1.22.2010

1961 Topps
Mickey Mantle

Ouch!

All signs of the culprit point to one thing, and only one thing. Tape.

Tape is to the baseball card what kryptonite is to Superman.

It has destroyed far too many cards only to take their value with it.

I bet this was quite the desirable card to have in 1961 with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris taking aim at Babe Ruth's record for homers in a season.

Most wanted Mantle to break the mark. But it was his teammate that would eventually hit number 61.

I could imagine New Yorkers, heck most all baseball fans, choosing sides.

It must have been like Conan O'Brien vs. Jay Leno.

By the way, I'm with Coco.

1.21.2010

1909 T206
Heinie Wagner

So I think I may have found it: The worst-conditioned baseball card in the world.

A few weeks ago I was browsing on eBay and found this 101-year-old beauty that was just begging to be a part of this blog.

The bidding was fierce, but I was able to land it for the price of one cent. Yep, that's right, a penny. You know, that copper coin you won't even bend down to pick up.

But I was thrilled.

It arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon, and when taking it out of its package, one of the first things I noticed was it was super brittle.

In fact it was so bad, when I took it out of its sleeve, I immediately added the major horizontal crease through Heinie's head. It's barely hanging on.

About 20 minutes ago, I figured it was time to post.

So far, so good. Then it happened.

I was pulling the card off the scanner's surface and it split in two.

Just another wrinkle in the life of this poor old baseball card.

1.13.2010

1963 Topps
Billy Williams

This card is a mess.

A closer look at this old piece of cardboard reveals rounded corners, fading, heavy creasing and a hole below Williams' chin.

It's even off-center.

It looks as if someone carried it in their hip pocket for the entire 1963 season.

Or maybe it spent a good portion of its life attached to a kid's bicycle spokes.

It could even have been thrown in a trash bin by a mom who thought their child was over collecting cards.

Or maybe .... who knows? It does make you wonder though, doesn't it?

1.12.2010

1962 Topps
Joe Torre

I'm not sure if it was the big ol' trophy or the big ol' glove that first drew my attention to this baseball card.

I'm partial to the big trophy. I think it's one of the best designs elements Topps came up with for its cards.

As a kid I remember opening up a pack and looking for the trophy. It usually meant a good card of a good player.

And this rookie card of current Dodgers manager Joe Torre doesn't disappoint.

And what about that glove? Torre won a gold glove in 1965 to go along with an All-Star appearance, one of nine he would make as a player.

1.11.2010

1909 T206 Al Bridwell




This baseball cards came with a bonus: a piece of tape that holds Bridwell's head together.

It's not a regular pece of tape, it's more like an old piece of paper that was pasted to the card's back.

I'm glad someone took the time to keep this card together, no matter what it took.

Bridwell played for the New York Giants when this card was produced. But in 1914-15 he was a member of the St. Louis Terriers.

The Terriers played in the third major league. The Federal League lasted only two seasons before it folded. But a few things remain from the old league.

The most famous being a Chicago ballpark located on the corner of Waveland and Sheffield.

That's right, Wrigley Field was home to the Federal Leagues' Chicago Whales.

1.10.2010

1958 Topps
Tony Kubek

Before the days of cable television, if you wanted to watch an out-of-market baseball game, your best bet would be to tune in to NBC's Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon.

And one of the things I remember most about those days was the broadcasting of Bob Costas, Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek.

In the summer, Saturdays were all about baseball.

Shows like This Week in Baseball and NBC's Game of the Week were how I got my baseball info. There was no ESPN or MLB Network to feed you a constant diet of scores and analysis.

Now I've got the TWIB theme song stuck in my head. Maybe I should have gone a different direction with this post.

1.09.2010

1909 E90-1
Donie Bush

Before this card arrived, I had no idea who Donie Bush was.

Donie Bush was a darn good baseball player.

In 1914, Bush finished third in the American League MVP voting behind future Hall of Famers - and Detroit teammates - Eddie Collins and Sam Crawford.

The shortstop is also the major league leader in triple plays with nine.

I once saw a triple play during a Spring Training game. That was the only one in my 30-plus years of watching baseball.

To have nine is amazing.

He also holds the Amercan League record for putouts by a shortstop in a season with 425 and chances with 969.

Not bad for a guy I've never heard of.

1.08.2010

1945-46 Caramelo Deportivo
Lou Knerr












The first time I ever knew this set existed was when I placed a bid for the card you see on eBay a few weeks ago.

The first time I ever saw one of these cards in person was just the other day when it arrived in the mail.

I'm not sure why but this paper-thin card has several tiny holes. It's like someone took a small hole punch to them. Usually I would think that there may have been some sort of premium involved. With some old issues, cards were collected and sent in to the manufacturer to get a premium sent back. Often times the cards were sent back to the owner with holes so that they could not be redeemed a second time.

But when searching the Internet, I could not find any other examples with holes.

You know what? I could care less.

It's not every day you get a Cuban baseball card from the mid-40s in the mail.

1.07.2010

1963 Topps Rookie Stars
Mathews, Fanok, DeBusschere, Cullen

This is one of those baseball cards I picked up at the local baseball card shop a few days ago. It was $1.

A dollar for a baseball card of a Hall of Famer.

Believe it or not Dave DeBusschere is in the Hall of Fame: The Basketball Hall of Fame.

He is one of several baseball players to have also played professional basketball. But as far as I can tell he is the only one to become a Hall of Famer.

As a baseball player, DeBusschere played in two seasons for the Chicago White Sox where he compiled a 3-4 record with a 2.90 ERA.

1.06.2010

1952 Topps
Larry Doby

1952 Topps cards are great no matter the condition. It also helps when that card depicts a historic player like Larry Doby.

The first line on the back of this card reads: "Larry came straight from semi-pro ball and became an Indian regular in 1947."

The truth is Doby came straight from the Newark Bears, the 1946 Negro League World Series champions. I'm not sure that you can call that semi-pro.

Doby did become an Indian only 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thus, Doby became the first African American to play in the American League.

Doby accomplish another first: In 1948, he became the first African American to hit a home run in a World Series.

A classic player from the classic Topps set.

1.05.2010

1976 Topps
Pete Rose

I picked up 20 (new) poor old baseball cards at my local baseball card shop today.

Why is it when I go in with a budget, I always end up spending nearly twice my goal? It's hard for me. It's like being that kid in a candy store.

I picked up this beauty for about $2. Even those staple holes couldn't keep me from including this card in my want pile.

Since starting this blog nearly two years ago, I tend to gravitate to the lesser-condition box. And Henry at the lbcs always obliges with three boxes full of one-of-a-kind examples. Some have staple holes, others are missing corners or heavily creased.

All have character and seem to tell their own stories.

1.04.2010

SEPARATED AT BIRTH
1971 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm

Just sayin'.

I've got a box full of poor old baseball cards that will eventually make their way to this blog.

While thumbing through the cards earlier in the day, this Hoyt Wilhelm caught my eye. Then I started to laugh. I thought to myself: "He's doing the Captain Morgan pose."

About 20 minutes later, with the help of Photoshop, this is what I came up with.

Just sayin'.

1.03.2010

1929 E137 Zeenut
Art Koehler

Whenever I get one of these old minor league cards, one of the first thing I do is try and find out a little bit about the player.

Thank God for the Internet.

Art Koehler played 17 seasons of baseball – all in the minor leagues. The catcher played most of those years in the old Pacific Coast League. He hit .344 in 1929 with the Sacramento Senators.

He also hit 13 homers, second on the team behind Hank Severeids' 24. Severeid was ending his career with the Senators after a MLB career that included stints with the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Browns.

Art Koehler never had the chance to play at the next level.

But for some, the old PCL was considered the third major league. Koehler's teammates in 1929 included pitchers Doc Crandall and Ray Keating, first basenan Dolph Camilli and outfielder Irish Meusel.

1.02.2010

1948 Leaf
Lou Boudreau

1948 was a big year for Lou Boudreau.

He won the league's MVP award, was named to the All-Star team and won a World Series as player-manager of the Indians. He was even named AP's male athlete of the year.

He also finished second – Ted Williams, .369 – in batting average with a .355 average. He batted .263 in the World Series and led shortstops in fielding for the season with a .975 average.

1948 was also a big year for Leaf as it produced one of the nicest baseball card sets ever.

1.01.2010

1954 Red Man
Bob Porterfield

Of the nine Red Man cards I own, this is the only one that has its tab intact.

That little strip below the perforated line is there for a reason: After your dad would pass along this card after buying the pack of chew, the first thing you would do was cut off the tab. After collecting 50 stubs, you would send them in along with the name of your favorite ballclub.

And in 1954, what you would get in return was a baseball cap.

While I was not around in 1954, it would be interesting to hear from someone out there who remembers collecting these old cards.