Archive for New York Mets

Icon-O-Clasm: Six Swatches of Separation — Rickey Henderson game-used cards

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , , , , on November 17, 2015 by Cardboard Icons


Thrift Treasures Part XX: “You’ve got 27 outs to win.”

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on December 1, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

The smell was putrid. If you’ve ever been around someone who works outside all day and doesn’t wear deodorant, you probably know the odor for which I am speaking. That was the particular scent emanating from within an antique store I stopped at Monday to see if they had any baseball cards. I’d been there before and had good luck. Back in 2003 I saw for sale a complete 1986 Fleer Update set — the one with a Barry Bonds rookie — but was not willing to fork over the requested $29.99. (Still a morale victory for even finding cards.) And just two years later I found a stack of a dozen 1952 Topps cards that cost only a buck a piece. It should be noted that all 12 (including a pair of Red Sox) of the cards were in horrible shape, but they were authentic 1952s, how could I pass on them? So when I went back on Monday, I figured there was a chance there could be something, and boy was I right.

As I walked past the first showcase, I saw two stacks of vintage cards bound with rubber bands. I could tell they were from the 1960s (none of them were oversized) and they appeared to be decent condition.

As I thumbed through them I uncovered what I thought to be a Tony Oliva rookie and figured my trip had been worth it. But just a few cards later I uncovered a 1964 Topps Casey Stengel card that appeared to be signed. Fearing that the shop owner would notice the card was signed and charge me more, I left it in the stack as I quickly shuffled through the rest.

In all there were about 125 cards, more than half of which were Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox cards, not exactly two teams with a ton of talent in the mid 1960s. There were no Harmon  Killebrew or Nellie Fox cards

Knowing that the Casey Stengel card had to be mine, I figured I had to find a few other cards to mask the greatness of the inked one, and to make the purchase worthwhile for the curmudgeon working the counter. This is the kind of place that is not interested in my $2 transaction if I’ve got to use a credit card.

I gathered 10 cards for purchase and headed to the counter when the man told me that I needed to spend $5 more if I was going to leave with the cards. Frustrated, I headed back to the stacks to look for five more cards, half contemplating just leaving the store without the Stengel. I asked the man if he had any more cards; he said he did.

In a drawer under the register he pulled two small stacks also bound by rubber bands. He said these were $5 each, which made me grumble when the first card I saw was  a 1989 Pro Set Deion Sanders rookie. But I saw a 1962 Topps Stan Musial card and a 1968 Topps AL HR Leaders card (w/ Carl Yastrzemski) and figured that one of these two would be worth the bounty he asked. I chose the Musial because it was more appealing. I ended up with these for $15:

1963 and 1964 Topps high numbers

1968 Topps NL HR Leaders w/ Hank Aaron (badly miscut); back has names circled.

1964 Topps Tony Oliva, which I mistook for his rookie. Oliva's expression says it all.

1969 Topps Frank Tarkenton

1970 Topps Gale Sayers

1962 Topps Stan Musial (In Action)

1964 Topps Casey Stengel, autographed

As I said earlier, when I saw the Stengel, I knew it had to be mine, but I was really unaware of how much his signatures go for. If someone would have offered this card to me for $15, I would have balked. And I would have had egg on my face. Stengel signature’s aren’t rare, but they are not exactly common place. Stengel, known for several quotes including the one in the title of this blog, died in 1975 so it’s not like he’s been sitting at home all these years signing baseball cards. And best I can tell, this signature matches all of the ones that are being offered for sale on eBay with prices of more than $100 each. This card, which I assume is real and will keep in my collection, is a treasure in its own right. I mean this is the guy who led the Yankees to SEVEN WORLD SERIES TITLES from 1949 through 1958. Are you kidding me?

Dear Topps, about your 2010 base set …

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on November 30, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

Dear Topps,

I saw the design for your base set 2010 and I would like to say that I enjoy it a bit. I know it’s a fusion of an old Bazooka set and a Topps set, but it looks a bit refreshing. Traditionalists may not like it because it looks pretty modern, but I dig it. Anyhow, that is not the reason I am writing today. My reason for this post is to let you know that as a collector I would implore you NOT to make Alex Rodriguez, David Wright or Ryan Howard the first card in the set. Hell, don’t even make it of a certain player. Please, pretty please, return to the days of making the World Series championship team the first card in the set. In the 1970s Topps did this for a few years and it looks pretty neat.  And I don’t mean to make it a gimmick either. Don’t short print it. Don’t add a picture of Hans Solo or C-3po. And please leave Mickey Mantle out of the Yankee celebration. Just a straight up Yanks celebration, maybe even a shot of them hoisting the WS Trophy. Bottom line, do the right thing and honor the World Series team with the very first card in each year’s set. I’m sick of seeing Alex Rodriguez grace the first card in the set. He has been the first card in three of the last four sets (2006, 2008 and 2009.)

Yours in cardboard,



A Trio of Traded Outfielders with Tomahawk Ties

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

I’m a mark for baseball trades of any kind. I like watching players take the field in a new uniform and and in new surroundings. But one thing that kills me as a card collector is owning an autograph of a player in their OLD uniform. Enter the trio of Jeff Francoeur, Ryan Church and now Nate McLouth — three guys who have ties to the Red Hot Atlanta Braves.


I pulled the Frenchy auto from 2008 Allen & Ginter, the Church from 2009 Allen & Ginter, and just a few days ago I nabbed this Nate McLouth card from 2009 UD Goodwin Champions. When Frenchy and Church were traded for each other, I intended to post something but was really on a hiatus. But when I got the McLouth last week, there was no way that I could NOT write something about this weird cardboard trio.

We’ve got current Met Francoeur shown as a Brave, and then current Braves outfielders Church and McLouth shown in their former uniforms, the Mets and Pirates.

I’ve discussed before how trades can affect cards in a positive fashion, but without a doubt I can honestly say that the trades hurt the value of the cards shown here. Unless I find a hardcore Braves team collector — or three separate collectors looking for these cards — I will have a tough time trying to move these.

On a positive note, at least I am writing about autographs and not game-used cards. Those would be damn near impossible to unload at any price.

2009 Upper Deck baseball photos gone wrong

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on September 25, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

2009UDJoseReyesWhen 2009 Upper Deck hit the market earlier this year, collectors across the country lauded the company’s great design and spectacular photography. Well, last night I came across two really poor photo choices for two HUGE baseball stars. The first is Jose Reyes. Look at this picture. Unless I am mistaken — or Jose Reyes is a magician — this speedster with a cannon for arm is about to drop this infield pop-up. Is that really the image you want plastered on your baseball card?

UPDATE: Using my sleuthing skills, I was able to discern that the Reyes image MUST have been shot on May 11, 2008, Mother’s Day — the day Major League Baseball allowed players to use pink bats and wear the same color wristbands in an effort to bring awareness to breast cancer. The box score from that game indicates that no errors were committed. We all knew Reyes was a thief, but I guess also must be a magician.


The second image depicts Braves stud and future hall of famer Chipper Jones. Upon first glance, this card seems all good — Chipper swinging one-handed, probably jerking a pitch into right field for a base hit. But if that is the case, then what the hell is going on in the bottom right corner. See that cloud of dirt? Unless someone can persuade me otherwise, I’m going to insist that the cloud of dirt is being created by a ball in the dirt at which Chipper is swinging and missing. I looked at Chipper’s face for evidence of what might be happening here, but Chipper must be a hell of a poker player because I really can’t tell.