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.

My Arm Hurts

My arm has been bothering me lately, and since it’s the arm I “mouse with”, I figure it’s from spending too much time in front of computers.

So today I’m just going to shut up and share some assorted images of cards I bought at a recent show.

1980 Topps Carlton Fisk

1982 Donruss Lenn Sakata

1991 Stadium Club Kevin Elster

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites George Brett

1965 Topps New York Mets

Laugh If You Want, But It’ll Happen To You Some Day

The other day I was watching a Mets game and after Eric Young had stolen second, they said that Young has however-many stolen bases and the Brewers’ Jean Segura leads the league.

1971 Topps Tommy Harper

Without really engaging my brain, I spoke back to the TV and said “Yeah, but that’s Milwaukee… what about the National League?”

1972 Topps Billy Conigliaro

[…pause…]

“Oh, yeah”.

1980 Topps Robin Yount

For you young’uns, just remember that some day you’ll be watching a football game and saying “Every time I hear ‘Jaguars’, I still think Jacksonville, not Los Angeles”.


FWIW, all three of these cards were picked up in the past few months.

Loria Purchases Mets, Holds Fire Sale, Moves Team To Sacramento

What would it take for me to stop being a Mets fan?

I started thinking about that after two other blogs made me think “If I weren’t a Mets fan, I could definitely see myself as a fan of the blanks“.

Wrigley Wax showed off 60 years of Cubs programs that got me thinking about the North Siders…

…and Tru School Sports got me thinking about the Rays.

Before I get into the teams I might get behind if I were no longer a fan of the Mets (or Orioles), I’m going to speculate what it would take to get me to stop being a Mets fan.

Some people would stop being a fan if their team left town, but I left town first and I live several hundred miles away, so that’s not really a factor.  I suppose if they moved out to the West Coast then games would start late at night for this East Coast boy, and I’d also have fewer chances to see them as the road team.  Sacramento is the largest west coast market without an MLB team, so I’ll pick on them for this exercise.

The Wilpons are not the greatest owners on the face of this Earth, but there’s always the “At least the Mets aren’t owned by Jeffrey Loria” factor… especially if the team holds a Marlins-style fire sale as part of the process.  Barring a clone of the late George Steinbrenner, this would be my greatest ownership fear.

Another nail in the coffin would be to get the uniforms designed by whomever it is at Nike who comes up with those constantly changing but unerringly fugly Oregon Ducks football uniforms.  I’m thinking black, silver, midnight green and blood red uniforms with chrome helmets.

Finally, to really drive me away, they’d have to pick some gimmicky name for the team like the SacTown RivvaHawkzz Of Sacramento.

OK, that was a lot of setup, let’s get to the main point… Which teams could I see myself being a fan of?

1)  Chicago Cubs
I gravitate towards underdogs, and from an underdog standpoint, are the Cubs really that much different from the Mets?

However, that’s not what makes me think it would be fun to be a Cubs fan.  It seems like the Cubs have always had a good relationship with their dedicated fanbase… Even if the on-field product is weak, they know how to treat the people who ultimately pay the bills.

1972 Topps Don Kessinger

There’s also those abso-freakin’-lutely beautiful program covers the Cubs had for three decades.

Not to mention Wrigley Field, known here as “Cadaco All-Star Baseball Field”.
Cadaco All Star Baseball

2)  Tampa Bay Rays

1979 Joe Maddon

I’ve mentioned that I like underdogs… So tell me what other team can, within the past 5 years,  have 5 straight winning seasons, play in a World Series, win the division twice and despite all that, still be underdogs?  Besides that, I just like the way they do business… They play the game right, run the team right, treat their few fans well.  What’s not to like?

3)  Minnesota Twins
1980 Topps Geoff Zahn

I’ve never been to Minnesota, but over the years it seems like a lot of players have taken less money to sign with the Twins, and that makes me think it must be a nice place to play… Plus I love the “TC” caps.

4)  Pittsburgh Pirates
1972 Topps Milt May
I’ve mentioned here numerous times before that I have a sort of mini-crush on the Pirates going back to childhood… And since I’m a Steelers fan, it wouldn’t be a stretch to switch to another Pittsburgh team… and unlike Minnesota, I’ve been to Pittsburgh.  Well, OK, fine… I drove through Pittsburgh.  Squirrel Hill Tunnel, baby!

5)  San Francisco Giants
1973 Topps Chris Speier

When I lived on Long Island, people would sometimes ask me what team I would’ve been a fan of had the Dodgers and Giants not left for the West Coast.  My answer has always been the Giants, mainly because my mother had been a Giants fan back in the day, and I just couldn’t picture myself as a Yankees or Dodgers fan.  It’s probably academic, because if the Dodgers & Giants hadn’t left town together, it was pretty likely that the Giants would’ve left by themselves, maybe to Minneapolis where their top farm team was in the 1950’s.  At any rate, I feel a tiny, tiny little connection to the Giants.

Honorable Mention:  I have friends who are fans of these teams, and through those friends I’ve seen the appeal of following these teams (in order by city):  Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays


So, what about you?  What would it take for you to stop cheering for your current team? If your team were to suddenly become the SacTown RivvaHawkzz or the Buffalo Snow, what would you do?

Cards I Got From “Diamond Giveaway”… OK, So I’m A Little Behind…

I didn’t know what to write about today, I wasn’t feelin’ the posts I had in my Drafts folder, so I went poking around my unused scans… and that’s when I found images of these cards I’d redeemed from Topps “Diamond Giveaway” promotion back in early 2012.

…And I said “Ah, what the hell.”

Rule #1 with Diamond Giveaway was always “Fill the oldest need possible”, but not everybody was willing to trade their 1963 Duke Snider for my 1991 Milt Thompson. So, Rule #2 was “work towards completing sets which I’m reasonably close to completing”. In this case, I turned a 1983 Bruce Hurst (which I already had) into this Winfield. Naturally, a recent Fairfield repack I got had this card in it… But how was I to know that in 2011?
1986 Topps Dave Winfield
I don’t know why, but I think I appreciate Dave Winfield more now than when he was active… Maybe because as an all-around athlete (drafted in three sports!) he just looks good on a card.

I’m not a fan of the Cardinals or Alex Johnson, but this is easily the best card I got from Diamond Giveaway, and many others agreed with me – I got far more trade offers for this card than for any other.
1967 Topps Alex Johnson
I’m not even 100% sure about what it is that I find appealing, I just know that I look at it and think “Now that’s a baseball card!”

This is “Action” only in the sense that takes place during a game. Doesn’t matter to me, I’m not one to turn down some free-but-not-really-free 1972’s!
1972 Topps George Mitterwald

1980 Topps was another set I worked towards through Diamond Giveaway. I’ve got 99.85% of the 1973 set, complete sets from 1974 to 1978 and again in 1981, and I feel like I should have complete sets from 1979 and 1980 as well. Maybe I should bump up the priority on those two. Like Dave Winfield, 1980 Topps has also grown on me over the years. At the time I thought it was a little too much like a reworked 1974 design, but I think I’ve grown to appreciate it on its own.
1980 Topps Jimmy Sexton
I like Sexton’s belligerent expression in this card. He’s either trying to look bad-ass or he’s angry because he doesn’t like to do Standard Baseball Card Pose #27. “There, I’m doing your stupid pose. Are ya happy? Huh? Are ya?”

I’ve got plenty more Diamond Giveaway cards to share… Maybe they’ll surface on another uninspired Saturday.

Contrast And Compare: 1980 Topps & 1980 Burger King Ron Guidry

It’s been a long, tiring week for me, so I’m going to let the cards do most of the talking.

For sets like 1980 Burger King, I collect only those cards that have a photo different from the Topps card… but it’s not always easy to find out which cards are different.

As a public service, I’m going to show cards like this as I get them.

So here’s Ron Guidry’s 1980 Topps card…
1980 Topps Ron Guidry

…and here’s his Burger King card.
1980 Burger King Ron Guidry

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Unrelated: 1980 Topps / Songs With “King” In The Title

I’m gonna try something new and (hopefully) fun by pairing cards with unrelated lists or facts.  “King Felix” Hernandez pitched a perfect game this week, as I’m sure you know;  A few months ago I received a number of 1980 Topps as my “Diamond Giveaway” payout.  Let’s mash it up…

My top five songs with “King” in the title (in no particular order)

AND

The top five 1980 Topps I got from Diamond Giveaway:

“Sun King” by The Beatles (from Abbey Road)

Side 2 from Abbey Road is one of my favorite all-time album sides.  Yes, I’m old, I still think of certain albums as having sides.  For those who never had Abbey Road on vinyl, side 2 begins with “Here Comes The Sun”

“King Contrary Man” by The Cult (from Electric)

“The King Of Bedside Manor” by Barenaked Ladies (from Gordon)

Some of you may scoff at Barenaked Ladies, but I’ve been a fan since their first album and they were a hell of a lot of fun to see in concert.  Yes, I used the past tense even though the band still exists.  Sorry guys, but it’s not BNL without Steven Page.  I’m not sure how “BNL” it was the last couple of years with Steve.

“King Of The World” by Joe Jackson (from Summer In The City)

This is a Steely Dan song, but I prefer JJ’s live cover version.

“Kings And Queens” by Aerosmith (from Draw The Line)

To me, this song will always be the B-side on the “Come Together” single, but it was one of those B-sides that I got to like as much as the A-side.

Bonus Track:  “King Tut” by Steve Martin ANd the toot uncommons

Another song which will always be a single to me.  The single benefits from being just the studio track without the live lead-in you have on the “Wild And Crazy Guy” album.  I’m sure Mickey Lolich prefers the single.

Sadly, this is what I think of when I see Luis Tiant

1980 Topps #35 - Luis Tiant - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

1980 Topps #35 – Luis Tiant – Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

“El Tiante” was a four-time 20 game winner and twice led the league in ERA.  So what leaps to mind when I see a picture of him?  A very cheesy 1970’s commercial for “Yankee Franks”, a regional brand of hot dog at the time.  After Tiant signed with the Yankees as a free agent, he appeared in this commercial which ends with Tiant looking into the camera and saying, in his thick Cuban accent, “Eet’s great to be weeth a wiener”… because he could be saying ‘winner’ or ‘wiener’, get it?  …Yeah, well I said it was cheesy.

I’d include a link to this commercial, but it doesn’t appear to be out there anywhere.  Most online references I’ve seen don’t even get the brand of hot dog right.

So, I apologize, Luis… Lo siento… But this commercial’s catchphrase is what immediately jumps to mind when I see one of your baseball cards.