I posted the other day about being nearly finished with my 1972 Topps set, so I thought I'd give an update on how I'm doing with my 1955 Bowman set as well.
I focused my Black Friday shopping on knocking out 1972 Topps needs, but I did buy a few 1955 Bowman cards. And this Jocko Conlan, the Hall of Fame umpire, just arrived in the mail yesterday from an eBay seller. Jocko here puts me at 178/320 cards, or 55.6% complete. The high numbers are about the last one-third of the set, so about 106 cards or so, and I have 26 of those. I have two of the four highest-value cards -- of Mantle, Aaron, Banks, and Mays, I have the Mantle and Aaron. So, my plan is to keep slogging through it for the next year, sometimes getting the more expensive cards while focusing on completing the more easily attainable part of the set. I don't expect I'll quite finish the whole set in 2020 but I hope to be much closer.
Jocko Conlan card back.
As for Conlan himself, on the one hand, I think everyone likes these umpire cards and I'm no exception. On the other hand, besides the novelty of the umpire cards, I learned from this card back that Conlan was actually a player himself, and started umpiring when he filled in for a sick umpire. Wikipedia says that in those days, "a player with a reputation for honesty might be pressed into service if one umpire became incapacitated." It was a different time, for sure.
Only nine cards left! I am currently at 778 cards out of 787 for my 1972 Topps set; the remaining nine cards are all high numbers, naturally. I won't list out the ones I need here because I don't want anyone sending me any cards -- I want to finish on my own.
Jim Kaat In Action.
This feels really great; I always wanted to collect a vintage set. Back circa 1990 I was working on a 1979 set and didn't get far. With everyone focused on buying and selling the junk cards of the day and it being pre-internet, it was harder to come across large quantities of older cards. So now it's easier, and I've done it (almost!). While I'm sure it's easier, it's still taken me more than two years.
I was at about 40 cards needed recently, and then got to this point by putting some money into both COMC and eBay on Black Friday. These two cards, Steve Garvey and an In Action card of Jim Kaat, arrived in the mail from an eBay seller yesterday. I don't have definite plans as to when to knock out the last 9 cards, but I think I'll probably do it in January or February.
I said that I've purchased a bunch of Sportflics, and am continuing to post them. There are two main thrusts of this: the 1986 Sportflics Decade Greats set which I started going through, and an unopened box of 1986 Series 1 Sportflics. Today's post focuses on the unopened aspect. As was usual back then 36 packs came to a box. I opened six packs leaving 30 for my unopened collection.
A "Big Six" card attached to the inner box, showing Wade Boggs and Willie McGee.
The box comes with a white outer sleeve that you remove, to reveal the retail box and packs inside. The retail box comes with a single card glued on. I don't think it can be salvaged, since they must have used a bunch of glue to keep it on there. I suspect different boxes get different cards; this box has a "Big Six" card, number 183, of the so-called triple crown.
Don Mattingly and Dave Parker pictured.
Darrell Evans and Dale Murphy pictured.
Of course no one won the 1985 triple crown, but this card features the AL and NL league leaders in each of the triple crown categories. We have Wade Boggs, Darrell Evans, and Don Mattingly for the AL, and Willie McGee, Dale Murphy, and Dave Parker for the NL. I've taken the photos so that you can see all six players.
You can see the pack fronts in the three images above. Here's the pack back, with a partial checklist printed on the top half. They let you know that you can write them for a complete checklist of Series 1, and they also let you know to watch out for Series 2.
Thanks for reading! I'll post the cards I got from the six packs I opened in due course.
At some point I saw another blogger post some of these 1994 Oscar Mayer pop-up discs. I don't remember who or when; it was a while ago now. But I wanted a few for myself.
Kirby Puckett disc back.
These are from 1994, when I was still just barely collecting. I don't typically pick up post-1994 items, so these are just within my usual limits. I only wanted a few, and Kirby Puckett is a good choice for me. I have had two of his 1985 Topps rookie cards for a long, long time, and they have pride of place in my main binder.
Ruben Sierra disc back.
Ruben Sierra was one of the many important rookie cards in the 1987 Topps set; in the time I was watching, he played with the Rangers and A's. Over the next years he also played with the Yankees, Tigers, Reds, Blue Jays, White Sox, Rangers again, Mariners, Rangers again, Yankees again, and Twins, topping 2000 career hits.
Andy Van Slyke.
Andy Van Slyke disc back.
Then there's Andy Van Slyke, who was very important to me in the late 80s/early 90s as a Pirates fan. I didn't buy just one Van Slyke, though. In the interest of having my cake and eating it too, I bought one to keep as it came and one to open up.
A few lines of stats.
I didn't want to open it wrong, so I practiced first. I bought my friend the Mets fan a Lenny Dykstra disc, and we opened it together. We did it a little wrong, tearing it in one place. So then I knew how to open this Van Slyke. Inside there are stats for the most recent five years.
There's also a trivia question and answer that pops out. Who won the most Gold Gloves? Brooks Robinson, of course. But also Jim Kaat, I think, who wasn't mentioned. But not anymore, thanks to Greg Maddux.
A while ago, for my small Mike Schmidt player collection, I bought one silver foil Topps sticker; I think the silver ones were the All-Stars. That one sticker brought back some memories, and so I added some more Topps stickers tomyunopenedcollection with a box of 1981 Topps Stickers.
Box of 1981 Topps stickers.
Box back, with a message addressed to "Mr. Dealer."
Fortunately such things are plentiful on eBay, and even though they've survived intact for 40 years, only cost a few bucks. I like that the box has messages addressed to "Mr. Dealer," encouraging the retailer to also stock the albums.
Two unused albums.
Speaking of the albums, I picked up two of them, in their original condition. I'm not sure what I plan to do with all of this. Part of me wants to open the stickers and see if I get a whole set into the album. Another part of me wants to leave it all as it is. So far that second part is winning my internal argument. But with the albums, I could use one and still have one blank, if I want. The album back has endorsements from Reggie Jackson, George Brett, and Jim Palmer. I'll add that I find it odd that Brett has no logo on the front but he does on the back. Pete Rose has a logo on the front. Why did they blank out Brett's uniform on the front?
100 packs of stickers.
Upon opening the box, I think that 100 packs of stickers look like a lot of packs of stickers.
Fronts of sticker packs.
Backs of sticker packs.
Here are the fronts and the backs of the packs. Again, George Brett is logo-less on the front. And at 15 cents per pack, we're looking at not even 4 cents per sticker. In current dollars, we're talking about approximately 11 cents per sticker.
Inside front cover.
My favorite feature of the album is inside the front cover, on the bottom left, there's a space for you to put your own picture. Your picture would then face the 1980 AL pitching leaders.
Phillies and Pirates.
Each team has a page in the album, and there are some extra pages for league leaders and All-Stars and whatnot. I like that the Phillies and Pirates ended up next to each other, and that in 1981 they were the two most recent World Series winners.
Inside back cover.
Finally, we end with the back cover, which faced the Giants. The back cover includes the offer to complete your collection. You could send a dollar to get 10 stickers of your choice. So they're getting a premium by charging more than double what the stickers retail for, but you're getting to be definite in terms of which stickers you get. I remember that anytime I tried one of these albums, I would give up completing it long before I came close enough to consider their completion deal.
I've said that I'm winding down my collecting, and that remains true. I'm down to fewer than 40 cards for my 1972 Topps set, and then I don't plan to get much more than the 1955 Bowman set that I'm working on. But earlier this year I splurged on a box of 70's goodness from COMC, buying more than 100 various Hostess and Kellogg's cards and MSA discs. Technically a few of the Kellogg's cards are from the 80's, but still. Pictured above are the only unpunched Pepsi discs that I bought, featuring two important Buccos of the 70's, John Candelaria and Willie Stargell. In a dozen or so posts coming up, I plan to show all of this great stuff.
A week ago Sunday, I said that I would be posting a bunch of Sportflics coming up. Here's the first batch, a few cards from the 1986 Sportflics Decades Great set.
1986 Sportflics Decade Greats.
Box bottom: ad for Rookies set.
Here we have the top, front, and bottom of the box. This feels very 80s to me. The bottom advertises another 1986 Sportflics set, their Rookies set.
Inside flaps: Mickey Mantle disc offer.
I posted before the 1986 Sportflics Dwight Gooden disc offer and the Don Mattingly disc offer. There's also a Mickey Mantle that you could get through this form. Searching COMC for these discs, I see that they're listed as 1986 Sportflics Jumbo discs, and in addition to Gooden, Mattingly, and Mantle, there are Wade Boggs, Wally Joyner, and Roger Clemens out there. Maybe they came from offers in the Rookies set, or some other promotion.
As for the cards, I'm showing here a handful of the cards that the set identifies as the greats of the 1930s and 1940s. Also, instead of scanning, I'm holding these in my hand and taking photos with my phone, trying to angle them so as to get clear shots of some of the card images. So you'll see my thumb or hand in most of them. Starting off we have Hank Greenberg, who I wish I had a Play Ball card of. But instead I settle for nostalgia cards like this.
Joe DiMaggio is in the set as one of the Greats of the 1940s. Who could possibly argue with that? The card back (not pictured!) shows his stats for the 40s, with a .325 batting average and over 1000 hits. This, of course, is despite not playing 1943-1945 for military service during World War II.
For each decade, Sportflics designated one player as the Player of the Decade. For the 1930s, that was Lou Gehrig. He had 1802 hits in the 30s, batting .343. Not to mention the playing streak.
Jimmie Foxx is a personal favorite. I said that I wished I had a Play Ball of Hank Greenberg, but since Foxx is more important to me, I did get one of him a while back. Foxx was the longtime number 2 in career home runs, before the sluggers of the 60s came along (Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle). I don't know exactly when one of them passed him. But the old Philadelphia Athletic held on to be number 2 to Babe Ruth for a long time.
Speaking of Ruth, here he is. After the 30s and 40s, the cards are in color for the 1950s onward. This set is a wonderful representation of so much of the baseball history I love. The Sportflics format is perfect for this purpose, too, showing a portrait and two action shots of each of these greats. It may not come across perfectly in a blog post, but this set really captures something great about baseball.
I'll show a few cards from the set's remaining decades in a couple more posts. Thanks for reading!