12.31.2009

1960 Topps
Al Kaline

Looked up his stats on Wikipedia and this is what I found:

Career stats: .297 lifetime average, 3,007 hits, 399 homers.
Teams: Detroit Tigers 1953-1974.
Career highlights: 15x All-Star (1955-67, 1971, 1974), 1968 World Series champ, 10x gold glove winner (1957-59, 1961-67), 1973 Roberto Clemente Award (sportsmanship, community team player), 1968 Lou Gehrig Award (character and integrity), 1969 Hutch Award (competitiveness).

Not bad for a guy who you rarely hear mentioned as one of the game's greatest.

What would we be saying of Kaline if he were a Yankee or Dodger?

12.26.2009

1954 Red Heart
Minnie Minoso

It feels like it's been forever since I updated redheartcards but I am down to the wire.

Of the 33 cards in the set I have 10 to go.

I noticed that it's becoming difficult to find these old cards in un-graded condition. Of the eBay auctions, it seems like nearly 70% of these cards are graded.

And since they are graded, people want a premium price. Sorry but I am not going to pay $250 for a PSA 8 Ferris Fain.

I'll take the one with the rounded corners for under-$10 any day.

It's finding that card for under $10 that seems to be my challenge.

12.22.2009

1923 W515-1
Al Mamaux

Sometimes you can get really great deals on eBay.

This 1923 strip card of Al Mamaux set me back $5.99. A great deal for a 87-year-old baseball card.

For those of you not familiar with strip cards, they were sold in strips. Several cards joined together and then cut apart. Some with scissors, some with knives. This one looks like it was torn from its neighbor.

As far as I know, the cards were sold for a penny in machines similar to the ones that sell gumballs at the local grocery store.

As a kid I saw my first strip cards in a magazine and later bought my first cards at a national sports card show in Anaheim, Calif. It was at the Disneyland Hotel. It was the 1980s. It was a time when there were baseball card shop on just about every corner. For those of you who are younger think of Starbucks.

I remember buying cards of Rogers Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Wally Pipp, George Sisler, Ty Cobb and even a Babe Ruth. I think they were like $5 each. Ruth may have been $20.

I wanted nothing more than a real Babe Ruth when I was a kid and the one I got that day is still a cherished part of my collection.

So if you want to add a vintage baseball card to your collection consider a strip card. They can usually be had for a fraction of the price of their tobacco cousin.

Just don't expect to find a Babe Ruth for $20. We're not in the 80s anymore.

11.15.2009

1961 Fleer
Honus Wagner

So it's not that Honus Wagner. But it is a Honus Wagner nonetheless.

This 1961 Fleer is a definite option for those card collectors out there who would never consider a Wagner from his playing days.

When thinking of the Pittsburgh shortstop, we often only consider his famed T206 card. But I think we must also remember that there were plenty of gum and candy cards made of Wagner – and not all will set you back $1 million.

One of the best buys I ever made was about 10 years ago when I found a 1909 E95 Honus Wagner (look for it in the coming months) in decent shape at a National card show. The card's back has some paper loss and therefore became affordable.

I would never be able to afford that card today, even in its condition.

But this Wagner is just that — affordable.

For about the price of lunch, you too can be the owner of a Honus Wagner baseball card.

11.13.2009

1968 Topps
Mickey Mantle

I got an e-mail a few weeks ago from a reader of this blog alerting me to an eBay auction of a 1968 Topps Mickey Mantle.

When I looked up the card, I found this beauty: the same card I had actually been monitoring for a few days. It's like this card was made for this site.

How could I resist – even at $26.09.

When the envelope came in the mail a few days ago, it was postmarked Massachusetts.

Surprised?

I wish I knew the story behind this card.

Was it altered by a disgruntled Red Sox fan? Was it taped to a bedpost reminding its owner of the hated Yankees? Would the original artist have applied his hand if he knew the card would someday be worth a bundle?

All questions I will never know the answers to.

But it's fun wondering, isn't it?

11.05.2009

1970 Topps
Thurman Munson

So, it looks like someone went a little crazy with the transparent tape.

Those of you who have followd this blog in the past know that the 1971 Topps Munson card is my favorite card of all time. In my opinion, it's just a beautiful card.

And the funny thing about it is most think the 1971 card is Munson's rookie.

Well, it isn't. This is his rookie card.

Not nearly as attractive, but still a nice card.

What am I saying. This isn't a very nice card at all. Topps' 1970 set offered this boring gray background and forced the future Yankees captain to share his card with Dave McDonald.

Who?

That's what I said. So I looked him up ...

McDonald played a total of 33 major league games with the New York Yankees and Montreal Expos. He had nine hits in 62 at bats.

By the way, that's nine hits more than me.

11.03.2009

1962 Topps
Yogi Berra

I'm grateful to Aflac Insurance for keeping Yogi Berra in our minds over the past few years.

If it weren't for them, I wonder how many of the kids out there would have ever heard of the great Yankee catcher.

But sometimes it takes a comical commercial to keep one of the game's greats in the public eye.

I hope today's kids don't just remember him for his kooky sayings.

He is one of four four players to be named MVP in the American League three times. As a manager, he also led both AL and NL teams to the World Series.

But back to his yogisms ...

My favorite: "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."

What's your favorite Yogi quote?

11.02.2009

1951 Bowman
Sal Maglie

So it's been a while since I posted a new (old) card on this blog.

And while looking through my recent acquisitions I found this beauty. Some of you out there must wonder why anyone would buy this card, especially in it's horrible condition.

But to me, this is the perfect card.

It makes me wonder ...

Who owned this card as a child?

Why are there so many creases?

Was it in the back of someone's pocket?

Did the fading come from someone leaving it out in the sun?

Exactly how old is the tape?

All important questions to ponder when purchasing a poor old baseball card.

9.10.2009

1961 Fleer
Babe Ruth

I am lucky enough to own a few Babe Ruth baseball cards. I have four cards of the Babe that were produced during his playing day.

This card was made 13 years after his death.

As far as new Babe Ruth cards go – I'm not so sure this card can be considered new, it's 48 years old — this is a keeper.

I recently rediscovered this set.

I always knew of 1961 Fleers but never really considered collecting them.

The set is full of the game's great players and individual cards can be had at a very affordable price. This card set me back about $20.

Not bad for a card of the game's greatest.

1957 Topps
Roy Campanella

I was pretty excited to open the mailbox the other day.

It was a long holiday weekend and I had a feeling there would be at least one package waiting for me. I was lucky, there were three.

In one was this 1957 Topps Roy Campanella that I had purchased on eBay only a few days earlier. I was expecting this card to arrive later in the week.

But there it was. A beautiful card to say the least.

This is the first card of Campanella in my collection.

It was listed on eBay as being in poor condition and the price was right so I went for it. When I opened up the package I looked at my new card and it looked to be in much better condition than poor.

But upon further review, the card showed its true colors – or should I say folds.

If you look close enough you will see the massive crease that runs across the card. It's kind of hard to see because it's hidden by the base path in the background. But believe me, it's there.

Still, not a bad example of a poor old baseball card.

9.05.2009

1940 Play Ball
Gabby Street

From the card's back:

A good catcher in his heyday as a player. Gabby Street will always be remembered as the battery mate of the immortal Walter Johnson. Gabby was also manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1930, until July 1933, winning pennants in the first two years, and the World Championship as well in the second. He caught a ball thrown from the top of the Washington Monument in 1908, a remarkable feat. Gabby also managed the St. Louis Browns in 1938. Today, he is doing baseball broadcasting in St. Louis.

Cool!

9.03.2009

1954 Topps
Ted Kluszewski

I'll be honest. As far as I'm concerned Topps finished third when it came to baseball card design in 1954.

It's not that Topps' design is all that bad, it's more about Red Heart and Dan Dee's design being better.

For small issues, Red Heart (dog food) and Dan Dee (potato chips) made some sweet-looking cards.

The other problem for Topps in 1954 is that it was missing more than a few stars in its set including: Stan Musial, Bob Feller, Robin Roberts, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese and arguably the most popular player of all – Mickey Mantle.

I know some of you out there disagree.

Some may think that this is one of Topps' better designs. 1952 is far and away the best and 1957 and 1964 are two of my favorites.

While I can't argue that the effort in 1954 may have been in the top-10 overall for Topps, I just think Red Heart and Dan Dee are better.

8.29.2009

1964 Topps
Harmon Killebrew

The top-10 things you can get for $2:

10. Two tickets and a chance to win California's Mega Millions jackpot. Someone's gotta win!

9. A McChicken sandwich and fries from McDonald's. I was going to say a McDouble and fries but I had never heard of it.

8. About three-quarters (give or take) of a tank of gas.

7. One of those packaged sandwiches from the vending machine at work. Sometimes that's all you have time for.

6. Half a hot dog from the ballpark. Well, you can't really buy a half of a hot dog but I think you know what I mean.

5. A half-gallon of milk. At least according to the ad I got in the mail this week.

4. A fish taco from Rubio's. It's a San Diego thing.

3. Four postage stamps.

2. Two items from the dollar store. From toothpaste to detergent to USB cords, that place has everything.

1. This 1964 Topps baseball card of Harmon Killebrew.

8.26.2009

1967 Topps
Bob Gibson

Remember when you would open up a wax pack and there would either be a piece of gum stuck to a card or gum residue caked on the card's surface?

Well, there must have been a case of gum next to this card. It's a mess!

If I didn't know any better, I would wonder if it were mold growing on the card. But since I've had the card a while now and it hasn't grown any fuzz, I think it's old gum residue.

Come to think of it – it could be orange juice. Maybe it's the dripping of an ice cream or the remnants of a Snickers bar.

Any thoughts?

8.17.2009

1933 Goudey
Floyd (Babe) Herman

For about a year and a half now, I've posted pieces of my baseball card collection.

I posted a T206 Walter Johnson with burn marks. I posted a T206 Johnny Evers that was supposedly damaged in Hurricane Katrina. Then there was the 1957 Topps Duke Snider that was practically torn in half and the 1971 Thurman Munson that was graded 5 of 100.

But as far as poor old baseball cards go, this 1933 Goudey Babe Herman may be the best (worst) of them all.

I cannot begin to describe this card's flaws.

Let's just say being run over by a truck would be a bit flattering.

8.16.2009

1976 Kellogg's
Carl Yastrzemski

As a kid growing up in the 1970s, a new box of Frosted Flakes in the morning also meant a surprise — a baseball card.

This beauty from 1976 has long lost its 3-D effect, but it still has super-bright color. A nice substitute for the Topps set.

It was sets like Kellogg's and Hostess that brought variety to my baseball card world. Those were the choices back then. No Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss – or any of the other number of sets available beginning in the mid-1980s.

One thing I remember about these cards it that they had a tendency to curl. I've heard it referred to as the "Kellogg's Curl."

The other thing I remember is that I would never get great players like Yastrzemski in my box of cereal. For some reason I remember getting the likes of Burt Hooten.

8.13.2009

1961 Fleer
Lou Gehrig

About two years ago I had a chance to buy a 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig.

I forget the asking price but it was less than I thought and I remember thinking to myself: "I can do this."

But I didn't.

So up until a few days ago I was Gehrig-free. Then I saw this card on eBay. Sure it's not from his playing days but it's a sweet card. It really is.

I think the 1961 Fleer set is underrated and definitely under-appreciated. It's simple design is really classic.

And if you are looking for a card of Lou Gehrig or Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb or Honus Wagner you may want to consider the 1961 Fleer set. Plus, you won't have to take out a loan from your local bank to get it.

I wonder what it was like for a kid in 1961 to pull a Lou Gehrig from the pack.

Did anyone ever utter the words, "I'll trade you my Babe Ruth for your Lou Gehrig and Mel Ott?"

Anyone out there remember collecting this set? I'd like to hear from you.

8.10.2009

1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder
Fred Clarke / R. Byrne



This cards is downright cool.

Distributed in packs of cigarettes in 1911, this issue includes two players.

The full panel is of Hall of Famer Fred Clarke. Clarke was a player/manager for four Pittsburgh pennants. He was also a teammate of Honus Wagner.

On the other side of the card is Robert Byrne, Clarke's third baseman.

When you fold the card in half, Byrne's body overlaps Clarke's and the combination of Byrne's top and Clarke's bottom produces its own image.

Pretty smart if you ask me.

8.07.2009

1966 Topps
Ed Mathews

No, this is not an early look at the 2010 Upper Deck baseball card design.

In fact, this is Topps' solution to the Braves moving from Milwaukee to Atlanta. It appears that Topps didn't have a photo of Mathews in an Atlanta hat so they decided to just airbrush the old "M" off his cap.

When I first saw this card I thought a kid took an eraser to it. But as I looked closer I realized that Topps did the erasing for him.

It's too bad because it looks ridiculous. I would rather have had him in the Milwaukee cap. I think that if I were a kid in 1966 I would have been able to figure it out.

At the very least this card gives us an idea of how difficult it will be for Upper Deck to make cards of major leaguers without using team logos. Since the company lost its license to use the logos yesterday, it will have to get awfully creative in its design to satisfy today's baseball card buyer.

8.04.2009

WANT TO TRADE?
1975 Topps Reggie Jackson


I'll trade you this poor old baseball card for yours.

Do you have a baseball card that has been run over by a truck? How about chewed up by the dog? Maybe it was used to start up the grill or dropped in the pool?

You get the picture.

Here's your chance to get rid of that old card you are embarrassed to own. You know, the one you were going to just toss because it was never going to be worth anything.

If you want to trade for this 1975 Topps Reggie Jackson, please comment on this link with your offer and e-mail a photo of the card to pooroldbaseballcards@gmail.com. I'll choose the best deal and if and when the trade is completed I will blog about the transaction and post the new (old) card.

It doesn't have to be a Hall-of-Famer but it does have to be a poor old baseball card.

The poorer the better.

1954 Red Heart Cards
21 down, 13 to go


So as many of you may know, I am trying to complete the 1954 Red Heart set. You can follow my progress at redheartcards.com.

It's a few weeks shy of a year since I posted my first Red Heart on the site. And with only 33 total cards I figured I would have finished the set off in less than a year.

I was able to get the two tough cards out of the way fairly quickly. The Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial were not cheap. I didn't expect them to be. So now all I had to do was find the easy ones, right?

Wrong. They're not so easy to find after all. Especially at a reasonable price.

I purchase four new cards over the weekend and now have 21 of the cards in hand. I'm getting there, only 12 more to go.

7.31.2009

1965 Topps
Bob Gibson Embossed Insert

I wasn't around in 1965 so I cannot speak to this card from personal experience but I understand it was part of a set offered as an insert to the regular-issue Topps set.

So basically, when you opened up your pack of cards, one of these embossed beauties was randomly inserted. Did you also get the stick of gum? I guess. I'm really not sure.

By the time I was seriously collecting cards, all I ever got was that stale piece of gum. But that didn't stop me from chomping on it.

I know Topps experimented with several different inserts including posters and I think coins.

This is where I need your help. Do you have a favorite Topps insert? Was was it and from what year?

And someone please answer the question: Was the piece of gum included?

7.26.2009

1948 Leaf
Joe Gordon

It's been about a month now that I walked into my local baseball card shop and bought about a dozen 1948 Leaf baseball cards.

Each card seemed to be in worse condition than the next but that was alright with me. The highlight of the lot was a Lou Boudreau that I paid about $15 for.

At least that's what I thought was the highlight.

While looking through the group of cards about a week ago I found this Joe Gordon. It was $5.

Not bad for a card of a man that was elected into Baseball's Hall of Fame earlier today.

When you pick up your newspapers in the morning you will probably read a bunch about Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice. I bet there will be no more than a few paragraphs on good ol' Joe.

From what I know, This is the only card produced of Gordon during his playing days. There may be a few regional-type issues of Gordon but as far as widely-produced cards go, that is if you can call the 1948 Leaf widely produced, this may be the only card ever made for Gordon.

A highlight of a card if you ask me.

7.25.2009

1955 Bowman
Willie Mays


I've had televisions on my mind for the past couple of weeks.

A few weeks ago, I called the repairman out to take a look at my 42-inch rear projection HDTV because it was having convergence issues (the colors were not aligning). Since the set was still under the extended warranty, I didn't care how many times the guy would have to come out, I just wanted it fixed.

Well, he tried.

But before leaving for the final time he uttered those words I was longing to hear, "I'm going to have to declare this TV unrepairable."

In other words, the warranty company is sending me a new one!

The set finally arrived on Thursday: A Panasonic, 42-inch plasma HDTV. It's beautiful.

Which brings me back to 1955.

Bowman decided to include the new technology of the color TV in their design that year.

This example features, in my opinion, the second-greatest player ever in Willie Mays. It includes a great photo of a young Mays in his New York Giants uniform.

I wonder what Mays would look like today in high definition?

7.21.2009

1909 E90-1 American Caramel
Lumley, Mullin, Leach, Dooin




So I was surfing the Internet a little more than a week ago and found myself gravitating to eBay.

And what was I looking for? Poor old baseball cards.

I quickly found these four 100-year-old cards with a best offer options. After my first offers were quickly denied, my second tries were accepted the next morning. I wonder if me buying all four cards helped.

All four came out to $35.

I think that's a pretty good deal considering ther age and the fact that these are not your run-of-the-mill cards.

When it comes to these old cards It really doesn't matter who the player is. I know I'm not going to find a Hall-of-Famer for less than $10. So part of the thrill is finding out about the player. And boy was I lucky.

Harry Lumley: In 1904, his rookie year, he led the league with 18 triples and nine home runs.

George Mullin: 29 wins in 1909 led the league; pitched the first no-hitter for the Detroit Tigers (1912).

Tommy Leach: The 1902 NL home run champ, he had six - all inside the park.

Red Dooin: Was a player-manager for the Phillies from 1910-1914.

7.12.2009

1949 Bowman
Harry Walker

The back of this card says it all:

"Nervous fidgeting with baseball cap earned him his nickname. Began in majors with Cards, then was traded to Phils in 1947. At end of 1948 went to Chicago Cubs. Led NL in hitting while playing with more than one club during same season. In three World Series and on two All-Star teams."

No need to know on base percentage, slugging percentage, stolen bases or doubles. All you need to know is that Walker had one of the best nicknames in the game and that he was a pretty doggone good ballplayer.

Sometimes simple is better.

7.11.2009

1934 Goudey
Hal Trosky

I know the 1933 Goudey set is a classic among baseball card purists, but in my opinion the 1934 edition may be even nicer.

Not only do you get the quality and bright colors of the 1933 set, you also get a nice little portrait of Lou Gehrig or in a few cases Chuck Klein.

The card's back also includes the thoughts of Gehrig, or Klein, about the player depicted.

As for Hal Trosky, he was a pretty good player.

He had a few monster seasons including 1934 when he hit .330 with 35 homers with 142 RBI. In 1936 he had his best season while batting .343 with 42 homers and 162 RBI.

Trosky finished his career with 228 homers and 1,012 RBI. Not bad.

7.09.2009

1970 Topps
Reggie Jackson

I get a few baseball card catalogs in the mail every so often and one thing I have noticed lately is the price of Reggie Jackson Cards.

With the exception of his 1969 rookie, most all Jackson cards are quite affordable.

While I did not get this second-year card through a catalog, I did pick it up for under $5.

I consider Reggie Jackson to be on of the game's true stars. But the price of his cards seem to reflect that of a middle-tier Hall-of-Famer rather than the icon I believe he is.

I'm not sure why. After all, he was a Yankee.

But that's okay with me if it means I can grab a few of this man's cards for less than the price of lunch.

7.07.2009

1975 Topps
Robin Yount

One of the coolest things about having an iPhone is being able to easily check my various e-mail accounts.

So about two weeks ago, between all those nagging messages from Nigerian businessmen, I got a note titled Yount rookie card. It was from Dave R. and it read: Saw this posting on eBay and thought it might be up your alley.

So sure enough there it was, this 1975 Topps Robin Yount rookie in terrible shape. It had a starting bid of $3.99 with free shipping.

I was the only bidder.

So thanks to Dave R. for the heads-up on this great card.

If anyone out there sees a poor old baseball card that you think fits this blog please drop me a line at pooroldbaseballcards@gmail.com. The poorer the better.

You may see it on this blog in the near future.

7.06.2009

1962 Topps
Bob Clemente

If you are a serious vintage baseball card collector you should have a few basics, including original cards of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams among others.

And you definitely need a card of Roberto Clemente.

Cards of Clemente are not cheap, but if you look hard enough, you can find one for under $20. This 1962 example cost me $25.

But you don't have to be a vintage collector to appreciate Clemente. If you are a parent, consider getting your child a baseball card of Roberto Clemente instead of that video game that will be relegated to the back of the sock drawer in a few months.

Get your child a card of the Pittsburgh Pirate great and tell them about his humanitarian efforts. Tell them about how he was elected into the Hall-of-Fame after an untimely death flying goods to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Tell them how he ended his career with exactly 3,000 hits. Tell them about his 12 Gold Gloves and 12 All-Star selections.

They will eventually forget about that video game, but they will always remember the time you bought them that baseball card of one of the game's greatest.

7.05.2009

1958 Topps
Ed Mathews

If this baseball card were a movie, I would name it, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

The Good: Ed Mathews was beyond a good baseball player. He was actually a great one. He hit 512 homers and was a nine-time All-Star selection. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. A couple of interesting things about Mathews: 1) He played for the Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, the only player to do so. 2) He was the manager of the Braves when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run. 3) He appeared on the first cover of Sports Illustrated.

The bad: The condition of this card is pretty bad. It has lots of creases and the corners are basically gone.

The Ugly: That shade of green is ugly. I'm sorry but there is no better word to describe it.

7.04.2009

1967 Topps
Pete Rose

A closer look at this 1967 Topps Pete Rose should give you a good idea as to why it was posted.

It has plenty of creases, paper loss, a little marker pen, what appears to be paint and what I can only determine is glue.

Yet, it is one of the nicest examples of a card of the all-time hits leader.

The back of this card is a bit foretelling.

It reads, in part: "The way Pete is blasting the ball, he is sure to set many club records before hanging up his cleats."

6.22.2009

1962 Topps
Duke Snider

Duke Snider was only a part-time player for the Dodgers in 1962. He played in 80 games that year and hit five homers.

But after the season ended he was in fact traded to the New York Mets. That must be when this card's owner marked the transaction on the card.

For some reason or another, there are a lot of poor-condition cards of Snider out there.

Before starting this blog over a year ago, I owned no Snider cards. I now own three. This 1962 Topps, a 1959 Topps and a 1957 Topps – all in pretty-bad shape.

With a little searching on eBay, I can probably find an Ex condition version of this card for about $20.

But I'll take this poor condition card any day. Complete with a kid's scribbles.

6.19.2009

1953 Topps
Warren Spahn

Warren Spahn was a 12-time, 20-game winner in the Majors – 1953 being no exception.

In '53, Spahn went 23-7 with a 2.01 ERA. It was the first year for the Braves in Milwaukee. Yet Spahn is wearing his Boston hat in this card.

At least Topps didn't Photoshop his cap – of wait, there was no Photoshop in 1953.

I got a chance to see Spahn about a year before his death. I was in Cooperstown during induction week. He was across the street sitting at a table signing autographs. He was frail and old – unlike the young man in his prime pictured in this card.

I didn't matter, I will always cherish the fact that I once saw, with my own eyes, the greatest lefthander to pitch in the Majors.

6.16.2009

1972 Topps
Reggie Jackson

About a week ago I had the urge to go to a local baseball card shop and look around. I figured I might be able to find a few cards I can post on the old blog.

When I walked into the store I explained to the owner that I was looking for poor old baseball cards. I said that I would prefer star players but any old cards would do.

This is usually where the owner looks at me a bit funny and offers to show me a small box of overpriced star players from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

But this store was a bit different. The owner immediately pulled out three boxes of Hall-of-Famers and stars to look through. And each card was in worse condition than the next.

It was heaven. You know that saying about being a kid in a candy store? Well, I was Charlie and this was my Chocolate Factory.

Among the cards I went home with were: two 1971 Thurman Munsons, a 1958 Eddie Matthews, a 1962 Duke Snider, nine 1948 Leafs and this 1972 Reggie Jackson.

By the way, Reggie was $1.

Boy, I am looking forward to the next time I have a sweet tooth.

6.14.2009

E90-1 American Caramel
Jack Barry

Jack Barry was the shortstop in Connie Mack's $100,000 infield.

He — along with Stuffy McInnis at first, Eddie Collins at second and Frank Baker at third – were the highest paid teammates of their day.

They were kind of like today's New York Yankees infield except Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira make more like $75 million.

The investment seems to have paid off for the Philadelphia Athletics with World Series championships in 1910, 1911 and 1913. All-in-all, Barry played on seven American League pennant winners in his 11-year career.

After his playing days in the Majors were over, Barry had a distinguished career as the baseball coach at Holy Cross.

He served as coach for 40 years compiling a 616-150-6 career record.

6.12.2009

1974 Topps
Hank Aaron

For the longest time I thought this was one of those "special cards."

I didn't realize it was Aaron's regular-issue card for 1974. As the No. 1 card in the set it is a nice tribute to the New All-Time Home Run King.

Then I looked at the back.

At the end of 1973, Aaron had 713 homers, one shy of tying Babe Ruth and two short of becoming the king. It wasn't until April 8, 1974, that Aaron would surpass the Babe.

Did Topps prematurely inaugurate Aaron the Home Run King?

Was this card produced in a series that was made after the season started?

I know someone out there knows the answers.

Help, please!

6.11.2009

1926 W512
Grover Cleveland Alexander

Grover Cleveland Alexander is tied with Christy Mathewson for third-most wins in the majors. His 373 victories are only surpassed by Walter Johnson (417) and Cy Young (511).

Yet unlike Cy Young, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson – I bet most baseball fans have never heard of him.

I remember seeing a baseball movie called "The Winning Team," starring a young Ronald Reagan as Alexander. I was just a kid, but I took an interest in the story about the ballplayer who served during WWI that came back to the States with a ton of issues.

Alexander suffered from shell shock and had his share of problems with alcohol. It is said he would often pitch while hung-over.

One of the most amazing things about Alexander is that he won 20 or more games in a season nine times. He won 30 or more three times.

He also won the pitching triple-crown (leading the league in ERA, wins and strikeouts) in 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1920.

Amazing!

6.10.2009

1971 Topps
Thurman Munson (graded)

Why?

This is by far the worst graded card I have ever seen – let alone own.

Why would someone submit this card for grading? By the way, it wasn't me.

I know, your probably asking," Submitting it is one thing but how could someone pay money for that thing?"

I plead guilty to the later. It makes for a great conversation piece.

Can't you see the expression on the face of the professional grader when he or she pulled this beauty out of the envelope?

And when the submitter received the card, I wonder if they were thrilled when it scored a 5 (Poor or Better).

Better? Are you serious?

How could it get any worse?

Do you have a graded card that is worse than this? I'd like to hear your story.

6.09.2009

1980 Topps
Rickey Henderson

As a teen in the mid-1980s, this was the baseball card to have.

I probably pulled a half-dozen of these from wax packs back in the day, but I found this one at a local baseball card shop yesterday.

It was $3.

I got a chance to see Rickey play on a regular basis when he joined the San Diego Padres in 1996 and again in 2001. He was an easy pick to become a Hall-of-Famer later this year.

He may be one of the Top-10 baseball players ever. He changed the game and was a dynamic player and personality.

What more could you ask for?

6.07.2009

1948 Leaf
Johnny Vander Meer

Are you kidding me? Two consecutive no-hitters.

Vander Meer accomplished the feat in 1938. On June 11 he allowed no hits against the Boston Bees (Braves). Four days later he did the same against the Brooklyn Dodgers. What's even more amazing is that he did it both times on the road.

Apparently the Reds wanted him to change his uniform number to "00" after the accomplishment. He never did.

The back of this cards advertises a 12" x 6" pennant from any National or American League team. All you had to do was send in five baseball card wrappers and ten cents.

What a deal!

6.04.2009

1957 Topps
Duke Snider

Alright, I know I overpaid for this card. It was $12.

But as the author of a blog titled "Poor Old Baseball Cards," how could I resist.

Good ol' Duke is split right down the middle. That's not a heavy crease, that's a tear. It's barely hanging on. It's nearly two halves.

It's still a sweet baseball card.

And if anyone were to ask if I would rather have 12 brand new 2009 baseball card packs or this torn piece of cardboard ... well those of you who read this blog regularly know the answer.

I'd take this 1957 Duke Snider every time.

5.31.2009

1964 Topps
Mickey Mantle

About a year ago, I listed this card as my fourth favorite card ever produced.

It was picked behind the 1971 Topps Thurman Munson, the 1957 Topps Ted Kluszewski and the 1953 Topps Satchel Paige.

I still think it belongs in my Top-5.

When you think of vintage baseball cards, Mickey Mantle holds a special spot. I think a lot of it has to do with his beautiful 1952 Topps card. His numbers are also a main factor. And lest we forget, he was a Yankee.

But I sometimes wonder if he would still hold that special place in this hobby if he played for the Kansas City A's or the Baltimore Orioles.

And what if Joe DiMaggio played for the Cleveland Indians or the Washington Senators?

And what if Babe Ruth – nevermind – he was in a league of his own.

Don't get me wrong, Mickey Mantle was a great baseball player ... but what if?

5.28.2009

1946-47 Propagandas Montiel
Frank Overmire

Before about two weeks ago, I had never even heard of Propagandas Montiel, let alone seen one of these super-thin Cuban cards.

So when this example was up for sale on eBay I had to have it.

From what I know, there are 180 cards in this set. The majority are baseball players — along with a few dozen boxers, a couple of wrestlers and a tennis player.

Even if this card isn't the most attractive in my collection, it is unique.

It also reminds me of Cuba's rich baseball history.

4.13.2009

1954 Red Heart
Stan Musial

I really thought this would be the last card of the 33-card set I would find.

It's No. 17.

If you have been following my quest to complete the Red Heart set at redheartcards, you know it's been a slow process. Several months ago I got a beater Mickey Mantle for close to $200. I had no clue how much this was going to cost.

It was $44. I was thrilled.

Sixteen more cards to go.