Tuesday, May 31, 2011

That's A Diecut

My wife likes NASCAR. She knows who all the drivers are, what team they belong to, who they used to drive for, the names of their kids... You get the idea.

Her favorite driver is Jeff Burton. Richard Childress Racing. Roush Racing. Paige and Harrison. I didn't have to ask her. I know how to Google stuff on my own.

I like to watch racing and we've been to see a few races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is fun. So, a few months ago an ebay seller offered up a boatload of Jeff Burton cards. Not as a lot, but as individual auctions. I've never participated in so many auctions at once. When they ended I found that I had won many of them.

I'm still sorting through them because I don't know much about racing cards.  I'm learning and adding my knowledge to Zistle.  These are just some of the diecut cards.  I still have a stack of 'normal' cards.

I know that there have been some diecut baseball cards, but I don't think that those top these.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Yes, it is late in the day, but not too late to remember those who have given their lives during service for our country.

I've seen several nice blog posts on this topic today.  Thank you for putting into words what I haven't been able to today.  I'm going to dip a bit into my archives and share my last two Memorial Day posts.

2009 - Bill Chappelle
2010 - Eddie Grant

And then in keeping with my current trend of old newspaper articles...

The Warsaw Union - March 13, 1923

To those that have served and those that still serve, I say "Thank you."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A.J. "Pete" Kreis

Today is a big racing day in the United States. It is the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 and the 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600. I think that gone are the days of a driver competing in both events.

Back in the 1920s and 1930s, A.J. "Pete" Kreis drove in seven Indianapolis 500 races.

image lifted from IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com

In the 1927 race he only completed 123 laps before a bent front axle took him out of the race.  He finished 17th.

His best year was 1925 when he finished 8th.

In 1933 mechanical issues allowed him to complete only 63 laps with a 32nd place finish.

He did not get a chance to race in 1934.  During a practice run on May 25th his car jumped the wall and hit a tree, killing him and his ride-along mechanic, Bob Hahn.

The Milwaukee Journal - May 25, 1934

A.J. Kreis was from Knoxville and is buried here.  I visited his family's grave site in Asbury Cemetery.

The car on the monument is not added on, but carved from the marble block.  The monument was carved by Albert Miliani.  Some of his other works grace Arlington National Cemetery.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our Navy

When I started this blog way back when, the subtitle was "my foray into sports card collecting" or something like that.  I still use that as a guideline, but I find myself following different paths at time.  Lately I've been drawn to some of the untold stories of the game of baseball.  Not directly card collecting.  I've been wrestling as to whether I should retire this blog or keep it and intentionally stray off the path.  I think I'll keep it and stray.  I'm not giving up card collecting, I'm just not very active in that arena right now.  But I digress.

It is interesting how a comment on a blog will send me down one path or another.  Or how a comment I leave will send someone else down a path.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I left a comment about Marla Collins on dayf's I go nothin' post.  Apparently that sparked a reader by the name of mike to seek out the Dale Murphy card.

Matthew commented that using archive.org he had found a Babe Ruth radio show that was sponsored by Quaker Oats and the US Navy and that there were hints that the Navy published a baseball book in the 1930s.

That set me to looking for the book.  Didn't find it because I got distracted by a publication called Our Navy.

In one collection from 1909/1910 I found several photos of naval teams.

In order to improve morale amongst the sailors, the publication sponsored a series of games.

They were competing for this trophy.

Here are the standings in the series in the fall of 1909.

In February of 1910 the trophy was given to the winning team from the USS West Virginia.

I've always had a fascination for war machines.  I found the following two images at the Naval Historical Center's web site.

And thus another path taken.  Thanks for indulging me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Indians 6, Senators 3

I sent link to an audio file of most of a baseball game from 1939 to two bloggers earlier this week.  Here's the story behind it.  The story came out in an email to one of them.  Instant blog post.  Huzzah!

So, there I was, surfing the card blogs and came across dayf's post: I got nothin'. I commented on the Dale Murphy card with the cute Cubbie ball girl. I couldn't remember Marla Collins' name, so I had to look. Found an audio link to a funny Harry Caray bit.

That made me wonder what other audio stuff was on the web, baseball related. I hit up a few Old Time Radio sites. They want you to pay for some stuff I know is freely accessible.

Off to archive.org I went. Searched for baseball in their audio collection.

I remember seeing the WJSV complete day broadcast before but hadn't really explored it.

Seeing that the Indians were playing the Senators made me think of --David, over at TribeCards.net.

WJSV starts broadcasting the game starting in the middle of the fourth inning.

So, I grabbed the two audio slices that contained the game, downloaded Audacity and went to work for 20 minutes or so.

After doing some minor editing (mostly cleaning up the start and stop pauses between tracks) I shared it with --David and Matthew.  I posted it online (72MB mp3 file).  Then I found that someone else had already culled the two parts to make one.

I found a newspaper box score for the game...
Reading Eagle - September 22, 1939
And the winning pitcher?

1941 Play Ball
Happy Milner (card # 33)
image lifted from this ebay auction

And Matthew, of the fantastic Number 5 Type Collection blog, pointed out that the broadcast includes an appearance by Alex Carrasquel (dubbed "Alexander" on air), the first Venezuelan-born MLB player, during his debut year.
1970 Venezuelan Sport Grafico
Alexander Carrasquel (card # 250)
image lifted from this ebay auction

Matthew provided me the link to the box score.  I normally like retrosheet.org for these sort of things, but baseball-reference has all those pretty clickable links. b-r wins this time.

So now you know how I waste my time.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Celebrating 40 years of Ross Grimsley

40 years ago this week southpaw pitcher Ross Grimsley took the mound in his major league debut. I wasn't familiar with this one time All-Star until I read about him at the Hall of Very Good.

1980 Kellogg's
Ross Grimsley (card # 1)

I can't start to recap his career in a few paragraphs, especially when you can easily peruse it at baseball-reference.  But one thing that caught my eye was his trade on December 4, 1973.
Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Wally Williams (minors) to the Baltimore Orioles for Bill Wood (minors), Junior Kennedy and Merv Rettenmund.
This really isn't that amazing or interesting.  Minor leaguers, players, teams.  Trades like this happen all the time.

I was intrigued by the double letter sequences in the players' names.


Five players, all with at least one double letter sequence.  I know of no other trade that accomplishes this feat.

Ross, I tip my cap to you.

image lifted from this ebay auction

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Diamond Ruby - the card

In early March I became aware of the book, Diamond Ruby, written by Joseph Wallace.  It sounded intriguing so I downloaded a sample to my Kindle.  I devoured the three chapters and returned to Amazon to purchase the book.

I went to the author's site and found that he was offering a baseball card/promotion card of Diamond Ruby herself.

A few emails back and forth and in a few short days I had my own copy of the card, along with a personalized note from Mr. Wallace.  He has agreed to be interviewed after I finish reading it.  Look for that soon. Until then, here's a video trailer for Diamond Ruby:

I have two other baseball cards/promotion cards for books.  I'll share them in the coming weeks.  How many do you have or know about?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Contest Winnings - Number 5 Type Collection

A few weeks back I entered the Number 5 Type Collection's "pick a number, any number" contest.  I selected 55 in honor of Orel Hershiser.  I won two cards.

1971 Topps are the first baseball cards that I remember owning.   I didn't have a lot of them, but enough to create a few teams and then lay them out on my bed and 'play' ball games, having the batters run around the bases, having the infield and outfield shift or come in.

1971 Topps
Steve Carlton (card # 55)

The second card I won was this 1934 Batter-Up.  I've seen cards from this set in catalogs, but never in person.  Here's what the 2009 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards says about the set:
National Chicle’s 192-card “Batter-Up” set was issued over a three-year period. The blank-backed cards are die-cut, enabling collectors of the era to fold the top of the card over so that it could stand upright on its own support. The cards can be found in black-and-white or a variety of color tints. Card numbers 1-80 measure 2-3/8" x 3-1/4" in size, while the high-numbered cards (#81-192) measure 2-3/8" x 3" (1/4" smaller in height). The high-numbered cards are significantly more difficult to find than the lower numbers. The set’s ACC designation is R318.
1934 Batter-Up
Eric McNair (card # 61)
The top half of this card is missing.  That's just fine with me.

Matthew (or Spike - whatever name you're going with this week), thanks for the cards.  Fortunately you sent me a pitcher and a batter.  Let my game begin.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Altman. George Altman.

A while back I featured some cards I got in trade with Sean, from Condition: Poor.  Here are two more of the cards he sent over.

1964 Topps
George Altman (card # 95)

George Altman only played one year with the Mets.  He was traded to them in November of 1964.  Note the airbrushing on his cap?  Nope, I didn't either.  Topps did a fine job with this one.  After a year in New York he returned to his roots in Chicago, picking up with the Cubs, mostly roaming the outfield in a limited manner.

SLANGKo Original
Jim Fregosi (autographed)
Sean, in his obsession with the Mets and Managers, created a card of Jim Fregosi.  He stalked him for weeks until Jim relented and signed it, only with the threat of a restraining order.

Thanks, Sean, for being a great trading partner.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Number 1 Pick In The Fantasy Book Draft Is...

This last week Jon, from the wonderful Rain of Error blog,  put out a call for participants in a Fantasy Book Draft.  He got stole the idea from Joe Posnanski.  Being a reader of baseball books I thought I'd join in the fun.  Another one of his readers, Jason, also got in on it.  Over the course of the weekend, we submitted our book choices, with some sort of reason why we liked that book.

Jon gave a round by round account of the draft, I'm here to just give the results in case you missed it on his blog.  The Round # links take you to Jon's blog entries, the book title links take you to amazon.com.

Round 1
Jason - The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter
Mark - A False Spring by Pat Jordan
Jon - John McGraw by Charles Alexander

Round 2
Jon - The Celebrant by Eric Rolfe Greenberg
Mark - A Donald Honig Reader by Donald Honig
Jason - The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

Round 3
Jason - The Great American Novel by Philip Roth
Mark - Ball Four by Jim Bouton
Jon - Dollar Sign on the Muscle by Kevin Kerrane

Round 4
Jon - Prophet of the Sandlots by Mark Winegardner
Mark - The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James
Jason - The Bullpen Gospels by Dick Hayhurst

Round 5
Jason - Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Mark - Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress by Harry Katz, Frank Ceresi, Phil Michel, and Susan Reyburn
Jon - Baseball (1845-1881): From the Newspaper Accounts by Preston Orem

Round 6
Jon - Blackguards and Red Stockings by William Ryczyk
Mark - The Last Nine Innings by Charles Euchner, Jr.
Jason - Baseball's Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon by Neal and Constance McCabe

Round 7
Jason - October 1964 by David Halberstam
Mark - Sandy Koufax: A Lefthander's Legacy by Jane Leavy
Jon - The Hidden Game of Baseball by John Thorn and Pete Palmer

Round 8
Jon - Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan by Peter Morris
Mark - Luke Goes To Bat by Rachel Isadora
Jason - Willie's Time: Baseball's Golden Age by Charles Einstein

Honorable Mentions and books we'd like to read:

Honorable mention:
You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner
The Golem's Mighty Swing by James Sturm

To read:
Willie's Time: Baseball's Golden Age by Charles Einstein

Honorable mention:
Diamond Ruby: A Novel by Joseph Wallace
Brushing Back Jim Crow by Bruce Adelson
Negro League Baseball by Neil Lanctot
Wild and Outside by Stefan Fatsis

To read:
The Catcher was a Spy by Nicholas Dawidoff
The Only Game in Town by Robert M. Garrow
SOB: Southwestern Outlaw Baseball by Chuck Pederson

Honorable mention:
If I Never Get Back by Darryl Brock
Pure Baseball by Keith Hernandez
A Tale of Four Cities: Nineteenth Century Baseball's Most Exciting Season; in Contemporary Accounts by Jean-Pierre Caillault

To read:
The Pitch that Killed by Mike Sowell

Thanks to Jon for putting this together.  Thanks to Jason for tossing out your picks.  It looks like I've got some reading to do.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Smokies win over the Mudcats - Monday

On Monday I took the day off of work.  There was a day game for the Tennessee Smokies.  They were hosting the Carolina Mudcats.  The Smokies are the AA club for the Cubs and the Mudcats are tied to the Reds.

Mariano Duncan, Marty Mason, and Brian Harper
Four World Series rings between these three guys. They would be the batting coach, pitching coach and manager.  Harper is channeling some kind of Gorman Thomas thing.

Matthew Spencer, RF

Spencer hit a two run shot in the 7th.

Josh Vitters, 3B
Vitters hit a solo Home Run in the 8th inning.

Robert Whitenack, Pitcher
Good to see the pitchers batting.  Whitenack went 0 for 2 at the plate, but he picked up the win, pitching 5 innings.  This was his first win this season for the Smokies.  In fact Whitenack was called up just 5 days before from High-A Daytona.  Welcome to Tennessee.  Unfortunately, Whitenack's arrival meant the release of Luke Sommer from the Cubs' organization.  That's baseball.

Hung-Wen Chen, Pitcher
Chen came in to pitch in the 6th inning.  He stayed on the mound through the 7th.

Hung-Wen Chen, Pitcher
Again, nice to see the pitchers batting.  Chen hit a solid grounder down the 3B line and was narrowly thrown out at first.

Baseball in the south is not complete without Funnel Cakes.

My dad and my brother
They didn't read the Funnel Cake sign and opted for ice cream in the mini batting helmets.

And the final score.  Another win for the Smokies, who are now 16-10 for the season.

A bit of sunburn.  A Polish sausage and a lemonade.  Spending time with my dad and my brother at a ballgame.  A very good day.