Thursday, August 31, 2017

Unopened in My Collection: 1989 Topps DoubleHeaders

Maybe I had bad taste -- I really liked these 1989 Topps DoubleHeaders, back in the day.  Each one is a plastic stand which contains a player's "rookie & 1989 card -- back to back."  But they're not really cards at all.  Inside the plastic stand is a thin sheet of paper which has an image of the front of the rookie card on one side, and the front of the 1989 card on the other side.

A full box of 24 unopened DoubleHeaders, plus two more.

The backs of the two loose DoubleHeaders, showing checklists.
I have a full box of these unopened (containing 24), and two more, for a total of 26.  I know I had a bunch of them that I did open, and which I displayed on my bookcase.  Either I (or maybe my mom!) must have thrown them out at some point.  Like I said, they're not really baseball cards, so I am fine with having lost the ones I opened.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Recent Acquisition: Garry Maddox rookie card

I recently sent a few cards out to PSA for grading for the first time.  These cards came from my album of favorite cards, and as a result, it opened up a few spaces in the album, clearing the way for a few acquisitions.  I am delighted to have just added a Garry Maddox 1973 Topps rookie card to my collection.
1973 Topps Garry Maddox rookie card

While he started out with the Giants, Maddox was an integral part of the great late 1970s/early 1980s Phillies teams.  He was with the Phillies on their 1976, 1977, and 1978 NL East division winning team, their 1980 World Championship team, the 1981 first-half NL East champions, and their 1983 NL Pennant-winning team.  While he was certainly a good hitter, his nickname as the Secretary of Defense shows what he was really known for.  The famous saying, due to the great Harry Kalas, apparently, is "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox."  As someone who grew up in the Philadelphia media market in this era, this is a nice card to have picked up.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Collection Goals: The Whiz Kids (Update: Red Man Tobacco card)

I posted last week that, in honor of my Dad, I wanted to acquire some cards of the Whiz Kids (Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, and others) from the early 1950s, rather than the 1980s/1990s Pacific cards that I have, or the cards I have of Roberts after he left the Phillies.  Upon further review, I do have one card of Roberts with the Phillies -- an old Red Man tobacco card.
1952 (I think) Red Man Tobacco Robin Roberts
I have seven of these Red Man cards in my collection; I bought them from a friend in high school, whose dad had left them (and many more) to her.  They are all "without tabs," and are in slightly rough shape, with some creases here and there.  I'll post the other six sometime later.

As far as collection goals go, I suppose I'll be more specific, then.  I'd like to get Roberts, Ashburn, and some others (maybe Del Ennis, Granny Hamner, and Jim Konstanty) from the same set -- 1951 Bowman would seem most appropriate, reflecting the 1950 World Series run.  To be even more specific, I think I'll look for ones which are already PSA graded, too.

Monday, August 28, 2017

From My Collection: 1972 Topps Traded Frank Robinson

Back in the day, I regularly checked the classifieds for yard sales and other ads which mentioned baseball cards.  At one point an ad showed up for a new consignment shop in town, and the ad did include baseball cards in a list of what they had to offer. Of course I went to check it out. This was the late 80s/early 90s, and I think people who didn't necessarily know much about baseball or cards were getting in on the action. When I asked to see the baseball cards in the shop, the owner brought out, I think, just one or two boxes which I quickly went through. I can't be certain, but I think they were all the same price, something like 50 cents per card. It was a long time ago, and I'm not sure, but I do think that I paid 50 cents for this 1972 Topps Traded Frank Robinson.
1972 Topps Traded Frank Robinson
At the time, I knew that Frank Robinson was a member of the 500-home run club, and that he had been the MVP in both leagues. I knew of him as a member of the Reds and Orioles, and didn't know about his later playing history. I also didn't know that Topps had been doing Traded cards for so long -- I had some Topps Traded from the 80s, but didn't know that they dated back further. I was happy to snap up this card -- I remember going home to check the price in Beckett, and seeing that it was listed at something like $10 or more. Later, to complement this in my collection, I found somewhere the regular 1972 Topps Frank Robinson card; I'm sure I paid a regular, full price for that one, though.

1972 Topps Frank Robinson, in which he is still on the Orioles.

I have two other interesting cards which I remember getting at that consignment shop, and they'll be a subject of a future post.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1992 Baseball Aces Playing Cards

1992 Baseball Aces playing cards
This is a boxed set of playing cards with baseball players on them.  There are 54 cards, being the usual 52 cards in a deck, plus two jokers.  Not all the cards are different players -- Cal Ripken, Jr. makes several appearances, for example.  In a sign of the high quality, Ripken is misspelled the same way, "Ripkin," each time.
Four of the cards: Jose Rijo, Cal Ripken, Jr., Howard Johnson, and Matt Williams.
Looking on ebay, I see that they made several of these Aces decks of cards.  I think one is enough for my collection.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

From My Collection: 1971 Topps Bill Buckner Rookie Card

Here we have poor Bill Buckner, only remembered for letting the ball roll through his legs at the crucial moment of the 1986 World Series, prolonging the Curse of the Bambino, as a young man.
1971 Topps Rookie Stars, with Bill Buckner and two others.
Here we have that moment from 1986:
Of course, aside from that moment, Buckner had a very good career, amassing 2,715 hits over 22 seasons.

I hadn't heard of the other two players on the card; it's interesting that they're shown without logos on their caps, which I presume means they hadn't appeared yet for their listed teams.  Looking them up now, I see that Enzo Hernandez played in the majors from 1971-1978, achieving a .224 batting average, and Marty Perez played from 1969-1978, with a .246 batting average.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Errors in My Collection: 1988 Topps Eddie Murray Record Breaker

I never had many error cards, but these could command big premiums back in the day.  I do have two of the errors from the 1988 Topps set.  This one is Eddie Murray's record breaker card, for switch-hitting home runs in consecutive games.
1988 Topps Eddie Murray Record Breaker Error Card
The error is that it has printed on the front what record Murray broke.  I always found this strange and wondered if the error was created on purpose to generate interest; you couldn't have accidentally placed the text there, but I guess it is possible that it was a step in the design of the card and was supposed to be removed.  These days, it seems that errors like this can't command a premium anymore.  The cards with or without the text box are listed at the same (low) price on ebay, and I'm sure they struggle to find a buyer in any case.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Unopened in My Collection: 1990 Umpire Cards

I've said before that I was fond of novelties, and would buy just about anything that was different.  One such thing which showed up as the junk wax era was well underway was these packs of umpire cards.
Four unopened packs of 1990 Umpire Cards.
I have some of these which I did open, but they're just not very interesting, I'm afraid.  People don't go to games to see umpires, and so their cards just don't have much of interest.  I left these four packs unopened.

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.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Discards: Some 1989 Topps Sticker Super Star Cards

In getting my collection ready for storage in our new basement, I went through everything I have, in some cases finding things I remembered well, and in some cases rediscovering things I had forgotten.  In addition to the mini league leaders I wrote about previously, I have a few other kinds of miniature cards.  One of these is the Topps Sticker Super Stars.

Ten cards which I have thrown away: 1989 Topps Super Stars which were missing their stickers from the reverse side.
I don't know how many years Topps made these sticker Super Star cards.  I remember Panini stickers, but over the years I had forgotten that Topps made their own stickers, or that they put a baseball card on the other side of the sticker.  My collection includes these from at least a couple of years, though.  For these ten cards, I decided to toss them in the trash, because they are missing the sticker on the other side.  I think I have a couple hundred of them (maybe not all the same year) with the stickers intact.  These ten without their stickers feel incomplete to me, and in my review of my entire collection, they're almost the only thing (almost -- another post with a few more discards will be coming) I decided not to keep.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Collection Goals: Maury Wills

The 1987 Topps set, with its wood-grain background, made a big impression on me as a kid.  Reading around various articles about the "junk wax" era, this was not a unique experience.  It seems like kids were either brought into collecting by the 1987 Topps set or the 1989 Upper Deck set.  For me, part of the influence was coincidental, since I was starting to be old enough to do a hobby seriously, there were other kids in the neighborhood interested in collecting, too, and we could ride our bikes to the neighborhood 7-Eleven to get new cards all the time.  It was 1987, and Topps is all that this 7-Eleven carried, so that's what we bought.

The 1987 Topps Maury Wills Turn Back the Clock card: a card of a card which never existed.
All the different subsets of the set were interesting, especially Turn Back the Clock, which showed cards from 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, and 1982.  I knew what 1982 cards looked like, since I already had some, but getting to see the other old designs, and reading about the players' accomplishments, was very interesting.  Of course, soon after that, I subscribed to Beckett, started regularly going to card shops and card shows, and got to see, and sometimes buy, all sorts of cards.  But this subset was a first window for me into older Topps cards.

I stopped collecting, really, in the pre-internet age.  I first used the internet when I went to college, in the 1993-1994 school year.  At that point, there was almost nothing on the web.  I completely stopped collecting that summer, buying my last cards, until now, in the summer of 1994.  I say this because it occured to me just the other day to look up how much it might cost to buy the card pictured on this Turn Back the Clock.  Everyone reading this probably knows the story, but imagine my surprise to find out, 30 years later, that this is a card of a card that never existed.  Wills didn't have a 1962 Topps card because he wasn't under contract with them, so they had to mock one up of him to highlight his 1962 base stealing.  This wasn't information that was easily available to me at the time.

I mentioned in another post that I purchased a 1954 Jackie Robinson, to help someday teach my son about the history of black players in Major League Baseball, and that I want to get more cards of black players from that era for him.  I've always been fond of the base stealers, Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman from my time, Lou Brock before them, Bill Bruton who I wrote about before, and Maury Wills.  I've made out a wantlist of cards that I feel will "complete" my collection, with the aim of buying just a few more cards over the next few years.  I also don't have any of the 1963 Fleer cards, which I've heard people call a great set.  As a part of all of these collection goals, the 1963 Fleer Maury Wills is on my want list.

Monday, August 14, 2017

From My Collection: 1981 Topps Harold Baines Rookie Cards

In the late 80s and early 90s, I would read all that I could about baseball.  My parents got me a subscription to The Sporting News, and I am sure I also had a subscription to Beckett, or Baseball Cards, or something similar.  I would buy other sports magazines at the 7-Eleven or elsewhere, and I would also get a bunch of books about baseball, mostly as gifts.  In one of these places, I read about each team's all-time home run leader.  Some of the players were familiar, like Mike Schmidt for the Phillies and Willie Stargell for the Pirates, but some I had never heard of, like Gorman Thomas for the Brewers and Harold Baines for the White Sox.

Two 1981 Topps Harold Baines rookie cards, not in great condition.
I took an interest in Harold Baines after that, and checked to see if I had his rookie cards.  Like the Cal Ripken, Jr. card that I wrote about before, Baines' rookie card fell into the time period for which I had a few cards but I hadn't taken care of them.  It turns out I had 3 of them -- the picture above shows the two I still have (at some point I traded one).  As with my Ripken rookie, they're fairly beat up, but I've always liked them.  Baines finished his career with over 2800 hits, almost 400 home runs, and over 1600 RBI.  I gather he's considered a possible, if perhaps unlikely, Hall-of-Famer, through the Veterans Committee; I was always a fan, and he would have my vote.  I'm sure I'll feature more of his cards on this blog in the future.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Unopened in My Collection: Topps Glossy Mini League Leaders

In addition to collecting the main sets, I always liked the offbeat side projects from the main card companies in the 1980s -- things like Fleer Star Stickers and Donruss Pop-Ups.  In that vein, I bought quite a few Topps "Super Glossy" Major League Leaders.
A full box of 1986 Topps minis, and a few packs from 1987 and 1990.  In the 1987 pack on top, you can see through the wrapper that Bert Blyleven is the first card.

Of course I opened most of these that I bought, and I have a couple of boxes with cards from 1986 through 1990.  Among the unopened part of my collection, the pictured Topps minis are what I have -- a full box from 1986, a few packs from 1987, and a few more from 1990.  I think this set appealed to me in a couple of ways, in addition to just being different.  On the statistics side, since it focused on who led the league in different categories, it helped to learn some of all the baseball data that used to fill my head.  Also, there were a lot of small sets back then, that tended to have about 30 cards and mostly featured the same players.  This was a little bigger than that, and so featured a wider selection of stars and near-stars.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

From My Collection: 1982 Fleer Cal Ripken, Jr. Rookie Card

Although I started seriously collecting in 1987, I had some older cards already.  I think the oldest cards I had would be a handful from 1979, and I think I had a few from each year after that.  When I did start paying attention to my cards, I went and looked to see what I had among my old cards.
1982 Fleer Cal Ripken, Jr. Rookie Card.  You can see multiple creases on the card.
I remember looking in particular to see if I had a Cal Ripken, Jr. rookie card.  I had a bunch of Topps and a few Fleer, and did find one among my Fleer cards.  I think those old cards lived mainly on my bedroom floor, so it's no surprise that it's pretty beat up.  The picture shows multiple creases.  After I discovered it in 1987, I put it in a binder, where it's been ever since.  I was happy to have it despite its condition, though, and at the time it would have been a lot to afford a new one.  It would be easy enough to buy a replacement in better shape now -- they seem to start around $10.  But this one, with all its creases, is my card.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Recent Acquisition: 1987 Topps Traded Lance Parrish

When I recently organized my collection for storage, I found a note that I left to myself: my 1987 Topps Traded set was missing a card, Lance Parrish.  It's hard to imagine why.  Was it a mistake at the factory?  Did I trade it, or sell it?  It all seems unlikely.  In any case, for my set to be complete, I needed a 1987 Topps Traded #94T, Lance Parrish, so I ordered one from ebay for $1.95.
Recent acqusition, to complete my 1987 Topps Traded Set: #94T, Lance Parrish.
Parrish was the Phillies' main catcher for a couple of years, 1987-1988.  My dad and I went to a bunch of Phillies games back then, and I remember him being booed (he wasn't too popular, and Phillies' fans liked to boo) early in the game.  He hit a home run, and the boos turned briefly to cheers.  By 1989, Darren Daulton was the Phillies regular catcher, and he was more popular.  Turns out Daulton passed away just the other day.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

From My Collection: 1984 Topps Andy Van Slyke Rookie Cards

In 1987 when I started following baseball closely, everyone I knew was a Phillies fan.  I guess I wanted to be different, so while inspecting my 1987 Topps baseball cards, I tried to figure out who to choose as my favorite team.  I settled on the Pittsburgh Pirates, which is a bit surprising, because the 1986 Pirates (whose statistics would be on the back of those 1987 Topps cards) really were not very good.  But I must have seen signs of something to come, as the Pirates soon challenged for the division, and won the division three straight years, 1990-1992.

Three 1984 Topps Andy Van Slyke rookie cards.
One of the central players on those Pirate division winners was Andy Van Slyke, whom they acquired in a trade for Tony Pena in 1987.  Van Slyke won five Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and was a three-time All-Star in his years with the Pirates.  Being a fan, I naturally wanted his cards, and one day found three of his rookie card at a show; I think they didn't cost very much, and they're in good shape with sharp corners.  If you look on ebay today for Andy Van Slyke rookie cards, there are actually multiple sellers offering lots of over 100+ of this one card, for about $20 per 100.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Recent Acquisitions (First in a Long Time)

My baseball card collection has sat undisturbed for approximately 23 years, with most of it sitting untouched in my parents' house since the summer after my first year of college in 1994.  In the intervening years, the market for baseball cards has completely crashed, and I've become an adult with a real job.  Now that I'm re-engaging with my collection, I realize that some impossible, out-of-reach cards from my childhood are actually now attainable.

The first baseball cards I've purchased since 1994: a 1954 Topps Jackie Robinson card, and a 1973 Topps Mike Schmidt rookie card.

Growing up in the Philadelphia area in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Mike Schmidt was every boy's hero.  If we got a Mike Schmidt card when we opened a new pack of cards, that was a good pack.  But older Schmidt cards were a bit harder to come by, and I'm not sure that I ever even saw a Schmidt rookie card.  It had never occurred to me, until a few days ago, that I could now just order myself a Schmidt rookie card.  With my wife saying that it was ok, I picked out the non-professionally graded 1973 Topps Ron Cey/John Hilton/Mike Schmidt rookie card pictured above.  In a way this is achieving a childhood dream, but not really -- owning a Schmidt rookie card seemed so impossible that I didn't even dream about it.  Having this card moves me a significant way towards thinking of my collection as being complete.

Thinking about my Bill Bruton card (see the previous post) and how I want to share my collection with my son when he gets older led me to thinking.  As I said, Bruton is one of MLB's early black players, but of course there are other, better-known black players who helped integrate baseball.  I thought I should help teach my son this history by acquiring cards of more of these players, starting with Jackie Robinson.  My wife liked this idea too, and I picked out a 1954 Topps Jackie Robinson, graded PSA 4.  To the twelve-year-old version of myself who was so into collecting baseball cards, the idea that I would ever own a Jackie Robinson card would seem impossible.  But here we are.  I have hopes to, over the next few years, probably, add cards of other pioneers such as Larry Doby, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Maury Wills, and Satchel Paige.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

From My Collection: 1953 Topps Bill Bruton

When I collected cards starting in 1987, the card shop we went to in Newark, DE was called Stale Gum.  At Stale Gum, one thing I frequently purchased was a Grab Bag -- I think it was about $1, and you would get a few random cards, not all bad.  I think that's how I came upon this card, my 1953 Topps Bill Bruton.  If I didn't have this card, I would never have heard of Bruton.  This is one of my favorite cards, for three reasons: it was the first card I got from the 1950s (right now, my collection of about 30,000 cards contains only 12 cards from the 1950s), Bruton was one of MLB's early black players, and he was (like me) a Delawarean.  From what I've read about Bruton, he was a leadoff hitter and a base stealer, something like the 1950s version of Vince Coleman.  A good article about Bruton is available from SABR.

1953 Topps #214 Bill Bruton

First Post

Like many kids in the 1980s, I collected baseball cards.  I did so heavily starting in 1987.  My collection includes cards up until 1994, but I started to shift my focus to comic books at some point, so my collection is strongest in the 1987-1991 timeframe.  I lost interest in baseball at the time of the 1994 strike, and I've just been returning to watching baseball in the past few years.

But now, my family and I are getting ready to move into a new house, and along with this event, I am getting my baseball card collection organized.  My estimation of my collection is that it is about 30,000 cards.  Having gotten it ready for storage in our new basement, it's essentially archived.  Except for my album of best and favorite cards (which will stay upstairs, not in the basement), it's all encased in multiple layers of plastic, with the intention of making it difficult or impossible for any damp basement air to get into the cards.

My baseball card collection ready for storage, filling four 15-gallon Ziploc totes.

I hadn't bought a baseball card since 1994, and I didn't know what the current industry or market was like.  I googled "value of a baseball card collection," and found this great article, which gives a wonderful, and only slightly sad, description of finding out that your 1987-1994 baseball card collection is worthless.  I don't mind the lack of value, though -- I have some significant differences from the author of that article, especially in that I didn't buy all of my cards with the idea of them as an investment.  I bought my cards because I loved collecting them, going to card shows with my dad, and watching and learning about baseball.  This was the best part of my childhood.

I've decided to start this blog to share stories about some of my favorite cards, some of what I've learned about how absurd the late 80s/early 90s market for cards was, and what I'll focus on as I buy the occasional item with a view toward "completing" my collection.  Anyone who finds this is welcome to read, share, and participate, but the main audience I have in mind is that I would like my son, currently two years old, to someday read some of what I write here.