Sunday, July 7, 2024

I Blame You

Not really.

Okay, a little bit.   A while back the consensus from my Quandary post is that cards prominently featuring a player, even if the card doesn't name them and isn't even about them, belong in the player collection.

So, I had this in mind as I updated my list of known Paul Blair cards. I used TCDB to help with that process.  I found new entries on TCDB for Paul Blair items. I decided to use the opportunity to reorganize my two player collections.  Previously, my player cards were loosely organized by issuing company and year. However, I also tried to maximize the use of sheets, so everything was mushed together. And when something new came in, it got added to a sheet at the back and not necessarily with it's rightful grouping. This time through I am using the same organizing principle, but I am leaving open pockets on the sheets for missing cards.

While going through the TCDB entries, I had to revisit not only what counts as a Paul Blair card, but what is card generally.

So, here is a summary of the decisions I made:

1971 Topps #329 World Series Game 3 - Paul Blair is on the card, congratulating Frank Robinson at home plate after Robinson's 3rd inning home run.  Even though he is featured prominently on the card, he is decidedly not the subject. TCDB lists this as a Paul Blair card. This is a Frank Robinson card and not a Paul Blair card. It was not added to the want list.

1970 Topps #202 Orioles Celebrate - This is the card that kicked this off last September.  For some reason, TCDB only has the OPC version.  But, based on that previous feedback I've added that and, of course, the Topps cards to my want list.

1969 MLBPA Photostamps unseparated sheet - I have the individual stamp which is also listed on TCDB. But, I don't see the point of acquiring the same item a second time in a sheet with other stamps I have no interest in.  This was not added to the want list.  By the same rationale, the following other TCDB entries were also not added to my want list: 1974 Topps photo stamp unseparated sheet, 1975 Hostess panels (both the Hooten and Hooton versions), 1978 SSPC Yankees team sheet, and the 1991 Crown Cola Orioles panel.

1978 Burlington Free Press Baseball Cards - these aren't cards, in my opinion.  They are just small feature section of a normal newspaper.  Don't believe me? Above are the front and back of the Carlton Fisk cards in the "set." That back is just an everyday clipping from a newspaper sport section.  The same holds true for the 1963 Baltimore News-Post Baltimore Orioles Scrapbook Cards and the 1970-71 Dayton Daily News. These don't get added to the want list.  The fact that some wisenheimer gave the Dayton Daily News clippings an actual hobby designation (M137) does not change anything.

2001 Topps Archive Reserve Signed baseball - It's a baseball, not a card. Not on the want list.

Now here are some things that annoy me, but are definitely cards.

Print variations:  With Paul Blair, the only print variation I have found is the 1971 Kellogg's card, with three versions: 385 runs, 386 Runs with copyright year, and 386 Runs without copyright year. I have two and the third is on the want list.

Buybacks:  I have previously stated my annoyance at buybacks.  I don't think that taking a vintage card, slapping a foil stamp on it creates a new card. But, I have made my peace with it and have been picking up a few Topps buybacks here and there.  But, the above card (2005 Fleer National Pastime Buyback) is really something.  The card itself is from 2001 Fleer Greats of the Game.  So, Fleer either bought it back or took it out of its unsold inventory, wrote 3/9 on it and called it something new.  A foil stamp ain't much effort, but this handwritten serial number raises (or lowers) lazy to a whole new level.

Unlicensed Cut Autos - Tristar is famous for these, but they aren't the only ones.    There is in excess of 20 unique cut auto cards listed for Blair on TCDB.  I am not a fan, particularly of those that cut up an actual trading card, but I will pick them up from time to time if the price is right.  

2016 Historic Autographs Friends 'n Foes with Mike Flanagan - While this is really a version of the above cut auto card, it also strains at creating a coherent theme. Paul Blair were teammates briefly during Flanagan's late season 1975 cup of coffee and in 1976.  Were they friends? Perhaps, but this card is a bit of stretch. If it was Paul Blair and Brooks Robinso, who played together for many years, I could accept that. But, one season? It doesn't really inspire. I couldn't find an image of it, so I included an image of a comparable card above.  Interestingly, I don't believe there is any friend/foe link between Colbert and Musial either, though there is a record book linkage between the two.  Read this article.

2006 Upper Deck Epic Four Barrel (Jackson/Munson/Chambliss/Blair) - This is a 1/1 and given the the inclusion of Munson, I will never be able to afford it. I did actually see it pop up on eBay a few years back, but the asking price was around $5,000 if memory serves.  I would never pay that even if I could afford it.

2013 Topps Archive Printing Plates - I normally wouldn't add these, but I do have two film positives from the Topps Vault for Blair's 1978 card and a print proof from 1968, so these will be on the want list even though I have no expectation I will ever see them.

So that is about it,  Updating my collection is taking time and has to pause since I need to order some four pocket pages for the team issued photo packs and postcards.  I'm out of town on business later this week, so I probably won't be done until next weekend.  After that, I'll go through the same process for my Johnny Antonelli collection, though it promises to be less frustrating with only a handful of new entries.

What I am listening to: Pump it Up by Elvis Costello


  1. TCDB lists newspaper clippings? That's interesting. I remember the Mercury News created cards for the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants back in the 80's. I cut them out and had them in a photo album. Years later, I tossed them out or donated them.

    1. TCDB is crowd sourced so I suppose anything can appear there including newspaper clippings. I don't know enough about how it works to know if there is a final review process for submissions. As you can guess, I don't believe newspaper clippings are cards. I can (begrudgingly) accept that the Dayton Daily News clippings can be there since someone gave it a hobby designation, but that is about it.

  2. The clipping are kind of neat, but certainly aren't cards, no matter how old they are. Also, cut autos... are not cards either. To me, they're just an abomination that someone made in their basement.