Random pickups

A post of a few random but interesting pickups I’ve gotten recently. I don’t like writing super-short posts so instead we’ve got a handful of things which I want to write about but can only summon a paragraph or two of text.

We’ll start off with a 1968 Topps Venezuelan Jim Ray Hart. This takes me to having four different years of Venezuelans in the collection and while 1962’s Spanish-language backs are still my favorites, I appreciate that 1968 at least has an “Hecho en Venezuela” slug on the back. This is in great shape for a Venezuelan and, given the general condition of most of my 1960s cards, the only way you can distinguish it easily is the yellowed paper.

I’m perfectly happy type collecting these. Venezuelan versions of Topps cards exist for 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, and 1968 which means I’m only missing examples from 1959, 1960, and 1967 now.

I don’t seek Exhibits out but I kind of love adding new ones to the collection when I come across them cheaply. Exhibit cards represent a different direction which the hobby could have gone* and place cards in a larger ecosystem of both pop culture and the history of photography. This makes them kind of perfect for my larger collecting interests.

*Something I go into a bit on my SABR post about them.

Player-wise, Bill Voiselle barely made the cutoff for this checklist as a Giant. This release of Exhibits starts in 1947 and he was traded from the Giants to the Braves in June of that year. Willard Marshall meanwhile was an All Star before WW2 before spending three years in the Marines (apparently stateside as a quartermaster before being recruited as a member of the Marines baseball team). He then picked up where he left off as both an All Star and an MVP vote getter.

Is interesting. As much as I like Exhibits I have no real interest in getting any San Francisco ones. Something about them feels like they should only feature New York players to me.

Not everything on this post is going to vintage though. I grabbed the 1983 Gaylord Perry Peanut Farm set because why not. First off, Perry is a Giants retired number and a third of the set are Giants cards (note, the whole set is in my Giants album). Plus it’s such a weird oddball. Sort of generic in that there’s no branding or even a team name listed while at the same time clearly made by Topps.

Especially once you look at the backs. Very much a Topps-style design but the only hint at branding are the card numbers in the peanut shape. Such a wonderfully weird little detail. The set covers five of the eight teams Perry played for and is a fun group of highlights with his first game, a no hitter, two Cy Young Awards, 2500 strikeouts, and 300 wins.

I got a bonus 1922 Zeenut with my 1911 Zeenut as a reward for being patient about a shipping delay. Totally unnecessary but I’m not complaining either. This is in typical Zeenut condition and features Jimmy O’Connell who would go on to play for the New York Giants in 1923 and 1924 before being banned for life after attempting to bribe Phillie Heinie Sand to throw the last couple games in 1924.

The Phillies were out of contention and the Giants were in a pennant race. O’Connell admitted to offering Sand $500 to “go easy” and implicated Frankie Frisch, George Kelly, and Ross Youngs in the scheme. They apparently denied involvement and only coach Cozy Dolan was punished along with O’Connell.

Finally, four 1910 Helmar Seals of the US and Coats of Arms of the World cards. Fuji blogged about these the other day and when I went to check the checklist I discovered that there were both California and Hawai‘i cards available. I did a quick Ebay search, no Hawai‘i but the California card was super cheap. Easy easy add to the cart. I also discovered that there are cards of various Native American nations on the checklist so I grabbed a few of those too.

The California card is great with the state seal and Giant Sequoia tunnel tree. The three Native American nations all have reservations located in Oklahoma which, in 1910 has only been a state for three years. Seeing that there are six Native American cards in this set (the other three are Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole), all of which are located in Oklahoma is interesting. It’s very nice that a lot of pre-war cards are specific about different nations rather than flattening into “Indian” but I’m really curious how those where chosen.

Presidents Weekend Card Show

Our school district likes to schedule teacher inservice days* on the Fridays before long weekends so that we get a nice four-day weekend. I don’t mind it as it gives everyone time to do a proper weekend getaway and if I’d been on top of things we would have gone to Cooperstown. Even if we don’t do any trips though it’s nice to have the Friday off in particular since anything we do is relatively quiet.

*Slash snow make-up days. Not that we’ve needed any this year. I fully expect that after having April weather in February we’ll get February weather in April.

Last Friday was the first Neshaminy Mall card show of the year. It’s a decent mall show which I’ve attended twice in the last four years. Totally doable in an hour and that’s if you take your time at all the tables. Also a decent amount of vintage to paw through. Each time I go I make good headway on those need lists.

This time I had some additional plans though. I’ve been meaning to try and offload the football cards from my Dentist in a way that doesn’t involve me having to worry about eBay or the USPS. Last time I went I met a dealer I really liked so I wanted to get back to him and seal the deal. I’ve never sold before but I’m more comfortable doing that than trying my luck on eBay and trusting the USPS with a big sale.

I also wanted to bring the boys to a proper card show. I’ve been looking forward to and waiting for them to be old enough and responsible enough. I don’t want to hover and make sure they’re behaving or deal with “can we go now” whining because they don’t have the patience to dig through boxes.

They’re finally at that age. They were excited to go and we spent the half-hour drive down talking about what everyone was going to look for. Their goals were simple: my youngest wanted to pick up a nice Buster Posey card and my oldest was looking for Ronald Acuña Jr.* We talked about proper behavior and I told them to also just enjoy seeing the stuff in the showcases.

*Yeah, despite being a Giants household his favorite player for the past four years has been Acuña.

After finding the dealer I was looking for and selling the cards for an acceptable price we were ready to go. We all had a lot of fun. They’re perfectly happy looking through boxes and getting each others’, or my, attention when they find something someone else might like. They definitely prefer the dollar boxes of more modern stuff than the vintage stacks I look at but a large part of that is down to just knowing who the players are.

It’s also just great to see them practicing interacting with the venders. I handled most of the transactions since making one big stack saves everyone money but they (yes even my notoriously-shy youngest) asked dealers how much unmarked cards were and handled a couple transactions on their own when only one was purchasing something.

Is nice to see how much they’ve grown up and in this age of shopping online it’s not very often they get the opportunity to browse and make decisions like this. They’re not totally free—I double-checked their purchases to confirm that what they were getting was what they thought they were getting (my youngest got duped by a Buster Posey RC reprint which, while priced fairly, was not what he thought he was buying)—but this is the first place they’ve been to where there is a ton of things that are within their budget to buy.

I avoid making “this is what I bought” posts unless I can write something really interesting about my purchases. Pre-war acquisitions usually meet this standard. Mostly-modern card show hauls generally do n0t. This show however is an exception since sharing the experience with my kids for the first time is noteworthy. Plus knowing what their pre-show goals were it’s a lot of fun to see how they did as well.

My youngest is very careful with his money and put together the perfect stack for himself for around six bucks. The only “big” purchase was the relic and he was unable to pick a favorite from his haul. His favorite thing was when dealers had longboxes organized by player. He would find the “Buster Posey” section and take his time to look at every card.

Being on the East Coast the Posey sections were small and manageable and he recognized that while they would be larger in California the cards would also be more expensive there.

My eldest did equally as well. His stack shows that he’s both more willing to spend money and that he has a little more of it. Acuña is definitely more expensive to collect than Posey—both in terms of per-card prices and the sheer number of cards available—but this was more than satisfactory. I’m a little sad he didn’t find the 2022 Stadium Club in the panda hat but he was very happy with the Holiday card.*

*I really wish I could find a blaster of those for the boys to open for Christmas. They both love that set but I’ve never seen them available anywhere.

His favorite find however was not an Acuña but was instead the Marcus Semien autograph. I’m going to have to watch him since he can get lost in the autos and relics boxes and while picking one favorite is totally fine, those things can add up pretty fast if he’s not careful.

As for me, I was playing with house money so went a little out of my comfort zone on a few cards. Still, I made sure to take care of a lot of my modern commons needs too. I grabbed the four Stanford guys in 2023 Series 1 with my first 2023 Topps cards. They definitely look better in person than online but they’re still a mess of a design with that Norelco lift and trim slashy stuff going on at the bottom.

I also grabbed a bunch of the specific Ginter cards I wanted including the Michelle Wie West for the Stanford PC. Jim Plunkett is also for the Stanford PC and his card is an awesome Wonder Bread oddball—absolutely the kind of thing I love to add.

The half dozen 50s and 60s cards though are the highlights and big ticket items. More quality than quantity in this show—reflecting my more mature collecting focus this year. Sam Jethroe is one of those forgotten players and his 1952 Bowman is a beauty. The 1958 Topps Dodgers team card fits into my franchise expansion/moves mini-PC. The Hi-Res Rootbeer was priced well and I kind of love that set. And the 1963 McCovey is one of those pesky high numbers that makes up most of my remaining vintage Giants searchlist.

These two however are the favorites which I knew I’d be kicking myself for passing up. I never expected to get either of the 1960 McCovey cards and while this one has issues it still looks great. Really nice to be able to update the retired numbers page too. And the 1952 Larry Doby has a bit of water damage that’s only visible on the back and adds one of the three Hall of Famers who I thought were out of my reach on the Colorline project. Very very happy to get these.

And finally, the LaMonte Wade autograph is one my kids found but was slightly out of their comfort zone.* Since I’m trying to collect autographs of everyone who won the Willie Mac Award it’s nice to add Wade to that PC. I wish it weren’t a sticker but it’s not an awful stickergraph.

*I initially passed on it as well until I saw we had enough to build a stack.

All in all a very successful day.  The boys are now looking forward to going to a show again. I’m not sure they’re ready for a big one like the Philly Show (heck I don’t know if I’m ready) but we’ll see. It might be fun to see them meet an autograph guest. Plus they were so excited by their new cards they went right to their rooms and sorted and paged all the cards they’ve been neglecting to put away for months.

Shlabotnik Surprise

Last week I found a surprise envelope from Shlabotnik Report in my mailbox. Inside were a pair of cards and some newsprint clippings.

Let’s start with the cards, in particular the classic 1985 Topps Gary Pettis error which features his younger brother. As with the 1984 Fleer Glenn Hubbard, this is one of those noteworthy cards from my youth that for whatever reason never made it into my collection.  The story behind it is pretty fun and includes the information that Pettis refuses to sign the card.

This one isn’t as obvious a keeper as the Hubbard but collectors my age all know about it and know why it’s special so I’m very happy to add it to my binder after all these years.

The other card was an extra Goggomobile that he had mistakenly ordered form COMC and which he felt would look good next to the Ferrari card I grabbed earlier. Such a weird set with super-sporty Ferraris that people still admire and whatever this with a silly name, is but if I assemble a 6-pocket page of them it’ll definitely be a fun one to look at.

I’m glad Shlabotnik included a note about how the newsprint wasn’t just packaging since it was a good read. I didn’t scan them since they came from the current Sports Collectors Digest and you can just read the article online.

Shlabotnik thought of me because the article contained printing information about the 1960s Post sets.

Rotogravure printing was accomplished by Post’s graphic designers creating 150 percent scale mockups of each box, including the back panel. The group of mockups for each cereal brand and size were then arranged in the way they would be printed. A photograph was made and used to etch six color rotogravure cylinder plates. Each set of plates printed the boxes for one particular cereal.

Rotogravure makes sense since it’s ideal for single-sided packaging. This prompted me to loupe my Post cards and I can see how the text and linework isn’t as crisp as I’d expect it to be with offset. It’s still solid but all the edges have a slight dot screen aspect to them. The real interesting thing is the 6-color information but I suspect it’s really just CMYK process plus corporate logo spot colors.

Very cool stuff. Thanks Shlabotnik report!

New York Journal American

A short post about the last card I bought in 2022. I was hoping this would arrive before the end of the year but instead it showed up on January 2nd as my first card of 2023.

Yeah I never thought I’d find a card from this set. These are, essentially, lottery tickets that you’d receive when you purchased a New York Journal American newspaper. The Journal American was a major paper which existed from 1937–1966 after the merger of the New York Evening Journal and New York American newspapers. I’m vaguely familiar with the Journal because of its prominence in both the history of comics* and yellow journalism but I was not aware that Hearst had multiple newspapers in New York.

*Specifically color-printed comics.

To be clear the two Hearst papers weren’t exactly competing but rather were a morning and evening paper. Still it’s weird to me that it took until 1937 for them to merge and just release multiple editions of one paper.

Anyway, in 1954 these lottery tickets were available at New York newstands and resulted in a 59-card “set” consisting of players from the three New York teams. 1950s New York baseball had a ton of star power and they all have cards in the set. Davey Williams is not such a star but I still couldn’t believe I’d found one for cheap on ebay.

It’s a great addition and a fun memento from the age of newspapers. Plus having the 1954 schedule is great for the Giants. For most of my life as a Giants fan that season was the one looming over everything else as the last World Series Championship.

A look at the numbers

A quick post prompted by something Greg posted last week when he updated his Dodger card count by year. One nice thing about having everything cataloged is that it can be fun to just explore the data and looking at Greg’s numbers was prey cool. So I did some quick Google Sheets calculations and came up with the resulting graph.

The graph goes all the way to 1911 because I do have one card from that year but after a couple blips in the early 1930s and 1939–1941 it really only gets going with the dawn of modern cards in 1948. The graph profile is almost exactly what I would expect with a massive peak in my childhood junk wax years that never returned to what it was before then since we never returned to the age of just one set of cards a year.

Looking more closely. The peak in 1955 is caused by the Golden Stamps set whereas the ones in 1976 and 1979 are TCMA’s fault. The absence of a big jump starting in 1981 reflects how poorly I’ve done getting the Donruss and Fleer team sets for the early 1980s.

Also, compared to Greg’s numbers my numbers in general are super small. Yes at one level getting 100 different Giants cards each year is still a lot of cards. At another though it could clearly be a whole lot worse and I’m pleased that I’ve been as disciplined as I have been.

Anyway, a big long list of the numbers follows. I’ve deleted all the zero years.

1911: 1
1933: 2
1934: 2
1935: 2
1937: 1
1939: 4
1940: 4
1941: 5
1948: 10
1949: 11
1950: 16
1951: 22
1952: 25
1953: 19
1954: 30
1955: 45
1956: 22
1957: 25
1958: 32
1959: 32
1960: 42
1961: 40
1962: 38
1963: 50
1964: 33
1965: 35
1966: 34
1967: 40
1968: 34
1969: 41
1970: 43
1971: 48
1972: 36
1973: 34
1974: 43
1975: 48
1976: 72
1977: 55
1978: 53
1979: 107
1980: 72
1981: 65
1982: 73
1983: 112
1984: 111
1985: 93
1986: 124
1987: 125
1988: 179
1989: 239
1990: 332
1991: 331
1992: 444
1993: 380
1994: 467
1995: 339
1996: 290
1997: 221
1998: 191
1999: 159
2000: 149
2001: 212
2002: 219
2003: 195
2004: 106
2005: 87
2006: 91
2007: 93
2008: 127
2009: 131
2010: 108
2011: 167
2012: 168
2013: 180
2014: 144
2015: 207
2016: 131
2017: 100
2018: 179
2019: 190
2020: 159
2021: 107
2022: 99

Non-sport fun

While most of my non-sport cards are pre-war I’ve been quietly grabbing a few post-war cards as well over the past year or so. Very much following my same instincts of trusting my gut. These are a bit more random than the cards I featured in my Cold War Cards post and don’t have the same historical interest that those do. At the same time they’re very much an extension of the kinds of things I like in my pre-war cards.

I have one 1951 Bowman Jets Rockets Spacemen card because I just love the artwork. The space-age architecture in the background and the vivid flames from the rocket are fantastic. The framing with the rocket leaving the card is also great. And I like that this set tries to tell a story. The idea of cards being a narrative medium is one which doesn’t get explored enough.

A pair of 1952 Topps Look and See cards because I realized that I should have the George Eastman for hobby intersectionality reasons. As a photographer, I know of Eastman and Kodak as legends for their integral role in the technological history of the medium. When I was looking a the cards though I saw the P.T. Barnum card for cheap and couldn’t pass it up.

The backs of these do the red-filter thing where the answer to the trivia question is only revealed if you make everything orange. I’ve gone ahead and done it digitally*

*For anyone who cares. Eyedropper the background orange color. Add a new layer. Fill it with the orange. Set it to “multiply.”

A handful are from Topps’s 1955 Rails and Sails set. In many ways this is similar to the pre-war Wills Speed set in terms of is appeal. It’s not about the fastest vehicles but is instead key innovations in the design of the technology.

As a train lover I’m very much interested in the Rails portion of the set. The Southern Pacific Daylight Streamliner is the same engine pictured on the playing cards Anson sent me but it’s also a route which I’ve travelled on and photographed. The Union Pacific card, besides being a beauty of a card (though not as dynamic an image as the Santa Fe card in the Wills set) reminds me of climbing all over the Union Pacific rolling stock at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.

The Trolley card though I especially like because it’s a New York trolley which reminds me of how the Dodgers got their nickname. Yes this trolley is a couple decades more recent but still close enough in terms of the type to be the kind of a thing a Dodgers team collector might want (or avoid for nemesis reasons).

And finally how could I pass up a Junk card. We talk about “junk wax” so much in this hobby that I had to have a literal Junk card just for laughs. If I didn’t know these were the same set though I’d’ve sworn that this came from something completely different. Vastly different type. Full bleed instead of borders. And of course a completely different subject matter.

Looking at the backs confirms how different the boat cards are from the train cards. I really like the train designs with all the train graphics and the technical information about the locomotives. The little trivia panel in the top right corner is great and the card numbering is fantastic.

The 1961 Topps Sports Cars Ferrari card was just too cool to pass up. It’s a bit of a Ferris Bueller reference though the car in that was a 250GT California not a Spyder. There is a California card as well but it’s not red.

Anyway this is a fun set which I can see trying to put a page’s worth together from. Lots of classic cards in there plus as oversize tallboy cards I’d only need 6 for a page.

I couldn’t believe that this was only a couple bucks. I’d’ve thought that 1960s Bruce Lee cards would be in much higher demand but maybe they’re just not well known. This is from the 1966 Donruss Green Hornet set which has a lot of fun photos and a nice simple design. The back is a puzzle so I didn’t scan it.

And finally, a handful of 1969–70 Topps/O Pee Chee Man on the Moon cards. These are also hobby intersectionality in that three of them are explicitly photo references. The card of the camera is pretty straightforward but the Earthrise and Earthset cards are in the mix for most influential photographs ever.

Really wonderful to have them in the trading card album whatwith how I treat baseball cards and trading cards as an integral part of photographic history.

Johnson Johnston!

While I’m not hitting my Metacards collection particularly hard, one of the cards I’ve had my eye out for are the Ernie or Ben Johnson Johnston Cookies cards. As early-1950s oddballs these don’t pop up very often and when they do they’re always more than I want to pay.

A couple weeks ago a nice low-grade lot popped up on Twitter for a very reasonable price. I almost jumped on it until I reminded myself that spending twice as much money as I had previously refused to spend on an individual card was stupid—even if it was technically a deal. So I pinged a bunch of Milwaukee and Braves collectors on Twitter who would be interested in such a lot and called it a night.

The next morning I saw that Matt had jumped on the lot even after confirming that the seller wasn’t interested in breaking it up. When I saw that he had been interested in breaking the lot up I shot him a note asking him if he’d sell me the Ernie Johnson for the five bucks average card price of the lot. Done and done and the card is now in my hands.

Aside from the metacard aspect I’ve wanted one of these for a long time because of the printing and design. The front is clearly inspired by 1952 Topps* and I really love the back design and how it incorporates the silhouette of the tomahawk for the team name and card number.

*Dan-Dee Potato Chips would basically return to this design in 1954 too.

I also wanted to get a good look at the printing to see how they had colorized the black and white photos. Seeing photos online gave me a bit of a 1949 Bowman feel where solid colors are printed underneath the black screens.* These are a little different in that while they definitely share some of that approach—especially in the red details on the uniform—they also have some shading in the dark blue as well. Johnson’s face is also full process ink** and the background is basically a four-color grey. A lot more going on than in 1949 Bowman but very good to see. Way too subtle to do high-resolution scans though.

*Except for the facial details which are a proper duotone.

**Well, no Cyan.

I was also surprised by the card size. Looking at these online I just assumed they were “regulation” 2.5″×3.5″ cards even though with even the minimum of thought I’d’ve realized that that was highly unlikely for someone to arrive at the now-typical card size years before Topps standardized on it. In 1953 Topps cards were 2.625″×3.75″ while Bowmans were 2.5″×3.75″. The Johnstons in typical oddball fashion come in someplace in between at 2.5625″×3.625″—just close enough to look like a regular card and probably small enough to fit in a 9-pocket sheet if I didn’t have to worry about it bending or ripping.*

*I promptly looked up the 1954 Dan Dee cards to see that they’re 2.5″×3.625″

Anyway I’ve gone ahead and put together a Metacards page to track this mini collection. Thanks for the quick and easy deal Matt!

Thanksgiving Zapping

I haven’t been doing a lot of trading recently. The thing with trading is that you need to be acquiring product which has things that you don’t need or want. And I’m barely acquiring product anymore at all let alone anything which produces the kind of bycatch needed to trade nicely.

Which means that it’s always a surprise and please when I do find a package in my mailbox. Thanksgiving weekend one such surprise package arrived from Kenny. It was a large, suspiciously-light box which turned out to be mostly packed with boxes and toploaders as Kenny is rehoming his excess storage supplies. But there was also a decent stack of cards in there too.

I went through quickly and pulled out everything that looked relevant to my collecting interests. The Jack McDowell is a new card for the Stanford album and reminds me that I don’t have a lot of 1996 Score. Matt Cain is a Giants card I didn’t have though I still have no idea what ToppsTown was.

It’s not a primary project but I’ve been slipping cards of Hall of Famers into their own album for a while now. While I don’t picture Kaat, Smith, or Pudge as Yankees it’s always nice to add cards to that album.

I’m also putting a small collection together of guys who I’ve see play at Trenton or Somerset. While this is mostly focused on Major Leaguers I’ll totally add Bowman or Panini cards if I come across them. Is very nice to get Rookie Cards of Abreu and Deivi as well.

Two African-American cards are great to have. I wish Topps had Negro League players in Allen & Ginter every year but I’ll never turn down a Moses Fleetwood Walker card. It’s also always fun to get a Japanese card—in this case a nice foil Hideki Matsui.

And finally a few 1980s oddballs from toy stores. I remember the Toys R Us cards but never saw the Kay Bee ones. A bit funny to see who was considered a “young superstar” back then.

Most of the cards though was various assorted Yankees from multiple sets. I do have to admit though that I’ll never turn down the chance to add more cards from before I began collecting. I’m mostly thin on any set before 1986.* With this batch I now have almost a page each of 1972s (all Yankees), 1973s, and 1974s. The 1972 Kekich makes me want to get a 1972 Fritz Peterson to pair with it and the 1973 Blomberg is a fun on for first DH reasons.**

*Exceptions are 1975–1979 due to an 800-count box that I found on ebay for $10 that was labeled and listed at 1991 Donruss but was actually stuffed with commons from 1975–1979 Topps. This is why I ended up building 1978.

**I TTM’d him the 1974 card which lists him as DH.

The 1980–1985 cards are also welcome as I only ever got a pack’s worth of those cards as a kid. I have more now of a few of those sets* but it’s always nice to flesh those out a bit. There’s something about those sets from before my childhood which still scratch a collecting itch.

*A decent number of 1984 and 1985 Topps.

The 1986–1988s here though are cards from when I was accumulating a lot of things. They go in the duplicate/TTM pile or might become trade packages for someone else. Yes even that 1988 Traded Jay Buhner which looks so wrong as a Yankees card.

More of the same for a lot of these cards. Though it’s worth mentioning that the 1989 Donruss cards are the Traded set and that the Deion Sanders The Rookies is one I missed as being for my oddball album. This also goes with the Melido Perez Pacific card which belongs in my Spanish-language album.

Kenny also included a bunch of Minor League cards which are starting to slip into the stream in this photo. The 1993 Pulaski Yankees design is a super-basic Minor League set whereas Classic was a more nationally-distributed production.

Into the 2000s with a bunch of cards I don’t have much to say about. Andy Brown must’ve been someone who was getting prospected a bit though. There are also three guys who I remember form the Giants here. Kenny Lofton of course needs no introduction as he’s one of those criminally-underrated players who deserved serious Hall of Fame consideration but dropped off the ballot in only a year. Brett Tomko wasn’t bad either but the less said about Sidney Ponson the better.

Late 2000s to early 2010s with more of a grab bag but it is worth commenting on the two stacks of 2011 Topps and 2011 Topps Update. A few fun cards in there and definitely nice to have a representative stack to look through from that year. I enjoy getting Thairo cards as he’s become a bit of a fan favorite in San Francisco. No idea why there are two different sizes of Bowman minis. And I do like 2014 Allen & Ginter.

Also I did not open the 2014 Staten Island Yankees team set but it appears that there are Thairo Estrada, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Torrens cards inside.

To the last batch which is increasingly a Minor League grab bag. The random Topps Archives cards are fun and I’ll have to be on alert with the Hudson Valley teams set next season in Somerset.

The main point of interest here are the Stars and Stripes USA cards. I’m a bit weirded out that cards of kids who are on the under 15 team exist. Especially since my kids are approaching this age. I did a quick look through and most of the names are completely unknown to me. There was however one card of Charlie Saum who was a freshman at Sanford last year so I guess that’s going into that album too.

And finally Kenny’s calling cards. I have sent him a Torrens custom before so getting his “you’ve been Zippy Zapped” custom back makes perfect sense. And the Power Puff and anime girls are also on brand.

Very cool. That was a fun way to unwind after hosting Thanksgiving. Thanks Kenny!

Brodie PWE

About a week ago I found a PWE from Mark Hoyle in my mailbox. Mark’s been selling a bit on Twitter over the past month or so* and he’d had a card that no one was claiming but which I had been tempted to claim many times. When I finally claimed the card he told more me not to worry about it and sent it to me anyway.

*Presumably to both finance something amazing and to clear up some space. I’d previously gotten the McCovey Stand Up from him.

The card I’d claimed was actually another standup, this time John Brodie from 1968 Topps Football. Brodie is part of the massive mission creep on my Stanford project and, while I’m not trying to get all his cards, it’s a lot of fun to get the weird ones as I build a type collection of sorts of vintage football and basketball cards.

Mark tossed in the 1971 Topps card as well even though I didn’t claim it. I only had one card from that set and it’s nice to add a two-color border version of the design to the all-blue Gary Pettigrew that I had.

This takes me to eleven John Brodie cards. The Stand Up goes really well with the Topps Game card from 1970. Most of the base designs that aren’t present here are in other parts of the binder (Chris Burford, Steve Thurlow, and Gene Washington) but Brodie could cover almost all of them just by himself. He even has 1961 Post and Fleer cards which would be fun to add for variety’s sake too.

Brodie’s an interesting player to learn about too. He’s kind of forgotten despite having played the most games as a 49er quarterback but I suspect he’s overshadowed by the guys on both ends of his career since YA Tittle and Joe Montana are both big name QBs.

Brodie is also one of four Stanford guys to quarterback for the Niners. He and Frankie Albert were both the starters for many many years, Jim Plunkett had the job for a couple of years, and Steve Stenstrom had a few starts in 1999. I didn’t think of him much Sanfordwise either but that’s a combination of Plunkett and Elway becoming the big names as well as how, for me, I didn’t really learn any football history which pre-dated the Super Bowl when I was a kid.

Anyway thanks a lot Mark!

1955 Topps Doubleheaders

I’ve tried to limit my “so look what I got” posts to pre-war pickups but it’s become obvious to me over the past few months that grabbing my first (optimistically speaking) sample of notable 1950s and 1960s oddballs is also something I like to write about.

The 1955 Topps Doubleheaders fit this category to a T. They’re a weirdly-sized relatively unknown set which I’ve never seen in-person. They’re also an art style which is unlike anything else Topps has made* and, in many ways the coolest thing about them is how the backgrounds tile to create a panoramic stadium image.** Also the picture is an expanded version of the black and white images on 1955 Topps.

*There’s some speculation that they were intended to compete with the Red Man Tobacco cards.

**While it would be amazing to put together a panorama that there’s zero way it will ever happen.

I’d obviously love to have a Giant here but the Jack Shepard was an easier card to focus on since he’s the only Stanford guy in the set. Shepard was the captain of the first Stanford Baseball team to make it to the College World Series. The 1953 team went 1–2, losing in its first game to eventual champion Michigan before getting bounced in the second game of the elimination bracket.

Since the card itself is kind of fragile I went ahead and folded it digitally to show what the other side looks like. At one level, that the only shared part of the image is a single foot feels like cheating. At another level it’s a lot of fun to see it turned into a completely different style of pose plus it offers a nice view of Yankee Stadium (I think) in the background.

Unlike some of the other oddballs where I enjoy having a  sample in the binder but don’t particularly feel the desire for more of them, I’d like to get a few Giants samples of this too. Some day.