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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Two more New York Giants: Ott and Fitzsimmons

I've posted a couple of times now about the movie Big Leaguer.  While it's not that great a movie and I don't want to make too much of it, I did order a handful of cards related to the movie and I've been posting them as they come in.  So today we have two more, Mel Ott and Fred "Fitz" Fitzsimmons.  There's a scene in the movie where they're telling the guy running the Giants spring camp to get more results, and he says that not everyone is going to be an Ott, Hubbell, or Fitzsimmons.  Hubbell was not only mentioned but was in the movie, and I posted some of his cards the other day.

Cramer Baseball Legends Mel Ott.
Mel Ott card back.
For Hubbell and Hans Lobert, I got 1940 Play Ball cards of them to go in the binder. Fitzsimmons, too, as you can see below. I looked at a 1940 Play Ball of Ott but decided I had spent enough money already. I have a few Ott cards already (1985 Topps Circle K, 1986 Sportflics Decade Greats, Pacific Legends, and Swell Baseball Greats), but I wanted one that was closer in its look to the 1940 Play Ball, while also being cheap. So here we have it, this Cramer Baseball Legends card, which is my fifth from that set.
1940 Play Ball "Fitz" Fitzsimmons.
Fitzsimmons card back.
I hadn't heard of Fitzsimmons before and had to look him up. He's actually here in the Play Ball set as a Brooklyn Dodger; he was with the Giants from 1925-1937, and then was with Brooklyn from 1937-1943. He had a solid career, with a 217-146 record with a 3.51 ERA. He actually went on the manage the Phillies for a couple of years, and was a longtime coach after that.

There's just one more card I have coming related to the movie, and that's a 1939 Milky Way card of Edward G. Robinson, which I've mentioned a couple of times.  I'll post that when it arrives with my COMC order, hopefully next month.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Negro Leagues Centennial Team postcard set

A new gem of my collection is this postcard set to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League.  I got this boxed set of 3.5"x5.5" postcards for a $100 donation to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.  It's a limited edition of 2020 copies, and mine is numbered 0943/2020.  They still seem to be available if you want one, too.

Rube Foster on the box.

I've only been to Kansas City proper once, for a friend's wedding.  I flew in another time but didn't stay, when I visited University of Missouri at Columbia for a conference (that time, if I had planned better, I could have caught a Royals game, since I drove right by the stadium when a game was about to start).  When in Kansas City, my wife and I did make it to the Nelson-Atkins art museum, which is a wonderful museum.  But I didn't know then that Kansas City was where Rube Foster led the organization of the Negro National League in 1920.  And so Kansas City now is the home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.  That's going to be worth another visit to Kansas City one day, when we can travel more again.

Rube Foster on the checklist card.
Naturally they feature Rube Foster several times, including on the box and on the checklist.  If you take a glance at the checklist, you see there are a lot of greats here.

Judy Johnson.
Judy Johnson card back.

To highlight one front and back, I'll show the local favorite, my fellow Delawarean, Judy Johnson.  For a long time he was Delaware's only Hall-of-Famer.  Hilldale played in Darby, PA, just west of Philly.

Larry Doby.
Buck Leonard.
To show just a couple more, we have Larry Doby with the Newark Eagles and Buck Leonard with the Homestead Grays.  The Grays were one of two great Pittsburgh-area Negro Leagues teams, the other being the Crawfords.  I posted a while ago about having read a great biography of Larry Doby, which I really enjoyed.

I'm really so pleased to have another fine Negro Leagues set in my collection.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Some more 1986 Sportflics Decade Greats: the 1950s

I posted some cards from the 1950s portion of the 1986 Sportflics Decade Greats set the other day.  When I went to put those cards away, I saw that there were some cards missing.  A little investigation showed that I had set some cards aside for a blog post.  The cards I'm showing here are the ones I had originally (several months ago) intended to show to represent the 1950s portion of the set.  But then, you know, pandemic and all, I forgot.  So between the two posts, I'm showing almost all of the cards from of the 50s from the set.

Jackie Robinson.
Roy Campanella.
I should have noticed something amiss.  I should have noticed that Jackie Robinson should have been there.  So here he is with his Brooklyn teammate Roy Campanella.  Back in the late 80s/early 90s when I was collecting, cards like this and Baseball Immortals and the like were the only way I could have cards of these greats.  I'm fortunate to have been able to add a couple of old cards of them to my collection lately.

Ernie Banks.
Mickey Mantle.
Ernie Banks and Mickey Mantle are here, and to my mind they show a limitation of the format, that it's hard to slot some of these players into just one decade.  Of course Banks and Mantle were huge in the 60s, too.  They both won two MVP awards in the 50s, and Mantle got a third in the 60s.  They both led their leagues in home runs and RBIs a few times, but in both cases, not after 1960.  So maybe the 50s is the right call for both of them, that while they continued to be great, they had the most impact in the 50s.
Mainly Robin Roberts.
Bob Lemon, Don Newcombe, and Robin Roberts card back.

If I told you that a Sportflics card had Robin Roberts, Don Newcombe, and Bob Lemon on it, you wouldn't necessarily know who the scan of the card would pick up.  The image that came out was mainly Robin Roberts, which I'm glad about.  I've said a number of times that he was Dad's favorite when he was growing up.  I feel like I'm almost done collecting overall, but I definitely want to pick up one more good Robin Roberts card before I stop.  (I have a couple more goals, but I do need to add another solid Robin Roberts card.)

That's all for now!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

1990 Topps Minis #55: Glenn Davis

It's been about 10 months since I featured any of the 1990 Topps Mini League Leaders cards, but there's no time like the present to resume the series.  We last had John Franco of the Reds, and now we're on to Houston with Glenn Davis.

#55, Glenn Davis.
Davis was a slugging first baseman for a few years, hitting at least 20 home runs per year between 1985 and 1990.  Having started with Houston in 1984, he closed out his career with Baltimore in 1993.  He finished second in NL MVP voting in 1986, when his Astros lost the NLCS to the Mets.  Number one in the NL MVP voting that year was Mike Schmidt, winning his third and final NL MVP award.
Glenn Davis card back.

To get into this league leaders set, Davis tied for third in home runs with 34 in 1989.  He was 7th in RBI and slugging.  Numbers one and two in the NL home run race were Kevin Mitchell and Howard Johnson, and Eric Davis tied with Glenn for third place.

That's all for now.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Some Carl Hubbell cards

In a recent post I mentioned the movie Big Leaguer, which I saw many years ago on cable, and then looked it up recently and watched it again.  It was mainly about the New York Giants and I guess they wanted a baseball player to have a bit part, so they got Carl Hubbell.
1940 Play Ball Carl Hubbell.
1940 Play Ball Carl Hubbell card back.

I'll put a few cards in my binder related to the movie, and I already posted the 1940 Play Ball of Hans Lobert.  I also ordered, but haven't received yet, a 1939 Milky Way Edward G. Robinson, who played Lobert.  Then while writing the previous post I thought I could get a good Hubbell, too, and it came in the mail this past weekend.  So this is my 4th from the 1940 Play Ball set; I posted the other three recently (Lobert, Jimmie Foxx, and Bucky Harris).

Baseball Immortals Carl Hubbell.
1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Carl Hubbell.
Of course a look through the old collection shows that I already had a couple of Hubbells, but not as good as the 1940 Play Ball.  One of these is a Baseball Immortals.  I bought the whole set of Baseball Immortals around 1983 or so; the set wasn't completed yet I guess, as they kept issuing new cards for a few years after that.  But I don't even have all of my circa-1983 set, as I must have traded a few here and there back in the day (or been careless and lost or destroyed a handful).  Then I have this 1986 Sportflics Decade Greats card; I've made a couple of posts of cards of that set, and will keep doing so as they're great nostalgia cards.

 The movie itself is only so good, but I like commemorating things that I've seen in my binder, and it's always good to have an excuse to pick up another old Play Ball card.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats: the 1950s

 I posted once before about picking up the 1986 Sportflics Decade Greats set.  As the name suggests, the cards are arranged by decade.  They start with the 30s, and I posted a handful of the cards representing the 30s and 40s.  I've meant to get back to this, and today here are some of the cards of the 50s.

An image mainly of Mickey Vernon.
Best first basemen of the 50s.
Sportflics of course sometimes did solo cards of players and sometimes leveraged their format for greater impact, and here we have a 3-in-1 card of the best first basemen of the 50s:  Gil Hodges, Ted Kluszewski, and Mickey Vernon.  Speaking for myself at least, you never know which image you'll get when scanning Sportflics, and what showed up here was an image that was largely Mickey Vernon in his Senators cap.
Ralph Kiner.
Stan Musial.
Although the 1950s Pirates weren't very good, finishing either 7th or 8th each year from 1950-1957 (although things picked up after that), I wanted to represent them here.  Above, Ted Kluszewski is mentioned as being a Pirate on the card back, but he's pictured as a Red.  Here we have a better representation in Ralph Kiner.  I think the effect of the scan is funny, making him look like one of those 1938 Goudey cards with the big head.  The Cardinals were actually only a little better than the Pirates in the 50s, in a bit of a lull between winning multiple World Series in the 40s and in the 60s.  Here we have their great, Stan Musial.
Warren Spahn.
Eddie Mathews.
By contrast, a perennial contender in the 50s was the Braves, and they did take home a World Series in 1957.  I've said many times on this blog that the Phillies winning the 1980 World Series was a formative experience for me, happening just as I was turning 5 years old.  That team rhymes a bit with those Braves of the 50s, with the great left-handed pitcher (Warren Spahn or Steve Carlton) and the 500-home-run hitting third baseman (Eddie Mathews or Mike Schmidt).  There isn't an analogue of a young Hank Aaron on those Phillies, though.
Luis Aparacio and Nellie Fox.
Best Double Play Duo of the 50s.

The White Sox didn't win a World Series in the 50s but they were a contender, with a pennant in 1959 and several 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the AL.  They're represented well here with Hall of Fame infield combo Nellie Fox and Luis Aparacio.  There's also a card (not pictured) of Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn, who finished the decade with the White Sox.  Other players representing the 50s in the set that I'm not showing are Duke Snider and Yogi Berra (and a few more, which will be featured in another post).

This is really a great set with a lot of beautiful photos.  I think it's Sportflics at its best.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Book Post: Electric October

The book Electric October came out in 2017, and I think I've seen at least a couple of cardblog posts about it.  A friend gifted me a copy for my birthday either last year or maybe the year before, and in our lockdown (or maybe a bit after lockdown was relaxed) I found the time to read it.  The book focuses on 6 lives, at it says.  What it calls the most exciting World Series, that of 1947, came down to some key moments from some less famous, or not famous at all, baseball folks.
1940 Play Ball Bucky Harris.
Bucky Harris card back.

It's hard to make the case that the 6 lives are all people who otherwise wouldn't be known for much, as the book tries to make out, since one of them is a Hall-of-Famer.  Bucky Harris certainly isn't the most famous Hall-of-Famer, but still people may well have heard of him.  He won the World Series twice as manager, bringing the Washington Senators their first title in 1924, and then winning the 1947 series with the Yankees.  His Senators also lost the World Series to the Pirates in 1925.  I mentioned the other day when I showed my 1940 Play Ball Hans Lobert card that I would be showing another from that set soon, and here it is.  This is my third card from the set with one more (Carl Hubbell) on the way.  I'm tempted to get more as I think it's a beautiful set, but it's surely an extremely foolish endeavor to think about getting all of them.  I might stop at the four I have.
The Wiz Snuffy Stirnweiss.
The Wiz Snuffy Stirnweiss card back.
Another of the main players was 1945 AL batting champ Snuffy Stirnweiss.  According to the book, Stirnweiss had a chip on his shoulder about having won the batting title when many players were doing military service.  I chose to represent him with this The Wiz Yankees of the 50s card; I have a couple other of these Wiz cards, both of John Candelaria (for his time with the Mets and with the Yankees in the 80s).  Stirnweiss died in a tragic train accident in the late 50s.
1970 Fleer Laughlin World Series Al Gionfriddo.
Fleer Laughlin card back.
Another of the players was "little guy" Al Gionfriddo of the Dodgers.  He is best known for a catch which may have robbed Joe DiMaggio of a home run in the World Series.  Gionfriddo never played in the majors again after that World Series.  This is my first Laughlin card, although I do have some later Fleer Laughlin sticker backs (I guess they can be considered cards, but to me they're stickers); it's a welcome addition to my collection.
1960 Topps Cookie Lavagetto.
Cookie Lavagetto card back.

Another of the prominent figures in the story of the 1947 World Series is Brooklyn player Cookie Lavagetto.  Part of the story of the book is how some players are welcome to stay around after their playing days are over while others aren't.  Lavagetto was a popular guy and went on to be a big-league manager, shown here with the Senators.

Of the six main characters of the book, I haven't mentioned Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens yet.  I didn't find any cards I liked of him (some of the cards had his name misspelled, which I don't like).  Bevens is shown as a contrast to Lavagetto in that he would have liked to keep working in baseball but was never offered anything after that 1947 World Series.  The final character is Dodgers manager Burt Shotton.  I bought a card of him from the Target All-Time Dodgers set, but it's in my COMC shipment that won't be arriving until at least October.  I'm happy to get the Target Dodgers represented in my collection.

Overall, while I enjoyed the book I also don't especially recommend it.  It's quite well-written and the author makes a good narrative crafted around Harris, Shotton, Lavagetto, Gionfriddo, Stirnweiss, and Bevens, but in the end it's just a story of a World Series between two teams that I don't especially care for.  The later Dodger championship teams would be of much more interest to me, and some Yankee losses might be more up my alley.  But a story about the Yankees winning yet another World Series can only be made so compelling to me.

Thanks for reading!  I'm really on a roll, having made three posts in three days after 4+ months off from blogging.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A few Seattle Pilots

One thing I've done in the past couple of years is that I've gotten some bygone teams into my collection.  I've posted before about buying a few Philadelphia Athletics and a few Colt .45s cards.  Today we have a couple Seattle Pilots.
Pacific Legends Diego Segui.

I didn't think that I had any Seattle Pilots in my original collection (when I was collecting up until 1994), but it turns out that was wrong.  I didn't have any from when the Pilots were actually playing, but I did have this Pacific Legends card of Diego Segui.  I find the Pacific Legends checklist a bit mystifying, with then-current players like Tony Fernandez included, and here Diego Segui, as well as any number of Hall-of-Famers and multi-All-Stars.  Segui does have one notable achievement in being the 1970 AL ERA leader.  Otherwise he had a 92-111 record with a 3.81 ERA from 1962 through 1977.  A decent and long career, but I don't know that I'd call him a legend.

1969 Topps Tommy Davis.

 The Segui card is stored with most of my other Pacific Legends.  Then I bought (a while ago now, but am just blogging about it) a couple of more interesting Seattle Pilots cards.  This Tommy Davis will go in my main binder alongside other cards representing bygone teams.  Davis is the kind of player I love, with a long career with many accomplishments but not necessarily so famous, and not Cooperstown-level.  A good guy to go in the binder for the Pilots.

Kellogg's Tommy Harper.

 Then I got this Tommy Harper to go with an expanded selection of Kellogg's cards I picked up.  I mentioned before I would be showing a bunch of these Kellogg's cards but then I took a blogging hiatus instead.  In any case it's good to have the Pilots represented there.  I did show another Tommy Harper card with the Pilots some time ago, when I picked up a few old Topps Supers:
1970 Topps Super Tommy Harper.

I don't have much more to say about these.  I have just about all the reasonably modern teams in my binder with at least one card.  I say "just about all" because there is a St. Louis Browns card in my COMC shipment that will go in the binder once it arrives, which they tell me will be in October.

That's all for now.  I'll continue to try to catch up on some of my planned posts.  Thanks for reading!