Archive for Ted Williams

Breaking a lonely 2017 TSC Baseball Value Pack

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve always been a fan of Topps Stadium Club.  You can count me among the collectors who paid through the nose for singles of our favorite players from the original release in 1991. True story, I once road my bike three miles to drop $5 on a single Roger Clemens card from this set. Yes, that’s how it went when I was 11.

I digress, this year’s Stadium Club has been nearly impossible to find at retail. And I have not had time to hit my Local Card Shop to buy a hobby box.  Like most 2017 products that contain Aaron Judge, TSC has flown off the shelves.

But while shopping at WalMart with my son I managed to find a lonely Value Pack hanging on a peg hook. I had to snatch it up as it could be the one and only TSC pack I break this year.

And so, here are my results.


I did not pull any Aaron Judge cards, BUT I did pull a Andrew Benintendi rookie card, which features a cool photo of him robbing a homerun.


Other rookies in the pack included ones of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tyler Glasnow and Renato Nunez of the Oakland Athletics.


Baseball legend Ted Williams always manages to find himself in this set, which is great because I love me some Teddy Ballgame. That said, the image used on his card this year made me stop immediately. It’s fantastic. Ted seemingly is doing push-ups in the outfield and there is a building in the background, making him seem larger than life. Great photo choice.


My lone insert in the pack is a “Scoreless Streak” Justin Verlander. Ho-hum, in my opinion. The reverse of the card mentions several dominant streaks by Verlander but doesn’t touch at all on anything from 2016. Go figure.


The remainder of the pack features a random mix of players, including Salvador Perez, Joe Panik, Trayce Thompson, Albert Almora, Adam Conley, a random appearance by Derrek Lee and a gold parallel of JJ Hardy.

It’s probably a good thing there was only one pack on the shelf. I have a tendency to mark out for TSC and likely would have bought more.  If I see some in the wild, I’ll probably consider purchasing more, but it’s not exactly something I’m going to go way out of my way for right now.

If anyone has any Clayton Kershaw cards from this set or any others, I’m openly trading for them — just don’t ask for any autos or hits in exchange.

Honus Wagner Leads The Pack Of Latest BVG Order

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , on April 25, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Some of you who know me on a personal level know that I’ve been dealing with some  stuff at home, which inevitavlely has affected my time to blog.  That said, thank you for sticking around and reading this regardless of who you are. I’m hoping to write more as time permits.

 photo 68BD5E58-4FC6-4208-8607-6FD87204A013_zps8xrv8xhg.jpgOn Friday I received my latest Beckett Grading order of seven newly slabbed cards and because of the headliner I had to share.

About 6-8 weeks ago I wrote about acquiring a collecting goal, a tobacco-era Honus Wagner. My acquisition of a 1909-11 Colgan’s Chips Wagner was really a highlight of my collecting career.

I began collecting cards in 1987, right about the same time THE 1909-11 T-206 Honus Wagner started to hit mainstream.  Much has been written about said card. And despite the controversy surrounding the grade PSA issued the card — it’s been learned that the card is in fact altered — it is still a significant part of our hobby’s history. The drama has kept the Wagner name synonymous with cardboard icon status.

I digress. Owning a tobacco-era Wagner has always been a goal of mine. And I achieved it in the form of this Colgan’s Chips bubble gum card.
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The card was previously a SGC “Authentic” and once in the hands of Beckett Grading I learned that my Wagner was also altered, not unlike THE Wagner. As it turns out, someone had traced some of the words on the back of my Wagner — which likely were damaged/lost when the card was removed from some sort of album — thus earning the “Authentic/Alrered” slab.  I’m fine with this as the goal all along has been to own an authentic Wagner. 
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There were six other cards in my BGS order, some of which were crossed over from PSA or SGC, and others that were previously raw. I like to have my cards in BGS/BVG holders for continuity.

1948 Bowman Stan Musial rookie, 2.5:
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1922 Nielson’s Chocolate George Sisler, 1.5
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1922 American Caramels Leon “Goose” Goslin, 1
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1957 Topps Jim Bunning rookie, 5:
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1958 Topps Roger Maris rookie, 3:
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1954 Topps Ted Williams, 1.5:
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Icon-O-Clasm: A trio of 56 Topps HOFers “Names on Back”

Posted in Card Art, Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

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Vindicated: The story of a vintage rookie and a fake signature.

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on January 8, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

So about a year and a half ago, I sent an order to Beckett Grading to have a bunch of rookie cards slabbed solely for authentication.  Among the group was a 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra which bore a wanna-be signature on the front.  It was clear that the hand-written addition to the card was not a true autograph. Hell, it may not have even been an attempt at an autograph.  It could have been some kid just writing Berra’s name on the front of the card.

I digress.  So when I got my order back from BGS, I noticed that the Berra was not encased.  Some grader decided that the card needed to be sent to JSA for authentication purposes. I was confused.  I was pissed. I wrote this piece.

For a while I forgot about the Berra and moved on.  That is until I was confronted with a similar situation earlier this year when I acquired this Bob Feller Rookie and then this Ted Williams Rookie.

Both of these cards bore hand-written names of the players on front.  The Feller was a child-like writing, almost like the Berra.  But the Williams could be mistaken for his autograph.  Knowing what I dealt with on the Berra card, I decided to e-mail Beckett Grading to see if they could just slab the Williams as authentic and add a line about the signature not being real.  I got no answer.  I waited nearly two months and got nothing. Crickets.

So I decided to send in the Williams anyway with a grouping of other cards I wanted crossed over from other grading companies to a BGS/BVG slab.  I was going to write a note asking only for authentication on the card only … I forgot to add it before sealing the package.

Well, lo and behold, BGS graded my Williams as a 2, which is awesome.  The card has crisp edges, corners and a smooth surface, save for the obvious.  But when the BGS order at my house on Saturday, I saw that BGS added a note to the slab’s label: “Not Williams’ Signature.”

Thank you.  That is all I wanted in the first place.  Knowing what they’ve done for the Williams slab, I’ll be re-submitting the Berra (and the Feller) so they can do the same.  I better not get referred to JSA.

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?

The Wonder Years: The Episode with the baseball cards

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a kid, there was one television show that was my universe: The Wonder Years. True, there were many shows I enjoyed. But there was only one that I felt was a must-watch for me. The Wonder Years captivated me from start to finish. There was just something about the time in which the show took place, the music, the relationship between Paul and Kevin, and then the constant chasing of Winnie Cooper that drew me in.

But of all the episodes, the one that always sticks out to me has just one mention of Winnie Cooper, it’s Episode 29, “Odd Man Out.”

In this episode, Paul and Kevin engage pretty early on in a discussion about baseball cards. Paul owns a Willie McCovey card that Kevin is just dying to have. Kevin offers him a Luis Tiant and Juan Marichal in exchange, but Paul won’t budge.  Paul wants Kevin’s Ted Williams, which Kevin believes is an insult.

The fall out from these trade talks alters their relationship — well, for the length of one episode anyway — and causes the two to seek friends in other classmates. It’s just a classic episode filled with lots of pop culture references and some discussions about baseball cards.

If you’re a card collector and have yet to see this episode, or have simply forgotten it, you must find it.  {editors note: I had the episode embedded here via YouTube but the links have since been disabled. 9/18/16}

The Wonder Years has not been released on DVD and won’t be any time soon because of costs associated with paying for the music that was played on the series. Much of the score is composed of classic rock songs played or written by artists who simply charge an arm and a leg for the rights to play it.

A few years ago, I found on eBay a seller who managed to put the entire series on DVDs. Obviously he taped the reruns from television and compiled them, but fact is the entire series could be mine. And it was. I bought the bootlegs for $50. (*note: they no longer appear on eBay because they are illegal copies.) But within a month of owning them, I lent them to a friend and he lost the first of the seven discs — which equates to the first 13 episodes. Epic fail.

But thanks to YouTube, we all can still enjoy the greatness of The Wonder Years.

{editors note 2: a version of seasons 1 and 2 has been released on DVD since this piece was originally published. The show also apparently is now available on Netflix. 9/18/16}

Ted Williams fought cancer using a ball point pen (TTM legend)

Posted in Newspaperman, TTM Success with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

The Spring is upon us. Yes, this time of year, baseball fans are going crazy waiting for live games. And also during this time, baseball card collectors who are familiar with through the mail (TTM) autographs start sending out their requests.

If you intend to send cards to prospects and other players this year and haven’t already started mailing stuff, you’re running behind schedule. The idea is to have the cards there, ready for them when the players arrive. If you time it right, you just might get a big-time TTM request returned.

More times than not, the big name players will not sign through the mail once they become established players. That is why prospects are the target during this time of year. But things were not always that way. In fact, one of the greatest players who ever lived was also one of the best TTM guys. That man is Ted Williams.

Long before the market for autographs transformed into a big industry and turned many major stars away from signing anything and everything that was placed in front of their face, Teddy Ballgame vowed to sign every TTM request that came in the form of a donation to The Jimmy Fund, a charity that raises money to fight cancer in children.

We’ve all heard about Ted Williams the great baseball player. Hell, we’ve all heard about Ted Williams the great fighter pilot who fought in World War II. But not many people are aware of Ted Williams, the great man who raised money for cancer using a ball point pen.

In the 1950s, autograph seeking was a hobby on a much different scale that it has become these days. As mentioned earlier, people sent letters to their favorite celebs and they would actually get something back. I heard a story this week in which a man’s wife sent letters to all cast members of the Brady Bunch and was able to get all of their autographs.

I digress. The deal with Ted Williams was that if you sent a check donating any denomination to the Jimmy Fund, he would endorse (sign) the back of the check. And in those days, after the check was cashed, it was returned to the person whose account it belonged. In other words, if you wanted Ted Williams autograph, you were going to donate something to the organization.

Like many people, I had no idea this is how Williams handled his TTM request. That is until two years ago when I hit the market looking for a Ted Williams autograph. His signatures are not rare. You can find many variations of them, anything from a signed note card for less than $100 to a baseball card either hard-signed, or containing a cut-signature, for much, much more.  But I was in the market for a nice Ted Williams signature at a good price.

Then I found this signed check in a small lot of otherwise not-so-interesting autographs on eBay. I paid less than $40.

Signed checks are not really my thing, although I do find them interesting. But in a case like this, it was hard to pass up. Being a Red Sox fan, I felt that this was an awesome price for a Williams signature, and then the story that goes along with the check was just too cool. I think it adds value (whether real or not) to the piece.

I have no idea who Shirley and George Damato of Connecticut are, but I thank them — particularly Shirley, who apparently sent the check in the first place — for sending away for a Williams autograph. As you can see, this check was sent to Williams and the Jimmy Fund in August of 1954 and returned to the Damatos less than a month later.

Now 56 years later, the piece sits in my collection and has given me the opportunity to tell you about Ted Williams the great TTM signer.