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

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Implementing the 25- 5 Rule

Sorry if my last post was somewhat of a downer. I planned on that being my last post of 2018, but then I would start 2019 off strong and hopefully keep it going, but a visit yesterday with my dad changed all that.

My dad has dementia and so conversing with him isn't always the easiest thing to do, but I try to stop by to see him everyday, even if it's for only 15 minutes or so. Yesterday I stopped by and was making some small talk by talking about 2019 being right around the corner. My dad, in his infinite wisdom, said something along the lines of, "Yeah, but we'll still all be breathing the same air in 2019 that we are right now." While I know this might not make sense to everyone, what I got from it was there is no reason to wait until 2019, or next month, next week, or even tomorrow to make a change.

Today I came across Warren Buffet's 25-5 rule and decided this is what I need to do with my collection. I wasn't familiar with the 25-5 rule, so in case you aren't either, here's a brief summary. List out the 25 most important things and then cross out all but the most important 5. Everything else is just slowing you down. Focus only on the 5 most important things.

So I decided to try it with my collection.

1. Hank Aaron Topps cards
2. 500 HR Bat cards
3. 3000 Hit Club Bat cards
4. Ken Griffey Jr.
5. Mike Piazza
6. HOF RC's
7. Paul Goldschmidt
8. Brandon Webb
9. 1981 - Current Topps Sets
10. TTM Autographs
11. D-Backs Team Sets
12. Travis Lee
13. Randy Johnson
14. Basketball cards
15. Football cards
16. Hockey cards
17. Golf/Non-Sport cards
18. Mini Collections
19. Mormon Athletes
20. Player Collections (Mattingly, Gooden, Salmon, etc.)
21. Diamondbacks cards
22. Topps-Page-A -Year
23. Vintage
24. Ryan Roberts
25. Insert Sets/Oddball

I'm sure there are more, but these are the 25 I came up with in about 5 minutes. Now to try to get down to 5.

1. Hank Aaron Topps cards
2. 500 HR Bat cards
3. 3000 Hit Club Bat cards
4. Ken Griffey Jr.
5. Mike Piazza
6. HOF RC's
7. Paul Goldschmidt
8. Brandon Webb
9. 1981 - Current Topps Sets
10. TTM Autographs
11. D-Backs Team Sets
12. Travis Lee
13. Randy Johnson
14. Basketball cards
15. Football cards
16. Hockey cards
17. Golf/Non-Sport cards
18. Mini Collections
19. Mormon Athletes
20. Player Collections (Mattingly, Gooden, Salmon, etc.)
21. Diamondbacks cards
22. Topps-Page-A -Year
23. Vintage
24. Ryan Roberts
25. Insert Sets/Oddball

I got down to 10 pretty easily. But 10 ins't 5. What else can I cut? My 500 HR Bat cards and 3000 Hit Club Bat cards are already complete, so it's just a matter of adding to it when someone joins the club. I'm still going to collect Griffey, Piazza, and Webb, but I'm going to limit myself to just a Top 10 cards for each player. I can replace cards within the Top 10, but I want to keep it at just 10.

So that leaves me with:

1. Hank Aaron Topps cards
2. HOF RC's
3. Paul Goldschmidt
4. Topps-Page-A-Year
5. Ryan Roberts

Now I need to purge the rest of my collection. If you have any interest in anything above, not on my list of 5 (plus the 500 HR and 3000 Hit Bat cards), let me know. I plan on trading or selling eveything else. Keep in mind that if you plan on trading with me, it will need to be for something on my top 5 list which I know is limited. I also want to apologize to anyone that may have given me something or traded me something in the past that I'm now letting go of. I've just gotten to the point where I can't keep up with everything I'd like to collect, plus having to deal with all of my parents things over the past few months has put things into perspective.Not only do I not have room for everything right now, but what happens 40+ years from now when nobody wants my stuff.

I hate posts without any actual cards, so here are some cards that are up for trade/sale because they don't fit my 5. I'd do $8 shipped in a bubble mailer for the 4 cards if anyone is interested.






Sunday, December 23, 2018

Are you ready for 2018 to be over?

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for 2019.

2018 has been a tough year for me on a personal level. We lost three of my wife's grandparents this year. My mother passed away unexpectedly in August and just a month later my last living grandparent past away. With my mom gone, we had to move my father into an assisted living facility and get their house ready to sell. In between my mom and my grandfather passing away I was promoted at work. I love what I do, but while my title changed, my pay hasn't. Now that I'm salary my paychecks are actually smaller because there's no overtime pay even though I'm putting in more hours at work each week. Throw in some health issue and some other family drama and then to top off everything, the D-Backs traded my favorite player Paul Goldschmidt earlier this month.

My blogging has slowed to a trickle during the second half of 2018 and at one point I considered giving up on collecting, but I just couldn't give it up. Things have changed and I'm sure will continue to change, but they won't stop.

I recently got a couple of Christmas packages from fellow bloggers and it reminded me why I love the card collecting and blogging community so much!

Dennis, of the blog Too Many Verlanders, sent me a sweet package filled with D-Backs goodness, but to me, the note he sent was the best part of the Christmas package. Thanks Dennis! Like I said, the cards were great too!







I also got a Christmas package from Collecting Cutch!

Check out the custom Christmas card!




The Goldschmidt is especially appropriate for the Christmas package and I needed it as well! Thanks Brian!

I want to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!