Wednesday, June 12, 2019
The Spring Sale provided a big boost to my 1959 Topps Set build, I added 48 cards to the set, and for the most part spent a dollar or less per card!
Here's the highest of the high numbers, the final card on the checklist, Billy Pierce. There are still plenty of cards on my checklist, but I've now passed the 75% mark.
Let's see the new additions, sorta sorted by color! First up are stripes. There are several rookie stars cards for each team, and I'm thinking of putting these in the binder at the back end of each team page.
Orange-y Pink. I missed it in the COMC scan, but the Moe Drabrowsky card has a big crease running vertically from the top. But it was under a buck, so I can't be too bummed about it!
Stoplight time - 8 new Greens, including 1950s iron man Eddie Yost, who was 2nd to Lou Gehrig for the longest consecutive games played streak.
Yellow has several familiar-ish faces, like Hank Sauer, Vic Power, and Bob Cerv! The Bobby Tiefenauer is a little off center, but probably the sharpest conditioned card in my whole set.
We stop with Red, adding 8 more to the set. 2 pesky Yankees, and Senators great Jim Lemon. He was a big power hitter for Washington right up until the move to Minnesota.
Monday, June 10, 2019
Normally I save the best for last with my card show posts. This time, I couldn't wait! I haven't posted in over a week (this card show was last Saturday), and I figured I could earn back some eyeballs by leading with a big one.
Not only is the Killebrew card a Hall of Fame player from my future favorite team, but it is a high number card in a set I've been working on for over a year. This card is sharp! I've looked at several versions of this one in the last year, this one is probably the nicest one I've found in my price range.
There was also a great new dime box this time around - in addition to gems like the Parrot's Photobomb, this box had something I don't normally see at the show.
Lots of Catchers!
Plenty of cards from the late 70s and early 80s - I'll probably discover that I already had these, but at a dime apiece I wasn't too worried about doubles.
And horizontal heroes? You bet.
The oldest cards in the box were from 1976, but the cards from 1978 and later were all very sharp.
Of course there was more recent stuff, too. All told, I spent a whopping $8 to pull my favorites.
I'm still finding some fun stuff in the Basketball and and Hockey world, including this OPC insert commemorating Gordie Howe's 700th Goal.
Discounted Don Drysdale? Don't mind if I do!
Picked up 2 more '59 All-Stars, and 2 more Yankees, which are tough to find cheaply.
Last but not least, I leave you with another 1959 Hall of Famer. This Hank Aaron card highlights the Homer he hit in the 1957 World Series that shifted the momentum into Milwaukee's favor.
Monday, June 3, 2019
Topps is at it again - taking an old design and re-releasing it into the wild. Topps Total was a simple enough concept. Just like Pokemon, Topps Total was attempting to catch all the major league players for each team.
Getting those pesky middle relievers and third catchers and 39th out of 40 roster guys onto cardboard was one of the big benefits of the first run of Topps Total. The other big plus? The packs were cheap!
This time around, the checklists are still deep, but you better hope your pockets are too. The cards are online exclusive, and are being released in "waves." The Twins have 4 players in Wave one, and I was able to track them all down on eBay. Nice to see Martin Perez, one the team's early surprises and 5th Starter, getting in on the Total action early on.
I paid more than I wanted to for these, but fortunately for the next wave I found that the guy I buy my Topps NOW cards is selling team "sets" for each wave and I can save a few bucks from now on. I think the Blake Parker card is miscut top to bottom?
Here are the backs - each player gets a biographical sentence. All the cards have a blurb describing the set, which is fine, but hey I already paid for these cards, I know what they are... Since they are only for sale online, why not use that space for stats?
Friday, May 31, 2019
Saint Paul has 3 Hall of Famers that called it home - Winfield, Molitor, and Jack Morris. It was also the birthplace of John Anderson, who made 24 major league pitching appearances. The zipper is a neat feature on that jersey, and of course that distinctive wind blown lock of hair stands out.
Bill Davis was a big time power prospect out of Richfield High School (just south of Minneapolis) and the University of Minnesota. In 1965 in the minors he hit 33 homers, and that made Topps very interested in the young man for the rest of the 1960s:
They only need 2 photos to get 4 more Bill Davis cards. He had 71 minor league homers overall, but just one at the major league level. There's a nice SABR biography of Davis by Daniel Leavitt, who at 6'6" was a two sport star at the U of MN.
Minneapolis was home to Yankee Johnny Blanchard, who attended the now defunct Central High. His 8 year major league career included 2 W.S. titles. He was primarily a reserve, but was used extensively in the post season- He had a pair of homers in the 1961 series, and hit .345 overall in 15 post season games over 5 seasons.
Lefty Tom Burgmeier appeared in 745 games in the majors was also born in Saint Paul, but he attended high school (Up North!) in Saint Cloud. He was an All-Star in 1980, saving 24 games for the Boston Red Sox. For his career he had a 3.45 ERA and won 79 games while saving 102 others.
Alex Call is from Burnsville, MN attending High School in Thief River Falls, WI and Sam Carlson is from Savage, MN originally, but went to Burnsville High School! So that's neat.
Jim Brower and Jim Crowell pitched for short stints in the mid 2000s, while the Eisenreich bros saw playing time in various outfields in the 80s and 90s. Big brother Jim had the longer career.
There were and are still plenty of Minnesotans in the minor leagues still waiting or never getting their shot in the Show, but there's still time for many of these guys.
The other Hall of Famer from MN? Charles Albert Bender, who was born in Crow Wing County. Not long into his youth he was taken to a boarding school in Ohio, where he would ultimately learn the finer points of athletics before become a literal Athletic for Connie Mack.
This postcard is a reprint from a pre-war issue of Bender in the prime of his A's career. All of these were acquired in the latest COMC binge, taking advantage of the Spring Sale.
Thursday, May 30, 2019
With the NBA Finals starting tonight, I thought I would share the small stack of basketball cards I added from my most recent COMC splurge. I took full advantage of the recent spring sale (I even sold 5 cards!), and added a ton of cards to my 1959 Topps set build. But I also went off on a few tangents, including a trip down memory lane to a couple of my favorite basketball players.
Allen Iverson is relentless. Tenacious! Gritty! The man's got heart. I understand some people don't like Iverson for whatever reason, but I have to disagree with them. I wouldn't call myself a Sixers fan, but I definitely was a big fan of AI.
One reason I couldn't call myself a Sixers fan was this man right here. In many ways, Iverson and Garnett were two sides of the same coin - intense competitors whose play on the court rose the quality of play of everyone around them. Garnett was like a 6'11" Allen Iverson! Even though he had to go to Boston to get it, I was so happy for KG when he won the NBA championship and shouted "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!" Just a great moment.
I'm making it official- I want to build a 1957 Topps Minneapolis Lakers Team Set (I already have the toughest card, HOF rookie Vern Mikklesen), so this card is an appetizer.
For the 50th anniversary of the set, Topps re-created it, right down to the fun card back showing the sample ballplayer in front of a giant ruler.
I don't watch nearly as much NBA basketball as I used to, but with the Wolves playing well again (making the playoffs last year, narrowly missing this year in a tough West), I made a point to catch a few games. I was blown away by reserve guard Josh Okogie - he's probably 8th or 9th on the depth chart, but he had several games last year in which he would take over for several minutes at a time. He would get a steal and go coast to coast, lock down the opponent's top scorer, get a key blocked shot, or knock down a clutch three point shot. He's a fan favorite for sure.
Since he's not Karl Anthony Towns (or even Andrew Wiggins for that matter), this jersey / autograph combo was under $5 bucks. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is starting soon - are you rooting for Toronto or Golden State?
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
More Topps NOW cards - there is variety on the horizon, I promise. I couldn't pass up Thor's complete game from May 2nd. Not only did he go the distance and strikeout 10 batters, he was also the only guy to cross home plate, crushing a solo homer for the Mets. A real do-it-yourself masterpiece!
I wanted to know who the 1983 fella was that was the last pitcher to toss a CG and hit a homer, so now you reap those benefits as well. It was Dodgers hurler Bob Welch, who also beat up on Cincinnati. The Reds have guys on their team that could return the favor- Michael Lorenzen comes to mind, though I guess he's a bullpen guy now. He certainly has the home run power, hitting 6 homers in his career, including 4 last season alone. Luis Castillo is a good candidate to shut another team out, not sure if he can muscle up on a pitch to hit it out, but anything's possible!
ED-DIE, ED-DIE! Rosario broke out in a big way last season, and he's right back on top the HR leaderboard in 2019. He has 17 homers, tops among AL outfielders- and that's with him still trying to snap out of a bit of a slump in May. April was a record setting month for him, becoming the first Twin to hit 10 or more homers in the first month of the season (it's hard to do in the snow!). Of course, he's not the only one mashing taters for the Twins. The whole team has been killing the ball since the start of the season, and they don't seem to be slowing down. Nelson Cruz and Mitch Garver went on the IL, just in time for Miguel Sano to return. Jason Castro was meant to be the primary catcher anyway, and he's picked up right where Garver left off. Castro has 7 homers in just 27 games, which is pretty impressive given his career high is 18. They became just the 2nd team in MLB history with over 100 homers in their first 50 games.
Sunday, May 26, 2019
Just a quick one today, I received a couple great cards from twitter great and blog reader extraordinaire Mark Hoyle. He's been very generous with the cards from his potato chip bags for those of us not lucky enough to be on the East Coast to partake in Utz. The logo reminds me a bit of the comic strip character Nancy. She was a very long running syndicated comic strip, and recently has had a renaissance under Olivia Jaimes, who has given the character new life with modern sensibilities and retaining the original spirit of the old strip. See what I mean?
Also in the envelope was this autograph of lefty starter Scott Diamond. He had a brief run with the Twins but I do appreciate a good baseball name like Diamond, or last year's reserve outfielder Johnny Field, or Grant Balfour, Bob Walk, etc etc.
Panini knew it too, and was happy to write some copy on it. I appreciate Diamond stylizing his autograph to make the first "D" in Diamond look like, well, a diamond.
Diamond reminded me of the old Shane Co. commercials. I used to think that Shane Co. was just a local business, but apparently they have stores in 13 states across the country - kind of like Utz, they have a well known name if you live in a certain part of the states.
Thanks for the cards, Mark! It's great having a friend in the Diamond business!
Sunday, May 19, 2019
I am pretty good at keeping up with the Twins' new cards from Topps NOW, but every once in a while I make an exception for other teams or players. To be honest, I've never been a fan of C.C., since he's been with Cleveland and after a brief stint in Milwaukee with the Yankees. Tough position for a Twins fan to be in - but I have to say I have great respect for Sabathia, as much as I have wanted him to have a bad night when he's pitching against my favorite team.
3,000 strikeouts is quite the feat. More exclusive than 3,000 hits, with Sabathia being just the 17th pitcher in MLB history to reach the milestone. Even more exclusive, he's just the 3rd lefty - Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton being the others.
Speaking of 3rd - Albert Pujols is now ranked 3rd* on the RBI list. He's not exactly the Machine he once was, but 2,000 RBI is nothing to sneeze at. I really like this photo, which captures Albert flipping his bat in ... relief? Having blasted a home run to pass 2,000.
The list of course is missing Babe Ruth - (and Cap Anson), who also drove in more than 2,000 runs in his career. Before 1920, the Runs Batted In statistic was not counted in a consistent way from game to game, so the RBI the Sultan of Swat accumulated prior to 1920 are not included on this list. Pujols is likely going to pass A-Rod for 2nd overall some time next season (if he doesn't retire first). Pujols is another guy, like Sabathia, that I've never been a big fan of the teams he's played for. But, 2,000 RBI is great, and not likely to be repeated.