Monday, December 10, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #28: Rickey Henderson

We have another installment of our look at the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set, and today we're up to card #28, Rickey Henderson, a personal favorite.
#28, Rickey Henderson.
I've had a number of posts of Henderson cards.  In amongst the cards I had when I was a little kid, cards which lived on my bedroom floor and are very seriously beat up and creased, were a number of Hendersons, including his 1981 Topps card.  In high school I bought a 1980 rookie card off a friend who would rather have the money than the card, to do the kinds of things high school kids enjoy.  When I started seriously watching baseball in 1987 I could tell the A's were going to be big, and hoped I'd get to see a Pirates-A's World Series.  I wasn't so far off for 1990, but the Reds were better than both of them that year.
Rickey Henderson card back.
Surprise, surprise, Rickey led the AL in steals.  He had 77 in 1989.  And another surprise, he was first (tied) in runs, with 113.  And unlike steals and runs, Rickey Henderson is not the all-time leader in walks, but he's one of only four players with more than 2,000 career walks.  So having led the league in walks with 126 is also par for Henderson's course.  He finished 1989 at #3 for on-base percentage with .411.  Another stellar year for Rickey.

Thanks for reading!  Coming up there are four more of the world champion A's, with Carney Lansford next.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Recent Acquisitions: Some 1970 and 1971 Topps Supers

I posted a while ago about a lot of 5 of the 1971 Topps Supers I bought from eBay.  I decided to follow that up with a few more of the 1970 and 1971 Supers, and got these six from COMC.  It's interesting to me that Topps tried the Super concept over and over, with a format change each time.  These circa 1970 versions are thick like the cardboard coasters you get at a bar, while the circa 1980 versions are like pin-up photos, and then the circa 1985 versions are just bigger copies of the cards from the base set.  I like them all in their own ways, I guess, although the circa 1985 versions (there's a post coming up on them) feel cheap in a way that the older ones don't.
1970 Topps Super Roberto Clemente.
1970 Topps Super Willie McCovey.
I did show this Clemente before, in my blogiversary post about recent Clemente acquisitions.  The reason I bought the previous eBay lot of 5 Supers was to get the 1971 Clemente, but I really wanted both the 1970 and the 1971.  I wanted some more 1970 Supers to go with the 1971s, and it's always good to pick up another McCovey, so that's what I did.
1971 Topps Super Nate Colbert.
1970 Topps Super Tommy Harper.
I mentioned Nate Colbert once before on the blog; what I said is that I'm surprised I didn't collect him at least a little in the 80s and 90s.  I was a fan of players I hadn't otherwise heard of who were their teams' all-time home run leaders.  That's how I became interested in Harold Baines and Gorman Thomas.  Baines and Thomas are no longer the career home run leaders for the White Sox and the Brewers, but to this day, Nate Colbert is the Padres all-time home run king.  So I've picked up a couple of cards of him, including this Super.  I've also just recently picked up a few cards from short-lived teams (in a sense), i.e. the Seattle Pilots, the Houston Colt .45s, and the Kansas City A's.  This Tommy Harper Super is one of two Pilots cards I now have.
1970 Topps Super Reggie Jackson.
1971 Topps Super Reggie Jackson.
And then, another thing I've been interested in picking up is cards of young Reggie Jackson.  I have a bunch of 1980s Reggie Jackson, and have a sufficient number of Reggie Jackson with the Yankees.  But young Reggie with the A's was something lacking in my collection.  These two Topps Supers help fill that void.

Thanks for reading!  I think I'm done collecting these early Topps Supers.  I guess I don't have any of the 1969s, but it seems like those are harder to come by.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Recent Acquisitions: 4 from 1955 Bowman

Collecting in the late 80s and early 90s, I didn't have much access to so many cards, it turns out.  If my local card shops didn't have any old Bowman cards, then I didn't see any old Bowman cards, mainly.  Maybe somewhere in a big show a vendor might have a binder of them, but the shows were so crowded and most vendors had more ordinary stuff.  But in the age of the internet, if I want a few old Bowman cards, then I can get them.  And so these 4 cards from the 1955 Bowman set, the classic "Color TV" set, arrived in my Black Friday COMC box.
Jim Gilliam.
I'm toying with the idea of collecting the whole set.  Right now, I own 7 of the cards, and the set totals 320.  So, if I pick up one more card, then I have 2.5%.  I'm not sure if I'll follow through, but it seems like most of the cards don't cost that much (I'm not insisting on condition, but I don't want them too beat up), and then there are a few very expensive ones (Aaron, Banks, Mantle, Mays seem to be the most expensive).  It looks like there's a premium for the umpires, too.  So, I don't know, but the set really seems to capture something about the 1950s to me.

One of the cards I picked out among these four is James "Junior" Gilliam, as the card calls him, or Jim Gilliam, according to other sources.  Gilliam played entirely for the Dodgers, winning four World Series in their 50s-60s heyday.  He was the Rookie of the Year in 1953, and the Dodgers retired his number.  I've been trying to add a few cards of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and he's a natural one to pick up.
Vern Law.
Vern Law played his whole career with the Pirates, and was part of the 1960 World Series winning team.  He won the Cy Young that year, going 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA.  I'm trying to pick up cards to commemorate the great Bucs teams of the 60s and 70s, and so this one of Law goes towards that effort.
Smoky Burgess.
Curt Simmons.
Then we have these two of catcher Smoky Burgess and pitcher Curt Simmons of the Phillies.  Another goal in my collecting is to expand my holdings of the Whiz Kids, in honor of my late father, who grew up watching those guys.  Simmons was on the 1950 pennant winner; Burgess wasn't in the majors that year, and he joined the Phils in 1952.  It's entirely possible that Dad might have seen them both play at the old Connie Mack Stadium when he was a kid.

The other 3 cards I own from the set are a PSA-graded Don Newcombe that I posted before, and two of the umpires which I just bought and are in my COMC account.  I'll post them whenever they arrive.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Favorite 2018 Card

I think the count of post-1994 cards that I own is about 50.  That's somewhere between one-tenth of one percent and two-tenths of one percent of my collection.  All my modern cards have been acquired in the past 18 months, since I resumed collecting after being on hiatus since 1994.

Of those 50, my number of 2018 cards is 18.  I bought four four-packs of 2018 Donruss at the dollar store, and I bought a Josh Harrison Topps Heritage card from COMC.  My favorite of the 2018 cards I have is this one, Andrew McCutchen from the 2018 Topps flagship Opening Day insert set, also bought from COMC.
2018 Topps Opening Day insert Andrew McCutchen.
It was put out shortly after Cutch was traded to the Giants.  Of the about 50 modern cards I have, three are of McCutchen: this one, a Panini autograph, and a Marketside pizza card.  I've only been watching baseball again (I stopped at the 1994 strike) since 2015, when my son was born.  You could say that I almost perfectly timed that to miss out on the 20 consecutive losing seasons for the Bucs.  I returned in time to see the difference Cutch made to the Pirates, and these three cards are a little tribute to him, and a little nod to modernity, in my collection.

This card also reminds me slightly of a Sean Scully painting, which is a plus.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 3, 2018

1990 Topps Minis #27: Dennis Eckersley

Today we once again feature a card from the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders set, once again with the world champion Oakland A's.  Today we have card #27, relief ace Dennis Eckersley.
#27, Dennis Eckersley.
Eckersley was a big deal at the time, and did go on to relay that into membership in the Hall of Fame.  Cooperstown hasn't really settled on what makes a Hall of Fame reliever, but Eckersley had a career as half starter, half reliever, doing well in both cases.  As a starter he pitched a no-hitter and was an All-Star twice, and finished high in the Cy Young balloting a couple of times.  As a reliever he won a Cy Young and an MVP, led the league in saves twice, and had four more All-Star selections.  Back in the 80s, I collected 70s cards much more than most other kids, and I made sure to pick up his 1976 rookie card with the Indians back then.
Dennis Eckersley card back.
Eckersley made his way into the league leaders set by tying for 3rd in saves with 33.  The years he led the AL were 1988 with 45, and 1992 with 51.

Thanks for reading!  The next player up, still in Oakland, is card #28 Rickey Henderson.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Recently Acquired Set: 1984 Topps Milton Bradley.

In the past few months, I bought a number of small 80s sets to shore up my 80s cred, I guess.  I've been slow to post about them, but some that I have featured were the Fantastic Sams discs and the Chef Boyardee set.  Today here's one of my favorites, the 1984 Topps Milton Bradley Championship Baseball set.  It's a set of 30, although I only scanned 9 of them to show.  One reason I like this is that I feel like 1984 was a kind of fallow period in baseball, a time just before a changing of the guard.  That huge crop of rookies in the 1987 Topps set were just about to hit the scene, and the stars of the 70s were having a last hurrah.  Also, as for the cards, it's always funny to see a Topps set without the team insignia.
Bill Madlock.
Al Oliver.
Here are two sentimental favorites, two Pirates greats who also played with a number of other teams through their careers.  Bill Madlock and Al Oliver were both just wonderful hitters.  Madlock is the only four-time batting champ not in the Hall of Fame.  Al Oliver may well have made 3000 hits if not for collusion.  They both helped the Bucs to World Series titles, Oliver in 1971 and Madlock in 1979.  They were both near the end of their careers here in 1984.
Cecil Cooper.
Cecil Cooper card back.
Another great hitter, this time from the AL, was Cecil Cooper.  I've shown a number of Cecil Cooper cards on the blog, and I really remember him for sharing the 1981 Topps RBI league leader card with Mike Schmidt.  The card back here shows the game.  I admire Topps for trying its own version of the Topps card game many times, such as with the 1968 inserts and the back of the 1978 cards.  This is a different game, based on dice throws.  I posted the 1969 Milton Bradley Willie Stargell once, and this is essentially the same game as that, but more detailed.
Mike Schmidt.
Steve Carlton.
Here's some more evidence for my "fading stars of the 70s" hypothesis, the local heroes, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton.  Schmidt still had a couple good years in him, winning the NL MVP in 1986.  Carlton still had a few more strikeouts to make, but soon had a not-so-graceful retirement as he tried to hang on a bit too long.    Schmidt and Carlton had just had a second pennant in 1983, losing the World Series with the "Wheeze Kids" to Baltimore.  A couple of the cards in the set are badly off center, including this Carlton.
Dave Winfield.
Rod Carew.
Even though I wasn't an AL fan, Dave Winfield and Rod Carew are also a couple of my all-time favorites.  Carew retired at the end of the 1985 season, and Winfield of course had many seasons left at that point.  They ended with very similar career numbers, 3053 hits for Carew and 3110 for Winfield.
Dave Concepcion.
Ron Guidry.
Dave Concepcion played through 1988, and I did see him in person at the Vet, when Dad and I started seeing a bunch of games around 1987.  Guidry also played through 1988, posting great numbers through an injury-shortened career.
The rest of the set.
I didn't scan the whole set, but here's a photo of the rest.  My thesis about it being all aging stars in the twilight of their careers isn't perfect of course, and there are some young stars (Cal Ripken, Jr., Wade Boggs) and some slightly older (Robin Yount, George Brett, Andre Dawson).  But the Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, and Steve Garvey contingent is strong here as well.

Thanks for reading!



Friday, November 30, 2018

From My Collection: Some 1988 Score Box-Bottom Cut-Outs

I used to buy a number of wax boxes back in the height of the junk wax era, and now I have some of the box-bottom cards.  Back then we didn't actually call Score boxes "wax boxes."  They had different packaging, so they were called mylar boxes.  But that's just a technicality.  I bought many packs of 1988 Score, but only one complete box, so I have 4 of the box-bottom cards.
1988 Score Box-Bottom trivia card.
Trivia card back.
I really enjoyed the Score magic motion trivia card inserts.  I guess in contrast to Topps' gum, Fleer's stickers, and Donruss' puzzle pieces, Score had to think of something to put into packs with the cards.  (Did they really, though?  Couldn't they just have had the cards?)  So they put in trivia cards, and not just any trivia cards, but Sportflics-style "magic motion" cards.  Well, on the box bottom, you don't get magic motion, you just get hte trivia.  I, for one, did not remember what happened at Comiskey park on July 6, 1983.  But apparently a grand slam broke a jinx.
Dave Winfield.
Dave Winfield card back.
The other three cards are more traditional, and Score used them for a little All-Star set which isn't all that different from the Topps rack pack All-Star cards.  I'm not sure why my Dave Winfield has such a big crease.  While the box bottom might have some damage when it's intact, it's not likely to actually be creased with all of the packs inside.  And by 1988, I was mainly taking better care of my cards.  But in any case, this is quite a beat-up card, which I'm still quite happy to have.
Gary Carter.
Ozzie Smith.
Finally, we have two more perrenial All-Stars, Gary Carter and Ozzie Smith.  I wasn't a fan of Carter per se, since he was with the Mets.  (If Dad and I went to Phillies-Mets games at the Vet, Mets fans would come down and start fights.  We stopped going to Mets games.)  It was always fun to watch Ozzie Smith play, and especially to watch him take the field.

Thanks for reading!