My Vintage Mantle Collection (Population: 1)

The other day I was glancing at an article about the 1964 Topps Giants set (a particular favorite of mine), and the article mentioned how many HOFers there are in the set. Featured in the article was the Mickey Mantle card; I happened to have that particular card… Here it is in all it’s oversized glory (Please note that there’s more text after the images):

1964 Topps Giant Mickey Mantle
1964 Topps Giant Mickey Mantle back

I spent all of $3 on it (in the 1980’s, but still), and to this day it’s the only Mickey Mantle card I have from his playing days.  Most importantly to me, it’s the first 1964 Topps Giants card I acquired, and the card that got me into a set I love chasing (damn those short prints, though…)

That got me thinking that I really should highlight more of this all-time-favorite oddball set… and then I got the idea of broadening the scope a little and showcasing any vintage cards I have of HOFers.

Now, unlike a number of other bloggers, I am…. um…  fiscally conservative.  OK, fine, I’m cheap.   There aren’t many vintage cards in my collection that you’d see in a glass display case at a card show. Most of my vintage HOFers are either well-loved or oddballs.

Indeed, that’s the whole point of what I intend to make a series… One doesn’t have to have a 1952 Mantle or a 1968 Nolan Ryan to have a collection you enjoy and are proud of.  I’ve been collecting over 40 years, I’ve got one vintage Mantle to my name, and I’m completely cool with that.  It should always be about collecting what you love.

…And in my case, I love the 1964 Topps Giant set, which just happens to include a bunch of HOFers like Mickey Mantle.



2016 TSR: Doubleplusgood

Last night the Seattle Mariners had a Turn Back The Clock Night, and both the M’s and the visiting Cardinals threw back to 1984.

So inspired was I by this event (and so short on time to do anything else) that I’ve decided to devote all of today’s customs towards that particular game.

I’m not sure why the Mariners chose 1984 in particular… The uniforms they were throwing back to were worn from 1981 to 1986, and the M’s finished with a losing record in 1984. As best I can tell, the notable thing about 1984 for the Mariners is that Mark Langston became the first rookie to lead the AL in strikeouts since Herb Score in 1955.

Before we get to the game, let’s have the ceremonial first pitch, thrown out by 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist, figure skater Rosalynn Sumners.
2016 TSR CFP-7 Rosalynn Sumners
Sumners was just barely beaten out by Katerina Witt for the ladies’ singles Gold Medal.

As for the customs… I did a lot of deliberating on which 1984 design to use for these customs. I like 1984 Topps, but it would require both an action shot and a head shot, so that was more trouble than I wanted to go to. 1984 Donruss has it’s appeals, but I didn’t know how much work it would be to get the wavy lines and team name at the bottom.

At any rate, I’ve always liked the less-is-more 1984 Fleer design, so that’s what we’ve got.

2016 TSRchives 84F-1 Nelson Cruz

2016 TSRchives 84F-2 Mike Leake

I really don’t have anything else to say about these, so I’ll just wish everybody a happy Sunday, and I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Contrast And Compare: 1977 Bill Madlock and Darrell Porter

Hello, and welcome back to “Contrast And Compare”, where we take a look at distinct cards of the same player from different but related sets!

…Because I couldn’t think of another way of starting this post without channeling a TV announcer…

Today we’re going to compare two pair of cards from 1977 Topps and 1977 O-Pee-Chee.  In each of the following, I’ll show the Topps card first, followed by the updated OPC.

Four-time batting champion Bill “Mad Dog” Madlock was drafted by the Rangers and traded to the Cubs after the 1973 season as part of the Fergie Jenkins deal.
1977 Topps Bill Madlock

In February, 1977, Madlock was traded to the Giants in a deal that also involved Bobby Murcer. Presumably because of the short notice, the airbrush artist did not do a particularly great job on Madlock.
1977 OPC Bill Madlock

Darrell Porter was drafted by the Brewers and made the All-Star team in 1974.
1977 Topps Darrell Porter

In December, 1976 he was part of a five-player trade between the Brewers and Royals. This is a far better airbrushing job than Madlock got.
1977 OPC Darrell Porter
Porter would play four years with the Royals before crossing the state to join the Cardinals as a free agent. While with the Royals, he’d be an All-Star three straight years… he would never make the all-star team again, although he would be the MVP of the 1982 NLCS and World Series.

Kicking Off The 1992 Frankenset

As many of you know, I experimented with making a “Frankenset” out of my 1994 cards, and the experiment was such a success that I’ve moved on to 1992.

What I’m doing is simple. With the exception of my two team collections (Mets and Orioles), I’m taking all of my 1992 cards from different sets, sorting them by team and player, taking the best base card for each team/player combination and putting that into a “1992 Frankenset” binder. Many of the cards that are not included in my Frankenset will get removed from my collection.

There are many reasons for my going the Frankenset route, but the primary benefits are:

  • I’ve got waaaaaaay too many 1990’s cards, and this gives me a plan of attack, plus motivation, to bring the numbers down.
  • I’ve come to realize that there is no reason to have 5 different cards of Barry Larkin or Craig Grebeck for a given year (No offense intended to Mr. Larkin or Mr. Grebeck).
  • It’s fun to reorganize cards.

I think I’m about halfway through the Frankenset… “think” because every time I think I’m done, I find another batch of cards in some box somewhere.  In the process, a number of cards have caught my eye all over again, and I thought it would be fun to share a few of those.

Back in 1992, the bulk of my pack-buying was Topps and Score; I didn’t bust what was high-end for the time (UD, Stadium Club, Leaf, Ultra), and I didn’t like 1992 Fleer or Donruss . Looking back, 1992 Score ain’t no great shakes either, but there are some good cards like this one…
1992 Score Bill Doran
…not to mention that it’s got a Ryno cameo.

Nothing extra-special about this one, just a nice candid shot.
1992 Topps Casey Candaele

The throwback Reds uni makes this card.
1992 Topps Glenn Braggs

I love any card featuring a manager who’s doing something other than standing around looking managerial.
1992 Topps Jim Leyland

Will Clark gets eye-blacked up before a game.
1992 Upper Deck Will Clark
…And I wonder who that is applying the eyeblack.

Now that I’m done, this almost feels like a a Dime Box post.  I even thought about setting up a poll to let you vote for your favorite common, but I’ve already strayed far enough into Nick’s territory.

2016 TSR: Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Apologies to anyone who noticed my absence from the blogosphere for the past few days… We were “experiencing technical difficulties”, as they used to say in the TV biz, and I had too much going on otherwise to be able to work around the technical difficulties.

I did manage to find my way into cyberspace long enough to bust open a virtual pack of my TSR customs…

2016 TSR wrapper Series Two

James Loney looks a bit odd in a Mets uniform…
2016 TSR #162 - James Loney
…but he’s been playing pretty well since the Mets brought him in while Lucas Duda is on the DL.

In a previous pack I was talking about how the Phillies and Brewers threw back to 1976, but I couldn’t make 1976 customs of everyone I wanted because I only had the 1976 Topps “icons” for a RHP and an OF in my template. Well, I have managed to work a catcher in there… behold!
2016 TSRchives 76T-6 Jonathan Lucroy
Man, I love 1976.

Speaking of the Phillies, rookie Zach Eflin recently added another name to the list of “Pitchin’ Zachs/Zacks/Zacs”
2016 TSR #135 - Zach Eflin
Unfortunately for Eflin – and I have to constantly remind myself that his name is EF-LIN, not ELF-IN, this is not The Lord Of The Rings nor a Keebler cookie ad – he got whacked around in his debut. Eflin was originally a Padres draft pick, but before even sniffing the Majors he was involved in trades for Matt Kemp and Jimmy Rollins.

Last Minute Update #1: I made this custom without realizing that Jim over at The Phillies Room had used the same image for his Chachi custom… I normally avoid using the same image as other custom card makers but like I said, I’ve been MIA for a while.

Time for a first pitch insert…
2016 TSR FP-7 Ziggy Marley
I’ll admit, I don’t have much to say about Ziggy Marley. Five-time Grammy winner… New album, on tour… newborn son, happy Father’s Day to Ziggy!

TSR commemorates Ichiro’s recent double to give him more hits than Pete Rose, if you combine Ichiro’s hits in Japan’s NPB with his MLB hits. While it’s not a record, it is an impressive accomplishment.
2016 TSR #161 - Ichiro Hits Highlight
Even if you dismiss this achievement as meaningless piffle, you can’t take away from Ichiro that he’s rapidly closing in on 3000 Major League hits despite the fact that he was 27 years old as a MLB rookie.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ichiro… I’d probably like him a lot more if he hadn’t spent three years with the Yankees (turns to spit on the ground) and this year and last with the Marlins (turns to spit on the ground again). I will say right here and now that I will be VERY upset if Ichiro doesn’t go into the HOF with a Mariners cap. Three non-all-star years with the Yankees should not affect anything, even if it is the Yankees.

Idle conjecture… I wonder how much merchandise the Marlins sell in Japan….

Another mini! Everbody wants minis!!  …Or so I’ve been told.
2016 TSR mini #3 - Machado

This insert was semi-inspired by a post on 83 Bats from two weeks ago:
2016 TSR PP-3 Stan Papi Big Papi
I’d had the idea a long time ago, the post made me spring into action.  For those unfamiliar with Stan Papi, he was an infielder who played in the 1970’s and early 1980’s and Red Sox fans still can’t believe that the Sox traded Bill “Spaceman” Lee straight up for Papi.

Last Minute Update #2:   I couldn’t resist adding a custom featuring the odd sight of Tim Lincecum pitching for the Angels.
2016 TSR #163 - Tim Lincecum
The Freak pitched well, giving up four hits and a run over 6 innings.

To all of the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!

Show And Tell For June 15, 2016

Time’s been a bit tight lately, so I figured I’d keep it simple, feature a few cards I got and explain why I got them… just a little show & tell session.  …And really, isn’t that what most collectibles blogs are?  A technological update of the elementary school standard.

What I got: 1962 Topps Carl Willey
1962 Topps Carl Willey
Why I got it: I looked at it because it’s cheap vintage, I walked away with it because of Willey’s smile. If Willey had been born a couple of decades later, he’d be an orthodontists’ boat payment. But because of when he was born, he’s got a smile with character.

…Also, Carl Willey pitched for the Mets from 1963 to 1965.

Interesting stuff about Carl Willey:  He lead the NL with four shutouts in his rookie season of 1958.  He also had four shutouts with the 1963 Mets, a team that lost 111 games.

What I got: 1985 Topps Rack Pack Glossy Dave Winfield
1985 Topps Rack Pack Glossy Dave Winfield
Why I got it: a) Nickel box!  b) it’s junk wax now, but it was cool in 1985;   c) I’ve been a baseball fan through most of Winfield’s career, but I swear I appreciate him more now than when he was active.

What I got: 2012 Topps Archives “1968 3D” insert of Nelson Cruz
2012 Topps Archives 1968 3D Nelson Cruz
Why I got it: 3-D! Do I need more than that?

What I got: 2014 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects “Bowman Is Back” Silver Diamond refractor of Michael Conforto.
2014 Bowman DP&P 1989 Silver Diamond Refractor Michael Conforto
Why I got it: I’m not normally much for shiny, but Shane over at Shoebox Legends included a couple of these in PWE’s, and I got hooked. Plus I like Conforto.

What I got: 1965 Topps Bob Tiefenauer
1965 Topps Bob Tiefenauer
Why I got it: This one’s got a bit of a story. I pulled a buyback version of this card a while ago, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I don’t do buybacks, so in some ways a buyback card is a damaged card… but it was also a card I didn’t already have… but as a buyback I knew that someone would appreciate more than I did. I eventually found a better home for the buyback, and then figured that if I didn’t buy a non-bought-back version of the card, I’d mistakenly remember having it and I’d get all screwed up.

Besides, it’s a 1965 card, and it’s got a great cartoon.
1965 Topps Bob Tiefenauer back
Interesting stuff about Bobby Tiefenauer:  He was a knuckleballer who pitched professionally for 21 seasons, including 10 in the majors with the Cardinals, Indians, Milwaukee Braves, Houston Colt .45’s, Yankees and Cubs.  He was traded 7 times and purchased 3 times, pitched in 697 games at the AAA level and is in the International League Hall Of Fame.

That’s it for show and tell, boys and girls, time for a nap. Everybody get your blankets out.

It’s The OTHER Marvell Wynne!

Back when I was a kid, there was a regional chain of discount department stores called Korvettes.  At some point they tried to play against their low-end reputation and position themselves as a fashion destination by advertising “The Other Korvettes”.

The commercials were unbelievably cheesy… but I don’t have to tell you, you can see for yourself:

I remember mocking these commercials as a kid… and how can you not love the “TV  Games department” featuring Pong?

Which is a long way around to today’s subject… For me, “Marvell Wynne” meant the speedy outfielder of the 1980’s who spent time in the Mets’ farm system, and would play for the Pirates, Padres and Cubs…. This guy:
1985 Fleer Marvell Wynne

I was never a Marvell Wynne super-collector, but I like him enough as a player to pick up his cards whenever I come across them.

A little over a year ago I found out about the OTHER Marvell Wynne… Turns out that “Baseball Marvell” has a son also named Marvell who is in his 12th season playing soccer professionally… and he, as I discovered to my delight, has soccer cards!

So naturally, I had to go out and get a few. Here are the beginnings of my Marvell Wynne soccer collection.

This first card seems to be Soccer Marvell’s rookie card;  it’s a 2006 Upper Deck MLS card.
2006 Upper Deck MLS Marvell Wynne
He was taken first overall in the 2006 MLS “SuperDraft” by the MetroStars team that was about to rebrand as the New York Red Bulls.

After one game with the Red Bulls in 2007, Marvell was off to Toronto FC.  As his MLS bio is unhelpful and there’s no such website as “”, I have to rely on Wikipedia, which says he was traded to Toronto for a draft pick and “a partial allocation”.  No idea what the latter part means.

His 2007 Upper Deck card shows him with Toronto…
2007 Upper Deck MLS Marvell Wynne
…But makes no mention of how he got there…  So we’ll have to take Wikipedia at their word (something I don’t usually like to do without corroboration).

For the 2010 season, Marvell found himself in Denver playing for the Colorado Rapids, and they would win the MLS championship in his first year.

This next card is a 2014 Topps MLS card, and appears to be his most recent card.
2014 Topps MLS Marvell Wynne

After the 2014 season, Colorado declined Wynne’s contract option, and he was selected in the MLS re-entry draft. He was selected the San Jose Earthquakes and is currently in his second season with that team.

San Jose? Hmm, who do we know in San Jose? Seems like somebody needs to go check him out…

So my soccer collection is growing by leaps and bounds… relatively speaking, anyway. 30 cards now, plus 33 stickers. That being said, I promise to spare you from more of my soccer collection for a while.


Over the weekend we got a new lowest print run for Topps Now!

Card #141 for Edwin Encarnacion’s walk-off homer against the Orioles sold only 207 cards, getting Evan Gattis off the hook for having the prior lowest print run (212).