Belated Gratitude: Cards From “Dime Boxes”

Yesterday I dumped out a bottle of seltzer from the fridge.  Y’see, I had this idea that I’d try to replace at least part of my soda habit with some seltzer flavored with lemon juice or some such… but I put it off enough that it fell through the many cracks in my brain.  Yesterday the bottle re-entered my awareness, I looked at the bottle and found that the “Best By” date was from 2017.

Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time with this blog (and most other things in my life) jumping to my next idea before I’d finished the previous ones.  One result of this is that I’ve got a big ol’ backlog of gratitude towards my trading buddies.  Like the countless emails in my inbox, the only way to deal with it is to just get started and stick with it a bit.  I promise I won’t dump a constant stream of “Thank you for these cards from 2 years ago” posts, I’ll spread them around a bit.

So this post is for a number of cards sent to me by Nick of the Dime Boxes blog.  I got these cards six months ago, scanned them and then… I don’t know.  My life needs simplifying, that’s all I can say.

One thing which hadn’t occurred to me until I got this 2001 Topps American Pie card of Bobby Grich:  One doesn’t see American Pie cards out in the wild much.  I thought this was just a matter of perception until I wanted to find out what year this card was from and searched COMC for “American Pie Grich” and came up EMPTY… even when I included sold-out cards.  Is it possible that this card has *never* been sold on COMC?

I didn’t buy a whole lot of American Pie back in 2001, and a big part of that was this awful, fugly design.  Like the “Ted Williams Card Company” products that preceded it by a few years, the concept was good, but the execution was… um… questionable.  Still, I can’t help but love the photo here, even if it’s just your typical posed Topps shot.

I’m thinking this photo might be from the same photo session as the image on Grich’s 1972 card (which, sadly, I don’t have scanned otherwise I’d include it here).  The photo is definitely from between 1970 and 1972, as Grich started wearing #3 in 1973… plus that’s the original Yankee Stadium scoreboard in the background, which puts this photo as no later than 1973… But I’m going with 1971, maybe 1970.

These 2001 Upper Deck Legends Of New York cards can be a little overdone as well, especially the felt-like logos.  I can look past it for a photo of a young Ed Kranepool.

I normally don’t go for sparkly Bowman inserts, but…

I’ve been gradually accumulating these 2014 Bowman Platinum “Bowman Is Back” inserts, mainly because I really liked the 1989 Bowman cards these are paying tribute to, and also because there aren’t any “non-shiny” versions of these cards.

BTW, the blue tint comes from my scanner, the card doesn’t look like this in-hand.

I completed the 1975 Topps set back in 1975, but I was happy to get this Rusty Staub, because it’s actually a 1975 Topps Mini!

Since I’m not a huge parallel guy, I only have a couple of these as a novelty… but lately… well, there’s a story for another day, but to summarize:  The Yount and Brett rookies keep me from thinking about completing a Mini set to go with my regular set (and my mini wrapper), but I’ve become open to having more than just a couple of representative samples.

Late 1990’s Pacific Crown Collection cards can be gaudy with all the foil, but like the American Pie cards I don’t seem to run across these very often, and that makes them kinda cool.

I’ll wrap up with a vintage Orioles card…  I have to admit, before trading with my fellow collectors, I didn’t make much of a priority of collecting vintage Orioles.  Although I’ve been a baseball fan since 1974, I didn’t become an Orioles fan until I started dating Mrs. Shlabotnik in the mid-1990’s… and *she* wasn’t an Orioles fan before 1983.

However, when my tradin’ buddies started to send me vintage O’s, I welcomed them into my collection and it got me thinking about chasing after certain team sets and at least accumulating cards from other sets.

And that brings us to Frank Bertaina’s 1965 Topps Rookie card.

Since this is a 1965 card and I love the backs of these cards more than any other card set, I will show the back of this card (even though the cartoon isn’t one of the better one’s you’ll find)

And then I tried to find out more about Frank Bertaina.  I looked at his card backs, and this card mentions Frank pitching a one-hitter during a September 1964 pennant race…

…And pardon me while I go down a quick rabbit hole. I didn’t recall any stories about the Orioles in a 1964 pennant chase, so I looked… The Yankees won the pennant that year, but the White Sox were just a game behind and the Orioles finished two games behind. Wowzers! I knew the Yankees lost to the Cardinals that year, so I wondered if the Cardinals were better-rested going into the Fall Classic.  I looked at the NL standings… and the Reds and Phillies finished one game behind the Cardinals, plus the Giants finished just three games behind. ZOINKS! That must’ve been a hell of a season!

…FWIW, my Mets lost 109 games and finished 40 games behind St. Louis. Hee hee…

End of rabbit hole

Looking at other card backs for Bertaina just shed light on the fact that he and Mike Epstein were traded to the Senators for two-time All-Star Pete Richert… oh, and that even though Bertaina pitched for the Orioles in 1966 and 1969, he didn’t pitch in either World Series.

So I looked at his Baseball Reference Bullpen page, and it talked about his five seasons with the AAA Rochester Red Wings, how he lead the International League in strikeouts and is a member of the Red Wings Hall of Fame. OK, that’s pretty telling in and of itself.

I was about to give up on finding anything else of interest when I noticed his nickname on his Baseball Reference page: “Toys In The Attic”. Teammate Moe Drabowsky apparently gave him this nickname because of Bertaina’s eccentricities, although I couldn’t find any specific examples, only many sources (including card bloggers) repeating the fact that Moe Drabowsky gave him this nickname.

Before I get off this 1965 card, I said “Oh, maybe I should chase the 1965 Orioles team set… it’s before Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson, and I’ve already got fan-favorite Boog Powell plus HOFer Robin Roberts, so maybe it’s just Brooks and High Numbers? So I looked at the key cards… and I forgot HOF Luis Aparicio PLUS Brooks is featured on the AL RBI Leaders card which also includes Harmon Killebrew (ow) and Mickey Mantle (OUCH!). Brooks also appears on the Batting Leaders card which features Tony Oliva… and Boog Powell appears on the Home Run Leaders card which features Mantle (OUCH again). So a team set is achievable within my budget… but it would hurt to pay a “Mantle Tax” on those leaders cards.

BEFORE I GO… A big THANK YOU to Nick for these (and many other) cards! The six month lag time does not reflect my gratitude for your generosity!

3 thoughts on “Belated Gratitude: Cards From “Dime Boxes”

  1. I’ve been months behind in trade posts (including a few different mailings from you!) ever since I revived my blog after a brief hiatus…three years ago. You’re preaching to the choir here! Glad that Frank “Toys in the Attic” Bertaina led to yet another rabbit hole!

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