I’m Not Up For Anything More Involved Than “Here Are Four Mets Cards”

The Holiday Ramp-Up is hitting me hard this morning.

As I write this, I’d really like to go to bed and get another hour or two of sleep. After a week liberally sprinkled with holiday pot luck meals, my body is asking me “Do you think that today you could NOT start each meal with dessert? And would it kill you to eat a fresh vegetable or two? Maybe a piece of fruit?”

The point of all this is that I’m not up for anything that requires thought, research or even a theme…  So today you get four Mets cards I acquired over the past… few… uhhhhhrrrrrrrrrmmmm… I don’t know how far back they go.  They’re Mets.  They’re new to me.  Good enough.

One can never go wrong with 1970’s Kellogg’s, even if the subject (Cleon Jones) is pretty blurry.
1970 Kellogg's Cleon Jones
I always forget with Kellogg’s cards that I have to point out which “Jones” it is, because the cards don’t give you a first name… Well, other than the fake autograph.

If I were to do a post of “Hobby Regrets”, up near the top would be from late in 1984 when I thought “There’s a Fleer Update set this year? Eh, I’ll get that later…”

This 84F Tom Seaver is not from that set, but 1984 Fleer cards always bring the update to mind.
1984 Fleer Tom Seaver
For those of you who aren’t shaking your head over my 30-year-old foolishness, the set was printed in very-low-for-the-1980’s quantities, features rookie cards of Kirby Puckett, Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden (among others) and is under enough demand that key cards have been counterfeited.

I got this 2011 Chrome Jason Bay because the photo used is different than the one on the conventional Topps Jason Bay card.
2011 Topps Chrome Jason Bay

This 1982 Topps Ellis Valentine came from “The Unholy Mess” I featured earlier this week.
1982 Topps Ellis Valentine
I wish I felt as good as Ellis apparently feels here.

…Are We Not Stars? 1982 Topps Padres Future Stars

…In which we address the age-old question “Who are these guys?”

Today’s post has an extra air of excitement about it… Not only do we cover Doug “Eyechart” Gwosdz, but also Fred Kuhaulua!

1980 Topps Padres Future Stars

Mike Armstrong:
Appeared in 197 games over 8 years, mainly as a reliever – he has one start on his record.  Also pitched for the Royals, Yankees and Indians.  Was the primary setup man to Dan Quisenberry in 1982 and 1983.  Finished 94 career games but had just 11 saves. 

In 1979 he was traded straight-up for Paul O’Neill!  …Only it’s not THAT Paul O’Neill.

Doug Gwosdz:
Was largely a backup to Terry Kennedy and played 69 games over 4 years with the Padres, batting .144 in the process.

Fred Kuhualua:
Fred Mahele Kuhaulua was born in Hawaii… I know!  Who saw that coming?

He  had  two “cups of coffee” in the Majors… 1977 with the Angels (3 games, 1 start, 6.1 innings, 15.63 ERA) and 1981 with the Padres (1-0, 2.45 in 5 games, 4 starts).

On October 1st, 1981 he shut out the soon-to-be-World-Champion Dodgers over 8 innings. Eric Show closed out the 1-0 win.  Fernando Valenzuela was the hard-luck loser, giving up an unearned run and taking the loss.

Fred’s only Major League hit was an RBI single off of Phil Niekro on 9/20/1981.

I believe this is Kuhaulua’s only Major League card.

Closest To Being A Star:
Although it’s tempting to go with the guy who outpitched Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Armstrong was the only one to have a Major League career, so I guess that makes him closest to being a star.

Vote For The Next “Hot Stove” Custom! (And Check Out David Robertson While You’re At It)

Before I get to the voting part, let me share a custom that was about as easy to make as these things get…
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #13 David Robertson
When David Robertson went from the Yankees to the White Sox, I started doing some preliminary work for the custom.  I came across this photo of Robertson where he held his glove over the “NY” logo on his chest… and at that point my work was halfway done. Cover up the Yankees cap logo, add a White Sox logo, badabing badaboom, I got yer custom right here, buddy.

Prior to last week I was cruising along nicely with the “Hot Stove” customs, more or less keeping up with the ones I wanted to make, building a small backlog — and then the Winter Meetings hit. Before I knew it, there were guys flying every which direction, and I didn’t know where to begin.

So rather than try to figure out what you guys might want to see, I’m just going to ask you.

Just to be clear about this… This isn’t about doing just one custom, it’s more about prioritization. I want to know which players you’d like me to do first. You can vote for as many or as few as you like. You can also write them in – there were a few guys who changed teams but weren’t included for a variety of reasons (including the old favorite, “I forgot”).

Added Clarification:  The general idea behind these customs is to feature any uniformed personnel who will be wearing a new uniform in 2015, whether it’s a new manager, a free agent, a traded player, a Rule V guy, a waiver pickup, whatever…

As always, comments are welcome – I just thought the poll might get more responses.

The top couple of vote-getters will be featured over the next week or two. The remainder may or may not get customs, we’ll see where things go. I continue to hope that the Mets and Orioles will, at some point, give me reasons to make customs.

By the way, if the Kemp and/or Rollins trades fall through or if Dan Haren retires, then they will come off the list.

Thanks for participating!

Cards From “The Unholy Mess”, Part 3: Love At First Sight

Today I’m continuing the trip through “The Unholy Mess”:  A cheap box of semi-vintage football and baseball commons in complete and utter disarray.

It took me many, many hours to sort through all of the cards of Jerry Dybzinkski, John Zook and others…
Unholy Mess_0003
…but I was having a good enough time going through the commons. At one point, I’d spent numerous hours going through this box, mindlessly sorting and essentially re-creating the childhood ritual of “Got him, need him, got him”…

…And then…

I pulled a handful of cards out of the box and revealed a larger-than-expected face staring back at me.

A face belonging to Fran Tarkenton.
1970 Topps Super Football Fran Tarkenton
For the first time since starting on this box, I excitedly went “Oooooh!”

Fran came from the 1970 Topps “Super Football” set – not to be confused with 1970 Topps Super Glossy Football.  These cards are the thickness of several cards and 3.125″ x 5.25″ in size.  I’m not much of a football collector, but I am a sucker for oversized cards, and this one was a beauty.

1970 was during Tarkenton’s five-year run with the Giants;  he started out with the 1961 expansion Vikings, got traded to New York and then back to Minnesota 5 years later.

The back was (as I would later find out) the same as the 1970 Topps set, only larger and with a different card number.  The player’s name on the front of the card, which I initially took to be a lame attempt at a “signature”, is in the same font as the back of the card.
1970 Topps Super Football Fran Tarkenton back

Shortly afterwards I found out that Fran had brought some friends with him, all but one a Football Hall-Of-Famer…

Dick Butkus, a middle linebacker, was the Bears’ first round pick in 1965 and played in 8 straight Pro Bowls before a knee injury ended his career.
1970 Topps Super Football Dick Butkus

Lance Alworth, a wide receiver, was the first AFL player to get into the Hall.
1970 Topps Super Football Lance Alworth

Tommy Nobis is the sole player I got who wasn’t a HOFer, but that gets balanced out by the fact that this card is a short print. Nobis was a linebacker who was the #1 overall draft pick and the first-ever Atlanta Falcon. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler and his #60 was retired by the Falcons.
1970 Topps Super Football Tommy Nobis

Johnny Unitas… is, well, Johnny Unitas. The part that always gets me about his bio is that he was drafted by the Steelers in the 9th round but cut before throwing a pass in a game.
1970 Topps Super Football Johnny Unitas

I was instantly smitten with these oversized and completely unexpected cards, and didn’t hesitate for a second in deciding that these cards were going to be part of my collection… although I honestly don’t see myself working too hard to complete the set. I’d rather work on the Super Baseball sets… And I did get two Super Baseball cards during the COMC Black Friday sale.  I’ll have more about those before too long.

Just to fill in the details before we go, the 1970 Topps Super Football set consists of 35 cards, 7 of which are SP’s. All 26 NFL teams of the day are represented… obviously some have two cards.

Cards From “The Unholy Mess”, Part 2: Hoping For Hostess

Again, we continue the trip through “The Unholy Mess”:  A cheap box of semi-vintage football and baseball commons in complete and utter disarray.

When it became apparent that the bulk of the collection came from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, I thought “Please, please, please let there be Kellogg’s and Hostess cards in here!”

I struck out on the Kellogg’s, but scattered through the countless cards of Beasley Reece and Bob Babcock…
Unholy Mess_0002
…I did manage to find two Hostess cards.  The condition was a bit rough, but I certainly can’t complain about the player selection.

1976 Hostess Willie Stargell
1976 Hostess Willie Stargell
It takes a special skill to look menacing while doing a fakey baseball card pose.  1976 wasn’t a particularly “standout” year for Pops, but he was 36 and still had 20 homers and 65 RBI while the Pirates finished 2nd to the Phillies with a 92-70 record.

1978 Hostess Joe Morgan
1978 Hostess Joe Morgan
Joe was an All-Star in 1978, and the Reds finished 2nd to the Dodgers with a 92-69 record.

I got another 1976 Hostess card that I already had, and found no Kellogg’s… but I more than made up on that with all the 3-D cards I got from COMC on Black Friday (tease, tease).

Cards From “The Unholy Mess”, Part 1: Random Bits Of Joy

A couple of weeks ago I made a purchase that I’ve come to think of as “The Unholy Mess”.  If you took thousands of baseball and football cards, dumped them loose into a large box, put the box into one of those paint-can-shaker machines, and then shipped the box to Kamchatka and back via the most careless and disreputable freight company you can find…

OK, fine, it wasn’t that bad…  But it took a long time to go through all of the cards because I’d have to grab a handful, get them all aligned, then get them all facing the same direction, then…

It’s not hyperbole to say that 98% of The Unholy Mess was made up of Topps baseball and football commons from 1976 to 1984, but scattered through the countless cards of Bucky Dilts and Kurt Bevacqua…
Unholy Mess_0001
…were a few surprises, which is what I’m featuring today.

First off, what red-blooded American boy or girl grew up in the 1970’s without buying these?
1979 Topps Wacky Packages Gyppy Pop
This is from the 1979 Wacky Packages reissue, and the “Gyppy Pop” artwork apparently dates back to 1973.

The Unholy Mess actually had a fair number of Wacky Pack checklist cards, but this was the one and only actual Wacky Pack… I don’t doubt that the rest were put to their intended sticker-y use. Even though it was just the one, I was very excited to find it, and it’ll hold an honored spot in my “Miscellaneous” binder along with 6 other original (or nearly so) Wacky Packs.

Speaking of stickers, I got a few late 1970’s Fleer Grand Slam stickers… For some reason, I’d never seen these in person, much less owned one before. I have no idea how that happened;  at the time I would buy at least one pack of pretty much anything that came in a wax pack and was related to baseball.
1978 Fleer Grand Slam Sticker Phillies
I always thought of this as a Bicentennial Phillies logo, but it was used from 1970 to 1983.

This Tigers sticker has a kinda interesting contrast between old-school logo and 1970’s graphics.
1978 Fleer Grand Slam Sticker Tigers

Even though the vast majority of the box was baseball and football, there were a couple of basketball cards, including this trippy 1974/75 Dwight Lamar.
1974-75 Topps Basketball Dwight Lamar
The San Diego Conquistadors! Red, White & Blue basketball! Tiny 1970’s shorts! Gotta love the ABA.

Bo Lamar was a three-time All-American during his days at Southwestern Louisiana, and played a few years in the ABA & NBA.  With the addition of this card, my basketball collection very nearly fills a 9-pocket sheet.

This last card doesn’t really fit the “surprise” theme of the rest of the post, being that it’s very much like hundreds of other cards in the box. It’s just that I’ve become fascinated with cards which are so badly miscut that they show the printer’s marks at the edges of the sheets.
1983 Topps Gary Woods Miscut
There were a few other cards like this, but you get the idea.

There’s more from the “Unholy Mess” box to come, I’ve got a COMC shipment due any day now, and I recently purchased another large box of cards that I’ve yet to go through… So be prepared for a lot of “Show And Tell” from me in the coming weeks.

And Now For Something Completely Different… REAL Kellogg’s cards

The more I make faux Kellogg’s cards, the more I appreciate the real thing.  Here are two Mets Kellogg’s cards I picked up not long ago.

1982 Kellogg’s Neil Allen

1982 Kellogg's Neil Allen
Neil Allen had most of his success as the Mets’ closer in the early 1980’s. He and Rick Ownbey were traded to St. Louis for Keith Hernandez. Allen has spent the last several years as the pitching coach for the AAA Durham Bulls.

1981 Kellogg’s Steve Henderson

1981 Kellogg's Steve Henderson
Steve Henderson was one of the players the Mets received in the Tom Seaver trade. He was a starting outfielder for a couple of years, and in 1981 was traded to the Cubs for Dave Kingman. He’s currently the hitting coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.

When I was doing my COMC Black Friday shopping I came to the realization that I need better-established priorities. I’m leaning very much towards making the acquisition of every Kellogg’s Met one of my top priorities.  By my reckoning there are 32 such cards and I’m more than halfway there.

I’ve got about 14 Kellogg’s cards coming to me from COMC in the near future, and naturally none of them are Mets… although I am getting 3-D cards of Tom Seaver, Tug McGraw, Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez with other teams.