Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1987 Topps K-Mart Baseball's Stars of the Decades

In this week's edition of Sets in My Collection, I am presenting the 1987 Topps K-Mart set, Baseball's Stars of the Decades.  The ubiquitous 1982 K-Mart set was issued for K-Mart's 20th anniversary, and so in 1987, this set celebrated K-Mart's 25th anniversary.  I guess that means K-Mart is 55 years old this year, even if it may not be with us much longer.
1987 Topps K-Mart set box.
Like the 1982 set, this is of a nostalgic variety, and features stars of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  I love that in addition to the cards, they put a piece of the Topps gum into the box, too.  I'm sure I chewed the gum at the time.
Roberto Clemente.
As always, instead of showing the whole set, I am choosing a handul to highlight.  This time, we start with Roberto Clemente.  Despite him being one fo the very few best Pirates ever, and legendary in a number of ways, and a personal all-time favorite, I only have a handful of cards of him.  It's going to stay that way, too -- the obstacle is that I don't want cards of him which call him "Bob," and most cards from his playing did so.  From what I've read, it's clear that he wanted to be called by his name, Roberto.  My standard is that I'm not looking for cards which say "Bob" on the front; I do have his 1971, 1972, and 1973 Topps cards, and I just acquired a Post card and a Topps Deckle Edge.  The Deckle Edge says "Bob," but it's on the back, at least.
Hank Aaron.
I have a handful of Hank Aaron cards, from the last couple years of his career, and some league leader cards I posted before.  I do have a plan to get more of his cards, from the 50s and 60s.
Roger Maris.
I have no cards of Roger Maris contemporaneous with his career, and I do plan to remedy that.  This will be part of my plan to commemorate the 1960 Pirates championship team in my collection -- rather than aim for a whole Pirates team set (like I'm doing for the 1971 and 1979 Pirates teams), I'm looking to get the 1961 Topps World Series subset, and cards of a few key Pirates and a few key Yankees.  Maris figures as one of the key Yankees.
Steve Carlton.
The three players above, Clemente, Aaron, and Maris, are in the set as Stars of the 60s.  Moving on to the 70s, we have Steve Carlton.  Carlton of course was still a star in the first half of the 80s, but let's not argue with his placement as a representative of the 70s here.  Two of Carlton's Cy Young awards and a number of his All-Star appearances occured in the 70s, but his most impressive feat was probably being responsible for almost half of the wins on the pathetic 1972 Phillies team.  Things turned around for the Phillies, though, after having acquired Carlton and having promoted Mike Schmidt to the majors around the same time.  I have a number of Carlton cards already, but I do have one on my wantlist, for the PSA-graded part of my collection: his 1972 Topps Traded card, representing his joining the Phils.
Reggie Jackson.
Then we have Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, five-time World Series champion in the 70s.  I've posted before about my collection goals for Reggie Jackson -- I plan to get a couple more cards from his original run with the A's, for the PSA-graded part of my collection.
Rickey Henderson.
Rickey Henderson was, naturally, a huge star of the 80s, and beyond.  Since this set was produced in 1987, they didn't know he would go on to be the all-time steals leader and the all-time runs leader, but they might have guessed.
Fernando Valenzuela.
I'll close this post out with this Fernando Valenzuela card.  If you wanted to highlight just one player from the first half of the 80s, Valenzuela would be a good choice.  I was young then, so I only remember the littlest bit of Fernandomania; I've mentioned it before, but I remember a specific game he pitched against the Phillies in which he was just about unhittable.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Oversized in My Collection: 1987 Donruss All-Stars

In my Saturday series on oversized cards, I've previously featured the 1984 Donruss All-Stars and the 1985 Donruss All-Stars.  I'm skipping over 1986, and showing my 1987 Donruss All-Stars today.  The reason for skipping is that I actually have the entire set from 1986, and I plan to show them all in a sequence of posts.  For 1984 and 1985, I only had five cards from each set and showed them all; 1987 is like that for me -- I have ten of these (nine different), and am showing them all.
Tony Pena.
Dave Parker.
To start, we have two of my favorite players, Tony Pena (who would soon leave the Pirates for the Cardinals) and Dave Parker (who had recently left the Pirates for the Reds).  Pena didn't have a chance to be a part of a good Pirates team, but by trading him away, they got some talent from the Cards who led the Pirates postseason drive of the early 1990s.  Parker still had some good years ahead of him here, and went on to be part of the great late 80s/early 90s Oakland teams.
Dave Smith.
Keith Hernandez.
These two players, Dave Smith and Keith Hernandez, faced each other in the 1986 NLCS.  Smith was the losing pitcher in Game 3, blowing a save.  Hernandez went 2-for-4 in Game 3, en route to the Mets winning the World Series.  Hernandez didn't actually bat against Smith in that game; Smith gave up a single to Wally Backman, then Danny Heep flied out, then Lenny Dykstra hit a walk-off home run.
Brook Jacoby.
Mike Witt.
Moving to the AL, we have Brook Jacoby and Mike Witt.  I've mentioned Witt before on the blog; he also was in the 1986 playoffs, with the Angels losing to the Red Sox.  Witt is perhaps best known for a perfect game, and also for appearing in relief to combine with Mark Langston for a no-hitter.  Witt finished his career with a 117-116 record and a 3.83 ERA.  I honestly don't remember Brook Jacoby, but I see that he played in the majors from 1981-1992 with the Braves, Indians, and A's, and was a two-time All-Star. 
Chris Brown.
Whitey Herzog.
I've featured Chris Brown in one of my boxed set posts before; I'll say what I said then, that I don't remember him.  Brown was an All-Star in 1986 and retired after 1989.  According to Wikipedia, Brown died in 2006, "after he suffered burns in a fire at a vacant house he owned."

Then we have Whitey Herzog, who is featured here in this 1987 set because the Cardinals won the NL pennant in 1985.  I find the two-year time lag interesting, but that's how it is -- winning the pennant in 1985 made Herzog the NL All-Star manager in 1986, which leads to a card in 1987.
Rich Gedman.
Finally, I will close with Rich Gedman.  For some reason I have two of this card; I considered scanning them both and posting them side-by-side, but that seemed like overkill.  Gedman was the Red Sox catcher for their pennant-winning 1986 team.  After 1986, he stopped playing as many games, and retired after 1992.

I'm running out of oversized cards to show in my Saturday series, but I do still have some Phillies team-issued cards, and the complete set of the 1986 Donruss All-Stars.  I'm also interested in picking up more Topps Supers.  So the series will continue for a few more weeks, at least.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Recent Acquisitions for My Player Collections: Mike Schmidt

I recently picked up more Mike Schmidt cards for my player collection, mostly from COMC, but one or two came from eBay.
Meadow Gold Mike Schmidt.
I wasn't familiar with Meadow Gold before, but looking them up, I see they're a dairy, and cards used to come with milk or ice cream or something.  You can find two varieties for sale, blank back or stat back.  The stat back version, obviously, has stats on the back; mine is a blank back.  It makes no difference to me -- the binder this will be in has cards doubled up, so I won't typically see the back, and there are plenty of other places to find Schmidt's stats if I'm so inclined.  One interesting point about this card is the Beatrice name at the bottom; I remember around the time of the 1984 summer Olympics, lots of commercials started including a tag/jingle, "We're Beatrice."  They were a conglomerate that people hadn't really heard of, and they wanted to assert themselves and have people notice how many different products they made, I guess.  It didn't last long.  You can search for "We're Beatrice" on YouTube and find some of the old commercials.
1989 Topps UK Mike Schmidt.
1989 Topps UK Mike Schmidt.
I posted before about the 1988 Topps UK set, and how I bought it through the mail at some point back in the day.  I really liked the design of those cards, and wished there was a whole regular-sized set like them.  I didn't know until rejoining the collecting world this year that there was also a 1989 Topps UK set, so this Schmidt is my first from that set.  The design is boxy and unattractive, unfortunately, although the backs changed little from 1988.  The faux autograph on the back, interestingly, appears to be from Mike Scott, not Mike Schmidt.
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars Mike Schmidt and M&M's Mike Schmidt.
I never had any cards from either of these sets, Quaker Chewy Granola Bars or M&M's, until just recently.  Like the Meadow Gold and the Topps UK card above, these feature head shots of Mike.  For the M&M's, I guess they brought Mike into the studio for a shoot.  For the Quaker card, it looks like they caught him at an away game.
1985 Fleer Limited Edition boxed set Schmidt and 1986 Fleer Schmidt-in-Action.
Not all my recent Schmidt acquisitions are head shots, though.  While I have a number of 1980s boxed sets, the 1985 Fleer Limited Edition set isn't one of them; in this card, it looks like Schmidt is hanging around while an opponent takes batting practice.  I like that the design of this card foreshadows the 1990 Fleer design, which I liked better than some of their other designs from that time period.  The Schmidt-in-Action card from 1986 Fleer gives four nice shots of his swing.
1986 and 1987 Fleer Baseball's Best Sluggers vs. Pitchers cards of Mike Schmidt.
Another couple of boxed sets I don't have are the Fleer Baseball's Best Sluggers vs. Pitchers.  I do have a few cards from those sets, but until now I didn't have Schmidt.  Here we have his 1986 and 1987 cards, on-deck in a road uniform in 1986, and taking batting practice in a home uniform in 1987.

There are already more Schmidts on their way to me, but for now, that is it for recent Schmidt acquisitions.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Surprise Autograph of Larry Bowa: Update, and Ken Howell

I mentioned in a previous post that I happened upon a Larry Bowa autograph in a box of my cards.  I had thought that my autographs were all in my binders, but it turns out this 1978 Topps Larry Bowa was mixed in with the rest of my non-binder 1978 Topps cards.  I sent it off to PSA (I only have a few autographed cards, and I'd like to have them all authenticated and protected), and it's back now.
Autographed 1978 Topps Larry Bowa.
The card grade turned out to be VG 3, and the autograph grade was quite a bit better, at 8.  This joins the other autographs I've gotten back from PSA already, including a 1981 Donruss Larry Bowa.

This seems like an appropriate place to mention that I found another surprise autograph.  I posted recently about my unopened packs of 1990 Topps Traded, and in preparing that post, I dug through my stored cards looking for my loose Traded and Update cards.  I found a 1989 Topps Traded Ken Howell, autographed.
Autographed 1989 Topps Traded Ken Howell.
I knew that I had a Ken Howell autograph -- it's on a Phillies Team-Issued Photo Card, the kind I've been posting recently (such as in this post and this other post).  The autographed Team-Issued is in a binder, but I didn't send it to PSA because it's oversized, and I've only sent regular-sized cards so far.  It's not a big surprise that I got Howell to sign two cards; an autograph ticket for him at a card show probably wasn't too expensive; it may even have been included with admission, in which case, Dad and I would have both gotten autograph tickets, and thus two autographs.  I'll send this card off to PSA before too long, along with another autographed card I recently purchased (more on that one after it arrives).

Howell pitched in the majors from 1984-1990, with the Dodgers and Phillies.  His career record was 38-48 with 31 saves and a 3.95 ERA.  I guess you would call him the ace of the 1989 Phillies; he had a 12-12 record, and the only other pitcher on the team with as many wins was reliever Jeff Parrett with a 12-6 record.  No one else had more than 6 wins.  The Phillies went 67-95 that year, but made trades that would eventually pay off in winning the 1993 NL pennant.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

From My Collection: Dickie Thon

My binder, in the state that I left it in 1994, mostly housed cards of Hall-of-Famers from the 70s, Pirates and Phillies that I always liked, oddball cards that I found interesting, and players that were of current interest back then.  This card, the 1980 Topps Angels Future Stars, fits into the Phillies category.
1980 Topps Angels Future Stars.
I estimate that Dad and I went to about 50-75 Phillies games from 1987-1993 (my middle school and high school years), and Dickie Thon was the Phillies starting shortstop from 1989-1991.  A word about the other two players here: Ralph Botting pitched with the Angels in 1979 and 1980, appearing in a total of 18 games (7 were starts), with a record of 2-3.  Bob Clark (a.k.a. Bobby Clark) was with the Angels from 1979-1983 and the Brewers from 1984-1985, with career totals of 967 at-bats, 100 RBI, 19 home runs, with a .239 career average.
1990 Phillies Team-Issued Photo Card Dickie Thon.
1991 Phillies Team-Issued Photo Card Dickie Thon.
I have these two Phillies Team-Issued cards (I think they always called them Photo Cards, so that's what I've labeled them in the captions) of Thon.  Those Phillies teams weren't very good, and he performed well enough for them, batting .271 in 1989, .255 in 1990, and .252 in 1991.  He was replaced with a multitude of players, with the 1992 Phillies not really having a regular shortstop.

Of course, what Thon is most famous for is being beaned.  He missed almost the entire 1984 season after being hit with a pitch and breaking the orbital bone around his left eye.  He was viewed as having great potential before that, and made the All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger in 1983.  He had trouble for years afterwards, and it wasn't until these years with the Phillies that he had a chance to play everyday again.
1989 Fleer Dickie Thon.
1989 Bowman Dickie Thon.
In looking for cards when writing these posts, I almost never wade through my boxes of the main part of my collection, my junk wax cards from 1987-1994.  I did happen to be looking through some of those cards for unrelated reasons, and I knew I was going to write about Dickie Thon, so I pulled out a couple of his cards.  Here we have him on his 1989 Fleer card with the Padres, and his 1989 Bowman card with the Phillies.  Bowman was ahead of Fleer on this, as the Phillies purchased Thon's contract from the Padres in January of 1989.  Bowman must have taken their picture in spring training that year.

After Thon left the Phillies, he played in 95 games with the Rangers in 1992, and in 85 games with the Brewers in 1993.  He retired with 1176 hits, 71 home runs, 167 stolen bases, and a .264 average.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Recent Acquisition: 1951 Topps Red Back Ray Boone

Today we're featuring this 1951 Topps Red Back, of Ray Boone.
1951 Topps Red Back Ray Boone.
This card is now tied for the oldest card in my collection; it's a tie with the 1951 Bowman Richie Ashburn I acquired recently (for my birthday, in fact).  I had a few spots in my main binder to fill, and I decided to look into getting a 1951 Topps card for at least one of these.  I looked around, and found this on eBay.  I decided on Boone among a few other players, mostly as a nod towards the multi-generational Boone baseball family.  I've featured Bob Boone a couple of times, including when writing about Burger King cards in my collection.
The red back of the 1951 Topps Red Back Ray Boone.
Ray Boone played in the majors from 1948 through 1960, for the Indians, Tigers, White Sox, Kansas City A's, Milwaukee Braves, and Red Sox.  In his first year, he and the Indians won the World Series, and he was a two-time All-Star.
Included with the package: a flyer for the seller, Kit Young.
Without making any endorsement at all, I want to mention a funny thing I noticed about the card seller.  Like I said, I just found the card on eBay for a few bucks, and didn't pay attention to the identity of the seller.  It turns out that I was buying from Kit Young.  That name rung a bell, and I looked at my old Baseball Cards magazines.
Kit Young ad from decades ago.
Kit Young ad from decades ago.
Kit Young always had ads placed prominently in the front of Baseball Cards magazine.  I expect it's unlikely I ever ordered from them, since the ads tended to focus mainly on single cards of star players; I usually got such cards from the local card shops.  I tended to order factory sets or unopened packs/boxes from the magazines instead.  Even if I know virtually nothing about Kit Young (like I said, I'm by no means making an endorsement), it's nice to know that there's something that hasn't changed in the hobby from the 80s to today.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Towards a 1972 Topps Pirates Team Set

I've posted before about how the 1980 Phillies are commemorated in my collection, through the 1980 Topps Burger King Phillies set, the 1981 Topps Coca-Cola Phillies set, and the 1981 Topps Bob Walk rookie card.  I posted about my partial 1980 Topps Pirates team set, to commemorate the 1979 Pirates.  I also want the 1971 Pirates and the 1960 Pirates have a significant presence in my collection.  I have no progress yet on the 1960 Pirates, but when I stopped collecting in 1994, I had a few 1972 Topps cards of the Pirates, including Clemente and Stargell.
1972 Topps Pirates World Champions card.
This team picture was surely the first card I got for my 1972 Pirates project.  I think I got it at Stale Gum, the first card shop I ever visited.  Stale Gum closed not too long after I started collecting in the 80s.
Roberto Clemente.
You can see this Roberto Clemente card is damaged in a number of ways.  This made it affordable for me as a teenager.  I really liked picking this card up back in the day because in addition to being a Roberto Clemente card, and in addition to being a start for my team set, this was a card I was familiar with from the 1987 Topps Turn Back the Clock subset.
Willie Stargell.
Willie Stargell, in action.
I've had the two Willie Stargell cards, the regular card and the in action card, for a long time as well.  I don't have any specific memories about acquiring them, but I've always appreciated them.
Bob Moose.
Bill Virdon.
The only two other regular cards I had for the team set are Bob Moose and Bill Virdon.  Virdon is here as the manager, but he started as Pirates manager in 1972.  Danny Murtaugh was manager for both the 1960 and 1971 championship teams; Virdon was a player on that 1960 team.  Virdon managed them to a divisonal title in 1972.  They lost the playoffs to the Reds when the winning run in Game 5 scored on wild pitch by Bob Moose.  Moose spent his whole career with the Pirates, going 76-71 with a 3.50 ERA from 1967-1976.  He threw a no-hitter in 1969, and went 11-7 in the regular season in 1971.  Moose's career ended with his death in a car accident, on his 29th birthday, in October, 1976.

I won't repost them all here, but I've recently acquired the regular Manny Sanguillen card as well, and I have the two World Series subset cards featuring Sanguillen, one as a recent acquisition.  (I posted the 1972 O-Pee-Chee of the regular Sanguillen before, but I also picked up the Topps at the same time.)  Here is the World Series Sanguillen card I've had since the early 90s, though, featuring Sanguillen in the air as an Oriole slides under him.
1972 Topps World Series card, with Manny Sanguillen in the air.
I don't have much urgency on this, but I'll slowly be looking to pick up more of the team set, including the World Series subset.