Thursday, December 10, 2020

Reprints: 1940 Play Ball Philadelphia A's Team Set

 The Athletics left Philadelphia long ago, and the Phillies maintained their history in the city for many years through their inclusion on the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame.  Other than that you don't hear much about them locally; I have worked in Philly for the past 12.5 years, and I think exactly one time I saw someone wearing a Philadelphia A's tshirt (with the elephant logo).  While I've picked up a handful of Philadelphia A's cards, I wanted some from the 1940 Play Ball set that I also have a handful of.  I decided, however, that I had spent enough lately, and opted for some cheap reprints instead.  I don't have more than a few reprints in my collection, but this seemed like an appropriate reason to get some.

Connie Mack.
"Save these cards..." back.
Of course the biggest draw is Connie Mack.  I think the only other Connie Mack I have is his Baseball Immortals.  It's good to have another of the legend.  Come to think of it, it would be great to have a card of his namesake stadium, since Connie Mack Stadium (the former Shibe Park) is where Dad went to games when he was a kid.  Dad was an orphan, and he said that sometimes some of the young men who worked at the orphanage/school that he attended/lived at would take the boys to a Phillies game at Connie Mack. 

Sam Chapman
"SUPERMAN" back.

There are two variants of the card backs on the 1940 Play Ball.  The Connie Mack above displays the "Save these cards..." variant, and this Sam Chapman shows the Superman Gum back.  Chapman was with the A's from 1938 to 1941, then was in the US Navy as a pilot, then again with the A's from 1945 to 1951.  He closed out his career with the Indians in 1951.
Frank Hayes.
Wally Moses.
Frankie Hayes was a 6-time All-Star, playing in the majors from 1933-1947.  Wally Moses was a 2-time All-Star, playing from 1935-1951.  Moses won three World Series as a coach, two with the Yankees and one with the Tigers.
Bob Johnson.
Frank Baker.
When he retired, Bob Johnson was #8 on the all-time home run list with 288.  Home Run Baker wasn't a current player in 1940, having played in the dead ball era instead.  After his playing days had ended, Baker was a manager of a team in Easton, MD and discovered Jimmie Foxx.  That itself would be quite the legacy.  Baker of course is in the Hall of Fame.
Charley Berry.
John Babich.
Charlie Berry was a two-sport guy, playing in the NFL with the Pottsville Maroons.  He was part of the team that famously had their NFL title taken away and awarded to the Cardinals.  Of course this has resulted in the NFL Cardinals being cursed!  (I'm not a football guy, but it's my impression that this is still important to some folks here in PA.)  John Babich was a pitcher with a career 30-45 record and a 4.93 ERA.
Dick Siebert.
Chubby Dean.
Dick Siebert had an ok career, including one All-Star appearance during the WWII years.  But his real legacy, apparently, is as one of the greatest collegiate baseball coaches ever, after a long career at University of Minnesota.  Chubby Dean was a pitcher who put together a 30-46 career record with a 5.08 ERA.
Moose Earnshaw.
Dee Miles.
Moose Earnshaw was a pitcher who led the AL in wins in 1929, helping the Athletics to the World Series championship then, and again the following year.  Dee Miles was an outfielder who played with the Senators, Athletics, and Red Sox between 1935 and 1943, with a .280 career average.

Of these guys, Mack, Chapman, Moses, Johnson, Baker, and Earnshaw are on the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Three loose ends

I had a few small projects to put a handful of cards on a theme together in my binder, and it seems like for all of these I had one card missing.  These just arrived in my COMC box.

Burt Shotton.
I posted about the book Electric October, covering the 1947 World Series.  The book says that it's told through the lens of six not-famous major leaguers, although it does it admit that one of them is a bit more famous given that he's a Hall-of-Famer (Bucky Harris).  I tried to get cards of all of them but couldn't find a good card of one, Bill Bevens.  But I showed the Harris, Snuffy Stirnweiss, Al Gionfriddo, and Cookie Lavagetto cards that I picked up.  The only one missing, then, was this, a Target Dodgers Burt Shotton.  You learn in the book that Shotton was the last manager to manage in a suit rather than the uniform -- he very slightly outlasted Connie Mack in that respect (by a few hours).
Sherm Lollar.
Another project I had was to make a page of cards of teams that no longer are.  I've shown some Seattle Pilots, Philadelphia Athletics, Kansas City Athletics, and Colt .45s, (and of course some others like Milwaukee Braves, New York Giants, and Brooklyn Dodgers), and at least one Boston Brave (although the Sam Jethroe is PSA-graded and so not for the binder).  But I noticed I didn't seem to have any St. Louis Browns.  I picked out this Sherm Lollar since he was a notable player of the day and I even had another card of him already (with the White Sox by then).  Of course an ideal St. Louis Browns card would be the 1953 Topps Satchel Paige, but even if not for the expense, the misspelling of his name ("Satchell") bugs me enough that I won't try to get one.

Edward G. Robinson.
Robinson card back.

I don't go for non-sports, or even non-baseball, much (please excuse the main exception in my collection, the circa-1990 Marvel and DC superhero cards from my youth).  But I posted about the movie Big Leaguer before, and got a handful of cards to remember that: Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, and Freddie Fitzsimmons, and the main character, Hans Lobert.  Lobert was played in the movie by movie star Edward G. Robinson, so I thought I would get a Robinson to go next to Lobert.  I picked up this 1939 Milky Way card.  The card says that Mars Confections are manufactured in Slough, which surely makes this card from England.  It's probably unique in my collection in that respect.  It's also tied for my oldest card, along with the 1939 Play Ball Gus Suhr I posted recently.  I guess Robinson makes the second movie star in my binder, after Kevin Costner.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 7, 2020

1988 Starting Lineup Talking Baseball Mets Team Set

When I turned 13 in 1988, I think one of my birthday presents was the Starting Lineup Talking Baseball game.  The game was electronic and you could play the built-in teams or buy extra cartridges that had other teams.  The built-in teams were AL All-Stars and NL All-Stars, and there were cards of them; I've posted them before.  A cartridge would have three more teams, and I only had one cartridge, with the Phillies and Pirates, and the third team was the Mets.  I showed the Pirates once before too.  The All-Star teams had photos on the cards and the cards that came with the cartridges are drawings instead; not sure why.  Also, speaking of things I'm not sure about, I don't know why I have 25/20 of these cards.  For some reason I have two each of Roger McDowell, Jesse Orosco, Rafael Santana, Tim Teufel, and Mookie Wilson.

Bill Almon.
Wally Backman.
I won't have a lot to say about all these guys.  But I know both Bill Almon and Wally Backman from their days with other teams.  Almon was a Pirate before he was a Met, and then ended his career with the Phillies.  Backman also had some years with the Phillies, as they were working on their 1993 pennant run.  He left the Phils in 1992 though.
Gary Carter.
David Cone.
Here we have a couple more famous guys, in Gary Carter and David Cone.  Cone wasn't with the 1986 championship Mets but made up for it with 5 World Series wins after that.
Ron Darling.
Lenny Dykstra.
I always think the same thing when I think of Ron Darling.  I think it must have been before a World Series game, although it could have been for something else, the TV station was doing a Warren Zevon song parody in the pregame.  It was of "Werewolves of London."  The line about Ron Darling was, "I saw Ron Darling with a Chinese menu in his hand."  Lenny Dykstra doesn't need much further comment, I think.
Sid Fernandez.
Dwight Gooden.
According to the book "The Bad Guys Won" about the 1986 Mets season, Sid Fernandez is pretty dumb.  The book tells a story where he decides not to buy a house because he doesn't understand the concept of a mortgage.  Then there's Dwight Gooden.  Like Gary Carter above, those stars around him show that he was an All-Star.
Keith Hernandez.
Howard Johnson.
Keith Hernandez, of Seinfeld fame, and Howard Johnson, suspiciously powerful hitter.
Barry Lyons.
Dave Magadan.
I don't know anything to say about Barry Lyons.  Dave Magadan was well-known at the time for being a Future Star in the 1987 Topps set.
Lee Mazzilli.
Roger McDowell.
Roger McDowell is another who went on to the Phillies, as the closer before Mitch Williams showed up.  Mazzilli was one of the senior members of the 1986 Mets team, having debuted in the majors in 1976 in a first stint with the Mets.
Kevin McReynolds.
Jesse Orosco.
The worst of the '86 Mets were the "Scum Bunch," and Jesse Orosco was their leader.  I don't have much to say about Kevin McReynolds; he was with the Mets from '87-'91, and again to close out his career in '94.
Rafael Santana.
Darryl Strawberry.
Daryl Strawberry is also adorned with stars here, indicating that he was an All-Star.  Rafael Santana didn't have a long or storied career, and being with the '86 Mets seems like it's his career highlight.
Tim Teufel.
Mookie Wilson.
According to the book, Tim Teufel came to the Mets from the Twins.  The atmosphere in Minnesota was professional and supportive, and he had the shock of going from that to the crude and juvenile atmosphere of the Mets.  He was assimilated into the Mets' culture, being arrested after a bar fight in Houston on a road trip.  Mookie Wilson was an exception to the antics with those Mets; he later recorded a gospel album, for instance.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Two from 1960 Fleer

A while ago I picked up some Chuck Klein and Grover Cleveland Alexander cards for my main binder, since they're two of the four Phillies whose "numbers" were retired back in the days that Dad and I went to all those games at the Vet in the late 80s.  I say "numbers" because Klein and Alexander were from before the days of players wearing numbers, or at least from before the days of players consistently wearing the same number.  So they just had their names/initials hung up.  The other two, of course, were Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts.  Others would join those four, and Dad and I got to go to the games where Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt had their numbers retired -- the souvenir programs from those games will eventually make it to their own posts.

Anyway, for the Klein and Alexander, I also used them as an excuse to get my first 1960 and 1961 Fleer cards.  I considered and decided against collecting those Fleer sets, but did want to get a couple more.  So here they are.

1960 Fleer Honus Wagner.
Honus Wagner card back.
I don't have a lot of cards of Honus Wagner, despite being a huge Pirates fan.  This is probably because there aren't that many cards of Wagner, at least that are (a) affordable, and (b) from before 1994 when the bulk of my collecting stopped.  Other than this new one, I appear to have 3 Wagner cards: a Baseball Immortals, a Red Superstar, and a Fritsch Museum card.  (The Fritsch Museum set will also be a post of its own at some point.)  The Fritsch Museum card is in my binder so it's not like Wagner is unrepresented there.  But I think this 1960 Fleer becomes by far my best card of him.
1960 Fleer "Jimmy" Foxx.
Foxx card back.

Then we have Jimmie Foxx, spelled here as Jimmy Foxx.  I have two different pictures of Foxx in my mind, one of which is that he was a huge star, having been a 9-time All-Star and 3-time AL MVP.  On the other hand, I don't know how true it is, but I heard at least once that people didn't realize at the time how significant his 500+ home runs were because Babe Ruth had 700+.  Other points making me a fan of Foxx are that he's a local guy in more than one way -- he was from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, with his hometown being only about 40 miles away from my hometown of Newark, Delaware.  And as a player he was a huge figure for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Atheletics.  When I was a kid I remember the Phillies remembering the Athletics tradition in Philadelphia, callling their Wall of Fame the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame and inducting the old Athletics alongside Phillies.  Of course Foxx was the second Athletic so honored, after Mack.  This isn't by best card of Foxx, but since my 1940 Play Ball is PSA-graded it can't go in the binder.  Instead this 1960 Fleer is a great representation of him for the binder.

I'm on a roll with two posts in two days.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Venn Diagram: 3 short-time Pirates, 3 1984 Fleer Update, 5 cards total

 I finally received my COMC box that I requested shipment of in July.  I won't get into how I haven't posted in months, and I'll just jump right into a post of 5 cards from the box.

Luis Tiant of the Pirates.
I posted once about folks I hadn't realized were ever Pirates.  I covered Bobby Shantz, Maury Wills, Amos Otis, and George Hendrick there. In the comments I was pointed to a post of Dime Box Nick, in which I learned of a few more.  I didn't want all of them for myself, but Luis Tiant was too good for me to pass up.

Goose Gossage of the Pirates.
I hadn't known that Luis Tiant was ever a Pirate, but I did know about Goose Gossage.  I think the story of the airbrushing on his 1978 Topps card is well-known.  I looked into whether there were any cards (from the time, not modern cards) of him with the Buccos, and this one came up.  It's always good to have another old Hostess, too.
Pete Rose of the Expos.
Along the same lines, but without the Pittsburgh connection, is this 1984 Fleer Update of Pete Rose with the Expos.  Of course Pete Rose is an extremely problematic individual, and I wouldn't usually go out of my way to get another card of him.  But Pete Rose with the Expos is kind of like Reggie Jackson with the Orioles, and it feels like it needs commemoration in my collection.  For Reggie the best I have (at present) is the 1988 Score card.  This is a bit better to me since this is actually from the time that he was with the Expos.

Shane Rawley.
I got a couple more 1984 Fleer Update cards.  I went to a lot of Phillies games with Dad in the late 80s/early 90s.  This was the period firmly between their 1983 and 1993 pennants.  They were generally quite bad in that interval.  Shane Rawley was the ace of the pitching staff for a couple of years, around 1987.  He came to the Phils after time with the Mariners and Yankees, and finished his career in 1989 with the Twins.  He put together a 111-118 career record with a 4.02 ERA.
John Tudor of the Pirates.
So who is at the intersection of this Venn diagram?  Short-time Pirate John Tudor on a 1984 Fleer Update card.

 Thanks for reading!  We'll see if I can post a little more in the next couple of months.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Iron Man Gus Suhr

A simple one-card post today.  I mentioned in the comments the other day that I love the 1940 Play Ball set but the cards are mostly either too expensive to justify getting more, or of players I've never heard of, which makes them less interesting.  So in a way I'm looking for excuses to get more of the less-popular (read: cheaper) cards.  Such an excuse presented itself the other day, although with the 1939 Play Ball set.  This is now the oldest card in my collection, tied with another card not yet in-hand which is coming from COMC, also from 1939.

1939 Play Ball Gus Suhr
Gus Suhr card back.
I was watching the Pirates game and they mentioned long-ago Pirate Gus Suhr, who was an Iron Man of his time.  He had a streak of 822 consecutive games, which was the NL record at the time.  He's still in 10th place all-time; the current NL record holder is Steve Garvey with 1,207, which is fourth place all-time.

I do like this card but the 1940 Play Ball set is definitely more charming, with its borders decorated with a ball and bat and whatnot.  Suhr had a good career, with three 100+ RBI seasons and batting over .300 twice.

I don't anticipate getting any more from the 1939 Play Ball set, but it's nice to have one and to recognize a notable Pirate of years gone by.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Finished my 1972 Topps set

When I was young, I dreamed of collecting a vintage set, the 1979 Topps set.  It was hard to find a bunch of old cards then so I only got about 10% through.  When I resumed collecting a couple years ago, instead of making good on that progress, I just bought a complete 1979 Topps set for not too much money.  I did pursue the dream, though, by starting a 1972 Topps set.  And now I'm done.  I don't have every single card with me, though, because a bunch are in my COMC order.  I put in to have it shipped back in July, and in the current environment, they say that means that I'll get it in mid-October.  But, I do own them all, even if I can't hold them all in my hands right now.  For now the ones I have with me are in a couple of boxes.  I think eventually I'll get them situated into a new binder.

Pat Corrales In Action.
Pat Corrales In Action card back: Tom Seaver.

The last of the high numbers are these five, which came to me via eBay.  They're a good bunch to show to illustrate this post about completing the set.  I have a clear early memory of Pat Corrales from the 1983 Topps set as the Phillies manager.  I knew the Phillies won the pennant in 1983 and assumed that it was with Corrales.  But he had been fired at some point, and Paul "the Pope" Owens took them to the World Series instead.  Wikipedia tells me that Corrales is the only manager to ever be fired in first place, although the Phils' record at the time was only 43-42.

One of the reasons I've decided to put the set in a binder is to be able to see the puzzle backs of the in-action cards.  I think it was Greg from The Collective Mind (if not, sorry) who said that while you use 9-card pages for most of the set, a good way to see the puzzle cards is sideways in 8-card sheets, so that the puzzle is assembled.  This bit of Tom Seaver seen here can serve as a sort of tribute to the recently departed as I don't especially have interesting cards of him to make into a post of their own.

Bobby Murcer.
Donn Clendenon.
This Bobby Murcer is card 699, putting his in-action card in the honor position of number 700.  That strikes me as a little odd because it would seem like he was a big deal, but I've actually barely heard of him.  Wikipedia tells me that he was touted as "the next Mickey Mantle" back in the day.  He had a decent enough career, being a five-time All-Star, but all that ended a bit before my time, and like I said, growing up in the 80s I never heard much about him.  Then we have Donn Clendenon, who is more familiar to me because he was a longtime Pirate.  He missed out on the Pirate championships in 1960 and 1971 since his years with the team were 1961-1968, but he was part of the Miracle Mets in 1969.
Jose Pagan In Action.
Jim Kaat.

Then we have Bucco Jose Pagan (In Action), and Jim Kaat.  I wouldn't have been surprised if Kaat were in the Hall of Fame, but instead he's someone that people can write articles about, debating whether he should be in the Hall of Fame.  He had a long career spanning from the late 50s to the 80s, and he makes an appearance in my binder with a very beat up 1978 Topps card with the Phillies.  Part of why I picked the 1972 set as the new object of my dream of collecting a vintage set was to commemorate the Pirates winning the 1971 World Series.  Jose Pagan drove in the deciding run in Game 7, so he's a perfect card to feature here at the end.

So that's a complete set in the books.  That leaves me working on my 1955 Bowman set; I have 250/320 cards for that, so only 70 to go.  I don't expect to pick up another vintage set project -- I've toyed with the idea of 1959 Topps or 1967 Topps, but I think they'd be too hard to finish out.  Maybe I'll reconsider one day.  In any case, thanks for reading!

Update: Just after posting, I looked at other recent blog posts and saw that Night Owl had written two days before about the 1972 Topps Set club.  Total coincidence.