of the fairgrounds.  The six venders took in slightly less than 50,000 pennies during the five-day show, with the entire proceeds turned over to the Post-Gazette’s Goodfellow Club fund, which is used to buy Christmas presents for underprivileged children in the Pittsburgh area.
  The paper took Exhibit’s widely known assortment of movie star, baseball player and similar cards and placed suitable promotion on the reverse side.  Thus the reverse side of movie cards showed the following: “Are you a movie fan?  So is Harold Cohen, the Post-Gazette’s drama critic.”  Similarly the baseball cards were used to draw attention to the paper’s sports columnists.  The baseball and movie cards were so popular with fair visitors that Frederick N. Lowe, Post-Gazette director of public relations, disclosed that if there had been any way of knowing that card venders would have been so strongly patronized many more cards could have been sold.
  Lowe also disclosed by letter to Exhibit Supply that the See-a-View proved equally popular and that his paper planned to use them in other spots during the year.  Currently, it has one at Carnegie Museum, showing 15 views of Pittsburgh before and after smoke control.

Okay, you can step out of the time machine.  We're back.

Several questions remain unanswered for me.  Exhibit Supply Cards were offered?  I'm thinking that they were similar to the Ralph Kiner card pictured below.

1947-1966 Exhibit Supply Company, Ralph Kiner
Then, who won the baseball games?  Games you say?  I thought there was only one game, the one between the Pirates and the Second Army.

No, my friend.  The schedule for September 4th shows a morning game between South Park and North Park.  A Midget Baseball Championship.  Managed by Pie Traynor and Vic Steigerwald.

I've looked at the local papers for the following days, but I could find no news item.

UPDATE:  September 5, 2011.  Fellow SABR member, Mike E., has come to the rescue.  I posted a query to the SABR-L mailing list and he answered:
According to the AP blurb on the game, which you can find on Newspaper Archive (search "pirates baseball fair" on September 5, 1948; I found it in the San Antonio Light), the Pirates won 6-0. The AP blurb includes this little tidbit:

"Pittsburgh fans did not get the expected look at Ted Beard, newly purchased star outfielder from Indianapolis. Beard arrived yesterday but did not play. He is expected to be in Sunday's line-up against Chicago."

Beard would later become the first Pirate hitter to homer over the right field roof at Forbes Field.
UPDATE 2:  September 6, 2011.  Fellow SABR member, Francis K., has also come to the rescue, but with a different source:
According to the September 15, 1948 edition of *The Sporting News* (on page 18): "The Pirates defeated the Second Army team, 5-0, at South Park in Pittsburgh. Ralph Kiner, Stan Rojek, and Dixie Walker were excused early in the game. Two young pitchers, George Smith and Dean Whitaker...worked the first six innings and Forrest Main finished, the trio yielding only three hits."
I went to Paper of Record and found the article.  It was split over two columns so I combined them for better readability.

The Sporting News - September 15, 1948

How different from today is the Pirates' game?  Today I think that each Major League club is allowed one exhibition game during the regular season.  A few years ago I saw the Toronto Blue Jays play the Tennessee Smokies at the AA stadium during the season.

I don't know if the Pirates' schedule was set at the beginning of the season and then adjusted for this exhibition game, but they ended up playing double headers on both the 5th and 6th of September.  The Pirates played 26 Double Headers that year.  That's 13 days of back to back games.  And on five occasions they played back to back to back to back games.  Two games on a Friday and then two games on a Saturday (or whatever the days were.)  I'm guessing that today's union reps would have something to say about that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mint Condition - A Book Review

Many, many months ago David Jamieson contacted me about sending me a copy of his book Mint Condition.  I quickly accepted.  When the book arrived, I cleared my reading schedule and dove into it.

Fresh writing.  Clear writing.  Engaging subject.  I couldn't get enough.  The need to get up for work the next morning was the only thing that prevented me from finishing the book that evening.

I had a cursory knowledge of some of the history of cards and collectors, but Dave went deep and pulled out some great interviews.  I liked the chapter about the history of Topps and Sy Berger.  Dave does a nice job with his descriptions and pulled me right into the Topps offices.

The chapter that dealt with collector Michael Gidwitz, although very interesting, had a bit of rough language.  These were not Dave's words, but he was quoting Gidwitz.  For that, I wouldn't recommend this book to a young collector.  But there are a variety of different collectors and Gidwitz is one of them and his story is no less important than yours or mine.  He just has a lot more money than we do.

The Upper Deck chapter was similar to Pete Williams' Card Sharks, which was much more thorough.  But that was a whole book.  This is just a chapter.

The pages devoted to Kevin Saucier will frighten you.  In a good way.  For more information on Kevin's work, visit

If you don't have time to read this whole book, read at least chapter 4, Cartophilia.  This deals with the work of  Jefferson Burdick, the father of  modern card cataloging.  Without his persistence I don't want to think about where we'd be in the hobby.

So, go and buy a copy of Dave Jamieson's Mint Condition.  Then find a few hours by yourself and read it.  Let it seep in.  And then don't wait as long as I did to tell other about it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


1990-91 Upper Deck, Rick Zombo
(card #115)
Okay, I'll admit it. I've been a bit scattered as of late. Family has been visiting, work is hectic, other stuff is happening. I haven't been in a baseball card groove lately.  Not excuses, just explanations.

Then, to top it off, this blog and I were added to the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  Their purpose is foster communication and collaboration amongst bloggers across baseball, increasing understanding and knowledge about the game.
I'm a Friend of the BBA.  Which means I should be blogging regularly, with intent and purpose, specifically about baseball and the like.  I don't think "the like" includes a steady diet of hockey cards, football cards, or racing cards.

I'm going to try to remedy that.  For the rest of the year, I'm going to try to blog at least three times per week on this site.  Yeah, it doesn't sound like much, but it would be a good thing for me to do.

I've got a few posts in the wings.  I had  conceived a string of posts about "Steel Arm" Dickey and then another string of posts about Frank H. Moffett.  But they didn't quite fit in with this blog.  Interesting.  Historical in nature.  Adding to the body of knowledge, but not quite right for this blog.  So, I started another blog.  Like I need something else to do and then abandon in the coming months.  But I did it anyway.

Old Knoxville Baseball.  It will focus on early baseball bits from east Tennessee.  Mostly newspaper clippings and transcriptions.  I don't know what "early" baseball is, but it would probably involve things from the 1970s and before.  The first two posts are from 1910 and 1911.  It won't have much commentary, just a collection of stories.  It, too, will be updated three times per week.  Maybe Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with this one going on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Sunday will be a wild card.

So, have no fear, I'll be back on Tuesday.  Or Monday, depending which blog gets which days.

Note: The photo of the Zombies poster was taken at Yee Haw Industries.  If you're ever in Knoxville, please check them out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Card Show Blues

Everybody's favorite night blogger, Greg, had some issues when the regularly scheduled cards show in his area decided to changed dates.  And Shoebox Legends caught the local mall card show, to his initial disappointment.

Finally, I get to be part of an exclusive club.  You know, that one that gets ramped up for something big to happen just a few times a year and then it doesn't?  Yeah, that's the one.

After the February show, I checked the Inside Pitch Promotions' website and got the dates for the October show.  I was ready.  Well, not really.  But I was going to be ready.  Checklists printed.  Clear focus.  No buying for anyone else.  Just me.  Some oddball stuff, maybe another Bill Wade football card.  But it won't be this weekend.

On a positive note, I did spend yesterday at the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, part of the Knox County Public Library.  I had a good time with my father.  He was researching family history, I was focused on some baseball related info from east Tennessee.  I was able to get copies of some articles from the 1904 Tennessee-Alabama League, specifically about Ty Cobb, when he was with Sheffield.  Some info about "Steel Arm" Dickey, a fine twirler for several black baseball teams who met a tragic end.  A scholarly article about the history of baseball in Johnson City.  A search through 30 years of Knoxville City directories, following Frank H. Moffett, an early pioneer in the business of baseball in Knoxville.  It was a good day.

I guess I'll spend part of Saturday, the part I would have spent at the card show, organizing the cards I already own.  That won't cost me any money.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hopp Safe

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 6, 1948

I ran across this photo while doing some research for an upcoming post. Here's the box score from

This is looking at third base.  What exactly happened to have Phil Cavarretta (1B) standing nearest to home plate?  I guess he was backing the plate.  Then we have Andy Pafko (3B).  That makes sense.  All Walker (C) is trying to tag the runner, Johnny Hopp.  Eddie Waitkus (LF) is coming in to stop an errant throw.

Pittsburgh won, 7-3.  That was the first game of a Double Header.  They also played a Double Header the following day.  In fact, they played a total of 26 Double Headers at season.

1948 Leaf, Johnny Hopp (card #139)

image of Leaf card lifted from this ebay auction

Monday, October 4, 2010

You Can't Win 'Em All

On February 24, 1973, The Bob Newhart Show episode was titled: You Can't Win 'Em All. Here's the's description:
When a star pitcher for the Chicago Cubs baseball team credits Bob with saving his career, the endorsement brings Bob a new patient, Moose Washburn, a second-string player whose career is beyond the help of a mere psychologist.

I'm a big fan of anything Bob Newhart.  I don't remember seeing this episode.  I'm sure that I have but I don't remember it.  I snagged the images from my DVD set (Season 1) and slapped together the cards.  Yes, I know that 1974 Topps had a TRADED set, but I figured that Moose Washburn didn't even deserve the recognition of making that set.  This was just an overprint of his regular season card.

I wanted to use the image of Phil Bender in uniform, but the only scene that was possible for was when he was being interviewed, hence the floating hand holding the microphone.

Topps 1974, Moose Wasburn

1974 Topps, Phil Bender

This episode reminded me quite a bit of the Frasier episode from Season 4, Head Game, where Niles is the talk of Seattle after a brief session with the local basketball team's slumping star turns the player's fortunes around.

I'm not going to take the time to create the back sides of the cards.  I need to go watch an episode of The Bob Newhart Show.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month is marked by national programs to promote awareness for the
abilities and achievements of those with Down syndrome.
  New York, NY  –  October 1, 2010. This October, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) invites the country to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in recognition of the many achievements and abilities of  people with Down syndrome.   
  Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition, one in every 733 live births is a baby born with Down syndrome, and it is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. Advancements in education, research and advocacy have had a tremendous impact on the opportunities that individuals with Down syndrome have to live healthy and fulfilling lives. People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate  in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
The above is part of a press release from the NDSS.  I've stepped up on my soapbox before.  As of late, I haven't felt the need to.  For that, I thank you.

For those of you who haven't followed this blog for long, let me tell you the story of Caroline.  It won't take too long.
Caroline and her cardiologist, Dr. Jennings
Caroline is my daughter.  She has Down syndrome.  She's six years old.  She's got a great sense of humor and she's becoming very independent.  She's in kindergarten and loves to read.  She likes to attend her brother's football games.  At age five months she had surgery to repair her heart.  Just a few days before her sixth birthday she had to have her pacemaker replaced.  She enjoys playing with her dolls and blocks.  She can kick my butt in Wii bowling.  Her laugh is infectious.
Another photo with Dr. Jennings.  And Smokies' GM, Brian Cox
Next week my family will be walking in on her behalf at the Buddy Walk sponsored by the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee.

This is where I go all selfish dad-like.  If you'd like to be a part of Caroline's team, please visit her pledge page.

To watch a video about Caroline's story (and ours), please click here (a YouTube video that can't be embedded because of music copyright issues).

Caroline and Luke Sommer, pitcher in the Cubs organization

Friday, October 1, 2010

Elusive Eight

Others have done it.  The Nebulous Nine.  The Scant Seven.  I add to their list of wanted cards the Elusive Eight.  Sure, I could just go and plop some coin down and buy these off of ebay, COMC or SportLots, but I toss them up here, hoping that these eight cards are just lying around your house, collecting dust.  I originally had all of them being Orels, but I decided to limit each player that I collect to just two cards.

1982-89 Louisville Slugger #5 - Orel Hershiser - Courtesy of
1982-89 Louisville Slugger #5 - Orel Hershiser

1988 Fleer Team Leaders #13 - Orel Hershiser - Courtesy of
1988 Fleer Team Leaders #13 - Orel Hershiser

1962 Topps Bucks Inserts #42 - Bill Wade - Courtesy of
1962 Topps Bucks Inserts #42 - Bill Wade

1957 Topps #34 - Bill Wade - Courtesy of
1957 Topps #34 - Bill Wade

1963 Post #83 - Earl Wilson - Courtesy of
1963 Post #83 - Earl Wilson

2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th #50 - Earl Wilson - Courtesy of
2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th #50 - Earl Wilson

2009 Topps Sterling Framed White #118 - Carl Erskine/50 - Courtesy of
2009 Topps Sterling Framed White #118 - Carl Erskine/50

1992 Bazooka Quadracard '53 Archives #11 - Carl Erskine, Jackie Jensen, George Kell, Red Schoendienst - Courtesy of
1992 Bazooka Quadracard '53 Archives #11 - Carl Erskine, Jackie Jensen, George Kell, Red Schoendienst