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.

What “Bringing Focus To My Collection” Means To Me

I know a number of collectors who are talking about bringing (or having brought) “focus” to their collections.  For a number of years I’ve been trying to bring focus to my own collection (despite my repeatedly shooting myself in the foot).

After seeing pictures of other people’s reduced collections, I’ve come to realize that my definition of “focus” is significantly different than some of these other people.  I see people narrow their collection down to a few hundred cards, I’ve also seen “focused” collections that number in the tens of thousands.

The key thing, I think, is that after a while (or in my case, thirty-something years),  a collector gets to the point where it all seems too much and something needs to be done to bring things down to that person’s definition of “a manageable size”.

With that in mind, I thought I’d lay out what I’m working towards.

First off, I want to know what’s in my collection. This sounds obvious, but I’ve pulled cards out of boxes, pulled binders off of shelves and said “I forgot I still have this!”  Sometimes that’s a good thing, but more often the follow-up is “WHY do I still have this?

Second, I want to be able to find things. I’ve made a good amount of progress with this given that, at one point a number of years ago, I had completely misplaced several sets (including a near-complete 1987 Topps set).  I’ve since gotten things so that everything is more or less in one place, but if I’m writing a post and I decide I want to scan my 1982 Topps card of Butch Wynegar or a 2000 Pacific Crown Collection card of Abraham Nunez, I couldn’t do that right now without searching through boxes and binders to find those sets.

My original draft of this post said that “every card needs to have a reason for being in my collection”, but that sounded more formal than it needed to be.  Frankly, a lot of cards are in my collection solely because I like them, but don’t serve any real “purpose” in my collection.  Fr’instance, I stumbled across this 1978 Australian Rules Football card a few years ago:

No matter how I might try to define my collection, this wouldn’t fit into any “rules”… but there’s no way I’m getting rid of this card.  It’s just too cool in an arcane way.  My collection is all over the place, and I want to keep it all over the place, because that’s part of what makes it fun.

So I suppose the real way to define “bringing focus” would be better described by what I’ve been pulling out of my collection.  I’ve given myself permission to remove cards which are part of team and player collections but which I don’t like.  Topps Turkey Red cards are a good example.

I know a lot of people like Turkey Red, but I really don’t.  The decision to get rid of cards I don’t like was part of a steady progression.  It went from “I can’t have it all” to “If I can’t have it all, I can be selective in what I pick up” to “If I’m being selective in what I get, I can also go back and be selective with what I already have”.

So much of this is about giving myself permission to get rid of cards I never really liked much but felt obligated to chase and keep.  Those ugly cards?  Those pointless inserts?  That Bowman Prospects card from 10 years ago of a guy who never got past A-ball and would be completely unknown to me if it weren’t for this one Bowman Card?  Why keep those?

The other part of my collection which I’m targeting is my years of attempted set completion.  Back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s there were multiple flagship sets each year and it was easy and affordable to go after them all.  But I’ve got a complete set of 1988 Topps, I’m just a few cards away from completing 1988 Topps… Even though 1988 Fleer and Donruss are pretty good sets, do I really need to have four flagship sets from the same year?  And if I’m no longer chasing 1988 Donruss, do I really need cards of 1988 Donruss cards of Brian Dayett or Fred Manrique?  …And to be honest, do I need 88D cards of Wade Boggs or Andre Dawson?

And I suppose that what “focus” really means for me.  For many years, card were cheap, cards were fun and the only decision I ever made about whether to keep cards was “Do I already have them?”  After too many years of not being selective, I’m feeling the need to go back and be selective about those cards now.  I need to ask the question I should’ve been asking all along:  Do I really want this?

Postcard Show!!! 2019 Edition

For the third straight year, I went to a not-really-local (i.e. about an hour’s drive each way) postcard show.  The first time I went, it was something different to do “just because”… but I enjoyed it enough that I went back a second time, and now this third time I came to realize that I have a favorite dealer, so I guess that says something.

I’ve tagged all of my various postcard show posts, if you want to see what I’d gotten previously.

Although I enjoyed myself again and plan on going again in 2020, my haul from the show is modest;  3 baseball postcards and 4 for my other postcard focus, the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  Since this is a baseball card blog, I’ll feature the baseball postcards up front and leave the World’s Fair ones for the end.

The Cleveland Indians did a series of team postcards during the mid-1970’s, right during my initial introduction to baseball and also coinciding with what are (in my eyes) the best Indians uniforms of all time.  Because of this, I have more Indians postcards than anyone who isn’t an Indians fan would normally have, but I’m just enjoying the heck out of these things.

This 1974 Postcard of Frank Duffy caught my attention because of all the groundskeeper-y items in the background like hoses and rakes (and implements of destruction – couldn’t resist an “Alice’s Restaurant reference) …Just a fun “behind the scenes look”.

I have a modest collection going for former All-Star and 20-game winner Fritz Peterson, so I quickly grabbed this 1976 Indians postcard of Fritz.  This is the third Fritz postcard in my collection;  one Yankees and two Indians.

Back in 1985 I saw a pitcher by the name of Johnny Abrego pitch for the Pittsfield Cubs of the AA Eastern League.  That same season, he pitched 6 games as a September call-up, and given that I was new to minor league baseball at the time, this was enough to cement him as a guy to keep my eye on.  It also didn’t hurt that “Johnny Abrego” sounds like a gunslinger from a TV show like Gunsmoke.  “Sheriff, I hear that Johnny Abrego’s gunnin’ for ya!”

Unfortunately, Abrego battled injuries after that, retired at the age of 24 and that September stint turned out to be the entirety of his MLB career.

So here’s the thing:  I officially collect Johnny Abrego, but there honestly isn’t much of him to collect.  Prior to this weekend, my Abrego collection consisted of this 1986 Donruss card.

Now, I’m proud to say that I’ve DOUBLED my Abrego collection with this 1986 TCMA “Stars Of The Future” postcard.

According to Trading Card Database, the only card left for me to get is a a card from the 1986 ProCards Iowa Cubs team set …but don’t hold your breath.

Among the baseball-related postcards I *didn’t* get were some Exhibits of players like Phil Rizzuto and Bob Lemon.  I gave some thought to picking up the Rizzuto, but I don’t know enough about Exhibits to be sure whether i was getting a deal on a vintage card or paying way too much on a reprint.  There were also a number of Exhibits of celebrities which looked neat, but I didn’t know whether there are any famous movie stars of the day that I might have wanted to look for.  I’m mentioning this as a note to “2020 Me” to brush up on Exhibits a little bit before heading to the next postcard show.

OK, now on to the World’s Fair postcards.  As I’d mentioned in prior posts, I’ve held a lifelong interest in the buildings that had been left over from the Fair, especially the Unisphere (the big stainless steel globe which has become a symbol of the Borough of Queens).

The first postcard is of what I used to think of as “The Capital T Building”, but which had been the Port Authority Heliport and “Terrace on The Park”, a restaurant/catering hall with views over the whole Fair.

A night view of the aforementioned Unisphere…

Another view of the Unisphere, with the New York State Pavilion’s Tent Of Tomorrow and Astro-View observation towers in the background on the right…

The last postcard I’m featuring is a view of the Fair as taken from one of the  observation towers.  In the distance on the left, you can see a brand-spanking-new Shea Stadium.

Just like I like a baseball scorecard which has been used to score a game, I enjoy postcards which had been mailed – Even though there’s a little bit of a “I’m reading someone else’s mail” feeling… Enough so that I’m not going to share the note or address (which wasn’t terribly exciting anyway).

However, there is a very cool Project Mercury stamp with a World’s Fair postmark.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got this same stamp in my stamp collection from high school (not that anybody really cares, I suppose)

So that wraps up this year’s Postcard Show recap.  I know that these shows are not anywhere as common as sports collectibles shows, but if you find out that there will be one near you, I encourage you to go check it out… just keep in mind that every dealer organizes their postcards differently, but every one I’ve run across has been very happy to help you find whatever you might be looking for.

Down The Rabbit Hole With A 1977 TCMA Minor League Card

A recent package from Nick of the World Famous Dime Boxes blog included a card which became my oldest minor league card, beating out my 1979 TCMA Jackson Mets team set (which I wrote about seven years ago).

Say ‘Hi’ to Carman Coppol from the 1977 TCMA Lynchburg Mets team set.

I admit, I never heard of Carman Coppol before this card came my way, but now that I know a little more about him, the more I like this card.

Before I get into that, here’s the back of this card:

Carman Coppol was drafted in the 31st round out of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. I’m just familiar enough with E-Town to know it’s a Division III school, and I’m here to tell you that if you played D3 ball in the Mid-Atlantic, that playing professionally is, in and of itself, a pretty damn big accomplishment.

Coppol pitched three seasons in the Mets system and peaked in A-ball. According to the E-Town Blue Jays website, Coppol was inducted into E-Town’s Ira R. Herr Athletic Hall Of Fame in 1993. He was also named to the Middle Atlantic Conference’s Century Team (1974-1986 division) for baseball. Poking around that list of the best 82 baseball players from this D3 conference, I saw a couple of names that made it to the majors and another name that made me stop and Google in another direction.

That name that added to my research time was Lafayette College’s Jim Van Der Beek, which got me thinking “Wait… James Van Der Beek? Dawson’s Creek, Varsity Blues… THAT James Van Der Beek?” Sadly, I then realized that Lafayette’s Jim Van Der Beek falls into the 1912 – 1973 category, which would make Jim too old to play “Dawson”… But the actor is James Van Der Beek Jr., so maybe this Jim VDB is James Sr? …mayyyyyyyyybe….? At this point I’d already spent far too much time on what had been meant as a quick single-card post, so I’ll leave it to you to figure that out, if you want to.

The two legitimate names I recognized from the Century list were Messiah College’s Chris Heisey, who played with the Reds, Dodgers and Nationals…

…and Albright College’s Casey Lawrence, who pitched for the Blue Jays and Mariners, and is currently in Japan with the Hiroshima Carp.

One last guy who I thought would be on this list got me scurrying all over the internet. Gene Garber, who has over 200 MLB saves, is in the E-Town Sports HOF, is listed in several places as having gone to Elizabethtown High School and Elizabethtown College (as well has having grown up in a farm outside Elizabethtown)… and yet he is not part of that MAC Century team. How can this be?

I finally poked around enough that it dawned on me: Garber’s professional experience started in 1965, when he was 17 years old and continued until his age 40 season in 1988; however his E-Town College HOF page (such as it is) shows him as a member of the class of 1969. Garber must have attended college while pitching in the pros, so while he graduated from E-Town, he never pitched for E-Town. Even so… Graduating a four-year school in four years while playing professional baseball, that’s pretty damn impressive.

Since I wandered pretty far afield, my whole point here was that out of 82 best-of-the-century players from a D3 conference, I could only find two who had enough of a MLB career to appear on a card. I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed somebody, but it still underlines the fact that the deck is stacked against a player from one of these schools having a significant baseball career.

And now, getting back to the TCMA set – I *did* say up front that this was going down the rabbit hole – I took a peek at the checklist for the entire team, and there are some well-known names included: pitchers Neil Allen and Jeff Reardon and manager Jack Aker. Other names which jumped out at this 1970’s Mets fan are Butch Benton, Mario Ramirez (misspelled “Raminez” on his card), Randy Tate and Dave Von Ohlen.

So yes… quite a lot of research time coming out of one minor league card.

But before I go… A very big thank to Nick for sending me this card; he sent me many others (both in this package and in others I haven’t fully acknowledged), and I want him to know that they are all appreciated (just not publicly… yet)

PWE Backlog #2: Autographs from CommishBob

There was a time when I posted here every single day.

Part of it is that I got more ambitious with posts as time went on – I’d have a serviceable post close to being ready, but then I’d get an idea to augment it, but augmenting it required research, scanning, finding cards to scan, etc. etc.

Admittedly, much of it is also lack of time and energy.

At any rate, because I’m generally behind on my posts, I’m waaaaay behind in my “acknowledging the generosity of my trading buddies” posts.

A while ago I got a package from CommishBob of The Five Tool Collector, and I didn’t quite get around to writing about it… Then I got another package, and I said “Well, maybe I’ll do the new one first, and then go back and do the first one”, and before I finish doing that, I received a PWE with three vintage cards in it. I’ve been able to Tweet my thanks, but I haven’t blogged about any of it.

The first autographed piece is what I imagine was a team-provided card for players to sign, and the autograph is for 1960’s Mets infielder Jerry Buchek.

Buchek was from St. Louis, signed with the hometown Cardinals, played with them for five years and got a hit for them in the 1964 World Series. He was traded to the Mets just before the 1967 season and would spend two years with the Mets. He was their primary 2nd baseman in 1967, but batted below the Mendoza line in 1968 and was used in more of a utility role.

I would have liked to have shared a Jerry Buchek card, but I don’t have any scanned, and I’m going to operate according to the teachings of that reknowned philosopher Larry The Cable Guy and just “Git ‘er done!”  As a result, you’ll just have to imagine Buchek’s head shot on a 1968 card.

More famous than Buchek is Bud Harrelson, a two-time All-Star, Gold Glove Winner and 1969 World Champion with the Miracle Mets.

Even if this were left unsigned, I’d love this piece. Mr. Met wasn’t as much of an on-field presence in the 1960’s as he is now, but as a cartoon character he was at his peak in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  I’ve been feeling the need to add more vintage Mr. Met pieces, and this is certainly an excellent way to add to that!

I also love how the boy obtaining the autograph has a similarly oversized and round head.

Unlike Jerry Buchek, I’ve got plenty of Bud images to chose from.

Wrapping up this trilogy of autographs is this very nice color 8 x 10 glossy photograph of Ed Kranepool, signed in gold Sharpie and with an inscription.

To the outside observer, Ed Kranepool was a decent player who was an All-Star in 1965 and played in two World Series (including 1969), but for many Mets fans he holds a special place in Mets history.  He started out as a 17-year-old local boy who debuted with the 1962 Mets and he played for the team his whole career, running up to 1979.  In the 1970’s he was THE MAN, the one player who had been on hand for nearly all of the team’s history, and for quite a while I was upset that the Mets hadn’t retired his #7 upon his retirement.  Kranepool once held a number of Mets career records;  most of them have since been eclipsed (generally by David Wright), but his 1,853 games played is still the Mets all-time record.

Many, many thanks go out to Bob for this oversized envelope which provided me several wide-eyed and sincere “wows” when opening it!  Bob, there’s a little bit of help for your 1971 Topps set build heading your way, but it’s just a drop in the Bucket O’ Appreciation I feel for your generosity!

 

How Many Countries Do I Have Cards From?

That’s a question I asked myself when I was finishing my previous post about a card from Germany. I asked it at the end of the post, but Fuji (of the World Famous Chronicles of Fuji) made a comment that he might do it as a blog post, I agreed that it deserved to be, and here I am doing my own.

This turned out to be a fun little exercise, and I’d love to see other people’s international collections, so let’s see if we can’t make this something of a Blog Bat Around.  If you do something similar, please post a link in the comments here so everybody can see what you’ve got.

Since, with the exception of two week-long trips to Canada, I’ve spent all of my life in the US, it’s not surprising that this list starts with…

1) UNITED STATES

This Gil Hodges card is, of course, from the 1965 Topps set.

2) CANADA

Sometime around the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, I bought a complete set of 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA hockey for $10… Mainly because it was a cool oddball set.  To this day, it remains one of my favorite hockey sets..

3) MEXICO

I didn’t even think about Mexico until I remembered that I had one example of the 1977 Topps “Futbol Americano Profesional” set. I’m not clear if these cards were made in Mexico, but they were sold in Mexico so that’s good enough for me.

4) JAPAN

I’ve been intrigued by Japanese baseball since 1979 when I stumbled on a game on a UHF station outside of New York City. My Japanese collection isn’t going to impress anybody or pay for someone’s college tuition, but I enjoy it.

This card of Dwayne Hosey is from 1998 Calbee.

5) ENGLAND

Anglophile that I am, I have a few English cards;  mostly soccer, with some cigarette and tea cards… and Doctor Who as well. This card of a Rover BRM Le Mans is from the 1968 Brooke Bond “History Of The Motor Car” set.

6) SCOTLAND

I’m going with international sporting definitions of a country;  both Scotland and England are part of the United Kingdom, but I’m counting them separately.  This card is from the 1975/76 Topps Scottish Footballers set.

7) AUSTRALIA

It doesn’t get much more “stumbling across” than the way I stumbled across this card.  I was at a show and this card, from the 1978 Scanlens Victorian Football League set, was sitting on top of a dime box.  I had no idea what it was, but for a dime there was no argument that whether it was coming home with me.  Sadly, it was the only one of it’s kind I found.

8) GERMANY

When I featured the Sanella Margerine “Handbuch des Sports” card he other day, I forgot that it wasn’t my first German card;  I have this “Wer ist die schoenste Frau?” card from a cigarette card set that’s also from the 1930’s.  I originally wrote about this card over three years ago;  I still don’t know who she is.

9) SOUTH KOREA

I found out that Korean baseball cards were available on COMC, so I bought one just so I could say I have a Korean baseball card. This card features Shin Yung Song from the 2015 NtreevSoft Korean Baseball Organization set.

10) ITALY

I almost forgot that I had these 1992 Score Italian Soccer cards.  I don’t remember when or where I bought them, I only know I bought they because they were exotic (and, I’m sure, relatively cheap).

It’s not Trey Mancini or Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini or even Henry Mancini… It’s Roberto Mancini, who won  numerous championships as a player and is currently the manager of the Italian national team.

Since I’ve never featured one of these on the blog before, here’s the back:

11) SWEDEN

Swedish publisher Semic produced a hockey card set to commemorate the 1995 World Ice Hockey Championships, which were held in Stockholm that year.  I bought this card because I like Michal Pivonka, who played for the Capitals back when I still rooted for the Capitals.

12) THE NETHERLANDS (HOLLAND)

Back in the 1980’s I bought a pack of “Football Stars” cards which have long been a mystery to me.  I’ll write about the whole pack some other time, but they are blank-backed minis and I only know they’re from The Netherlands because the thin paper wrapper says “MADE AND PRINTED IN HOLLAND” on the back.  Since the front references the World Cup, and Germany’s Klaus Allofs only played in the 1986 World Cup, I’m assuming these cards are from 1986. They may well be some sort of “Broder”.


I have to admit that I didn’t expect to have twelve countries represented, but I’m often drawn to the unusual when it comes to collectibles, especially when it’s within my budget.

So, once again, I’d love to know what countries are represented in your collection; you can always just leave a comment here. This isn’t any kind of competition, there’s no award (real or imaginary) for having the most countries… I’m just curious and I’m sure others are as well.

1932-33 Sanella Margarine “Handbuch des Sports” – Curling

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while; It’s the latest addition and oldest card in my Curling card collection, a collection which has reached 11 cards.

This is from an early 1930’s German set called “Handbuch des Sports”, which literally translates to “Sports Handbook”. it was issued in 1932/33 and is printed on larger-than-standard, relatively thin stock. It’s similar to some of the “stamps” of the 1960’s in that it’s meant to be pasted into a book, but you provide your own adhesive. Interestingly enough, the “handbuch” is not just some soft-covered stamp album, it’s a hard-covered book with detailed writeups on many sports. I found this example from a Heritage Auctions lot.

From a North American standpoint, the highlight of the set is a card of Babe Ruth, but it also includes world famous athletes like boxer Max Schmeling and figure skater Sonja Henie, as well as a variety of sports like Polo, Cricket, Ice Hockey and most intriguing (to me, anyway), “Korbball”, which seems to be a sport similar to basketball or netball (on the off chance you’re familiar with netball).  Korbball is apparently specific to Germany.

I was excited to add to my small Curling collection, but unfortunately this card is about 2 3/4″ x 4 1/8″, which means it doesn’t go in the 9-pocket pages with the rest of the collection it now belongs to.  For the time being, it sits on my desk in an oversized toploader.

Here’s the back; Truth be told with this, it’s the old Germanic fonts which cause me more problems than the German language.

Aside from being able to add to my Curling collection, it’s fun to be able to add a collectible from another country.  Off the top of my head, I’ve got cards from seven different countries – eight if you count England and Scotland as separate countries, rather than being part of the UK.