5.31.2014

1971 Topps
Nolan Ryan re-do

I know it's one of the most desirable cards in the 1971 Topps set. And I know Nolan Ryan was one of the best I've ever seen pitch. But I don't care for this card, at all.

Sorry. The real card (top, left) is awkward. The photo is terrible and that Royal Crown advertisement is crooked. Maybe that's just the graphic designer in me.

So I tried my hand at making it better. I used the same lame photo and just moved it around a bit.

I like card No. 4, on the bottom, right. The only problem, the sign now reads Royal Crow.

Hey, there's only so much I could do with what I had.

What do you think? Which is your favorite?

Which is your
favorite design?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

5.30.2014

1933 Goudey
Tommy Thevenow

Now that's what you call a crease.

Tommy Thevenow hit two homers during the regular season. Both came in 1926 about a week apart. Both were of the inside-the-park variety.

He also hit another in the World Series, another insider-the-parker, giving him three that year.

He would hit no others.

For the remainder of his career, a total of 3,347 at-bats, Thevenow would not hit another round-tripper, a major league record.

For most of his 15-year career, Thevenow struggled at the plate.

Except during the 1926 World Series. He finished 10-for-24 with a .417 batting average, helping the Cardinals to a world championship.

I knew none of this before that crease attracted me to purchase this poor old baseball card. It's amazing what prompts us to learn about these old ballplayers.

5.29.2014

1966 Topps
Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax went out on top. And in pain.

In 1966, Koufax went 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA. He led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts (317). He was an All Star, won his third Cy Young award and finished second to Roberto Clemente in MVP voting.

Yet, on Nov. 18, 1966, Koufax walked away from the game at the ripe old age of 30.

But why?

The bottom line – Koufax realized the toll pitching was taking on his health and his arm. The pain was punishing. The pain was excruciating.

L.A. Times columnist Jim Murray put it this way: "Baseball lost its left arm because Sandy Koufax didn't want to lose his."

5.28.2014

1956 Topps
Jackie Robinson

While I love my poor old baseball cards, this one makes me a little sad.

This is Robinson's last player card before retiring at the end of the 1956 season. He was actually traded by the Dodgers to the hated New York Giants before calling it quits.

Many believe Robinson refused to play for the Giants. But the truth is he was ready to retire no matter which team retained his rights.

At 37, Robinson's skills were deteriorating and his focus was beyond baseball. He knew he had to support his family and agreed to become vice president of Chock full o'Nuts (coffee) in 1957.

Now back to the actual card.

I wonder if it was the trade that made someone color in Robinson's cap, covering up the 'B' for Brooklyn. Someone also erased the word Brooklyn and crossed out third base, writing in 2B. By 1956, Robinson was actually playing third base after giving up second base to Junior Gilliam.

It's hard to imagine anyone today wanting to deface this vintage Jackie Robinson baseball card. But rivalries were serious in the mid-50s and so was the hatred for Jackie Robinson.

5.26.2014

1958 Topps
Hank Aaron

I keep reading that the 1958 Topps design was considered a failure. Keyword: was.

In recent years, the 1958 set has made a bit of a comeback. It's finally getting respect for its bright, bold colors and player portraits.

1958 was also a year of firsts: First Topps Stan Musial card. First team checklists. First time cards represented teams on the West Coast.

I wonder what it was like for a kid in San Francisco to pull a Willie Mays or another in L.A. to find a Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese or Duke Snider in his wax pack.

There were plenty of other stars in the '58 set including Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Roberto Clemente and Ernie Banks. And there was also a rookie card of Roger Maris.

Another card most kids would have been happy to have was this Hank Aaron. The defending National League MVP was coming off a year in which he led his team to a World Series title.

I still think Aaron is underrated when it comes to baseball cards.

If he only played in New York. Would he be considered better than Mantle?

5.24.2014

1914 B18 Blanket
Red Smith


It's been a while since my last post and I really wanted to make my comeback with something a little unusual. While this B18 blanket is not particularly rare, it's not something you see everyday either.

First, I know, this isn't really a baseball card. It's a 5 1/4-inch square felt which would have wrapped a pack of tobacco in 1914. Some say it wrapped a specific brand, but I've read conflicting reports that the brand was not limited to just one.

It's called a blanket since many of these individual pieces were often sewn together into quilts or blankets. I wonder how many kids had bedspreads made from these felts 100 years ago?

The blankets (the individual ones) come in various colors.

Cleveland players have either yellow or purple bases; New York Yankees players have either blue or green infields; St. Louis Browns players have either red or purple paths; Washington players have either brown or green bases; Brooklyn players have either blue or green infields; New York Giants players have either brown or green paths; Pittsburgh players have either red or purple bases; and St. Louis Cardinals players have either purple or yellow paths. 
A third variation has red infields. And a quick look on eBay shows these selling for a huge premium.

My example (pictured) is very poor. You know, poor in a good way. The blue is very faded and the paths and flags should be red. The bases should be brown.

But hey, to me it's well worth its $5 price tag. There's no way you can get an equivalent baseball card at that price. What a bargain.