Four From The Sixties

I’m a lifelong Mets fan, so it’s no coincidence that all of these cards have a Mets connection… but don’t worry, it’s safe reading for fans of all teams.

Donn Clendenon was the MVP of the 1969 World Series, but in 1964 he was the Pirates’ starting first baseman.
In case you’re wondering about Clendenon starting at 1st for the Pirates when future Willie Stargell was on the  team… Pops was a 24-year-old all-star who split his time between first and left.

Roy McMillan’s 1964 card shows him with the Milwaukee Braves, but after a May trade he spent the bulk of the season as the Mets’ starting shortstop.
McMillan was an All-Star twice and won three Gold Gloves, all with the Reds in the late 1950’s. He managed the Brewers for two games in 1972 (in between Dave Bristol and Del Crandall) and managed the Mets after Yogi Berra was fired in August, 1975, but wasn’t brought back in 1976.

I have something of a Ron Hunt player collection, and I’m not entirely sure why.  I’m sure many of you can identify with that.  Sure, he was one of the Mets first young stars, and the first Met to start an All-Star game (in 1964), but I have a nearly-complete run of Ron Hunt Topps cards, from his early cards with the Mets through the Dodgers, Giants, Expos and unfortunate 1975 airbrushing into something approximating a Cardinals’ cap (and he only played 5 games with St. Louis).
The main piece coming back to the Mets in the Ron Hunt trade was Tommy Davis, and interestingly enough both players played just one season for their new teams.  Before the 1968 season Hunt was traded to the Giants and Davis to the White Sox.

Finally, we’ve got Norm Sherry listed with the Mets, but he was photographed in a Dodgers uniform and had the logo airbrushed out.

Sherry would play 1963 with the Mets and 1964 with the AAA Buffalo Bisons before retiring and becoming a minor league manager.  Sherry would manage the California Angels in 1976 and 1977 and would appear as a “thumbnail” on the 1977 Angels team card.

COMC Spree: Five Cards From The 1960’s

Back at the end of July I made a 100+ card purchase from COMC, and I’m slowly working my way through the stuff I got. Today I’ll share five vintage cards that share the unifying element of being vintage… and being cards. Say, has anybody seen my brain, I could’ve sworn I left it around here somewhere…

I’ve recently had a bit of a fixation on cards picturing players who would later be the MLB managers of my youth. Del Crandall was the manager of the Brewers when I started collecting, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I found out that he was an eight-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove winner.
1965 Topps Del Crandall

Similarly, Bill Virdon was the manager of the Yankees back when I started following baseball. While I’ve always been a Mets fan, I started out also liking the Yankees… until I came to discover that George Steinbrenner’s style did not match my own. Bill Virdon was fired with a winning record in the middle of the 1975 season… apparently he was fired because Billy Martin became available after the Rangers had sacked his ornery ass. Can you tell I don’t think much of Billy Martin?
1963 Topps Bill Virdon
Bill Virdon the player does not have the same credentials as Del Crandall, but he was the 1955 Rookie Of The Year and was considerate an intelligent player and an excellent fielder. He was also the winner of the first annual MLB “Father Mulcahy” impersonation contest… Jocularity! Jocularity!

Naturally, me being a Mets collector, I got some Mets. Joe Christopher was an original 1962 Met, and is one of only a handful of players to have come out of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
1965 Topps Joe Christopher

For some reason, I’ve latched on to Ron Hunt and collect him with both the Mets…
1965 Topps Ron Hunt

…as well as with other, less lovable teams.
1968 Topps Ron Hunt

You know, I often have a problem with ending posts, so I’m thinking that maybe I should take a page from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, shun the conventions of the medium and just abruptly –


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.


Still Recovering From The Past Week

I’m as close to being “carded out” as I’ll ever be.

I’ve spent much of the last week signed on to COMC – pricing the 500 cards I just sent in, setting up the Black Friday promotion, shopping for cards to buy, handling offers, making offers… you get the idea.

By the way, the images here are not cards I just bought on COMC, but are similar to cards I did buy. I got some 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards similar to this Ken Griffey…
1977 OPC Ken Griffey
…like the other OPC’s I bought, this Griffey uses a different photo than it’s Topps counterpart. The Topps card has a candid photo of Griffey with a bat, but his face is covered in shadow.

I spent a lot of time shopping, because I shopped in a large number of ways… Trying to complete sets, trying to complete Mets team sets, shopping from vintage sets I’m not working on completing but still like, looking for unusual cards of players I collect, looking for players to fill gaps in my “current 40 man roster” binders…

…and, of course, looking for my own copies of the awesome cards I see in everybody else’s blogs.

This is not one of those cards, that would take effort and like I said, I’m a bit burnt out.
1963 Topps Cliff Cook

BTW, the COMC promotion continues until the end of today. Check out my stuff here.

So the whole point of this is that I’ve spent most of the past 7 days sitting in front of my laptop, looking at images of cards… So forgive me if I don’t feel much like writing about cards today.

1979 Topps Andre Dawson

So have a good Cyber Monday, as well as “Last day to tender contracts to artibration-eligible players” day.

I’ll be back tomorrow with… something.

In the meantime, celebrate Britney Spears’ birthday by listening to the most incredibly awesome cover of a Britney song ever done by five guys singing  a-capella in German.

Update on 12/28/13:  Due to ongoing technical problems, I’m removing all recent embedded videos.  You can see the band Wise Guys performing “Baby, Noch Einmal (Baby, One More Time)” here.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

You’re welcome.

I Do Not Know What A “Rheum” Is

I am so far behind in sharing my new acquisitions…


…I’m so far behind that I’ve almost caught up to myself. Every time I go to a show or order off COMC I scan all the vintage cards and some of the more interesting post-vintage things, but for the most part the scans just build up because I never get around to writing about them.

This post is the first attempt to catch up, and all three cards are of Don Zimmer in his post-Dodger playing days.

Don Zimmer got around a bit in the early 1960’s. Shortly before the start of the 1960 season, the Dodgers traded Zimmer to the Cubs for a package of players and cash. He stayed with the Cubs for two seasons before being drafted by the Mets in the October, 1961 expansion draft.

There techically aren’t any Mets in the 1962 Post set – I guess because they used photos from 1961 and didn’t do any airbrushing – but if you look at the last line of text on this card, you can see there are cards which reference the fact that the featured player was drafted by the Mets.

1962 Post Don Zimmer
The Gil Hodges card (which I don’t have) has a similar line on it.

One of the Mets’ objectives in putting together that first team was to obtain players who would be familiar to the New York baseball fan, and Zimmer certainly fell into that category. Despite that, he only played 14 games for the Mets before he was (mercifully?) traded to the Reds.

Zimmer finished 1962 in Cincinnati, but during the following winter was traded to the Dodgers for a minor leaguer.

Anyone care to guess whether these are Cubs pinstripes or Mets pinstripes on this Dodgers card?
1963 Topps Don Zimmer

His second stint in LA was short, because he was sold to the Senators that June. He’d finish out his major league career with 2.5 seasons in D.C., after which he played one very unspectacular season in Japan.

1964 Topps Don Zimmer

…and if you’re wondering what the subject line has to do with any of this…

…”Zimmer” is the German word for “room”… or “rheum”, if you prefer.

Four Mets cards, Four Decades

1963 Topps Al Jackson
You can look at Al Jackson’s 1962 rookie season in two ways:
Glass is half-empty: He lost 20 games and won only 8.
Glass is half-full: He got 1/5th of all the Mets wins for the season.

As you can see on the card, he was also on the Topps Rookie All-Star team, which says something about how much of a hard-luck pitcher he was that year.

1972 Topps Dave Marshall
One of my handful of 1972 High Numbers… You can tell from the scan that it’s got it’s share of creases.  Marshall was another All-Star Rookie, but that was with the Giants in 1968.  After the 1972 season, he was traded to the Padres for Al Severinsen, who was from New York but never got in a game with the Mets.

1981 Fleer John Stearns
John Stearns came from the Phillies in the infamous 1974 Tug McGraw trade, was an All-Star in 1982, but would only play another 12 Major League games after that season.

I really liked 1981 Fleer and  this 1982 set was a huge disappointment for me.  Blurry photos, “Meh” design… I’m generally a proponent of “Less is more”, but in this case it’s too minimal, or minimal in the wrong way.

1993 Donruss Diamond King Eddie Murray
I so thoroughly associate Eddie Murray with the Orioles that it still seems a bit odd to  me that he played two seasons for the Mets – even though I saw him playing first at Shea.

Mets Monday: A Pair Of 1963 Mets

While the 1963 design still reflects the current Heritage design, let’s take a look at a couple of 1963 Mets recently added to the collection…

Larry Burright played 109 games at second for the 1962 Dodgers, was traded to the Mets and played only 41 games for a 1963 Mets team which lost 111 games, and only 3 games in 1964.  I don’t know what that says about Burright… or the Mets… or the Dodgers.

Wynn Hawkins pitched for the Indians from 1960 to 1962, but never actually pitched for the Mets.  The Mets purchased him from the Tribe late in 1962, but he never made it out of AAA after that.

National Wantlist, Part 3: Met Met Met

Many of my goals over the past 10-20 years are ones which I semi-passively worked towards.  I rarely said “I’m going to this show to try to knock off those 1970 high-number Mets”, I would just go to shows and just see what happens to come my way… almost a zen attitude when it comes to collecting.

As I’ve said repeatedly over the course of this blog, there’s a significant need to get organized and get at least a little bit of focus, so I’m renewing my efforts concerning a goal since I started collecting in the mid-70’s:  Completing my Mets team sets.  I’ve got complete sets of 1974-1978 Topps, and I’m nearly finished with 1973, so my Mets focus for the National is Topps cards from 1962 to 1972.

The cards pictured here are all Mets I’ve acquired over the past year which I’ve been meaning to feature in this blog.  I’ve enjoyed this year’s Heritage set, but nothing I pull out of a pack can compare to a 1963 “Marvelous Marv” Throneberry, as featured above.

Below is ostensibly a Bud Harrelson card;  I think that even Topps would have to take the photographer at his word that Bud is the one applying the tag.  From the “396” on the wall, you can tell it’s Shea (as if the Mets home uniform wasn’t enough).  Nolan Ryan is standing in the foreground, looking like he’s making the call for the umpire.  I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking the second baseman is Ken Boswell.  No idea who the umpire or baserunner are, other than the runner is an Astro.

This Danny Frisella card was a Diamond Giveaway acquisition.  Danny apparently feels that the best defense against the bunt is to pitch from the baseline.

Custom 1963 Matt Wieters

The Heritage card we might be pulling if somebody hadn’t signed an exclusive contract with Upper Deck…  Not naming names here…

A small request for any budding superstars:  If you have an opportunity to sign an exclusive contract with a sports memorabilia company, please include an “out” clause if that company stops generating product within your sport.