For nearly 20 years I’ve been attending a certain baseball card shop in San Jose, Calif. It’s changed names since I was a kid, but the operator has remained the same. The owners own a chain of stores in the Bay Area, all of which I have been to numerous times. With time running short Monday, I made a quick trip to the closest one for some tobacco card size binder pages, which I didn’t know existed until late last week. Anyway, What I found near the sheets may end up being my new playground.
In the nearby showcase along with some awesome condition vintage cards were multiple boxes of “Price Friendly” vintage cards. These cards are not mint, and the prices on the Card Savers reflected that. Given my shortage of time (I had my dog sitting in the car otherwise I would have been there all day) I poured quickly through two boxes and left the other five for later this week. Here are four cards I purchased.
We’ll start with the Ruth card shown above. The 1962 Topps set is notorious for three things: The Roger Maris card (No. 1) that reflects the record-setting home runs he hit in 1961, the wood panel borders, and these Babe Ruth Special cards. Before Topps went Topps in recent years and killed Mickey Mantle even after he was already physically dead, Topps went to town on Babe Ruth, highlighting certain aspects of his life. On this card, which someone trimmed, it talks about his first years playing organized baseball at St. Mary’s Industrial School. I’m not a fan of these cards per se, but I am a HUGE fan of the price tag: $1. Plus, it’s Babe friggin’ Ruth.
While we’re on the topic of $1 cards, I might as well show two cards that I initially intended to trade. The first is this ho-hum 1951 Bowman card of Joe Hatten, a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Hatten’s career is pretty indistinguishable, although he did make two Opening Day starts for the Dodgers in 1947 and 1949.The front of this card is not bad, albeit, no where near mint. The Back is pretty shady though thanks to some glue marks. Regardless, for a buck it was a nice purchase and should make blogging buddy Night Owl pretty happy given that it is a vintage Dodger. Night Owl, this card is heading your way this week … I hope.
One of the joys of team trading is that you often stop and look at cards that you likely wouldn’t even think twice about. Just as I did with the Hatten above, I purchased this 1961 Topps Jim Gentile (HI Series) fully expecting to trade it. But unlike the Hatten, I may end up keeping the Gentile for a few reasons. First off, this card lists Gentile as living in San Lorenzo, Calif., a small town I covered for a while when I started as a reporter for my current employer. Secondly, Gentile is noted on this card as having hit two “grand slammers” in one game. Yes, Grand Slammers. And lastly, wanna take a wild guess as to who finished third in the AL MVP voting the the year Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris slugged it out for the home run record? Yep, none other than Jim Gentile. Sadly, this is NOT his rookie, it’s his second-year card. It may have some paper loss and still have some tape stuck to the front, but this card is still a cool purchase for $1.
Let’s end this post on a cool note as I added another Boston Red Sox team card to my collection, this one a 1962 Topps. Unfortunately THIS card was the most expensive of the ones I bought today — a whopping $3. I have no neat stories to share about this card. The image shown here is so blurry that you cannot distinguish any of the players. And the 1961 Red Sox (the team depicted here) were a piss-poor team having finished 76-86, placing sixth in the AL. The only slightly cool thing about this card is that somewhere on here is Rip Repulski, who might have one of the coolest names in the history of the game. There were other Repulski cards in the boxes I went through, but none of them showed him as a Boston player.