Monday, December 31, 2018
2019 is fast approaching, and here I am decades in the past. I'm pecking away at the 1959 set. The last card show of 2018 helped me to make a huge dent in the total cost of the set, even though I added fewer than 20 cards.
I tried to snag that elusive Bob Gibson rookie again, I came prepared with extra cash to make it happen. I ended up with several high numbers, a different big name Cardinal, and finally a card I had no intention of adding at the start of the day.
The one-time Twins Manager Billy Gardner was the AL doubles leader in 1957.
Charley (Charlie) Beamon is featured here in a sunset card; his final game was in September 1958. Same for Marcelino Solis, who has a tremendous year in AAA in 1958; he won 15 games and had a 2.44 ERA. He would not pitch in the majors except for a brief stint in 1958.
Jim Delsing is featured on a 0 year card! He played 822 major league games over 10 seasons for 5 different teams, but the Senators only used him in the minor leagues.
Probably the best known player in this group is the long time Dodger outfielder Carl Furillo. He was the 1953 NL batting champ and was a career .299 hitter.
Sammy White was an All-Star in 1953, and caught more games for the Red Sox in the 1950s than any other backstop.
Don Blasingame was an All-Star in 1958. He was nicknamed "Blazer" for his speed, and retired with the lowest rate all time for grounding into the fewest double plays.
Rudy (Rodolfo) Arias only pitched in the majors in one season - but it was for the World Series champion Chicago White Sox. He did not appear in the Series, but he pitched in relief in 34 games during the season. The Cuban native tossed a no hitter in the minors and was a regular contributor each winter in his home country before returning to the U.S.
Howie Nunn was still considered a rookie in his second stint in the majors in 1961 with the Cincinnati Reds. He was brilliant in 1960 in the minors for the Reds, with a 1.99 ERA over 163 innings.
ok ok enough stalling - here are the big additions!
This card is a little scuffed and it's off center, but it is still very sharp. The rough surface means it wouldn't grade well, and to me that just means I can afford it!
That's, uh, pretty good.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Champagne all around. There's a vintage vendor who I buy from fairly often, and he was adding some cards to his display case, when he dropped this one onto the pile. When I saw what he was asking for this card my jaw dropped. I was willing to pay twice what I paid for this Mantle to get a Bob Gibson rookie for this set build- I had hoped I might one day find this card for something close to that too. Totally changed my strategy for the day, so I picked up that big chunk of vintage, another stack of trade bait, and a handful of 1959 high numbers with money I was planning on using for just the Gibson. Still spent less that I thought I'd have to spend to get a Mantle.
A helpful collector wrote the year on the back of the card- maybe they were going to fill in the stats at the end of the season? Either way, that collector did me a favor! Saved me who knows how much money on this set build.
Yeah, Mickey Mantle! This was a great end to 2018, and hopefully that run of good luck will carry over into the new year and beyond. Happy 2019 everyone!
Sunday, December 30, 2018
The second installment from my last card show visit is all vintage - 1960s and 1970s bargains! As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the Twin Cities had 3 shows in December, but I just went to one show. As it happened, the vendor trying to talk me into going to the Maplewood Mall the weekend before Christmas was the one who talked me out of it.
The main way that I prevent myself from "overspending" (relatively speaking) is never taking out additional cash once I arrive at a show, and never paying with anything other than cash. Leave the credit cards in my wallet and leave the checkbook at home.
So the vendor I was talking to is always at the monthly show, and has a fantastic trio of vintage boxes - 50% off, 75% off, and 90% off. The 90% box is usually very well-loved vintage, but every once in a while there are some gems. He was telling me basically that the Maplewood show is not as crowded, and that there would maybe be one or two vendors that aren't at the regular show.
This was a selling point for just spending freely at the show I was already attending. And Spend freely I did! This Lou Brock is off center, but very sharp. The 1971 High Numbers can be daunting, but I picked this one up for $10!
How about Hammerin' Hank for $5? Just a buck each for the other Hall of Famers, too.
It got to the point where I was just picking up cards that weren't even on my list - Jim Rice rookie for $4? Lou Whitaker for .50 cents? Yeah buddy!
I don't know if I will be doing a set build of the 1975 set in the future, but I have been finding some real fun cards in the set.
And then I found this gem on my way out. The scan skips over a bad bottom left corner, and there are few surface issues, but for my collection this is a perfect card!
I picked up a big chunk of 70s vintage at the show, but the biggest find will have to wait for tomorrow - I made a big dent in my 1959 set build, it was a perfect end to the 2018 collecting year!
Saturday, December 29, 2018
There was an oversaturation of card shows in the Twin Cities, this month - with shows on each of the first three weekends. I planned ahead for this craziness, and I went to just one show. My birthday is in December, so I had some extra cash to spend. Even though I only went to one show, I've split the trip into three parts. This is the odds and ends entry!
Joe Mauer is featured here in a card from 2002, printed up not long after his rookie league season had ended. The front has a picture from his high school days with Saint Paul's Cretin-Durham Hall Raiders - where he was the #1 ranked player in both Baseball and Football. He passed on a scholarship to play Quarterback for Bobby Bowden at Florida State so he could catch for his hometown team. The $5.15 Million dollar signing bonus from the Twins helped too. The back calmly explains that Mauer is probably going to be one of the best players in baseball for the next decade plus. The back was not wrong.
I revealed to one of the vendors that I was looking for cards with players on the phone. He gave this card to me for a quarter - close enough! Bud Grant was a unique multi-sport star as well. A three-sport star at the University of MN, he was on the 1950 NBA Champion Minneapolis Lakers team as a reserve, but he also played Defensive End and Wide Receiver for the Eagles. Unhappy with his NFL salary, Grant moved on to the Winnepeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, where he led the league in Receptions three times and receiving yards twice. He also set a CFL record by intercepting 5 passes in a playoff game. He went into coaching later on of course, first in the CFL winning 4 Grey Cup titles. He returned to the NFL, leading the Vikings to all four Super Bowl appearances in the team's history.
Speaking of Vikings greats, this was the only other card I picked up at the show more recent than the 1980s. Cris Carter was a tremendous talent at WR for the Vikings. He was an 8x Pro Bowl selection, and finished his career with over 1,100 Receptions, 13,000 yards, and 130 Touchdowns. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in his home state of Ohio in 2013
Speaking of Hall of Famers, here's College Football Hall of Famer Jim Plunkett. He was the 1970 Heisman Trophy winner, beating out Archie Manning and Joe Theismann for the honor. Drafted #1 overall by the Boston Patriots, the longtime Patriot and Raider was a 2-time Super Bowl Champion, including an MVP winning performance in Super Bowl XV.
What the heck are these? The vendor I purchased them from said he was "pretty sure" they were 1971 Bazooka cards, hand cut from a cardboard box. they have plain brown blank backs.
Say Hey! Not a bad pick up for less than $10 for the pair. Next up, I'll share the 60s and 70s vintage I found at the show.
Friday, December 28, 2018
Douglas from Sportscards From The Dollar Store surprised me with a hefty mailer from Canada! Football, Basketball, Hockey and of course Baseball were represented. Did you know that after his career as one of the Vikings' "Purple People Eaters," Alan Page became a State Supreme Court Justice? He was a Justice the Minnesota State Supreme Court for nearly 30 years, retiring in 2015 (MN has a mandatory retirement age of 70 for its court). Owen Nolan was a surprising name, I actually recognized him from my youth! He was a member of the San Jose Sharks in one of my favorite video games of all time, NHL '95. I didn't realize he played for the Wild as well.
There was variety of cards new and old, including a stack of minor league cards. Rochester is the Twins' AAA Affiliate, and Fred Costello is their organist - that's a very cool card. Topps should feature organists in the Opening Day set, that would be a fun subset.
Royce Lewis was the Twins' #1 Overall pick, Brent Rooker came later on, but both will be forcing their way into the major league plans in a few years.
Here's a group that's even closer - Kiriloff has been compared to Christian Yelich, and might debut by September. Nick Gordon (Dee's Brother and Tom's Son) has an outside chance of being a regular in the Twins' lineup soon. Stephen Gonsalves already made his MLB debut last season, and has a possible spot in the rotation this season. Brustar Graterol is making a name for himself, and looks to debut in 2020 or 2021.
There were some "traditional Twins" as well, with a very cool Bowman Platinum of Joe Mauer. In the most obvious move of all time, the Twins announced that Mauer's #7 will be retired at some point in the 2019 season.
A Hit! Zack Granite has one of the great baseball names, and he's still on the fringes of the Twins' 40 Man roster. The uncertainty surrounding Byron Buxton's development and injury history has left the door open a crack for Zack.
And a ton of hockey cards! The Mikko Koivu in the middle is one of those clear acetate cards. I'm pretty sure all of the cards in the hockey stack were new to me.
Thanks so much Douglas! I'll be getting a package out to you soon.
Monday, December 24, 2018
Beltre, Mauer, David Wright and Victor Martinez have all retired - Ichiro possibly has played his final MLB game as well. Bartolo Colon wants to keep playing, but he is one of the few players left from my school days. It means a new chapter in my cheering life, as I can no longer see myself clearly in the same area code as the professional athlete. But this blog is just entering its 5th season, still full of potential.
The Topps All-Star Rookie blog Series will be back in 2019, with a quick detour about the lost years of 1979 - 1986. No Cups or trophies were to be found on the cards, but the card company still named a roster of young talent annually. Of course, the Cup made a triumphant return in 1987, with the 1962 inspired wood grain set.
Player Collections will keep on keeping on - especially trying to "finish" the Kennys Vargas MLB collection, and getting started on the new kid in town, Starting Pitcher Fernando Romero. There will be mini-collection posts too - did I really start a mini-collection of players on the phone?
There will be oddballs! Like, what even is that last one? Cat League Baseball?
I'll be working on the 1959 Set as well, and maybe maybe I'll finish it during its 60th anniversary.
Looking forward to the 2019 issues from Topps and Panini, too -I'll be sharing thoughts on those and much much more.
Sunday, December 23, 2018
The day before Christmas Eve is known as Lille Julaften (Little Christmas Eve) in Norway, where my Mom's family originated. Growing up, we'd usually get to open a present from under the tree on this day, as well as get an early start on stuffing our faces with cookies. This year I am opening up a mailer from Mark from The Chronicles of Fuji as he drew my name for this year's blogging Secret Santa. Hat Tip to Jon for coordinating the festivities.
Speaking of food, first up is this Iron On Twins logo from 1970 Kellogg's Cereal. The team still breaks out this old school logo from time to time, featuring "twins" Minnie (Minneapolis) and Paul (Saint Paul) shaking hands across the Mississippi River. Target Field even has a giant version of this logo which lights up with every Twins homer and after each Twins victory.
The Twins reach across the Mighty Mississippi, but they also reach across the Pacific Ocean to find talent down under. One of the earliest of the Twins excursions to Oz netted them righty Liam Hendriks, who you may remember as the Opener in the Wild Card game between the Yankees and the Oakland A's this season. He's also wearing the Green and Gold here, representing the Australian team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
In the early 2000s, the Twins infield was all over the map - Corey Koskie was from Canada, Luis Rivas from Venezuela, Doug Mientkiewicz from the U.S., and Cristian Guzman from the Dominican Republic. Guzman was a solid defender, but by far his biggest contribution was his speed. He led the AL in triples three times, hitting 20 in 2001.
Drew Butera has 5 career triples, but he's signing this card because of his defense, not his bat. Son of former Twin Sal Butera, Drew has made a lengthy career for himself as a backup catcher all over the league. His skills behind the plate have made him an asset wherever he's played. He was a member of the Royals' World Series Championship team, and split last season between KC and the Colorado Rockies. He's a free agent currently, but don't be surprised if he finds another job soon.
This is a 1950 Bowman card of Jim Russell, an outfielder who had his best seasons with Pittsburgh in the mid forties. The 1950 Bowman set is great visually, and one of my favorite things about this card is the high wooden fence serving as the background. The Twins had a promotion when I was a kid called "The Knothole Gang," which was essentially selling upper deck tickets very cheaply to kids all summer long. It references the strategy of catching a few innings of free baseball by looking through the knotholes in these old school wooden outfield fences. I regularly took advantage of this to catch day games at the Metrodome for a few bucks as a teen. Jim Russell has a fairly interesting story, I recommend checking out his SABR bio, which is excerpted from a book of essays on the 1948 Boston Braves and Red Sox. The Article was written by Dave Williams.
Mark found one of my "Arbitrary 8!" This is another awesome 1950s Bowman card. Hoot Evers, shown here on 1954 Bowman. One of my favorite things about the sets of the 1950s are the nicknames, and Hoot is a pretty good one. Hoot has a good SABR bio as well.
Hoot was one of those guys that you might think was being booed by the home crowd, but he was actually greeted at the plate with a loud "Hoooooooooooooooot" from the fans. The nickname came from one of his favorite cowboy movie actors, Hoot Gibson. As a kid, Evers would imitate Hoot at every opportunity and eventually friends and family referred to him as Hoot as well. Evers was thought to be one healthy season away from super stardom - he played a rough and tumble outfield, and despite rarely making an error, he did find himself on the bench due to injury. He had a few great seasons for the Tigers in 1949 and 1950, but injuries ranging from a broken jaw to a broken thumb, all the way down to a fractured ankle limited his mobility going forward.
This was my favorite card of the bunch. It might not seem like much, a 1989 Topps card?
Well, it's all about potential! The card is a blank front, which means an enterprising and creative person could put almost anything on it.
I know a local artist who does a webcomic - I may commission her to try putting this photo onto the front of the card in comic form - it would be fitting for the Twins' most successful manager.
Thanks so much, Mark! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Short post, just wanted to share the Twins in the recent 3D set that Topps sold in packs online from their site. I did not buy any from Topps directly, knowing that my chances of getting these cards were slim to none.
So, I waited for them to appear on eBay, and I ended up buying both cards from the same seller. Didn't get the thrill of the hunt, but still satisfied to find these guys.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
I wasn't collecting cards when this Heritage set was released, so I've had to pick up bits and pieces wherever I can find them. Sometimes, cards just appear out of nowhere! Chris of Nachos Grande dropped an extra grande mailer on my doorstop, and it came with several awesome representatives from some of my leaner collecting years.
The Twins had a tough time after Puckett and Hrbek retired in the mid to late 90s, but some good luck and good scouting brought a wave of prospects by the early 2000s, with a mostly homegrown roster.
The Vargas exchange rate is 2 Kenny = 1 Kennys.
Todd Walker was stuck in between those 2 eras, and was often the best player on some BAD Twins teams, and found greener pastures in Colorado and Boston.
There were some great inserts and parallels included as well. Thanks so much, Chris!