Sunday, November 29, 2020

Happy Birthday to Me

 So, with my wife out of town it is easy to fall into old habits.  Like leaving dirty laundry on the floor and procrastinating on chores.  Now compound that when it turns out last Sunday was my birthday.  Am I really going to buckle down and attend to my adult obligations?  Heck no!  I masked up and headed to the OKC card show.  I mean, who really attends a Sunday card show during football season? Not many, it turns out. I got there around noon, four hours before the show was scheduled to end, and a number of sellers were already loading out to head home.

I found the sole vintage vendor and sat down and started pawing through boxes.

Almost immediately I found one of the three remaining cards I need to finish 1968 Topps.  Just the Ryan rookie card and Lou Brock left to go.

I managed to pick up a fair number of commons for my 1960 set, along with the three star cards above.  I am sitting at jsut short of 75% complete on that set, with "only" 145 cards to go, with many of the most expensive cards to go: Koufax, Mays, Maris, and (of course) all three Mantle's in the set.

I mainly went to the show to see if I could knock of some of the few remaining cards I needed for my 1955 set.   I found one in my price range, this Kaline second year card.  Just 21 more to finish the set including Banks, Robinson, Killebrew RC, Clemente, and Snider.

Finally, I found only two cards for my 1965 set, but they were good ones.

The Mantle isn't in great shape, maybe VG at best, but the price was right.  The book is $800 on the card, but I got it for $125.  Still a fair chunk of change, but it was my birthday.  Anyways, down to 86 cards to finish that set.  Biggest remaining cards are Aaron, Clemente, Mays, Rose, and the Carlton and Perez rookie cards.

So, that is probably about it for the year.  Now that the days are short and the weather uncooperative, i need to pick my 1970 card back project back up.  

What I am listening to: Down to the River by The War and Treaty

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New Antonelli Piece

 What a year, amirite? In some ways it has been a lost year.  But, we are heading into the most wonderful season of the year: no yard work season!  

Well, that isn't entirely true as we had a huge ice storm the last week of October and I lost a lot of branches off my trees.  The cleanup, however, is mostly done.  I am referring, of course, to the holiday season.  Because we have the farm, and live so far from family, we haven't travelled back for the holidays in a fair number of years.  We usually have other local "orphans" over for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  

This year, with COVID obviously, that won't be happening. The situation was further complicated when my 92 year old mother-in-law came down sick and had to spend some time in the hospital.  My wife drove back to Ohio to help her sister care for her mother while she recovered her strength and got back on her feet.  So, she missed my birthday last weekend and will probably be up there for at least another week and a half. So, I'll be spending Thanksgiving alone, as well.  My wife and I have been together for 30 years (married for 28) so it is a bit odd to be a bachelor again.  But, I adapted quickly by reverting to eating poorly, and not cleaning up after myself.  

Anyways, do not mourn for me.  I am very fortunate that I have many blessings in my life.  And, while this holiday will be odd, I am happy that better days are ahead for us all.

Anyways, I recently added a new piece to my Johnny Antonelli player collection; the first since August and, as near as I can tell, only the second so far in 2020.

This is an advertising postcard from 1957 for Knickerbocker Beer showing Antonelli with Giants play by play announcer Russ Hodges.  At 7" by 9", it is larger than a normal post card and it appears to intended to send to retailers and not fans. I haven't found much information on these and have only seen 3 other, different versions with manager Bill Rigney, third base coach Tommy Henrich, and All Star outfielder Willie Mays.  This version is pristine with a surface gloss that belies the fact that it is 63 years old.

So, how did "sure bet" Antonelli do in 1957?  Did he make it to 20 games?  Not exactly. He went 12-18 with a 3.77 ERA for the Giants in their final season in New York.

What I am listening to:  Bum Rush by Body Count

Monday, November 16, 2020


 It has been a year, hasn't it?   Two weeks ago, the final week in October mind you, we had an ice storm here. I lost so many branches.  I've spend a good part of the last two weeks cleaning up.  It wouldn't be so bad except that I was only about 75% done with the clean up from the July wind storm that took out 8 or so large oak trees.  Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time operating a chain saw. But, you aren't here for the "woe is me" stories.

Getting those TCMAs from Night Owl really got me excited about finishing that set.  A few eBay purchases and a visit to Sportlots and, with these Hank Aaron and Brooks Robinson cards, I am now done.

I knocked off most of the want list buying a large lot of these on eBay. I now have close to 250 duplicates for this set.  If anyone is interested, I will gladly pay them forward.  All I ask is you throw a few pesos my way for shipping.

I also have completed a couple of Twitter trades.  On the first, with a person who goes by the handle Baseball Card Kid, I was able to help him finish out his run of Thurman Munson cards and, in exchange, I got a Ken Griffey Dairy Isle disk. I already had the Islay's version, so it is pretty cool to have a variation. I also got this 1967 Phil Niekro.  This is my fifth card from that year, so I only have 604 to go.

The second trade was with Twitter user Lanny Ribes.  I was able help him with some vintage needs, including 4 cards from 1956 Topps and I got 7 cards from 1955 back.

With these cards I am down to only needing 23 cards to finish 1955 Topps.  Unfortunately, 10 of those are star cards, including the Roberto Clemente rookie card.  That card would be a really stretch under normal circumstances, but in this current price bubble I am pretty sure it is well outside my budget.  But, I am excited about getting closer to finishing the set.

There was a big card show in Dallas last weekend, but I decided not to go. I went last year and had a great time, but the COVID19 situation down here is getting worse. I am not sure how it is elsewhere, but in the Oklahoma/Texas area there is a big overlap between the card collecting community and the subset of citizens who think coronavirus falls somewhere in the range of "not serious" to "hoax." Reports were that the show was packed, so I am glad I didn't throw myself into that Petri dish. 

There is a show next weekend here in OKC, and I am on the fence about going. Obviously, the risks are the same that caused me to bail on Dallas. Though, being sandwiched between Dallas and Christmas it may very well be lightly attended. I'd like to see if I can pick up a '55 star card or two. I've got some KN95 masks, so maybe I'll throw one on and make a quick visit.  I'll need to see what the state's virus numbers look like over the remainder of the week.

What I am listening to: Wouldn't Want to Be Like You by Sheryl Crow and St. Vincent

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Who Sent These? Who did!

 I use the Post Office's Informed Delivery feature to see what mail I have coming each day. I live in a rural area where mail theft can happen, so it is always good to know what to expect.  Truthfully, these days it is mostly insurance solicitations and credit card offers.  So, imagine my surprise and delight when I saw an envelope from Night Owl the other day.  

Greg and I have something of an unstated agreement.  Whenever I am at a show and down to the nits and lice in my pocket, I scan through the vintage discount boxes for cards on his want list. In response, I'll get an envelope from him with various cards that I would not otherwise seek out: modern cards of Yankee stars (like this Mo), modern cards featuring vintage players (like these), vintage cards (like these), and even help with my non-sports horse set (see here.)  Since, I generally eschew modern cards today, my online trading has mostly evaporated.  So, getting mail from NO is a major, and welcome, event.

So, what arrived?

Five cards towards my 1978 TCMA The 1960s set.  I really like this set, which harkens back to 1953 Bowman Color, with a simple design that really focuses on the player rather than extraneous design elements.

The cards was accompanied by a note saying that he was putting this set on the back burner because he has too many collecting interests.  That is a problem I also am suffering in my collecting, as evidenced by the fact that the last time I added a card towards completing this set was in December of 2015. Yikes.

But, these cards have rekindled my interest in finishing the set and, since the weather this weekend is ill-suited for the farm project I need to finish, I'm going to look for cheap lots on eBay to see if I can close this one out.

One final observation:  the backs of these cards are really something when you contrast them with the staid front.  Individually the backs are not untypical from any number of other oddball sets in that it includes the players name, team, position, handedness, height, weight, and birthday.   

But, taken together?  Hoo boy.  See for yourself:

They are all over the place. Different fonts. Different color ink.  Wonky spacing and centering.  I mean, really. Go home TCMA, you're drunk.

What I am listening to: Crawl Into the Promised Land by Rosanne Cash

Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day Card Show

Normally, when I do a brag post about a card show haul, I present the cards in reverse chronological orders.   Today, I am not going to do that, as it seems more appropriate, in order to build suspense (I know you aren't exactly sitting on pins and needles reading this post, but work with me here.)

I picked up a total of 7 cards for the 1960 set I am slowly working on.  These were actually the last cards I picked up at the show as I sought to spend what little cash I had left. These few cards moved me up to having 260 of the cards in the 572 card set.

I just noticed that top edge on the Joe Morgan rookie card. Hoo boy, that is ugly. The experts over at net54 seem to be in agreement that it is a factory defect.  I guess I know now why it was so cheap. I may need to upgrade that some day when I am more concerned with set value.  But, that isn't any time soon. I found a total of 38 cards for my 1965 set. There was a lot more, but not at a price I wanted to pay.  

So, now I am sitting at 468 cards; needing only 130 to complete the set.  Of those 130, 20 are actually upgrades of cards I already have but are in poor condition.  However, even this close to completion, it will probably be a few years before I finish.  The biggest cards I have left include Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Willie Mays, and the Steve Carlton RC.

Also, since this post has been composed in several sessions, I would like to acknowledge the passing of Lou Brock on Sunday. I never got to see him play and only know him by reputation and baseball cards. But, like Ernie Banks, he always seemed to be smiling. As a person prone to melancholy, I have an affinity for people like Brock and Banks who radiate joy so easily.  Hopefully, the once teammates are playing together again. RIP Lou.

Speaking of which....

I found two of the remaining five cards I needed to complete my 1968 set. The final cards I need at the Hank Aaron All-Star (370), Lou Brock (520), and the Nolan Ryan RC (177). My guess is it will be a while before I finish this set. The first two cards are obtainable, but the prices on the Ryan have been outrageous and way more than I am willing to pay.  Even low grade versions, from reputable sellers, are going for $300 or more.  So, I am going to sit tight and hope the bubble bursts.

There it is.  The final card I needed to finish my 1970 set.  My blogging has been intermittent for a number of years now, so I can't determine exactly when I started working on 1970, but as near as I can tell, it was sometime in 2016. So, it took around 4 years to complete.  

This card is significant in a second way as it is also the final card I needed to complete the run of Topps sets from the 1970s.  I do need one card to finish the 1974 master set (599 - San Diego large print version,) but since I have two of the three versions of that card. I consider the set complete.  While I don't expect to ever seriously build 1952 or 1953 sets, I do plan to work on the remaining Topps sets. My progress on that goal is as follows:

So, what does the future hold?  Not sure. I'm sure I will still be dabbling a bit on eBay, but there is a big show coming up in November in Dallas that I am thinking of attending, if the COVID situation is under control. So, I will try to keep my powder dry and save up some funds if I do decide to go. Also, as the days get shorter and the lawn goes dormant, I am going to try to get back to some original content around here.


What I am listening to: God's Problem Child by Willie Nelson (and Tony Joe White, Leon Russell, and Jamey Johnson)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Clipping Coupons

So, for only the second time this year I went to a card show.  I masked up and drove up to the city.  Even though the two sellers I normally spend the most with weren't there, I did have a very productive outing. But this post is not about that.

This post is about eBay. Last weekend, I saw rumblings on Twitter about a $25 off coupon code that everyone was trying. It was apparently for folks who have been on eBay since the beginning. I haven't been on since the beginning, but I have been on for exactly 20 years (I joined September 1, 2000.) So, I tried the code to see if it worked and it did.  So, what did I get with my $25 off?

This signed 1960 Fleer Luke Appling is the 15th signed card I have from that set. The set itself is only 79 cards and, of those, only 40 of the subjects were still alive at the time the set was issued.  So, I am now sitting at a respectable 37.5% of the possible cards in an autographed form.  With a quarter C-note off, this card was mine for a bit over $25. I also knocked off my goal to have over half of the possible 1960-1963 Fleer cards in signed form by the end of the year. For the three sets, which total 299 cards, I have estimated that it is theoretically possible to have 201 signed cards. This puts me at 101.

Luke Appling played 20 seasons for the Chicago White Sox in the majors between 1930 and 1950, missing only 1944 for military service and never making the post season.  He was a good hitter, winning batting titles in 1936 and 1943. He retired with a .310/.399/.398 slash line. Obviously, he didn't have much power, with only 45 homeruns in his career. However, he was a legendary contact hitter, only striking out 528 times in 20 seasons.  In fact the back of this card says "Although not in the record books, he was one of the greatest foul ball hitters in modern times."  One fun anecdote I stole from his SABR biography goes as follows:

As one story goes, Appling once asked the tight-fisted business manager of the Sox for several balls to sign for friends. The business manager refused, citing the Depression and that each ball cost $2.75. Appling turned and walked out without a word. That afternoon in his first at bat he fouled off ten consecutive pitches into the stands. Turning to the club official in the owner’s box, he said, “That’s $27.50 and I’m just getting started.”

He had a long career as a minor league manager and major league coach right up until his death in January 1991. In an interesting coincidence, Appling appears on one of the cards I got at yesterday's show, a 1960  Detroit Tigers Coaches card. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964. 

What I am listening to: What've I Done to Help by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Friday, August 28, 2020

Miscellany - NonSports Edition

Two posts in the same week?  I am back, baby!  Okay, not really.  But I did manage to find a couple of cards I needed for my non-sports tobacco card collection.

This is the final card I needed to complete my 25 card 1889 Kinney N230 Famous English Running Horses set. It is diamond cut and a bit short side-to-side.  I don't know if it has been trimmed, but I am not trying to put together a high grade set, so it doesn't really matter. I am mainly looking for affordable eye appeal and this has it. Now I need to get serious about N229 (Famous American Running Horses) and N231 (Great American Trotters.) I have exactly 3 and 1 from these sets, respectively.  They seem much harder to come by. eBay searches turn up a lot of N230; considerably fewer of the other two. But, that is what the chase is for, no?

This my 10th card from the 1890 Allen & Ginter N18 Parasol Drill set.  It is a 50 card set, so I have a long way to go.

What I am listening to: The Saint of Lost Causes by Justin Townes Earle