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.
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.
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.
It may sound dumb, but I have four of these cards. Of the four, three are in pretty bad shape. This one is the worst of the bunch.
So why do I have four?
Lately while looking through eBay, I've adopted a certain philosophy toward those players I consider superstars; Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson.
I try to find regular issue Mantle and Robinson cards, during their playing days, for under $40. I also look for Mays, Aaron and Clemente cards for under $5. Now keep in mind condition isn't that important to me. I think these cards will always hold their value regardless of condition.
And believe it or not, I am occasionally successful in my quest.
I have been successful at least a few times when it comes to the 1966 Topps Mickey Mantle.
I had my eye on this card for a few weeks. It was listed on eBay and a few days ago I finally pulled the trigger. So for less than the price of a gallon of gas in Southern California, it's mine.
For me, this card is interesting because it shows how Snider's numbers dropped dramatically after leaving Brooklyn's Ebbets Field and moving into Los Angeles' Coliseum.
In 1958, the Dodgers' first season in L.A., Snider hit only 15 homers with 58 RBI. He had hit at least 40 homers and averaged 117 RBI in the final five seasons in Brooklyn. Some think the move to Los Angeles marked the beginning of the end of a great career for the Duke of Flatbush.
In the 1950's most considered Snider the third center fielder in New York. The first two were the Yankees' Mickey Mantle and the Giants' Willie Mays.
But Snider's numbers were at least comparable. He was an eight-time All Star and a two-time world champion. And in 1980 he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
What a treat it must have been for New Yorkers to be able to go out on any given day and watch any of the three future Hall of Famers patrol the outfield.
As of today, here's my top-5 list of favorite cards made by Topps:
1. 1971 Thurman Munson 2. 1957 Ted Kluszewski 3. 1953 Satchel Paige 4. 1964 Mickey Mantle 5. 1952 Any card in this set
This card just recently became my all-time favorite. I'm not sure why. It could have something to do with the nice action shot and the crisp black border (not in this example though). Maybe it's the giant trophy or the green and yellow coloring. I think it's all of the above.
This card is Munson's most valuable. It's not even his rookie card, it's actually his second-year card. When I looked up the card's value ($125 in NM condition) I was surprised to find out that, of the 1971 Topps set, only Nolan Ryan and Roberto Clemente are worth more at $150 each.
Munson is worth more than Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose.
Maybe it's because of the card's great design. Any thoughts?
Look up Virgil Trucks' stats and you will see the numbers of a pretty good pitcher who was named to two All-Star teams. But look a little deeper. Look at 1952.
That was the year that Trucks compiled a 5-19 records for the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers were horrible in 1952. The team finished the season 50-104, 45 games behind the New York Yankees in the standings. They were 24 games behind the lowly St. Louis Browns. They had the worst team-winning percentage (.325) until 2003, when the Detroit Tigers beat their record for futility (.265).
So what about Trucks?
Of Trucks' five wins, two were no-hitters, one was a one-hitter and another a two-hitter.
In fact, Trucks threw a total of six no-hitters in his career, four of them while playing in the minors.