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.

The two cards I bid on were Paul Waner and Pie Traynor.  I wanted the Waner, since I already have the matching Lloyd Waner.  But, as you can see that is not how it worked out.

I will admit that the card is ugly, with some staining on the top and a faint red signature over a dark background.  But, I love it anyways.  I've never seen a signed Fleer card of Traynor for either 1960 or 1961, so it is right up there in the top 3 cards I have in this project.

So, let's learn a bit more about Pie, shall we?

  1. While there are a number of explanations as to why Harold Joseph Traynorbecame known as Pie, the generally accepted tale was that, as a young child, he always used to ask for a slice of Pie when visiting a store owned by the family of one of the older children in the neighborhood.
  2. Like several other of the players I've featured, he was a player-manager during his career. He succeeded George Gibson as the Pirates manager midway through the 1934 season.  He continued as manager through the end of 1939, though he was only a player manager in 1934, 1935, and nominally in 1937 when he appeared as a player for 12 plate appearances over the span of 5 games.
  3. He appeared in the post season twice, in a World Series winning effort in 1925 and again in 1937 when the Pirates lost to the Murder's Row Yankees.  
  4. Rejected for military service during World War 1, he spent time on horseback in a West Virginia railyard checking the arrivals and departures of railcars full of explosives.
  5. Considered one of the finest third baseman of his generation, his fielding style did have critics, one being Pirate shortstop Dick Bartell.  Bartell pointed out aspects of Traynor's defensive style that tended to cause problems for his infield team mates.
  6. Prior to the 1938 season, Pie received a telegram from a journalist at the Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper making him aware of the availability of several Negro League players including Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.  For reasons unknown but probably guessed, Traynor never responded.  Can you imagine what a team with those two players would have been like?
  7. After his baseball career ended, Pie had a career in radio broadcasting which was buoyed by his popularity in Pittsburgh and not by his (modest at best) skills as a raconteur. 
  8. In 1948, he was the first third baseman inducted into the Hall of Fame.
  9. When he finally lost his radio job in 1966, his show was replaced by a syndicated show hosted by Howard Cosell.
What I am listening to: Stone the Crow by Down


  1. Pretty cool. I can't imagine being in auctions like that, can't take the pressure!

    1. You know it. That was an experience I don't care to repeat. I get stressed out when I am bidding on $2.00 commons in set break auctions when they finish in 30 second intervals.

  2. Love this project! Owning a Traynor auto is so cool. I have a pretty big autograph collection, but don't think I own any signatures of athletes who passed away before I was born.