Holy moly

So Jeff/Deetdedee has been teasing me for months about sending me some cool cards. I’ve been sort of half paying attention since while I see no need to pester people about sending me stuff for free, I also do like to be pretty open about making sure that they know that if I haven’t acknowledged receipt of something on Twitter then it means I haven’t received it yet.*

*If I don’t tweet or, for anyone not on Twitter, shoot an email saying thank you it doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful it means that it got eaten by the USPS. This has happened before.

Anyway, last week I found a bubble mailer in my mailbox and was not at all ready for the coolness that was inside. Were they worth the wait and the tease? Absolutely.

We’ll start with the oldest card, a 1926 Zeenut of Syd Hansen. At first I thought this might be a 100+ year old 1920 Zeenut and fill a hole in my type collection. it doesn’t match that design though plus if I loupe the year I can see that it’s supposed to be a 6. Also the background is the same background as the 1926 card I got earlier this year but by showing people sitting on the wall it’s a lot more interesting.

Still it’s always fun to get a Zeenut. I don’t ever want to get tired of these cards and the way they represent sort of a mirror world of professional baseball in the US.

Hansen meanwhile is not a particularly noteworthy player. He pitched only two seasons in San Francisco, giving up 31 earned runs in 47 innings over 20 games pitched.

This is the card Jeff had been teasing me about since last year. A batch of these hit eBay and quickly passed my comfort level in the bidding. Jeff was trying to get a few of them for his Seals/Lefty O’Doul collection and ended up winning a couple. He very generously offered to send me one and for a while I thought he’d sent it PWE and it had gotten lost in the mail.

This is a 1949 Sommer & Kaufmann promotional card of Gene Brocker. Brocker is another player who’s not particularly noteworthy but I do love this image as both a great catcher photo as well as how it shows off the single-deck Seals stadium.

Sommer & Kaufmann was a San Francisco shoe maker whose shoes show up in local museums and whose storefront was located at 838 Market Street. Looking at old photos a the SF library suggests that it’s not the same building at that location now.

Jeff also provided a pair of 1949 Kagome Round menkos from the Seals 1949 tour which I covered in a previous post. The card on the left is Jim Moran while the card on the right is Al Lien. Both of these guys played professionally for over a decade and stayed with the Seals until about the end of things in the mid 1950s.

Moran’s image looks A LOT like Lefty O’Doul but his name (in the pennant) is nothing like オドール. Also the big text across the card is the same katakana for Seals (シールス)  that shows up on the Melton bromide. Al Lien meanwhile gets a super-patriotic American flag with thirteen visible stripes but even more suggested.

As I understand things these are basically like the POGs of my youth. The backs feature the Kagome star and the usual menko hands as well as some nice border detailing. These cards make a fantastic addition to my Seals project and add even more color to the page.

Those weren’t the only menko in the package though as this pair of unidentified players (all text is just the team name with スターズ indicating Stars and 南海 indicating Nankai) was also in there.

Poking through TCDB suggests that these could be from the 1949 JRM 50 set which would mean that the Stars player is Makoto Kozuru while the Hawks player might be Tokuji Iida. Both of these are huge guesses though as it’s entirely possible that this set is uncatalogued.

The colors and text are a ton of fun and I really dig the comic book nature of these. I have a hard time buying any cards like these without a hook but my lord are they fun to own and look at.

Jumping a dozen years to 1961 and Jeff also sent me my first graded card. It’s coincidentally a duplicate of the only card from this set that I own* but the one I have is my usual beater condition with round corners, soft edges, and a pinhole. Definitely not used to see something like this pack fresh** but it’s nice to have no compulsion to crack the slab too.

*I just haven’t looked for more Giants plus the Merkle Pulls Boner card is (completely understandably) desirable to more than just card collectors.

**I’m basically incapable of distinguishing between anything higher than a 6.

And finally flashing forward to 2020 and the Topps Super 70s late-70s mashup design. I dig the mashup attempt of 1976’s borders, 1977’s position flag, 1978’s team name, and 1979’s player ribbon. It also feels somewhat sterile, partly because this color combination doesn’t feel right to me and  partly because I see the individual pieces more than a brand new design.

Fun to have a sample in the album. Very glad I didn’t buy any online packs of this.

Super cool stuff in general though Jeff. I’m not sure how to thank you properly.

PWE roundup

A roundup of PWEs which didn’t warrant individual posts by themselves.

Right after Thanksgiving I received a PWE from Kenny with a single Brandon Belt Chrome card. It was nice to add my first 2020 Chrome card. While I’m a team collector I’m not at all interested in getting complete team sets of most releases. Instead, for most of those sets I’m a team-themed type collector. One card from each set is fine and adds variety to the binder.

Especially this year when a pack of four Chrome cards was selling for $10. This is in no way a $2.50 card—heck it’s not a $1 card—so I’m much happier getting my sample via PWE.

In mid-December I received another couple PWEs. The first was from Matt Prigge and consisted of a page’s worth of Jeffrey Hammonds cards. In early December Matt gave a shout out on his Twitter feed that he’d send an envelope’s worth of Brewers cards to the first handful of guys who named a random Brewer.

Instead of the results being people naming Robin Yount of Paul Molitor, it turned into non-Brewers fans mentioning truly-random Brewers who they actually collect. For me that answer is Hammonds. I watched him at Stanford when I was a kid and he was a dynamic player with a ton of promise. A centerfielder who was great defensively and could get on base and disrupt pitchers with his speed.* He was one of those prospects I was hoping to have gotten in on the ground floor with.

*Back when baseball cared about such things.

His pro career was not what I’d hoped it would be. Flashes of greatness for a couple months and then he’d pick up a knock and struggle for a year or so as he tried to regain his form. He was still good enough to play in MLB for thirteen years though. I don’t try and collect all his cards but, like Mussina, he’s one of the guys who I was most invested in from day one and I always enjoy picking up his cards.

My second PWE is completely different. This was a random act of kindness from Jeff Smith who had ordered a custom Lefty O’Doul card from All Eras Sports and decided to thank me for a Lefty custom I’d sent him by ordering an extra copy for me. Or actually two copies since one of them is an acetate “card.” I scanned both, and treated the acetate as a slide. It’s on the right and shows a lot more detail.

These are very well done. Printed professionally and the acetate, while something I’ve always side-eyed, is a fantastic solution to what to do if you don’t feel like making card backs. Also lots of nice details that I appreciate with the Joe DiMaggio photo and the detail from the Seals jersey I’ve coveted for over a decade.

Thanks guys! Very cool stuff.

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!

Big Box from Deetdedee

Jeff Smith (@deetdedee) is a relatively new twitter contact for me. He’s probably best described as a Lefty O’Doul supercollector but he’s also just another pre-war aficionado. He’s recently undergone a collection downsizing as he’s decided to focus just on his interests and get rid of everything else.

He said he had a big box to send me for myself and the boys. Then Covid hit and all our plans got put on hold. As we found our way in the new normal, he eventually got the box out and it did eventually arrive.

It was stuffed with a ton of stuff from around 2000–2002. Some of it stuck together (I managed to sprate most of it without issue), some of it loose. But there was a small pile of special cards for me. These three are the highlights for my collection.

The 1964 Home Run Leaders card was one that always ran a little more than I wanted to spend even though it’s one of those cards that needed to be in my Giants album. A lot of the League Leaders cards feel like indulgences but this one with all three Giants Hall of Fame sluggers (plus bonus Hank Aaron) is special.

The Jim Lonborg autograph is from the Fleer Sports Illustrated sets and is a welcome addition to my Stanford binder. It’s not a design I particularly like but something about it just works, especially when you see a page of them.

David Aardsma meanwhile is one of those prospects I remember from the Bonds years back before I drifted away from the team. I never realized that he put together a respectable 10-year Major League career after his single season in San Francisco.

There wa sa decent stack of other cards of interest. This photo shows most of them. A few vintage Giants Hall of Famers. All duplicates but they’ll make the boys very happy. Some shiny modern cards including a couple fun Will Clarks showing him in college. And a couple of relics of players I don’t usually see relics from.

The four 2008 Opening Day Golds of Tim Lincecum kind of weird me out. Base Opening Day eschews the team-colored circles and instead has a red border with white circles and gold stamping. The gold version just drops the red borders and leaves everything else intact. Addition by subtraction but it also robs the design of its most-interesting feature.

I’ve decided togo through the rest of the cards by pulling out examples of the cards that were in the box. Most of these are Giants but there are a few other needs such as the 1986 Topps Earl Weaver that I still need for my set build.* I don’t have much to say about most of these cards since they’re mostly all familiar to me but Jeff did well and managed to send a bunch that I need still.

*Yes I know I said I’m finished but a trade fell through and I’m still missing a dozen cards.

The 1992 Bowmans I needed all of. Also the 1991 Ultra Terry Kennedy and many of the 1993 Bowmans. The Darren Lewis Award Winner is also new to me as are the 1998 Donruss and 1998 Scores. As always the duplicates are alreadt on my sons’ piles for the next day they behave.

A bunch more cards which take us into the bulk of the box’s 2000–2002 emphasis. Two big stacks of Bowmans that I mostly needed again. A bunch of Bonds cards as well that I hadn’t encountered; I’m pretty sure every one pictured here is new to me. And that foil 1955 Bowman retro JT Snow sure is something.

The Upper Deck SP Pros and Ulitmate Victory sets at the bottom right corner are two of the sets that were especially prominent in the box. Most of those were also stuck together but managed to pull apart without issue.

Unlike the SPs and Ultimate Victorys, the Black Diamonds didn’t survive their unsticking nearly as well. Oh well, I found a couple Shawn Greens during my digging and have added him to my Stanford Album even though he’s not officially part of the project.

Like Ken Williams and Bill Wakefield, Green went pro while he was still a student so he never played for the baseball team. Unlike Williams and Wakefield, he has a TON of cards so I need to figure out which ones I want. I’m okay sort of supercollecting Bob Boone or Mike Mussina. I do not however want over a hundred Shawn Green cards.

The rest of these continue to fill in holes nicely. Most of the Jeff Kents are new. I’ve never seen Topps Fusion or Topps HD (which look kind of amazing in hand). The 2001 Fleer Traditions managed to mesh perfectly with my cards to give me basically a complete set (missing a Barry Bonds League Leader and Carlos Valderrama). And the Upper Decks even managed to scratch off a couple from my searchlist too.

Coming out of the sweet spot of the box with 2002 sets. Thsi year’s Blakc Diamond works for me. Not sure why. The Legends of New York set is a really interesting set although I don’t trust those felt patches to not leave dust all over.

I kind of like the Pacific Private Stock (no idea what’s up with the gold and silver versions) and it’s nice to have a decent amount of 2002 Donruss, Fleer, and Upper Deck Vintage. Upper Deck MVP meanwhile doesn’t look like an insert anymore. Instead it looks like something I should be using to play baseball Uno.

The last batch of sets is winding down from the meat of the box except for the huge stack of 2020 Donruss. Plenty of Giants for us to share but plenty of other cards for the boys to divvy up including a couple of relics. It’s a nice enough design that doesn’t look too bad for a logoless offering.

I actually needed most of the rest of the cards here too. Pretty much everything but the 2005s and 2018 Holidays fit holes in the binder. And my kids love the Holiday cards so that works out just fine.

Thanks Jeff! The boys will have fun going through the rest of the box. Lots of shiny stuff for my youngest in particular.