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 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.