Super Aaron And Red Man Lemon

A friend of mine swears he saw “Super Aaron And Red Man Lemon” open for Parliament Funkadelic when they played Madison Square Garden in the 1970’s and they were AWESOME!

OK, fine, I made that up.  Within the context of this post, “Super Aaron” and “Red Man Lemon” refer to two beautiful, oversized cards I recently picked up from COMC.

“Super Aaron” is my 1970 Topps Super Hank Aaron (or “A-A-Ron”, as Key & Peele now have me thinking). One thing I’ve noticed about COMC is that their scanners highlight every flaw on a card… which is a good thing, since you want to be able to see those flaws… but I’ve found that it often makes a non-mint card look worse than it is.
1970 Topps Super Hank Aaron
This card is obviously miscut, but it looks a lot worse in scans than it does in person. In person, it’s still a nice card that I’m very happy to add to my collection.

Like the football Supers, the back is generally the same as the regular 1970 Hank Aaron, but with a different card number.
1970 Topps Super Aaron back

Here’s “Red Man Lemon”… more specifically, a 1953 Red Man Bob Lemon.  Whenever I’m doing a shopping spree on COMC, I always look to see if there’s anything relatively inexpensive in the Red Man section, and this was the acquisition this time around.  Any Red Man cards in my price range is missing the redemption tab at the bottom, but ask me if I care.
1953 Red Man Bob Lemon
I grew up thinking of Bob Lemon as a manager with the Yankees, White Sox and Royals, but he’s far better known as a Hall-Of-Fame pitcher. What I hadn’t known is that he started out as a position player… In fact, he was the centerfielder for one of Bob Feller’s no-hitters. Lemon lost time to World War II, and that combined with his start as an infielder meant that his pitching career was fairly short for a HOFer.  However,  he had an impressive run from 1947 to 1956. During that 10 year period he went 197-111, struck out 1,185 batters, threw 31 shutouts, pitched complete games in more than half of his starts, was a 7-time All-Star, a 7-time 20-game winner and no-hit the Tigers in 1948.

Here’s the back of the card, which is all about the promotion that Red Man was running.
1953 Red Man Bob Lemon Back

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Tiny, Little Thoughts From My Tiny, Little Brain

The last couple of weeks have been really busy for me, at least from a cardboard (and virtual cardboard) standpoint.  I’ve been so busy with COMC, custom cards and other things that I’ve been relying on my backlog of finished drafts to keep The Shlabotnik Report on a daily basis.  I’ve gone through most of my finished drafts, so today you get a number of scattered thoughts posing as a cohesive post…

Yesterday I bought a Topps Update blaster from Toys R Us, assuming that it would be priced similarly to the same blaster at Target. WRONG-O!  $26 + tax for 80 cards plus a manupatch. I should’ve been suspicious of the fact that the blaster box didn’t have a price printed on it.  I’m thinking it’s going to be a return, unless someone call tell me some amazing reason for keeping the blaster…. The manupatch doesn’t count, it would just get added to my “Going to COMC” box.

Former Dodgers/Cubs/Jays/A’s/Yankees/Expos pitcher Ted Lilly retired, and I’m a little bummed… Not because I’m a fan, but whenever I’d hear him mentioned, in my mind I’d sing “A song of love is a sad song… Ted Lilly, Ted Lilly, Ted Lo…”
2013 Topps Ted Lilly
…and yes, most of you wouldn’t get a reference to “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo”, but I’ve never shied away from making arcane references before, I’m not stopping now.

Ted Lilly’s full name is Theodore Roosevelt Lilly.  Topps needs to go back to putting full names on the backs of cards.

If it’s your misfortune to ever listen to the Yankees on the radio, you may be happy to know that you’ll never again have to hear John Sterling say “The Grandyman can” or “Robbie Cano, don’tcha know”.  I realize they’ll be replaced by some equally inane catchphrases for the new Yankees, but let’s not go there just yet.

Does anybody else find this amusing?  Phoenix has had two major hockey teams over the years — the Coyotes and the Roadrunners (WHA).

I found myself staring at this recent page from my Baseball HOF calendar:
Baseball HOF Calendar 11-26-2013
While absentmindedly staring at this image, several thoughts ran though my head…

  • That is one odd-lo0king glove… Was this state-of-the-art for 1958?  What’s with that “6th finger” where the webbing normally is?
  • I never thought about the fact that the award would change as gloves change through the years, but they clearly have changed at least once.
  • Do lefties get a different Gold Glove Award?   (Probably not, sorry lefties).
  • Did they really have a figure of a batter on a fielding award?

For all his acclaim, I find pianist Glenn Gould’s music to be technically proficient but severely lacking in emotional depth.

I’ve only seen two episodes, but so far “Almost Human” is a surprisingly good show.

OK, that pretty much covers me. Does anybody have anything they’d like to get off their chest?

Update #1 – I somehow turned off the comments on this post… Sorry about that.  I think we’re good now.

Update #2 – During the process of trying to figure out how to turn the comments back on, I realized that this is post #700.  Woohoo!

Shea Stadium: Where The Action Is!!!!!!

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, many of the “In Action” photos from 1972 Topps were taken at Shea Stadium. Here are a number of examples from my collection…

I feel like I should know who this Met is trying to get past Bob Robertson… but I don’t.  Any suggestions?
1972 Topps Bob Robertson

Hank Aaron does a home run trot at Shea… the sign behind Aaron says “Plymouth:  Official Car Of The Mets”.  Both Shea and Plymouth are gone now, for whatever that’s worth.
1972 Topps Hank Aaron IA

Maury Wills waits for a pitch;  the catcher (#10) is Duffy Dyer.
1972 Topps Maury Wills

Trust me;  the brick wall behind Steve Renko is undeniably Shea.
1972 Topps Steve Renko

At first I thought this next card had too little background to determine where the action took place, but then I noticed the Mets helmet at the very bottom…
1972 Topps Tom Haller IA

Aside from the concrete dugouts, you know it’s Shea from the blurry Mets in the background.
1972 Topps Willie Stargell


National Wantlist, Part 5: They Might Be (1964 Topps) Giants

I’ve been working on the 1964 Topps Giants set since the late 1980’s, and all along I’ve been bewildered as to why this set isn’t more popular.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be the misguided one concerning these.  There’s no reason why anybody would want these cards.

Look at this Hank Aaron card… Who would want such a big portrait of Hammerin’ Hank in a Milwaukee Braves cap?  C’mon, Milwaukee?  Team hasn’t existed for over 45 years.

The cards are oversized, and don’t fit into 9-pocket pages.  Nobody likes oversized cards, right?  You all want minis!  MINIS, I TELL YOU!

The cards are generally cheaper than their 1964 Topps counterparts, meaning that they’re not a good investment.  Stay away from them.

There’s no foil, no refractor parallel, no stats on the back.  These barely qualify as baseball cards.

Oh, did I mention short prints?  Nearly 12% of the set is short printed!  TWELVE PERCENT!  Outrageous!

Look at the checklist!  Gary Peters?  Bob Bailey?  Chuck Hinton?  Dick Farrell?  Camilo Pascual?  Wayne Causey?  Galen Cisco?  What’s with all these guys?  Where are the Hall Of Famers?  This set has hardly anybody of interest in it, only Aaron and Koufax and Kaline and Mantle and Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson and Spahn and Marichal and Killebrew and Gibson and Yaz and Mays and Santo.  Maybe a couple of other guys.

And where’s Roberto Clemente?  You’d think he’d be in this set, but there’s just some guy named Bob Clemente.  Probably some guy they included just so that the Senators would have somebody in the set.

This set is hardly worth anybody’s time, especially you dealers at the National.  I see this set’s value being ready to tank, and I highly recommend that you discount all of your inventory of 1964 Topps Giants.

Especially the short prints.  And Bob Clemente.

Fuji Feedback: The Worst-Conditioned Card In My Collection

I’ve got a couple of candidates for “Card In The Worst Condition” and until recently I would’ve singled out a fugly 1971 Garvey as being the bottom of the pile;  I featured that card a few months ago.

However, to answer Fuji’s question of “What’s the worst conditioned card in your collection? Is there a story behind it?”, I’ll go with the one I haven’t had very long.  I was somewhat recently given a bag containing loose cards from the 70’s and 80’s.  It was a a fun lot to go through, and there was some good stuff in there, but “good” in terms of filling my needs.  This wasn’t a “Black Swamp Find”, there were a handful of cards which might’ve been worth a few bucks if they weren’t creased and dog-eared, but it was mostly commons and in general, the older the cards got, the rougher the condition was.

As I’m thumbing through these cards, making mental notes of the cards I needed, I thought to myself “What are the odds are that I’ll find one of the 4 cards I need to complete my 1973 set?”

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Of the cards in the bag, the card which would easily be the highest on my need list is also the card which was easily the worst condition.  In case you can’t tell from the scans, the card had been torn completely in half, and then scotch-taped back together again.  Even without being torn, the card’s been “well-loved” and has major creases in it.  I can just imagine an older brother tormenting his younger sibling by tearing up and mangling one of his baseball cards, followed by the teary-eyed younger brother taping it back together and smoothing it out between sobs.

When I ran across this card, after a few minutes of “it figures” laughing, I came to my senses.  Sure, it’s in bad shape even by my lax standards, but you know what?  It’s still Card #1 in the 1973 set, it had the second-highest book value of any card that I needed (Schmidt/Roberts/Cey is my current White Whale) and now I only need three cards to complete 1973.

I’ll probably try to upgrade this card – maybe one which is still in lesser condition, but is intact – but I don’t have to.  And I don’t know… maybe I’ll hang on to this card because it has a story behind it.

I certainly don’t have to worry about it being a counterfeit.

Pack Animal: 2012 Topps Series 2

An after-work Target trip lead to an unexpected purchase:

So, wouldya like to see what I got?  Wouldya?  Wouldya?  I’ll admit, I didn’t get any big hits (They were loose packs, maybe the feelers  had already struck).  I was pretty happy with what I did get.  Being Series Two, I got veterans in new uniforms…

…and rookies (Jarrod Parker no hit the Rangers through 8  innings earlier this week, not too shabby)…

…and a Met…

…and an Oriole…

“My name is Yim Yohnson, I work in Wisconsin, I work in a lumbermill there…”

As for inserts, the Walk-Offs and Timeless inserts have been replaced by two new inserts:

You can’t tell from the scan, but this “Cut Above” insert is die-cut, it’s got a sort of jagged cut to it.  I normally don’t go much for die-cuts, but this is a nice-looking card.  I fear that that might be largely due to the sweet photo, because I also got a Mickey Mantle Cut Above insert, and it didn’t have the same effect on  me.  Part of it is because it wasn’t as good of a photo (it looks like a colorized B&W photo), and part is because it’s Mantle, and I’m suffering from a severe case of Mickey Mantle overexposure (i.e. “I’M SICK TO BLOODY DEATH OF MANTLES!”)

The other new insert is Mound Dominance, which isn’t great, but is better than either of the replaced inserts.  It doesn’t scan well;  there’s silver foil on top, and the green strike zone graphic doesn’t GLOW on the card like it does in this scan.

Other highlights of my packs…


Bruce Chen is one of the players I collect, so he’s a welcome addition.

I also got a Pirate… Pirates fans, I apologize, you haven’t gotten  much from the Pirates being my “Emergency Backup Team” yet, but the Mets & Orioles have been doing well, and the Pirates… Um, the Pirates…. HEY, LOOK!  IT’S GARRETT JONES!

And now’s ze time on Ze Shlabotnik Report ven ve DANCE!!!!

1974 Week: Ken Brett and Hank Aaron

Why would I share a miscut and well-done-but-incorrectly-airbrushed Ken Brett?  By itself, it’s just another common, although at least a common of George Brett’s brother.  Ken Brett pitched from 1967 – 1981 for the Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies, Pirates, Yankees, Angels, White Sox, Twins, Dodgers and Royals. (Phew!)

But what’s that at the bottom of the card?  Haven’t I seen that border before?

Yep, Ken Brett comes on top of Hank Aaron on the original printing sheet.  The Aaron is one of the key cards of this set, as you would imagine.  Topps took a small gamble when they produced this card because Hank had 713 home runs entering the 1974 season, and Babe Ruth held the record with 714.  Topps declared him the New All-Time Home Run King since it was pretty likely that Hammerin’ Hank would get the record early in the 1974 season, but had he been run over by a bus this would’ve been an EPIC FAIL (except that nobody said that in 1974).

From the oddly-shaped scoreboard behind Hank, you can tell he’s at Royals Stadium.  The 1973 All-Star game was in Kansas City, and this photo looks like it might’ve been taken during the pre-game warmups.

By the way, there is an active blog devoted solely to the 1974 set…  1974 Topps Pennant Fever does a lot more research than I’m doing, and goes far more in depth into the set than I will.  I meant to mention that at the beginning of the week, but I forgot.  Sorry, 1974 Topps – Pennant Fever Guy.