Monday, March 22, 2021

1973 Topps Mike Schmidt and Set Needs

This past Saturday I made my way to a card show in Phoenix. It was well attended. So well attended that I had to wait for someone to leave before I was allowed to enter. Everyone that I saw was wearing masks.

I made a quick loop to check out what was available and found a dealer that I have interacted with before. I could tell that he had his usual wares; boxes upon boxes of vintage baseball cards in top loaders all sorted by year. 

The problem was there were already a few customers digging through the boxes, so I stood back and waited my turn. It wasn't long before one of the customers completed a purchase and left and I was able to move up and start rummaging through a box filled with 1963 - 1973 Topps. I had started with the 1963 cards and was up to to 1965 when I happened to spot the dealer going a smaller box with another customer and spied what looked like a 1973 Topps Ron Cey, John Hilton and Mike Schmidt rookie card, so I asked about it. 

The dealer replied that he had 3 for sale. Two were in this box and another one was in his display case. The customer going through that box was interested in that card. I asked for the price of his most beat up one. The two in the box were $75 and $100 and the one in his display case was $225. The dealer handed me the two from the box and I got a good look. Both were severely off centered, but not otherwise, they were both in fairly good shape, all things considered.

Since the other customer had been looking at them already I told the dealer I was interested, but I would let the other guy pick first. He said he wasn't sure if he was going to get one or not, but took them and looked them over again. Without saying anything I was secretly wanting the $75 one, but I waited patiently for the other customer to decide if he was going to buy one and if so, which one he was going to buy.

It didn't take long before he responded that he would take the $100 copy. I quickly responded that I would take the $75 copy and the dealer handed it to me. I then gravitated to the 1973 Topps section of the box I had been digging through and grabbed a couple other cards from the set that I knew I needed. There were several copies of each card available at different prices depending on the condition. I focused on the Roberto Clemente and Nolan Ryan cards and made a few strategic choices before handing my selections to the dealer, asking if he would take $100 for the 3 cards. He did the math and accepted my price which was $15 less than the sticker price. 

Here is a better look at the Mike Schmidt rookie card. No offense to Ron Cey or John Hilton, but I will always think of this as a Mike Schmidt card.

Even with these additions I still need 201 cards to complete the 1973 Topps set and most of them are from the 4th and 5th series, so they aren't going to be all that easy to come by.

Here are the cards I still need: 1, 17, 100, 117, 137, 139, 159, 164, 168, 169, 172, 187, 188, 193, 211, 213, 216, 225, 230, 236, 255, 256, 280, 281, 282, 284, 309, 330, 332, 335, 338, 350, 352, 356, 380, 392, 397, 398, 399, 401, 403, 405, 406, 407, 410, 411, 413, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 421, 422, 424, 426, 427, 428, 429, 431, 432, 434, 435, 437, 438, 440, 441, 443, 444, 445, 446, 447, 449, 451, 452, 453, 454, 457, 458, 459, 460, 461, 464, 465, 466, 467, 468, 469, 470, 471, 475, 480, 481, 482, 483, 486, 487, 488, 489, 491, 492, 493, 494, 496, 498, 499, 500, 501, 504, 505, 506, 509, 512, 513, 514, 515, 518, 519, 512, 523, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 532, 535, 536, 539, 541, 543, 545, 547, 548, 549, 551, 552, 553, 556, 557, 558, 560, 562, 563, 564, 565, 567, 569, 572, 573, 575, 576, 580, 582, 583, 584, 585, 589, 593, 595, 596, 598, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 607, 608, 609, 610, 611, 613, 614, 616, 624, 628, 629, 641, 643, 646, 648, 651, 653, 654, 656, 660

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Baseball's Sad Lexicon

I think I love baseball history more than the current game. I think that's one of the reasons why vintage cards appeal to me so much. 

Even though the Fleer name hasn't been used on a baseball card set since 2007 (wow, has it really been 13+ years?) Fleer typically isn't associated with vintage cards. But as you probably know Fleer produced a Ted Williams set in 1959 and then Baseball Greats sets in 1960 and 1961 as well as a set of current players in 1963 before being shut down by Topps for nearly 20 years.

My goal is to have a small sample of each baseball card set out there. I've been on the lookout recently for some of these early Fleer cards for a while, so when I came across a nice little stack of 1960 Fleer at my local card shop I couldn't help but grab some. The fact that other than being off centered, they are in nice shape, was just an added bonus.

The 1960 Fleer Baseball Greats set, is full of, well...Baseball Greats, like Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance. Some say that the reason these three are enshrined in Cooperstown is because of a poem written by Franklin Pierce Adams and published in the New York Evening Mail newspaper on July 12, 1910. The poem was originally titled "That Double Play Again", but has since become known as "Baseball's Sad Lexicon". It goes something like this.

These are the saddest of possible words.
"Tinker to Evers to Chance"
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker to Evers to Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double -
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."

Notice that the back of the Joe Tinker card incorrectly identifies the author of the famous poem as Grantland Rice.

It's a shame that Evers is featured in what appears to be either a Philadelphia or Boston uniform instead of the Cubs.

Frank was not only the first baseman for all those great Cubs teams, but he also managed the Cubs for 6 seasons winning two World Series championships. Do you think we will every see another player/manager in baseball? I doubt it, but I think it would be pretty cool.

In addition to Tinker, Evers, and Chance I added a few other 1960 Fleer Baseball Greats to my collection. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Greg Maddux: Hot "Gold" Gloves

Yesterday I shared the 1994 Flair Hot Glove insert card of Kirby Puckett that I picked up on Saturday. It wasn't the only Hot Glove card I grabbed. 

I was also able to snag this Greg Maddux card. I actually paid a dollar more for this card than I did for the Puckett. I guess that makes sense. Maddux won 18 Gold Glove awards. If it wasn't for Mike Hampton, Maddux would have had 19 and then would have all consecutive.

18 Gold Gloves is the most for any pitcher. In fact, Maddux holds the record for most Gold Gloves by any position. I know the Gold Glove award isn't the best judge of fielding prowess, but that is still pretty impressive.

Are there any current players that you think have a shot at breaking Maddux record?

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The First Die-Cut Kirby Puckett?

I saw on Twitter that today is Kirby Puckett's birthday. Yesterday I happened to pick up a Puckett card from AZ Sports Cards. I can't remember the last time I bought a Puckett card. I even debated for a while buying this particular card.

I remember these Hot Glove inserts being super popular when they debuted in 1994. They were one of the first die-cut cards out there and were a tough, one per box pull from a premium (expensive) product. 

The only thing I wish they had done differently was use photos of the players in the field rather than at bat since the insert set is called Hot "Gloves".

My question for all of you out there is whether or not there were any earlier die-cut cards out there or were these the first?

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Explorer or MVP

I live in Arizona and am familiar with John Wesley Powell, the geologist and explorer who in 1869, took the first government sponsored trip through the Grand Canyon. Some of you are probably more familiar with another John Wesley Powell, better known as Boog Powell.

I picked up this 1962 Topps John Powell rookie card for 25 cents recently at The Batter's Box card shop. Isn't it great? It's off centered, has several nice creases and the corners are rounded. But check out the young John at Yankee Stadium with that glorious yellow 1962 Rookie star.

This is the only Topps card John would get that feature his given first name on the front. From 1963 - 1977 his cardboard would refer to him as Boog.

Topps may have missed on his nickname on this 1962 card, but they were dead on with what they wrote on the back. John did end up being the power hitter the Orioles were looking for. Boog play for Baltimore through the 1974 season and would make the all-star team 4 times and was the 1970 American League Most Valuable Player, all while helping the O's to World Series titles in 1966 and 1970.

What other baseball players share a famous name? I can think of a few, but I'm curious who I'm missing.