12.31.2008

1973 Topps
Roberto Clemente

While I am more than happy to have a few of these cards in different conditions, this example makes me sad, and not because of the many pinholes.

It was on this day, 36 years ago, that the baseball world lost one of its finest players.

Clemente died on December 31, 1972, in an airplane accident while helping earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

While I did not get this cards from its wax pack, I can only imagine the feelings its original owner felt after opening that pack and getting the recently-departed superstar.

Happy and sad, I guess.

12.16.2008

1976 Topps
Nolan Ryan

All that you need to know about Nolan Ryan in 1976 is what is written on the back of this card: 

"Nolan hurled 4th no-hitter of career, 6-1-75. Fanned side on 9 pitches twice. Had 19 K's in one game."

This is a nice card of a great pitcher in the prime of his career.

This Topps issue is starting to grow on me. What's your favorite card from 1976?  This is a pretty good one.

12.07.2008

1961 Topps
Roger Maris

This card has all the makings of a poor old baseball card.

There are plenty of creases, some staining and what even appears to be pencil marks. It even has a little glue on the back. Oh, and it's off center.

But what a great card to have.

1961 was a banner year for Roger Maris as he would overtake Babe Ruth as the single-season home run king.

1960 wasn't such a bad year either: Maris was the AL's MVP that year, his first with the Yankees.

11.24.2008

1954 Johnston Cookies
John Cooney

This is an interesting set from 1954 that featured Milwaukee Braves players.

John Cooney was actually a coach for the Braves in 1954.

These cards were distributed with packs of cookies and have a wax-like feel.

Through a mail-in offer on the back of the card, you could also get a display to hold the cards. It was sort of a template-like display where each card would show through an opening.

It's kind of a weird set but a pretty cool one nonetheless.

11.10.2008

1954 Red Heart
Bob Lemon

Other than the 1980 Topps set, I have never really put together a complete baseball card set.

That's not to say that's the only set I have in my collection. I have my share.

But with the exception of 1980, I have never put together a set, one card at a time.

Before August, I had one 1954 Red Heart card (Alvin Dark). After picking up today's mail I have 12.

"Wow, 12," you may say.

Well 12 cards is more than a third of the set. There are only 33 cards: 11 with a red background, 11 with green and 11 with blue.

You can follow my slow, but steady trek to complete the set at redheartcards.com.

So far it's cost me about $300. More than half that amount for a pretty-bad Mickey Mantle.

Bob Lemon cost me $20.

11.06.2008

1958 Topps
Don Zimmer

Most remember Zimmer for his scuffle with Pedro Martinez in the 2003 American League Championship Series.

But what some may not recall is that Zimmer played 12 years in the majors. He also managed for 12 seasons.

He was an All Star as a player (1961) and a N.L. Manager of the Year in 1989.

But what I remember is Zimmer being a character, a larger-than-life individual who is an asset to the game.

And when I saw this card a few years back, I had to have it. The fact that it is autographed doesn't hurt.

11.02.2008

1963 Fleer
Tommy Davis

Fleer really did a nice job with their set in 1963. They produced a very attractive set with a clean and simple design.

The back of this card reflects Tommy Davis' excellent season of 1962.

Davis finished third in the MVP voting, finishing the season as the league leader in batting average (.346), hits (230) and RBI (153).

One interesting thing about this set: Apparently Fleer issued their cards with cookies instead of bubble gum. The set really didn't fare well because Topps sued Fleer, keeping their monopoly on the baseball card market.

Cookies? I wonder if they were chocolate chip?

10.31.2008

1955 Topps "Spook" Jacobs

I don't know a whole lot about good ol' "Spook" except that he went 4-for-4 in his Major League debut.

He also apparently got into quite a fight after being beaned by future Hall-of-Fame manager Tommy Lasorda while both played in the Pacific Coast League. After he got through with pitcher Lasorda, he went after second baseman Sparky Anderson.

Spooky? Happy Halloween!

1971 Topps
Brooks Robinson

From the back of the card:

"Brooks' superb fielding & .429 Average earned him the vote as MVP of 1970 World Series. Always a tough clutch-hitter, he has led AL 3rd basemen in Games 8 years, Fielding 9 years & Assists 7 years."

On the one hand, the folks at Topps pump up Robinson's clutch hitting, on the other, he is shown striking out. I don't get it.

As cards go, 1971 Topps has become a favorite set of mine: the crisp black borders (well they would be if this card weren't trashed), the vibrant color combinations, the action photos, and the simple classic design.

Even the back of the card is nice. The only thing I don't like is the fact that there is only one year of stats mentioned. I'd rather see the year-by-year numbers.

Oh, and there's that other thing: Topps used a photo of Brooks Robinson looking foolish.

10.29.2008

1967 Topps 3rd Series Checklist
(Willie Mays)

If you're going to get a checklist in your pack of cards, it may as well be one with a floating head of Giants superstar Willie Mays.

What I like the most about this card is that it is used. Someone in 1967 took the time to look through their cards and put a check next to those cards he/she was lucky enough to have.

Without an Internet, these checklists were essential in keeping track of what you had, and more importantly, what you didn't.

How else were you supposed to know that Ron Swoboda appeared on card #264?

10.26.2008

1957 Topps
Pee Wee Reese

If it weren't for that deep gash on the right side, this baseball card of Pee Wee Reese would be pretty nice.

This card has 1950s written all over it. From the classic baggy Dodgers uniform to the rehearsed pose, it's a classic.

Reese, real name Harold, was a fixture with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940-58. He finally became a World Champion in 1955, but was also a member of six World Series losers.

But what Reese is most notably known for is his support for Jackie Robinson. When Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, it was Reese who reached out, welcoming him to the team.

In 1984, Reese was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and in that same year had his No. 1 retired by the Dodgers organization.

Come to think of it, that gash isn't so bad after all.

10.23.2008

1979 Hostess
Mike Schmidt

With the Phillies winning Game 1 of the World Series last night, I feel obligated to post a card of a Phillie.

So here's one of my favorites: Mike Schmidt.

As a kid, when I thought of the Phillies it was Schmidt that first came to mind.

By reading the reverse of this card, Schmidt was coming off a so-so year in 1978, at least for Mike Schmidt.

Schmidt hit .251 with 21 homers and 78 RBI.

This Hostess card has seen better days. But what I like most about it is that, like most Hostess cards, it's miscut with plenty of creases. It looks like it was kept in the back pocket of its owner's pocket.

A truly loved baseball card.

10.21.2008

1959 Topps
Sal Maglie

What's with the sad look on Maglie's face?

Maybe it's because he's pitching for a team outside his native state of New York.

Maglie started his career with the New York Giants in 1945. He pitched in 13 games that year before going to the Mexican League from 1946-49. That's kind of weird.

Then in 1950, he returned to the Giants where he stayed until 1955. He then moved on to Cleveland where he pitched for parts of 1955 and 1956.

Then back to Brooklyn where he would pitch for parts of 1956 and 1957. Then he went on to the Yankees where he pitched for parts of 1957 and 1958. He finished the 1958 season in St. Louis.

Come to think of it, that's probably the look of exhaustion.

10.19.2008

1954 Dan Dee
Hank Bauer

Is it just me or does Hank Bauer look like another ex-Yankee? A former manager who moved on to skipper the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Doesn't he look like Joe Torre?

For those of you who may be reading this blog for the first time, Dan Dees were distributed in bags of potato chips in 1954. The fact that they floated around with greasy chips makes this issue difficult to find in good condition. While this card, in no way, can be considered to be in good condition, it is a pretty cool card.

As for Hank Bauer, the outfielder won seven World Series championships while with the Yankees. He won another managing the Baltimore Orioles.

But while reading his bio, his most impressive accomplishments may not be baseball related.

He was awarded two purple hearts and two bronze stars while serving with the United States Marine Corps during World War II.

10.18.2008

1966 Topps '65 N.L. Batting Leaders










I think it's about time these leader cards get some respect. For too long, collectors like me have treated these cards like they were not worth collecting. I used to think that unless the card was a regular-issue card, it wasn't worth my while. Not anymore.

How can anyone not take seriously a card with three of the greatest players of all time: Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. And, upon further inspection, there are a few things about this card that are most interesting.

First, Clemente was still known as Bob in 1966. Second, Aaron is wearing a Milwaukee Braves cap, but the card says Atlanta. The Braves moved south after the 1965 season. And last, why is Mays looking down. Come on Willie, look up at the camera.

I know for some, original cards of these Hall-of-Famers is beyond their budget.

Here's a great budget card of all three.

10.17.2008

1948 Topps Magic Photo
Christy Mathewson

I bet some of you didn't know that Topps actually began producing baseball cards in 1948.

This card is tiny, about the size of a postage stamp.

My understanding is that when getting the card it was actually blank. After reading the clue on the back, you would wet the front of the card and hold it up to the sun. And sure enough, the photograph would develop.

This card happens to be of Hall-of-Famer Christy Mathewson. As you can see by reading the card's back: Mathewson pitched three shutout innings against the Philadelphia A's in the 1905 World Series.

He was one of the original five to be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y.

CORRECTION: Three shutouts, not three shutout innings. Thanks for catching my mistake.

10.16.2008

1982 Fleer
Pete & Re-Pete

While deciding which card to post this morning, I thought it would be nice to include a Phillie, since the team advanced to the World Series last night.

And while I had plenty to choose from, I found this old gem in a box of cards I need to sort.

There's not much I can say about Pete Sr. that most of you don't already know.

But did you know that Pete Jr. had two hits in the major leagues? Mostly a minor leaguer, Pete Jr. played in 11 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1997. He struck out nine times in 14 at-bats that season.

However, as far as I know, this is the only card Pete Jr. ever appeared on.

10.14.2008

1972 Topps
Roberto Clemente In Action

It's too bad that when Topps decided on an action shot of Roberto Clemente, it would be one of him looking at a third strike. At least that's what this card appears to show.

While I don't remember collecting cards in 1972, I've often wondered what kids thought of these "In Action" cards. Were kids happy to get this card of one of the Pirates' greatest or would they rather have pulled a regular issue card of a lesser player?

Is there anyone out there who remembers opening up a pack in 1972? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

10.12.2008

1923 W515-2 Babe Ruth

This is the first Babe Ruth baseball card I ever got.

As a kid, I remember reading an article in a baseball card magazine about all the cards made of Ruth spanning decades. And while I knew I couldn't afford a 1933 Goudey, the article mentioned a few strip cards that were more in my price range. But where was I supposed to find one?

In the days before eBay, it wasn't so easy to find the older, rarer baseball cards.

Then I went to a national convention in Anaheim, Calif., and guess what I found? This very card of Ruth.

It's been about 25 years, but I think I paid about $20 for it. Back then, as a kid in junior high, that was the most I had ever spent on a baseball card. How could I justify paying that kind of money on a piece of paper?

I'm glad I did.

10.11.2008

1951 Bowman Granny Hamner

So I was looking through the bargain box at the local baseball card shop a few months back and saw this beautiful Bowman card of Granny Hamner.

First, I must admit, I had no idea who this Hamner fella was. But, come on, how could I resist a card of a guy named Granny.

As it turns out, Hamner was a pretty good player and a key member of the Phillies "Whiz Kids" of the early 1950s. The shortstop was a three-time All Star and had more than 80 RBI in a season more than a few times.

Oh and by the way, he also pitched a few games.

But what's with Granny? His real name is Granville.

10.09.2008

1975 Topps
Steve Garvey

As a child growing up in San Diego, it was rare to get a Padres game on regular television. With the exception of that weekly game of the week on Saturday, it was rare to be able to tune into any baseball game.

Except for KTTV Channel 11 from Los Angeles. Much like TBS in the 80s and 90s, Channel 11 was what you watched if you wanted to watch baseball. Too bad it was the Dodgers.

I could probably name more starters in the 1980 Dodgers lineup than I could for the Padres.

And while I hated the Dodgers, one player was different: Steve Garvey.

Even before he became a Padre, Garvey was my favorite. I thought he was the best.

This 1975 Topps card has a few problems, including the fact that it is miscut. Before scanning the card, I noticed how horendous the photo quality was. Then I realized, that's baseball in 1975. It seems all my cards from 1975 look horrible.

9.23.2008

1913 T200 Boston Americans


This is another old tobacco card from the early 1900s, except this issue was of teams only. Sixteen teams were released, eight National League, and eight American League.

If you look close enough you will see photos of three significant players for the Red Sox including: Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper and Joe Wood.

These cards are printed on a very glosssy, yet very thin, photo paper. As you can tell by this card's edges, it has become very brittle over the years.

Years ago I owned a T200 Pittsburgh Pirates card. Obviously it included Honus Wagner. I thought it was great to own a card of Wagner but his image was tiny. So I sold the card and promptly bought another Wagner card.

No, not that Wagner card. I actually got an E95. It is a gum and candy card from 1909. It's not the Wagner, but a nice one nonetheless.

It's also a poor old baseball card.

9.18.2008

1984 Ralston Purina
Fernando Valenzuela

Those of you who visit this blog regularly may have noticed that I try and post a variety of classic cards from 1952 Topps, to vintage Bowman, to Goudeys, to early tobacco and gum cards. I've even posted some not-so-familiar cards like Dan Dee and Red Heart.

I've posted original cards of players like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson.

While Fernando Valenzuela was a fine ballplayer, in no way can this be considered a classic baseball card.

This, however, is a card produced during what I consider the hobby's dark days: Bad quality + tons of stock = bad baseball cards. I recently re-discovered this card in a box full of oddball cards from the 80s. What a bunch of junk!

I not sure what it's worth. I might have to pay someone just to take it off my hands.

Before you get too excited, that last sentence was not meant to be taken literally.

I just don't see anyone retiring on baseball cards from the 1980s. But maybe it's not about worth, maybe it's about the memories theses small pieces of cardboard provide.

One man's piece of junk is another man's treasured memory.

1958 Topps
Willie Mays

Whenever I think of Willie Mays, this is the vision I see. Not today's Willie Mays, but a young Mays who was at his peak.

Growing up, I was a baseball numbers geek. And while I memorized the baseball history book, I was more than impressed with Willie Mays. Next to Babe Ruth, I think he is the greatest all-around baseball player of all time.

I'd even rank him above Mickey Mantle, Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb.

Too bad he had to associate himself with a certain Godson who played in the City by the Bay.

9.16.2008

1933 Goudey
Mule Haas

I got my first 1933 Goudey in the early-1980s. It was of Phil Collins.

Not the "Sussudio" guy. This Phil Collins was a pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies.

To me the card was old. I was amazed that, at the time, I owned a baseball card that was 50 years old.

I have more than a few Goudeys today, and this is one of my favorites.

As a member of the Philadelphia Athletics, Mule Haas played a big part in the 1929 World Series. He sparked his team to a win in Game 4 after hitting an inside-the-park homer in the seventh inning. The Athletics went on to score ten runs that inning, beating the Chicago Cubs 10-8.

He hit another homer in Game 5, as the Athletics won the series.

This Goudey is one of those that doesn't include the red bar along the bottom advertising Big League Chewing Gum. Something about the missing bar makes it look weird. But it's a real Goudey nonetheless.

Oh, and by the way, Mule's real name was George.

9.13.2008

1978 Hostess
Oscar Gamble

Boy, does that uniform bring back old memories.

I don't remember watching Oscar play in old San Diego Stadium (I'm sure I did see him but I was only nine years-old at the time) but I do remember the likes of Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield wearing the old mustard and brown.

I still have my old giveaway hat from the 1978 All-Star season. I remember the folks at the stadium opening the gates the day before the All-Star Game and fans being able to watch batting practice.

If I'm not mistaken, this event became the forerunner to today's Home Run Derby.

Kind of cool!

Speaking of cool, check out that hair.

9.11.2008

1952 Topps
Gus Niarhos


When I got this card years ago I first thought, hey it's a 1952 Topps. Then I thought, hey it's autographed.
But who is Gus Niarhos?

Does it really matter?

I often wonder if the signature is authentic. But then I catch myself and ask: Who would fake Gus Niarhos' autograph?

The bottom line is that it is a nice old vintage card from the classic 1952 set. Enough said.

9.09.2008

1961 Topps
Tommy Davis

Topps sure did like to stick that big giant trophy on their cards in the 1960s and 70s, didn't they?

I love it.

Davis was a two-time batting champ (1962, 63) and was the National League RBI leader in 1962. But my favorite factoid about Tommy Davis is that he played on 11 different teams in a ten-year stretch.

Beginning in 1967, Davis played for the New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics (again), Chicago Cubs (again), Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Kansas City Royals.

After being released by the Orioles in Spring Training in 1976, he signed with the New York Yankees, but never played for them. That would have made it 12, but I guess it really doesn't count.

All-in-all, Davis did play for 12 teams, counting his first seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers – his first eight seasons if you count the one game he played in 1959.

9.06.2008

1909 T206
Johnny Evers

Johnny Evers played in 18 major league seasons and compiled a .270 average with 1,659 hits, 538 RBI and 12 homers. Those are career numbers. Yet he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.

Huh?

I wonder if Evers' election was more of a reaction to being the second baseman in the famous Tinkers to Evers to Chance double-play combination?

I found this card on eBay and was fascinated by its history. The previous owner said that the cards' damage is, in part, a result of Hurricane Katrina.

The card came from Mississippi.

The card has obvious paper loss and, on further inspection, looks like it has some water damage.

A great story for a great card of a fair player who happens to be in the hall of fame.

9.02.2008

1971 Topps
Larry Bowa

Larry Bowa played 16 season in the Major Leagues, the majority of those years right in the middle of my childhood. And as I remember, he was a pretty good player.

Wikipedia seems to back me up: Bowa was a two-time Gold Glove Award winner and a five-time All Star. I think that counts as pretty good. And remember, part of his career overlapped that of one of the greater shortstops, Ozzie Smith.

His 1971 Topps card is pretty good too. Not quite Thurman Munson's card but a nice one nonetheless. And Hey, it has the giant trophy.

8.29.2008

1954 Red Heart
Mickey Mantle

Again, lots of problems with this card of the great Yankee.

This is the latest of the 1954 Red Heart cards I've purchased over the last few weeks. This is my sixth Red Heart overall. Only 27 more to go.

You see, I'm trying to complete the set and I know it's not going to be easy or cheap. You can follow my progress at my new site: 1954 Red Heart Baseball Cards.

You too can watch as I slowly build this set and drain my wallet at the same time.

8.28.2008

1909 E254 Colgan's Chips
Rube Waddell

These cards came in small tins which included small mint or violet gum. I'm not sure what violet gum is, but I think it refers to the color of the small round gum pieces. I assume the mint chips were green while the violet chips were purple.

In my opinion, Rube Waddell was one of the premier pitchers of the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was well documented in the Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary that Waddell was an odd fellow. He is said to have left the dugout, on occasion, to chase a firetrucks as they passed along the ballpark.

Whether his actions were a reaction to alcohol, or whether he was just a little off, or whether he had some sort of mental illness, there's no arguing Waddell's numbers. He ranks tenth all-time in career ERA with a 2.16. In 1946 he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

8.24.2008

1963 Topps
Sandy Koufax

Here's a great card, with a great pose, of a great player.

Sandy Koufax had a pretty good year in 1962 leading the league with a 2.54 ERA. He also had 14 wins and 7 losses. Oh, and he pitched a no-hitter.

I'm not sure where I got this card, but it's been in my collection for years. It was the first Koufax I ever had.

Does it look like he's wearing a jacket under that jersey? I feel hot just looking at him.

Gotta go turn on the air conditioner.

8.22.2008

1952 Red Man
Ewell Blackwell


This card has several issues.

First, it's missing its bottom tab. And second, it's got some sort of staining in the bottom right corner.

These cards were issued with Red Man Tobacco and included a tab along their bottom which were intended to be cut off and sent in for a premium. Obviously this one is missing.

I hope the bottom stain is something like soda or coffee and not tobacco juice.

This card, for all its flaws, does have beautiful artwork.

8.20.2008

1921 E121-80
Jack "Stuffy" McInnis


In 19 major league seasons, Stuffy McInnis hit .307 with 2,405 hits and 1,063 RBI.

But McInnis is probably best known as being a member of Connie Mack's $100,000 infield with the Philadelphia Athletics. McInnis played first base while Eddie Collins played second, Frank"Home Run" Baker third, and Jack Barry shortstop. $100,000 was a ton of money in 1909.

McInnis was also a member of the World Champion Boston Red Sox in 1918.

This card was distributed with American Caramels in 1921. While the back of the card says that 80 players appear in this set, there were actually a bunch more.

I wonder how the A's payroll of the early 1910s translates into today's money. Somehow I don't think they would get close to the money paid to the left side of the Yankees infield.

Heck, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter alone make nearly $50 million dollars between the two of them.

8.15.2008

1948 Signal Oil
Charles Gassaway


From what I know, this card was given out in Oakland, Calif., at area Signal Gasoline stations. The set consists of 24 cards of Oakland Oaks players — including Charles "Casey" Stengel.

Gassaway played in parts of three major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians. He went 5-9 with a 4.04 ERA in the three years.

One interesting thing about this card is that it is very thin, not much thicker than a business card.

It's a cool regional card from the old Pacific Coast League.

8.13.2008

1954 Red Heart
Alvin Dark


Over the past couple of months I've posted baseball cards that could have been found on cereal boxes, in cereal boxes, on boxes of Twinkies, in bags of potato chips and various other places.

This card would have been found with dog food.

Yep, dog food.

My understanding is that if you would mail in a couple of labels of Red Heart dog food and ten cents, you could receive one of three subsets (11 cards) of this issue. A total of three subsets were made for a total of 33 cards. Each subset was differentiated by its background color. Cards either came with a green, blue or red background.

One interesting thing is that in 1954, Cardinals star Stan Musial appeared in this set but not in the popular Topps and Bowman sets. Mickey Mantle also appears here while not appearing with Topps.

Red Heart did a nice job making a simple and attractive issue. With Dan Dee, Red Heart provided at least some competition in 1954 to the big two gum companies of Topps and Bowman.

8.11.2008

1961 Post
Yogi Berra


Here's another one of those Post Cereal cards that was cut off the back of a cereal box.

I really like these old cards and they are good way to get players who would otherwise cost a bundle. Guys like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roger Maris, Roberto Clemente and Yogi Berra all appeared on these cards.

I think this card cost me about six bucks.

I wonder if Yogi's cards are becoming more popular as he appears more and more on TV. I bet most kids today think he is that guy who is in all those insurance commercials with that duck, rather than one of the best catchers of all time.

I really like Yogi, I think his contributions to the game are way underestimated.

8.07.2008

1973 Topps
Hank Aaron


Of the nearly 50 posts on this blog, this is the first of the man many consider to be the real home run king.

By the end of the 1973 season, Hank Aaron finished with 713 career homers, one shy of Babe Ruth's career record. He would eventually break the record on April 8, 1974, and ended his career with 755 homers.

Aaron never hit 70 homers in a season. He never hit 60, or even 50 homers in a season. But he did have 23 great season, averaging more than 32 home runs each year.

Not bad for the real king.

8.05.2008

1954 Dan Dee
Phil Rizzuto


If any card set was made for this blog, this is the one.

In 1954, Dan Dees were issued in bags of potato chips. And while Topps cards have a chance of being stained by gum, Dan Dees were almost always stained by those oily potato chips.

One card was issued per bag. And while it rolled around with the greasy chips, it picked up a few corner dings along the way. Therefore, it is almost impossible to find one of these old cards in mint condition.

This example has more problems than a few stains and corner dings. This card has more creases than I can count. But isn't it a great card anyway?

As of this posting, this is the only Dan Dee in my collection.

One down, only 28 more to go.

8.02.2008

1938 Wheaties
Dolph Camilli


I just got back from the local baseball card show and this is one of the cards I found.

In the middle of all the autograph, relic and refractor cards was an older couple who had some of these old Wheaties panels.

I'm not really sure if I can call them cards because they are huge. Originally, theses panels would be cut off the side of the cereal box. And from what I understand they practically took up the entire back of the box.

This example is numbered No.16 of a series of 16 and is of Dolph Camilli, the Brooklyn Dodgers entry in the set. Each team, there were only 16 in 1938, had a player represented.

I was really surprised to see this type of card at a local 20-table show. I usually have to go to a regional-type show to find this sort of thing. I was also surprised to see quite a few vintage cards.

I even found a few poor old baseball cards. Stay tuned, I'll be posting them in the coming weeks.

7.29.2008

1960 Topps
Bill White


Bill White had a solid 13-year career for the Giants, Cardinals and Phillies in the 1950s-60s.

He was selected to five All-Star games and won seven consecutive gold gloves at first base. He later had a career as a broadcaster and was the National League's president from 1989-1994.

So why did I find this card in the bargain box for just 25 cents?

Here's a guy that proved himself as a player, broadcaster and executive yet his card is being had for just a quarter.

A 2008 Topps Opening Day card of Clay Buchholz books at $2.50. Phil Hughes and Ryan Braun are $1.

Will they prove to be stars of the future? Maybe.

Will they be named to five All-Star Games or win seven gold gloves when thay call it a career? I don't know.

In 20 years, which card will be worth more?

In 20 years, which of these athletes would have contributed more to the game?

I'd take this 1960 Topps Bill White card over the others any day.

7.27.2008

1975 Topps
Rich Gossage


Congratulations to Goose as he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.

I have many fond memories of watching Gossage pitch at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium in the mid-1980s. His induction is long overdue.

Goose was a real closer. He often pitched several inning to close a game unlike today's relievers who are so specialized they're lucky if they pitch an entire inning.

As for the baseball card, isn't it weird seeing Gossage without the wild mustache? And how about that red Sox cap. I forgot they even wore red in the 1970s.

7.23.2008

1953 Topps
Wilmer Mizell


This country boy from Vinegar Bend, Ala., would have a good career going 90-88 in nine seasons with the Cardinals, Pirates and Mets. But Mizell would eventually be known as more than a Major League Baseball pitcher.

Mizell served two terms as a U.S. Representative from North Carolina. He served from 1969 to 75. But a little thing called Watergate took place and Mizell, a Republican, was defeated in the 1974 election.

He also served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development in the Ford administration, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Governmental and Public Affairs in the Reagan administration, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the Department of Veterans Affairs in the first Bush cabinet.

Look at the guy, does he look like a politician?

7.20.2008

1977 Hostess
Mark Fidrych


In the 1970's, there were not a whole lot of choices in baseball cards other than Topps. One company that did make cards was Hostess, the makers of Twinkies and Ding-Dongs.

The cards came in panels of three on the bottom of each box. And by the time they arrived into your cupboard from the grocery store they were all scuffed up.

As a kid going to elementary school, my lunch often consisted of: A sandwich, a package of Cheese 'N Crackers, a Hostess Twinkie (sometimes a Ding-Dong or Cupcake), and a carton of chocolate milk.

Believe it or not, the Twinkie or Ding-Dong was a staple for the typical third-grader in 1977.

And one of the more popular cards a kid could get was Mark Fidrych.

Fidrych had a great season in 1976 going 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA. He was Rookie of the Year in 1976 and, in 1977, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with Big Bird.

How cool was that... when you're an 8-year-old?

7.18.2008

1920 W516-1
Babe Ruth


This authentic strip card of Babe Ruth is special for a few reasons:

First, it shows Ruth as a pitcher. It's hard to imagine that the Babe was a great pitcher before he became the game's greatest homer run hitter. Actually, in my book, he was the game's greatest player, period.

The card also shows Ruth during his first year as a Yankee. In 1920, he hit 54 homers with 137 RBI while batting .376.

Not bad for a pitcher.

If you're not familiar with strip cards, these blank-back cards were sold as strips with many cards coming on a strip. The cost: usually a penny. The cards were then hand cut and separated. Every know-and-then you may see a full strip for sale, but it's rare.

Strip cards used to be an affordable alternative to tobacco cards. But today, their value has grown significantly. They were printed on super-thin card stock, almost paper-like and were often simple line drawings.

7.16.2008

1983 Fleer
Pete Rose


Pete Rose has lots of cards that are vintage. His 1964 Topps card is one of the nicest in that year's set. But can we consider this card of Rose vintage? It is 25 years old.

Does the fact that it is a quarter of a century old make it so? I'm not sure.

In the early 1980s I remember going to a card shop and buying a bunch of cards from the 1950s and 60s. They included stars like Warren Spahn, Robin Roberts, Frank Robinson, Whitey Ford and Hank Aaron. To me, even though they were barely 20 years old, they were vintage.

Some say that cards ceased being vintage after 1980 when Topps lost it's 25-year grip on the industry. In 1981, Fleer and Donruss joined the market, producing cards to challenge Topps. Other companies soon followed suit and the industry would change forever.

Before a few weeks ago, I felt the same way. I consider myself a vintage collector and wouldn't even consider buying anything made after 1980.

But then I found a few 1981 Donruss Reggie Jackson cards at a local shop. They brought back lots of memories.

But again I ask, are they vintage or are they just old? What do you think?

You can weigh in by leaving a comment below. I'd like to know what you think.