I Need New Hobbies

I received a small mailday from a new trade partner last week. Scott at I Need New Hobbies (@INeedNewHobbies) noticed me mention not having any 1971 Senators or Brewers cards for my moves and expansions project and suggested he could send me some extras.

We messaged a couple times. Found out that he’s familiar with our local record shop (a very good one that the boys love to go to to find cheap kid DVDs). I sent him some set-build needs and he sent me four 1971 Topps.

Three Brewers which are better than most of Topps’s first-year cards because in 1970 Topps printed them as Pilots. Where most of Topps’s new team cards are hatless wonders like the Carl Taylor, Phil Roof and Dick Ellsworth show the original Brewers uniforms with the residual Pilots trim on the sleeves.

And one Senator in a typical 1971 action image. I kind of love this card. It’s just a shame that Brewers, Senators, and Giants are all white team names. I have about 50 cards from this set and I have twice as many white team names as I have team names in any other color.

Very fun though. It’s nice to have a handful of these now. I’m not sure how I avoided getting any of these before. Thanks Scott!

June TTMs

The past couple months have involved just been keeping the hopper from being empty. The result seems to be a lot of quiet days with occasional multi-return days. June got off to a great start with a three-return day which encouraged me to increase my send rate as the month went on.

The first return of June was a 21-day return from Von Joshua. Joshua spent only a season and a half with the Giants but one of those was his career year.  After 5 years with the Dodgers as a pinch hitter and part-time outfielder, the Giants made him their starting center fielder in 1975. That year he posted a .317 batting average (compared to .273 for his career) and a .806 OPS (compared to a career .686).

It’s always nice to send a card out which represents a player’s best, or most-important, season. I always make sure to mention the significance of the card in the letter too. In the same way that Von Joshua’s 1976 card commemorates his 1975 season, José Santiago’s 1968 card commemorates his fantastic 1967 season with the Impossible Dream Red Sox as well as his even better 1968 season. Plus he managed to hit a home run off of Bob Gibson in the 1967 World Series.

Santiago is my second return from Puerto Rico as well. Unlike the return from Juan Gonzalez, this one only took 18 days. I don’t particularly like the 1968 design for autographs (this was another duplicate from my dentist’s stash) but this one is printed very well and the signature and photo both look great in person.

Fran Mullins’s 11 day return was the last of the opening batch. He was a light-hitting utility infielder with the Giants in 1984 but was good enough defensively to earn a positive WAR that season. This card is his only individual major league card so it’s kind of a fun one to have signed.

Harold Baines had been signing a lot during quarantine and I kind of had the feeling that I missed the window. I figured it was worth a shot to try anyway and 8 days my card came back. Very very cool.

He never felt like a Hall of Famer to me and I’m not inclined to use him as the benchmark for future inductees. But there’s no denying that he was solid player for a long time and had the kind of career any player would be proud of. Plus he did spend a couple good years with the A’s and while I’m not an A’s fan I definitely grew up with the A’s players.

1993 Upper Deck also looks great signed so I’m glad I had this one available to send to him. This one is great since it’s a little silly with his position labeled as DH yet the card showing him playing the field.

I had already sent to Duane Kuiper but I wanted to try him again with one of the postcards. 7 days later my return came back. The card was a bit beat up and faded but not so much that it looks bad. And like the Lavelle and Barr postcards last month it looks really nice with a signature on it.

I also included a 1976 Topps card in the envelope which came back nicely signed as well. Kuip’s letter was one I enjoyed writing because I can honestly say that not only I miss hearing him this summer but that it doesn’t feel like summer without him.

Pitcher Tom Griffin came back in 9 days. Griffin had a couple good years with the Astros but the only duplicate cards I had of him was a 1978 Topps with the Padres and a blurry 1982 Fleer with the Giants.

Actually he was pretty good with the Giants too. In 1980 he was a solid reliever. Not a closer or anyone who gets glory just a solid arm out of the pen who ate up innings, had a good ERA, and didn’t let guys get on base. In 1981 he moved to the rotation and wasn’t as effective.

Roger Metzger is another former-Astro, short-term Giant. He was a decent player, known for having a good glove in the mid-1970s, whose career was cut short after a table saw accident in 1980. Another player who I would’ve liked to have included an Astros card i the request, he returned his 1979 card in 28 days.

I’ve written a little about Mike Sadek before but it was nice to thank him for running those clinics back in the day. Because he gave the same fielding lesson each year his is the lesson I remember most. Four-seam grip. Working on the glove to barehand transfer. Holding the ball with both hands when tagging (as a catcher). I’ve actually used some of his advice when teaching my kids.

With Mike Kingery and Trevor Wilson I’ve now had a chance to thank htree of the instructors I remember from my youth. Tony Perezchica is another who I remember. There should be a couple others but they’re slipping my mind. Anyway Sadek’s return came in only 11 days.

Bobby Estalella’s quick 10 day return was a bit of a surprise. Not sure why but I never expect the newer players to turn things around quickly. Estalella was the catcher when Pac Bell Park opened. He never quite lived up to his promise (getting caught up in the BALCO scandal didn’t help either) but for whatever reason I have a tendency to remember my Giants teams by who the catcher was.

While I do have a 1988 Mothers Cookies Phil Garner card showing him on the Giants, since those are typically hard to find and frequently expensive I opted to send a bunch of Topps cards from the same time period.

When I was a kid I didn’t care about getting Giants cards signed, I just liked that the players were Giants. I’m sticking to the same philosophy now. Anyone who played for the Giants goes into the Giants autographs binder. So what if he only played a fraction of a season for the Giants. That fraction of a season happened to be the first season my family had season tickets.

Plus adding “Scrap-Iron” to my binder is a lot of fun too. He only took 8 days to turn these around too.

A quick 7-day return from Juan Berenguer added another Mother’s Cookies card to my collection. Berenguer was only a Giant for a year but it happened to be the year I saw my first game. While the Giants used 25 players in that game, Berenguer was not one of them since he had started the game a couple days earlier when the Giants were no-hit by Mike Scott.

My favorite return of the month was this one from Jeffrey Leonard. He’s not a TTM guy but there was a private signing at a price I was okay with so I looked through my cards and picked the one with my favorite photo. A lot of his photos he looks less than pleased to be posing but this one is a slightly more casual shot. I especially like that it catches the 00 on his back too.

Before Will Clark, my favorite player was the HacMan. We all copied one flap down on the school playground and loved his swagger. I still haven’t replaced my stolen Will Clark jersey and a large part of this is that I’m considered ordering a Leonard one instead.

It’s weird for me to think that the Giants traded him for Earnie Riles. That was probably my first introduction to how dangerous it was to pick a favorite player. Thankfully there were other players who I liked on the team at that point.

I got a nice 21 day return from John Olerud. I only sent him the 1991 Studio and 1992 Topps cards but either he really liked my letter or I mistakenly got someone else’s card. Olerud was one of those all-class players who I just really enjoyed. Great to watch him play both in the field at at the plate plus he always seemed like the nicest guy.

I’ve been enjoying getting the 1991 Studios signed. They’re a bit tricky due to the amount of black but they end up looking pretty nice. Definitely better in hand than in a scan too since the duotone interacts nicely wth the blue sharpie.

Joe Carter is going into the Giants album due to his short-term stop at the end of his career in 1998. He was pretty good in that half season too. However I had to get him on a Blue Jays card since those World Series were a big part of my memories growing up. This McDonald’s set of all Blue Jays felt like the right choice. It came back in 13 days.

A 10 day return from Steve Scarsone added another Mother’s Cookies card to the collection. The face sign is a bit unfortunate but it is what it is. The other two cards are two designs which I’ve never gotten signed. I’m not a huge fan of that 1996 Donruss design where the foil covers a key part of the photo but it felt like an appropriate photo for a signature. 1994 Score though turns out to look pretty nice with a blue sharpie.

The day after Scarsone became my first signed 1996 Mother’s Cookies card, Mark Dewey returned my second after an 11 day request. Dewey is one of those guys who came up with the Giants, left, and then came back a couple years later. He’s probably most notable for refusing to take part in the 1996 Until There’s a Cure Day because even in the mid-1990s he still conflated the fight against AIDS as condoning homosexuality. He’s clearly still evangelizing and included a personal tract card with the return.

John Pacella is a request I made because I just like the card and photo. This is one of my favorite card photos in general with the cap only inches off the ground. It’s nice to be able to send a request that’s just as simple as “I love your card and would love to get it signed.” Pacella seems like a good guy too with a nice note on the index card and a fast 9 day return.

This month I also got another round of custom cards made. Which means I was able to send a bunch of them out. The first one back was an 11 day return from John Gall who became the first classmate of mine for me to get a return from. He was a good 4-year player at Stanford and had a number of good years in the Minors on his way to the Majors. He wasn’t able to make it stick there and ended his career after a couple more decent years in AAA.

Ruben Amaro didn’t keep any customs and sent back all three signed in 15 days. I have a bunch of autographed cards of his from when I was a kid but it’s nice to send these customs out and add more of them to the collection.

I swore I had a Sandy Vance autograph from when I was a kid but I couldn’t find it on any of my multi-signed balls.* That his only card is a 1971 Topps card with facsimile autograph meant that I had to figure out a custom. I had to use his 1971 card photo since I couldn’t find any color Dodgers photos but I’m happy with the result even though his pen had some problems.

*Note, I’ve since found that I had neglected to photograph one ball yeahs ago. That needs to be remedied soon.

Why am I happy? Because notes like these make returns fun. We’ve had discussions online about sending piles of cards and how “please keep whatever” might be construed as angling for everything to be signed. I always send extra customs though with an explicit request that the player keep all the extras. It’s nice when they do. It’s even nicer when they send a thank you note back.

I got a fun 35 day return from fan-favorite Bill Mueller. The fact that he was so popular despite following in Matt Williams’s footprints says a lot about him. Even though his best seasons were with the Red Sox I’ll always think of him as a Giant first.

This is also a fun return since it adds two new sets to my collection. These are my first signed 1997 Pacific and 1998 Donruss cards. Both work pretty well despite having so much going on in the designs already.

Cy Young Award Winner Doug Drabek is a super-reliable signer who returned three cards in 10 days. I didn’t watch many of baseball games on TV—just the playoffs—but I remember watching Drabek pitch. That 1998 Score isn’t the best choice for a signature but it’s one of my favorite card photos so I had to give it a shot. A shame he doesn’t have a silver pen but it looks okay in person even if it scans/photos poorly.

Pete Stanicek was a repeat send for me but I wanted to send a custom to him. He signed two (kept one) in 17 days as well as a 1988 Donruss card. He was a hard guy to find a photo of with the Orioles but thankfully I found one that I didn’t have to scan.

Vance Law is one of those legendary signers who I always knew I was going to send cards to at some point.I figured I’d go for the mix of teams and slowly work on increasing the number of signed 1988s I have. I’m not crazy enough to go for a signed set but as much as I was disappointed with the 1988 design when I was a kid I really like it now. Law totally does not disappoint either with a fast 8-day turnaround and a really nice signature.

Bobby Witt is another legendary signer who I sent cards from two of my favorite sets to. He also turned thing around in 8 days. It’s very nice to add a couple 1991 Studios this month and I like his portraits in both that and the 1988 Topps. And like with Vance Law, I had to include an A’s card since while I’m a Giants collector, I also remember a lot of the players who came through Oakland when I was a kid.

Bill Swift is a guy who I got when I was a kid but who I wanted to send to since he has a couple cards I just really like. These came back in 8 days. The 1985 Topps becomes my oldest signed Olympics card. I’d gotten a bunch of 1988s signed but no 1985s until this one. I also love the camcorder photo on the 1995 Collectors Choice SE. Not so much a fan of the blue border but it works okay with the blue autograph.

Billy was one of my favorite pitchers in the early 1990s as the ace of the staff in both 1992 and 1993. The Giants 1993 season is probably the best Giants team I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching and Swift was a huge part of that with 21 wins and a fully-deserved runners-up in the Cy young Award.

Pitcher Renie Martin is one of those guys who’s just on the outside of my Giants fandom. He’s been a sporadic signer but I took a chance and got a nice return 14 days later.

The best part about the Martin return though was that he signed another postcard for my collection. As the fourth signed card he completes a page (with Lavelle, Kuiper, and Barr) of Giants who I’ve had fun learning about since they were all names that I was vaguely aware of as a kid.

Gary Rajsich was a quick 8 day return. He has three rookie cards in 1983 but then nothing except for this 1985 Mother’s Cookies card. Well he has a few Japanese cards and a couple senior league cards with his brother which are kind of fun. As a Giants fan though it’s always nice to get another Mother’s Cookies card signed.

Bill Wakefield goes into the Stanford album with a quick 8-day return. It’s always fun to add a 1965 too. Wakefield was already a professional when he was an undergraduate so this card depicts him as a student. I was curious how he would react to my project since he didn’t play at Stanford but in some ways it feels like he might have a stronger connection to the school because he was just a student.

Not only did I get a nice inscription on the index card, he included this nice note back on my letter. I usually include the index cards as an opportunity for the players to write back but a decent number of them do it on the letters like this instead. I need to figure out what to do with these notes now.

Lots of good returns this month but the best one was a 97-day return from Will Clark. My youngest sent it out and was very patient even though his older brother got his card back a couple months ago. Patience rewarded and I have one thrilled second third grader.

His house is a museum…

Cliff/@oriolesrise is one of the all-time greats on Card Twitter. He lives out in Amish country where there seems to be no end to cheap antique finds and auctions. Every weekend or so he’s finding boxes of cool stuff and showing photos of them on his Twitter feed.

As a result he not only has a massive collection, he has a massive number of duplicate items. He’s very generous with these and offers them as trade bait. Many of us now have piles at his house that are waiting for a proper mailday (or for those of us closer to him, to visit the “museum”).

He’s also been using a lot of his duplicates for TTM requests and has been getting a number of great returns. A couple weeks ago he asked a bunch of the rest of us if we were interested in some guys. I was and last weekend I received my first mailing.

First stack of cards are players I’ve explicitly expressed an interest in getting autographs of. A decent number of former Giants on here (Schofield, McDaniel, McDowell, Ontiveros) but the others are players that for whatever reason stuck out to me.

Quite a few of these I’ve already sent out. I’ll keep writing letters too since Cliff sent these to me with the express purpose that they be used for TTM requests (although I did grab the 1954 Schofield for the colorwheels page).

Cliff though didn’t stop with just the small stack of cards I’d asked for for TTM stuff. He sent a big additional pile of TTM guys. That so many of these are older cards is especially cool. I don’t have a lot of old cards in general and the one I do have I have for specific reasons. As a result I’m not likely to send them out TTM.

In this batch I especially like the Dave Chalk just chilling photo and the Larry Gura traded card that shows him with a team he never played for.

Last batch of potential TTM cards includes a bunch of guys I’ve already gotten but a couple like Reichardt who are interesting to learn about.

One thing I have to figure out for myself is how I’ll feel about sending out the 1967, 1971, and 1977 cards with facsimile signatures since I generally avoid getting those signed.

There was a lot more stuff in the package beyond cards for TTMing. Cliff didn’t clear out my pile but he took a serious dent out of it. Let’s start off with a dozen pocket schedules including a couple from 1986 to 1988 which correspond to the beginning of my fandom.

I saved some of these from when I was a kid but did not collect them in general. This is a bit of a shame since the schedules, especially the promotions, are a lot of fun to see and other details like who the announcers and sponsors are are a great blast from the past.

Cliff included a ton of off-grade vintage Giants, most of which is going to go the boys. I didn’t get my first 1950s card until a couple years ago. I’m kind of jealous that they’ll get theirs before becoming teenagers. I’m going to have to figure out how to split up the Cepeda and McCovey since I can see those causing some sibling trouble.

Most of these however are cards I need. This is my second Laughlin World Series card and the first Giant. The team set of 1976 SSPC is great and gives me some duplicates I can use for TTM. The near-set of 1986 Fleer is great too since I only had like two Giants.

A couple Fleer updates complete those team sets as does a similar batch of Score Tradeds. For whatever reason while I was totally familiar with Topps Traded as a kid I got very few Fleer Updates and absolutely no Score Tradeds. Never too late to rectify that oversight.

Moving on to more-recent cards. The deck of Giants playing cards is fantastic. Not sure if I should open it or if I should just keep it sealed. Studio 95 meanwhile sure is something else with that credit card design. The hologram detail on the front facsimile signatures on the back are nice touches but overall this is a wild change of pace for a set that was originally about quality studio photography.

The Upper Deck Legends  and Legendary Cuts cards are interesting. This looks like one of those sets where the cards are just filler for the hits but the base cards are kind of nice. The Legends cards look good with both color and black and white photos—something not all designs succeed at—while the sepia toned Legendary Cuts cards nicely combine an old school photo treatment with a modern design.

Another fun item is this near-complete set of the first series of 1992 Crackerjack minis. I pulled a handful of these out of boxes when I was a kid so this is totally the kind of oddball I love. I also have to point out that Donruss used different photos than in its regular cards on this which is an extra level of attention to detail that I wish Topps did now with its endless design reuses.

A half-dozen Stanford cards made it in to the mailer too. A couple more Studio 95s, a fun 1994 All Star I didn’t have yet, and two 1996 Extra Bases. The Extra Bases are the most exciting cards here, partly because they’re an odd size and partly because I never come across them. These two may take me up to six in my collection. Nice to be able to finally fill a page.

It’s not just the size difference that I like, it’s the aspect ratio that I really dig. These are close to a tobacco card ratio but by being so huge they can get away with a nice photo. Most cards feature squarish photos. I love seeing how Fleer crops things to fit the something much more eccentric.

And finally a few cards that don’t fit the rest of the themes. That’s a complete set of Quaker Granola cards. Very very cool. That’s also a stack of 1990 Fleer which was intended to complete my set (most of those needs were filled by other trading partners even though I had those cards marked as “in progress” in my need list). The other six cards here though are a bit of a surprise and make me wonder if they were intended for a Braves or Red Sox collector and made it into my stack by mistake.

Anyway, very very cool. It’s going to be fun for the boys to go through and I’m going to have a lot of fun writing letters. Thanks Cliff!

A couple small maildays

The last week or so I received a couple small mail days which I need to catch up on. The first is from my committee co-chair Jason who’s been busy blinging out junk wax cards and turning them into artcard fundraising exercises.

He decided to send one of his creations to me so now I have this glittery 1980 Willie McCovey highlight. It’s very glittery but thankfully the glitter is attached to the paper well enough that nothing else is glittery. One card like this is fun. Having it infect the rest of my cards. Less fun.

Any moment now Jason’s going to discover holographic film and things are going to get well and truly wild.

The second mailing came from Matt over at Bob Walk the Plank.* Two years ago he withdrew from blogging and commenced on a grand reorganization** project. It seems like the past three months of lockdown have been good for his productivity as he’s found a number of cards that had no business being in his collection and started sending them out to better places.

*Who I just realized was missing from my endorsements page listing everyone in the hobby that I can vouch for. Sorry Matt, you’re on there now even though you don’t need it since half of Card Twitter has traded with you.

**My understanding is that Matt would contest the “re” part of this statement.

This means that I got a small envelope of shiny Giants parallels. Nothing fancy but all the kind of thing I refuse to seek since I refuse to play Topps’s artificial scarcity game. As a Giants fan though I do have to admit that I enjoy a good black parallel and this Scutaro mini certainly fits the bill. Do I care that it’s numbered out of 5? Not really. But I love being reminded of the rain game and seeing a card in the Giants team colors is always good.

The Bumgarner is also a mini. Apparently the gold mini parallels are numbered to 62 instead of 2013. No idea why. Don’t really care. But the gold is also a look that I have fond memories of due to 1992 provoking some nostalgia feels.

Two more gold parallels. OR at least I think that Schmidt Bowman is gold. I don’t know it’s also numbered to something under 100 and has a bit more sheen to it so maybe it’s a refractor? Anyway it’s the kind of shiny card that my youngest loves and which is vastly underrepresented in my sets

The Crawford meanwhile is the traditional numbered to 2015 gold parallel. I like 2015’s design a lot with all the color but I also like what Topps did with the Golds this year. That the cards look good in both versions says a lot about the strength of the design.

And finally, two base cards to fill out the package. Fence Busters is a callback to the 1967 Mays/McCovey card. I really wish that it showed Pence and Posey since a Pence Buster Fencer Busters card is the kind of stupid thing I enjoy. Marco Luciano is technically an insert since it’s a chrome prospect. Hopefully I’ll get to see him come through Richmond at some point.

Thanks guys!

A White Whale

Mike Mandel’s Baseball Photographer Trading Card set has been one of my favorite things for a few years. It’s the venn diagram intersection of my interests on baseball cards, printing, and photography but is unfortunately frequently priced as Art™ in the few instances when cards are even available.

I don’t even want to collect the set (although I’m kicking myself over missing the window on buying the catalog to his Good 70s show which included a complete second-edition set). It’s just that there are a handful of cards in it that I kind of love.

Last week though I landed one of those cards. I wasn’t internet stalking it or anything, I just randomly check ebay like I do a couple times a year and lo and behold this was available.

For the last five years or so if I had to pick a favorite photographer I would’ve answered Lewis Baltz. It’s not just that he was a photographer’s photographer whose work I can look at all day,* but the fact that his work taught me how to see.

*I wish I could say I own all his books but, alas, I only have Industrial Parks.

Baltz’s photos are transformative, beautiful images of buildings and places that most people deride as ugly and uninspired. As a child of the suburbs who learned to drive in deserted industrial parks, these places speak to me as “home” just as much as any photo of the natural beauty of the American West does.

Looking at his work trained me own eye in noticing what’s interesting about industrial buildings and the way their façades interact with light. There’s a surprising amount of texture and going out through an Industrial park to go “baltzing” is one of my favorite ways to take a photo walk.

While the photos start off being very much in his style, like anything artwise if you stay on that path you eventually end up someplace more personally interesting. In my case, one of my favorite projects I’ve been working on is a mix of color and black and white photos of the locations where my kids attend birthday parties.

These are frequently in warehouses and other nondescript buildings but of all the things in New Jersey they are by far what I’ve enjoyed photographing the most.

I’m very happy to have this. It’s the first card I’m considering putting in a one-touch and keeping on my desk. …well…keeping on my desk on purpose.

PWE from Fuji

I don’t have a lot of regular readers of my blog. I typically joke that it’s just my mom (though I think my wife also reads a bunch of posts during the rare occasion she cleans out her RSS reader) but that’s actually not true. San Jose Fuji is another blogger who reads everyone’s blogs, including this one. I’ve been super impressed, he reads and comments everywhere too.

Last weekend he also impressed me buy managing to stuff 18 cards into a plain white envelope. I’ve never sent more than 9 (full-size—I maxxed out at 24 once but it included a bunch of minis) and it’s kind of like the 1000 clowns thing to just keep pulling cards out of an envelope.

Fuji’s in the Bay Area. I keep thinking that I’ll run into him at San José Obon* some summer but to-date it hasn’t happened. He’s not a Giants or A’s fan but does collect guys from local colleges. Most of his Giants cards he ends up giving to his students instead. I wish I’d had a teacher like that when I was a kid.

*Though not this year.

The Giants cards he sent me are very cool regional issues however. These three look like Mother’s Cookies cards but are in fact Keebler cards. After Mother’s died as a brand, Keebler took over baseball card day. I haven’t gotten into those sets too much—I just have the 1999 set which closes out the Candlestick years—but they look pretty nice in capturing a bit of that Mother’s feel. It’s nice to add some from 2001 and 2002. I have precious few oddballs from the late-90s to the present in my Giants binders so these will spice things up tremendously.

Three more oddballs. I’ll address the last one first since Emerald Nuts took over from Keebler in the baseball card day promotions. The Emerald Nuts sets are made by Topps and most of them consist of slapping the logo on top of the base Topps design for the year. This is underwhelming.* What’s not underwhelming is that the Emerlad Nuts sets are like 36 cards and include a lot of players and coaches who aren’t in the flagship release. I very much like having a sample from the Emerald Nuts set which is one of those extra cards.

*2006 at least does appear to be an exception.

The other two cards are even odder. I actually don’t know what set they‘re from. I know the Jacob Cruz is from 2003 (only year he was with the Giants) but I have no idea on the Lowry. They don’t feel like Major League Stadium Giveaways and instead remind me of the golden age of oddballs being created by anyone and everyone for promotional purposes.

I scanned the backs of the Cruz and Lowry in case anyone can help identify them but these also show why I think of them as promotional pieces rather than stadium giveaways. The Cruz is issued by the State of California and by being a 2003 release includes references to Governor Gray Davis and the Flex Your Power program which he implemented to deal with the rolling blackouts that led to his recall that year.

The Lowry meanwhile is a collaboration between Blue Shield and the Giants Community Fund. Basically the health version of a police card. I’m surprised it’s regulation sized since this is totally the kind of thing that would’ve been oversize in the 1980s.

The rest of the envelope was assorted San José Giants cards. Most of these guys never made it past AA. A few made it to AAA. Only Valderrama made it to the Majors though. in 2003 he played in seven games with San Francisco. His line consists of seven plate appearances in those seven games, one hit, and one stolen base. He did play 16 innings in the outfield over those seven games where he recorded six putouts and made no errors.

Very cool stuff. I don’t purposefully acquire minor league cards but they’re also fun additions to the binder. Thanks Fuji for the mailing and thanks for being such a great reader and commenter on the blog too.

1928 Cavander’s Peeps Into Many Lands

Another Monday, another pre-war set. This time I’m looking at my 1928 Cavander’s Peeps Into Many Lands. This is the second series of at least three that Cavender’s released. It’s yet another set like the Wonders of the Past which serves as a way of seeing the world back in an age when international travel was something most people couldn’t conceive of.

I grabbed these a couple months ago but haven’t gotten around to making a post since this is more than just a set of tobacco cards. For one, they’re actual photographic prints instead of lithographs. Second, this is a set of 36 stereo photos across 72 cards. Yup. These were intended to be viewed in a small stereoviewer.

While I wasn’t going to scan everything like I did with my Viewmaster,* I wanted to do a few in 3D. I limited myself to only four stereo images for this post to give a sense of the effect. The 3D is cool. But the photos themselves work pretty well by themselves.

*Unlike the Viewmaster these are prints I can see without needing a special tool so there’s less reason for me to convert them into a more-viewable format.

There are roughly three kinds of images in the set. The first are scenic views of places. This set is for British customers and it’s clear in this case that “Many Lands” is short for “non-Europe.” So we’ve got small scenic images from around the world. Some depict nature but most are architecture of some sort.

These are very nice and give a window into different architectural styles around the world. I can’t help but laugh at the way they put the United States’ neoclassical buildings and elevated subways in the same conversation as various pagodas and temples. The USA cards look incredibly mundane to me now but their inclusion shows how different the American buildings looked to Europe at this time.

There are also a handful of animal images. While they purport to be images of wild animals it’s clear that these are all photos of animals in captivity. As with the scenic images though these take us back to an era when the world was bigger and something super-common like a Sea Lion is exotic because it doesn’t live in the Atlantic Ocean.

About half of the set though is photos of people in a very National Geographic Human Zoo sort of way. We’ve got lots of people, most of them with dark skin, most of them in some sort of non-Western clothing. It’s very telling that where the United States is represented with city scenes, the only people depicted from here are American Indians.

We’ve got busy street scenes from around Asia. Many of these are cool because of the street details and how you can get a larger sense of place from them. That quite a few show people around the subject who happen to be in Western clothing is also interesting and says a lot about what these photos focus on and how they emphasize differences.

We’ve also got a lot of scenes around Oceania which replace the street with more natural settings. Palm trees and other tropical foliage. Beaches and boats with unfamiliar riggings.

Between the Asian and Oceania images there are a decent number of photos that veer into the pretty girl territory. Some could even be pin-ups. I didn’t scan them but they’re there and combine with the rest of the tropes to remind me about how damaging photography’s gaze can be.

Do I like this set? I do. Very much. But it’s selling a very colonial gaze that I have to acknowledge. That it’s from 1928 helps here since I can view these as historical documents of how the world was sold to the English back when they used to run it. Photography is still young at this point and the world was still large.

Ninety years later I can look at these as examples of what we should have matured away from. That so often in modern photography we see the same kinds of images and experience the same kind of use which exoticizes the subjects and forces it into a western-framed concept of “authenticity” is the problem.

A Zippy Zapping PWE

Earlier this week I found a plain white envelope from Kenny in my mailbox. Nothing huge but enough to remind me of what we’re missing this summer. I had been looking forward to Kenny’s advice about the upcoming season of Yankee prospects and going to the Thunder Open House. And yeah so much for another season of Boomer’s Kids club.

The big name I was expecting to see at Trenton this year was Estevan Florial. I actually expected him last season before he broke his wrist at the end of Spring Training. Now I suspect we’ll miss him all together. Oh well. It’s nice to have a couple cards of his to go on the pile just in case.

Ryder Green and Anthony Seigler on the other hand are two players who I have a decent chance at seeing in Trenton since they haven’t even reached Tampa yet. So they’ll go on the pile of cards that started building for this season and which will now be for next season.

Seigler in particular seems to be one of Topps’s favorites so it’ll be fun to see if the hype is worth it when he does get here.

Kyle Holder played at Trenton last year. He might’ve appeared again this year but he finished 2019 in AAA. Do I expect to see him next year? Not really. So he’ll go in the pile of cards of players I saw at Trenton. Maybe that will become its own collection at some point—though the Bowman Judge and Gleyber cards are likely to be a reach for a while.

Moving out of Trenton players, Kenny included this Maurcio Dubon card from Heritage. I as not expecting much from the Giants this year but I was really looking forward to watching Dubon play. He was a fun addition last year, really smart player and an instant fan favorite. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see what he’d do with a full season.

And lastly, two Card Gens. The last time Kenny sent me one of these I linked to a YouTube video showing how cool the game was. Turns out that Kenny took the video back in the day. It remains one of the cooler things I’ve seen and I wish we could get a post about it over on SABR. I’m very happy having a couple more for the binder including one of Beltran who was just finishing a 10-year run as one of the best players in the game.

Thanks Kenny! Hopefully next season I’ll be able to use a bunch of these at Trenton.

PME from Night Owl

What’s better than a PWE? How about a PME. Last week instead of a plain white envelope I found a plain manilla envelope from Greg/Night Owl. Distinct from a bubble mailer which is a package of regular cards, a manilla envelope comes in as a flat of a handful of oversized cards.

As much as I like cards the weird oversize stuff is much more exciting. This time it was another batch of Jay Publishing cards. Not as many as November but just as enjoyable.

Jack Sanford and Mike McCormick both appear to be from 1960. Sanford shows the Phoenix Spring Training stadium stands in a nice action shot from the mound. Clearly not a game since the cameraman is standing on the field to take this (there’s also a screen in front of first base peeking in just a little on the left edge) but Sanford is actually throwing the ball here.

McCormick’s photo is from an overhead angle which I’m not used to seeing on pitcher photos. I kind of dig it though since it’s so well cropped with his right foot in one corner and his left hand in another.

Don Blasingame and Stu Miller are both from 1961. I kind of love the Blasingame photo with the ball coming right at the camera lens. It’s not quite as cool as his bunting in-action Jay Publishing from 1960 but it’s still very cool. The low angle is great and the deep focus showing off the outfield wall details while not detracting from the player is fantastic.

The Miller meanwhile is just a solid headshot with good use of flash and a dark background. Palm trees still say Spring Training but the geometry of the outfield wall is super interesting.

Al Dark is from 1961. Felipe Alou is from 1963. The Dark is a similar kind of shot to the Miller but the background isn’t as nicely handled and the light isn’t as nicely balanced. Is good to have a manager card though since most of the Jay Publishing photos I’ve gotten are common players.

The Alou meanwhile is an image that got used repeatedly as the hat logo got blacked out for his Braves cards. It’s not as nice as the earlier Jay Publishing cards—I much prefer the action shots and portraits that show the uniform details—but it’s still a nice striking image of Felipe.

Greg also included a handful of cards in the envelope. The two older cards are a 1970 Mike McCormick and a 1990 Will Clark. The McCormick is in good shape and will go on the pile of cards for the boys. The Clark Mothers Cookies is one where I’m wondering how it made its way to Greg out by Buffalo. It’s one of my favorite sets and takes me back to my childhood in the Bay Area and trying to convince my mom to get a bag of iced animal crackers (or really anything else Mothers made too).

Two minis. One from 2011 and 2012. The 2011 Mel Ott is kind of wonderful. I didn’t know Topps had this in them. It’s printed using an FM screen which is a much better method of emulating the old Ben Day stipple effects. The Vogelsong meanwhile is traditional screening and is saved by the spot gold ink used for the border.

I don’t seek minis out but I very much enjoy adding them to the binder. I’ve only got a page and a half worth so far but they do look great in 20-pocket pages.

And finally two more-modern cards. I don’t know what to call this 2011 Barry Zito effect. Not my kind of thing but I do find myself appreciating the way the spot white ink effect (I think) works in making the player image pop. The Willie Mays is an insert from this year which I’m passively building. This is another one I need—I’m at 7 out of 20 now—and it’ll be nice to complete a page soon. This one is especially nice with the Seals Stadium background and the awesome Hamm’s Brewery sign.

Two more thoughts on the Mays. This is clearly colorized from a black and white photo and I can’t help but notice that Topps didn’t include the red rails on the box seats. Also, regarding the Hamm’s sign, I’m surprised that Topps included a beer advertisement but maybe they colored the beer red instead of yellow to disguise what the beverage was.

Anyway very cool Greg. Thanks!