I Feel Like Posting Random Stuff

I haven’t done enough random stuff lately… well, there was an arbitrarily-themed post last week, but before that… who knows.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any cards from 1956… It’s been a while since I got any 1956.

After I complete my 1957 Orioles team set, I probably should move back to 1956… just to have a goal involving 1956 Topps, rather than just buying cheap, appealing ones. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Gotta include the backs of anything from 1956.

This card of Bart Giamatti always makes me sad. He was a huge baseball fan, seemed well-suited for the role of Commissioner and seemed to relish the position… but he suffered a fatal heart attack just shy of one year in office.

I bought a pack of 2016/17 Panini Complete basketball at a Dollar Tree just for grins. I like these cards… Low price point, simple but appealing design, large checklist. It almost makes me wish that I had any kind of interest in basketball.

I remember Steve Hargan as an unspectacular pitcher for the Texas Rangers in the 1970’s and ever since I got this card I’d been meaning to look up what got him on an insert card in 1968.

He was an All-Star in 1967, that’s mainly what. That season, when Hargan was 24, he lead the league with 6 shutouts. Contrast that to his last season of 1977 where he was taken by the Blue Jays in the expansion draft, traded back to Texas, sold to the Braves and then released, all by June 15th.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Someone needs to bring back drop shadow lettering like this on baseball uniforms.

I’ll wrap things up with a 1954 Bowman Johnny Klippstein which I got because it was cheap and I have damn few cards from 1954 Bowman… I ignored the 1950’s for the longest time but have been dipping my toes in over the past 10 years or so.

Klippstein pitched 18 years with 8 different teams and at various times lead the league in wild pitches and hit batsmen. His nickname was “The Wild Man of Borneo” (which was the name of a 1941 movie).

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2018 TSR: A Trade, A Debut And Mistaken Identity

In a season where Mets fans finally saw the “rotation of the future” – Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler – healthy and pitching at the same time, we ended up seeing one of those pitchers hit the road.

For those who haven’t kept up with the Mets, former All-Star and frequent insert subject Matt Harvey continued to struggle with the Mets this year. Demotion to the bullpen didn’t help, and when he refused a minor league assignment, as is his right, the Mets surprised many by designating Harvey for assignment. He got traded to the Reds, but you know that if the change of scenery improves his pitching to any significant degree, he’ll be flipped at the trading deadline.

In exchange for Harvey, the Mets got catcher Devin Mesoraco. With starter Travis d’Arnaud out for the season and backup Kevin Plawecki also out (but due back soon), the Mets needed someone who could be an improvement over Jose Lobaton and the not-ready-for-primetime Tomas Nido.

From all indications, Mesoraco has thrown himself into learning as much as he can about the Mets pitching staff, so the end result of this trade could come down to something as simple as whether Harvey and Mesoraco can stay healthy.

Orioles rookie David Hess made his MLB debut yesterday, pitched 6 innings, gave up six hits, no walks and three runs en route to his first Major League win. By 2018 Orioles standards, that’s a damn fine outing (and a godsend).

Hess has a follow-through that brings his right foot up over his head while his foot rotates around… I enjoy watching pitchers like that, I guess because I couldn’t even dream of being that flexible.

For this week’s Manager I went with Paul Molitor. His Twins have gone 8-2 over the last 10 games to get within a half game of first place… and yet they still have a losing record. I hadn’t realized that the first-place Indians are right at .500

Speaking of the AL Central, the White Sox have fallen apart, losing 9 of 10 and now have THE WORST RECORD IN BASEBALL, which comes as a relief to both the Orioles and Reds.

I read an article earlier this week about how Braves infielders Dansby Swanson and Charlie Culberson are often mistaken for each other. This amused me and I thought it deserved a “Pointless Pairings” insert.

Both Dansby and Charlie are Georgia natives of similar height and build and, as you can see, have similar faces and hair. TV networks have confused them in highlights, fans have asked one for an autograph thinking it was the other and — in spring training, anyway — players and coaches got the two of them confused.

As I mentioned last week, I’m going to be doing a 1988 Topps tribute insert set that Topps should have already been doing (not too late, dudes!). Each week I’ll be creating at least one custom using the 88T design. I intend to use players who were outstanding in the prior week and would likely be included in an insert set such as this.

Max Scherzer is 7-1, 1.69 so far this year, so there’s no need to justify his presence in this set. In two starts this past week (May 6 – 12) he pitched 13.1 innings and struck out 26 batters while giving up 2 runs and 9 hits.

Scherzer got a win against the Diamondbacks and a no-decision in a Nats win against the Phillies.

Odubel Herrera got some consideration as the subject of the 1988 set, but as a consolation prize he gets a double-throwback 1985 Fleer-ish custom.

Herrera has gotten on base in 40 consecutive games stretching back to last September. During this past week, he went 12-for-21 with 3 doubles, 3 homers, 7 runs scored, 10 RBI and a .654 On-base percentage.

2018 TSR: Sorry, But I Overslept

I stayed in bed too long this morning, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff I need to do which shockingly – SHOCKINGLY!!! – has nothing to do with baseball cards.

Granted we’re only 20 or so games into the season, but if you were to look up the Mets team leaders, Todd Frazier is in the top three of just about every offensive category.  I think I heard that he’s also to blame for the goofy pepper grinder celebration thing.

Adam Jones is among the Orioles leaders in many categories… But I’ll admit that I have included him today for ulterior motives.

Manager of the week is Rick Renteria of the White Sox. The Chisox are a young team who weren’t expected to contend, but some were expecting them to take a step or two… which so far they have not yet done.  I like Renteria, so I hate to suggest this, but does he take over the “Hot Seat” from Bryan Price, who was recently fired by the Reds?

Gerrit Cole is here because I liked the photo.

Kelby Tomlinson is a triple-threat in my book: He wears glasses, I got to like him as a player during his time in the minors and he’s got a great name.

…And this custom shows Ohtani, so you know it’s worth a couple of bucks already.

Two inserts in this pack! Wooo!

First off, we have the return of the popular Pointless Pairings insert set! Today’s features the Pirates’ Jordy Mercer and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Geordi LaForge:

C’mon, admit it… you’ve thought of this from when you first heard of Jordy Mercer.

Next up we have a Faux Set Sports Of The World insert.

When searching for pictures of the Orioles Adam Jones, you run across a lot of other athletes also named Adam Jones, including a recently-retired British rugby player…

The man, the uniform… So much to say that I don’t even know where to start.

By the way, Harlequins F.C. is a Premiership Rugby Union team based out of London.  I also learned that Rugby Union is different from Rugby League, and there’s also Rugby Sevens.  45 seconds worth of research seems to indicate that what is played in the United States is Rugby Union.  That’s about the extent of my rugby knowledge.

OK, gotta run!

 

Curling Customs – Last Mention Of Gold Medals And Anastasia Bryzgalova

I’m sure people are saying “Get back to the baseball cards already!” but I have one more post to get the Olympics out of my system… and at any rate I’ve put a lot of work into these and I want to get them out here.

When I started planning these last fall, I was thinking of the different types of customs I might be making, and while I was thinking of making “postseason” customs…

I thought the USA would be competitive, but I wasn’t sure about medals, especially after the Men got off to a 2-4 start in round-robin play… but the bad start almost seemed to take the pressure off, the team beat Canada in the 7th game and never looked back.

Next thing we knew, John Shuster’s team had beaten Canada for the second time to get to the Gold Medal game…

…and then shocked everybody by scoring 5 in the 8th end against a dominant Swedish team.  The next thing we know…

It’s Gold Medal time, baby!

I don’t have the time or inclination to get into much more about the Olympics themselves, but I wanted to share a few other cards and tell you about where to go to see the rest of the ones I made (there are quite a few).

By popular request, here’s Anastasia Bryzgalova again.

Say what you want about her, she doesn’t seem to be one of these people who pose for pictures biting her medal.  I won’t say that such behavior is good or bad, but I really do not get it.

I was also rooting for the USA women as well…

…but they didn’t make it out of the pack, so I ended up rooting for the Japanese women, who always seem so excited and happy to be there.  The Japanese women’s team beat Great Britain in the Bronze Medal game.

The Korean women surprised by taking Silver won a whole lot of fans in South Korea and elsewhere.

The Swedish women won Gold.

Here are a few other customs that I thought worth sharing in the blog…

 

If you’d like to see more of these, I’ve posted all of these plus another 25+ more “unpublished” customs over in my 2018 TSR Curling Gallery.  Yeah, I really went nuts with these.

As always, I enjoyed doing these and I hope you enjoyed them as well!

Adventures At A Postcard Show

About a month ago I found out about a postcard show that would be happening in a town that’s just close enough to be within “What the heck” driving limits. Now I don’t collect postcards, but I thought it might be fun to see what a show was like and I figured I was bound to find something I liked, so I devoted part of this past Saturday afternoon to the quest.

When I walked into the show, it was simultaneously familiar and strange. Like a sports collectibles show, there were numerous folding tables covered with boxes… but that’s where the familiarity ended. I walked up to one of the tables and realized I had no idea of where to start.

After wandering around a while, I found out that most of the dealers had their inventory in two major categories: Location (i.e. “Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ”) and Topic. For the most part, “Topic” is what I focused on. Topics included all sorts of subjects like Flowers, Holidays, Toys, Fire Trucks, Cats, Jokes, Nudes, Celebrities, Restaurants, Presidents, Lighthouses and so forth.

As you would expect, I started out looking for baseball-related postcards. Most of the dealers had cards which featured players – the yellow-bordered Baseball Hall Of Fame postcards were pretty common across the show. There were also a fair number of mid-1980’s TCMA postcards of Mets and Yankees, but I didn’t need any of the Mets and I didn’t want any of the Yankees (I did consider a Willie Randolph postcard, but it was a little more than I’d wanted to spend).

There were also postcards featuring ballparks, but I didn’t see any that I wanted.

About halfway through my time at the show… more or less coinciding with the point where my eyes stopped glazing over… I realized that there were other things I could be looking for.

First off was postcards of Long Island, NY… the “stomping grounds” for much of my first 30 years. I couldn’t resist buying this postcard of Roslyn, a town which isn’t terribly far from the Queens border…

…I’ve yet to figure out when this postcard is from, but I’m pretty confident that Rosyln has never looked even remotely like this during my 52 years on this Earth.

The second potential Topic was the 1964 New York World’s Fair… Not so much the fair itself but some of the structures which have fascinated me since I was a child and looking at them passing by while we drove on the Grand Central Parkway on the way to visit family.  For instance, I’ve always loved the Unisphere (as depicted on this Topps Heritage card)…

…but there’s also the Port Authority heliport (currently Terrace On The Park) and the New York State Pavilion (part of which was the “escape vehicle” in the movie “Men In Black”). Unfortunately most of the Worlds Fair postcards I found were of pavilions which didn’t remain after the end of the World’s Fair.

I also found some dealers with “Winter Sports” sections, which I scanned for hockey and curling postcards. I came up empty on curling, but I did find a couple of interesting WHA postcards, but they were kind of expensive, featured players I didn’t know and they didn’t really fit into my collection other than being “neat”.

So what did I buy, other than the Roslyn postcard I already showed you?

Well, I found one dealer who had Cleveland Indians postcards from 1974 and 1975. I bought these two because I really like the uniforms of the time… I started following baseball in 1974 so in my mind the uniforms the Indians wore at that time are the best Indians uniforms ever… Especially the red jerseys.

I was mildly surprised to find out that the Trading Card DB had information on these postcards, but I’m learning that I shouldn’t doubt the mighty tradingcarddb.com. This Jackie Brown postcard and the following postcard are both from the 1975 Cleveland Indians Update set, which also features the “rookie postcard” of Dennis Eckersley. Not surprisingly, I didn’t run across Eck in this box of $1 postcards.

Even if it weren’t for the uniforms, I just love this postcard of pitcher Eric Raich (who I just barely remembered from his 1976 and 1977 Topps cards)…

It’s got a Norman Rockwell-ish vibe about it, especially with the youth of Ohio in the background (Boys who are clearly interested in players who are not Eric Raich… Maybe he’d already signed for them).

One last Indians postcaard, this one from the 1974 team-issued set and featuring George Hendrick:

The final postcard I bought was this 1971 New York Yankees postcard which fills a spot in my modest Fritz Peterson collection.

This is from the 1971 New York Yankees Clinic Day postcard set, and the back features more information than the others, so I’ll share the back from this one:

…actually this gives me opportunity to mention something I thought was interesting… you can see in the upper right that there’s a price and some form of identifying number written there in pencil (more lightly than it looks in my scan).  If one did this on a baseball card, you’ve just shot the value to hell, but apparently it’s not completely out of the question in postcard circles, although you’d think they wouldn’t do it on the really valuable ones.

On the whole, the postcard show was fun. It was *different*. I have not been drawn into the world of postcard collecting as a result, but I’ll strongly consider going to this show when it rolls around again next November. At least then I’d have a better idea of what I’m looking for.

Custom Card Sunday: Going Non-Sports With Two Cars And A Truck

I don’t often publish non-sport customs, but it’s been known to happen. Several factors have recently combined to inspire me to make a few customs in a genre which has a small but valued part in my collection – automotive cards.

There are some new vehicles on the road which have caught my eye, and… well, I’ll be frank about it…  with me starting my 7th year of blogging, I’m less likely to worry about how many people will be interested in something I post.

So, anyway… I’ve been playing with customs like this for several years now, mostly for my own enjoyment  I like the latest batch enough that I figured I’d throw them out here and see if anyone else likes them.  I could be persuaded to post more if there’s any interest.

This first custom is based on a truck that manages to be sexy, but I have to admit, it looks a lot nicer in person than in photos… That’s the International LoneStar.  I saw one of these a couple of years ago and it made me want to get my CDL and become a truck driver.

I haven’t seen very many of these in my part of the country, but I could see these being used by someone who is hauling equipment for a concert or race team… something where you want to be flashy while hauling stuff.

I’ve owned six cars over the past 32 years, and they divide equally into two periods:  Before and after “The 5th Door”.  However, I also like driving cars – I’ve never felt comfortable sitting up high – so my 5th door isn’t on a SUV, crossover or minivan.  I like the very things which are anathema to Americans:  Wagons and hatchbacks.

Anytime I see a new vehicle that fits into these two categories, I always check it out even if it’s beyond my financial capabilities… Such as this beauty…

“Sportbrake” is a variation of “Shooting Brake”;  It’s hard to find a decent 21st century definition of what a Shooting Brake is, but in my mind it’s “a sports coupe or sedan with cargo space in the back”.

This final one was actually the first one I did, and if I continue with this series it’s one I’m likely to re-do.  I saw an Alfa Romeo Giulia in a parking lot a couple of weeks ago, and it made me silently thank the people at Alfa Romeo for making the decision to enter the U.S. car market again.

Now that I’ve finished this first batch of customs, it sort of re-emphasizes what made me want to make them in the first place… If a set like this popped up in the card aisle at Target, I’d definitely buy at least a blaster and could see myself chasing a set. (Hint, hint, Topps, Panini and Upper Deck)

Maybe These Will Help Me Keep A Schedule

Another day with nothing prepared…  Business as usual for me.  I went poking through some of my scans and ran across a bunch of pocket schedules from the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and figured that could make a quick, fun post.

We’ll start off with the most recent of the bunch, a 1990 Mets pocket schedule featuring Howard Johnson

This next one’s got a bit of history to it, and is about as old-school and low-budget as you get. This schedule is for the AAA American Association Denver Zephyrs in their last season before the Colorado Rockies came in to Mile High and sent the Zephyrs to New Orleans.

Despite the schedule’s red ink, the team’s colors were blue and green, and they played up the “Z” aspect of their branding (Look at the stitching on the baseball in the logo).

The American Association got merged into the Pacific Coast League and International League, and the franchise is now known as the (shudder) New Orleans Baby Cakes.

The Philadelphia Flyers tried to recruit me in 1983/84. I continue to elude the authorities.

That’s Bobby Clarke towards the end of his playing career.

Looking back at Dwight Gooden’s 1985 Cy Young-winning stats is enough to make one say “Holy crap!”

24-4, 1.53 ERA, 16 complete games, 8 shutouts, 268 K’s… and he was 20 years old.

1986 Yankees… BOOOOOOO!  The schedule says “Follow The Leaders”, which looks a bit silly in hindsight given that the 1986 Yankees finished 5.5 games behind the Red Sox, and the 1986 Mets were WORLD CHAMPIONS, BABY!

If you can’t read the fine print, the depicted Yankees are Ricky Henderson, Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly.

This last schedule is a two-in-one 1988/89 New York Rangers and Knicks pocket schedule.  I think the Ranger is James Patrick (Help me out, Blueshirts fans)

The Knick cover boy is Brooklyn product and St. John’s alum Mark Jackson… at least, that’s who wore #13 at the time according to a couple of different sources.  Never having been a basketball fan, I’m only barely aware of the name.

Have a happy Friday, everybody!