Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Topps Page-a-Year: 1955

Still only 8 cards per page for 1955 Topps.

Cards are numbered #1 - #210, but 4 cards were never made, making this 206 card set, the smallest that Topps would ever produce unless you include the 1951 Topps Doubles Baseball Playing cards.

Can anyone name the 4 players that should have been in the set without looking? Answer will be at the bottom of this post.

The 1955 Topps high number series which includes card #161 - #210 are a little more scarce. I have one from the high number series on my page.

Here's what I got.

#6 Stan Hack - Featured here as the manager of the Chicago Cubs, Hack had relatively little success as a manager, but he is likely one of the better players that you've never heard of. The five time All-Star played his entire career for the Cubs between 1932 - 1947. He batted .301 lifetime with 2,193 hits and as a third baseman he led the N.L. in stolen bases twice.

#41 Chuck Stobbs - Stobbs pitched for 5 different teams and the Senators twice over his 15 year career, but with a losing record and ERA above 4.00 he is probably best known for giving up the 565 foot home run to Mickey Mantle that exited Griffith Stadium in 1953.

#61 "Spook" Jacobs - An avid stamp collector, Spook had part of his personal stamp collection showcased at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

#77 Arnold Portocarrero - The 6' 3" right-hander led the Orioles in wins in 1954 with 9 and was second in the A.L. in losses with 18.

#80 Bob Grim - This is the rookie card of the 1954 A.L. Rookie of the Year. Grim was 20-6 with a 3.26 ERA in his rookie season.

#147 Laurin Pepper = A collegiate football star, Laurin was drafted by the Steelers in 1954, but choose baseball instead.

#154 Willie Miranda - Try looking up Willie Miranda. I couldn't find him. Now try Willy Miranda. This card was printed after Willy played his final major league baseball game.

#184 Harry Perkowski - A below average pitcher featured in a Cubs uniform during his only season with the Cubs and last season at the big league level.

The missing cards are #175 - Stan Musial, #186 - Whitey Ford, #203 - Bob Feller, and #209 - Herb Score.

Do you have a favorite from 1955 Topps? I don't know about you but I'm loving the old-school team logos. The cartoons/trivia on the back are pretty great as well!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Topps Archives FOR SALE

A week or so ago I bought a blaster of 2018 Topps Archives. Base cards are 10 cents each. Coins and inserts are 25 cents each (If Collecting Cutch needs the McCutchen coin, then it's his). First person to buy 10 or more cards gets the Hank Aaron for free (it's got a soft upper right hand corner, but is numbered out of 175). You can request shipping at any time. It will be $3.00 if you buy less than $5 and free if you spend more than $5.

I'll try to post more cards this week.

Monday, December 31, 2018

The greatest living Yankee?

Before I made my decision to trim down my collection I went to an auction at my LCS and picked up a small lot of Whitey Ford cards for $2.50. Without checking out the lot beforehand, I thought it was a good deal. After the fact, I still think I got a good deal. But do I get to keep any of them.

First up is this hand cut reprint of his Bowman rookie card. This will go in the trash. Someday I'll get a real one for my HOF RC collection.

Next up is this 1961 Topps. As far as this lot goes, it's in the best condition. It's worth the $2.50 by itself, in my opinion.

 This will go in my Topps Page-a-Year binder, but it displaced a Jim Rivera card since the page was already full. If anyone wants this Jim Rivera card, let me know.

Next up in the Whitey Ford lot is this 1962 World Series card. Another card for my Topps Page-a-Year binder. This is just my third 1962 Topps card, so I'm glad it was in the lot even though the condition is rough.

Speaking of rough condition. Here is a 1963 Topps Whitey Ford card that is missing a fairly large chunk. But that's okay, 1963 is another year that I needed more cards for the Topps Page-a-Year binder. It will do nicely for now and at some point I might upgrade it.

The final card in the lot is also from 1963, but it's a World Series highlight card. The centering is off, but it's in much better overall condition than the base card above. It will also go into my Topps Page-a-Year binder.

What do think? Did I get my $2.50 worth?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy Birthday Sandy Koufax!

Sandy Koufax turns 83 today. Hard to believe that Koufax was only 30 years old when he retired from baseball. It's even harder to believe that he accomplished so much in so little time. Three Cy Young awards, an MVP,  a four time World Series Champion (twice named World Series MVP) and four no-hitters; including a perfect game.

When I saw on Twitter this morning that it was his birthday, my first thought was this would be a good opportunity to let go of my Koufax cards and my next thought was "But I don't want to get rid of my Koufax cards" in a 4 year old girl whiny voice.

I have two vintage Koufax cards (1956 and 1963 Topps) and I like them. I don't want to get rid of them. I literally just started downsizing and I can't do it...or can I? I can keep both of these cards for my Topps Page-a-Year project. Sweet!

I have a few modern Koufax cards though that can go. Let me know if you're interested. $5 shipped in a bubble mailer for the 12 cards.

We all know how Topps loves to reuse photos.

This card is beautiful and the scan does not do it justice. I wish I didn't have to let go of this one, but I've got to draw the line somewhere.

This is one of the Berger's best insert cards, not his actual rookie card.

Topps Page-a-Year: 1954

Since 1952 - 1956 Topps are a little larger than the 1957 - current cards, only 8 cards fit on a page.

Topps continued to downsize its set size in 1954 with a 250 card set, two of which, card #1 and card #250, feature Ted Williams whom Topps had signed to an exclusive 5 year contract at $400 per year.

Let's take a look at my 1954 page.

#242 Curt Roberts - Curt Roberts career was short, lasting only parts of 3 seasons, but he was the first black player for the Pittsburgh Pirates and paved the way for those to come after him, including Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.

#222 Bill Wilson - Bill's four seasons in the big leagues were interrupted by 2 years spent in the Army. Although he was known as a power hitting minor league player, Wilson hit just 32 dingers at the major league level, one of which was the first in Kansas City big league history.

#42 Don Mueller - In 1954 Mueller finished second in the N.L. batting title to teammate Willie Mays, but continued his hot hitting, batting .389 in the World Series. Mueller was an All-Star in 1954 and 1955 for his efforts.

#2 Gus Zernial - Gus hit 237 home runs in his career and often hit them in bunches.In May of 1951, Gus hit 7 homers in 4 games. He was also the first player to hit 3 home runs in the final game of a season. Zernial is also responsible for introducing Joe DiMaggio to his future wife, Marilyn Monroe.

#33 Johnny Schmitz - Schmitz bounced around between 7 different teams during his career, but enjoyed two All-Star appearances and led the A.L. in strikeout sin 1946.

#237 Mike Ryba - Last appearing in a major league game as a player in 1946, Mike was a coach, mostly under manager Eddie Stanky for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1951-1955. Not sure why he garnered a spot in this 250 card set. Anybody have any idea?

#189 Bob Ross - Ross lost 2 seasons (1952-53) to military service and appeared in just 20 major league games in 1950, 1951 and 1956. It appears Topps was guessing that Ross would in the big leagues in 1954. They guessed wrong.

#27 Ferris Fain - This 5 time All-Star was the A.L. batting champ in 1951 and 1952. Fain experienced some legal troubles in his later years for growing and selling marijuana out of his home in California in the 1980's.

I found it interesting that the backs of the 1954 Topps cards aren't all printed the same way. Anyone know if they were printed both ways or if all of say card #242 are printed one way and all of card #42 are printed the other way?

I flipped it the other way in case you wanted to check out all the card backs.

What are your thoughts on the 1954 Topps set? If you're familiar with the 1953 set, I think most would agree it was a step backwards for Topps. Do you have a favorite card from the set?

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Topps Page-a-Year: 1952

Since 1952 - 1956 Topps are a little larger than the 1957 - current cards, only 8 cards fit on a page.

The 407 card set is considered the father of modern baseball card sets. It was issued in 6 different series (#1- #80, #81 - #250, #251 - #280, #281 - #300, #301 - #310, and #311 - #407). I didn't realize until writing this that the different series were not the same size, or even at least roughly the same size.

Let's take a look at the cards that I have in my 1952 page.

#92 Dale Mitchell - A two time All-Star (1948 and 1952), Mitchell won the World Series with the Indians in 1948 and was the final out in Don Larsen's 1956 World Series perfect game.

#235 Walt Dropo - Dropo was drafted by the BAA (Basketball Association of America) and the NFL, but chose baseball. He debuted with the Red Sox in 1950 and was an All-Star and won the Rookie of the Year award. During his rookie season he hit .322 with 34 home runs and led the American League with 144 RBI. He broke his wrist in 1951 and was never the same.

#40 Irv Noren - Noren is pictured here with the Senators, but just 12 games into the 1952 season he was traded to the Yankees. It was with New York that Noren would win 3 World Series and earn an All-Star nod in 1954.

#81 Vernon Law - Vern Law was selected to both All-Star games in 1960 and won the N.L. Cy Young award going 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA helping the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series that same year.

No Mickey Mantle, but I do have two other Mickeys from the 1952 Topps set.

#90 Mickey Grasso - Grasso spent parts of seven seasons fairly quiet in the big leagues, but prior to that he was a prisoner of war in World War II, losing 60 pounds while being held captives in Germany.

#106 Mickey Vernon - Vernon was a 7 time All-Star and two time A.L. batting champion during his 20 year playing career (even after losing 2 full seasons to serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II) and then became the first manager of the new Washington Senators in 1961.

#145 Joseph Haynes - Haynes married into the Griffiths family who owned the Washington Senators, so not only did he spend two different stints with the Senators as a player, but he stayed on as a coach after his playing career ended.

#244 Vic Wertz - The four time All-Star is probably best known as the batter who hit the ball that Willie Mays made his famous over the shoulder catch during the 1954 World Series.

You can see some variation in the card backs. Cards from the first series came in red and black (#40) back versions and cards in the second series were printed on both white (#145) and dark cardstock.

What are your thoughts on 1952 Topps? Do you have a favorite card from this set?

Topps Page-a-Year

Back in November of 2014 I first posted about a Topps Page-a-Year project. The idea is to get one page (8 or 9 cards depending on the year) of each year of Topps cards. While I'd love to own every Topps set ever made, this gives me a glimpse into each set in an economical and space conscious way. I've been chipping away at it over the years. I started with 1952, rather than the 1951 Topps Doubles Baseball Playing Cards. Maybe I'll add them later.

Here are my current needs.

1962 - 3 cards
1963 - 5 cards
1965 - 5 cards

For now, I'll take any Topps card from the years I need. I can always upgrade along the way.

Topps Page-a-Year: 1952
Topps Page-a-Year: 1954
Topps Page-a-Year: 1955