Wednesday, August 23, 2017

From My Collection: 1991 Topps Travis Fryman

I liked the design of 1991 Topps, with the 40th Anniversary logo in the corner.  This was much better to me than the garish, multicolored 1990 Topps design.  I am very much a less-is-more type when it comes to design choices. 

In reconnecting with my baseball card collection, one thing that interests me is to find out what became of some of the hot rookies of my time.  This 1991 Topps Travis Fryman might not be considered his rookie card -- it looks like he was included in some 1990 sets, such as Fleer Update and Topps Traded.  In any case, I think it's a nice-looking card, with a good action shot.  So, what became of Travis Fryman?  He had a 13-year MLB career from 1990-2002, batting .274, with 224 home runs, 1,022 RBI, and 1,776 hits, was a five-time All-Star, and won one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Collection Goals: The Whiz Kids

The Phillies winning the 1980 World Series forms the basis of some of my earliest memories.  I would have been four years old at the time, just a few days short of turning five.  The main thing I remember is how excited everyone was.  My Dad was 30 years older than me, which would put him at an age where he might have had very early memories of the Phillies losing the 1950 World Series.  Those Phillies were the Whiz Kids, and the two Hall-of-Famers from the team were Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn.

Some 1980s (or maybe 1990s) Pacific cards of Roberts and Ashburn.
I have set the following as a collection goal, then, in honor of Dad, who died almost five years ago now: get some cards from the early 1950s of the Whiz Kids.  All I have are much later issues -- I have a few of Roberts from the 1960s, after he left the Phillies, and I have some Pacific cards, like those pictured here.  I think 1951 Bowman would be most appropriate, since that should reflect the team that actually went to the World Series.  I'll hope to get Roberts, Ashburn, and a few others that I've heard of.

Monday, August 21, 2017

From My Collection: Mike Schmidt Tribute Cards

I mentioned previously how important Mike Schmidt was to my childhood, growing up in the Philadelphia media market in the late 1970s and 1980s.  I remember the day he retired: a friend was over at my house, and my Dad called us into the living room, because the news had broken in with his press conference.

Back then, to vote for the All-Star game, there were paper ballots at games that you could fill out.  I remember filling them out, still voting for Schmidt.  He did make the All-Star team, but of course didn't play, since he was retired.  After that, I was glad to see that some of the card companies made a special effort with his cards.  Donruss denoted him as an "All-Time Great," and Upper Deck made a "ripped from the headlines"-type card.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1982 K-Mart 20th Anniversary MVPs

Box of 1982 K-Mart set.
I have a lot of boxed sets in my collection.  I went in for novelties in general, and I would tend to buy any of these boxed sets that I saw.  This is the oldest one I have, dating from 1982, commemorating K-Mart's 20th anniversary.  It has a certain logic to it, in that K-mart was 20 years old at the time, and the cards review events from that 20-year timespan.  Future boxed sets didn't have such a compelling narative.

1962 NL MVP Maury Wills, again featuring the card that never existed.

1979 AL MVP Don Baylor, may he rest in peace.

The cards feature the MVPs from both the NL and the AL for each year in the given timeframe.  I must have bought this at a show; it would have already been at least 5 years old when I bought it.  The cards were well-preserved in their box, and all have nice, sharp corners.

I'll take this opportunity to comment on Don Baylor's passing.  I hadn't heard the news that he died until a few days after, when I saw a tribute on another baseball card blog.  As I've mentioned before, I've always been a fan of the near-Hall-of-Famers, and I think Baylor fits neatly into that category.  I thought of him earlier this year when Pirates infielder Josh Harrison was hit by pitches in four consecutive at-bats; I heard many years ago that Baylor was one of baseball's all-time leaders in being hit by pitches.  I don't think I had any of his cards set aside in my binder of favorite cards, so I'm glad that I came across this card from the K-Mart set to post.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

From My Collection: 1975 Topps Bill Madlock

I have a soft spot in my heart for the near-Hall-of-Famers.  I have a bunch of 1970s and 1980s Topps league leader cards, and I remember Bill Madlock for showing up several times as the winner of the batting title.  According to Baseball Reference, he ended his career with 2008 hits, a .305 average, and 860 RBI.  He won four batting titles, was a three-time All-Star, and won the 1975 All-Star MVP.  It was a great career with many accomplishments, but it does seem short of the Hall of Fame.
1975 Topps Bill Madlock.
Although this card has the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy on it, it unfortunately isn't his rookie card -- I wonder if I knew that when I acquired it.  (Topps included Madlock in its 1974 set, on a Rookie Infielders card.)

My favorite thing about Bill Madlock is his contribution to the 1979 Pirates World Series championship.  On a team with Willie Stargell and Dave Parker, they still needed some shoring up of their offense, and traded for him mid-season.  It was Madlock's only World Series, and he hit .375 in it.  I have the 1979 World Series on DVD and watch it every now then -- I think it's clear that the Orioles are actually the better team, but the Pirates rose to the occasion and got great performances from key players at the right time. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

From My Collection: 1990 Donruss Delino Deshields Rookie Cards

Since I've rejoined the baseball card collecting world a few weeks ago, I've read whatever articles and blog and forum posts I could find about the "junk wax" era.  I only now discovered that my era of collecting was known as the junk wax era.  In hindsight, it makes sense.  In some people's comments, I've found people joking about how (not) valuable certain rookie cards which were hot at the time are, such as Todd Van Poppel or Delino Deshields. 
Two 1990 Donruss Delino Deshields Rated Rookie cards.
Having been largely away from baseball since 1994, I just looked up online whatever became of Deshields.  I certainly remember him from the time, though, because he was a big deal locally -- like me, Deshields is a Delawarean.  Delaware isn't a big state (about 100 miles long by 20 miles wide), and he came from the opposite end (I'm from Newark at the top of the state and he's from Seaford at the bottom of the state).  Not many Delawareans make the big leagues, so it's always something noteworthy.  According to Wikipedia and Baseball Reference, he ended his career with over 1500 hits and just over 500 RBI, and with a .268 average, in 13 major league seasons, and was once traded for Pedro Martinez.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mystery Solved Thanks to New Internet Technology

I've said before that I collected in the pre-internet age.  I would get information from various magazines, such as Beckett and Baseball Cards, and by talking fellow collectors and the owners at the card shops I frequented.  This left some gaps, and some knowledge was not to be found.  Flash forward thirty years, and with the power of the internet, I can now look up old mystery cards.

I never knew what this Will Clark card was.
At a show one day, I acquired this Will Clark card.  It looked unlicensed to me -- a fellow collector had a number of unlicensed Broder cards from the same time period, and this looked similar (the Broder cards had plain fronts and this had a fancy border, but otherwise it has the same feel).  The magazines only covered the licensed sets (I think), and the dealers I knew weren't familiar with this set.  So, I tucked it away and figured some things are just mysteries.

In the intervening years, many resources have come online.  The back of the card indicates that it is card #9 in a 1988 set called Big League All-Stars Series 2.  Thanks to The Trading Card Database, this is enough information to track it down.  I can say now that this is from an unlicensed set by Pacific Cards and Comics.  I can't find anything else about Pacific Cards and Comics, but knowing this much is a victory.