Thursday, June 30, 2022

Random Card Show Purchases

Getting really great participation for my ongoing contest. It runs through Sparky Lyle's birthday; 7/22, so plenty more time to get entries in. I've added a few more cards to the prize package, so be sure to click here to see the new cards and get an entry in.

I went to a card show a few ago and my goal going into the show was to purchase one of the 4 remaining Hank Aaron cards I need for my Topps playing career run. I was able to do that.

I also picked up a couple of random cards at the show. These are players that I don't actively collect and sets that I'm not going after. But I still bought them. I bought them because I liked the card and I felt the price was right. Let me know what you think.

First up is this 2000 Upper Deck Game Jersey card of Troy Glaus. It came in the screw down. I don't still just have these laying around.

This is from back when jersey and other relic cards were fairly new and they were tough to pull from packs. The Troy Glaus card was available in both Series 1 and Series 2. For Series 1 it was available in Hobby products at a rate of 1:288 packs. This card could also be pulled from Series 2 packs of either Hobby or Retail with odds at 1:287 packs. There are 19 different players that have a Game Jersey card in Series 2, so assuming they all have the same amount of cards, that puts the odds of any one player at 1:5,453 packs. 

I have no idea how to determine what Series this particular card came from. Looking at the October 2000 Beckett, it lists both versions of the card with the Series 1 card booking at a high of $60 and the Series 2 card booking at $50.

I paid $2 for this card. Again, I like the card for a couple of reasons. I had an Angles hat from around this time period that had the wing on the A. Not sure where I got it from, but I liked it. Glaus was a good player who was pretty much at his peak when this card was issued, He was an All-Star in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2005), won the Silver Slugger award in 2000 and 2001 and led the AL in homers in 2000. In 2002 he would lead the Angels to a World Series victory and was name World Series MVP.

The other random card I grabbed at the card show was from the same dealer. It is a 2003 UD Play Ball Game Used Memorabilia Signature card of Lance Berkman. It's numbered 01/50. You can see the yellowed edges of the top loader. It's probably been in there a while. This card was in a half price bin, so instead of $20, I paid $10 for it. 

Berkman is not a player I actively collect, but he had a nice career. The bulk of his career was spent with the Astros and was a part of the Killer B's along with Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. Berkman, a 6 time all-star would appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first and only time in 2019 as he would garner just 1.2% of the vote and fall off the ballot. Do I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame? No, but it does seem like he should have gotten more consideration. Take a look at his career accolades.
The switch hitting Berkman hit 366 home runs had 1,234 RBI and batted .293 over his career that spanned from 1999 - 2013. He finished in the top 7 in NL MVP voting 6 times. That tells you how good of a player he was during his prime. He had injuries that hurt him as he got older and cut his career 95 hits short of 200 and 34 home runs shy of 400, which would have certainly helped his HOF cause. 

But let's take a look at how he ranked among hitters during the time in which he played; specifically the decade of the 2000's.

Those are pretty impressive numbers and rankings for that decade. Again, I don't think he is a Hall of Famer, but he had a great career.

So why did I buy the card. It's a relatively early game-used card with an autograph (a great looking autograph, if you ask me) and is numbered to just 50. It's numbered 01/50 at that. I realize that has no real significance, but I still think it's cool that it is number 01/50.

Alright, so do you ever buy random cards, just because? Did any of you ever pull cards like this back in 2000 - 2003 time period? Should Lance Berkman be in the Hall of Fame?

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

I see what you did there Topps.

Because of the contest I am currently running, Sparky Lyle is on my mind, so when I saw this 1974 Topps Sparky Lyle card in a dime box last Saturday, I grabbed it.

It's a great card of the reliever. Check out the classic NY logo on both the cap and jacket. This card was prior to the Yankees implementing their appearance policy. While Lyle doesn't have a beard, his sideburns are monstrous and it looks like the back of his hair definitely would touch his collar. You can also see what appears to be a huge wad of tobacco logged in Sparky's cheek.

Speaking of cheeks. Let's take a look at the back of the card. We get Sparky's full name on the back of the card next to his facsimile signature. We also see the same fact about his 31 strikeouts in a 17 inning game, which was part of the cartoon on the back of his 1969 Topps rookie card. Two additional facts about his 1972 season including his 35 saves which set an American League record at the time. This is significant because Saves were not a stat that actually appeared on the stats portion of the card at the time.

We also have a cartoon on the back of the card. This one says "Sparky enjoys birthday cakes." and features a player blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Well if you have read Sparky's book, The Bronx Zoo, you will know that Sparky enjoyed sitting naked on top of his teammates birthday cakes. The book didn't come out until 1979, but obviously when a player leaves the imprint of his butt cheeks on multiple birthday cakes, that story is going to make its way out of the clubhouse. 

Topps obviously wasn't going to include the caption "Sparky enjoys sitting naked on birthday cakes.", but I do think it was pretty clever of them to include this factoid about Sparky on the back of a baseball card.

Can you think of any other comics on the back of a baseball card that might be more than meets the eye, similar to this 1974 Topps Sparky Lyle card?

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

World Series Cards from a Live Auction

I added a more cards to the prize for my contest, so be sure to click here and get leave a comment (one per day) to enter to win some a Sparky Lyle rookie card and some other great cards as well. I will continue to add prizes throughout the contest. Here is what I added today.

Alright, let's get to today's post. 

This past Saturday I went to my favorite LCS; The Batter's Box, for their weekly Saturday live auction. I only ended up winning one item. I ended up getting it for $6.50, but I used 3 Comp Cards so I only paid $0.50. 

Pretty sure I've explained the Comp Card before, but it's been a while, so let me explain.

Here is The Batter's Box business card. They talk about their auctions and they even mention the Comp Card and how you can earn store credit.

So when you go into the store they give you a business card and that is your Comp Card. On the back they write your name and auction bidder number and then you The Batter's Box stamps on the back. Once you get 10 stamps, the card is full and it is worth store credit. $1 off anything in the store or $2 off anything in the auction.

You get a stamp for coming in; regardless of whether or not you buy anything. Actually right now they are doing 3 stamps for coming in. 1 extra because it is their 40th anniversary and another extra because gas prices are so high. You also get a stamp for every 5 write in bids you place on the auction. They have boards up in the shop for each of the auctions and you can write in bids throughout the week and then the live auction will start at whatever the highest write in bid is. (I should take a picture the next time I'm there.) You also get a stamp for every 10 dollars spent. So it's pretty easy to accumulate stamps. I tend to use my Comp Cards on the auction. 

Anyways, back to the item I won. This sheet has 8 cards. The sticker says World Series cards, and while 6 of the 8 are World Series cards, there are two that are playoff cards (1970 Topps and 1974 Topps).

I started a binder a while back with the World Series cards that Topps has put out over the years. I love the history of the game and the World Series is a big part of that, so it's fun to look back at these cards and relive the history of the World Series. This really started with the 1970 World Series cards. Years ago, probably over 20 years ago, I picked up a 1969 Mets World Series program. That is the year the Amazin' Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles and I think the program is really cool. It's up on a shelf right now and I don't have easy access to it, so I won't show it, but I wanted the 1970 Topps World Series card subset that feature that 1969 World Series, so I tracked them all down several years ago. I have a couple other complete subsets (1964 and 1973) but most of the other years I might have one or two or none at all, so I was happy to grab this page mostly for the 1960 Topps card featured in the upper left corner. I did need one of the 1972 cards and I needed both of the 1974 cards and the 1975 World Series card. So I ended up needing 5 out of the 6 World Series cards on the page.

The dups will probably end up as part of the prize package for my ongoing contest, so be on the lookout for those. Do you collect the World Series subset cards or another subset that Topps has put out over the years?

Monday, June 27, 2022

4 Cent Finds: 1990 Score Ryne Sandberg Highlights Error Card

I added a few more cards to my Sparkly Lyle RC contest, so be sure to get your daily entry by commenting here.

My favorite LCS, The Batter's Box has a great dime box. It's a 3200 count box with 4 rows. One filled with baseball, one with basketball, one with football and one with hockey. The baseball row is always full. The others vary from time to time.

They also have a 5 cents or 25/$1 box. Again, it was a 3200 count box, but this one isn't separated out by sport. Mostly baseball though. I went on Friday and this box was no longer there. It was replaced with a shoebox, so just two rows. Same price; 5 cents or 25/$1, but it now stated it was all stars. There was always some good stuff, but a lot of commons as well.

I ended up grabbing 38 cards from the box. If you get 25 or more, they are 4 cents each. You don't actually have to get increments of 25 which is nice. 

I won't show all 38 cards. Most of them aren't all that exciting, but I do want to share one of the cards I got for 4 cents.

It's the 1990 Score Ryne Sandberg Highlights error card. 

To be honest, I knew that this was potentially an error card, but when I was flipping through the cards in the 25/$1 box I didn't look closely, so I wasn't sure if this was the error or corrected version. After getting home I realized that it is the "3B" error variation.

This card was hot back in the early 90's. Looking back at some old issues of Beckett, this card was priced as high as $10 for a period of time, so I was happy to find it in for a mere 4 cents.

Do you collect error cards?

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The kindness of a fellow collector lands me my first Red Man card!

Fist, I've added a card to the prize for my Sparky Lyle contest, so click here to leave another comment and get another entry. I've mentioned before that one of the card shops I frequent; The Batter's Box, holds weekly in-person auctions. They used to hold two on Saturday and one on Wednesday, but because of Covid they scaled back to just on on Saturday along with the one on Wednesday nights. Two Saturdays ago I went to the auction and bid on a few things, but didn't win anything. 

One of the items I bid on was a four card page of oversized cards. The one card I really wanted was a 1953 Red Man tobacco card of Hoyt Wilhelm. As I mentioned I didn't win the item, but it was one of the last items up for auction, so after the auction ended, the winner of the item asked me what I wanted and I told her the I wanted the Wilhelm. She said, you can have it. She wanted one of the other cards; a 1970 Topps Super Willie Stargell. I asked her for a price and she said, "You can just have it." That was super nice of her!

I've long been aware of the Red Man cards, but this is my first time owning one. I know it doesn't have the tab on the bottom. I'm okay with that. 

Obviously I knew that Wilhelm had a great career. He's in the Hall of Fame, but I didn't realize that he had such a great rookie year, as discussed on the card. I also didn't realize that Hoyt turned 30 years old during his rookie season. How crazy is that! Also didn't realize until doing a little research for this post that he fought in Europe during World War II; including in the Battle of the Bulge and was wounded; earning him a Purple Heart.

Here's the card back. I hope the kid that had this card originally got their baseball cap!

Do you have any Red Man cards in your collection?

Friday, June 24, 2022

1969 Heritage, I mean Topps, Sparky Lyle Rookie Card CONTEST

I bought this card about a month ago from a dime box at The Batter's Box card shop. Off centered, wax residue all across the center of the card and the number 7 written neatly in the upper left-hand corner.

But it is the rookie card of 3 time All-Star and 1977 AL Cy Young Award winner; Sparky Lyle. 

Lyle had a great career as a closer over 16 years, but his best seasons were spent in Yankee pinstripes (1972-78) on the biggest stage as he helped the Yanks win two World Series in 1977 and 1978. It was those two seasons with New York that would be the focus of the book The Bronx Zoo, which Lyle co-authored with Peter Golenbock. I don't think I've actually read this book. I have read his other book, The Year I Owned the Yankees. I remember reading this one as a kid and enjoying it, but that it was different from most of the other books about baseball I was reading at the time because it was fictional, but I wondered how much of it was actually true.

The back of the card lists his name as Sparky Lyle, so early on, his nickname had stuck. His actual name is Albert Walker Lyle. Reynoldsville High School, where Lyle grew up had football and basketball teams but not a baseball team, so while he played varsity football and basketball for his high school, Sparky played American Legion baseball during his high school years. It was on the DuBois American Legion team that Lyle recorded the 31 strikeouts during a 17 inning game which is mentioned as part of the comic on the back of the card. It should be noted that Lyle pitched "just" 14 of the 17 innings when he recorded those 31 strikeouts.

On the back of the card we see minor league statistics as well as his first two years in the big leagues. Weird that he got into 27 games in 1967 for the Red Sox, but didn't have a baseball card until 1969. 

About a week ago I was at a different card shop and saw this copy of the same card in one of the showcases with a $2 price tag. I asked one the employees (I had never seen him before) for help getting the card out of the showcase. I was in front of the showcase and he was behind it, so I pointed and told him, "The Sparky Lyle there in the front on the middle shelf." He responded, "Oh, the Heritage card." I couldn't help it and I laughed and said, "It's a 1969 Topps card." He responded, "Well, it looks like Heritage." This was not a kid. This was a grown man, probably in his mid 30's. Now, I get that the 2018 Heritage had the 1969 Topps design, but I was still just a little surprised. 

This card is far from perfect, but is much better than my 10 cent copy and I'm going to keep this one in my collection.

I will be giving away this card. If you are interested. Sparky's birthday is coming next month; July 22. So the contest will run through his birthday. Comment on this post up to one time per day for an entry up until 7/22/22. Each entry will get you a spot into a drawing for the card. If you do a blog post featuring Sparky include a link in one of the comments and you will get an additional 5 entries. There is no limit to the number of blog posts you can do.

The main prize will be this 1969 Topps Sparky Lyle rookie card that has a bunch of condition issues, but since this contest will be running almost a month, I will periodically add cards to the prize, so that is another good reason to check in daily and leave a comment.

Added as a prize on 6/24/22. 1972 Topps Dock Ellis.

Let's add a few more cards to the prize package. A trio of 1974 Topps Traded cards including Hall of Famer Ron Santo. These are dups for me, so they will be added to the prize.

Can't guarantee that I will add to the prizes every day, but for now, let's keep adding.

Here is a near complete 1979 Topps All-Time Record Holders subset. It is just missing #417 which is for Strikeouts and features Nolan Ryan and Walter Johnson.

Loving all of the interest in this contest. Thank you to everyone that is participating. Let's add to the prize! Here are a couple of Allen & Ginter Babe Ruth cards.

Let's add some Post cereal cards. I am going after all of the modern Post cereal card sets, so if I am still working on a set and I come across some in a dime box I will usually just grab them, so I end up with dups. So let's add these to the prize.

Let's add some more cards to the prize package. These are some duplicates I picked up recently at a card show. Just some cool inserts from the 90's.

Here are some 1998 Donruss Rated Rookies cards, minus the familiar Rated Rookie logo.

It's been a while since I added cards to the prize since I have been on vacation. Turns out I already had this 1984 Donruss Pete Rose I bought at Burbank Sportscards while I was on vacation, so it will be added to the prize.

More dups from my player collection are getting added to the prize.

Let's add another vintage card to the prize. I bought a 1959 Topps Herb Score card at a card show recently and it turns out I already had one.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Card Show Pickup: 9 Pocket Pages of Vintage

Went to a card show this past weekend with my buddy Micah. Spent most of our time with one dealer that focuses on mainly vintage, but made a trip around the show and we picked up a couple of things from a few other dealers.

This post will focus on a purchase from the vintage dealer we spent most of our time with. He had posted on Facebook before the show that he was going to have some 9 pocket pages of vintage cards at the show for $4 each. He always has interesting stuff, so I made a point to get to the show as close to opening as possible and it's the main reason we headed to his table first.

He had a cardboard box with some 9 pocket pages on his table. The sign on the box said $4 each or 5 for $15. We started digging through the box and I found a few pages that caught my eye. 

I have some of these 1961 Fleer cards already, but for the price I couldn't say no.

I grabbed this one because of the Vern Law card, but it turned out I already have it. That's okay though. These will make a nice addition to my 1959 Topps collection.

This page has a few more 1959 cards, but there are a few other years represented here; including three 1957 Topps cards. I grabbed this page because of the 1957 Topps Whitey Herzog rookie card. It's in rough shape, but he's a Hall of Fame manager, and I didn't already have his rookie card, so for $3 for the page and only about $0.33 per card, I was excited to add this card to my collection!

So I was able to grab these five 9 pocket pages of vintage baseball cards for a total of $15.

But these weren't the only pages I bought from this dealer. 

I ended up buying another 28 pages of 1980-81 Topps basketball cards. More on these on my next post!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Every player and every card has a story: 1956 Topps Bill Sarni

A few weeks back I came across this 1956 Topps card of Bill Sarni. @andyt813 posted his 1956 Topps Cardinals set and @TheVineCard asked if this card featured Jackie Robinson as the opposing player in the play at the plate.

@TheVineCard followed up with another tweet that included this clip from Baseball Reference which indicated a potential play at the plate on August 29, 1955 in a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Ebbets Field in which Jackie Robinson stole home. The Dodgers would win the game 10-4 and go on to compile a 98-55-1 record winning the National League title and defeating the New York Yankees in the World Series 4 games to 3 that year.

Is the picture on this 1956 Topps card from that game on August 29, 1955 where Jackie stole home? It could be. Not sure that we will ever be certain, but the evidence was good enough for me that I promptly went to eBay and snagged this card under $5 bucks shipped. The idea of owning a 1956 Topps card featuring Jackie Robinson for that price was just too tempting. *Night Owl confirmed that this is not, in fact, a picture of Jackie Robinson, but it is Junior Gilliam. Still a great card though!

The card is that of William F. Sarni, who went by Bill as indicated on the front of the card. The F stands for Florine. Bill was born on September 19, 1927 in Manhattan Beach, California which is an affluent beach city in Los Angeles County. Wikipedia lists the following as being from or having lived in Manhattan Beach: Colin Cowheard, Matthew Fox, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Jeanie Buss, Mike D'Antoni, Blake Griffen, Steve Nash, Luke Walton, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Leinhart, Nomar Garciapara, and Don Mattingly among others.

Look at the fantastic cartoons on the back. I can't remember where I heard this recently, but it was mentioned that Topps employed multiple comic book artists back in 1950's, 60's and 70's, which is why the cartoons from those early years are so great and have a real comic book feel to them.

The first cartoon highlights the fact that Bill started playing professionally at the age of 15. Being from the Los Angeles area, Bill played for the Los Angeles Angels in the Pacific Coast League in 1943 several months before turning 16. In 33 games for the Angels Sarni went 19-for-83 for a .229 average with a home run and 9 RBI. Not great numbers, but not terrible, especially when you remember that he was only 15 years old! I have to think that him getting this opportunity may have had something to do with depleted rosters due to World War II, but it's still impressive.

The next section of the cartoon mentions Bill's .300 batting average and fielding prowess in his rookie year. Bill would make his Major League debut on May 11, 1951, but didn't manage to stay in the big leagues until 1954. His .300 batting average in 1954 would come over 123. He hit 9 home runs and had 70 runs batted in at the plate, but also proved his worth behind the plate as well. His .996 fielding average led all N.L. catchers that year.  Wikipedia notes that on July 18, 1954 both Sarni and Philadelphia Phillies catcher Stan Lopata both played a game behind the plate without chest protectors because of the extreme heat in St. Louis. Some additional research reveals that it reached 115 degrees that day, the all-time record for St. Louis, that still stands today. It was so hot that it caused streets in St. Louis to literally burst. 20 people died that day in St. Louis due to the heat. 104 people lost there lives during the heat wave in St. Louis that week.

I live in the Phoenix area and it gets hot here. 115 is a common occurrence, but it's not 1954 and we are equipped to deal with it. St. Louis in 1954 was not. A Facebook memory from last year came up just a couple days ago that reminded me of my youngest playing in a baseball game when it was 118 degrees outside. It was hot. Can't imagine catchers not using a chest protector though!

Alright, hope you enjoyed this long post about this awesome 1956 Topps Jackie Rob...I mean, Bill Sarni card. I enjoy these types of posts. Every player and every card has a story.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

1962 NL Home Run Leaders and all of Hank Aaron's League Leader Cards

Similar to my post yesterday with all of the base cards from Hank Aaron's career, today I am featuring all of his League Leader cards.

Shortly after I picked up the 1957 Topps to complete the base run, I was able to get this 1963 Topps 1962 NL Home Run Leaders card off eBay for under $20 delivered. This was the last League Leader card featuring Hank Aaron that I needed.

This card features five Hall of Famers on it. I could be wrong, but I haven't been able to come across any other card that features more Hall of Famers on it than this one.

Hank was second in home runs in the National League in 1962 behind Willie Mays. The back also lists Grand Slams from the 1962 season, which I think is pretty interesting. Hank Aaron tops that list along with Frank Robinson with 3.

Here are all of the League Leader cards that Hank Aaron appeared on during his playing career. There are 15 in total between 1961 and 1972. Twice (1964 and 1967) Aaron appeared on all three (Batting Average, R.B.I, and Home Runs) and three times (1962, 1968 and 1972) he would grace two of the three.

In addition to seeing Hank Aaron on these cards, there are a plethora of other stars that can be found; including, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, Stan Musial, Roberto Clemente, and Willie Mays among others.

These League Leader cards were a fun and affordable way to get additional Hank Aaron playing era cards in my collection and get enjoy some of the other all-time greats of the game.

Monday, June 6, 2022

1957 Topps Hank Aaron and the complete Topps Base Hank Aaron Run

In my last post about my Hank Aaron collection, I mentioned that I had recently won an eBay auction for two of the remaining cards I needed to complete my Topps playing days Hank Aaron card run.

One of those cards was his 1957 Topps card. Far from perfect, especially when it comes to centering, I am still extremely happy to add this card to my collection. I have seen a lot of these cards that are off centered left to right, with the extra being on the right side, which leads me to believe this card was probably on the edge of a sheet.

It has a nice crease across the bottom right corner and speaking of corners, they are a bit worn as well. Looking at the back of the card, it almost appears to be hand cut, but I don't think it actually is.

I got this as part of a two card lot on eBay. I only need a few Hank Aaron cards from his playing days and I happened to need both of the cards, so getting them both was awesome.

With this card, I completed the base run of his Topps cards from his playing days (1954 - 1976).

I would like to get magnetics for all of these, especially now that Ultra-Pro makes magnetics for the 1952-1956 cards, but for now here is my Topps Hank Aaron base card run. 

I still remember buying the 1976 Topps base and Record Breaker card at an old card shop that isn't around anymore, with birthday money. They were the first "vintage" cards I ever bought.

I still remember the day I found the rookie card at my LCS. I don't remember what it was priced at, but I asked what the best he could do was and I think it was $225, which was the most I had ever paid for a single card at the time, but I happily agreed and went to a bank to get some cash before they closed. 

I will remember all the DoorDash I did to put aside some money so that I could get the 1955 just a couple of months ago at a big card show that I went to with a friend of mine. First time going to a card show with a friend in decades. I paid more for the 1955 than I did for the 1954.

This was a fun journey. It took me about 30 years from start to finish. I have done this with a few players now, Reggie Jackson was the first and then Nolan Ryan I finished up last year, but this was the one that took me the longest and was also the most fun!