Adventures At A Postcard Show

About a month ago I found out about a postcard show that would be happening in a town that’s just close enough to be within “What the heck” driving limits. Now I don’t collect postcards, but I thought it might be fun to see what a show was like and I figured I was bound to find something I liked, so I devoted part of this past Saturday afternoon to the quest.

When I walked into the show, it was simultaneously familiar and strange. Like a sports collectibles show, there were numerous folding tables covered with boxes… but that’s where the familiarity ended. I walked up to one of the tables and realized I had no idea of where to start.

After wandering around a while, I found out that most of the dealers had their inventory in two major categories: Location (i.e. “Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ”) and Topic. For the most part, “Topic” is what I focused on. Topics included all sorts of subjects like Flowers, Holidays, Toys, Fire Trucks, Cats, Jokes, Nudes, Celebrities, Restaurants, Presidents, Lighthouses and so forth.

As you would expect, I started out looking for baseball-related postcards. Most of the dealers had cards which featured players – the yellow-bordered Baseball Hall Of Fame postcards were pretty common across the show. There were also a fair number of mid-1980’s TCMA postcards of Mets and Yankees, but I didn’t need any of the Mets and I didn’t want any of the Yankees (I did consider a Willie Randolph postcard, but it was a little more than I’d wanted to spend).

There were also postcards featuring ballparks, but I didn’t see any that I wanted.

About halfway through my time at the show… more or less coinciding with the point where my eyes stopped glazing over… I realized that there were other things I could be looking for.

First off was postcards of Long Island, NY… the “stomping grounds” for much of my first 30 years. I couldn’t resist buying this postcard of Roslyn, a town which isn’t terribly far from the Queens border…

…I’ve yet to figure out when this postcard is from, but I’m pretty confident that Rosyln has never looked even remotely like this during my 52 years on this Earth.

The second potential Topic was the 1964 New York World’s Fair… Not so much the fair itself but some of the structures which have fascinated me since I was a child and looking at them passing by while we drove on the Grand Central Parkway on the way to visit family.  For instance, I’ve always loved the Unisphere (as depicted on this Topps Heritage card)…

…but there’s also the Port Authority heliport (currently Terrace On The Park) and the New York State Pavilion (part of which was the “escape vehicle” in the movie “Men In Black”). Unfortunately most of the Worlds Fair postcards I found were of pavilions which didn’t remain after the end of the World’s Fair.

I also found some dealers with “Winter Sports” sections, which I scanned for hockey and curling postcards. I came up empty on curling, but I did find a couple of interesting WHA postcards, but they were kind of expensive, featured players I didn’t know and they didn’t really fit into my collection other than being “neat”.

So what did I buy, other than the Roslyn postcard I already showed you?

Well, I found one dealer who had Cleveland Indians postcards from 1974 and 1975. I bought these two because I really like the uniforms of the time… I started following baseball in 1974 so in my mind the uniforms the Indians wore at that time are the best Indians uniforms ever… Especially the red jerseys.

I was mildly surprised to find out that the Trading Card DB had information on these postcards, but I’m learning that I shouldn’t doubt the mighty tradingcarddb.com. This Jackie Brown postcard and the following postcard are both from the 1975 Cleveland Indians Update set, which also features the “rookie postcard” of Dennis Eckersley. Not surprisingly, I didn’t run across Eck in this box of $1 postcards.

Even if it weren’t for the uniforms, I just love this postcard of pitcher Eric Raich (who I just barely remembered from his 1976 and 1977 Topps cards)…

It’s got a Norman Rockwell-ish vibe about it, especially with the youth of Ohio in the background (Boys who are clearly interested in players who are not Eric Raich… Maybe he’d already signed for them).

One last Indians postcaard, this one from the 1974 team-issued set and featuring George Hendrick:

The final postcard I bought was this 1971 New York Yankees postcard which fills a spot in my modest Fritz Peterson collection.

This is from the 1971 New York Yankees Clinic Day postcard set, and the back features more information than the others, so I’ll share the back from this one:

…actually this gives me opportunity to mention something I thought was interesting… you can see in the upper right that there’s a price and some form of identifying number written there in pencil (more lightly than it looks in my scan).  If one did this on a baseball card, you’ve just shot the value to hell, but apparently it’s not completely out of the question in postcard circles, although you’d think they wouldn’t do it on the really valuable ones.

On the whole, the postcard show was fun. It was *different*. I have not been drawn into the world of postcard collecting as a result, but I’ll strongly consider going to this show when it rolls around again next November. At least then I’d have a better idea of what I’m looking for.

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Random Team Review: 1975 Topps Milwaukee Brewers

This post is one of those times I put my thumb on the randomizer’s scale; I wanted to do a 1975 Topps team set, but the choice of team was random.

The 1975 Milwaukee Brewers finished the season with a 68-94 record, which put them in 5th in the American League East… 28 games behind the Red Sox.

Manager Del Crandall was fired before the final game of the season, and rumors were flying that Hank Aaron would be the new manager.  As it turned out, the Brew Crew would be managed by Alex Grammas in 1976, and the team wasn’t any better under him.

Before we get off the team card, I want to show the back of this card, which was dutifully checked-off by me back in 1975.

That’s what you do with checklists… You check them (or color in the squares in my case).

I’m going to get the two most obvious cards out of the way from the start…

Best Rookie card
Duh.

I’m working on two of these “Random Team” posts simultanously.  The other team has a rough choice of rookie cards.  Not the case with this set.

Robin Yount – who I should point out didn’t turn 20 years old until September, 1975 –  batted .267 with 67 runs, 52 RBI and 28 doubles.

Most Notable Airbrushing
Another “Duh”.

41-year-old Hank Aaron returned to Milwaukee to hit just 12 homers in 1975, his career-lowest for a season with at least 500 PA’s.  He’d also be an All-Star for the 25th and final time (He did play in 1976 but didn’t make the All-Star team).

Best Offensive Player;  Best On-Field Photo

In 1975 George “Boomer” Scott was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and lead the AL with 36 homers and 109 RBI.

Top Pitcher (shown on a card with the Brewers)

Jim Colborn went 11-13, 4.27 with 2 saves in 29 starts and 7 relief appearances.

Top Player pictured with another team:

Pete Broberg had the best record and ERA of anyone in the starting rotation.  He had been acquired in a trade at the 1974 Winter Meetings, and went 14-16, 4.13 with 7 complete games and 2 shutouts.  He also was tops in the American League by hitting 16 batters.

Best Name;  Best Nickname
Stormin’ Gorman Thomas

I should point out that Stormin’ Gorman wouldn’t stand a chance in the “Best Name” competition if Lafayette Currence, a pitcher who made 8 appearances in 1975, was included in 1975 Topps… Let’s not forget Sixto Lezcano, who was a regular in 1975 but whose rookie card was in 1976 Topps.

Best Cartoon

Most Obvious Hint For A Trivia Question

Card With The Most Personal Significance
As I’ve mentioned here before, back in 1975 or possibly 1976, this Ed Sprague was the final card I needed for my 1975 Topps set.

Custom Card Sunday: Going Non-Sports With Two Cars And A Truck

I don’t often publish non-sport customs, but it’s been known to happen. Several factors have recently combined to inspire me to make a few customs in a genre which has a small but valued part in my collection – automotive cards.

There are some new vehicles on the road which have caught my eye, and… well, I’ll be frank about it…  with me starting my 7th year of blogging, I’m less likely to worry about how many people will be interested in something I post.

So, anyway… I’ve been playing with customs like this for several years now, mostly for my own enjoyment  I like the latest batch enough that I figured I’d throw them out here and see if anyone else likes them.  I could be persuaded to post more if there’s any interest.

This first custom is based on a truck that manages to be sexy, but I have to admit, it looks a lot nicer in person than in photos… That’s the International LoneStar.  I saw one of these a couple of years ago and it made me want to get my CDL and become a truck driver.

I haven’t seen very many of these in my part of the country, but I could see these being used by someone who is hauling equipment for a concert or race team… something where you want to be flashy while hauling stuff.

I’ve owned six cars over the past 32 years, and they divide equally into two periods:  Before and after “The 5th Door”.  However, I also like driving cars – I’ve never felt comfortable sitting up high – so my 5th door isn’t on a SUV, crossover or minivan.  I like the very things which are anathema to Americans:  Wagons and hatchbacks.

Anytime I see a new vehicle that fits into these two categories, I always check it out even if it’s beyond my financial capabilities… Such as this beauty…

“Sportbrake” is a variation of “Shooting Brake”;  It’s hard to find a decent 21st century definition of what a Shooting Brake is, but in my mind it’s “a sports coupe or sedan with cargo space in the back”.

This final one was actually the first one I did, and if I continue with this series it’s one I’m likely to re-do.  I saw an Alfa Romeo Giulia in a parking lot a couple of weeks ago, and it made me silently thank the people at Alfa Romeo for making the decision to enter the U.S. car market again.

Now that I’ve finished this first batch of customs, it sort of re-emphasizes what made me want to make them in the first place… If a set like this popped up in the card aisle at Target, I’d definitely buy at least a blaster and could see myself chasing a set. (Hint, hint, Topps, Panini and Upper Deck)

Forgotten Franchises: The ABA’s San Diego Conquistadors / Sails

Going into the 1972-73 season the ABA had two teams fold, so to keep the league with 10 teams the league expanded for the first and only time.  The expansion team was granted to San Diego (which had lost the Rockets to Houston), and that team was called the Conquistadors, or “Q’s” for short.

For the first season the team was coached by K.C. Jones, who would go on to lead the Celtics to two championships and also make the Hall Of Fame as a player.  The team was expected to be horrible, but surprised by being on the low side of mediocre, finishing with a 30-54 record and squeaking into the playoffs.  They got swept by the Utah Stars in the first round.

For their second season, the ownership made a big splash by signing Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain to be their player/coach.  However, a Lakers lawsuit prevented Chamberlain from suiting up, so he remained solely the coach of the Q’s.

1974-75 Topps - [Base] #250 - Wilt Chamberlain - Courtesy of COMC.com

1974-75 Topps – [Base] #250 – Wilt Chamberlain – Courtesy of COMC.com

Wilt’s heart didn’t seem to be in it as solely a coach, so he was one-and-done with the Q’s.  The team did make their second and final playoff appearance, and once again lost to Utah in the first round, but this time they took it to 6 games.

The third season saw two new coaches come and go and ended with a 31-53 record.

After the third season, the team was sold and the name was changed to the San Diego Sails, complete with new colors, new uniforms and mostly new players.

The team made a go of it, but struggled out of the gate, and it also became apparent that the team would never be allowed to join the NBA to compete against the Lakers in southern California.  On 11/12/75 the plug was pulled and the San Diego Sails folded, the second of three ABA teams to fold during that final ABA season.

Post-Mortem
The NBA’s Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego in 1978 and became the San Diego Clippers. That Clippers team lasted just six seasons before moving north in 1984 to become the Los Angeles Clippers. San Diego has not had an NBA team since.

Featured Cards

Red Robbins was a career ABA guy, having played in 8 seasons with 5 teams, being named All-ABA twice, and winning a league championship with the 1970-71 Utah Stars.

Travis Grant was a 1st round (13th overall) draft pick of the Lakers in 1972.  Early in his second season he was dropped by the Lakers and jumped over to the Q’s.  He’d also play in the ABA for the Kentucky Colonels and Indiana Pacers.

George Adams played in all three seasons that the team was the Conquistadors, but despite what the card says, he didn’t play for the San Diego Sails.

Other notable players
Billy Shepherd – dangerous 3-point shot guy
Chuck Williams – 2nd in the ABA in 1972/73 in Assists
Caldwell Jones – 3rd in the ABA in 1973/74 in Rebounds
Dwight “Bo” Lamar – All-Rookie for the Q’s in 1973/74, would play a season with the Lakers

Subverted Homework Assignment: My Top 25 Cardboard “Values”

I’m not talking about values like you’d find in a copy of Beckett, but a different kind of values…

Recently at work we were invited to (read: “expected to attend”) a meeting which gave an overview of a new “financial wellness” benefit we have. To my surprise, the meeting was interesting and gave us some things to think about, along with some homework we could do if we wanted to move forward with the program.

One of these assignments seemed interesting enough for the intended purpose: Write down 25 values you hold and then when you’ve finished, compare those values against how you spend your money.  By making the list 25 deep one has to get past the obvious stuff and give it some thought and consideration, and by comparing it against your spending habits you can get a better feel for whether you put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

I don’t mean to slight this task, but it occurred to me that it could be fun to apply it to our hobby:  What makes a card something I want and would value?

To make it a little more value-ish and less want list-y, I decided to leave out anything about cards which feature particular players, teams or sets.  I thought listing 25 things would be a challenge, but once I started rolling it got easier.

…And so, more or less in the order they popped into my head:

1 – Cards which feature cameo appearances of teams/players I collect…. This card of Glen Sharpley features Dennis Maruk and his awesome Fu Manchu, but nearly any 1970’s Capital would’ve done the trick.

2 – Goofy poses and/or situations

3 – Original Yankee Stadium;  it’s funny how a lifelong Mets fan can be fascinated by the original home of a team I regard with the utmost of disdain, but I just love seeing The House That Ruth Built in the background… and it doesn’t need to be a baseball card.

4 – Appealing uniforms from before I became a fan

5 – Cars and trucks and trains and planes and spaceships (I would say “machines which move”, except I’m not a boat/ship person for some reason)

6 – The Third Dimension (or a reasonable facsimile thereof)

7 – A colorful “less-is-more” design; Panini designers (who tend to overdo things) should take note that 1975 baseball’s design is classic, but is essentially two slabs of color, a drop-shadow team name and a little baseball icon.

8 – Photography in the artistic sense

9 – A player with a great name

10 – A player with memorable features

11 – Goofy cartoons

12 – Well-done paintings

13 – “International Delight”;  it started with Japanese baseball cards, but now I find myself fascinated with cards from many countries featuring many sports.

14 – What I liked as an 11-year-old;  And if you don’t like this card, then “Up your nose with a rubber hose!  Twice as far with a chocolate bar!”

15 – Cards featuring teams which were brand new at the time

16 – Cards featuring short-lived teams…  especially my beloved Seattle Pilots

17 – Oversized cards

18 – Cards Mrs. Shlabotnik will enjoy; Usually that’s Cal Ripken or Brian Roberts, her two favorite players, but it can also mean cards representing the Beatles, The Monkees or R.E.M.

19 – Cards used for baseball simulation games (even though I rarely use them for their intended gaming purposes)

20 – Players in unfamiliar uniforms (and, in this case, with unfamiliar haircuts)

21 – Vintage cards featuring players who would go on to become the managers of my formative years

22 – Anything involving the sport of Curling

23 – Players I saw as minor leaguers or in college

24 – Teams which existed when I was a kid, but no longer do

25 – 1970’s action shots

I could go on, but I think 25 is more than enough.

…But before I go…

I would like to thank each and every one of you for reading and commenting and generally being my card-collecting buddies — something I didn’t really have between my pre-teen years and my starting this blog. Today is the SIXTH anniversary of The Shlabotnik Report, and I just want you to know I appreciate all of you for making it so much fun. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EVERYBODY!

Custom Card Sunday: Former Oriole Makes His Mark In Japan

The customs are all over the place today… Sometimes that’s the best place to be.

Former Oriole, Brewer and Astro Dennis Sarfate was named the MVP of the Japan Series (the NPB equivalent of the World Series) by picking up two saves and pitching three scoreless innings to get the win in an extra-inning, series-clinching Game 6 for the SoftBank Hawks against the DeNA BayStars.

Sarfate had a season to remember, because he also set an NPB record with 54 saves during the regular season as well as the career saves record for a non-Japanese pitcher.

Meanwhile, back in the States…

A number of managerial press conferences have been held lately, and as a result we’ve got more of my “Hot Stove” customs coming your way, including this one based on 1963 Post Baseball.

For those who might be wondering, the “3-D” customs will be coming once players start moving around, and the design to be used for this offseason’s customs is from 1972 Kellogg’s.

We’ll wrap things up with another sheet of U-KNOW-M stamps… You’ll love ’em because U-KNOW-M!

I’m sure by now most of you have seen the clip of Carlos Correa proposing to his girlfriend Daniella Rodriguez during the World Series post-game show.  It was fun to watch when it happened (I’d fallen asleep on the couch, woke up for the last out and watched some of the post-game), but I was not prepared for the coverage it got the next morning.  Good thing she said “Yes”.

Although I’d never seen him perform, it seemed like Myron Noodleman had been everywhere during any given minor league season… So I was sad to see that he recently passed away from an aggressive form of cancer.  Noodleman was named the “Clown Prince Of Baseball” in 2004 and will be missed.

A certain person who has been in the news lately has indirectly made me think of George Harrison’s cameo in Monty Python’s Life Of Brian. George, who stepped in at the last minute to underwrite the film under his newly-created HandMade Films production company, appears very briefly as “Mr. Papadopoulos”, and his one spoken word, “Hullo”, was actually overdubbed later on by Michael Palin.

When I was a kid I bought a remaindered album called “Dick Clark’s 20 Years Of Rock ‘N’ Roll”. The 20 years in question were from 1953 to 1972, and that two LP set was my introduction to musical acts like Carl Perkins, Brenda Lee, Dion and the Belmonts and Fats Domino.  The song featured on that album was “I’m Walking”, which remains a favvorite of mine, but Fats was also known for “Ain’t That A Shame?”, “Whole Lotta Loving”, and, of course, “Blueberry Hill”.  He was an inaugural member of the Rock Hall Of Fame, and recently passed away at the age of 89.

Maybe These Will Help Me Keep A Schedule

Another day with nothing prepared…  Business as usual for me.  I went poking through some of my scans and ran across a bunch of pocket schedules from the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and figured that could make a quick, fun post.

We’ll start off with the most recent of the bunch, a 1990 Mets pocket schedule featuring Howard Johnson

This next one’s got a bit of history to it, and is about as old-school and low-budget as you get. This schedule is for the AAA American Association Denver Zephyrs in their last season before the Colorado Rockies came in to Mile High and sent the Zephyrs to New Orleans.

Despite the schedule’s red ink, the team’s colors were blue and green, and they played up the “Z” aspect of their branding (Look at the stitching on the baseball in the logo).

The American Association got merged into the Pacific Coast League and International League, and the franchise is now known as the (shudder) New Orleans Baby Cakes.

The Philadelphia Flyers tried to recruit me in 1983/84. I continue to elude the authorities.

That’s Bobby Clarke towards the end of his playing career.

Looking back at Dwight Gooden’s 1985 Cy Young-winning stats is enough to make one say “Holy crap!”

24-4, 1.53 ERA, 16 complete games, 8 shutouts, 268 K’s… and he was 20 years old.

1986 Yankees… BOOOOOOO!  The schedule says “Follow The Leaders”, which looks a bit silly in hindsight given that the 1986 Yankees finished 5.5 games behind the Red Sox, and the 1986 Mets were WORLD CHAMPIONS, BABY!

If you can’t read the fine print, the depicted Yankees are Ricky Henderson, Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly.

This last schedule is a two-in-one 1988/89 New York Rangers and Knicks pocket schedule.  I think the Ranger is James Patrick (Help me out, Blueshirts fans)

The Knick cover boy is Brooklyn product and St. John’s alum Mark Jackson… at least, that’s who wore #13 at the time according to a couple of different sources.  Never having been a basketball fan, I’m only barely aware of the name.

Have a happy Friday, everybody!