Friday, February 28, 2020

Johnny Antonelli - RIP

I saw on Twitter tonight that Johnny Antonelli passed away at the age of 89. As I am probably one of the only Antonelli collectors outside of the immediate family, I felt like I should post something. My connection to Antonelli is tenuous, at best. But,we'll get to that in a minute.

Johnny Antonelli was one of the original  MLB bonus babies, players who signed a contract in excess of $4,000 in 1947 or later.  Such players had to be carried on the MLBroster for two years without being assigned to a minor league team. As such, Antonelli never played in the minors.  His 12 year MLB career, interrupted in 1951 and 1952 by military service, was highlighted by a stellar 1954 season that saw him go 21-7 with a 2,30 ERA during the regular season. It was further capped off by a spectacular World Series performance against the Cleveland Indians where NY Giant  Antonelli pitched an 8 hit, 1 run complete game victory in Game 2 (he also had an RBI on a 5th inning ground out off HOF pitcher Early Wynn).He followed that up with a 5 out save to secure the win in the decisive Game 4.  He finished 3rd in the MVP race that year, two years prior to the introduction of the Cy Young award, which he surely would have won. As I am not a gifted writer, you can read more about his life in the excellent SABR biograph found here.

So, how did I come to be a Johnny Antonelli collector? I've related this before here, deep in the archive, I grew up in Rochester, NY and lived there until I graduated from college in 1988. I knew of Antonelli because, during my formative years, he owned the main Firestone tire store franchises in the greater Rochester area.  How specifically I decide to PC him has been lost in the dusty recesses of my mind. However, as it stands, I have 65 unique Johnny Antonelli items in my player collection. If the Trading Card is to be believed, there are 81 unique Antonelli items.  The major items missing from my collection are the various Jay Publishing Photos, as well as the several Armour Coins.

In memory of the noteworthy Giants hurler, lets take a look at a few:

Rookie Cards

1949 Eureka Sport Stamp

 1950 Bowman

Last Cards Issued during his playing career

1961 Topps

1961 Post

1961Kahns Wieners

Last Card issued overall

2011 Topps Lineage (Base, Black Diamond, and Autographed)

Cards Issued After his best year (1954)

1955 Bowman

1955 Red man

1955 Golden Stamps

Oddest Oddballs

2010 National Ethnic Heritage Foundation Sons of Italy

A Baseball Memoir Promotional Card

1984 National Sports Collector Convention Ticket

Personal Favorites

1954 NY Journal American

1953 Johnston Cookies

1954 Topps

1958 Hires Root Beer(with tab)

Banty Red Custom

What I am listening to: Temporary Nature by Lucinda Williams

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Reading Is Fundamental

A while back, I posted about winning an auction that included an Allen & Ginter Fans of the Period (N7) card that I really liked. Since then, I've picked up a more of those cards, mostly in low grade condition. So, I actually was up to 17 unique cards from the 50 card Fans set.

In a recent auction, I saw a lot that was titled as eight higher grade Fans cards. Since most of my current cards were lower grade, I figured I would bid because, even if there was cards in the lot that duplicated what I already had, they would still be upgrades.  And, I ended up winning the auction.

Fast forward to the cards arriving and, as I open the envelope and look at them, they don't look anything remotely like the typical Fans card. So, I flip then over and what do I see?

 That's right. These aren't Allen & Ginter Fans of the Period, they are from the A&G set designated N18 - Parasol Drill.

Figuring that the auction house shipped me the wrong lot, I went back and double checked the auction.  Alas, the lot I won was mistitled, but the underlying description was correct and, if I had bothered to look at the images closely, I would probably have noticed that the subjects weren't actually holding fans.

But, I didn't and I should have darn well known better. So, this is all on me.

Ah well, I guess I am collecting this set now too.  That, or maybe I'll just consider this an early entry into a future N-series Type card collection. Either way, let this be a cautionary tale, boys and girls.  Always, always, always read the full description.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Acting! Thank you!

As I was re-sleeving the partial 1973 Topps football set I bought last weekend, I came across the Merlin Olsen card and I remembered that he had a  post-football acting career.  It also occurred to me that other football players made a transition into acting after they retired.  It got me thinking about how many playes with cards in ther '73 football set actually had Hollywood careers.

While I will make no representation that this is complete, my best estimate is 11 players featured in this set also had some form of acting career.   So, let's take a look. I included a small summary of their football career and what I consider their most iconic acting role.  Keen observers will note that my choice of iconic roles gives away my age and primary TV viewing era.  Since YMMV, I have included a link to each players IMDB profile, so you can view their acting career and decide for yourself what you consider their greatest role.

Terry Bradshaw - Card #15  

Football Career Summary: 
  • 14 seasons and 158 starts as a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 107-51 record
  • Playoff appearances in 9 seasons and a 14-5 record including 4 Super Bowl wins in 4 attempts.
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989 along with teammate Mel Blount
Most Iconic Acting Role:  

Deacon Jones -  Card #38

Football Career Summary:
  • 14 year career (19061-1974) as a Defensive End, mostly with the LA Rams but also 2 seasons with the SD Chargers and1with the Redskins
  • 8 Pro Bowl appearances
  • Considered one of the greatest defensive players ever, he coined the term "sack."
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980

Most Iconic Acting Role: 

Larry Csonka - Card #100

Football Career Summary:
  • 11 year NFL career as a fullback - 8 with the Miami Dolphins and 3 with the NY Giants. He played 1 year in the defunct World Football League
  • 3 1000 rushing seasons
  • Played in 3 consecutive Super Bowls, winning 2 and taking home the MVP in Super Bowl VIII
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987
Most Iconic Acting Role
Bubba Smith - Card #155

Football Career Summary:
  • Played 9 seasons across 10 years, 5 with Baltimore and 2 each with Oakland and Houston
  • 2 Time Pro Bowler
  • Played in Super Bowl V with the Baltimore Colts, the winner over the Dallas Cowboys
Most Iconic Acting Role: 

Roman Gabriel - Card #266

Football Career Summary:
  • 16 year career as a QB with the LA Rams(11 years) and Philadelphia Eagles (5 years)
  • Started 157 games with an 86-64-7 record
  • NFL MVP in 1969

Most Iconic Acting Role: 

Dick Butkus - Card #300  

Football Career Summary:
  • Played 9 seasons, all with the Chicago Bears
  • 8 time Pro-Bowler
  • Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979
  • Scored 10 points in his NFL career: 6 on a fumble recovery for a TD, 2 on a safety, and 2 on extra point kicks 

Most Iconic Acting Role: 

Lyle Alzado - Card #312

Football Career Summary:
  • Played 15 seasons (!) as a Defensive End for Denver (8 years), Cleveland (3 years) and the LA Raiders (4 years)
  • 2 time Pro Bowler
  • Played in 2 Super Bowls including on the winning side of Super Bowl XVIII
Most Iconic Acting Role: 

Fred Dryer - Card #389

Football Career Summary:
  • 13 year career as a defensive end starting with 3 years with the Giants, which culminated in a trade to the Patriots and subsequent trade to the LA Rams where he spent the last 10 years of his career
  • Set an NFL record by scoring two safeties in a single game against the Packers on 10/21/1973
  • Played in Super Bowl XIV in which the Rams lost to the Steelers

Most Iconic Acting Role:

Joe Namath - Card #400

Football Career Summary:
  • 13 year career, mostly with the NY Jets, but finished out his career in 1977 with the Rams. He started the first 4 games of the season with a 2-2 record and rode the pine the remainder of the season before retiring
  • Led the Jets to an upset victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III
  • Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985
Most Iconic Acting Role: 
  • Himself in The Brady Bunch
  • He also has guest hosted the Tonight Show subbing in for Johnny Carson
  • Namath's IMDB

Merlin Olsen - Card #479

Football Career Summary:
  • 15 year career all with the LA Rams as a Defensive Tackle and only missed two games in that time
  • 1962 Rookie of the Year
  • Played in 14 Pro Bowls, only missing in his final season
  • Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982

Most Iconic Acting Role: 
  • Jonathon Garvey in The Little House on the Prairie
  • Olsen's IMDB

OJ Simpson - Card #500

Football Career Summary:
  • 11 year career, 9 of which were with the Buffalo Bills and the final two with the 49ers.
  • First running back to rush for more than 2000 yards in a season in 1973. That still stands as the 7th best rushing season in NFL history 
  • Turned in a 95 yard punt return for a TD and has actually passed for a touchdown.
  • Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985

Most Iconic Acting Role: 

So, there are the eleven subjects in the 1973 Topps football set who also had acting careers.  Interestingly, there are two other players who were active during the 1973 season, and had acting careers, but did not get their first trading card until Topps' 1974 set: Ed Marinaro, best known as a regular on Hill Street Blues and John Matuszak, who made a fair number of guest appearance in TV shows and movies but is best known for playing Sloth in The Goonies.

EDIT: Does anyone get Blogger?  I publish posts and it has multiple fonts and line spacings despite me not trying to do that.  It really ticks me off and having to fix it in the HTML code is a real PITA.

What I am listening to: Paranoid by Black Sabbath