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.