Show & Tell: Cards From A Recent Show

The time change has hit me hard this time around. I don’t have the energy or brainpower to string too many coherent thoughts together so I’m falling back on a simple Show & Tell format.

I’ve liked the simple-yet-appealing 1960 – 62 Bazooka design for quite a while, but I never acquired a card because I never ran across an affordable copy of any player who had any significance to my life at all.  This changed when I found this somewhat poorly hand-cut card of Eddie Yost, who was a Mets coach when I first started following baseball.

It doesn’t look too bad in the scan, but the edges are at some interesting angles and there’s a missing “NO. 6 Of 36 CARDS” from the bottom.  The capless photo doesn’t make for the best example of early 1960’s Bazooka, but at this point I take what I can get.

Oh, I should also point out that my scan is misleading;  these Bazooka cards are fairly small, roughly 1.75″ x 2.75″

Speaking of former Mets coaches, I also got this 1962 card of Joe Pignatano, who was famous in Mets circles for the tomato plants he grew in the Shea Stadium bullpen.

Pignatano only played 7 games for the Giants;  I’m thinking this photo shows him in the uniform of the Kansas City Athletics, a team he played 92 games with in 1961.  This would be his last baseball card as a player.

Fun Joe Pignatano facts: He is the second cousin of former pitcher Pete Falcone, he hit into a triple play in his last Major League at bat (while with the 1962 Mets, naturally), and won a World Championship with the 1959 Dodgers (although he had no plate appearances and played just a half-inning in the field after Carl Furillo pinch hit for Johnny Roseboro late in Game 5).

Although my football collecting has been on the backburner for the last year or two, I couldn’t resist some Steelers cards I found in a nickel box.  This card made me realize that my Steelers wantlist is incomplete because I never took the time to look for playoff and Super Bowl cards which feature the Black And Gold, like this 1976 Topps Football card which features Franco Harris.

…and posting this here reminds me that I still haven’t updated my Football wantlists…

Here’s another card which was on my wantlist.  Any child of the 1970’s cannot resist a card which features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ original “creamsicle” uniforms.

HOFer Jack Lambert’s a pretty good reason for owning this card, too…

One last Steelers card, this one from 1960. I was originally going to feature this just because of the old school Steelers uniform… you don’t get to see the gold helmets often on football cards. After I scanned it, however, I realized there was something odd about the uniform numbers…

Frank Varrichione wore #74 at the time, but the negative is reversed!

Gotta love the pine trees and the mountain in the background, too. “Come visit Western Pennsylvania! See the loveli pine trees and mani interesting furri animals, including the majestik moose! A moose once bit my sister… No realli!” (Bonus points to anyone who knows what I’m rambling about here).

This 2014 Gypsy Queen “Glove Stories” insert card of Carl Crawford made me laugh, just because I’ve made several custom cards along the same lines. I didn’t realize that there were any real cards that showed a player “ass over teakettle”

I’m not normally one for Allen & Ginter cards which feature non-baseball people… But when I found out that one of my favorite Jeopardy! champions, Austin Rogers, was going to be on a card, I said “Oh, I gotta get me one of those!”

I enjoyed the recent Jeopardy! All-Star Games, but I was disappointed that it wasn’t won by Team Austin… or Team Julia… or Team Buzzy…

I recently found out that Austin had been on Cash Cab years before appearing on Jeopardy.  I’m keeping an eye out for that episode.

I’m going to wrap up with four cards from 2018 Bowman Draft; I got each of these cards because of the player’s name.

With a guy named Jazz Chisholm, I don’t have to explain why his name makes his cards worthwhile. I’d featured a custom of his a couple of months ago.

The immortal Shed Long is no longer a Reds prospect; he went to the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade, and then was flipped to the Mariners… much to my relief. I can’t root for Shed Long to make the majors with the reviled Yankees, can I?

The parents of this Rays prospect decided, after minimal research, that “Ford Proctor” was a nicely inconspicuous name. OK, maybe not, but his name is so similar to Ford Prefect of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series that I can’t help but wonder if there’s a connection.

A joke which was lost on most Americans (myself included): Ford Prefect was the name of a series of cars in Britain. Patrick Stewart once mentioned in a TV interview that his first car was a Ford Prefect, and both Mrs. Shlabotnik and I looked at each other and said “WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?”

Wrapping up with Griffin Conine… As you might guess, Griffin is the son of former Oriole, Marlin and Royal Jeff Conine. I collect Jeff Conine, and for the time being at least, Griffin will be a legacy PC guy.

OK, that’s enough nonsense from me.

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Ist Das Nicht Ein Nickel Box? Ja, Das Ist Ein Nickel Box!

O, du schoene
O, du schoene
O, du schoene nickel box!

I recently went to a local show… and that fact alone was exciting for me because we haven’t had a local show in several years, and we haven’t had a *recurring* local show in… Oh, I don’t know how long.  I’m thinking at least ten years.  Long time.

So yeah, so even though this show had only 8 dealers I was determined to throw some cash around because I really really wanted them to come back and do another show.

If and when they do come back I know where I’m heading as soon as I get in the door… The guy with the monster boxes priced at 20 cards for a buck.  NICKEL BOX!!!!

To me the best thing about a nickel box is that the fun lasts long after the show is over, because if there’s any chance at all I might be interested in a card, it’s not worth debating for a nickel;  on to my stack it goes.  Even better, if there’s a bunch of cards together which seem like they might be worthwhile, like 1982 Donruss which is a set I’d bought from backs when it was new and one I’d like to complete someday…

That’s even better because I can just grab the entire bunch of them.  Even if they’re all doubles and triples of Broderick Perkins and Rob Wilfong, y’know what?   It doesn’t matter, they were a freakin’ NICKEL!

…And because I often grabbed sections of the box, I don’t always know what I’ve bought until I have time to sit down and go through my haul.

I used this strategy enough to have a couple of post in the works about particular sets and insert sets… but that’s later.  Right now, I just wanted to share a bunch of cards which were just cool.

I think I’ve become something of a “Johnny Damon in the minors” collector.  Now, I’m not a particular fan of Johnny Damon and I never actually saw him play in the minors, but it started off with a few cards of him with the single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, which is a team in Delaware whose games I’ve attended a couple of times around the time when Damon played there… So even though I didn’t actually see Damon in Delaware, there’s still the “Damon wearing this familiar minor league uniform” thing.  Except in this case, I didn’t even look at the uniform, I just saw a minor league Johnny Damon card and added it to the pile.  In the larger scheme of things, I’m just a sucker for pre-rookie cards of guys who had some success.

The next two images are the front and back of the same card.  Fortunately I saw the Darren Daulton side first, otherwise I probably would’ve passed it by.  I collect Daulton, so this quickly went in my pile.

I’m still not sure which one is the back;  the Dutch side with the card number, or the Pudge side with the copyright information.

This Jay Buhner card is from a 1996 Upper Deck insert set featuring the work of photographer V.J. Lovero.  I’ve had this card on my “yeah, I need to track that down someday” list since it came out.

Pacific Legends cards never get passed by in nickel and dime boxes. They’re just too much fun.

This card is like the Johnny Damon card. While I appreciate Jean Segura, I’m not exactly a fan. But still… Minor league card of Jean Segura!

Back in 1984, Topps put out a two-headed set as a food issue. There was the “Ralston Purina” set which was issued with Ralston-branded cereal (i.e. Chex and Cookie Crisp before those brands were acquired by General Mills), and there was also the generic “Cereal Series” which are nearly identical except for the logos and text.

At this point I don’t even know what I’ve got or what I need, I just like to pick up these cards.

By the way, does anybody know how the generic “Cereal Series” cards were issued?  I know that Ralston has long been behind store-branded cereals, I wonder if these cards came in some of those store brands.

Moving on…

I collect Doug Flutie about as much as I collect any non-Steelers football player. The main reason is because I am approximately Flutie-sized and I cannot imagine being an NFL (or even CFL) quarterback.

OK, I’ll admit that Starline Long John Silver cards aren’t all that amazing of a find, but I kinda like them so in the stack they go.

It’s funny, when I was a kid first learning about pro sports, I approached it almost academically… Well, “academically” by kid standards, anyway. I mean, I’d played basketball in various people’s driveways, but the NBA? Nobody in my family followed it, but I was interested because at the time I was interested in any professional team sport.  So what did I do? I would see something in the Scholastic Book catalog with a title like “Basketball Stars of 1976” and I’d buy it and read it cover-to-cover several times.  (Hey, I had plenty of time and it wasn’t like I was reading Albert Camus or anything…)

So during my brief attempt to like basketball – a failed attempt, because even now watching basketball does not “spark joy” – I latched on to Rick Barry as the designated “favorite player”.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the reason I went with Barry is because kids always look for a bit of themselves in their heroes;  that way they can imagine themselves in their shoes… and Rick Barry was probably the guy in my “Basketball Stars of 1976” book who looked the most like me.

So that’s a quick preview… Just to give hints of other Nickel Boxes posts to come, there was a batch of “Heritage” cards which came before Topps Heritage, and there was a batch of cards that were specifically intended “For Kids”.

Let’s Face It… Everything Above The Neck Is Kaput!

As I sit down to write this post, there’s a part of me that is saying “Just say you had the flu”.  The truth is that everything around me… work, the Holidays, the weather… has combined to drain me of all energy.  I’ll start the night expecting to watch a little TV and then get things done, and the next thing I know James Corden is in a car singing along with some musical celebrity and I know that the only thing I’m accomplishing is hauling my tired butt off to bed.

…But I haven’t posted yet this week and I don’t want to let it go any further, so I’ll see how many cards I can write about in the 15-20 minutes I can write without being excessively late for work.

“Marvelous Marv” Throneberry is one of those guys who I don’t exactly collect, but I also can’t pass his cards by when I run across one that easily falls within my budget.

I’m not a fan of 1960 Topps, but certain color combinations work much better with the design than others.  This green/yellow combo works quite nicely, and in this case sort of foreshadows the sartorial curveball that Athletics owner Charles O. Finley would throw a few years later.

I remember HOFer Jean Ratelle from those Sunday and Wednesday nights in the 1970’s where the one TV in the house was tuned to the Rangers and if you didn’t like it you could go read a book.

The back of this card is even more interesting because of the cartoon illustrating Ratelle’s offseason occupation…

I wonder how many boys saw this and immediately aspired to be a golf pro when they grew up.

How awesome is Wayne Stephenson’s goalie mask?

The 1977 MLB expansion that added the Mariners and Blue Jays was the first baseball expansion that happened after I was old enough to know what was going on, and the whole process intrigued the heck out of 11-year-old me.  Lately I’ve come to realize that I love oddballs of those two teams from their first few years of existence.

If I were to purchase the Mariners tomorrow – maybe I can finance it by selling off my rookie cards of Kevin Maas and Todd Van Poppel – the first course of action would be to return the M’s to wearing blue and gold full time… and powder blue on the road, thank you very much.

OK, one more and then I need to run.

I got this card over the summer out of a nickel box.  I had no idea who the player was, but I liked the skillful way that the graphic artists “adapted” the 1976 Topps football design.

Jake Roh (and you KNOW that someone has at least tried to call him “Ruh Roh”) played for Boise State and was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent, but he was cut this past June.

OK, I really need to go to work now.  I’ll have some fully-formed ideas next week, I promise!

Custom Sunday: Hooray for Captain Spalding (No, Not Groucho)

Lately, I’ve been focusing many of my customs posts on my tribute to the 1964 Topps “Giants” set – indeed, there’s another one at the end of this post – but I have been making other customs and will spend much of this post catching up on the backlog. I’m also floating the idea of a new custom project… as if I really *need* a new project. Actually, I’ve got one other custom project in my head, but I’m intentionally holding off on that until Spring Training.

Earlier this week I saw singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright being interviewed on a late night talk show… I think of Rufus as the son of singer/songwriter/actor Loudon Wainwright III;  I’m not exactly a fan of LW3, but I have a couple of his albums.  For whatever reason, that made me think of how I first became aware of LW3 as “Captain Spalding”, a character in three episodes of the third season of M*A*S*H.  That, in turn, got me thinking about a project long in the mental noodling stage but never executed – a custom set devoted to the M*A*S*H TV series.

If there were a way of telling how many lifetime hours I’ve spent watching different TV shows, M*A*S*H would be up there at the top with Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Star Trek.  I watched much of the original run on CBS, and when it hit syndication I would come home from school and watch the reruns.  At my peak I knew pretty much everything there was to be known about the show, from “Ah, Bach!” to Zelmo Zale.

Normally this kind of obsessive behavior would cross over into my obsessive collecting behavior, but there’s been just one card set devoted to M*A*S*H, a disappointing 66-card Donruss set from 1982.  I bought a couple of packs at the time and never went further. This is one of the better cards from that set in my collection.

The set was pretty much what you’d expect from Donruss in the early 1980’s, put together without a whole lot of apparent effort.  Some of the images used were kind of odd outside of the context of the episode they were from, and there was nothing to explain, for example, why B.J. is wearing a white tuxedo in the O.R.  (it was from an episode that explored the dreams/nightmares of the characters).

As with many things of this sort, my reaction was “Pffft, I could do better than this!”  I’d long pondered making a custom set in a late 1970’s / early 1980’s non-sport style, floated a bunch of ideas, but never actually went about creating the first custom.

…Until I was very indirectly inspired by Rufus Wainwright on a late night talk show.

I present to you the first promo card for a M*A*S*H custom set, featuring LW3’s character Captain Calvin Spalding, the “Singing Surgeon”.

I’m given to believe that it’s not a coincidence that Captain Spalding shares a name (if not the exact spelling) with the Groucho Marx character in “Animal Crackers”.

Now I honestly don’t know how far I would go with a custom set like this, but I wanted to float it out there to see what the reaction would be.  If I went further with this, I’d be just as likely to dip into the recurring characters (Sidney Friedman, Colonel Flagg, Nurse Kellye) as much as the stars of the show.

Any input?


Moving on…

When I was a kid, there were three George Blanda cards in 1975 Topps Football;  one for his breaking the career points-scoring record (he’d end up with 2002), and two other cards because they needed two card backs to fit all of his career highlights and stats.  HOFer Blanda played 26(!) seasons in the NFL and was 48 years old during his final season.

So, it caught my attention when, in September, Adam Vinatieri broke Morten Andersen’s record for career field goals (he as 576 as of this morning), and then in October he set the career points record (2570 as of this morning).  “This deserves a custom!” I said…. back in October.  Sorry for the delay, Vinatieri fans, here it is.

In case you’re curious, George Blanda currently ranks 7th on the list of career scoring leaders.


The Diamondbacks made an interesting free agent signing this week; they signed pitcher Merrill Kelly to a two-year MLB contract.

You’re probably like me in saying “Who?”. Kelly was in the Tampa Bay Rays system, but spent the last 4 years pitching for the SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization and is coming back to the US as a 30-year-old rookie. Kelly’s numbers weren’t outstanding by US standards, but within the very offense-friendly KBO they gave MLB organizations thoughts of the next Miles Mikolas.

Here are two more “Hot Stove” customs… I think you probably know about these transactions already. If you follow me on Twitter (@Shlabotnik_Rpt) then you’ve already seen these.


I’ve also got more customs from my “Fauxback” set.

Baseball America named former Met Jordany Valdespin their 2018 Independent League Player Of The Year.

I’m happy for Valdespin and for the Ducks.  I grew up on Long Island and didn’t see my first minor league game until I was a legal adult.  The Ducks came along a couple of years after I left Long Island in one of those “Don’t that just figure” moments.  I’d love to go to a Ducks game, but on the rare occasion when I go back to Long Island, my time is filled with visiting people (all of whom say I need to come up there more often).

Say what you want about social media, one thing I’ve discovered is that you don’t have to wait until Spring Training to see pictures of big name players in their new uniforms.

It’s funny where going down the rabbit hole can lead… I was making comments on Twitter about how I wasn’t sure about how well Portland, OR would work out as a host city for an MLB expansion team. While I was researching to make sure I wasn’t mis-remembering my main point – that at one point the AAA Portland Beavers were evicted to make room for a Major League Soccer team – I found out that Giovanni Savarese, one of the top players on my all-time favorite soccer team, the mid-1990’s Long Island Rough Riders, is the coach of the Portland Timbers, who were in last night’s MLS Cup game.

So I started out researching Portland as an MLB expansion candidate and ended up with a mild rooting interest in the MLS Cup. Too bad the Timbers lost to Atlanta FC.


Wrapping things up with a “Bonus Card” for my 2018 TSR “Giants” set. Kyle Freeland had a great season with the Rockies, going 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA. I left him out of the “regular” set because most of his success came in the second half of the sason, which under the rules I was playing by would’ve been after the checklist was finalized and the set went into imaginary production.

But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t create a card anyway…

Well, that’s more than enough customs for one week.

When It Rains, It Snows

It’s funny how things work out… There was a regional card show in October that I wanted to go to, but I couldn’t because I was on-call for work and couldn’t be driving two hours away.

I felt a little bit better about it because I knew I had a shipment coming from COMC. Shortly after I got that, I got a PWE from Shoebox Legends… followed by a padded envelope from The Five Tool Collector… and another PWE from Shoebox Legends… and a PWE from Dime Boxes… So you know you’re going to be seeing a fair amount of these cards in the near future.

A normal person might say “When it rains, it pours” in reference to the Morton Salt slogan… but odd people like me are more likely to quote the title of an obscure, early They Might Be Giants song… because that’s the way I roll.

So anyway, today’s post features cards I got over the summer, because I need time to scan all of these PWE’s and COMC cards I got.

This card caught my attention because you don’t often see cards where a manager has a couple of bats slung over his shoulder.

Then again, Kasko was just a few years removed from his playing days and still in his 30’s. Kasko managed the Sox for four years, and was remarkably consistent, winning 87, 85, 85 and 88 games. His teams finished 3rd, 3rd, 2nd and 2nd.

This 10-year-old relic of the 2018 World Series MVP has a story behind it…

I pulled it from a pack in 2008, when I didn’t really know who Steve Pearce was. A couple of years later I sent it in as part of my first submission to COMC… where it didn’t sell… and didn’t sell… and didn’t sell…

While it was in the COMC inventory not selling, Steve Pearce became an Oriole and I grew to like him… and I decided “Well, if nobody wants to buy this card I may as well take it back”, so I ended up paying to have COMC ship it back to me… but it was well worth the 25 cents.

I’ve been a Steelers fan for about 35 years, and a few years ago I decided on 1972 as a reasonable starting point for my Steelers collection.  1972 was the first year since 1947 that they made the playoffs, and the 1971 set has the very expensive rookie cards of Terry Bradshaw and “Mean” Joe Greene.

…Until I discovered Philadelphia Gum football cards. That’s when my Steelers goals fell apart.  As little as I collect football lately, I’m happy with just aimlessly picking up cards which catch my eye and fit my budget.

Ben McGee played in two Pro Bowls and was a college coach after his career was over.  One other thing I like about Philadelphia Gum cards is that they all came before the Steelers settled on their iconic uniforms.

This Barry Larkin card caught my eye when I was quickly going through a nickel box; it’s a little scuffed and doesn’t fit into my collection in any significant way, so it will eventually go into my “Cool Cards And Oddballs” binder…

…Once I’ve set up a “Cool Cards And Oddballs” binder.

Action Packed is something I’d ignored back in the day – I saw the embossed cards as just an uninteresting gimmick – but I’ve been getting into them over the past year or so.

I still find the embossing fairly annoying, but I’ve gotten past that and focused on the photos and player selection, which is often quite good.

Wrapping up with a cool action shot from 1992 Leaf.

…Just because it’s a cool action shot. The sliding Oriole doesn’t hurt.  This one is either going in my 1992 Frankenset (when I get around to that) or my “Cool Cards” binder (when I get around to that).

As for the title track of this post, the song was originally a ‘b-side’ to “Don’t Let’s Start” and would later end up on compilations like “Miscellaneous T” and “Then:  The Earlier Years”.

My “1964 Topps Giants”-inspired Customs Return With Three Red Sox

Back in May I had been inspired by a SABR Baseball Card Committee Article about the 1964 Topps “Giants” set. I was intrigued by the article’s discussion of whether the 3 cards each team got holds up in hindsight, and I decided to do my own 15-week series trying to re-create the set using 2018 players and picking 3 players per team… something which has it’s challenges on rosters brimming with talent, plus different challenges for those teams which were clearly heading for a long season.

Like anything else I attempt on this blog, things tend to take more time than I intend them to, and I had to abandon the idea after just four posts.  I still enjoyed the general idea and for much of the summer I toyed with the idea of resurrecting it .  It wasn’t until recently that I gained enough time and brainpower to seriously consider going back to it in some abbreviated form.

Having suffered through a long, long, long Orioles season and a roller coaster Mets season, I quickly realized that it wouldn’t make sense to go back and do those teams which had been sellers at the deadlines… The three best Orioles, for example, are now long gone.

“If I were to do this again”, I said to myself, “it would make the most sense to tackle the postseason teams which hadn’t already been done”.  I’d already featured the Astros, Dodgers, Yankees, Braves, and Brewers, so that left the Cubs, Rockies, Athletics, Indians and Red Sox. I decided to dip my toe back in the water with the A.L. East Champions, and see how it goes from there.

Fortunately for me, I had an easy time picking three players from the deep Red Sox roster…

…Starting with the 30-30 player who lead the league in batting and slugging, lead the team in doubles and runs, and is a strong candidate for MVP, MOOKIE BETTS.

I could go on, but there’s just no way that Mookie gets left out.

CHRIS SALE doesn’t have any league-leading 2018 stats and his 12-4 record is hardly the stuff of legends, but his 237 K’s, 2.11 ERA and 0.861 WHIP clearly indicate that he’s the team’s best starter.

We’ll wrap this up with the team’s big addition this past offseason, J.D. MARTINEZ.

Martinez lead the team with 43 homers and 111 runs, plus lead the league with 130 RBI.

Other candidates included closer Craig Kimbrel (42 saves), Andrew Benintendi, All-Star Mitch Moreland, former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (17 wins), Xander Bogaerts and David Price.

If you have different thoughts on which three players should make up the Red Sox portion of the checklist, go to the comments and tell me I’m an idiot (you won’t be the first, I promise you).


I didn’t want to have a “Custom Sunday” post consist of just these cards, so I’m going to throw in three more unreleated customs.

I don’t like the Dodgers at all, but Dodger wins don’t suck as much when Justin Turner plays a key part in the victory, as he did yesterday when he hit the game-winning home run.

…and I felt like bringing back my 1985 Fleer template.

I recently decided to feature some customs of former MLB players who are now playing in Japan; today we have former Cub Kosuke Fukudome.

After playing with the Indians and White Sox in 2011 and 2012, Fukudome returned to Japan and has played the past six seasons with the Hanshin Tigers.

Wrapping up with another of my 1968 Topps Football customs, which I’m having fun with despite the fact that I’m not a tremendously well-informed NFL fan. You can’t go so far wrong with Drew Brees, anyway.

In my head, any reference to Drew Brees is followed up with Ronnie Van Zant saying “Ooooo, Mr. Breeze!”.

Assorted Cards From A Show To Celebrate A Box Of Cards From COMC

Last night I went to my mailbox and found my latest shipment from COMC.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to scan any of the cool cards I got.

Fortunately, I still have plenty of cards from my last card show.

Even if I weren’t a Mets fan, I couldn’t pass up this First Pitch card of 50 Cent.

Hard to believe that was 4 years ago.  For those of you who want to relive that moment again, here’s a video.

Speaking of cards capturing unfortunate moments, check out this 1973/74 Topps Hockey card; you just gotta love the New York Ranger shown about to sprawl out on the ice.

In the Stanly Cup Semi-Final series depicted, the Chicago Black Hawks beat the Rangers in 5 games, but would lose the Finals to the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games.

Back 10 years ago, Upper Deck had an insert set that “paid tribute to 1969 O-Pee-Chee baseball”.  UD owns the copyright to “O-Pee-Chee”, and of course, 1969 O-Pee-Chee was based on 1969 Topps.  At the time, I saw images of these cards and said “Dude, that is so lame”.  I never actually held one in my hand until I ran across this card in a nickel box (The card has a major ding in one corner, plus David Wright futures have recently taken a dive)

Much to my surprise, this is a pretty nice card, and the player’s name in silver foil looks better in person than in scans.

The back is pretty unimpressive, though.

I couldn’t walk away from this 2016 Donruss card of the San Diego Chicken.

I’m not even 100% sure that I understand why I’m drawn to The Chicken… I guess I watched a little too much of “The Baseball Bunch” on TV (even though I was in my teens at the time).  I do appreciate that recent Donruss sets have included cards of The Chicken just like they did in the early 1980’s.

I may be drawn to The Chicken, but like any child of the 1970’s, I’m nuts for The Bird.

I never like to play the “Ya had to be there” card, but to appreciate what Mark Fidrych meant to baseball you had to have been around in 1976. The guy was just a national phenomenon in ways that I can’t properly describe.  At any rate, it’s nice to be able to add this 1977 Kellogg’s card to my collection, it’s been missing for too long.

I’m not chasing the 1967 Topps set, nor Oakland A’s nor Alvin Dark, but I grabbed this card just because it so prominently features the white cap that the Athletics manager and coaches wore during the day.

Back then the idea was to point out that “These guys in uniform are coaches, not players”. These days, with so many coaches and managers wearing hoodies and such, we’d almost need something to indicate “These guys are coaches, not random guys out of the stands”. If it’s not apparent enough by now, I don’t like the coaching staff going the hoodie route. I want to be able to distinguish the manager from the pitching coach while sitting in the stands, and the best way for that to happen is for the manager and coaches to have numbers on their backs.

Bah!

OK, I’m running out of time before I run off to work, so I’ll feature one last card… Let’s see… Hmmmm…

Let’s go with the hockey card of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Ken Schinkel. I got this because it provided such a good shot of a Penguins sweater which I really like, even if it came before my time.

I’m old enough to remember the Penguins before they went Pittsburgh black and gold, but not old enough to remember these unis. These would be cool for a throwback game… And maybe that’s already happened, I may have missed it because I’m no longer on speaking terms with the NHL.

As for Ken Schinkel, he played 12 seasons split evenly between the Rangers and Penguins… he was taken by the Penguins in the 1967 expansion draft.  Schinkel can proudly say that he finished higher in the Calder (rookie of the year) voting than did HOFer Stan Mikita. Of course, Schinkel was 27 years old and Mikita 19, but that’s all academic. The winner of the Calder Trophy was Mikita’s teammate Bill Hay.