Friday, April 10, 2020

More on the 1987 World Series: Gwynn, Molitor, Palmer, and McCarver?

I hope everyone is staying well.  My family is all doing ok so far, and we're quite thankful for that.  I've lost some momentum as to what I posted about last time, which is making my way through the 1987 World Series on YouTube.  I'm towards the end of Game 4 right now, but haven't watched any for a couple of days.  I guess it's more interesting for me when the Twins are winning, so I'll have to slog through the rest of Game 4 and then Game 5 before I get the part I like.
Anyway, I thought I'd show a few cards of guys who are showing up in the series.  You might think it's odd that I've got Tony Gwynn and Paul Molitor here, then.  But they're a noticeable part of the broadcast.  Every time there's a new pitcher, the network puts on Gwynn (if it's a Cardinal) or Molitor (if it's a Twin, since the Brewers were in the AL back then) to give their views of the pitcher's style, strengths, and weaknesses.  Of course they were both great hitters, but they also did a great job of the task at hand.
Then we have two retired players, who were two of the three broadcasters for ABC, joined by Al Michaels.  They had a chat at one point about pitchers that use personal catchers, which is something McCarver knows about first-hand, being at one time Steve Carlton's personal catcher.
Speaking of Carlton, he's someone you don't see in the World Series, although he was there.  Carlton was a shadow of his former self at that point but still in the majors, and was on the Twins roster.  The story is that he made the trip to the White House with the Twins but was identified in a photo as a Secret Service agent. 
And, I'll throw in this card of Carlton and Palmer, together with Dave Goltz (a Twin, which seems appropriate for this post) and longtime Royal Dennis Leonard.  Carlton led the NL with 23 wins, then Tom Seaver was second in the majors with 21.  Four NL pitchers, John Candelaria, Bob Forsch, Tommy John, and Rick Reuschel, tied the three AL leaders with 20 wins each.

That's it for this post -- thanks for reading!  Best wishes to you all and your families to stay safe and healthy.

Monday, March 30, 2020

What I'm doing during our isolation: Rewatching the 1987 World Series

Of course there's no new baseball these days.  So I'm recreating what was for me a formative experience, watching the 1987 World Series.

In the fall of 1987, I was eleven years old, just about to turn twelve, and I had started seventh grade.  My parents had separated less than a year ago and my older brother had started high school.  Within that past year I think I had been shedding childhood interests such as Transformers and G.I. Joe, and I turned to baseball.  I had always had some interest in baseball but the 1987 season is when I started following daily, and the 1987 World Series is the first that I made a point of watching.  Dad wasn't around that year (my parents got back together later), and who knows what my older brother was off doing.  But Mom and I watched that 1987 World Series together, and it was a great series.  Fortunately the whole thing is on YouTube, and I'm currently partway through Game 4.

One thing that 1987 series did for us was make us aware of Kirby Puckett.
Two 1985 Topps Kirby Puckett rookie cards.
I of course instantly searched through my cards back then, to see if I had any Kirby Puckett rookie cards.  Lo and behold, I did.  I only had a handful of pre-1987 cards, but there were some good ones in there.  Over the subsequent years I managed to add another copy of it.  You can clearly see the flaws in both of them in this scan, but that's no matter -- these Pucketts mean a lot to me.

I went digging through my main binder to see who else from the 1987 Twins or Cardinals I had.  I only turned up a handful, and maybe my secondary binder has more.  But another then-valuable rookie card I had was a 1986 Donruss Vince Coleman.
1986 Donruss Vince Coleman.
Back then the view was that Coleman was the NL's Rickey Henderson.  Coleman had some great seasons, but Henderson turned out to have a much more impressive career.
1987 Fleer Update (glossy?) Joe Magrane and 1987 Fleer Jack Clark.
The other two Cardinals from that team in my main binder are Joe Magrane and Jack Clark.  Magrane was in the update set, being a rookie pitcher that year.  It doesn't show in the scan, but the card is actually extremely shiny/glossy, so I suppose it must have come from the Fleer tin set.  I never bought a Fleer tin set, so I must have just picked up the one card somewhere.  Watching the 1987 series, the announcers frequently lament that Jack Clark wasn't playing, and that Terry Pendleton wasn't at full strength.  Of course there's no telling for sure, but one suspects the close series may have turned out differently had those guys been healthy.

It goes without saying that I'm having trouble finding the time to blog.  My last post before this was almost four months ago!  Being home all day isn't helping, as I have to take care of our almost-five-year-old son while my wife works from home (I work from home too but with more flexible hours).  Let me close just by wishing that you all stay well!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Progress on my 1955 Bowman set

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.
Jocko Conlan.
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.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Closing in on my 1972 Topps set

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.
Steve Garvey.
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.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

New to my unopened collection: 1986 Sportflics

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.
Outer sleeve.
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.
Pack back.
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.

Friday, November 29, 2019

A few 1994 Oscar Mayer discs

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.
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.
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.
Popped 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.
Trivia question.
Trivia answer.
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.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New to my unopened collection: 1981 Topps stickers

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 to my unopened collection 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.
Album back.
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.

Thanks for reading!