Saturday, April 13, 2024

1960 Fleer Autograph Project - Parts 16 and 17

Two updates in one post?  What is up with that? Am I trying to make up for being such an infrequent poster that doubling up is the only way I'll make an appreciable progress?  


I am particularly excited about my 17th signed 1960 Fleer card and, as luck would have it, I have already posted about the subject of the 16th card, albeit in my series of posts about the 1961 set. See?

If you missed my post about my signed 1961 Fleer card of Warren Giles, you can find it here.

So, let's get on to number 17.

I've mostly been focusing on signed 1961 cards, but progress has slowed of late.  Recently, a large group of signed 1960 Fleer cards came up for auction on EBay.  There were plenty of really rare cards in the group; cards that I have never seen before and likely will never see again.  The cards were auctioned off over two nights.  

The first night contained a number of cards that were rare, but do come up on EBay 2 or 3 times a year.  I wasn't going to bid on them just because I will have other chances.  The first group also contained impossibly rare cards of Mickey Cochrane and Frank "Home Run" Baker.  I knew I would never be able to afford them, so I decided to sit on my wallet and focus on the second set a few nights later.  It was the right choice.  The Cochrane sold for $743 and the Baker for an eye-popping $2,431.  Even the more available cards sold for a premium.  Last year, I got a signed 1961 Heinie Manush for $175. The 1960 in this auction went for $281.  A Lefty Grove went for $338 where, in contrast, I got my 1961 Grove for $43.  Just crazy.

The second grouping was similarly divided between cards that come up infrequently and cards that only have come in this auction.  It included Branch Rickey and Bobo Newsom (who died in 1962)  I decided to focus on two cards that were really rare, but still within my budget.   Since the auctions weren't staggered, but closed all at the exact same time, I had to have my bids in on both concurrently. Given the strong prices I decided to bid on both to increase my chances of landing one. Frankly, I was scared that I would win both, but was honestly expecting to get neither, given the strong prices the first night.  I did manage to win one, so let's take a look.

Friday, February 16, 2024

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 41

It has been a rough few weeks here.  My senior Great Pyrenees had to be euthanized.  He had been undergoing treatment for cancer since before Christmas, but it was ineffective.  His health took a turn for the worse and we made the choice to end his suffering. On top of that, I have had cascading plumbing issues associated with my barn mostly due to the half-assed work prior owners did. Some repairs I did myself, but others required more specialized skills.  I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say I am about done with country living and wouldn't mine moving back into town where I don't have to deal with fixing someone else's work. I've lived here 20 years. You would think I would have found it all by now.

Not a lot of hobby activity, although I did manage to get 3 of the remaining 4 cards I needed to complete my 1958 set.  The only remaining card is #310 - Ernie Banks.  The card is of sufficient cost that I probably will hold off on chasing after it until my life and checkbook return to something resembling normalcy.

Anyways, onward. Here we have Roger Peckinpaugh, another noteworthy, but not all time great, player.  He was something the opposite of our previous subject, Riggs Stephenson.  Where Stephenson was a good bat attached to a weak fielder, Peckingpaugh was considered one of the best shortstops in the Dead Ball Era, while generally packing a below average offensive punch at the plate.

Some interesting facts about Peckinpaugh:

  1. He was the youngest manager ever in MLB history when he took over the New York Yankees on an interim basis for the last 20 games of the 1914 season. He was 23 years old.
  2. Born and raised in Ohio, he started his major league career with Cleveland when the team was known as the Naps.
  3. In a case of be careful what you ask for, he was traded from the Yankees to the Washington Senators after the 1921 season when Babe Ruth, while complaining about skipper Miller Huggins, suggested Peck would be a better choice for manager.
  4. While with the Washington Senators, he was part of a formidable double play combo with player-manager Bucky Harris and acted as an unofficial assistant manager.  They won the World Series in 1924 and the AL pennant the following year.
  5. Despite what amounted to league average hitting, Peck's fielding and leadership led to him being the 1925 AL MVP.  When sorted by the modern WAR metric, he would have been in 20th place among all the players recieving MVP votes that year.
  6. He returned to Cleveland as a manager twice. First from 1928 through the first 51 games of the 1933 season and again for the 1941 season. He was succeeded in 1942 by 24 year old player manager Lou Boudreau, who I've featured here previously.
  7. After leaving baseball, he became a manufacturer's rep for Cleveland Oak Belting. a company that appears to still be in business. One of their current product lines is conveyor idlers, a component that my employer uses in their quarries.

What I am listening to but probably shouldn't: Maggie's Song by Chris Stapleton

Sunday, January 28, 2024

How Did That Work Out For You?

  Do you ever just feel like the hobby gods are trying to send you a message? 

I have mentioned a couple things here recently.  First, I am not particularly fond of 1967 Topps.  It is just a bland, uninspired set both front and back.  Second, a while back I bought a lot of collector grade 1966 and 1967 cards with the intent of getting a jump start on my '66 set build. But, I ended up with only 20% of the '66 set and over a third of '67.

Moving on to yesterday, the local OKC show was actually held at the county fairgrounds here in Norman.  A 10 minute drive instead of 45 minutes.  I was a little skeptical as it was held in the same building that hosts livestock shows, which means there is a dirt arena right smack in the middle.  But, it ended up okay.  The show was well attended by sellers and the aisles were nice and wide.  Other than it being a little cold in the building I couldn't ask for more.

My intent was to look for 1966 commons, find the last 3 cards I need for my 1973 football set and some of the last 5 cards I need for my 1958 baseball set.  I failed on all three counts. However, my normal go-to vintage dealer had a 5000 count box guessed it... 1967 Topps.  So, I started going through and found a significant number of cards I needed.  The seller cut me a good deal and I was on my way home. 

In the end, I found nearly 160 cards and I am now sitting at 62% complete on the set.  So, am I working the set?  I guess so.  But, there are challenges ahead.  I have none of the major star cards outside Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, and well-loved Whitey Ford and Roger Maris cards.  I also have exactly zero high number cards and only 26 of the 76 semi-high numbers.  

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to look a bit at statistics for the set and where I am in terms of completion.  There are 609 cards in the set and when I looked it last their total Beckett high book value added up to $8,477.00.  That works out to $13.92 per card.  My progress is 379 cards with book value of $1,856 or $4.90 per card.  Math tells me I have 230 cards to go with a average book value of $28.78.  Ugh. So, while I guess I am working the set, my level of ambivalence hasn't changed any.

Anyways, whining isn't the sole reason for this post.  When I am at a show, I generally look for card numbers on my want list, check condition, and either set aside or put back.  For some reason, I took a look at the back of the Ed Brinkman card.

Obviously, 57 years later we know that Ed never developed into one of the American League's big stars.  He never hit consistently well, but did manage to stay in the starting lineup for 11 years out of 15 he played in the majors.  He is considered one of the finest fielding shortstops of his era, but only won 1 Gold Glove in his career because he was playing at the same time as one of the finest fielding shortstops in all of baseball history, Mark Belanger.

In a sad similarity, both Belanger and Brinkman died young (54 and 66 respectively) due to lung cancer.

What I am listening to: The Flood by Charles Wesley Godwin

Saturday, January 13, 2024

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 40

Before we get started, can we just acknowledge the utter lack of visual appeal in this card?  The crude signature combined with the extreme diamond cut of the card makes it one of the less attractive cards in this project.  Yowza.

I've mentioned before that the 1960 and 1961 Fleer sets engage in a bit of mis-advertising.  They are called Baseball Greats, but there are a fair number of subject players that, while noteworthy, are not necessarily great.  Riggs Stephenson here is a good example. A solid hitter, his defensive deficiencies along with a history of injuries meant that he was only was a starting player for 4 seasons in a 14 year career.  Interestingly, he received MVP votes in 3 of those 4 seasons. This included coming in 5th place in the 1932 race behind winner Chuck Klein, but ahead of such notables as Mel Ott and Pie Traynor.

Some interesting facts about Stephenson

  1. His major league career ended in 1934, but he continued to play in the minor leagues through 1939.  This included a 1936 stint as player-manager for the Birmingham Barons of the Southern Association.  That year, he was the offensive leader of the team, hitting .355 while leading the team to the league championship.
  2. He was a three sport standout at the University of Alabama, earning 3 varsity letters each in football and baseball, and 1 in basketball. His football coach at 'Bama described Riggs as “better football player than Jim Thorpe."
  3. While at Alabama one of his baseball teammates was future Hall of Famer Joe Sewell.
  4. He appeared in both the 1929 and 1932  World Series for the Chicago Cubs.  The Cubbies lost both series through no fault of Stephenson who hit .316 and .444 respectively in the two series.
  5. After his baseball career ended, he returned home to Alabama to farm and run various successful business ventures.

What I am listening to:: Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty by Herbie Mann