Tuesday, September 27, 2022

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 34

It has been a bit over a year since I last posted about my autographed 1960 and 1961 Fleer project.  In that post, I shared that I won a lot of 47 signed 1961s, of which I needed 18.  The other 29 were shipped off to an auction house and I netted back about half of my original lot cost. I've added a few more over the last year and, as of today, I am sitting at 61 signed cards from this set. So, we have some catching up to do.


Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez (1972 Veterans Committee) pitched in 368 games across all or part of 14 seasons. All but one of those games were with the NY Yankees between 1930 and 1942.  The sole game where he didn't where the pinstripes was an ineffective 4 2/3 inning start for the Washington Senators in the first game of a twin bill on May 30, 1943.  His finest season was probably 1934, when he went 26-5 with a 2.33 ERA and finished 3rd in the MVP voting behind only Mickey Cochrane and fellow hurler Charlie Gehringer. Oddly enough, he finished ahead of teammate Lou Gehrig, who was 5th in voting despite hitting for the Triple Crown (the only time he ever did so.)

His best game may have come on May 24, 1932 against the Philadelphia Athletics. Lefty pitched a complete game while allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk against 13 strikeouts. One of the hits was a ground ball single by Jimmie Foxx, who was hitting .441 at the time and was well on his way to the first of his three MVP seasons.

Gomez was known as one of the funniest men in baseball, though much of his humor was self-deprecating. An example was when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon in 1969, and he and NASA scientists were puzzled by an unidentified white object. Upon hearing of it, Lefty said, “I knew immediately what it was. It was a home run ball hit off me in 1937 by Jimmie Foxx.”

What I am listening to:  Down by the Water by The Decemberists


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Good God!

 I realize the gap between this post and its predecessor isn't all that long, at least for me.  I am trying to get ramped up to post more about my signed 1961 Fleer project, since when I last left off I was posting about my 33rd such card, and I just picked up my 61st.  But, I want those posts to be informative and that involves taking time to research them.  Currently, I am really busy at my new job and I have several large projects I want to finish around the farm before the cold weather sets in, so I have not found the time to sit down and focus on the research.  So, this is basically a throwaway post.

As you know, prior to working on a signed 1961 Fleer set, I was working on a signed 1963 Fleer set. And, when we last left that project, I had autographed versions of 65 out of the 66 cards in the set; lacking only Roberto Clemente.  I have only ever seen that card come up for auction a couple of times and it always finished waaaay outside my budget, Another showed up in the Most recent Memory Lane auction. The opening bid was $2,500 so I was out of the running before the auction even opened.  The auction closed last night and check this out:


Absolutely crazy.  I cannot even imagine.  If I had $10K drop into my lap I have plenty of things I could do with it: put it towards a new car, knock a chunk off my mortgage balance, put it away for retirement, the possibilities are legion. Buying this card would be pretty close to the last thing I would do.  

Anyways, back into my hole. 

What I am listening to: Resignation Superman by Big Head Todd and The Monsters



Saturday, August 27, 2022

Pleasure and Pain

As I mentioned earlier, I had lived frugally for over a year in order to prepare for a job search.  And, since I was only off for 6 weeks, I had some extra money saved up.  Most was used in a responsible, adult way. Some as a supplement to our retirement savings, and I also bought a used utility tractor for use around our acreage. But I did decide to do a little celebratory hobby spending.  Some of it you saw in my previous post.  Here is the rest of it:



I honestly didn't think I'd get this.  I threw a bid on it that was 30-35% below comps for a PSA 4 and actually won.  I am assuming it didn't command a typical price because of that side-to-side centering.  But, I have always been a corners and edge man.  As long as there is border all the way around, I am happy.  And there is border all the way around here. So, good to go.

But this comes with a cost, since this card was many multiples of my previous most expensive purchase. I did have to "borrow" against future hobby spending, And that cost, not surprisingly, is severely curtailed hobby activity at least through the end of the year.  I will try to knock off the commons I need for my 1969 set and I may actually start working on some of the junk wax era sets that interest me.  But, that is probably about it.

Speaking of which, that big box of junk wax I bought a couple months ago for a tenner?  It had a near complete set of 1989 Topps and I have thrown a want list over on the sidebar. I had previously decided to not work any base sets newer than 1979.  But, as I sneak up on retirement in 6-8 years, I am re-evaluating how I want to collect between now and then and, of course, afterwards.  I have already decided that 1955 is the oldest set I will build, And I will likely start moving forward in time from 1979. Most of the 1980s Topps sets are growing on me. I'm not a fan of '86 or '87. In fact, I absolutely hate 1987. But the rest of the decade is fine and will make a nice way to keep collecting without having to open my wallet too wide.  Along those lines, that big box of junk had a partial set of 1988 Score, which I also like well enough to build the set and may even post about.

So, there you have it. I have reached the pinnacle of my collecting life with this card. But, I am looking at the future without any sense of melancholy.  I am happy to have this card, but I also got a great deal of enjoyment out of the Felipe Alou card I needed to finish my 1965 set, which I started working 5 years ago.  That is the beauty of this hobby. You can do it any way you like on any budget you like.

What I am listening to:  Starlight by Yola



Friday, August 19, 2022

Card Show Pickups - Miscellaneous Stuff

 In my last post I mentioned I bought a few cards at last weekends show just because they caught my fancy. And here they are.


I found this signed 1977 Willie Randolph in a $5 box.  The more I look at it, though, the more convinced I become that it is not authentic.   So, basically, a fiver down the drain.




Over the last few shows, I've picked up individual vintage football cards of HOF players. Nothing expensive, but mainly players who names I recognize and I may have watched as a youngster.  I really like the 1967 Topps Gino Cappelletti; enough that may try to build that set.  At the time, Topps only had the license for the AFL. NFL cards were issued by the Philadelphia Gum Company.  The dilemma I face is whether I should also collect the 1967 PGC cards also.  Generally, I like the design of the Philadelphia cards, which were issued between 1964 and 1967.  But, 1967 was ugly with a canary yellow border.  So, I may just stick with Topps. It isn't anything I am going to start soon, so who knows what will happen.

Another thing to note here is the back of the card, which is very similar to the back of 1968 baseball.  I am assuming Topps got a deal on that godawful yellow ink.  As they probably started the printing the baseball cards after finishing up the football set.

Capelletti is an interesting fellow. He was both a placekicker and a receiver. He passed away at the age of 88 earlier this year.



Believe it or not, this is the first 1951 Topps I have ever owned. I had to have at least one and this is probably where I will stop.  I am glad to have this card, but the set doesn't capture my imagination.



And, there it is.  My favorite pickup from the show. It was marked as $50, but the seller is my main in-person vintage guy, so he usually gives me a decent discount. So, I am guessing this cost me more around $40. Not a small sum, but well worth it to have an autograph of one of the greatest ballplayers ever.

So that is about it for the show.  Not sure what it next. Hopefully, I will start posting more.

What I am listening to: Lone Pine Hill by Justin Townes Earle




Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Card Show Pickups - Set Needs

My main priority at last weekend's show was to work on set needs.  About a week earlier, I actually finished my 1965 set that I started back in 2017.  It was actually the third set I have finished this year, after several years of having completed none.  So, the main sets I was wanting to make progress on were 1955, 1958, and 1969 Topps baseball, 1973 Topps football, and 1972-73 Topps basketball. So, with that, lets proceed:


I found exactly 1 card I needed for my 1969 set. I have been focusing on1969 over the last year because it is reasonably affordable, even in comparison to some sets that followed it. I wanted to make more progress, but every little bit helps I guess. I am down to needing only 33 cards to finish this set.  Thankfully, I have the Mantle, but I still lack Roberto Clemente, Johnny Bench, Nolan Ryan, and the Reggie Jackson rookie card. I'd like to finish this set this year, but those four cards will be a challenge.  I am not one to pay up and over the last couple years, good deals have been few and far between.


I snagged 20 cards from 1958 Topps, bringing my total for the set to 180 cards. That is a bit over one third of the set.  I started this one since I have the Mantle already. I bought it about 10 years ago for the princely sum of $100, which was the most I had ever spent on a card at that time (and for several years after.)  Along the way, I;d already acquire Ted Williams and Roberto Clemente.  So, the only major cards I need at this point is Willie Mays, the Roger Maris rookie card, and the Aaron/Mantle Batting Foes card.  I'll keep plugging away, but this is probably going to be a 2024 completion.



I managed to find 8 cards I needed for the 1959 Fleer Ted Williams set.  These are the first additions to that set build since 2015.  That ultra rare Ted Signs card has me spooked.  So, this will not be a priority for me. I'll add things opportunistically, but if I never finish this, I won't care.

And now to what you have seen in my previous post.


I am really close to finishing 1955.  I was down to 8 cards to finish, one of which is this Duke Snider.  The card is a bit rough, with water staining, and that missing corner.  But, this card is one of the more expensive, and elusive, cards in the set.  Of course, Snider was a star. But, not of the caliber of a Jackie Robinson or Willie Mays, who's 55 cards are of similar value.  At least part of this cards cost is due to being the last card in the set and (not dissimilar to the 1952 Andy Pafko) was prone to rubber band damage. The staining doesn't bother me, but I've always been one of those collectors that values good corners and edges.  And that lower right corner would normally be a disqualifier.  But, this card was priced at $30, which is so far below what it would normally be that I decided I can definitely live with that corner.  

I also knocked off another '55 need:


You can catch some hints of it in the picture, but this Banks card also has some water staining.  Without that, I think it would have graded out as a solid 5. I like it just fine. So, I am down to needing 6 cards to finish: 3 commons, Jackie Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, and the dreaded Clemente rookie.  I'm far enough along that I am going to try and complete it, but that Clemente scares me. I've never spent more than $400 on a card and can count on one hand how many times I've spent more than $250.  Dropping four figures is going to be painful.

That does it for the set building. Next up will be the miscellaneous stuff I bought just because.

What I am listening to: Down by the Water by The Decembrists.


Sunday, August 14, 2022

Proof of Life

I'm still here, so a few updates:

I am back gainfully employed. My last day on my previous job was June 3 and I started my new gig on July 26.  All things considered that is a fairly short interval.    I had planned to shift towards contract consulting, but my expertise was fairly niche, and I could see that career focus could have as much down time as not.  The interregnum told me that I am not quite ready for significant down time.  So, I'm back on the W-2 train for a few more years.  This job is a pretty big departure from my career path, but it should be interesting and I really like the people I work with.

Additionally, we added a new member to the family here.  Normally, this wouldn't be noteworthy for a sports card blog, but we have been keeping track since San Jose Fuji threw down the gauntlet regarding non-card collections so many years ago.  Anyways, back in January of 2021, a feral tom cat started coming around the farm.  He was wild as a March hare and wouldn't let us anywhere near him.  We kept food out for him and monitored his comings and goings with a game camera.  Slowly, over time, he began to trust us and this January, a full year after he started visiting, I was able to pet him for the first time.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and he was obviously sick. So, we got him off to the vet. He was diagnosed with bobcat fever, an often-deadly tick-borne illness.  His recovery included me having to give him medicine, which means he was confined to my home office/card room. As you might expect, he is now a house cat. So, meet Chester:


January 2021




August 2022



Anyways, having saved up for a potentially lengthy job search, the quick return to the workforce left me some funds for hobby spending.  So, yesterday I went to a card show.   I've gone to card shows in the past year, but those were always more focused.  Yesterday, I went with a desire to make some progress on sets, but also to engage in a little whimsy and pick up a few things that aren't natural fits to how I collect.  

I intend to get back blogging again, particularly focusing on a series of posts about my signed 1960 and 1961 Fleer collection.  But, until I get my rear in gear, here is a sample of what I got yesterday.



What I am listening to:  Cross Bones Style by Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit (Amanda Shires on lead vocals and fiddle)



Sunday, June 5, 2022

Coming Up for Air

 So, it has been 5 months since we last talked. My last day on my job was Thursday, so I am officially unemployed.  I only half-heartedly looked for a new job over the last few months. I've decided I want to shift from in-house roles to doing contract consulting and I have already aligned myself with one consulting firm and am starting the process to sign up with a second.  Additionally, I have an introductory interview this week for in-house roles with a third consulting/business intelligence firm.  So, while I am a bit unbalanced about not having a job, I am moving forward and, hopefully, something will pop up soon.

My hobby activity has been curtailed significantly over the last year, once I knew I would be moving on.  While it hasn't stopped, it has become more focused and I've gotten a few things accomplished that I might not have otherwise.

For example, I finally finished my 1968 Topps set in December.


The last card was, unsurprisingly the Nolan Ryan rookie card.  I had made no progress on this set for over 2 years because of how expensive that card was. I could never find a card that was both within my budget and condition requirements.  However, I finally found one in an auction that met both criteria.  I ended up paying a bit over $330 for it. While it was the third most I have ever paid for a card, it was a steal at this price.  The main issue was fading on the left side of the card due to exposure to sunlight.  But, it has great eye appeal, so I am tickled to death to have it.


In January, I finished my 1960 Topps set.  The last card was the Chicago Cubs team card.


Since then,  I went the OKC show in February, the Dallas show in March, then nothing until this weekends OKC show.  In those shows, I've worked on the Topps sets from 1958, 1969, and 1973 Football. I chose 1958 since I bought the Mantle card years ago before prices went nuts, 1965 because I am down to 6 cards to complete, and 1969 as it is the most affordable of the remaining 1960s sets.  

Anway, I had a good haul at this weekend's show:


My wife collects mid-century modern barware and asked me to stop at a local flea market to check out something and I found that big box of junk wax for $10.  What can I say?  I would bet the main value of the box is as kindling, but I am pretty sure I can get more than a sawbucks worth of fun out of it.

What I am listening to:  One More Night by Micahel Kiwanuka