Sunday, July 7, 2024

I Blame You

Not really.

Okay, a little bit.   A while back the consensus from my Quandary post is that cards prominently featuring a player, even if the card doesn't name them and isn't even about them, belong in the player collection.

So, I had this in mind as I updated my list of known Paul Blair cards. I used TCDB to help with that process.  I found new entries on TCDB for Paul Blair items. I decided to use the opportunity to reorganize my two player collections.  Previously, my player cards were loosely organized by issuing company and year. However, I also tried to maximize the use of sheets, so everything was mushed together. And when something new came in, it got added to a sheet at the back and not necessarily with it's rightful grouping. This time through I am using the same organizing principle, but I am leaving open pockets on the sheets for missing cards.

While going through the TCDB entries, I had to revisit not only what counts as a Paul Blair card, but what is card generally.

So, here is a summary of the decisions I made:

1971 Topps #329 World Series Game 3 - Paul Blair is on the card, congratulating Frank Robinson at home plate after Robinson's 3rd inning home run.  Even though he is featured prominently on the card, he is decidedly not the subject. TCDB lists this as a Paul Blair card. This is a Frank Robinson card and not a Paul Blair card. It was not added to the want list.

1970 Topps #202 Orioles Celebrate - This is the card that kicked this off last September.  For some reason, TCDB only has the OPC version.  But, based on that previous feedback I've added that and, of course, the Topps cards to my want list.

1969 MLBPA Photostamps unseparated sheet - I have the individual stamp which is also listed on TCDB. But, I don't see the point of acquiring the same item a second time in a sheet with other stamps I have no interest in.  This was not added to the want list.  By the same rationale, the following other TCDB entries were also not added to my want list: 1974 Topps photo stamp unseparated sheet, 1975 Hostess panels (both the Hooten and Hooton versions), 1978 SSPC Yankees team sheet, and the 1991 Crown Cola Orioles panel.

1978 Burlington Free Press Baseball Cards - these aren't cards, in my opinion.  They are just small feature section of a normal newspaper.  Don't believe me? Above are the front and back of the Carlton Fisk cards in the "set." That back is just an everyday clipping from a newspaper sport section.  The same holds true for the 1963 Baltimore News-Post Baltimore Orioles Scrapbook Cards and the 1970-71 Dayton Daily News. These don't get added to the want list.  The fact that some wisenheimer gave the Dayton Daily News clippings an actual hobby designation (M137) does not change anything.

2001 Topps Archive Reserve Signed baseball - It's a baseball, not a card. Not on the want list.

Now here are some things that annoy me, but are definitely cards.

Print variations:  With Paul Blair, the only print variation I have found is the 1971 Kellogg's card, with three versions: 385 runs, 386 Runs with copyright year, and 386 Runs without copyright year. I have two and the third is on the want list.

Buybacks:  I have previously stated my annoyance at buybacks.  I don't think that taking a vintage card, slapping a foil stamp on it creates a new card. But, I have made my peace with it and have been picking up a few Topps buybacks here and there.  But, the above card (2005 Fleer National Pastime Buyback) is really something.  The card itself is from 2001 Fleer Greats of the Game.  So, Fleer either bought it back or took it out of its unsold inventory, wrote 3/9 on it and called it something new.  A foil stamp ain't much effort, but this handwritten serial number raises (or lowers) lazy to a whole new level.

Unlicensed Cut Autos - Tristar is famous for these, but they aren't the only ones.    There is in excess of 20 unique cut auto cards listed for Blair on TCDB.  I am not a fan, particularly of those that cut up an actual trading card, but I will pick them up from time to time if the price is right.  

2016 Historic Autographs Friends 'n Foes with Mike Flanagan - While this is really a version of the above cut auto card, it also strains at creating a coherent theme. Paul Blair were teammates briefly during Flanagan's late season 1975 cup of coffee and in 1976.  Were they friends? Perhaps, but this card is a bit of stretch. If it was Paul Blair and Brooks Robinso, who played together for many years, I could accept that. But, one season? It doesn't really inspire. I couldn't find an image of it, so I included an image of a comparable card above.  Interestingly, I don't believe there is any friend/foe link between Colbert and Musial either, though there is a record book linkage between the two.  Read this article.

2006 Upper Deck Epic Four Barrel (Jackson/Munson/Chambliss/Blair) - This is a 1/1 and given the the inclusion of Munson, I will never be able to afford it. I did actually see it pop up on eBay a few years back, but the asking price was around $5,000 if memory serves.  I would never pay that even if I could afford it.

2013 Topps Archive Printing Plates - I normally wouldn't add these, but I do have two film positives from the Topps Vault for Blair's 1978 card and a print proof from 1968, so these will be on the want list even though I have no expectation I will ever see them.

So that is about it,  Updating my collection is taking time and has to pause since I need to order some four pocket pages for the team issued photo packs and postcards.  I'm out of town on business later this week, so I probably won't be done until next weekend.  After that, I'll go through the same process for my Johnny Antonelli collection, though it promises to be less frustrating with only a handful of new entries.

What I am listening to: Pump it Up by Elvis Costello

Sunday, June 30, 2024


 I was updating my TCDB collection today.  I have been keeping up with my set builds, but not my Paul Blair and Johnny Antonelli player collections.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there were new entries on TCDB for Blair that I hadn't seen previously.  Alas, the same holds true for Antonelli.  So, I've been trying to get my master spreadsheet updated with these new entries.  You might ask why I am keeping a spreadsheet in addition to TCDB as they should be performing the same function.  You might, but it would be a bit rude of you. However, since the question is on the table, let me answer.

Two reasons: first, I have seen a number previously essential websites disappear (Yahoo Groups and JPGMag are but two) and I will always have my spreadsheet.  Additionally, I have a number of independently produced art cards that are not cataloged on TCDB.  So, with that out of the way, let me get back on track.

While looking at my Antonelli collection versus TCDB, there are three main categories of "wants:'

    1.  Rarities like 1958 Packard Bell and 1971 House of Jazz.
    2. Armour Coins (14 variations from 1955 and 3 from 1959)
    3. Jay Publishing pictures.
I am not going to pursue the coins since they are not cards, or any type of paper product, for that matter.  But the Jay Publishing's are bit of an issue since images get reused year to year. Note:

This is an animated GIF I created that cycles between the 1955, 1956 Past and Present 10, and 1956 Past and Present 12 Jay issues.  The thing is that I cannot be 100% sure the variations you see (image exposure and image position) are attributable to the actual production or are just modern artifacts of image cropping and scanning differences.  I will probably crop off the borders in my starting images and redo the animated GIF to see what that shows.  But, holy moly, I really didn't want to go down a rabbit hole on this.

Added in edit:  The cropped animation.  The slight shifts may very well be my cropping.

What I am listening to: Way Down We Go by KALEO

Saturday, June 29, 2024

New Blair PC Addition

 So, I haven't exactly shut down all hobby spending, but it is the absolute bare minimum.  For $12 delivered, I added a new card to my Paul Blair player collection; one that I have been watching for over the last several years.

A 1968 Topps Venezuelan.  This is, to my knowledge, the last of the Venezuelan issues I needed for this collection.  I logged into my TCDB account and added this to my collection and, flush with excitement, looked to see how complete I was on my Blair PC only to discover a number of new entries that weren't there before.  So, I am only sitting at 62% complete according to TCDB. I'm still the #1 Blair collector, but 62% seems kinda low. Well, it's the chase that counts, right?

Anyways, in the days ahead, I'll update my want list and see what is out there to be had.

What I am Listening to: Dog by The Bottle Rockets.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Back from Vacation Throwaway Post

 We got home yesterday after a week and a half away.  It was a nice trip, though nothing fancy.  We went back to Ohio and visited with our families. The first weekend, my nephew got married in downtown Cleveland the same day as the Rolling Stones concert.  I've seen the Stones three times in my life, though not since 2003.  I'm not much for nostalgia acts, so I have no interest in seeing them again.  It was a little disconcerting seeing folks walking with canes wearing Stones t-shirts, but I guess it should be expected since Mick Jagger is 81.

Anyways, after the wedding we had a good time touring the William J Mather steamship, spent a day at Cedar Point, and did a behind the scenes tour of the Ohio Reformatory where the Shawshank Redemption was filmed.  My wife collects midcentury modern barware so we hit a bunch of antique stores while we were there. And, as luck would have it, there was actually a midcentury barware show in Lancaster, Ohio this past weekend.  It took place over three days, but we were only there for Saturday.  If it is held again, we'll probably stay for the whole thing.  

So, as you might expect, the car was stuffed with all sorts of barware for the drive home.  My hobby spending has been non-existent for the last month in anticipation of the trip and will continue to be so through the summer since I need to buy hay for this coming winter.  But I did manage to find one thing I had to have while we were going through antique stores.

A 2007 CC Sabathia bobblehead!  I have no idea what the story is behind this, but for $5 I couldn't leave it behind. I see that later this summer, CC will be inducted into the Guardians Hall of Fame.

The biggest news in the sports world while I was out of town was the passing of Willie Mays.  I was reading Night Owl's reaction to Mays' death and his notice of the remaining greats of the past.  The second card he showed was Rocky Colavito, which brought to mind this item that I acquired just before I shut down my hobby spending in May.

This Sport magazine from September 1960 is signed by both Mays and Colavito and came with a JSA certification.  Apparently, signed magazines aren't in much demand in the hobby as this only cost me $100.  Not a small sum, to be sure, but it seems worth it to have the autograph of one of the all-time greats.

What I am listening to:  Feel it Still by Portugal.  The Man.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Blog Bat Around - Last Card

There is an interesting new blog bat around about posting the last card from a major issue for your favorite player.  Since I have two favorite players, I thought I would show them both.

It is an odd card, isn't it?  Paul Blair spent most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, then several years with the Bronx Zoo Yankees. So, to see him in a Cincinnato uniform is a bit disorienting.  However, he didn't end his career in Ohio.  After appearing in 5 games for the Yankees at the start of the 1979 season, he was released and, around month later signed with the Reds.  He finished out the season with Cincinnati batting at anemic .150 in 155 plate appearances over the course of the 1979 season.  A free agent after the 1979 season ended, he didn't catch on with another team until late May of 1980 when he signed with the Yankees again. After 12 games as a late game pinch runner/defensive replacement, he was granted a release on July 1 and brought his playing career to a close.

I really did a lousy job of scanning straight didn't I?  I could have fixed the alignment in Photoshop, but I have a busy day ahead of me.  We are leaving for a 12 day vacation in a week and a half and I have much to do around the farm before then.  So, my apologies for phoning this one in.

Johnny Antonelli's career also ended on a less than deserved note.  Antonelli had invested wisely during his career and owned Firestone tire stores in his (and my) hometown of Rochester, NY. He preferred playing close to home as to attend to his business interests.  The Giants move to San Francisco obviously put a crimp in that and, not surprisingly, he wasn't particularly happy in the Bay Area.  After two successful and one middling season in San Francisco he was traded to Cleveland after the 1960 season.  After 11 wholly ineffective appearances, he was purchased by the Milwaukee Braves, where he turned in 9 more mediocre relief appearances before the season ended. In the time between the 1961 and 1962 seasons, he was selected by the expansion NY Mets, but chose to retire instead.

What I am listening to: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

Saturday, May 18, 2024

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 42

I've really struggled to get this one out. Since my last post in this series, I've added two more signed 1961 Fleer cards, bringing my total to 72. I started this quest in January of 2017. The first card was Burleigh Grimes and, at the time, I commented "If I had to guess, I would think it would be fairly difficult to get more than 50-60 such cards for this set."  It is a bit mind-boggling that I have exceeded that level and I have been blessed to acquire a number of cards I would have considered out of reach 7 years ago.

 But, let's move on to the next signed 1961 Fleer card: #119 Joe Kuhel.  I think my inertia in working on this post is the fact that I had no idea who the subject was prior to starting the research for this post.  He was just a common card when I was building the set originally.  At the time, I was more focused on card numbers than names and biographies. Shame on me.

Let's learn a bit more about Joe Kuhel:

  1. On June 11, 1939 in the first game of a home twin bill between his Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red cox, Kuhel went 3 for 4 off Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Grove including a walk-off 2 run home run in the bottom of the ninth. 
  2. He was adopted.
  3. After a single year in high school, he started an apprenticeship as a leather cutter. He continued as such until his fine sandlot play got him some playing time with the Class B Flint Vehicles of the Michigan-Ontario League at the end of the 1924 season.
  4. From there his career was a steady, but slow, upward trajectory to his major league debut on July 31, 1930.
  5. His minor league career included 3 years with the Kansas City Blues where he hit, respectively, .325, .327, and .372.  He was purchased by the Washington Senators and ended up replacing Joe Judge as the permanent first baseman in May of  '31 when the elder Judge went down with appendicitis. 
  6. After his playing days, he worked for 20 years as a sales manager for the Roper Sales Corporation in Kansas City.  I've not had much luck looking for that company.  Mostly I just get western wear store selling roper boots.
  7. He was a member of the American Society of Amateur Magicians

What I am listening to: Hold On by The Alabama Shakes

Friday, April 19, 2024

Another One Two in the Books

 Or, perhaps more accurately, the binder.

This is the last card I needed to complete the 1958 Topps baseball set.

And this is the last card I needed to complete the 1973 Topps football base set. I still need two more unnumbered team checklists but I've been working on this for over 4 years and I feel like this is an accomplishment. I'll probably just scope out eBay in the next few days and knock those two checklists off. 

Now my focus will be on three sets:  

  • 1972-73 Topps basketball - I only need 23 cards to finish and none of them are all that expensive.  I've been working on this since late 2018, so 5 1/2 years. Time to put it to bed.
  • 1970 Topps Football - I am a little short of 70% complete on this, but have pretty much all of the valuable cards. The only star card left is the Jan Stenerud rookie card.  Everything else is commons with a few minor stars sprinkled in.
  • 1967 Topps Baseball - Ugh.  I am making some progress on this set and am almost 75% complete.  However, 2/3 of the remaining cards are in the sixth and seventh series, so this will be slow.  I expect it will probably be another 2 years at a minimum.
It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so I may try to knock out another signed 1961 Fleet post.

What I am listening to:  Things Change by Dwight Yoakam