Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Duke Contest

Contest for a Duke!

Robert of "$30 a Week Habit" is having a contest to win this beautiful '54 Topps card:

A sixty year-old card of a Hall of Famer......what a lovely habit.

Click HERE to enter - good luck and THANKS, Robert!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Yankees Collection - 2007 Topps Co-Signers #26 Mike Mussina (Posada) #59/175

We collectors spend a lot of time discussing card designs. What we like and what we don't like. Our favorites and the ones we'd rather not ever see again.....ever. I go back and forth with my own personal preferences. I enjoy simple designs that emphasize the player's photograph. I want to see a team logo and information regarding the player's position as well as a healthy dose of information - statistics, biographical or interesting "factoids".

I checked out of the hobby as the insanely creative card-design engines of the 90's (or "Junk Wax Era") were just heating up. From lasers to rainbows and cartoons to studio portraits, I have seen some beautiful cards from my Hobby Ice Age. I have also seen some complete nightmares that just make me chuckle.

Here is a beautiful card, my friends:

This is a 2007 Topps Co-Signers card of the Moose and his battery-mate, Jorge Posada. I have never seen a card like this before, but I absolutely love it. Mussina and Posada are two Yankee favorites, and a quick glance at their results in '06 tell us why.

Posada boasted a .277 average with 23 long balls and 90+ RBI. You can't ask much more of a catcher than that although Jorge would go on to have his career year in 2007. Mussina recorded a 15-7 record in 2006, nearing 200 IP and close to 175 K's. They truly were a battery, and one that I can fondly recall catching on TV from time to time.

The Yanks would lose to Detroit in the '06 ALDS. Mussina lost a tough Game 2 by the score of 4-3 and actually out-dueled Justin Verlander before the Bombers' bats fell silent in the 5th inning. They would lose the next two games by margins of 5 and 6 runs, seemingly unable to recover.

Here's the back of the card, which is actually a Mussina card:



I couldn't help myself. I had no idea this one was numbered when I bought it. I guess that's pretty cool? It simply adds some luster to a card that I already thought was "tops". Pun intended.

Anyways, I just really dig this dual image - Mussina contemplating the next pitch to be dealt with a sepia-Posada in the background checking for signs from the dugout before lowering the mask and getting back to work. Throw in the facsimile signatures and we're good-to-go!

Despite the burnt-orange trim coloring.....great work, Topps!

A great card for my Yankees Collection.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Quest for '60: #412 Bob Anderson

One of my most enjoyable collecting moments is when I can cross off a card from a set-building list. I was able to do just that the other day when I scooped up this crispy and magnificently off-centered Bob Anderson from the 1960 Topps set: 

All smiles!

The corners and edges are really sharp on this Anderson card but the printing press gods stepped away from their desks when this one rolled off the assembly line at the Topps factory! No matter, it is another beautiful building block in my quest to complete the 1960 set. The colors on the front of the card are also really sharp.

But who is Bob Anderson?

The bullpen pitcher's lamentation in the cartoon is terrific!

Apparently, Bob Anderson was the professional fencer who played the part of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy during the light saber scenes......and he was also this Bob Anderson! There's a great chronology of Mr. Anderson's highlights from the '59 season for us to enjoy. I love the use of the term "safeties" to describe the number of hits Bob surrendered to the Dodgers on Independence Day. Apparently Mr. Anderson owned the Dodgers that year, had a personal best against the Braves and was well on his way to the history books against the Cardinals later on in the season.

But I think Topps missed a dandy.....TO THE WIKIPEDIA, BATMAN!

"Bob Anderson was involved in one of baseball history's most unusual plays. It occurred during a game played on June 30, 1959, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Stan Musial was at the plate, with a count of 3-1. Anderson's next pitch was errant, evading catcher Sammy Taylor and rolling all the way to the backstop. Umpire Vic Delmore called ball four, however Anderson and Taylor contended that Musial foul tipped the ball. Because the ball was still in play, and because Delmore was embroiled in an argument with the catcher and pitcher, Musial took it upon himself to try for second base. Seeing that Musial was trying for second, Alvin Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball which had found its way into the hands of field announcer, Pat Pieper.

Pat Pipier

Dark retrieved the ball from Pieper. Absentmindedly, however, Delmore pulled out a new ball and gave it to Taylor. Anderson finally noticed that Musial was trying for second, took the new ball, and threw it to second baseman Tony Taylor. Anderson's throw flew over Tony Taylor's head into the outfield. Dark, at the same time that Anderson threw the new ball, threw the original ball to shortstop Ernie Banks. Musial, though, did not see Dark's throw and only noticed Anderson's ball fly over the second baseman's head, so he tried to go to third base. On his way there, he was tagged out by Banks, and after a delay he was ruled out." 

Is that awesome or what? This story alone makes me want to go digging through the Ryan's Pitch archives for some Musial, Ernie and Alvin Dark cards. I swear I just saw an Alvin the other day. Stay tuned for that! And as for Mr. Pipier - all I can say is, WOW. I was not aware of his story and am so grateful for the research induced by this card that has now brought him to my attention. If you don't know about Pat Pipier and the place he holds in Chicago Cubs history, I highly suggest you check it out!

As usual, I feel compelled to check out the box score on baseball-reference.com as well:

Top of the 4th, Cardinals Batting, Ahead 2-1, Cubs' Bob Anderson facing 5-6-7
t42-10---OSTLG. CimoliB. Anderson-2%61%Groundout: SS-1B
t42-11---OSTLS. MusialB. Anderson-2%59%Walk; Musial out at 2B/3B-SS
t42-12---STLH. SmithB. Anderson1%60%Single to SS
t42-121--OSTLD. GrayB. Anderson-2%58%Strikeout
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Cardinals 2, Cubs 1.

Ha! Glorious....."Walk; Musial out at 2B/3B-SS" - yeah, I suppose that one would've been a head scratcher for Topps design teams as they debated on what to list on the card. What might have been?

Welcome to the set, Mr. Anderson and thank you for today's great baseball history lesson!

Thanks for reading and have a safe weekend, everybody.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

I've Been 30YOC PWE'd!

We all love them and this one was no different!

I believe a basic "oh, I like that" comment on one of 30YOC's posts resulted in a PWE with this bad boy being speedily sent my way for the Mattingly Collection. Couldn't be more grateful, my friend! Thank you!

Here's Donnie....in a fresh version of the 1989 Topps design:

What do you think? Fort Lauderdale, circa 1988? Actually, I am unsure as to exactly what the name of their stadium was back in those days.....either way, I love it! The pinstripes, the Florida sun, the 'stache, the bat......greatness abounds.

Thank you, B! Welcome home, Donnie.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Night Owl Made A Pass At My Woman!


Night Owl is a righteous dude with tremendous cardboard and Dodger knowledge surpassed only by his own incredible talent for writing. I just couldn't resist the gratuitous post title inspired by The Lost Collector's recent interview of [99.9%] retired blogger, Napkin Doon. It had me laughing out loud and wishing once more for a "Cleve's" of South Carolina....but alas, no such luck. The interview can be enjoyed here.

NO, it was I that was seduced by this glorious plethora of cardboard from our community's winged friend of the night. Completely unexpected but surely treasured, I must now hatch plans for a counterstrike.

Thank you very much, Night Owl!

Here we go - 

Yankees and Braves dominated this well-crafted package. I had never seen these tri-fold Upper Deck "BAT" cards before.....but I LOVE them. How do I store them?

We sure miss Robbie in New York but it's always a pleasure to see him knock one out of Safeco from time to time. I think I caught an update recently that he left a game with some pain...I hope he's okay. This "blue-sparkle" parallel from 2013 is a beautiful card and I have quickly become a fan of the Opening Day logo. Man, that follow-through.......one of the finest swings in baseball right now, folks.

What Mo can I say? Rivera cards will always be accepted around here. A simple baseball card with a winning smile from baseball's greatest closer is fantastic!

PC alert!!!!! A Donnie-Braves sandwich served up with my first look at the A&G insert set, "Across the Years". I can dig. The Braves colors and that OD logo (again) look great on the Freddie and Kimbrel cards. Great additions to my collections!

Here's a look at the back of the BAT card. See what I mean? They are REALLY nice and offer up some great baseball knowledge in an attractive, unique design. How were these cards distributed?

A giant Donruss Righetti!!!!! How giant?

THIS giant! Thank you for the perspective, Chippah (also included).

I'm a bit unsure as to how I'm going to store/display this bad boy....but I'll find a way to let Rags breathe safely in the Card Cave. In the end, a wonderful problem to have, right?

Thanks again, Night Owl and thanks for reading -


Monday, August 11, 2014

A Red Rizzo from The Lost Collector!

My friend AJ (who runs the great blog The  Lost Collector) sent over a splendid card for my Anthony Rizzo Collection! 

Check it out.....

I love Heritage and am still slowly trying to BUILD this year's base set! Honest, I checked for a pulse and it's still there.....barely. I hope I can stick to it. Set-Building is something I do enjoy but view as a challenge for both modern sets and vintage. Vintage is tough because I lack a local shop for access to reasonable selections of commons....modern releases suffer the same handicap but I also don't find the math for packs/boxes of new releases to be very favorable for dinosaurs like me.

Maybe I'm just being a wimp? Sorry. Tangent.....

This Rizzo parallel won't be needed for the set-chase, but it is a WELCOME addition to my Rizzo PC! It's a simple head-shot of my favorite Chicago Cub. The red even works pretty well with the Cubbies uniform and logo. Love it!

I also appreciate The Lost Collector's use of the painter's tape. I try to do the same as much as possible. It gets the job done without leaving a sticky residue on the top-loaders. A win-win. Let's get that tape out of the way for a better view:

Fantastic - and how about those great Heritage backs:


A great description of a "Rizzo Moonshot" is very apropos in light of his power surge this season. I also appreciate the reminder about just how young Anthony really is.

A great card. Thanks, AJ! Now where did I put that spare PWE.......

Friday, August 8, 2014

My Hall of Fame Collection - 1951 Bowman #31 Roy Campanella

I recently opined on the twitter that "modern cards and prospecting are like one-night stands...vintage is true love."

I truly believe that and it appears that I am falling in love again thanks to this Campy! Introduce yourself, Roy...

I encountered a well-priced batch of graded '51 Bowman's on the Bay of E earlier this year. The Ryan's Pitch Collection welcomes all forms of vintage cardboard  - graded, non-graded, degraded, whatever the case may be - but my adrenal gland kicks in when a seller has numerous graded cards of players I really enjoy, at great prices, with combined shipping and (the kicker) a 'Make An Offer' option available.

I'm shy by nature and dislike the art of negotiation, but only because I wish I were better at it. And even when I decide to face this inner demon, the Bay is usually a hostile environment in which to attempt to do, particularly in the card market. Sellers are there to profit and the Bay is known to be full of buyers that are short of hobby knowledge but accompanied by deep pockets. This produces a beneficial equation for the sellers and gives them little reason to suffer through the entertainment of an offer from a spendthrift like me.

But this was true vintage love, you see....the stuff miracles are made of!

I quickly checked PSA's SMR database to ensure that my eyes were not deceiving me and formulated an offer amount on this Campy along with a few others. I wanted to cause deliberation without insulting and, after some quick emails, the Seller and I reached a mutually beneficial arrangement for the whole lot. I could barely contain my excitement then, and it persists today as I am very excited to share this particular card with you.

Campanella has a special place in the history of the game as one of its finest catchers, despite only playing for ten seasons. His Hall of Fame career, spent entirely with the Brooklyn Dodgers, was cut much too short due to a paralyzing injury suffered during a car accident in the winter of '58. Prior to that horrible twist of fate, Roy had earned a World Series ring (against my Yanks in '55), 3 National League MVP Awards, 8 All-Star appearances, led the league in RBI for a season and caught 3 no-hitters!  

"Campy" was one of the pioneers in breaking the color-barrier in baseball, joining Brooklyn during Jackie's sophomore campaign. He was one of the first four African-American players to appear in an All-Star Game, joining Robinson, Larry Doby and Don Newcombe. Yes, Roy, who passed away in 1993, holds a special place in the hearts of Dodgers and baseball fans in general, including myself. And now this card has joined him!

Where to start with this card?! It's pretty well centered and has excellent edges, two attributes that I really enjoy. The grade was most likely given for the corners, slight surface 'dent' in the upper right corner and border fading.

No problem.

A VG-EX "4" '51 Bowman is a GEM in my collection, any day of the week! The coloring of this card is amazing and the pose for this shot is baseball perfection. From my humble sampling, action shots appear to have been few and far between for '51 Bowman, so this look at Campanella tossing his old-school catcher's mask aside while he focuses on a pop-up is a real treat! How about that catcher's gear, though? I know many of you enjoy catcher's cards in particular and it's easy to see why. The chest protector, knee pads and backwards ball cap..... great coloring. Even the background calls your attention! The vivid green stadium seats in the background provide a very 'you are there' experience, enhanced by the depth perception provided through the stadium's deepening shadows as our eyes follow up into the stands......can anybody confirm if these green seats indicate Ebbets Field?

And who's that guy? Why only one spectator, a spectator wearing a mustard-colored shirt and sunglasses?    

Well focused.......the player and the card!

The back only adds to my enjoyment of this card, offering Bowman's traditional and simple approach: name, bio-stats, brief summary, card number. In 1951, he was coming off his third season in which he had surpassed the 30 HR mark (31) and approached 90 RBI (89) while batting .285. Bowman mentions that Roy held a .985 fielding percentage in 1949...he matched that in 1950 and would never drop below that mark for the duration of his career.

The back is in great shape, with no paper loss or markings to interfere with enjoyment of the information. The coloring is great, too.....just an all around great card, condition-wise. Interestingly, the write-up mentions that the Dodgers first noticed Campy when playing against him in an exhibition game. Hmmm, I wonder what the story is behind that statement? Well, as usual with the game we all love, here's the tale, according to SABR:

"In October 1945 Campanella caught for a black all-star team organized by Effa Manley against a squad of major leaguers managed by Charlie Dressen in a five-game exhibition series at Ebbets Field. Dressen, a Dodgers coach at the time, approached Campanella to arrange a meeting with Dodgers general manager and part-owner Branch Rickey later that month. Campanella spent four hours listening to Rickey, whom he later described as “the talkingest man I ever did see,” and politely declined when Rickey asked if he was interested in playing in the Brooklyn organization. Campy thought he was being recruited for the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers, a new Negro League outfit that Rickey was supposedly starting. A few days later, however, he ran into Jackie Robinson in a Harlem hotel. After Robinson confidentially told him he’d already signed with the Dodgers, Campy realized that Rickey had been talking about a career in Organized Baseball for him. Afraid that he’d blown his shot at the big leagues, he fired off a telegram to Rickey indicating his interest in playing for the Dodgers just before he left on a barnstorming tour through South America."    

Like I always say, all baseball cards are great pieces of history. Some have great players while others have great stories. And some, like this '51 Campanella, just seem to have both. I've only touched on the very tip of the iceberg that was Roy's contribution to the game and to the world, but this is a great way to start a conversation that I hope continues for a long time. I can't wait to add more of Campy's cardboard to my collection and learn more about his legacy, but I'll never lose my excitement and love for this card. I am thrilled to add it to my collection and could easily file this one under the "One of My Favorite Cards" title.

Either way - here's to you, Roy. Rest in peace and thank you for this walk into history.

Thanks for reading!