About The Shlabotnik Report

I've been collecting baseball cards since 1974, and I'm on a quest to rediscover the collection hidden within my accumulation.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Dave Bristol to Jack Brohamer

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


1970 Topps #556

Dave Bristol managed the Reds in 1969 and was hired by the Seattle Pilots to replace original manager Joe Schultz… however, the team became the Milwaukee Brewers after 1970 Spring Training… meaning that this guy on a Seattle Pilots card never officially managed the Pilots.

Managed 1966 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Braves, Giants

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Cincinnati Reds HOF after managing them to a winning record from 1966 to 1969 and sowing the seeds for the Big Red Machine of the 1970’s;  Also managed the Brewers (1970-1972), Braves (1976-1977) and Giants (1979-1980)

Fun Stuff:
Dave Bristol was born in Bristol, GA and was 33 when he got his first MLB managing job; He was replaced by notable managers three times: Sparky Anderson (Reds), Bobby Cox (Braves) and Frank Robinson (Giants)… Technically he was also replaced by Braves owner Ted Turner who named himself the team’s manager before Commissioner Bowie Kuhn told Turner to knock it off.

Card Stuff:
After appearing in 1973 and 1974 Topps as one of Gene Mauch’s coaches with the Expos, Bristol appeared on four team cards with the little thumbnail manager inserts.

Editorial Comment:
For a guy who never finished higher than 3rd and who never had a winning team after his four years with the Reds, Dave got around.


1976 Topps #39

Played 1971 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Senators, Rangers, Brewers, Cubs, A’s

1970’s Highlights:
Broberg went straight from Dartmouth to the Senators and didn’t pitch in the minors until his third pro season; After the Senators moved to Texas, Broberg got the Rangers’ first win and, in his next start, first shutout;  Broberg had the most wins and lowest ERA on the 1975 Brewers; Twice lead the league in hit batters

Fun Stuff:
Was taken by the Mariners in the 1976 expansion draft, but was traded to the Cubs before pitching for the M’s…

Bonus Card:
…and because he never played for the Mariners, he appeared in 1977 Topps, O-Pee-Chee and Hostess with an airbrushed cap he never actually wore.

1977 Topps #409 and 1977 O-Pee-Chee #55


1976 Topps #10

Played 1961 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Cardinals

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1985 and was the 20th HOFer inducted on the first ballot;  Became the Major League career and single-season stolen base king  – both MLB records were broken by Rickey Henderson, but Brock still holds both National League records;  His #20 was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals;  Six-time All-Star;  Became the first player to steal 50 bases and hit 20 homers (1967);  Played in three World Series and batted .391 (34 for 87) over his World Series career

1970’s Highlights:
Named the Sporting News and Baseball Digest NL Player of the Year in 1974, the year he broke Maury Wills’ record by stealing 118 bases… He also got 8 first place votes in NL MVP voting, but Steve Garvey won the award;  Got his 3000th hit in 1979 off of the Cubs’ Dennis Lamp;  Was the starting left fielder for the 1975 National League All-Stars;  Named the 1979 NL Comeback Player of the Year;  Hit for the cycle on May 27, 1975

Fun Stuff:
Owns the patent for the “Brockabrella” umbrella hat, as seen on Jay Johnstone’s 1984 Fleer card

Card Stuff:
The featured card is a strong contender for “Top 100 cards of the 1970s”

It’s time to play NAME THAT PIRATE!
Seriously… Does anybody know who that Pirates infielder is behind Brock? Because I’m stumped.


1973 Topps #181

Played 1972 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Indians, White Sox, Red Sox

1970’s Highlights:
After his 1972 rookie season he was named to both the Topps and Baseball Digest All-Star Rookie teams;  Hit his first two career homers off of future HOFer Bert Blyleven in consecutive innings on June 9, 1972;  Hit for cycle vs Mariners on 9/24/77; Involved in two triple plays: vs Brewers 9/3/73 and vs. Rangers 7/28/79

Fun Stuff:
The cartoon on his 1973 card says he “Builds engines for oil well pumps”

Card Stuff:
Looks like the Orioles’ Bobby Grich is attempting to tag Brohamer on this card


I hadn’t heard “Bristol Stomp” by the Dovells in many, many years, but it popped into my head after writing about Dave Bristol.

Another Batch Of Goodness From Shoebox Legends

I recently received a padded envelope from Shane over at Shoebox Legends… Many of the cards were candidates for my “Dead Parrot” series and will show up there before long;  however Shane also included some great cards that I wanted to share as well.

2009 Upper Deck was the last licensed baseball set they made, and it was a nice one. I’ve always liked this understated design, and seeing Brian Roberts turn two while Raul Ibanez slides into second certainly doesn’t hurt the appeal of this card.

While idly pondering this card, I had a idea for a custom card design… Basically a mash-up of 2009 UD, 1961 Topps and 1959 Bazooka. You’ll be seeing more of this idea whenever there’s enough baseball going on for me to make 2020 custom cards.

Here’s another nice design in the “less is more” school, it’s an insert into 1992 Score: “90’s Impact Players”.

This makes me a little sad in a way, because it reminds me that there was a time when I enjoyed insert cards. Now there are so many uninspired inserts that most of it seems like clutter.

Here’s another fun insert – I think this was an insert, anyway. 1994 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice “Home Run All-Stars” complete with hologram (which scanned pretty well).

This 1995 Studio card of Jeffrey Hammonds reminds me of a line from the TV show M*A*S*H.

In whatever episode it was, Hawkeye hands a wine glass to a woman who takes a sip and says “I love wine… What is this?” That was kind of the reaction I had in 1995 to the new Studio set. I’d enjoyed Studio from 1991 to 1994, and then this credit card set came out. I know a lot of you love this set, but I look at it and see a card where two-thirds of the front is design with the player pushed off to the side.  It’s a clever idea and would’ve been a fun insert, but a bit much as a base set.

But you know what? I was pissed-off in 1995 after the lost 1994 World Series and the only new cards I bought that year was a hand-collated set of 1995 Topps… So appreciated or not, I do need this card for my Orioles collection. Besides, it’s not my favorite, but it’s not 1995 Fleer either (insert obligatory shudder here).

Quick hockey break… My vintage hockey chases don’t gain much traction these days because vintage hockey is in short supply where I live (even at the big regional show I go to). Then I see two cards I need from 1978 Topps and I say “Oh, that’s right… I am working on that set, aren’t I?”

These cards are not objectively great, but they’re from a set I ripped packs of back in the day, so they make me smile.

Gotta tell you, there are days when I think I should get rid of most of my cards from around 1990 and forward and just chase after 1970’s cards of any sport (or non-sport). Those impulses don’t last long, however (just in case someone was thinking that they finally found a trading partner for that vending case of 1973 Donruss “The Osmonds” cards they have).

By the way, if anybody finds out that I’m collecting Osmonds cards, please interpret that as a cry for help. “Someone help me! Help me! Help me pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!” (A little Osmond Brothers joke there… )

Here’s a 1996 Fleer insert I don’t remember: “Tomorrow’s Legends” featuring a Mets pitcher who, sadly, didn’t become a legend due to injuries: Jason Isringhausen. Izzy wasn’t the HOFer that Mets fans dreamed on, but he did have a good career as a reliever.

There’s a lot going on here, isn’t there?

Who remembers 1997 Pacific Crown Collection? Who remembers Rocky Coppinger?

Rocky had a decent season in 1996, going 10-6 in 23 games. He finished a distant fourth in Rookie of the Year voting to (mentally switch my voice over to a sneer now) Jeter.

I didn’t notice until just now that the ornate and gaudy Crown Collection design includes the year “1997” in the lower left corner. These cards are kinda much, but I like them because they’re Pacific. To me, Pacific has that sort of 1984 Donruss “You don’t see them much” appeal.

2001 Topps Stars! Delino Deshields! Delino Deshields SENIOR!

Even though I was actively following the O’s at the time, I never think of the Orioles when I think of Delino Deshields. Funny, that.

Another forward-looking insert, 2006 Upper Deck “World Future Stars” card of Shlabotnik favorite Koji Uehara.

Because of my teenaged fascination with Japanese baseball, I at one point collected any Japanese player who came over to play in the Majors… but then there were just too many of them (and too many cards), so I abandoned that theme. I’ve always been a fan of Koji, though.

Another quick hockey break… Shane sent a bunch of cards from 1995-96 Leaf Hockey, most of which were Dead Parrots but there were also some Capitals from back when I used to follow the Caps, including defenseman Sergei Gonchar.

This is a pretty nice looking card, and thankfully it features the original Capitals uniform and not those blue, black and bronze monstrosities they started wearing in 1995. Looking back, 1995 was not a good year aesthetically.

As sort of a palate-cleanser before I get to the two biggies, I had to share something.  I would guess that Shane probably did what a lot of people do, which is to maintain a stack of cards (literal or otherwise) and just add to it as he comes across cards that might be of interest to his trading partners.  Well, these were scattered through the cards he sent, but Shane – inadvertently, I’m sure – “Bipped” me!

All three of these are from the “Rookie Sensations” insert to 1997 Fleer.

To make it absolutely clear, I thought this was really funny.  Maybe I’ll become an Ochoa power collector.

OK, now on to the highlights… First up is a card from the 1960/61 A&BC English Footballers set, which has a design you’ll recognize.  I think this makes for an even dozen cards I have from this set, which puts me at about 14% of a complete 84-card set.  I have no illusions of chasing the set, but I like these cards.

Peter Broadbent played in the 1958 World Cup and is a member of the Wolverhampton Wanderers Hall Of Fame.

I love the team listings on the bottom… “Wolves & England” sounds like it could be the follow-up to Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs And Englishmen” live album.  In reality, it references his professional team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and his international team, England.  Obligatory Monty Python reference: Unlike several football-ignorant historical Communist figures, any Python fan worth a lick will know that Wolverhampton Wanderers won the Cup Final in 1949 (beating Leicester, 3-1).

And now it’s time for the headline attraction…  There’s a particular hockey set I’ve long wanted a card from, but have never pulled the trigger (partially because, as I said, vintage hockey cards are hard to find in Shlabotsylvania).  Shane picked up on my longings and sent me this beauty from 1964/65 Topps Hockey:

I don’t have any strong feelings one way or the other for Les Canadiens (other than loving their uniform and logo), and I was only vaguely aware of who Gilles Tremblay was before receiving this card, but I don’t care, I love this card in all it’s colorful ‘Tall Boy’ glory.  Look at those leather gloves!!!!

Here’s the back.  I’m not sure I understand the cartoon (caption = ‘Gilles was married in the off-season’)

Tremblay spent his entire career with the Habs, got his name on the Stanley Cup four times, scored 168 goals with 162 assists.

For my hockey collection I would like to have at least one card from each vintage Topps, O-Pee-Chee and Parkhurst set.  This checks one off the list, but I honestly don’t know what’s left.  I’ll have to get on that.

Thank you very much, Shane! I appreciate the hell out of these cards, and will continue to in future Dead Parrot posts!

Getting There Is Half Of The Fun

For a number of reasons – not least of which is the whole “Gotta find stuff to do in the house because there’s no place to go” situation we all find ourselves in – I recently pulled my Statis Pro tabletop baseball game out of the closet.

Before long it was like I was 12-year-old me again.

…and that’s a key phrase right there… Not a general “like being a 12-year-old”, but a specific 12-year-old *me*… because I was kind of a weird kid (who grew up to be kind of a weird adult).

As a kid, I had hours of fun playing Statis Pro, which is a game similar to Strat-O-Matic and APBA, but did not survive as long as those two did. I was never much of a “replay the season” kind of kid, though. I’ve always been one to think on “what if”, so I would spend a lot of time creating different ways to set up teams… Merging two bad teams to see what happens, playing interleague games (which wasn’t a thing in the late 1970’s), even doing things like creating teams alphabetically: Players whose names begin with “S” (Tom Seaver, Ted Simmons, Reggie Smith) vs. players whose name begins with “M” (Doc Medich, Felix Millan, Bake McBride).

So back to the present day… After playing a couple of games, I got a set of cards for the 1973 season and replayed the 1973 World Series (spoiler alert: The A’s still beat the Mets, who had great pitching but were an average team otherwise). I then had the idea of redoing the 1973 ALCS and NLCS…

…but that’s when, as I look back, I started regressing to that weird 12-year-old who enjoyed playing with the rosters as much as playing the actual game.

As much coping mechanism as entertainment, I started brainstorming on different ways  I could play my game and the four different seasons I have cards for.  I thought I’d share a number of them as a source of amusement and, if you’re as weird as I am, maybe a source of inspiration.

So my first impulse was to take either the 24-team 1973 season or the 26-team 1978 season and contract the Majors into the setup that existed during the 1960’s – two 10 team leagues.  My mind wandered beyond that concept, though, and I started thinking up backstories to eliminate cities and not just teams.  At first it was that California falls into the ocean after a massive earthquake and the five California teams need to find new homes and/or be contracted.  The earthquake soon got replaced by an extraterrestrial invasion where the invading aliens would take over the entire western half of North America (thus eliminating Seattle and Denver as potential “new” cities for these 1970s teams).

As this apocalyptic scenario would’ve started a few years before the intended season, there would have been no Blue Jays or Mariners to begin with.  I also did quick work of eliminating the Padres and Rangers, as they were both on shaky financial and attendance ground to begin with.  I decided that since none of the other owners like Charles O. Finley they would just buy him out and contract the A’s… and the Braves were struggling in the 1970’s as well, so I made them the fourth team.

With that taken care of, we still had the Dodgers, Giants and Angels looking for a new home, as Los Angeles and San Francisco were under the control of the beasties from another galaxy.  I decided the Dodgers would take the Dallas/Ft. Worth Market, the Giants would move to Toronto (as they almost did in real life in 1976) and the Angels would take over Atlanta.

It was around this time that I remembered that the host city really meant nothing, as Statis Pro doesn’t factor in a ballpark, and when I started thinking about the logistics involved in a “dispersal draft” I realized that this worked better as a mental experiment than it did as a prelude to playing a game, so I abandoned that idea.

As a long-time Mets fan who has seen his fair share of bad trades, I had another thought of taking the 96-loss 1978 Mets and reversing some of the trades I liked least.  Just to show I’m not a megalomaniac, I wouldn’t undo the 1971 trade which sent Nolan Ryan to California, because I don’t know if he becomes a HOF pitcher without a change of scenery. I certainly don’t want to undo the trade that brought Rusty Staub to Queens, even if it did send Ken Singleton to Montreal… but I *do* want to undo the trade that later sent Rusty to Detroit for Mickey Lolich.

But do I undo the Tug McGraw trade, seeing as it brought four-time All-Star John Stearns to the Mets? I’d have to think about that. But I’m sure as hell going to undo the “Midnight Massacre” trades that sent Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman away.

Another goofy idea:  While thumbing through the card sets I have from 1978 and 1989 and seeing players duplicated in both –  Dave Winfield, Bert Blyleven, Gary Carter – I hit on the idea of forming two teams with identical rosters but for the two different seasons, so each team might have Eddie Murray at first base and George Brett at third.  Even more fun, since I always play without a DH, Bert Blyleven and Rick Reuschel would have to face themselves.

Even goofier:  Two of the sets I have are in PDF format rather than physical cards, and I had the goofy idea of creating “new” teams by digitally renaming the players and then printing the new cards. For example, I created a “Springfield Isotopes” team where the entire roster was made up of cartoon characters.

JINKIES!  That Velma is deceptively fast and runs the bases well. The thing is, all the time I was playing with this team I knew that the Isotopes was really the 1959 AL Champion White Sox, and that Velma was really HOFer Luis Aparicio, so the pretense didn’t go past a single game.

The most recent idea I had, and the idea which is closest to actual game play, involves an Olympic-style tournament of 12 teams, four each from the 1959, 1978 and 1989 seasons.  The teams are broken into two groups of 6 and would play a round-robin tournament, one game against each other team in the same group.  At the end of round robin, the top two teams from Groups A & B go into the playoffs to determine the champion.

In this idea, nine of the twelve teams would be three teams from each season that I would most want to play.  There would also be a team from each season made up of the players I would most want to play… But this most definitely would not be a dream team, because it’s more about who I’d want to “see” play than it is about who is the best.  For example, the 1959 team might have a battery of Camilo Pascual and Gus Triandos instead of Don Newcombe and Yogi Berra.

So that’s about all of the ridiculous brainstorms I have for now.  I can share more later if there’s an overwhelming response to this post, but I rather doubt that. :-)

By the way, if you’re curious about Statis Pro I wrote an overview of the game back in 2015.

#WhoWentWhere2020 Customs: Three Guys Who Went To Asia

It’s been a while since I’ve featured any customs here, and since I’ve been watching Korean baseball every morning (and wondering if Preston Tucker’s card values have gone up a few cents over the past week) I decided to show off some “Who Went Where 2020” customs I made a little while ago but got temporarily forgotten by my Stay-at-home Brain.

I’ll start with the most jarring… Former Orioles star Adam Jones went from odd (a season with the Diamondbacks) to even odder as he signed a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League.

The Buffaloes finished in last place in 2019, so Adam’s got his work cut out for him… but I wish him well, and I desperately hope that if/when NPB starts up, someone will broadcast those games here.  I’m enjoying the KBO, but I’d really like to see some NPB.

Also jumping the Pacific Ocean and fresh off a World Championship, Gerardo “Baby Shark” Parra signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League.

The Giants finished in first, but got swept in the 2019 Japan Series by the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

One other quick comment…  Along with broadcasting NPB games here, I hope someone can merchandise NPB here as well.  I’d love to get caps for the Giants and Hanshin Tigers.

While watching the Kia Tigers of the KBO, I saw a familiar-looking guy in the dugout.  I eventually found out that the Tigers are managed by former MLB player and manager Matt Williams!

Like in Japan, Korean teams are named for their corporate ownership, and yes, this is Kia, the car company… Sorento, Soul, Optima, Sportage, yadda yadda yadda.

The quality of the photo isn’t the greatest, but I’m still trying to figure out good sources of KBO photos.  This one actually came from the website of the Hyundai Motor Group…  Kia is owned by Hyundai.

That’s all of the overseas updates I have for now.  I’d like to make one for former Orioles pitcher Tyler Wilson, who’s now pitching in Korea for the LG Twins, but we come back to the “Still trying to find good sources of KBO photos” issue.

Since I’m here and posting, I’ll throw in a few more “Who Went Where 2020” customs, just to serve as a reminder of where certain players will be when things start up again.

The Mets signed former Yankee Dellin Betances.  How warmly the Queens faithful will greet Betances will depend on how well he pitches, but I’m sure there will be some who will never see him as anything but a Yankee.

Speaking of the Yankees, everybody knows that Gerrit Cole signed with them during the winter, but… you know, gotta keep the set complete.

Here’s a double reminder: Todd Frazier is in Texas, and the Rangers will have new uniforms.

I’ll wrap things up with Mike Matheny, who is the new manager of the Kansas City Royals.

Well, I’ve got to go mow the lawn now. Everybody take care, I’ll try to be better about posting customs… and posting in general.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Ken Brett To Ed Brinkman

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


1975 Topps #250

Played 1967 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies, Pirates, Yankees, White Sox, Angels, Twins, Dodgers

Career Highlights:
Less than a month after his 19th birthday he made two relief appearances for the Red Sox in the 1967 World Series, allowing no hits or runs in 1.1 innings… This came after just one regular season appearance; He was a good hitter, especially for a pitcher, and over his career he batted .262 with 10 homers

1970’s Highlights:
Was the winning pitcher in the 1974 All-Star Game, his only All-Star appearance; Made three NLCS relief appearances with the Pirates in 1974 and 1975; Hit over .300 in 1970 and 1974, and homered in four consecutive games in 1973 (a record for a pitcher); Pitched 0.2 innings to be the only pitcher on either team to not give up a run in White Sox 22-13 win over Red Sox 5/31/70… later that year (August 30th) he pitched 5.1 relief innings and got the win in the Red Sox 21-11 win over White Sox

Fun Stuff:
He’s the older brother of HOFer George Brett; He’s been traded for Money and Cash (Don Money and Dave Cash), but was never actually sold to another organization; Was also in a December 1975 trade that involved Dock and Doc (Dock Ellis and George “Doc” Medich); Over his career he was in six trades involving a total of 24 other players; He and George appeared in an episode of Fantasy Island

This quote from George Brett made me laugh out loud:
“I’ll never forget the first time he came on in relief for the Royals. The bullpen was out in right field and they opened up the gate, and he came running in like an airplane — arms spread out like wings, banking left, banking right, banking left and banking right. I’m on the mound with Jim Frey, our manager, and Jamie Quirk, who I’d played with for years and was Ken’s dear friend. And I looked at Jamie and he looked at me, and I said, ‘Now I know why he’s been traded 10 times’.”


1973 Topps #126

Played 1960 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Dodgers, Angels

Career Highlights
Lead the Dodgers in Saves from 1968 to 1973;  Is fourth on the list of Dodger career pitching appearances after Kenley Jansen, Don Sutton and Don Drysdale.

1970’s Highlights:
Got a Save in the 1973 All-Star game; Faced one batter in the 1974 World Series, getting Sal Bando to strike out swinging with two outs and Bert Campaneris on third

Card Stuff:
Appears on a 1977 O-Pee-Chee card as an Expos coach


1975 Topps #123

Played 1964 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Phillies, Brewers, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
Named to the Brewers’ “Wall Of Honor” and also named the Left Fielder on the Brewers “All Decade” team for the 1970’s; Lead the Brewers in homers in three seasons and in On-base Percentage in 1971; On July 14 1972 he hit 2 homers with 6 RBI, all off of Nolan Ryan; Had 6 hits in a 9-inning game against the Indians 8/4/1973

Card Stuff:
Appeared on a 1976 Topps card, but didn’t play in the Majors after 1975, having signed to play in Japan with the Lotte Orions (FYI, he played just 47 games out of his two-year contract with the Orions, having returned to the States after an illness)


1972 Topps #227

Played 1965 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Cardinals, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Pitched a 2-hit shutout of the Orioles in Game 5 of the 1971 World Series, and in that game Briles faced just 29 batters and no Oriole made it to second base ;  On August 22, 1972 he pitched a one-hit shutout and was perfect except for the 7th inning single he allowed to Ken Henderson

Career Highlights:
Appeared in two World Series with the Cardinals in the 1960’s, including a complete game win in Game 3 of the 1967 World Series against the Red Sox; Lead the league with a .737 (14-5) winning percentage in 1967

Fun Stuff:
Sang in a number of nightclubs following his World Series success, and sang the National Anthem before Game 4 of the 1973 World Series; In Spring Training of 1979, when Briles was trying to catch on with the Mets (but didn’t), he appeared in a filmed Saturday Night Live sketch about an attempted baseball comeback by Chico Escuela, the broken-English-speaking former Met turned sportscaster (played by Garrett Morris).


1970 Topps #711

Played 1961 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Senators, Tigers, Cardinals, Rangers, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Gold Glove in 1972 and All-Star in 1973; Set a record in 1971 with 56 consecutive games at short and broke his own record in 1972 with 72 consecutive games, which stood until Cal Ripken broke the record in 1990;  In 1975, his final season, he played just one game for the Rangers before being sold to the Yankees 9 days after being acquired in a trade for Willie Davis. He also played for the Cardinals that year… Of these three stops, only the Yankees were reflected in a baseball card (1976 SSPC)

Fun Stuff:
He was a high school teammate of Pete Rose; Brinkman’s younger brother, Chuck, was a backup catcher for the White Sox and Pirates from 1969 to 1974


1974 Topps #641

2020 Topps Album Stickers And Other Random Stuff

Before anyone unnecessarily loses interest because of the stickers I’m leading off with… I’m going to touch on some other cards as well. Make sure you at least get to that point before you lose interest.

I bought a pack – yes, just one – of 2020 Topps Album Stickers, just because I was in Target for the first time in six weeks and I felt like sampling some stuff I’d missed out on.

This is – I believe – this sticker side.  A little busy, but not bad.  I will not claim, as I’ve been doing a lot lately, that this is better than flagship Topps.

Here’s the back, or so I would presume based on the copyright information at the bottom.  Hyun-Jin Ryu is photoshopped into a Blue Jays uniform.

This sticker made me roll my eyes, but it’s not because of Isan Diaz or Topps.  Look at the team logo at the bottom left… or more to the point, look at the team logo which gets lost in the black diamond at the bottom left.

This actually looks slightly clearer in the scan than on the actual sticker.  The Marlins’ logo isn’t bad as a design, but they insisted on doing this “neon colors against a black background” thing EVERYWHERE and while it might look great on a screen or close up, the reality is that when it gets viewed from a distance or is reduced past a certain size, you can’t see any of it.  Chosing form over function has been my “Yelling at clouds” topic for the past couple of years…. But I’m done now.  (Damn clouds)

In other nonsense…

While organizing my collection the other night I realized that the design for 1973 Topps/O-Pee-Chee Hockey and 1988 Classic Baseball, both having colored border and ribbon nameplates, are very similar. I don’t know how I missed that…

My custom-card-making eye also looks at the Classic ribbon’s distance from the left and right corners and says “Hey, that’s slightly off-center to the right…”

I already made this comment on Twitter, but every time I see about someone referring to a RAK (meaning “Random Act of Kindness”), my first thought is the memorial to late Padres owner Ray A. Krok on the sleeves of the 1984 Padres.

This 1973 Topps Bubba Smith card was an impulse buy in January because it’s such a cool card… in fact it’s so cool that when I got home I realized that I already owned a copy.

Boog Powell does not seem happy about being three-dimensional.  Ah, well… his loss.

I’ll wrap up with a February card show purchase which seems like the most common of commons, but was actually a bit of a white whale for me.  I was happy to pay $10 for this 1966 Topps Rookie Stars card in pretty nice condition.

Anyone who’s collected 1966 Topps is now nodding their head and saying something about how the 1966 high #’s are a killer.

Dave Eilers pitched 81 games of relief for the Milwaukee Braves, Mets and Astros.  This appears to have been his only Major League card during his career (he later appeared in TCMA “The 1960’s”).

Rob Gardner had a bit of a more notable career, playing from 1965 to 1973.  Here’s a fun bit of trivia… Gardner was twice traded from the Yankees to the A’s for an Alou brother.  In April 1971 he was part of a trade to bring Felipe Alou to the Bronx, the following month he was sent back to the Yankees in a deal involving Curt Blefary and in November 1972 he was sent back to the A’s for Matty Alou.

OK, I guess that’s enough randomness for one day.

I Don’t Need More Goals, But…: The 1975 “MVP” Project

I need more collecting projects like I need the proverbial hole in the head… but the idea for this one came to me and I couldn’t resist.

1975 was my second year of collecting, and I spent an awful lot of time dreaming on the “MVP” subset in 1975 Topps, a subset that was tied together by the “25 Years of Topps Baseball” theme.

I was originally introduced to vintage Topps card designs by the 1974 “Hank Aaron Special” subset…

…and I pored over these cards as well. I vowed to myself that one day I would own all of these cards… in fact, one day I would own every single Topps baseball card!!!


So let’s fast-forward 45 years. I must confess, I don’t own every single Topps baseball card, I don’t even have a complete set older than 1973… (well, other than insert and oddball sets). Given my current trajectory, I don’t see that changing.

I thought about chasing just those cards featured in this 1975 subset, but honestly, when I think of the hundreds of dollars it would involve to get just those two 1954 cards of Berra and Mays… well, there are things I can do with that money that would bring me far more joy …like completing my 1964 Topps “Giants” set.

…And there’s another obstacle in such a project: Some of these cards are ‘customs’ Topps made because there weren’t actual Topps cards of Roy Campanella in 1955 or of Maury Wills in 1962.

So here’s where my epiphany comes in.

Late last year, I came to the realization that just because I can’t have all of these MVP cards doesn’t mean I can’t have *some* of them.

A 1965 Willie Mays is probably not realistic, but a 1965 Zoilo Versalles?  Hey, I can do that.

I’ve started to keep an eye out for affordable MVP’s, and I’ve got a 1960 Dick Groat sitting at COMC waiting for me to request a shipment

So today I’m featuring the 1971 MVP’s

A couple of years ago I picked up this Joe Torre, and it seemed Oh, so very odd to look at this card in standard sized instead of the 1″ by 1.5″ version on the 1975 card.

At the show I went to in February, I picked up the other card, this iconic Vida Blue card.

Again, it’s odd to see a full-sized version of this card.

So at some point I’ll go back and share the MVP cards I already have (1973 and 1974), and any new cards I pick up (like that Groat), but this won’t be much of a recurring series… I just like the idea behind the project and wanted to share it.