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