Archive for Jackie Robinson

A dozen new HOF relics added to collection; Jackie Robinson for trade/sale

Posted in Hall of Famers, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on August 2, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Yesterday I stated a new page on this site called the “Hall of Fame Hits.” The page is designed to house the relics and autos of baseball hall of famers in my collection.  One reason is to show them off; another reason is so that I don’t obtain too many duplicates.  RobinsonJackieNTUNISome sets I really like and will acquire the relics from that set regardless of whether of not I already have a game-used card of that player. The same goes for cool-looking swatches. I added another dozen to the site this morning — highlighted by 2001 UD HOFers Frank Robinson auto relics and a sweet National Treasures Carl Yastrzemski swatch featuring stitch holes from what looks like his jersey number — and I should be all caught up until my newest shipment from CheckOutMyCards arrives. As the title of the page suggests, autographs will also be shown here, but they are not ready to be uploaded quite yet.

On a side note, while uploading I realized I have a second Jackie Robinson relic card that I’d be willing to move for something nice for my collection.  The one for trade hails from 2015 National Treasures and is serial numbered 25/99.  The card is somewhat unique because it features a swatch of flannel whereas most of the other Robinson’s feature a slick blue fabric presumably from a jacket worn by Robinson.

Have something to offer? You can reach me via e-mail at or on Twitter @cardboardicons

BGS/BVG order returns: ’56 Clemente slabbed; RC’s crossed over

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

So, a few months ago my co-worker advised me that he had established a relationship with one of his local thrift stores and they would contact him if they obtained any sports cards.  This shop isn’t a chain store, just some little shop that buys storage lockers and resells items. I’ve never been there, but that’s how it was described to me.  And given the location in the middle of nowhere, I had no reason to doubt my friend’s description.

A short while after that relationship was established, my friend sends me pictures from the shop of various vintage cards.  Among the cards was a 1956 Topps Roberto Clemente. Long story short, my co-worker end up buying a bunch of cards and collectibles for several hundred dollars from this store.  In these transactions he acquired for me the aforementioned 1956 Topps Clemente and an off-center 1956 Topps Hank Aaron. I initially was going to send both cards to BGS in my order, but ultimately decided on just the Clemente as it was centered almost perfectly.

Well, the Clemente is  gorgeous. It graded a 6.5.  I could flip it for a decent profit, but like everything else in this batch of Beckett Graded cards, they are all for my personal collection.


The Clemente was the newest addition to my collection before the BGS order was sent, but just about the same time I completed that transaction, I acquired a rookie card of Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.  This 1934 Goudey rookie card had been elusive. And then it happened. A HENRY Greenberg rookie card was posted on eBay and it was slabbed by SGC.  The card looked amazing, and the simple fact that it was listed as Henry likely kept bidding lower that it should have went.  Centered the card was, but mint it is not.  I could not see that it had a crease in the picture on eBay, but when it arrived I could see it. Disappointed?  Not really.  The card was graded a 2.5 by SGC and that would explain why.  Whenever I purchase rookies that are graded by SGC, GAI or even PSA, I almost always end up cracking them and sending them to Beckett Grading because I like the continuity in my display case and I feel the cases are superior to the other companies. So I cracked it and sent it to BGS.  It crossed over at exactly a 2.5

IMG_0214Speaking of a crossover, here is a 1959 Topps Bob Gibson rookie card that is absolutely stunning.  It’s centered and doesn’t have a single crease.  So why was it graded an SGC 2 when it came into my hands.  There is clear glue residue on the back. It came back from BGS as a 2.5.  It could be the best-looking card in this grade. Finding these Gibson rookie centered is not an easy task.  I’m more than happy to have this copy, regardless of the grade that it has been assigned.

IMG_0218Technically speaking, there are no official rookie cards prior to 1933.  That is the year that Goudey was released and according to Beckett, that set holds the first “rookie cards.” This means that many early 20th century legends do not have rookie cards.  Ty Cobb, Cy Young and even Honus Wagner technically do not have rookies.  But for my collection, this just means I seek early cards of the players, and in most cases, I chase the coveted T206 tobacco cards. At some point last year I acquired a Willie Keeler graded a PSA 1. I sent it to BVG in this order and it came back a BVG 2. I wasn’t expecting that.  Grading on T206s is always a crapshoot.  I’m just happy that BVG concurred with PSA on the fact that the card was real.

IMG_0215Sometime last year I was taking inventory of my Hall of Famer rookie cards and noticed that I was missing a Robin Roberts 1949 Bowman rookie.  I managed to find a raw centered copy with rounded corners for about $25. Needless to say it was submitted and came back … a 2.5. Not exactly a high-end copy, but it looks great in this case. Still worth every penny that I put into the card and the grading fee.


One of the oddest rookie card parings I own is the 1941 DoublePlay card that features not only Harold “Pee Wee” Reese but also Kirby Higbe.  The pairing is notable because Reese has for a long time been portrayed as a supporter of Jackie Robinson and Higbe was among a group of players who was traded in 1947 after they refused to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers after Robinson was brought onto the team as Major League Baseball’s first African-American player. This copy was a PSA 4 when I purchased it.  I cracked it from its case and saw that the only real blemish was a stain near the left border.  It came back a 5.5.

IMG_0212And speaking of Jackie Robinson.  In 2006, shortly after I returned to the hobby, I acquired a 1949 Bowman Robinson for my collection.  It was raw when I purchased it and I sent it to BGS to have it slabbed as ‘Authentic” instead of actually graded.  At the time I liked that idea.  However, over the years I’ve found that many people are confused by this, and in my own display cases, the blue labels looked odd with the silver, white and occasional gold labels issued by Beckett Grading.  I decided this was the perfect time to crack the Robinson from it’s authentic case and submit it along with the aforementioned Reese/Higbe rookie. It came back a 1.5.

IMG_0213The final card in this batch is on that was acquired at about the same time as the Jackie Robinson.  It is 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie.  In recent years, these cards have increased in value regardless of condition.  My copy is clearly not mint as it is way off center.  But it is not creased, so that it a plus. Like the Robinson, I initially submitted this card to be placed in an “Authentic” case only. And for the same reasons as the Robinson, I decided to crack it and sent it in this batch.  I was surprised to see it come back as a 2 — I just figured the centering would kill the grade — but the fact that there are no creases is always a positive apparently.


Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm, Instagram Portraits, Newspaperman with tags , , , on April 15, 2013 by Cardboard Icons


60 years of Topps’ firsts to start 2011

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

When Topps’ baseball products hit shelves in about two months, the cardboard giant will be celebrating its 60th anniversary making baseball cards.

About two years ago I acquired what is considered the first baseball card produced by Topps for mainstream consumption — 1952 Topps Andy Pafko.

From a historical point, the Pafko is easily one of the most desirable cards of its era. This is one reason why the card costs a pretty penny.  Another factor is that its tough to find in good condition.

Being the first card in the set, the Pafko is real hard to find with sharp corners and edges, and a smooth surface.  For years collectors were stacking their cards in numerical order and then using a rubber band to keep them together.   Because of the lack of advanced card storage options, the card that was on top of the stack usually took the brunt of the damage.  Even in bad condition the Pafko card will set you back at least triple figures.

I digress.  After obtaining the Pafko I embarked on a project to obtain the first card in each of the mainstream base Topps baseball sets.  I am happy to report that just a week ago I received the very last card for the project … at least until the 2011 product hits shelves.

Throughout the life of the project, there was ample opportunity to acquire the best condition cards possible.  But I don’t operate that way.  Some of these cards literally would have costs me hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, in great condition.  Not only did I not have the money for that, but I also felt that there was an authentic feel to the well-loved cards.

Take for instance my 1954 Topps Ted Williams.  The card is graded PSA 1 but has great eye appeal.  The back however has some paper loss due to the fact that the card was glued to a binder page in its former life.

Or this 1962 Topps Roger Maris card that looks like it got run over by two Mack trucks and then was used as sandpaper.  Condition aside, one cannot forget that this is the first card on which Maris’ record-breaking season of 1961 is documented.

*  *  *

In recent years, the first card in the Topps set has been reserved for a star, most notably Alex Rodriguez who was placed in the first position in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.  But many decades ago, the first card in the set was held for record breakers …

… statistical leaders …

… and even world champions.

*  *  *

While compiling the cards, here are a couple of observations I’ve made:

* Hank Aaron was featured on the first card four straight years, from 1973 through 1976.  He was shown on five Number Ones if you include his cameo on the 1964 League Leader card.

* Alex Rodriguez graced the front of five Number Ones from 2003-2009; interesting considering that A-Rod had not been featured on any basic Topps card until 1998.  He’s tied with Aaron for the most appearances.

* The oddest highlight featured? Tony Armas’ record setting 11 put outs in right field in one game.

*Former Commissioner Ford Frick makes more appearances (1) than Topps Poster Boy Mickey Mantle (0)

*Oddest player featured on a Number One? John Lackey, 2007.  He came within one out of a perfect game on July 7, but does that mean he’s worthy of the top spot? Meh …

It is without further adieu that I turn your attention to the “Topps Number Ones Gallery: 1952-2010.”

Which one is your favorite?

Topps isn’t the only one making tobacco cards — Helmar Brewing Co.

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Back in December, I got some wonderful news via Twitter: Ultra Pro makes binder sheets for tobacco size cards! Since hearing this news, which apparently is only news to me, I’d been salivating over the thought of seeing my 2009 Topps 206 and random years of Allen & Ginter minis in binder pages. So off to the store I went  in search of the plastic goodness. Within seconds of entering the store, I was rewarded — they had the sheets. But you know I couldn’t walk out of the shop without buying cards; trips to the shop are never complete unless I actually walk out with some new cardboard. So I hit the bargain bins, chalk full of random packs at discount prices. Among the heap were two packs of 2005 Helmar Brewing cards priced at $1 each.

This shop has had these packs for years, I first saw them in 2006 when I returned to the hobby after a few years off. At the time I was trying to play catch-up with Chrome brands, so tobacco-size cards of guys I hadn’t heard of were not on my list. I passed. Alas here we are some four years later and they were still around, and at discount prices. So I grabbed the packs and tobacco-card sheets and hit the register.

The packs contain three cards, which features a picture front and a scratch off coupon on the back, which I assume was for a percentage off purchases at Helmar’s Web site. The problem: There is no explanation of who is on the front of the card. I guess that’s a true throw back to the original tobacco cards, which were merely advertisement pieces passed off as baseball cards.

Anyway, enough babbling, off to the cards:

Moses “Fleetwood” Walker

I’ll admit this: I had no idea who the hell this guy was. But what this card — and all of the others — forced me to do was use the Internet to find out. I’m glad I did. You see Walker is credited as being the FIRST Black Major League player. Yes, Jackie Robinson was the first Black player in Major League Baseball, but Walker was the first to play in A Major League. Check out his Wikipedia page, it’s pretty damn interesting, particularly the ‘Life After Baseball” section. It says Walker once killed a man (in self defense) by stabbing him in the groin. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn

Lloyd “Barney” Dalager

Beardy would love this card. This features Lloyd Dalager, one of the players for the traveling baseball team of the House of David religious group of the 1930s. From what I can find online, this Dalager guy is still alive in his late 90s and is the leader of the group. Be a pretty bad-ass TTM.

Ray Chapman

Ray Chapman is one of only two major league players to have died due to an injury suffered on the field. Chapman was hit in the head by a fast ball thrown by a Yankees pitcher on Aug. 17, 1920. His Wikipedia page explains that his death is credit for the reason why umpires change the baseball when they get dirty during games.

Tetsuharu Kawakami

The career numbers, shown on the front of this card, may not lend much credence to the moniker “God of Batting,” but in 1951 Tetusaru Kawakami struck out six times. Yeah, six …the whole season. Ryan Howard does that over the course of three days.

Ray Chapman

See above. One addition: If you’re in Cleveland, Ohio, go visit this guy’s grave and pay some respect. Hell, I’ll send you this card to leave on his headstone for me. Just take a picture as proof.

Leon “Pepper” Daniels

Finding information on this guy is not as easy as one would think. There are a few sites that list the teams he played for during his 12-year career. Interesting read on Google Reader though. The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro baseball leagues notes that Daniels had “complexion light enough to pass for white.” Nothing about his stats jump out at me, leaving me to wonder why he was included in this set. Something tells me it is about his complexion — check out the artistry on the card.