Saturday, February 25, 2017

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 2

This project is starting to roll along nicely. There are plenty of cards out on EBay. So many that I could being getting them almost continuously. I am holding back, since there are other things I would like to do in the short term, both in my collecting and in my real life.  There are a few more coming in the mail that I was able to snag for a song. But, more about that later.  Here is the newest addition:

Hal Schumacher had a 13 year major league career between 1931 and 1946, with 3 years off serving in the US Navy during WWII. Schumacher is an interesting choice for a set ostensibly of all time greats.  Don't get me wrong, he had a creditable career and modern metrics show him to be better than league average over the course of that career. But, other than three solid years at the outset of his career (19-12, 2.16 in 1933, 23-10, 3.18 in 1934, and 19-9, 2.89 in 1935) he was what would be considered a solid mid-rotation starter during his NY Giants career.

The best game in his career, as measured by Win Percentage Added, came on April 24, 1938. On that date, he pitched a complete game, one hit shutout against the cross-town Brooklyn. He also went 3 for 4 in the game with 3 singles, though none of those hits contributed to any scoring as the Giants sole run came on a Mel Ott home run to lead of the top of the second inning.

What I am listening to: Zombie Stomp by Ozzy Osbourne

Saturday, February 11, 2017

1960 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 2

So, here is my second autographed 1960 Fleer card of Hal Newhouser:

I picked this up for $16.15 delivered.

Newhouser had a 17 year career from 1939 through 1955, all but two with the Detroit Tigers, that culminated in his election to the Hall of Fame in 1992. He had a 207-150 record with a 3.06 career ERA.  Modern metrics show him as a career 130 ERA+ (with 100 being average) and as having racked up 60.4 WAR.  That has him tied with Joe McGinnity in the all time pitching WAR list.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 1

Let's kick off my new and improved 1960s Fleer Autograph Project.  By way of review for any new arrivals here, several years ago, I started working on getting my 1963 Fleer set autographed.  As of today, I have autographed versions of 60 out of the 66 player cards in the set.  1963 was Fleer's first set to feature contemporary players.  The company had issued two sets, in 1960 and 1961, that featured great players of the past.  My quest here is to acquire as many autographed versions of the cards from those sets as I can.

The difference will be that, for 1960 and 1961, I am only going to chase certified authentic autographs.  Since 1963 featured many players who are alive today, I didn't have such a restriction. Indeed many of my autographed 63s came from public signings and TTM requests.  However, since the earlier two sets were of past greats, many of the subjects are long departed this mortal coil.  Certified autos, while not foolproof, do significantly increase my confidence that the signatures are genuine.

So, here is my first 1961:

1961 Fleer featured a total of 154 players from the past.  By my review, a total of 59 of those featured players died in 1961 or earlier, leaving an upper limit for this quest of 95 cards. I am not sure when the autographed card craze started, but another 17 players died during the remainder of the 60s, 31 in the 70s, 28 in the 80s, 12 in the 90s, and the remaining 7 since 2000.  The last player featured in 1961 Fleer to pass was Ralph Kiner in 2014.  If I had to guess, I would think it would be fairly difficult to get more than 50-60 such cards for this set. But, we will see.

Now, on to Burleigh Grimes, who passed away in 1985.  Grimes played 19 seasons in the majors, with 7 different teams between 1916 and 1934, amassing a 270-212 record. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.  Modern metrics don't really do him justice. According to Baseball Reference, he accumulated 46.9 WAR over that 19 year career, which is only good enough for 119th best on the all time list. That puts him behind fellow 19 year veteran Bartolo Colon (49.4 WAR), who is by no means a HOFer.