Archive for Dick Groat

TTM Success: An MVP, a ROY and a No-Hit pitcher

Posted in TTM Success with tags , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Late last week I received three more TTM successes: author of a 1972 no-hitter and near perfect game, Milt Pappas; 2009 American League Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey; and 1960 National League Most Valuable Player Dick Groat.

The Pappas card is signed on his 1958 Topps rookie card, which makes for a cool addition to my collection. I do own two of these rookies, so this seemed like a reasonable card to have signed. Very happy to see the return, but the signature is pretty odd when compared to others I have seen. As for the use of ballpoint pen, I actually don’t mind it at all on vintage cards. It gives it an old, authentic feel … even if this one appears to merely be scribbled.

The Bailey signature is the latest in my not-yet-announced Rookie of the Year autograph project. Earlier this month I received Chris Coughlan, the National League ROY, so my 2009 set is complete. Of note, this card, which was returned within eight days, was signed during the week that was he off during Spring Training resting his elbow. Kind of a neat story.

And perhaps the coolest card returned this week is this 1955 Topps Dick Groat. I bought this single at my local card shop from the bargain bin for a buck, and then realized when I got home that I already had this card from a lot I bought on eBay. Days later learned that Groat was a great TTM signer, so I sent it his way with a request to add the MVP inscription. He obliged. Awesome success.

I still have another 40 or so requests out to current and former players. You can see the entire list of requests and success — with pictures — in this original post. I’ll be using that thread for all of my 2010 TTM requests, even after Spring Training ends.

Sad reality for the vintage Topps Million Giveaway

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

So the other day I made a stop at my local card shop to dig through the bargain vintage boxes. It had been a few months since I dug through these so I figured it was worth a shot since I was craving some old cardboard. As I thumbed through the decades-old cards encased in Card Saver I holders, I came upon a stack of 1955 and 1956 Topps cards and immediately thought of one of my best Topps Million redemption cards — 1956 Bob Friend.

I’ve redeemed about 15  of the Topps Million Giveaway redemptions and the first two cards I got were from the 1950s. I was proud to have pulled them. And then of course came this dose of reality at my local card shop. In the stack of 1956s was a copy of the same Bob Friend card I had pulled in my redemption. The price? $2. Yes, two freakin’ dollars!

I knew the Friend would not fetch me much if I wanted to sell it, but holding the same card in hand and knowing that it would cost me less than a pack of top loaders or 2010 Topps baseball (packs are up to $3 now at my LCS) was even further proof of how crazy things have gotten with this giveaway. If anyone pulls anything made before 1980, it seems like collectors rejoice. And if the card is from the 1950s, then the collector has struck virtual gold. Of course reality will show us that unless you’ve got a star card or a high number short print, the overwhelming majority of cards from even the 1950s can be had for just a few dollars.

I half contemplated buying the Friend but figured that would cheapen the experience of actually receiving the card from Topps sometime in the next two months. Instead I elected to buy two 1955 Topps cards for a buck each — Harvey Haddix and Dick Groat.

Neither of these cards are mint or worth a ton. But I figured that if I had pulled these through the Topps Million Giveaway I would be elated.

Haddix is the guy who lost a perfect game in the 13th inning of a 1959 game against the Braves. He also was a 20-game winner in 1953, a season in which he also threw 19 complete games.

Groat was the 1960 National League Most Valuable Player and is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Yes, basketball. Groat arguably had a more accomplished basketball career than baseball. He was a stud at Duke University and was elected a United Press International Player of the Year in 1952. He was the third pick overall that same year, taken by the Fort Wayne Pistons of the NBA.