11.24.2013

1922 E120 American Caramel
Stuffy McInnis



As a member of the Philadelphia Athletics,
Stuffy McInnis played first base alongside second baseman Eddie Collins, shortstop Jack Barry and third baseman Frank Baker.

Some consider the foursome the best infield ever assembled. And they were paid accordingly. From 1911-14 they were collectively known as the $100,000 infield. The cost of all four players.

Today, counting for inflation, that would equal only a little over $2.5 million.

Today, a team would be hard pressed to find a single starter for $2.5 million, let alone the entire infield.

Today, baseball's finances are a little different than 100 years ago.

As for this card: It appears someone added their opinion of Stuffy in red ink "Hitting and Fielding great" they also updated the card to include his current team, as of 1925, to Pittsburgh.

To most collectors, writing on a card is like the kiss of death. To me it's just another story in the life of a poor old baseball card.

11.09.2013

1959 Topps
Mickey Mantle

Oh how I love a poor old Mickey Mantle.

This card arrived earlier this week after my eBay best offer was counteroffered at $27. I was hoping to pick it up for under $25 but how could I quibble over $2. After all, it's a 54-year-old of MICKEY MANTLE.

I'm lucky to own more than a few Mantle's in poor condition. This one's right up there with the worst.

But did I pay too much?

I usually don't pay more than a few dollars for poor old baseball cards but when they're of the game's greats I don't mind shelling out a few more dollars. I figure the superstars will always hold their value, no matter the condition.

So again I ask: Would you pay $27 for an original 1959 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card with a few creases?

10.24.2013

1943 R302-1 M.P. & Co.
Joe DiMaggio

About a week ago, while searching eBay for Poor Old Baseball Cards, I saw a 1940 Playball Joe DiMaggio that was in horrible shape. It had a low starting bid and a few days before the auction ended.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. On the final day, the price was still low. Somewhere around $10 if I recall.

I knew there was no way it would go for anywhere close to $10 and I had to get to work so I can earn money to buy all these POBCs.  I put in my best bid. It was more than I wanted to bid, but I typed it in ... $110.

I was not a winner. The card ended up selling for $132. More than I was willing to spend.

I never thought "Joltin Joe" would ever be a part of my collection. He didn't appear in very many issues after all.

A new search revealed this card. Produced by Michael Pressner Company of New York in 1943, it was a card of DiMaggio during his playing days. It was also produced during World War II.

I wanted it. It was old. It had rounded corners and deep creases. It had writing. It was perfect.

By the way, that's a "CF" written in blue ink: Center field. That's the position Dimaggio played. But you woldn't know it by looking at the card's reverse. It lists him as a rightfielder.

One more thing, I got this card at a steal.

A real Joe DiMaggio, are you kidding me? $40.

10.06.2013

1960 Topps
Frank Howard


I posted this same card several months ago. It used to look like this.

But a week or so ago, my chihuahua/pug mix decided it looked more like an appetizer.

When I first saw the card in no less than nine pieces, I was hoping: Don't let it be Mickey Mantle. Don't let it be Mickey Mantle. Don't let it be Mickey Mantle.

It wasn't. But it was sad to see Frank Howard in distress. I quickly picked up the pieces and put them aside. I thought it was beyond repair.

Tonight I figured, with the help of some transparent tape, I'd put it back together. And from what I can tell, I think it's all there.

I think I dodged a bullet. Lesson learned.

9.19.2013

1955 Bowman
Hugh Taylor
(Football)

While on eBay last week, this card got mixed up in my usual search for baseball cards. And while Hugh Taylor is not wearing a glove or swinging a bat, I still think it's an AWESOME card.

I've tried collecting poor old football cards, but it's just not my thing. Even so, this card is more than worthy to be included here.

First off, it's trashed. Deep, deep creases scuffs and severely rounded corners make this card a beauty. Rich color and a classic uniform only add to it's greatness. By the way is that a leather helmet he's wearing. Sweet!

As for Taylor: he once held a record for gaining 212 yards receiving in his first game as a pro and first game of the season. He was also a two-time Pro Bowler and even served as the Houston Oilers head coach in 1965.

I know it's technically not a poor old baseball card but come on, you know you love it. I do.

9.10.2013

1965 Topps
Joe Morgan

I didn't do it. It wasn't me. Someone put a piece of tape over Joe Morgan's face and I'm leaving it there.

I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to repeat cards on this blog. An earlier version of this card can be seen here.

But this example has so much more personality. The more I look at this card the more I'm fascinated by that sticky piece of paper.

Who would put that tape over his photo? Why? All indications show it's been there a while.

Should I? No, I can't. It staying right there.

9.07.2013

1948 Leaf
Johnny Vander Meer

When it comes to condition I'm just as picky as the next guy. But instead of grading up, I'm always looking to grade down.

After all, this is Poor Old Baseball Cards.

In 2009, I posted this card here. And while it's not in the best shape, this example is far worse. And I love it.

You really need to click on the card pictured above to get a sense of its awesomeness.

If you don't own a 1948 leaf card, you should. The simple design and vivid, bright colors are amazing.

I recently read that while these cards have both 1948 and 1949 copyright dates, they were actually distributed in 1949. Any oldtimers out there remember collecting these cards as children?

I know it's a long shot but it would be great to hear from someone who was an original owner.

8.30.2013

1933 Goudey
Morris "Moe" Berg

Do you remember that old Heinz Ketchup commercial? The one with the "anticipation" jingle?

Well that was me this week. I've wanted this card for 35-plus years and today it arrived.

As a kid of the 80s, I always wanted certain cards: any Mickey Mantle, any Babe Ruth, any Ty Cobb, any Honus Wagner and this very card.

Mantle, check. Ruth, check. Cobb, check. Wagner, check. Berg, check.

One of the only cards I still really, really want is a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth. But any of those cards (there are four) may be out of my price range. Even a poor old version is likely to set me back close to $1,000. And then there's the fake factor. I've come to the realization that if I ever were to purchase such a card it would have to be graded. And you know how I feel about having a card encased in plastic.

Moe Berg actually played with Babe Ruth as part of an All-Star team that traveled to Japan in 1934. What was a light-hitting, backup catcher doing on an All-Star team? Well, he did speak Japaneese. He actually spoke seven languages and was a graduate of Princeton and Columbia Law School. It could be argued that Berg was the smartest baseball player to ever play in the Big Leagues. He couldn't hit, but was very intelligent.

While in Japan, Berg filmed parts of the Tokyo skyline and harbor. It is said that Berg's footage was used to identify targets as the U.S. bombed Tokyo during World War II.

Did I mention Moe Berg was a spy? After his life in baseball, Berg joined the OSS, a precursor to the CIA. He even traveled to Europe during the war and gained intelligence on Germany's nuclear program. He was a real hero.

As a kid, Moe Berg fascinated me. As an adult, Moe Berg fascinates me.

Oh, and by the way, I have another Moe Berg card in the mail, a 1940 Play Ball. I will be happy to see that card arrive also, but not as happy as when this one landed in my mailbox.

As I said, I've been waiting a long time.

8.17.2013

1962 Topps
Warren Spahn

I wanted to go to a baseball card show.

A real show with more than a few tables of rookie and "game-used" cards. I wanted to go to a show where I could look through a stack of T206s or 1948 Leafs or anything older than 1980.

A recent google search turned up the Frank & Sons Collectible Show in the City of Industry near Los Angeles. It's a twice-a-week show that has much more than sports stuff.

After a two-hour drive, I found myself at a large warehouse filled with collectibles from Japanese animation art to action figures to comic books.

Oh, and there were a few dozen dealers with baseball cards.

I picked this card up at the first booth I stopped at. I asked the dealer for poor old baseball cards and he pulled out a stack for me to thumb through. I eventually bought the whole stack for $70. There must have been well over 100 cards from the 50s, 60s and 70s. They included Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Yogi Berra, Stan Musial and Whitey Ford. There were even a dozen or so 1952 Topps cards, each trimmed down with scissors. Too bad.

It seemed as if the dealer just wanted to get rid of the beaters. And I was happy to take them off his hands.

A few tables down, I asked another dealer if he had any poor old baseball cards. He seemed quite shocked that anyone would want what he termed "junk." Well as the saying goes, one man's junk is another's treasure.

He asked me why I collected the "junk." He wasn't being a jerk, he really seemed curious as to why I wanted those cards.

He then turned to his partner, who I think was his dad, and said: "Show him that card."

The older man pulled out a 1954 Topps Jackie Robinson that was truly deserving of this blog. It was torn, taped, wrinkled, scraped and just plain worn out.

The young man's next words were: "It's not for sale."

Funny how the duo was selling thousands of cards behind glass with pricetags but this one card was "not for sale." Obviously that card had some meaning to the old man.

I wanted to but I didn't say it: "That's why I collect poor old baseball cards."

6.02.2013

1909 T206
Frank Bowerman (Graded)

If you follow this blog with any regularity you probably know that graded cards are not my thing. I think I own a total of five. The only other one I've written about is here.

I understand why people do it. But by encasing the card, you lose the ability to feel or smell the card. Just holding a 100-year-old piece of history has got to be worth something.

I get that grading keeps the card from deteriorating or gives its owner a universal way of displaying their collection. I also understand there are monetary reasons. But with poor old baseball cards, the practice seems absurd.

I don't need a grader to tell me this card is in poor condition. So why did I recently buy this card? It was an impulse buy. Yeah, I'll admit it.

Do I have second thoughts? Sure, but it's a great old card anyway. And who can stop me if one day Frank Bowerman is freed from his plastic case.

I'm thinking about it.

5.27.2013

1948 Leaf
Chief Petty Officer Al Evans

It's Memorial Day. And while we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country, we should not forget those who have served.

Like many ballplayers of the 1940s, Al Evans interrupted his playing career to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Can you imagine a player today taking a break from a promising career in order to serve? It's almost unheard of.

Al Evans might not be a household name when it comes to our national pastime, but it's guys like him we should consider our real heroes.

5.26.2013

1960 Topps
Frank Howard

Love this card's design. In my opinion, the look of the 1960's rookie subset should have been used for Topps' regular cards. There are only a few players depicted with this design that I have even heard of. The big three: Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Kaat and Frank Howard.

 Howard was a big dude. At 6-foot-6 1/2, 245 lbs. he was an intimidating figure. No wonder he was nicknamed "The Washington Monument" while playing with the Senators.

Howard was also a pretty good player. He was a four-time All Star (68-71) and two-time home run champ (68, 70).

In 1960 he was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

But my memories of Frank Howard are from 1981. As a 12-year-old, Howard took over as manager of my hometown Padres. Do you have any memories of this great slugger?

5.25.2013

1951 Bowman
Duke Snider

I was pretty excited when this old card arrived in the mail a few days ago. It was purchased from eBay for a buy-it-now price of $20.

That might seem a bit much, but I was happy to pay it for this gem. And this 1951 Bowman really takes you back to what baseball cards were like before Topps came into the picture, in wide circulation, a year later.

Duke Snider was a major player of the 1950s. Some might argue he was a superstar. And when you have a blog called Poor Old Baseball Cards, that vertical crease doesn't hurt this card's appeal. Check out all those creases and the rounded corners. Beautiful. And what about those tape stains? They give this card even more character. There's no doubt this card was well loved.

To a kid in Brooklyn, pulling this must have been like winning the lottery.

5.24.2013

1974 Topps Hank Aaron and
1973 Topps Willlie Mays
Contest Cards

So far, I have awarded two of five cards from my month-long contest. They have been packed and sent. Last week had no winner. I had plenty of comments but the best had no email address associated to them.

I really want to give away Willie Mays (below, last week's card) and Hank Aaron (above, this week's card) so please comment.

In case you missed them, here are the rules: 
You can comment on any post during the life of the blog. The best comment of the week is the winner. In order to win, your user ID you comment with must have an email address associated with it. After notifying the winner via email, the winner has until midnight on the next Sunday (Pacific time) to claim their prize. 

Also, I would prefer that the same person does not win multiple times.  But that doesn't mean you can't comment or can't win. I just want to give as many people a chance to win as possible.

So this week's winner will get a chance at either a 1973 Willle Mays or a 1974 Hank Aaron. The second-best comment will get the other. I think that's fair.

Again, if you want one of these poor old baseball cards, please comment. I really want to share my love of these old cards. You have until midnight (Pacific time) on Sunday to win.

5.17.2013

1943 La Ambrosia
Julio Bringuier

It's hard to get any information on amateurs ballplayers from Cuba. All I really know about Julio Bringuier is that he was a catcher with Club Casino Espanol.

I've posted several Cuban cards but this one is quickly becoming my favorite. I tried to read up a little on amateur baseball in Cuba in the 1940s and what I learned is that most of these guys worked regular factory jobs and played baseball to relieve stress and get their minds off the hardships of life.

It wasn't about  fame or money. It really was about the love of the game. Sometimes I think we Americans think we have a monopoly on baseball. But baseball thrives in other parts of the world including the island nation only 90 miles from tip of Florida.

5.09.2013

1974 Topps
Brooks Robinson

Here's a poor old baseball card I picked up a few weeks ago for $2.63 including the cost of shipping. Come on, you've got more than that under the cushions of your couch.

I'm not sure what attracted me more to this card — the cartoonish Oriole on the cap, the crease through Robinson's head or or that pinhole before the word Baltimore.

Either way, I'd buy this card for under $3 all day long. You do realize Robinson was one of the game's greatest third basemen ever!

A very undrerrated Hall of Famer to say the least.

5.05.2013

1962 Post
Roberto Clemente

So what if it did come off he side of a cereal box? It's still Roberto Clemente.

Clemente is one of those special names when it comes to baseball cards. I consider any card of the slugging Pirate special. Even if it's badly cut from the side of a cardboard box.

And if you look hard enough, you can get one at an affordable price. This one set me back $5.

If you're lucky you could even get one for free.

(Insert promotion for POBC contest here)

Next week, I will be giving away a 1969 Topps Bob Clemente. Just leave a comment and qualify to win.

This week's giveaway is a 1959 Topps All-Star Warren Spahn. As I write this,  you still have a little more than 6 hours remaining to win Spahn. Again, just make a comment on this blog to win. You must comment by midnight (Pacific time) on May 5th to win Spahn, from midnight tonight to midnight on May 12 for Clemente.

Good luck.

And no, I will not be giving away this 1962 Post card. It's a keeper.

4.29.2013

POBC contest cards, Week 1


Let the contest begin...

Here are the five cards I will be giving away over the next five weeks:

1. 1958 All Star Warren Spahn
2. 1969 Roberto Clemente
3. 1973 Willie Mays
4. 1974 Hank Aaron
5. 1975 Reggie Jackson

All you need to do is comment to win. On Monday, May 5th, I will award the Warren Spahn card to my favorite comment during the next week.

In order to win, your user ID you comment with must have an email address associated with it. After notifying the winner via email, the winner has until midnight on the next Sunday (Pacific time) to claim their prize. So the first winner must reply by May 11 to win.

Sorry but you cannot win if you comment anonymously. You can comment on any posting during the life of the blog.

I will also mention the winner via a posting on this blog but winners must contact me via email and not with more comments to claim the prize.

I hope this all makes sense. Any questions feel free to email me at anthtara (at) gmail.com.

By the way, these are all Poor Old Baseball Cards. All original. No reprints. These are real cards made during the player's playing days. And the all have creases, writing, folds and any number of issues that make them poor.

Good luck everyone.

4.12.2013

POBC Contest

In May, Poor Old Baseball Cards celebrates its fifth year on the blogosphere. And while it gives me great joy in sharing my collection, it is particularly heartening to read comments about your own POBC moments.

Today, I spent about an hour at my local card shop looking for cards to include in an appreciation contest which begins on May 5th. Beginning that day, I will award a POBC to the best comment left on this blog during the previous week. In all I will award at least five cards during the month of May. At least one card each week.

So far I have found a few cards: Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Warren Spahn, Reggie Jackson, Frank and Brooks Robinson, Duke Snider, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews. All major players during their playing days. Cards from the 1950's, 60's and 70's. No fakes. No reprints. No Heritage (I think that's what they call them nowadays). All are real cards. All are well loved. 

No grading, No mint cards. Not even cards in very good shape. These are poor old baseball cards.

This is the first time I am doing this sort of contest and can use your help on how to conduct it. I really want the entries to be entered as comments. But how would I go about notifying the winners?

Should the entries be limited to that week's posts or to any new comment made that week on the entire blog?

How do I notify someone who does not have an email link on their profile? Does it mean no one can win if they comment annonymously?

Any help out there from my fellow bloggers would be appreciated. Should I include comments to the facebook page?

Thanks everyone for being a part of POBC!

4.08.2013

1933 Goudey
Fred Leach

Check out that baseball glove in Fred Leach's back pocket.

One of my favorite things about old baseball cards is seeing the differences in uniforms over the years. Before baseball gloves grew to today's enormous size, fielders would simply throw them in foul territory, or better yet, put them in their back pocket.

How cool is that?

4.06.2013

1958 Topps
Mickey Mantle

I knew it would arrive any day in the mail. The anticipation had grown every day since I hit the buy-it-now button earlier this week.

Can you imagine what it was like for this card's first owner?

Mickey Mantle was the two-time defending American League MVP in 1958. He was the best baseball player on the planet, playing for the sport's most famous team.

He was like Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey all rolled into one. He was at the top of his game.

When this card was first separated from its packaging the look on the new owner's face must have been priceless. First or last, this Mickey Mantle card has put more than a few smiles on it's owner's faces. Including my own.

4.02.2013

1909 T206
Whitey Alperman

Before the internet, I practically studied the Baseball Encyclopedia. I could tell you just about anything you wanted to know about the players of my childhood.

As a matter of fact, in 1980, my dad bought me a bagfull of Topps baseball cards. I opened each individual pack memorizing each player and the team he played for. I separated them by team with the obligatory rubberband holding them together.

While I am still a huge baseball fan, I'm not so adept to who plays on what team. It usually takes me a few weeks after the season starts to get it all straight. And when it comes to the rookies, I'm lucky to figure them out by the All-Star break.

But I know my older players, even the ones that played over 100 years ago. At least I thought I did.

Along came Whitey Alperman. I had no idea. So I went to my trusted (and mostly accurate) friend Wikipedia.

It seems Alperman was a second baseman for the Brooklyn Superbas from 1906-09. In 1907, he even tied for the NL lead with 16 triples.

Regardless of whether I've heard of him, he was a major leaguer, one of the best of the best.

Thank God for places like Wikipedia for keeping the stats and names of these old players alive.

4.01.2013

1952 Topps
Eddie Stanky

The weather was getting cooler in The Bronx where Tommy Tremble lived with his parents and grandmother. He was a diehard Yankees fan and had a tattered black cap to prove it.

At 11 years of age, Tommy had grown up watching the likes of Joe DiMaggio, now in his final season. He had a liking for the young Oklahoman named Mickey who showed such promise as a rookie.

But his favorite was shortstop Phil Rizzuto. Like Rizzuto, Tommy was  diminutive in size. He was often the smallest player on the lot.

Tommy followed Rizzuto and the rest of the Yankees on WINS-AM. Mel Allen, Bill Crowley, Dizzy Dean and Art Gleeson were his eyes and ears on the diamond. Occasionally he would catch a glimpse on the tube at Donovan's Appliance and Television shop.

It was even more rare for Tommy to join his father for an afternoon game at the Yankee's Stadium. In 1951, the Yankees were again pennant winners and would face the hated Giants for the World Championship.

Game 1 would go to the Giants 5-1, Game 2 to the Yankees 3-1. Game 3 was scheduled for October 6 at the Polo Grounds. Tommy had never been to a game in the ballpark across the Harlem River.

But that morning Tommy's father had a surprise: two tickets to the World Series.

Tommy was thrilled but he had never been to a baseball game in enemy territory. Nothing would deter him. He put on his wool jacket and his tattered cap and made the trek with his father to157th Street and 8th Avenue.

It was a cavernous park with a horseshoe shape.

The Yankee's were down 1-0 after 4 1/2 innings when Eddie Stanky walked with one out in the fifth. Yankees catcher Yogi Berra was looking for Stanky to steal and called for a pitchout. Berra responded with a perfect throw to shortstop Phil Rizzuto. Stanky was a dead duck but managed to kick the ball from Rizzuto's glove and made his way to third base after the ball got away.

It was a dirty play in Tommy's book. Stanky's slide was high. It was uncalled for.

By the time the inning had ended, the Giants had scored five runs and were on their way to a 6-2 win and a 2-1 series lead.

It was Tommy's first World Series game, and Eddie Stanky left a sour taste in his mouth. For Tommy, he was public enemy No. 1.

The Yankees would go on to win the series but Tommy would never forget that day.


Six months later, Tommy purchased his first pack of Topps baseball cards from the corner market. His first pull: The hated Eddie Stanky, who would become the new manager in St. Louis.

Note: Tommy Tremble is a fictional character but the facts surrounding the 1951 World Series are true. Whenever I come across a poor old baseball card like this 1952 Topps Eddie Stanky my mind wanders. I wonder who could do such a thing to a classic baseball card? Baseball evokes such emotion.

Maybe Tommy Tremble did exist after all.

3.31.2013

1911 T205
Forrest D. "Hick" Cady

It's been a while since I purchased a poor old baseball card. While surfing eBay earlier in the week, this T205 caught my eye.

It had all the characteristics I look for: Creases, folds, old and somewhat rare.

So I bit the bullet and bought this for about $15. I know it seems like too much for a total beater but this card had one thing going for it that made it worthwhile:  it's of a minor leaguer.

There are only 12 minor league cards in the T205 set. They are not only rarer than your typical T205 card, they also demand a premium.

Shown here as a member of the Eastern League's Newark Indians, Hick Cady eventually moved on to become a backup catcher with the Boston Red Sox where he was a member of three World Championship teams (1912, 15-16).


1.04.2013

1909 T206
Bob Rhoades

I have to admit it. For the price, I'd rather have a poor old baseball card than it's mint counterpart any day.

Even though the primary goal of my collection is not monetary, I often wonder if my investment in these cards are worth it. That's why I've been concentrating lately on older, vintage cards.

Goudeys, T205, T206, really any type of tobacco card, 1952 Topps, you know what I mean? I figure I can't go wrong as long as the cards hold a historical place in the hobby.

This example set me back $4.25 + shipping. I'll take that deal any day.

Bob Rhoades was at the end of his career when this card was printed. But a year earlier he did something very special: he threw the first no-hitter in Cleveland baseball history. A few weeks later, Addie Joss threw the team's first perfect game.

One of the first things I do after unwrapping each card (most of my cards come via U.S. mail nowadays) is do a quick Wikipedia search.


Sometimes you learn some pretty cool things about these old players.