Not White Whales, More Like White Koi

I recently acquired several cards that have long been targets of mine, but I wouldn’t call them “white whales” because their acquisitions weren’t preceded by an Ahab-like obsession…  Especially given that my last few years of collecting have been more “Bright Shiny Object” than “steely determination”.  Given that the cards in this post have been long-term objectives that I pursued only when I remembered to, I refer to them as White Koi instead of White Whales.
white koi cartoon

I’ll start off with a card from 1970 that I didn’t realize was a need for the longest of times… As a Mets fan, I thought I had long ago finished off the 1970 Topps subset for the 1969 playoffs and World Series.  Unfortunately, getting my collection organized helped to shatter a few of my delusions, because I found – much to my surprise – that I was missing this “Mets Celebrate” card.
1970 Topps Mets Celebrate
And then to complicate matters I found that it wasn’t a common, because one of the Mets featured happens to be a young pitcher named Nolan Ryan…  and that’s probably why it escaped my attention in the first place – I didn’t expect to find these cards in the star boxes at a show.  I’d been keeping an eye out for a cheaper copy to spend my COMC revenue on, and when this one popped up I grabbed it.

The second White Koi is a vintage hockey card.  Now, for the most part I focus my hockey collecting on the 1970’s and some of the 1980’s, but there’s one vintage hockey set that I just flat-out love love love:   1954/55 Topps Hockey.  As it’s 60 years old and didn’t sell at anywhere near the volume of baseball or football, they’re quite a bit more scarce, and more expensive.  Even commons are fairly pricey.  Still, I loved the look of the set so much that I made a fairly persistent search for a card or two which would fit in my budget.

…And then I found this card for under $5:
1954-55 Topps Hockey Paul Ronty
This design is so simple, yet so evocative of hockey… You’ve got the painted “action shot” with a white “ice” background and team logo, while down at the bottom you’ve got a representation of the red line and blue lines.  BTW, these cards are “standard 1952-56 Topps” sized (or 8-pocket sized, however you think about it).

Here’s the equally attractive back  (FYI the top was chopped off by the scanner):
1954-55 Topps Hockey Paul Ronty back

I’m not a Rangers fan, but I grew up in a Rangers household… My father was a die-hard fan, my older brother followed in his footsteps, but I was the black sheep… but my father was OK with it as long as I didn’t like the Islanders either. Now that I’m older, I find that even though I didn’t root for the Rangers growing up, I’m still very aware of many of the players and the team’s history, so many cards featuring the Broadway Blueshirts score high in the nostalgia factor.

My father, were he here to ask, could undoubtedly share some stories about Mr. Ronty.  Through Googling and looking at stats and images of other cards I found that he was a fast skater, an accurate shot, a two-time all-star, was the Rangers MVP in 1952/53, sold insurance during the summer (thank you, 1954/55 Parkhurst!) and was often among the league scoring leaders.

You look at his point totals for his top seasons, you see 59 points, 54 points, 46 points, and you think “That was among the league leaders?”  But then you look at the Top 10 in scoring from these seasons and there’s a major “Yes, but…” involved.  Case in point:  Ronty was 6th in scoring in 1952/53 with 54 points, BUT Gordie Howe lead the league with 95 points (49 goals, 46 assists).  Gordie’s teammate Ted Lindsay was second with 71, Maurice “Rocket” Richard was third with 61, and then the ensuing dropoff is more along the lines of what you’d expect.  To put things even more into perspective, Gordie Howe’s 96 points doesn’t even get him into the top 200 all-time… A fun little discovery of how much better than most of his peers Gordie Howe was, and how much the game has changed since then.

Anyway…

These next two cards come as a sort of matched set, and they’re not as white koi-ish as the others because I’d only been after them for the past 2 years or so…
COMC Dec 2015 r_0003
I don’t usually seek out parallels, but this pair intrigued me.  On the left is the 2014 Heritage black border parallel, and on the right is the short-printed base card… The base card looks washed out because of my poopy scanner.

…But the black bordered card isn’t *exactly* a parallel, is it?  Not only do we get an insight into the tiny bit of photoshopping that Topps did (The “t” in Mets, plus blue pinstripes), but it also makes me wonder if the parallels are printed earlier, or if they just don’t bother updating the parallels.  For the record, all of Granderson’s parallels show him with the Yankees, but I opted for the non-shiny black parallel.  Does anybody know of any other non-updated parallels?

The final card is one I’ve had on my want list since 1979…Although, obviously, it hasn’t been the highest of priorities.
1979 Burger King Pete Rose
This card is not a 1979 Topps card;  that set shows Pete Rose with the Reds.  Nope, this is a 1979 Burger King Phillies card;  The 22-card set features a few updates to the regular Topps set, and Pete Rose is the biggest name by far among the updates.  These cards aren’t excessively expensive but they’re kind of like Mother’s Cookies cards in that they don’t really show up in shows where I live. I ended up keeping a watch on COMC, and… like a broken record here… I pounced when I saw one for just over a buck.

Tuffy Says: “They Spelled My Name Wrong Again”

On Thursday, Diamondbacks’ catcher Tuffy Gosewisch got some national attention when he hit three doubles and had a career-high four RBI’s… a notable night for a .217 career hitter.  He also got some unwanted attention when the D-backs signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a minor league contract, and some speculated whether that could affect Gosewisch’s status as the starting catcher.

2014 Topps Tuffy Gosewisch

In several articles from several sources that I’d seen, many of the articles misspelled “Gosewisch” – they left out the second ‘S’, spelling it “Gosewich”.  I’d provide links, but most of them have since been corrected or removed.

2014 Heritage Rookie Stars Christiani Gosewisch

We at The Shlabotnik Report can empathize with Mr. Gosewisch’s plight, and so we are doing our part to educate our readers as to the proper spelling.  We’ve even made sure that Tuffy has a spot in the 2015 TSR virtual set:
2015 TSR #41 - Tuffy Gosewisch

Take heart, Tuffy.  I know of a certain Hall-Of-Famer and household name whose name is often misspelled “Ripkin”.

Another person who can empathize is Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, who wrote a song about his own anguish:

I’m Tired Of Looking For Topps… How About A Pack Of NOT-2015 Topps?

All week I’ve been in and out of Target and Wal-Mart stores, at least one each day, trying to find packs of 2015 Topps. I feel like the employees are saying “Here comes another one of those guys who walks in, looks at the card aisle, and walks out”.

I think I’ve had enough for now… Instead of busting a pack of new cards, how about we bust an 8-card pack of Not 2015! Not Topps!
Not 2015 Not Topps pack

First card is a 1979 Topps Gaylord Perry… Not a bad kickoff, although I guess that the “Not Topps” thing on the wrapper turned out to be false advertising. You think I fully think these posts through before I write them? Pfft.
1979 Topps Gaylord Perry
I unfortunately missed Gaylord Perry’s halftime show at the Super Bowl, although I can’t imagine what he would’ve–

What’s that?

Katy Perry did the halftime show?

Oh.

I would rather have seen Gaylord Perry.

Even though this pack we’re opening is standard size, you come to the next card and are blinded by a flash of light, then find that the next card is a 5″ x 7″ 1980 Topps Super of Dave Parker.
1980 Topps 5x7 Dave parker
I don’t know why, but the whole “card is bigger than the pack it came in” made me think of the old text-based computer games that were popular among us computer nerds around 1980.

You find yourself in a small room. There is nothing here but a pack of baseball cards.
> open pack
You can’t open something you don’t have.
> take pack
Taken.

…and at this point anybody below the age of 45 has already closed the browser tab and is off to check out Night Owl’s latest post.

Wait! Wait! Don’t go! Look, I’ve got Tom Seaver from the 1985 Fleer set!  He’s a Hall-Of-Famer!  He’s smiling!  Look how happy he is to be here!
1985 Fleer Tom Seaver
See, there are cards in this pack that aren’t Topps.

Rick Cerone signs a baseball for fans of — QUICK! What team is he with on this card?
1992 Stadium Club Rick Cerone
The answer is at the bottom of this post.  O!  The suspense!

One of the insert sets in last year’s Heritage was a “First Draft” set that featured a handful of players, and they all looked like nice cards, but as a Mets fan the one I really wanted was Nolan Ryan. I bought a wax box of Heritage. I bought a couple of blasters of Heritage. I bought loose packs of Heritage. Every “First Draft” card I got was Johnny Freakin’ Bench. I ended up using a small amount of my COMC credit to finally get this one.
2014 Topps Heritage First Draft Nolan Ryan
“295th Overall”, in very small type.  That’s my favorite part of the card.

Speaking of Heritage, this card should perhaps whet your appetite for the 2015 set.
1966 Topps Luis Aparicio
I know, I know, the 1966 design doesn’t hold a candle to 1965. I still like the set in a minimalist sort of way, and I’ll be buying another wax box or two.

In the early 1960’s, Danny Kaye recorded “The D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song” where he half-sings the play-by-play of a fictional game between the Dodgers and Giants.  While the song is amusing, I’ve always enjoyed the way he relishes singing “Orlando Cepeda”.
1968 Topps Game Orlando Cepeda
“Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrlando Cepeda is at bat with the bases jammed…”  Unlike this 1968 Topps insert card, the result was a little better than “Ground out, runners advance one base”.

Wrapping things up with a 1970 Dick Drago. Why Drago? Why not.
1970 Topps Dick Drago
Here’s a fun Dick Drago fact… On July 30th, 1971, Drago faced 13 batters while pitching a complete game.  “Huh?” you say.  Well, it was a rain-shortened 4.5 inning game, the Royals were in Baltimore and lost 1-0 on a Frank Robinson homer.  Jim Palmer pitched a 5-inning complete game because he had to pitch the top of the 5th to make things official.  My favorite part of the game’s Baseball-Reference page:  “Time Of Game:  0:48”.

Answer to the Rick Cerone quiz: That 1992 Stadium Club card shows Rick Cerone during his half-season with the Montreal Expos. Ten points to everyone who got that right.

The 2014 Heritage Ichiro That Never Was

Ichiro Suzuki is one of two notable baseball players to not have a current contract with Topps. As a result, he didn’t get a card in 2014 Heritage, so Ichiro fans are left wondering what such a card might look like.

I have my own thoughts on the subject…
2014 Schmeritage Ichiro Suzuki

If you came here through an image search – and posts like this draw a fair amount of drive-by hits – I will explain that the image above is a virtual baseball card I made because that’s one of the ways I get my jollies.

Another way I have fun with custom cards is by making cards for my own card set, one which is entirely my own design:
2014 TSR #225 Ichiro Suzuki

I should also point out that Mr. Suzuki and/or his agent are the ones who deprived us of real cards, so if they don’t play nice by me, I won’t play nice by him… He get’s his full name here. If you don’t like it, Mr. Suzuki, you can go sign a contract with Topps.

 

 

Everybody clap your hands! Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap

Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap…
2013 Topps Heritage Hi# John Buck

2013 Heritage High Numbers from COMC, y’all!
Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Bartolo Colon

…clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap…

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Brian Matusz

Come on, y’all…

clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap…

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Chris Davis

Take it back now, y’all…

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Koji Uehara

Sli-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ide to the left

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Luke Scott

Sli-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ide to the right

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Mike Pelfrey

Criss-cross!

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Erik Bedard

Criss-cross!

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Freddy Garcia

Let’s go to work!

2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Henry Urrutia

Cha-cha, real smooth…
2013 Topps Heritage Hi#'s Nate McLouth

I’m outta here, ‘yall.  Peace!