I Got Some Big Old Socks

It’s been a busy week, one thing after another… Since I haven’t had time to finish one of the posts I’ve been working on, I’ll tell ya ’bout my big old socks…

…My oversized 1981 Topps Super Home Team Red Sox.  These cards are 5″ x 7″ and were sold only in the Red Sox home market (much of New England, I would presume).

Just to be clear, I scanned these in pairs because I was lazy.

Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski
1981 Topps 5x7 Red Sox Rice Yastrzemski
Jim Rice was an All-Star from 1977 to 1980, and the 1978 MVP, but was less than an All-Star in 1980.  He did lead the league in AB’s.

Carl Yastrzemski is no longer my favorite Yaz;  that’s now his Oriole prospect grandson Mike.  Like JIm Rice, 1981 was a rare non-All-Star year for Carl.  (Stay in the house, Carl!)

Dave Stapleton and Tony Perez
1981 Topps 5x7 Red Sox Stapleton Perez
Dave Stapleton finished second in 1980 Rookie Of The Year voting to the Indians’ “Super Joe” Charboneau, the original “Don’t invest too heavily in rookies” cautionary tale.  Stapleton was the starting 2B in 1980 because Jerry Remy was injured, but in 1981 Remy was back and Stapleton was the utility guy.

Tony Perez was a 39-year-old 1st baseman.

Carlton Fisk and Dwight Evans
1981 Topps 5x7 Fixk Evans
This Carlton Fisk photo looks familiar – is it used somewhere else that I’m not thinking of?  It’s also somewhat old as the Red Sox stopped wearing red caps  (and helmets) after the 1978 season.  Fisk had also changed his Sox;  he was with the Chicago White Sox in 1981.

Dwight Evans – are you ready for this?  – Dwight Evans *WAS* an All-Star in 1981… as well as a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and finished 3rd in MVP voting (behind Rollie Fingers and Rickey Henderson).  If WAR had existed then, Dewey would’ve lead the AL with a 6.7 WAR.

Carney Lansford and Glenn Hoffman
1981 Topps 5x7 Lansford Hoffman
As I mentioned before, the Red Sox no longer had red caps in 1981, so who knows why Topps airbrushed Carney Lansford into a dated uniform.  He’d been acquired via trade from the Angels, and was the Red Sox starting 3rd baseman.

Glenn Hoffmann is Trevor Hoffman’s older brother (by nine years), was a 1980 Topps Rookie All-Star, and is currently the Padres’ 3rd base coach.

Tom Burgmeier and Dennis Eckersley
1981 Topps 5x7 Red Sox Burgmeier Eckersley
Tom Burgmeier was coming off 24 saves and an All-Star season. In 1981 he shared closer duties with Mark Clear and Bill Campbell.

Dennis Eckersley wasn’t a closer yet… He was a 26-year-old starter who had a mediocre 1981. Oakland would convert him to a reliever in 1987.

Frank Tanana and Bob Stanley
1981 Topps 5x7 Red Sox Tanana Stanley
I’m going to mention Bob Stanley first… He’s a reliever who had 14 saves in 1981 and started one game, a 3-2 loss to the Angels.

Like Carney Lansford, Frank Tanana had come from the Angels in a trade, but it wasn’t the same trade.

You might recognize this photo of Frank Tanana… The same photo was used on his 1981 Coke card that I featured a couple of weeks ago:
1981 Coke Red Sox Frank Tanana

And that’s all from Shlabotnik World Headquarters. Back to your regularly scheduled workday.

Look What Mom Brought Home From The Store! (’15/’16 Hot Stove #1)

It’s a great day, everybody!  It’s Saturday!

Not only is it Saturday, but Mom… Your dear, sweet, loving mother…
2013 Gintfunkel Betty Crocker 7
…Your dear, sweet, loving mother who has a side gig as Betty Crocker was in a good mood when she went shopping.

Instead of buying a case of off-brand Kashi from the wholesale club like she usually does, she came home from the store with *good* cereal.

…And not just good cereal, but good cereal with a PRIZE!
Coco Crisp Cereal Box
…And look at what it says on the front…  There’s a baseball card inside!


Aw, man… I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what card it is… Is Mom looking?  She’s not?  Cool, I’ll dig down into the cereal to see who we got…

Check it out, it’s the card from the front the box!  Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox’ new closer!
2015-16 TSR Hot Stove #1b - Craig Kimbrel
The Padres traded Kimbrel to Boston for a package of prospects… Time will tell how good a trade this was for both teams.

I know some of you would eat box after box of Coco Crisp cereal, but if it’s not your favorite, don’t worry. Mom bought it this week because it’s the most obvious — Um, ahhhh, I mean, she bought it because it was on sale… Yeah, that’s it.  But Mom likes to keep everybody happy, so next week I’m sure she’ll have something else.

Mom also loves you so much that if this “Mom” is not your favorite, she’d consider using her shape-shifting abilities to change into whichever mom you might want… and she’s open to suggestions… But remember, you may love Kate Upton, but KATE UPTON IS NOT YOUR MOM.

Mom thinks it’s creepy that you were even thinking that.

For the benefit of my newer readers, let me explain a little bit about my “Hot Stove” custom set…

First off, I’m weird. You likely figured that out on your own, but let me tell you one of the specific ways that I’m weird. During the offseason I get my artistic jollies by creating custom baseball cards which feature baseball players “photoshopped” into the uniforms of their new teams.

This is my fourth year of doing this set. I started off in 2012 with a modest little set based on the Bazooka sets from 1960 to 1962…
2012-13 Hot Stove #7 - Zack Greinke
My photoshopping skills were still in their early stages.

In 2013, I did another set based on the 1959 Bazooka set.
2013-14 TSR Hot Stove #8 - Ian Kinsler
I really love this 1959 design and would be collecting the original set if it weren’t such a budget-busting proposition.

Unfortunately, I find the remaining vintage Bazooka sets to be nowhere near as appealing as those two sets, so for 2014 I made the leap to creating faux 3-D cards, starting with the 1974 Kellogg’s set.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #5 Hanley Ramirez

I had so much fun doing the Kellogg’s “2-D Superstars” sets that I’m back this year with the 1976 Kellogg’s design.  I did a one-off cereal box in a single post last year, but then started getting ideas for others so I’m doing a series of cereal boxes this time around.

I’ve also got plans for a special “insert” set that I will use when I’m featuring an image that I did not alter, like with the unveiling of the new uniforms for the Diamondbacks and Padres.  I wanted to have a completely separate card design… You know, to make it clear that this was an image I hadn’t futzed with.  The design I’ll be using for that set is based on an obscure 1960’s sports set that I recently discovered and really like… But I expect that few of you will know this set. Intrigued yet?  I will try to get one of these inserts in next week’s box.

1976 SSPC #2 – Tom House (Braves / Red Sox)

1976 SSPC #2 Tom House

Tom House… was a relief pitcher for 8 years in the majors, but that’s the least of what he’s known for. On April 8, 1974, House was in the bullpen and caught Hank Aaron’s 715th home run. After his pitching career, House was the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers and introduced some unconventional techniques, including having pitchers throw a football as a drill.  Whenever you see a junk wax era card of Rangers pitchers throwing a football, that’s Tom House behind that.

He continues to work with pitchers as well as some big-name quarterbacks.

As a left-handed reliever, House pitched for the Braves, Red Sox and Mariners, going 29-23 with 33 saves and a 3.79 ERA

In 1976, Tom House… pitched for the Red Sox after having been traded straight-up for Rogelio Moret.  He made 36 appearances and finished with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.328 WHIP.

Shea-o-meter: Many of the photos in 1976 SSPC were taken in Shea Stadium; Every team came through Shea because the Yankees were temporarily playing in Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. “Can two Major League teams share a ballpark without driving each other crazy?”

This photo was taken in Shea, near the 1st base dugout
Shea: 43
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 7
Can’t tell: 10
Not Shea: 6

SSPC vs. Topps: Tom House appeared in the 1976 Topps set as a Brave, and was airbrushed into an iridescent Red Sox cap for the Traded set.

1976 SSPC #2 Tom House back

Doppelgangers: 1994 Score/Collector’s Choice Greg Myers

For a while in the 1990’s, I had a sort of sub-collection going of cards that featured the same play but different photos. I didn’t stop collecting these types of cards as much as the supply (or my awareness, anyway) dwindled as the number of sets declined.

I’ve been meaning to share some of these pairs for a year or two; Now’s as good a time as any to start with this lovely pair of Greg Myers cards from 1994 Score and 1994 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice:
1994 Greg Myers Score and Collectors Choice
At first glance, it looks like the same photo, but when you look closer you can see that the photos were taken from slightly different angles… but at the same moment.

Despite the way we’ve been conditioned for the past dozen years, this particular #34 with the Red Sox is NOT David Ortiz… rather it’s 3rd baseman Scott Cooper.

I think I figured out which play is involved. Since two different card companies used similar photos in 1994, I feel comfortable in saying that the photo is from 1993. If one looks at day games involving the Angels in Fenway, and then eliminated games where Greg Myers did not play, Scott Cooper didn’t get on base or scored only on home runs, then that leaves Sunday, May 2nd. In the 3rd inning Cooper is on third, John Valentin on 1st and Tony Pena hits into a 5-2 fielder’s choice. Despite the FC, the Red Sox would go on to score 3 runs that inning and won the game 4-3.

Does anybody know of any other “doppelgangers” like these?
I’ve got a few more pairs to feature, but I’m sure there are more out there than the ones I’ve stumbled across. Please let me know, and I’ll add them to my collection and feature them here.

Contrast And Compare: 1977 OPC/Topps George Scott And Cecil Cooper

Of all the photo differences between 1977 Topps and O-Pee-Chee baseball, this is one of my favorites just because of the attention to detail by the airbrush artist.

First we have the Topps George Scott.  “Boomer” came up with the Red Sox but was part of a 10-player trade after the 1971 season.  Scott would play with the Brewers from 1972 to 1976
1977 Topps George Scott

In December, 1976, George Scott and Bernie Carbo were traded to the Red Sox for Cecil Cooper. I think everybody should take a moment to appreciate this impressive airbrush job.
1977 OPC George Scott
Not only does the Red Sox logo actually look like a Red Sox logo, but the artist attempted to duplicate the glare on the helmet and – this is the part that really gets me – also the reflection of the logo on the brim of the helmet. That is the kind of detail you don’t often see on Topps airbrushings.

I should also mention that a powder-blue Brewers road jersey was converted to a white Red Sox home jersey. Despite everything going on, it doesn’t scream “AIRBRUSHING!!!!”

..and as long as I’m pointing out every little detail, the signature on the Brewers card is laid out vertically (first over last name), while the Red Sox card signature is horizontal.

Ah, the heck with it, as long as I’m at it, I may as well share the other end of this deal. Here’s Cecil Cooper with the Red Sox…
1977 Topps Cecil Cooper

…and here he is airbrushed as a Brewer. Not as good of a job, but still nothing to be ashamed of.
1977 OPC Cecil Cooper

This trade worked out better for the Brewers, as Cecil Cooper would play 11 years for the Brew Crew, make the All-Star team five times, win three Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves, and twice lead the AL in RBI.

What 1970’s Caps, Jerseys Or Logos Would You Revive?

I’ve got this theory about baseball uniforms.

More so than other sports, over the past 10-20 years, baseball uniforms have gotten more “traditional”, and I put “traditional” in quotes because tradition often means whatever you grew up with… Just like the best year there ever was for music was whatever year it was when you were twelve.

A lot of the current bunch of owners grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and when they think of what a baseball uniform should look like, that era is what they go to.

If I’m right about this, then it won’t be long before another group of owners come in, owners who grew up in the 1970’s, the decade of polyknits and powder blue road unis and elastic waistbands.

Throwing back to the Seventies may not be an entirely bad thing.  Baseball uniforms have gotten overly conservative in color and design, and it might be time to bring back a little “Seventies” in the same way that the current Blue Jays uniforms are updates of their original 1977 unis.

1978 Topps Rick Cerone

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to run through some of the 1970’s hats, jerseys, or logos that I’d like to see brought back, even if just as an alternate.

…and don’t worry, I won’t suggest anything to do with these leisure suit monstrosities:

1978 Topps Kevin Bell

I’ve so much disdain for those White Sox uniforms that I didn’t even go back and correct the scan.

…But here is what I would like to see…

The red Red Sox cap (1975 – 1978)

I’ve never been a fan of the Red Sox, but I’ve always liked the 1970’s red and navy cap.  I liked the cap so much in my younger days that I even owned one… and looking back on that, wearing a Red Sox cap on Long Island may not have been one of my better ideas… not that anyone ever gave me grief over it, but still…

1976 Topps Cecil Cooper

By the way, the Red Sox have tweaked their road jerseys for 2014, and the lettering will be basically the same what Cecil Cooper is wearing — something I see as a definite improvement.

The angular Cleveland Indians cap logo (1973 – 1977)

I’m going to suggest this Cleveland Indians cap logo as an improvement not because it’s an inspired design, but simply because it’s the best Indians cap logo from the past 50 years… at least it is to me, but it’s what they wore the first four years I followed baseball, so I’m biased.

1976 Topps Buddy Bell

From a purely visual standpoint, it may not be as good as Chief Wahoo, but even if you take the stance that naming a team “Indians” is meant to honor Native Americans, you can’t say the same about Chief Wahoo.  Chief Wahoo is just flat-out mean spirited, and I wouldn’t suggest that as an option.

the Brewers’ Yellow Panel Road Cap (1974 – 1977)

What the Brewers have now… it’s  not bad, but it’s… I don’t know.  It leaves me cold.  If you’re going to be blue and gold, be BLUE and GOLD.  I like the yellow-panel cap, and I’m partial to the the “typeface M” cap, but I know the “M-B Glove” logo is popular and would definitely be an improvement over what they have now.

1978 Topps Charlie Moore

The Tigers’ road Jersey (1972 – 1993)

Road jerseys that have solid navy or black lettering with no trim to offset the darkness are just “blah”…  Too “Dark Knight”.  I want to see something else.  Hell, even the Yankees have white trim to offset the navy, and that makes it “pop” a little bit.  The Tigers could do a lot worse than going with something like this:

1977 Topps Ben Oglivie

I won’t ask for the road cap as well…  It’s not bad, but the standard Tigers cap is a classic you don’t mess with.


I was going to gather together some Padres caps and jerseys that I like, but I quickly realized that it would probably be a post of its own.  I’ll summarize my take on the Padres uniforms in two words:



“Fauxback” alternates I’d like to see:  The Nationals wearing pseudo-Expo uniforms

Honorable Mention:  I know the Nats downplay their Montreal roots, but how cool would it be if they did Expos throwbacks, complete with tri-color cap?  They could swap the curly W for the Expos logo, but go with everything else.

1976 Topps Larry Parrish

WhICH uniform elements from the 1970’s would you like to see teams bring back?

Do you think I’m totally off-base on these?  Would you rather see the Astros’ “rainbow” jerseys or the return of powder-blue road jerseys?

…or would you leave the Seventies dead and buried?

My New “Oldest Doubles” And Other 1956 Topps

Up until recently, the oldest “doubles” I’d ever had were a pair of 1963 Topps Marv Throneberry cards, one of those deals where I bought a card at a show and then got home and found out that I already had it.

One thing about buying from COMC is that it makes screwing up so much more efficient… I got both of these cards in the same COMC order…
1956 Topps Eddie Yost in duplicate
…and didn’t realize it until after the cards had shipped. Completely my fault, nothing to do with COMC, please continue to buy cards from that fine website (especially my cards).

The majority of the 1956 cards I got were all of the same category: “affordable commons that I bought solely because of the visual appeal — usually the action shot”.

This Roy Sievers card was one I saw on someone else’s blog and said “Oooh, gotta get me one!”
…I wish I could remember whose blog it was…
1956 Topps Roy Sievers
Roy Sievers was the 1949 AL Rookie Of the Year, was an all-star four times, lead the AL with 42 homers and 114 RBI in 1957 and his nickname was “Squirrel”.

Ruben Gomez was one of the first Puerto Ricans in the Majors.
1956 Topps Ruben Gomez
I love the fact that this pitcher’s action shot shows him legging it out to first.  It’s not entirely uncalled for… He batted .300 in 1955 (18 for 60).

Sammy White was the Red Sox starting catcher for most of the 1950’s, and was an All-Star in 1953.
1956 Topps Sammy White
White scored three times in one inning in a game against the Tigers on 6/18/53. He had two singles and a walk in the bottom of the 7th, as the Sox scored 17 runs off three Tigers pitchers.

Wayne Terwilliger played 9 years in the Majors with the Cubs, Dodgers, Senators, Giants and A’s…
1956 Topps Wayne Terwilliger
…but what’s really interesting about him is a career in baseball that spans seven decades. He started in the minors in 1948, and between playing, managing and coaching he spent 62 years in professional baseball, finishing as a first base coach for the independent minor league Ft. Worth Cats in 2010.

An interesting sign of how much I’ve come to enjoy the 1956 set is the fact that I’ve got nearly as many cards from 1956 as from the rest of the 1950’s – Topps, Bowman and Red Man – combined.  There’s a very good chance that 1956 will take the lead with the next show I attend.

1976 SSPC #402 – Fred Lynn (Red Sox)

1976 SSPC #402 Fred Lynn
Fred Lynn… was the first player to win the Rookie Of The Year and Most Valuable Player award in the same season (1975). He was a 9-time All Star, 4-time Gold Glover, lead the AL in runs scored in 1975, in batting in 1979, and was the MVP of the 1982 ALCS, even though his Angels lost to the Brewers.

In 1976, Fred Lynn… was the Red Sox center fielder, batted .314 and hit a homer in the All Star game.

Shea-o-meter:   Definitely Shea Stadium.
Shea:  28
Pretty sure it’s Shea:  6
Can’t tell:  6
Not Shea:  5

Betcha didn’t know… In 1983, Fred Lynn became the only player to ever hit a Grand Slam in the All Star game.

1976 Joe says… I can take or leave the Red Sox, but I love the red caps with the black bill!

2013 Joe says… The Red Sox should bring back those caps.

1976 SSPC #402 Fred Lynn back


I Bought Them For The Cartoons

Back in when I was young and single and would buy the occasional “adult magazine”, I’d joke with friends that I bought Playboy for the cartoons.  Now I wouldn’t deny that I enjoyed — *ahem* — everything the magazine had to offer, but there was truth behind my joke because the cartoons were the reason I bought Playboy as opposed to other published “men’s entertainment”. Playboy always had a bunch of cartoons, and naturally they were raunchy… but man, they were often pretty damn funny.

The main reason I mention that is because I was recently at a show, looking through some cheap vintage cards, and I did something I’d never done before – I bought a couple of cards specifically because I liked the cartoons on the back.

First up is the cartoon for Lenny Green’s card. I think I’m developing a crush on “Sally”, the cartoon embodiment of the South Atlantic League of the 1950’s & 1960’s.

1965 Topps Lenny Green Back

For anybody who’s seen the British TV show “Red Dwarf”, it’s kind of like Lister’s unnatural longing for a certain cartoon character… “This is crazy! Why are we talking about going to bed with Wilma Flintstone?”

I suppose you might want to see the front of the card, eh?

1965 Topps Lenny Green

Without the cartoon on the back, this card is just a common I have no real connection to… other than being a 1965 Topps card, something you can never have enough of.

I love this next cartoon for its sheer goofiness:

1965 Topps Lou Klimchock back

I have a bit more of a connection to Klimchock than to Green; Lou Klimchock briefly played for my Mets in 1966, having a grand total  of 5 pinch-hit AB’s. It may not have been much, but it got him a high-numbered card in a Mets uniform… and because that’s the way things go, that card pictures him fielding a ball, something he never actually did with the Mets.

Here’s what he looked like with the Milwaukee Braves.  It’s mildly disappointing that he doesn’t actually have 6 arms.

1965 Topps Lou Klimchock

These cards make me think one other thing:  I’m really looking forward to 2014 Heritage.

Oh, before I end this, there was something else…

…not a big deal, just something I wanted to mention…

Today is the second anniversary of The Shlabotnik Report! Yay! Waiter, bring us a bottle of the finest Coca-Cola you have!

Rather than looking back or looking forward, I would just like to say “Thank you” to everybody who’s been reading and to everybody who’s left comments.  In all honesty, it wouldn’t be any fun without you.