Mailday from Bru

A surprise bubble mailer from Marc Brubaker arrived last week. I’d sent him a bunch of the Astros from Jeff’s mailday and those have now been transformed into Giants and Stanford cards I didn’t have. Not a lot has been going right hobby-wise this year with cards becoming impossible to find in the store* but thankfully card twitter is doing its thing and circulating cards until they find their forever homes.

*In a somewhat ominous sign my kids are no longer saving their allowances for baseball cards.

Marc has obviously had better luck than I have in finding cards in the wild though he also clearly isn’t as picky about what packs he buys. The four releases here are all things I don’t purchase but which add a bit of variety to the binders.

The top row of Archives is actually kind of fun. The Piscotty in the 1974 design looks pretty nice and they chose a very 1955 Bowman photo for the Hoerner.* The 1955 TV design is one I really didn’t like but it’s grown on me a lot.

*The backs of these 1955 inserts though are professionally embarrasing. I’m annoyed at how relics/autos have useless backs which just state what’s on the front of the card but at least those still serve as a certificate of authenticity of sorts. And I can excuse online-only releases as a “jam them out as fast as possible” cash grab. But doing these half-assed backs in a retail product is inexcusably offensive to me as a designer. As is the fact that multiple people laso signed off on it. Peak milking a cash cow and zero professional pride.

This year’s Panini/Donruss/Optic design isn’t half bad either. They’re still operating on the “let’s evoke late-80s/early90s Donruss” wavelength that makes their products look mostly indistinguishable year in and year out but they’re gradually doing a better job with team colors. Would be nice to see them really lean into the team color thing and use two colors for each team sometime.

And this is also my first 2020 Bowman in hand. I should get more of these just in case we have games at Trenton next year since it’s a nice simple design that’ll look good signed.

Marc also included a bunch of Allen&Ginter including one of the only cards I was actively going to look for. I don’t like Ginter as a baseball card set. I do like the non-baseball subjects and this year Brianna Scurry was one I really liked.

Most of the time Ginter’s fake-paint, fake-stipple photoprocessing looks pretty bad. This year though the photos look surprisingly good. Is a shame that the design is doing this weird double shadow thing where the drop shadow on the photo is coming from a different light source than the drop shadow on the brand name. This isn’t as obvious in the gold minis though so that’s pretty cool.

Beyond the new cards, Marc included a bunch of random coolness, none cooler than these three 1968 Dexter Press cards. These are nicely-printed glossy postcard-sized cards. Colors really pop and there’s lots of nice detail.

I especially like the Jim Wynn with the spring training outfield fence in the background but the John Bateman and Ken Aspromonte show off the Astrodome logo patch better. No idea why Aspromonte is wearing his batting glove on the upper hand though.

1991 Donruss is one of those sets where there are two different versions of each card,* one released in packs and one in the factory set. The two Bud Black cards here show both how the borders can be different and how unless you know there’s a difference you can totally miss the fact that there are different borders.

*Three actually but I don’t care at all about “INC” vs “INC.” in the small text on the backs.

Marc apparently came into a factory set of these, decided he just wanted the Astros, and figured that sending out team sets to various team collectors would be fun. For me he also included a few of the Stanford guys in the set as well. The Stanford guys look nice paired in the Stanford binder but it took me a while to figure out how I wanted to display the two different variants in my Giants binder.

I eventually settled on having alternating pages of set/pack cards so I can flip back and forth and see the differences. There are a few empty spots for cards that don’t have multiple versions (eg the Gary Carter Highlight) but I’m happy with the result.

A few more random cards including a pair of Mother’s Cookies cards I didn’t have. The Joe Niekro is from 1986 and is part of the all-time Astros All Stars set. Mother’s Cookies also did a set like this for the Giants in 1984* as part of the All Star game at Candlestick that season so it’s only fitting that the Astros got one when the game was at the Astrodome. The Nolan Ryan goes nicely with a card I pulled out of a bag of Iced Animal Crackers** three decades ago.

*Albeit with more of an Allen&Ginter style design. 

**I’m assuming.

Two 1993 Fleers I didn’t have. Steve Reed isn’t exactly a Giants card but he’s wearing the uniform so I have no problem sliding him into the binder. A couple Just Minors cards from Marc’s recent break which I now feel a little bad about not entering except that I really don’t actively seek minor league cards. They’re fun to add to the binder but I’ve never sought them out. This design though is an interesting one with the bar across the middle of the card and the photos sized and cropped so as to place the player’s face in the section above the bar. I don’t like it but much to my surprise I don’t hate it either

A 2012 Jed Lowrie which is some fun color but also fills a hole I didn’t realize I was missing since I didn’t have his 2012 flagship in the binder yet. A fun diecut of Mark Appel. And finally a pair of 2018 Stickers which feel so underwhelming now that Topps has switched to card-sized stickers.

Last batch of cards in the envelope were these Twilight Zone and Star Wars cards. The Twilight Zone ones are from this year but there’s unfortunately no Mighty Casey card that would allow me to sneak a post onto SABR. They’re still pretty cool though. The Twilight Zone is my favorite TV show of all time and seeing these imagined episode posters is pretty neat.

The Star Wars cards are from 1996 which is definitely a long time ago in a galaxy far far away now for that franchise. This is before the Special Edition rereleases let alone the prequels when the only expanded content out there were things like Shadows of the Empire. These cards were part of that multimedia blitz which were intended to prime the pump for the Special Editions. I don’t remember them at all though I do know that people were hyped for the movies to come out again.

Very cool stuff Marc. Thanks!

A Few PWEs

Catching up on a few envelopes that arrived over the past week. Nothing huge in any of these but I always try to say thanks as soon as I can and make sure my page of people I can vouch for is kept as up to date as possible.

The first envelope contained a single 1994 card from Kurt. After finishing off my 1986 set he apparently found my set needlist and took a look through my 1994 build. He only found one but every bit of help is much appreciated. This takes me to needing only 35 cards to complete that build.

The other envelope was a larger one from Kerry who had a other free card Friday. This was quite a thing this summer but for whatever reason Kerry managed to consistently have a couple cards that were up may alley. This time it was these two Victory cards of Stanford guys.

This is a cute little design but it must’ve been the only picture Upper Deck had of Hutchinson though since this is the fourth card I have using the same photo.

Kerry also stuffed my envelope with other Giants cards and managed to basically find another seven cards that I didn’t have. I haven’t ripped packs so the Cepeda insert is nice and groovy. Pro Debut is a set I never see and missed out on finding a team set of this year. Archives is one I refuse to buy but enjoy seeing singles of.  I like that I have one of each design here.

Don’t have much to say about any of these as cards except to note that the spot coating on the Pro Debut cards is a sharp look and that I have a much longer post/rant about design reuse over at SABR.

Thanks USPS

So I moved a year and a half ago. Which means that among other things I had to set up mail forwarding and notified people of my address change. Still I expected some people to send things to my old address. I did not however expect USPS to lose packages for months though.

But that’s exactly what happened. Last April, Matt Prigge sent me a package and it never got forwarded to my current address. I drove over to my old address mid-summer, swung through the garage, and saw that my old mailbox had been taped shut with forwarding information stickered to it. So I figured it would come eventually.

No dice.

Then last month a couple other people sent us packages addressed to the old address. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to swing by again. Mail forwarding had expired but according to our old neighbors no one had moved into the apartment yet. So I drive by and found a ton of mail in the mailbox including the packagaes that had been misaddressed last month, a plain white envelope that I wasn’t expecting to find there, and buried at the bottom of the mailbox, Matt’s package from April.

Yeah. Instead of forwarding it apparently USPS saved it for when forwarding expires and then redelivered it to my old address. Oh well. Better late than never. Let’s take a look.

Matt’s package was mostly modern cards but there were these two 1972s in the pile. There are a lot of Giants whose cards look exactly like Carrithers’s (a card I’ve gotten signed) but the Jerry Johnson is a fun stadium photo which stands out in the team set. I’m slowly working through the giants on this set but the high numbers are killing me. No idea how people do a complete set of these.

Moving more recently, a team set if 1987 Topps Traded is very nice and a bunch of 1995 Upper Deck SP is kind of amazing in that it’s only a year after I stopped collecting cards but looks completely different than anything I remember collecting. Also the Bond diecut is pretty fun.

I’m going to assume that this 1993 Matt Williams is a TTM request. Williams was a decent signer for a while but I never sent to him since he moved to Korea before I was ready to do so. I did get his autograph back in 1989 but it’s nice to have a signed card from his years as a genuine star of the team as well.

1997 Fleer and 1999 Pacific Omega make for an interesting pair. Fleer on its uncoated paper stock is always a nice change of pace while Pacific is always doing something crazy. I  this case Pacific has applied a halftone texture to the foil stamping which duplicates the portrait image on the card.  It’s a super-coarse screen but it’s an interesting effect despite all the loss of detail.

The other two cards here are a 2011 Topps Lineage 1975 mini parallel and a god only knows what Topps was intending red parallel form 2011 Heritage Minor League. The 75 mini works better than the “Venezuelan” in that it’s actually a mini and uses the 1975 design. Topps’s common backs for these meant that the spanish-language back is underwhelming.

Last batch of cards in the package were these modern ones which as usual includes a lot of cards from sets I never buy. Very cool Matt. I’m glad this turned up even if it was over five months late.

Also stuffed into my old mailbox was a package from Tim Jenkins. I’m still meting out cards from his last box to the boys but this package was aimed more at my interests.

We’ll start off with the heavy hitter. Topps was “nice” and made Willie Mays a high number in both 1970 and 1971. This took what I thought would be more easily-attainable Mays cards and turned them into trouble. Mays is of course always hard but adding high numbers into the mix is insult upon injury.

Tim had this lower-grade sample sitting in a display case and generously offered to send it to me.* I was a bit sad when the package seemed to go missing and was very happy when I found it again.

*I will always be happy to receive a lower grade Willie Mays card.

Much to my surprise there were other cards inside. Two Globe Imports cards are indeed as bad as advertised. Nice to have a couple samples. I have no desire to add more. Three Laughlin cards included my first black back though are very cool. I haven’t been actively looking for these but now I’m thinking I should at least get the Giants cards.

This Ron Hunt confused me because I had no idea what it was from. I’ve since found out that it’s from the 1969 Milton Bradley baseball game. Twitter to the rescue. And yes it’s a shame that there’s no hit by pitch option on his results since that was Hunt’s core competency.

A handful of 1975 Minis are always welcome. I’m not seeking these out either but I kind of love them. I also love all the pocket schedules. Between these, the ones, Cliff sent, and my own from my childhood, I now have schedules from 1978 to 1993 except for 1981.

I didn’t collect these as a kid as much as just accumulated them but I’ve fond myself really enjoying them since they include a lot of other great information such as ticket prices and promotions which is hard to find online.

And lastly Tim included a Supreme Court Sluggers card of Arthur Goldberg and Marvin Miller, a commemorative pin for Barry Bonds’s 600th homer run, and a 1979 Baseball Digest featuring Jack Clark on the cover. I think I like the Supreme Court Sluggers card most for its weirdness but the Baseball Digest reminded me of how that was the first sports magazine I ever had a subscription to.

I no longer have my copies so I don’t remember exactly when I had a subscription. But that was a fun magazine to get and read and flipping through this copy brought back a lot of memories. Things don’t seem to have changed much by the time I was a kid in the late 1980s. The next decade though is nearly unrecognizable. Thanks Tim for the trip down memory lane.

And finally there was a plain white envelope from a different Tim. Nothing super fancy but this Buster Posey National Baseball Day card is a nice addition. I only got one pack this year and yeah, Posey was not among my cards.

Last National Baseball Card Day in general was a bit of a disappointment. The “local” shops aren’t as nice as the ones in the Bay Area and one didn’t even have any inventory due to the storm.

It  wasn’t just that we weren’t able to get a bunch of packs, there was nothing for the kids to buy. For a promotion which is designed to get kids into card shops, Topps did a piss poor job coordinating its product release schedule to be kid friendly. The only stuff for sale were packs of Chrome starting at $10 for a pack of four cards. Major fail.

Anyway, thanks (other) Tim! Hopefully everyone has updated their address books now.

September TTMs

A decent month despite my request volume dropping off toward the end of August. I still got a couple returns a week  and some of them were very fun.

Dave LaPoint is one of those guys who started signing again only recently. He was with the Giants for just a year but it happened to be right when I was becoming a fan. While he was already gone by the time I started going to games he was one of those players who I always knew about.

As a Giants fan, I love sending team issued cards like the Mother’s Cookies sets out for autographs. Besides the minimal look there’s something nice about them being cards that were distributed to fans first. I was very happy to get this back in 10 days.

An 11-day return from Ken Singleton added one of my favorite kinds of players to the collection. I’ve found myself increasingly interested in players who kind of got forgotten super quickly but when you look at their numbers you’re surprised at how good they were.

Singleton is kind of a perfect example of this kind of player. When I was a kid in the late 1980s I had no idea who he was let alone that he was one of the best hitters in the league in the late 1970s. His card feels like a common—he doesn’t get a  “hero number” until the early 1980s—and it’s only on pulling his career stats that his quality becomes visible.

Dave Parker is one of those guys who could be in the Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t vote for him but I wouldn’t argue against him either. He was clearly one of THE guys on every team he played on. I remember him being a  threat with the Reds and then even at the end of his career on those loaded A’s teams he still stood out as a legit force to be reckoned with.

While it sot of makes more sense to go with a Pirates or Reds card for Parker, I do remember him most as an A and was very happy to receive this in 8 days. It’s my second signed 1990 Topps and while I usually avoid this set, I like how this one turned out.

The only card of Gene Clines I have from his days as a coach with the Giants are the Mother’s Cookies coaching cards. So I elected to go with my only vintage card of him which is this 1976 Topps card with a photo showing his resplendent muttonchops. It’s nice to add a vintage card to the Barry Bonds era portion of the Giants album and great to get this back in only 9 days.

Clines was the hitting coach under Dusty Baker during the Bonds and Kent years. Not sure how much credit he deserves for those two being MVP-worthy baters but the team in general hit pretty well in the seasons he was there.

One of the fun thing about TTMing is that I come across guys who I realize I need to tell my kids about. Dave LaRoche is one such player. The boys know about Zack Greinke’s slow curve but they’d never heard of La Lob. So I got to show them the videos and tell him that I enjoyed telling my kids about him. I’m sad I didn’t have a Yankees card for the proper La Lob accuracy but I was still happy to get this back in 12 days.

An 8 day return from El Presidente added another great-looking 1986 Topps card to my collection. This design has been growing on me, especially for autographs, since the photography frequently just works well with a signature.

I always liked Martínez though I tend to think of him as an Expo (had I had a nice Expo card such as his 1990 Upper Deck I would’ve sent that instead). He was a solid pitcher and his perfect game came during my peak baseball fandom.

The day after I received the return from Dennis, I received one from Tippy. So now I have two 1986 Topps Orioles Martínez cards signed. This return took 19 days and I actually sent it out on the anniversary of the Lenn Sakata game which is noteworthy not only for Lenn Sakata’s heroics* but also for Martínez retiring the side by picking three players off of first base. A cool little unbeatable record which is unlikely to be matched in a long time.

*Playing emergency catcher in the top of the 10th inning and then winning the game with a 2-out, 3-run home run in the bottom half.

Steve Garvey is one of those players who was a star when I was a kid and I never quite understood why. A large part of this is that he was on the Padres who, by the time I was a kid, were Tony Gwynn’s team and as such never stood out much to me. But I also just wasn’t around for the years where he was a perennial All Star.

I’ve come to appreciate his career more as I’ve gotten older and respect how he signifies an era of baseball as much as any player can. Still, as appropriate as getting a Dodger card signed would be, this Padres oddball card was calling out to me. It came back in just a dozen days and looks great.

A quick 13-day return from Felix Millan adds another addition to the favorite photos wing of my TTM collection. His distinct batting stance is on full display here but the rest of the card details are perfect too with the peak-1970s mustache and everything. There’s a reason this card is a favorite in the hoppy and I love having it signed.

I’ve been wanting to send to Rollie Fingers for a while. I was holding back because I wanted an A’s card which showed off the handlebar mustache. I never grabbed one though and instead decided that I should just go with his career-capper card.

As mentioned earlier in this post, I’m increasingly pleased with the way 1986 Topps signs and have been enjoying getting those back in the mail. Fingers is a reliable signer and this came back in 15 days.

Mike Remlinger is another 15 day return. I got to see him come up with the Giants but he was always one of those players who got away. I’ve liked his 1992 Upper Deck bubble-blowing card for a while and was pleased to get that back signed. He added an additional 1991 Upper Deck rookie card for me as well which was very nice of him.

Doug DeCinces is a guy who I came to admire after reading Jeff Katz’s Split Season 1981 book. With the pending work stoppage I’m finding that I’m thinking about the guys who were there the first time around and who laid the groundwork for the MLBPA. DeCinces was also just a solid player for a decade with a couple fantastic years mixed in. His return took 18 days.

A great 7 day return from Bert Blyleven added another Hall of Famer to the collection. I would’ve liked to have sent him a Twins card but I didn’t like any of the Twins photos I had available. So instead I went with the Studio 91 since I like how different this set is.

I did however send Blyleven a couple customs. I thought about using these for the request but the photo is a bit dark and I don’t like the idea of signing on top of the t-shirt. I’m glad he liked them (the back of his Studio card states that he collects cards) and it’s always nice to get a thank you note in return.

An 80-day from former-pitcher Randy Lerch was a nice surprise. There’s a point after two months when I assume the return isn’t coming back. I don’t give up but it slides into another category where I’m even more surprised and pleased to get one back. Lerch was primarily a Phillies pitcher but bounced around the National League a bit including a couple seasons with the Giants. I have no idea why he used two different pens for this.

Rich DeLucia was only with the Giants for a couple seasons but I’m increasingly enjoying getting Mother’s Cookies cards signed. It’s not just the oddballs thing, the simplicity of the Mother’s design is generally perfect  plus the team-issue stadium giveaway aspect means I have a stronger connection to these as a Giants fan. DeLucia turned this request around in only 8 days.

Finishing out the month is an 11-day return from Jim Dwyer which added another short-term Giant to the collection. He played for 10 teams and while he is primarily an Oriole I had to get him on his only Giants card. Dwyer’s most-noteworthy accomplishment is getting on base in 13 consecutive plate appearances.

So yeah a decent month. Two Hall of Famers, a couple generation-defining guys, some fun photos, a couple Mother’s Cookies cards. Much better than I was expecting going into the month that’s for sure. And now that the kids have settled into a bit of a rhythm at school hopefully I can fill up the hopper again.

Complete! Take 2.

While I have a previous post on here celebrating the completion of my 1986 Topps set, it turns out that one of the trades fell apart* and left me needing still seven cards to complete the set. Twitter however did its thing last week and a bunch of guys sent me envelopes with cards inside to finish my set.

*It happens. Life, emergencies, moves, etc mean a pile of cards can totally be misplaced. Better a pile of 1986 Topps than somehting valuable or important.

So big thanks goes out to WalkerHOF!! (@Focustheframe), Kurt Humbertson (@FlyinWV79), and 20th Century Baseball Man (@20thBaseball) for finishing off my set. For real this time.

It’s been a fun build. As I stated in my previous post, while 1987 is my first year of collecting, 1986 represents the cards that just were around when I entered the hobby. I didn’t try and get them, they just sort of accumulated as I got cards. As a result, 1986 often represented the oldest card I had of a player and, as the decade went on, depicted a lot of players and managers with different teams than I would get to know them with.

Seeing Tony LaRussa with the White Sox or Dave Stewart on the Phillies was weird. Same as Rick Reuschel on the Pirates or Candy Maldonado on the Dodgers.* Yes I knew players could change teams, but 1986 still felt current to me back then and it was just jarring to be reminded of of how out of date it could be by the time I was a full-fledged fan in 1987.

*Or, heck Harry Spilman on the Astros.

1986 Topps was the tip of the iceberg in introducing me to the fact that collecting cards was a way to time travel into the past and see what the game used to look like. It’s one thing as a kid to fall in love with accumulating the new and shiny,* it’s quite another to be suckered into the world of discovering where the players I was getting to know used to play and seeing what they looked like in older, different uniforms.

*As shiny as wood-panelling can get.

As I’ve come back to the hobby with a more discerning eye to print, design, and photography, I’ve also come to appreciate 1986’s distinctness. Big bright colorful team names in the team colors don’t come around very often. The boldness of the font allows the design to work as a team-color design even though it’s technically just colored text on a black background.

There’s no extra design going on either. The font has enough character to make everything else distinct and Topps wisely steers clear of adding any other design elements aside from the black background that makes the colors pop.

The photography too is somewhat distinct compared to other years of cards. Lots of over-the shoulder candid images and a bunch of great action shots at home plate. A decent amount of in-game candids too such as can be seen on the Evans, Lopes, and Oester cards here. Where modern cards tend to be all action all the time, the in-game candids portray the way baseball is a game of ma(間) where much of the time is spent actionless.

I’ve come to love the 1986 photography and the way that the cards allows the photos to just be in a rectangle with nothing weird going on. It’s become a set I particularly like getting signed as well.

What am I building next? I’m not actually sure. I’m intending to start 1989 Donruss at some point. I should get cracking on 1994 Topps so I can complete the run of Topps sets that cover my complete youth fan years. Watch my set needlist for updates.

I can say that I’m tempted to try building 1985 Topps. Not in the sense that I want a complete set of it but the more I learn about it the more I’m thinking that it’s one of the most interesting sets that Topps has ever released. 1985 appears to mark the true boundary of the junk era, not in terms of production runs but in its design and conception. It neither fits in with the sets that precede it nor those that follow it yet it has a foot in both worlds.

Utz and Oddballs

Last week I got a fun envelope from Mark Hoyle. He lives in a location where he’s able to buy lots of the Utz chips that came with cards inside. While the rest of the hobby has moved on from this promotion, Mark’s still working through stock of chips from this spring.

Which is good news for me. I’d sort of given up on finding the Buster Posey (or Nico Hoerner) from this set since the window had sort of closed. Card sales online are operating in a mode where the only cards worth selling are the hot new product and everything else isn’t even worth listing. But Mark found a Posey and knew I needed one.

Seeing this card takes me back to spring before Covid hit and we were all looking forward to the season. A much more innocent time and the fact that Buster elected out of playing this year just drives the point home.

I very much appreciate that Topps used a completely new design instead of just slapping the Utz logo on the base design like they did last year. It’s kind of a perfect oddball design in that it’s slightly garish but also doing a lot without a lot of design elements. I don’t think this would work as a full-size set but it’s great for what it is. The only interesting thing to me is that the Utz logo is completely absent from the front.

Mark packaged the Utz card with a handful of 1983 Big League Collectibles cards that commemorate the original All Star game. The team card is a nice who’s-who of the National League that year. It’s a bit of a shame that the 1980s printing is a bit too coarse for the details in the photo

The other four cards are the four Giants in the team. Carl Hubbell, John McGraw, and Bill Terry I’m all familiar with. Hal Schumacher I was not. This was a good Giants team though which went on the win the 1933 World Series.

Image handling of these is interesting. Clearly colorized but, for the most part, finding that sweet spot between looking like a fake photo and looking like Beast Jesus. Hubbell’s card is particularly nice. The only weird part is the retouched teeth on Shumacher and Terry which feels almost like the source images still had 1930s pre-press contrast painting on them.

So two fun things to add to the binder. Thanks Mark!

Heavy J and Dub Team Up

So Jason has continued to make and offer his glittered-up junk wax cards in exchange for donations to various baseball-related non-profits. A week or so ago, he tweeted out a pair of Will Clark cards that he had available. Joey jumped right in and said that he’d make a donation if Jason sent one to me.

A few days later this showed up in my mailbox. Nice and sparkly and will pair well with my 1980 McCovey. Jason has upped his production values in the past couple months with more confident trimming and multiple colors of glitter on the borders.

He also included a pair of Josh Gibson cards. The Ted Williams Company card is a little disappointing with a main photo that’s all plugged shadow detail. The Upper Deck one meanwhile is nicely produced and looks even better in hand.

The Ted Williams back though has a lot of information and as such is a much better card for anyone who does not know about Gibson. These are fun. While I’ve mentioned a few times about learning about baseball from TCMA and other cards during my youth, there were no players in those sets who played exclusively in the Negro Leagues.

It’s a shame that these cards weren’t around earlier in my youth when I could have used the additional information and avoided the usual gaps in my baseball knowledge.

One man’s bycatch

A while back I got a message from Jeff saying that he was looking into getting a big eBay lot of Giants cards that had some some cards he wanted and if I’d be interested in his bycatch. I took a look and saw that the lot was mostly stuff I didn’t have either so gave him the go ahead to send whatever he didn’t want to me.

Most of the lot was 1970s and 1980s stuff but there were a handful of older cards in there which looked interesting. I figured Jeff would hold on to most of the old stuff but was curious what might come through as outside of his collection interests.

Two such old cards were this pair of Diamond Matchbooks covers. The Vergez is from 1934 and the Koenig is from 1935/36. I’ve seen people pick these up across the cardblog world but have never really looked for any myself.

They’re pretty neat little objects that hail from an era when we hadn’t yet nailed down what is, and isn’t a trading card.  I’m always amazed at how many of these have survived in decent shape when they were basically meant to be disposable.

Another old card was this 1946–49 W603 Sports Exchange “card” of Travis Jackson. This is big—more like 7″×9.5″—with a nice portrait and blank lines for fans to fill in information. It’s not a playing-years card of a Giants Hall of Famer who’s been somewhat forgotten today but it predates the modern baseball card era and that makes it very cool.

On the topic of large items, there were a handful of truly oversize items in the mailing. These two are a 1958 panel featuring Paul Giel and an M114 Baseball Magazine Premium of Johnny Mize. There’s no copyright on the Mize photo so I can only assume it’s from the 1940s when he played with the Giants.

The Giel is a kind of a wonderful sample of the era with its design and the copy. It looks like something that was intended to be displayed in a high school guidance counselor’s office although I’m not sure how much of a household name Paul Giel was back then.

The Mize premium is great. The Baseball Magazine premiums is a huge set of photos/posters that I suspect isn’t collected as much due to their size making them something that’s generally unbinderable. I may need to look into a Itoya portfolio for these and some of my other oversize items.

Two other oversized items include a 1954 Whitey Lockman poster from the same manufacturer (©Edward A. Kotite) as the 1958 Giel and a Carl Hubbell poster of unknown age. If the Giel poster is for a guidance councelor, the Lockman poster is for Gym. I suspect kids then found “promotes waste elimination” to be as funny as I find it today.

The Hubbell has a 1983 Pahala Elementary School* stamp on the back of it but feels like it should be a bit older than that both in the way it’s printed and because I’m not sure what relevance a photo of Carl Hubbell would have to early-80s elementary school kids in Hawai‘i.

*Uphill from Punalu‘u. We actually drove past it on the way to a coffee plantation.

It’s kind of amazing that I don’t have any Hall of Fame postcards yet. I should have one for Mussina as well as the rest of the Giants but I’ve just not gotten around to pulling the trigger. If/when I finally get to visit the Hall of Fame I’ll definitely correct that.

In any case, that makes this Carl Hubbel postcard the first such postcard in my collection. That this is a 1965–1978 Curteichcolor version is extra cool since it predates the design and manufacturing of the modern run.

Another old Hubbell item in the batch was this 1967–73 Equitable Life Assurance Sports Hall of Fame card. This is about the same size as the W603 and includes a nice drawing of Hubbell with his hand in a clear screwball follow-through position.

Two blue-backed 1968 Laughlin World Series cards are the last older cards in the batch. This is a set I don’t collect but which I’ve been intrigued by for a while. The artwork is fun and reminds me of the cartoons that used to be on the backs of cards.

Moving into the 1070s brings a bunch of TCMA cards. In this batch we’ve got two 1972 TCMA reprints of 1928 W461 Exhibit cards of Hugh McQuillan and Virgil Barnes, two 1974 TCMA The 1940’s League Leaders postcards of Larry Jansen and Bill Voiselle, a 1973/75* TCMA All-Time Greats Postcard of Carl Hubbell, and two 1975 TCMA 1951 New York Giants cards of Bobby Thomson and Monte Irvin.

*Depending on whether you use the front copyright or the back one.

There are also a couple 1974 Fleer Wildest Days and Plays cards which havin similar artwork from R.G. Laughlin and one 1975 Sport Hobbyist postcard of Johnny Mize which I really like.

Into the back half of the 1970s and here are actually no TCMA-branded cards here although some of these, such as the Galasso Glossy Greats, were produced by them anyway.

I kind of love the 1976–77 HRT/RES 1947 Bowman cards. This thing where companies in the 1970s and 1980s imagined what vintage cards would look like if they existed a couple years outside of a production run is my jam. These two use the same design as 1948 Bowman but feature crisp, high contrast head shots and nice printing.

The two Bob Parker cartoon cards are a lot of fun. Something wonderfully 1970s about this kind of artwork right down to the brown ink and orange paper. Reminds me of the ephemera I grew up with and makes me wonder what happened to all those artists when tastes changed in the 1980s.

The Sports Challenge disc/record is super cool. I’m pretty sure I know what’s recorded on it but it’s a shame that no one’s put a video up on YouTube. No I don’t plan on punching it and playing it.

The Sportscaster card is kind of funny since it it shows Thomson as a Cub on the front but the card text is all about the Shot Heard Round the World. Seems pretty clear that whoever put the card together had no idea what teams were involved.

Two 1978 Grand Slam cards of Carl Hubbell and Bobby Thomson and a 1978 Halsey Hall Recalls card of Hoyt Wilhelm round out this group. The Grand Slams are coarsely printed and pretty bare bones. No idea how they were distributed and why. The Halsey Hall card on the other hand is a set of Minneapolis Millers players with a fun checklist and interesting two-color artwork.

A 1979 Galasson Great and 1979 TCMA 1950s card of Bobby Thomson start off this next group. The 1979 Card Collectors 1953 Bowman Black & White Extension of Monte Irvin is another extended-set “card that never was” although Irvin did have a card in 1953 Bowman color so this is more of a “have photo, use photo” card.

The 1979 CMC Talking Baseball Card probably has very similar audio to the Sport Challenge one. Neither of those discs has as nice artwork as the Auravision records but they’re fun to have even if I never play them.

Another Laughlin card, this time a 1980 Famous Feats of George Burns will liven up the binder. And two 1980–87 SSPC Hall of Fame cards are great to add since I somehow avoided getting any before this. Yes this means I did my custom of Mike Aronstein without having a real card for reference in hand.

Three 1981 Topps Thirst Break comics remind me of my days of chewing Bazooka and reading the comics from there. I’d snark about saving these except that I just found a big stack of Bazooka comics in my childhood boxes.

Finally, the three Official Hall of Fame Metallic Plaques are kind of cool but also feel like the kind of thing I shouldn’t put in a binder page. First off they feel like they’ll bend really easily. Second, the corners are a little dinged and are thus, kind of sharp. If I don’t binder them though I need to figure out something else to do with them.

Getting into the 1980s brings me cards from sets like the 1982 TCMA Baseball’s Greatest Hitters or the Cramer Baseball Legends that I did have as a kid. Nice to have extras for the Giants album though. I also had some of TCMA’s Play Ball extensions (but neither of these) though I do not remember if they were part of the 1942 or 1947 set concepts.

The two Carl Hubbell Galasso Greats have different numbers despite the same photo. No idea why this is the case. The two larger cards are TCMA releases with the 1952 Giants pitchers being part of a 1984 set and the great photo of Ralph BRanca and Bobby Thomson being part of a 1985 set.

The other two cards up here are a 1982 G.S. Gallery All-Time Greats card of Bobby Thomson and a 1982–83 Diamond Classics card of Waite Hoyt. Both of these got the extra mile and do a great job with the artwork. Not just a cheap photo colorization these actually have a decent vintage feel of the cards they’re emulating.

Last photo of the batch are cards from my collecting heyday, starting off with a bunch of 1987 Hygrade All-Time Greats. These remind me of the cards I got with my Baseball Card Collecting kit back when I first started off in the hobby.

Some 1988 and 1990 Pacific Legends cards are always welcome additions. Similarly, the 1989, 1990, and 1991 Swell cards are always fun to add to the binder too. I miss these kind of old player sets since they represented a great way to get cards of players whose real cards I could not afford. I love that I grew up in an era with so many of these sets too since it made it easy and fun to learn about the game.

I do wonder about the photo of Bobby Thomson in a San Francisco uniform since he never played in San Francisco. Presumably it’s from 1958 Spring Training before he was traded to the Cubs.

The five small cards are 1989 and 1990 Hall of Fame Sticker Book stickers. I’ve not seen the book these come with but I’m kind of curious now.

And the last card of the batch is actually from after Is topped collecting. It’s a 1997 Grolier Encyclopedia card which functions very much like the Sportscaster cards of the late-1970s. A least this one has the correct photo on the front.

Very cool stuff Jeff. I can only imagine how cool the stuff you kept must’ve been if this is the stuff that didn’t pass muster. Thanks!