Two 1960’s Mets And Little Text (I Used Up All My “Hobby Time”)

I gained some traction in my organizing efforts this week, but in the process I left myself almost no time for blogging.

Among my newer scans were two 1960’s Mets cards I got on COMC, one a HOFer and the other a player that many have argued should be a HOFer. I figured these cards didn’t need a lot of backstory, so here they are.

1964 Topps Casey Stengel

1962 Topps Gil Hodges

Two more steps towards completing my 1960’s Mets team sets, a goal that may never be reached because of the Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan rookie cards. …But hey, one has to try, right?

Shlabotnik Quality Assortment: Willie, Gil, Vic And Sammy

I’ve got a few old items to share today, one owned by me for years, the others were more recent acquisitions… all over 40 years old.

First off is a ticket stub that was stashed away in a metal index card box along with a bunch of other collectibles I’ve had as long as I can remember.
Mets ticket stub 6-9-73
June 9th, 1973…  I’d like to say that this was a pivotal moment in my young life (I was 7 going on 8)… but I unfortunately do not remember it. Baseball didn’t capture my attention until the following year… plus I have a notoriously bad memory… but I have the ticket stub so I presume I was there.

The Mets beat the Dodgers 4-2 on a Saturday afternoon in front of 47,800 fans.  Jon Matlack pitched a complete game, Rusty Staub had 2 doubles and 3 RBI, and Willie Mays hit career homer 655 off of Al Downing (the same pitcher who would give up Hank Aaron’s 715th a little under a year later).

A small cartoon devil did appear on my shoulder while writing this, and tried to encourage me to fake it and say I remembered it like it was yesterday, but I decided to play it straight. It’s still a cool ticket stub.

Vic Power had some power – he hit 126 homers over 12 seasons – but he also won the Gold Glove award 7 years straight, from 1958 to 1964.
1961 Topps Vic Power
He was an All-Star four times, twice with the Kansas City Athletics, twice with the Cleveland Indians.

Gotta love Post cards, gotta love Gil Hodges, put ’em together…
1961 Post Gil Hodges
Like the Vic Power card above, this one is from 1961… Gil’s last year with the Dodgers and his last year of appearing in more than 100 games. After the season, he’d be taken by the Mets in the expansion draft.

I just love this shot of catcher Sammy Taylor posing like an infielder… with his catcher’s glove.
1962 Topps Sammy Taylor
This could almost go into my Mets binder as Taylor would be traded from the Cubs to the Mets early in 1962. He’d last just over a year with the Mets before being traded to the Reds halfway through the 1963 season. The Reds would trade him to Cleveland later in the summer, and he’d finish his career with four games in an Indians uniform.

COMC What I Got: 1960’s Cards I Just Liked

As mentioned several times before, I did a lot of shopping on COMC during the Black Friday Weekend promotion.  After I finished going through my wantlists, I spent the rest of the weekend dreaming up different things to shop for.

Towards the end of the weekend I decided to go to each 1960’s Topps set and see if there were any inexpensive cards that weren’t on any of my wantlists, but were just cards that I liked for whatever reason.

Here are some of those cards…

As much as I hate the Yankees, I really like cards that show parts of the original Yankee Stadium… Plus I like Woody Held’s far-from-pristine helmet.
1962 Topps Woody Held
Woody’s first name is Woodson and he played for 7 different teams.  According to he’s the only Major Leaguer to have played 100 games at second, third, short, left, center and right… yet he never played at first.  Interesting.

Rich Rollins here is fresh off a guest appearance on “Mad Men”.
1965 Topps Rich Rollins
Rich Rollins does admittedly kinda sorta have another reason for being in my collection;  he was a Seattle Pilot, and as such holds a special place in my heart.

It’s a 1965 card, so I can’t NOT show the back.
1965 Topps Rich Rollins back
“Versalles” mentioned in the cartoon was Zoilo Versalles, who was the AL MVP in 1965.  If I ever go into witness protection and have to change my name, “Zoilo” would be right up there on my list… Although I guess that wouldn’t be terribly inconspicuous.

Even though I know that there were two All-Star games each year from 1959 to 1962, reading that someone “appeared in both All-Star games of ’62” still makes me say “What the what?”

I wish my scanner didn’t tend to “wash out” cards, because I bought it solely because I liked the colors…  The yellow and red of the border combined with the Cardinal red… Wonderful stuff.
1966 Topps Don Dennis
I’d never heard of Don Dennis;  he pitched two years of relief for the Cards, got traded to the White Sox and never appeared in the Majors again.

This is another card that simply appealed to my visual cortex.
1961 Topps Jerry Lynch
Despite the glove in this photo, Jerry Lynch was one of the premier pinch hitters of his time.  He had 116 pinch hits;  while he appeared in 1,184 games he played the field in only 710 of them.

My apologies to Mr. George Alusik, but when I saw this card I said “Damn, I look more like a ballplayer than this guy!”
1962 Topps George Alusik
I’ll be fair, George Alusik looks much more athletic on his 1963 and 1964 cards, both of which picture him with the Athletics (and look like they were taken moments apart in 1962).  Alusik played sparingly for the Tigers from 1958 to 1962, got traded to Kansas City and played more regularly for three years.  He has 23 career homers, but in 1962 he homered in 5 consecutive games.

So that’s it for this particular batch of cards… I’ll be featuring these “COMC What I Got” posts throughout the next few weeks… months… years…

COMC-ing Attractions: A Preview Of The Stuff I Got On Black Friday

I’ve recently made comments about how I spent hours and hours shopping on COMC during the Black Friday Weekend promotion, and some of you were probably thinking “How much shopping can one do? You go through your wantlists and you’re done, right?”

Well, that much is true, I did start off putting a dent into my wantlists… But I spent the entire weekend thinking of additional ways of looking for bargains, so I was signing on, signing off, signing on, signing off…

What follows is not the best of what I got, but a quick overview of some of the types of cards I got.

I was looking for cheap autographs of players I like…
1995 Best Autographs Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson was part of “Generation K”, a group of three promising young Mets pitchers (sound familiar?)  Neither Wilson, Jason Isringhausen nor Bill Pulsipher turned out the HOF careers Mets fans were dreaming of 20 years ago, which I suppose works as a cautionary tale for today’s Mets rotation (but, thank goodness, none of today’s pitchers will get overworked by Dallas Green).

I was also looking for cheap Japanese cards that I found interesting in some way…
1998 Calbee Hiromitsu Ochiai
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to buy a card of a Japanese Baseball HOFer… This 1998 Calbee card features Hiromitsu Ochiai in his final season. Ochiai won the Triple Crown three times and over his career he batted .311 with 510 homers, 2,371 hits and 1,564 RBI.

I was looking for Topps Chrome cards which feature a different photo than exists in the standard Topps set…
2012 Topps Chrome Kirk Nieuwenhuis
…And honestly, Chrome or not, how could anyone bypass this great shot of Kirk Nieuwenhuis? BTW, this is one of those Topps Chrome cards which doesn’t appear to have a flagship Topps equivalent.

I was looking for additions to my Mets collection…
2015 Bowman Prospects Kevin Plawecki
Kevin Plawecki spent much of 2015 backing up Travis d’Arnaud, but Plawecki is a former first-round draft pick and there are those who like him better than d’Arnaud.

…As well as additions to my Orioles collection…
2015 Panini Diamond Kings Christian Walker
I bought 3 other 2015 Diamond Kings cards, and I have to say that I was fairly impressed… This is easily one of the best baseball sets Panini has produced to date. (I know, that’s not saying much.)

Christian Walker is an Orioles prospect… That is, when he’s not working as a homicide detective working cases specific to super heroes… (a little joke for any comic fans).

I was looking for cheap vintage which didn’t fall on any wantlists, but which I just liked…
1962 Topps Paul Brown
Paul Brown demonstrates that 1962 Topps isn’t entirely made up of portraits of capless ballplayers.  Mr. Brown pitched for the Phillies over 4 non-consecutive seasons and compiled an 0-8 career record, mostly as a reliever.  Children Of The Seventies like myself might be interested to know that Paul Brown is the brother of Jackie Brown, who pitched for the Rangers, Indians and Expos.

And finally, at the last minute, I decided to look for cheap 1970 Topps that I didn’t have, whether or not they were on my wantlist.
1970 Topps Alan Foster

Time for another nerdy reference… Alan Foster always makes me think of Alan Dean Foster, a science fiction writer who was a well-known name to me in my youth because he wrote the novelizations of all the animated Star Trek TV episodes (Star Trek Log One, Log Two, etc.) plus he was the ghost-writer for the novelization of Star Wars (“Chapter IV” to you young whippersnappers) and he also wrote “Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye”, which was the first Star Wars novel which wasn’t based on a movie.

Again, this is just “coming attractions” of some of the stuff that got me excited… If time allows, I’ll start sharing those images before too much longer.

Thoughts On The Mets, Plus Recently Acquired Mets Cards

I’ve been pretty quiet about the playoffs so far, and I would guess that some of you are wondering why a Mets fan hasn’t weighed in on the subject.

I’ll admit, part of my silence was not wanting to jinx the Mets.
1969 Topps Cleon Jones

When this season started, my expectations were “This is the year we don’t suck!” A wild card spot would be cool, but being something other than painful to watch (not to mention putting the whole “LOLMets” meme to bed) was my wish for the season.
1992 Stadium Club Dwight Gooden
Halfway through the season, that’s about what it looked like. The Mets were a decent team, but didn’t look like world-beaters.

…But then again, neither did the Nationals (despite all the preseason talk of 100 wins and a championship).
1997 Pinnacle Denny's Todd Hundley
Then the Mets made a move where they actually traded away prospects for major league talent, rather than the other way around. They picked up Kelly “The Happy Wanderer” Johnson and Juan Uribe for two fringey pitching prospects. I liked the deal, and thought that would be THE big move towards acquiring mid-season help. After all, the Mets weren’t going to be serious contenders until next year, right?

2013 Topps Archives Howard Johnson
They also picked up Tyler Clippard to bolster the bullpen, another nice trade to help the team without selling out on the future.

Then, much to my surprise, they picked up Yoenis Cespedes. It was at that point that I realized that they had more than meaningful September baseball in mind.

2013 Topps Finest Matt Harvey
But all along, I kept in mind that this wasn’t necessarily supposed to be happening. I enjoyed the Nationals falling apart because that franchise’s arrogance annoys the crap out of me (a subject for another post, another day), but I didn’t get carried away about the division title… Hell, both wild card teams had better records than the Mets.
1962 Topps Gus Bell
I tried to keep in mind that the Mets, like Dante in the movie “Clerks”, were “not even supposed to be here today”.

They beat the Dodgers, which was thoroughly enjoyable because I’d run across a fair number of Dodger fans who were beating their chests about how unbeatable Kershaw & Greinke were…. Plus I’m still pissed about the Dodgers beating the Mets in the 1988 NLCS.
1964 Topps Jim Hickman
The Cubs made the NLCS difficult for me because the Cubs were my second-favorite team in the postseason and I have a few friends who are Cubs fans. As games between the Mets and Orioles have taught me, it’s harder to enjoy a game when you like both teams.

…which is why, after the Mets swept the Cubs, I switched my AL rooting interest to the moderately obnoxious Royals. I decided that, win or lose, the World Series would be more fun with a bad guy. Hopefully I won’t come to regret that.
1967 Topps Bob Shaw
So here we are, on the cusp of Game 1. I still maintain my mindset that this season is already an overwhelming success, and anything else is just gravy. Sure, I want the Mets to win, but given all the unexpected joys of this season, all I really ask for is that the World Series be fun to watch.
1970 Topps Tom Seaver
Let’s Go Mets!

1962 Topps Remastered (But Is It Improved?)

Just over a week ago I was reading Night Owl’s Topps’ Set Countdown when I had a thought…

Night Owl referred to the 1962 design as a “peeling poster on a wooden fence”… and even though I know that’s what it’s meant to evoke, I hadn’t really thought about in a number of years…  It just is what it is.

I’ve always thought that the 1962 design was a little bland and could use a little spicing up, so I idly thought “too bad there wasn’t something more than wood under the peeling poster”… And that’s when it hit me – What if the peeling poster revealed an “older” poster underneath? And that poster could have the player’s information while getting a splash of color involved…

So I played around for a few minutes and came up with something.

Here’s an original 1962 Topps Ed Bouchee (which I chose because it’s a higher numbered card that features an actual Mets uniform):
1962 Topps Ed Bouchee

…And here’s my tweaked version.

1962 Topps Ed Bouchee improved 2

As Joel on Mystery Science Theater 3000 would say… “What do you think, sirs?”

Ranking 15 years Of Heritage, Pt 1: 15 through 13

The idea for this new series of posts came from the general reaction to this year’s Heritage set.  While I knew that there wasn’t a huge amount of love for the 1966 design, I didn’t expect this year’s Heritage to be greeted with the overwhelming wave of indifference that came upon its release… And that indifference may turn out to be well-founded because, to be frank, I’m far less “into” this year’s set than I had been when it initially came out.  I have some thoughts on my flagging enthusiasm for this year’s Heritage, but I’ll save that for later.

Anyway, indifference to 2015 Heritage got me thinking about how hard it would’ve been for most Heritage steps coming on the heels of 2014 Heritage (based on the wonderful 1965 design)… and that, in turn, got me thinking it would be fun to do a ranking every Heritage base set.  Plenty of bloggers have ranked the sets these are based on, but I don’t know of anyone who actually ranked Heritage as Heritage.

When going through these, I tried to take a number of things into account… the design being “Heritaged”, how successful Topps was in replicating the design and feel of the set, whether it changed my feelings towards the original cards, and – more of a belllweather than a factor – how many of the Heritage cards I have in my collection.

OK, let’s get started…

#15:  2001 Heritage (1952 design)

Right off the bat, I’m giving everybody cause to get out the pitchforks and torches.  I realize that the 1952 set achieves its fame from the fact that it’s the first “real” Topps set and it contains Mickey Mantle’s rookie card, but I maintain that if neither were true, 1952 Topps would not be viewed as quite as much of a classic as it is. Yes, it was groundbreaking at the time, but I don’t find it to be a great design. The original pulls it off by being sort of “organic”, and looking like a set where everything was done by hand. When replicated through 2001 technology, you lose the organic appeal and it comes across as kind of homely.

2001 Heritage Rickey Henderson

2001 Heritage Rickey Henderson back

I suppose I should cut them some slack, the Heritage concept was new… but looking back at it, I wondered how many lessons had yet to be learned when they started this.  A lot of the images seem like they just ran photos through some filter and tinted the background some sickly color.

Given that this is a ranking of Heritage sets, it might be off-topic to compare the 2001 set with its “peers”, but it does have a lot to do with how I felt about this set at the time, and how I feel about it now.

Heritage wasn’t the best throwback set of 2001… it wasn’t even second-best… not even close.  Upper Deck had their Vintage set which was a tweaked 1963 Topps design….

2001 UD Vintage Mike Bordick

Fleer had the 1950’s-ish Tradition set which is as derivative as derivative can be, but is still a far nicer set than 2001 Heritage.

2001 Fleer Tradition Jeff Conine

Looking at my 2001 Heritage cards, there’s one damning piece of evidence that makes my feelings for this set clear:  I’ve been a Mets fan and active collector for over 40 years, and this is the extent of my 2001 Heritage Mets.

2001 Heritage Bobby Jones

Yep, one card that I think I pulled from a pack.  If that doesn’t say “disinterest”, I don’t know what does.  I’ll probably go back and fill in the gaps… Someday.

How Heritage affected my opinion of the originals:  2001 Heritage, combined with the “Topps ’52” Rookie sets that came a couple of years later, made me tired of this design… although I’ll say that the “Topps ’52” sets seemed to have done a better job of replicating the feel of the originals.

2001 Heritage cards in my collection:  36 cards out of 407 in the set (8.85%)

#14:  2011 Heritage (1962 Design)

I’ll admit, the original 1962 set is a set that I sort of… resent.

It’s not a design that I care for… Part of it is the wood grain.  Somehow, I find wood grain to be less interesting than just a solid border.  I can’t explain why, it just is.

But – and here’s where the resentment comes in – but the catch is that the first-ever Mets cards are from this 1962 set… and as they didn’t get photos of players in Mets uniforms until the later series, an awful lot of the 1962 cards in my collection look like this:

1962 Topps Mets Binder page

Without team-specific colors on the card front, without caps, this is just a bunch of head shots of guys with crew cuts.

Unfortunately, Topps often did a little too good of a job re-creating the feel of the original set, so we get a bunch of head shots of guys (minus the crew cuts).

2011 Heritage Ivan Rodriguez

I did buy a number of packs of this set, but mainly because I had gotten into the Heritage “habit” by 2009.  I don’t hate the design, I just don’t care for it a whole lot.

The backs have artwork, but not the goofy cartoons I prefer.

2011 Heritage Ivan Rodriguez back

I will admit, I like the All-Star cards a bit better, because there’s something going on beyond wood grain.

2011 Heritage Albert Pujols AS

How Heritage affected my opinion of the originals:  Pretty much a wash…  I wasn’t a fan of the originals to begin with, I’m still not.

2011 Heritage in my collection: 140 / 500 (28% – I’m honestly surprised it’s this high)

#13:  2009 Heritage (1960 design)

I’ll start right off by apologizing to CommishBob, who just started a blog devoted to 1960 Topps.  I know a lot of people love the 1960 set, but I don’t think of it as a classic, it’s just a middle-of-the-pack vintage set to me.  The main reason that 2009 Heritage ranks so low is because Topps unintentionally played up the worst aspects of 1960 Topps and made 2009 Heritage into a set that I REALLY DO NOT LIKE AT ALL.
2009 Heritage Adiran Gonzalez
Horizontal design, clashing colors, a portrait in “Landscape” mode, a little B&W “inaction” shot, alternating letter colors that often make it appear that we’re looking at a card of “A R A   G N A E”  rather than Adrian Gonzalez.

It works better with less-clashing colors, but 1960 and 1962 are like evil twins of each other. Just as 1962 has too few colors and too little going on, 1960 has too many colors and too much going on.
2009 Heritage Erik Bedard

The backs aren’t bad, and the Jack Davis-drawn cartoons go a long way towards bringing me back towards this set.

2009 Heritage Erik Bedard back

I think there are two ways that the Heritage set “blew it”. The first is that the photos are not cropped tight enough, which lets the design and photo background take over. Most of the portraits should be head and shoulders, and that’s it. With too loose of a crop, it draws attention away from the player and towards the large amount of background you have when you’ve got a horizontal portrait.

Similarly, the black and white pose should be taking up a lot more space, and they shouldn’t have been afraid to let a player’s arm, leg or other extremity go out of frame. We get too much colored background as a result, and just this sad little black and white guy standing in front of it.

Furthermore, because so much of this set is large slabs of color, I think it worked better with the imperfections of 1960’s printing technology. Without any flaws, with an even distribution of ink on the cardboard, we end up with big swaths of PINK! and GREEN! and YELLOW! …and again, it takes away from the overall effect.

By letting the players take a back seat to the design, it emphasizes the fact that there are so many different design elements competing for the eye.

Here, take a look at a 1960 Topps card, just to see what I mean.
1960 Topps Ray Sadecki
Cropping this image this tightly probably goes against the Topps Stylebook (or maybe even the MLB Stylebook, if there is one), but without the tight cropping, the design does not work.

“OK, Joe”, you say during a break in the egging of my house that started shortly after I started dissing classic Topps sets, “If you have such a problem with 2009 Heritage, why is it not ranked at the bottom?”

Ah, a lovely question. Very astute of you to ask.

The funny thing about 1960 is that even though I’m no fan of the base design, I really like most of the subsets.

The manager cards are my favorite. If this had been the designed used throughout the set, we would not be discussing this set down at #13.
2009 Heritage Joe Torre

I also like the team cards and combo cards, although these designs couldn’t have worked across the whole set.
2009 Heritage Baltimore Orioles
2009 Heritage Win-Savers

(Note to Topps:  Combo cards work better when the players are actually photographed together, and not just photoshopped in front of an outfield wall)

I don’t love the rookie cards, but they’re not bad.
2009 Heritage Jonathon Niese

And I really like the All-Star cards, even though I don’t often care for cards where so much of it is taken up by the design.
2009 Heritage Ichiro AS

One thing I find interesting among all of these cards is that there’s not a lot of cohesion in the designs.  The team and combo cards go together, but don’t go with anything else.  The manager cards echo the alternate-color-lettering of the base cards, but that’s about it.  This last bit isn’t so much of a criticism as much as something I noticed.

How Heritage affected my opinion of the originals:  Heritage is what got me to appreciate the subsets, which I hadn’t had a lot of exposure to (except for the Rookie design, which I know from the Carl Yastrzemski rookie card).

2009 Heritage cards in my collection:  108 / 720 (15%)

So that’s the first three sets in my ranking.  Hopefully the remaining posts wont take as long to write as this one, otherwise they’ll be coming out once a month rather than the once a week I’d intended from the start.

Black Friday: Working On My Mets Teams From Three Decades

I  hope you enjoy seeing what I got on COMC during Black Friday weekend, because I still have a bunch to go…

The first two cards nicely illustrate why I’m happy that Topps Heritage has gotten to the point where the sets are “color-coded” by team… other than a little line of type at the bottom, there is absolutely nothing about these first two cards which says “Mets”.

…not that these cards are Heritage cards, but the designs were the basis for recent Heritage sets and … awwww, you know what I mean.

Charlie Neal – Topps seems to be the only ones spelling his name “Charley” – was one of those players who were like gold to the First-year Mets:  A former Brooklyn Dodger who was available.  In this case, he was obtained from the L.A. Dodgers in a late 1961 trade.
1962 Topps Charley Neal
I was surprised to find that during his peak years of 1959 and 1960 he won a Gold Glove, was named to two All-Star teams and lead the N.L. in triples.  That’s pretty recent success for the famously bad 1962 Mets.  He put up some decent numbers in 1962, batting .260 and hitting 14 doubles and 9 triples.

Tracy Stallard was obtained from the Red Sox in a late 1962 trade;  he would go on to a 16-37 record with the Mets over two years, and in 1964 he lead the NL with 20 losses.
1963 Topps Tracy  Stallard
During that 20-loss season he had a career-high 118 strikeouts, a 3.79 ERA and a 1.267 WHIP, which are pretty decent numbers… but the 1964 Mets lost 109 games, there’s only so much one guy can do to counteract that…

In 1965, Stallard would go 11-8 with the Cardinals.

Jerry Robertson never got to trade his day-glo airbrushed hat for a real Mets hat.  The Mets picked  him up at the end of 1971’s Spring Training, but he only pitched for the AAA Tidewater Tides before an injury forced his retirement.
1971 Topps Jerry Robertson
I know this card is a high number and probably a last-minute addition to the set, but couldn’t Topps have figured out some way to not have the signature run across Jerry’s face?

Lee Mazzilli was one of the bright spots on a bad 1979 Mets team.  In that year’s All-Star game, he hit a home run off of Jim Kern and got the game-winning RBI in the 9th when he drew a bases-loaded walk off of the Yankees’ Ron Guidry.  When your team loses 99 games, getting the best of a Yankee on a national stage is as good as it gets.
1979 Topps Lee Mazzilli

I feel like I should have more in this post, but I’m out of time… So here are three Mets acquisitions from the 1980’s without any additional commentary from me. Lucky you!
1984 Topps Mookie Wilson

1985 Topps Darry Strawberry DP

1985 Topps Dave Johnson

Hobie… Hobie Landrith! King Of The Wild Frontier!

Broke into the majors with Cincinnati
Traded to the Orioles for Throneberry
Went to the same school as Steve Garvey
Hit for the cycle when he was only three

Hobie… Hobie Landrith!  King Of The Wild Frontier!

The above piece of… whatever… is to celebrate the fact that I picked up two Hobie Landrith cards from COMC on Black Friday.

…and I took a few – *ahem* – liberties in writing the lyrics above… Oh, the things one does to get a verse to rhyme!

The first Hobie Landrith card I picked up is this 1962 featuring a hatless Hobie in a Giants jersey.  More importantly, it’s a card I needed for my 1962 Mets team set.

1962 Topps Hobie Landrith

Hobie was the Mets’ first pick in the 1961 expansion draft, was the starting catcher in the first-ever Mets game and he hit the game-winning homer in the Mets first victory.

He didn’t last long in – I almost said he didn’t last long in Flushing, but Shea Stadium was still two years away – he didn’t last long in the Polo Grounds because he was traded to the Orioles in June as the Player To Be Named Later in the trade that got the Mets…

….drumroll please….


1963 Topps Marv Throneberry

Getting  back to Hobie Landrith – whose first name is Hobart, in case you were wondering – I got this card:

1956 Topps Hobie Landrith

…as part of my plan to buy up affordable and cool-looking commons from the 1956 Topps set.  I’ll be sharing more of these 1956’s before too long.

For those of you scratching your heads over the beginning of this post, I’ll clarify a few things…

Both Hobie Landrith and Steve Garvey played baseball for Michigan State University;  needless to say, it wasn’t at the same time.

Hobie Landrith did not really hit for the cycle when he was three.

…and the whole goofy theme to this post comes from the song “The Ballad Of Davy Crockett” (link for the YouTube video here)

…But I can’t share that song without also featuring They Might Be Giants’ version, “The Ballad Of Davy Crockett (In Outer Space)” (link for the YouTube video here)

Update on 12/28/13:  I had to replace the embedded videos with links, because it was screwing up my blog’s feed (used by blogrolls and such) something awful.  Sorry for the inconvenience.


I’m Not Dead… I’m Getting Better… I Think I’ll Go For A Walk…

Although I haven’t gone anywhere, some of you may have thought I took a week off because many of the blogrolls have not recognized anything I’d done since last Friday.

Yesterday I found that my most recent post finally got recognized, and in celebration of that problem being resolved – knock on wood – I’m going to share some vintage cards I got at a show last month.

In 1979, when this photo was likely taken, Jim Palmer is starting to show signs of age – you can see the beginnings of crow’s feet, for example – but he still had great hair. This looks like it might be a postgame interview, and yet “Cakes” doesn’t have hat head. How the hell does he do that?
1980 Topps Jim Palmer

When I ran across this card in a box of relatively cheap, well-loved vintage, I was surprised that I didn’t already have it. I couldn’t tell you how much time I spent staring at an image of this card when it was featured on one of the 1975 Topps cards celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary.
1971 Topps Joe Torre

I just got curious and looked to see how many of those featured cards I own, and the answer is 6 out of something less than 50… “less than 50” because some of the cards, like the 1962 Maury Wills, didn’t really exist to begin with.

…And for what it’s worth, 4 of the 6 come from 1973 and 1974.

Moving right along…

Here’s a freshly-minted Expo and poorly-scanned card of Larry Jaster, who went 9-13 for the NL Champion Cardinals in 1968, and found himself an Expo in 1969. Funny how those things work.
1969 Topps Larry Jaster
I’ve had a thing lately for 1969 later-series cards which pictured players in the uniforms of that year’s expansion teams. I remember how excited I was about the 1977 Blue Jays/Mariners expansion, I think I would’ve been beside myself if I were old enough to follow baseball when four new teams came into the Majors.

Al Ferrara is another recent mini-obsession of mine ever since I found out about his attempts to get into acting. I really need to track down the episode of Gilligan’s Island he was on — he played “Native” in the episode “High Man On The Totem Pole”, which I’m ashamed to say I remember just from the title.
1966 Topps Al Ferrara
…You see, the castaways find a totem pole, and the head at the top of the totem pole looks like Gilligan. Zany hijinks ensue.

I’m diggin’ the capital “A” on Ferrara’s road jersey… I’d never noticed that before, but I like it.  Bonus point to the Dodgers.

I’ll wrap this post up with a contender for “Most uninteresting vintage baseball card of all time”.
1962 Topps Richie Ashburn
I’ll be honest – I would never have bought this card if I didn’t need it for my 1962 Mets team set.

I’ve got a bunch card show purchases to share; I really need to be better about keeping up on them.

And for those who were wondering if I’d include the scene from Monty Python And The Holy Grail which was quoted in the subject line… Would I deprive you of Python? Of course not!

Update:  I have angered the blogroll gods with my hubris… It’s currently 1 hour after I’ve posted, and I’m not showing up on blogrolls.  Poop.