1976 SSPC #392 – Brooks Robinson (WooHoo! I’ve Got SSPC Orioles!)

In my biggest 1976 SSPC purchase since my initial purchase in May of 2013, I recently picked up the Orioles team set on eBay.

For those who weren’t with me at the time, my SSPC quest began when I bought a box containing 1,200 1976 SSPC cards… You can read about that purchase here, and over here you can read about how I had determined that these cards should be called “1976 SSPC” despite the 1975 copyright on the back.

The box I bought had been picked through by the time I got to it, so there were almost no stars, just one Yankee, and absolutely no Orioles, Phillies or Red Sox.  Since then I’ve made an effort to add cards to the set without spending too much on them… I enjoy the heck out of this set, but it is unlicensed and I collect it as if it’s junk wax and worth nothing to anybody but myself… Because it may very well be worthless. Hell, for all I know this set has been “reprinted” far beyond it’s original 1970’s print run. Having not even seen most of this set in person until 2 years ago, It’s not like I could tell the difference between the original and a counterfeit.


The honor of being the first SSPC Oriole I’ve featured in this esteemed blog falls to the guy who indirectly caused an entire generation of Maryland boys to be given the name “Brooks”…
1976 SSPC #392 Brooks Robinson
Brooks Robinson… I’ll just touch the highlights for the Human Vacuum Cleaner… Hall Of Fame, 16 consecutive Gold Gloves, 15-time All-Star, 1964 MVP and RBI leader, .

In 1976, Brooks… was 39 and winding down his career, playing 71 games at third for the season and being replaced by Doug DeCinces at third. 1976 was the first season since 1959 that Brooks Robinson did not win a Gold Glove award.

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?”

That might be the Shea batter’s eye over Brooks’ shoulder, but there’s really not much to go with.  I’m going to flag this as “Can’t tell”.
Shea: 49
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 12
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census
We’re going to keep track of all the instances of 1970’s facial hair and other 1970’s trends… Sideburns, afros, mustaches, Aviator glasses…

Brooks has got the sideburns going, but not much else.
Total Cards: 76
1970’s Sideburns: 38
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 23
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 16

1976 SSPC #392 Brooks Robinson back

Oddball du Jour: 1982 Cracker Jack “Old-Timers”

Night Owl recently wrote about a copy of Baseball Cards magazine he has, and that issue had an article about “regional issues”… a.k.a. oddballs.  One of the sets featured in the article was the 1982 Cracker Jack set put out by Topps.

I own this set – which is actually 2 uncut sheets of 9 cards each – and had scanned the sheets over a year ago, but never got around to posting them.  I figured that Night Owl’s post is a sign to get off my lazy butt and do something.

This set was produced to promote a Cracker Jack-sponsored “Old-Timers’ Classic” baseball game played in RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

1982 Cracker Jack NL

I got these in 1982 through a mail-in offer involving proofs-of-purchase from boxes of Cracker Jack.  Regardless of what I might sing during the 7th inning stretch, I’m not a fan of Cracker Jack, so buying and eating a number of boxes was something of a sacrifice for me.  Don’t buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, you can just buy me a brat and a Coke, thanks so much!

…Yes, a hot dog will do just fine.

The design of the set borrowed as much from prior Topps designs as Upper Deck Vintage did!  Check it out… You’ve got the script team name borrowed from the 1978 set, the little pennant-y box that the name and position go in are lifted directly from 1979 Topps.  Hey, they paid good money for those designs, they’re gonna recycle them!

1982 Cracker Jack AL

Many of the photos used appeared on other cards, like the 1953 Ralph Kiner and Bob Feller, and the 1958 Larry Doby.

Here is the back of the AL Sheet… The card in the middle plugs the Old-Timers classic.
1982 Cracker Jack AL Back

For a better look at the design of the cards, I cropped the image to highlight just the Brooks Robinson card.  The photo used here is the same one used in the 1969 Deckle Edge set (except that one was in black & white, of course).
1982 Cracker Jack Brooks Robinson
Brooks Robinson is wearing the only Orioles home uniform which didn’t feature “Orioles” in script… This style was worn from 1963 to 1965.

Here’s the back of Brooks…
1982 Cracker Jack Brooks Robinson Back

…and since I got my inspiration from Night Owl, the least I can do is feature the Duke Snider card from the sheet.

1982 Cracker Jack Duke Snider

Now that I look at it closely for the first time in a bunch of years, it’s kind of odd that they airbrushed a Brooklyn Dodgers cap on him.  I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but now I wonder if the photo is from Duke’s time with the Mets.  I’d also considered if it might be from when he was a coach with the Expos, but I think he had some 70’s sideburns when he was in Montreal.

“The Champs” Then…. The Champs Again?

In 1966, The Orioles had just switched to the “cartoon bird” caps, went 97-63 and finished 9 games ahead of the 2nd place Twins (and the Red Sox & Yankees finished in 9th & 10th… those were the days).  The O’s would sweep the Dodgers in 4 and bring a World Championship to Baltimore for the first time.

Here’s hoping that “Cartoon Bird 2” brings the current Orioles the same fortune.  I’m going to fight off the temptation to make any predictions;  right now, I’m  happy the Orioles don’t  have to face the red-hot A’s.

Two of the guys on this card are currently immortalized in bronze at Camden Yards…  Well, no, not the guys themselves, it’s not a Han Solo thing where Frank & Brooks are in suspended animation.  I’m talking about the new bronze statues… very nice bronze statues, if I may say so.

The guy in the middle is Orioles manager Hank Bauer.  I’ll tell you, “24” has ruined the name Bauer for me.  Back when Rick Bauer was a pitcher for the Orioles, and 24 was on the air, Mrs. Shlabotnik and I referred to him as “Federal Agent Rick Bauer”.  Now I find that phenomenon has spread to Federal Agent Hank Bauer.  Yep, Jack, Rick and Hank Bauer, the terrorist-fighting dynasty.

Well, I Feel Stupid (Not That This Is Anything Unusual…)

So I spent Tuesday’s post talking about the Cal Ripken statue which was to be unveiled at Camden Yards yesterday. The whole basis of my post was that there’s a wide pedestal and a small pedestal for the two remaining bronze statues, and trying to figure out what they would do with Cal on the small pedestal, given that the wide one would undoubtedly be for the horizontal statue of Brooks “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” Robinson diving for a ball, like this:

1993 Ted Williams Brooks Robinson #8 - Brooks Robinson/All-Star Games - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

1993 Ted Williams Brooks Robinson #8 – Brooks Robinson/All-Star Games – Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

So you can imagine my chagrin to find out that the statue of Cal was not on the smaller pedestal, but on the larger one…  (And of course, I have to make a custom of it)

I made the wrong assumption, but I was not alone in that;  I know several Orioles fans who’d assumed the same thing.

…but if the small, square pedestal is for Brooks, then what will his statue look like?  Will it be him standing on deck, or talking on a big phone, or  — No!  No!  I’m not going there.  Not again.

1975 Topps #50 - Brooks Robinson - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

1975 Topps #50 – Brooks Robinson – Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

I’m old enough to remember – just barely – Brooks’ final years… but to me, he wasn’t a 16-time Gold Glove winner or a future Hall of Famer. Brooks was the guy with the goofy batting helmet. The 10-year-old in me hopes that the Brooks statue will include the goofy batting helmet.  Beyond that, I’m hanging up my Conjecture Hat.

…until I need another idea for a post.

National Show & Tell: They’re Not ‘Lesser Grade’, They’re Well-Loved

A lot of my bigger “gets” from the show were vintage star cards which were somewhat lacking in… shall we say “Gradeability”?  No pristine pieces of cardboard entombed in the grading service shells of death, just well-loved cardboard which you know were handled, perused, examined, memorized and, in one case, somewhat abused.

…Like this 1966 Jim Hunter, his second-year card.  It looks like someone made a big yellow highlighter “L” on the card (it looks worse in the scan than it does in person).  I saw this card in a box, it was obviously damaged, but how else are you going to get a 46-year-old card of a Hall Of Famer for $1?  It’s not even a card I would normally collect, but I had something of a “Charlie Brown Christmas” moment with this card… I looked at it, and I thought “I think it needs me”.

So, what else did I get?  Say hey, everybody!  Take a look at these!

One of my somewhat last-minute goals of the show was to try to get some well-loved stars from the 1972 set, and Willie Mays certainly falls into that category.  If I also decide to go forward with completing the first two series of 1972 (something I’ve all but committed to doing), then I was going to need these two.  I would also need Mr. Joe Morgan…

…but Willie McCovey falls into the third series, so buying him is either a case of being proactive regarding possible future goals, or just me saying “WTF”.

And finally, so you don’t think I was fixated too  much on 1972, here’s a lovely Brooks Robinson All-Star from 1970.

The total damage for these cards?  $16.  For less than the price of a blaster, I got 6 vintage cards featuring Hall-Of-Famers.  I ask you, how can you beat that?