Saturday, February 11, 2017

1960 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 2

So, here is my second autographed 1960 Fleer card of Hal Newhouser:

I picked this up for $16.15 delivered.

Newhouser had a 17 year career from 1939 through 1955, all but two with the Detroit Tigers, that culminated in his election to the Hall of Fame in 1992. He had a 207-150 record with a 3.06 career ERA.  Modern metrics show him as a career 130 ERA+ (with 100 being average) and as having racked up 60.4 WAR.  That has him tied with Joe McGinnity in the all time pitching WAR list.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 1

Let's kick off my new and improved 1960s Fleer Autograph Project.  By way of review for any new arrivals here, several years ago, I started working on getting my 1963 Fleer set autographed.  As of today, I have autographed versions of 60 out of the 66 player cards in the set.  1963 was Fleer's first set to feature contemporary players.  The company had issued two sets, in 1960 and 1961, that featured great players of the past.  My quest here is to acquire as many autographed versions of the cards from those sets as I can.

The difference will be that, for 1960 and 1961, I am only going to chase certified authentic autographs.  Since 1963 featured many players who are alive today, I didn't have such a restriction. Indeed many of my autographed 63s came from public signings and TTM requests.  However, since the earlier two sets were of past greats, many of the subjects are long departed this mortal coil.  Certified autos, while not foolproof, do significantly increase my confidence that the signatures are genuine.

So, here is my first 1961:

1961 Fleer featured a total of 154 players from the past.  By my review, a total of 59 of those featured players died in 1961 or earlier, leaving an upper limit for this quest of 95 cards. I am not sure when the autographed card craze started, but another 17 players died during the remainder of the 60s, 31 in the 70s, 28 in the 80s, 12 in the 90s, and the remaining 7 since 2000.  The last player featured in 1961 Fleer to pass was Ralph Kiner in 2014.  If I had to guess, I would think it would be fairly difficult to get more than 50-60 such cards for this set. But, we will see.

Now, on to Burleigh Grimes, who passed away in 1985.  Grimes played 19 seasons in the majors, with 7 different teams between 1916 and 1934, amassing a 270-212 record. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.  Modern metrics don't really do him justice. According to Baseball Reference, he accumulated 46.9 WAR over that 19 year career, which is only good enough for 119th best on the all time list. That puts him behind fellow 19 year veteran Bartolo Colon (49.4 WAR), who is by no means a HOFer.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

1963 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 60

Well, I guess I achieved one of my 2017 goals and January isn't even over!

A couple dozen autographed 1963 Fleer cards showed up on EBay a couple weeks ago. Most I had but two I didn't.  This Gene Oliver card above which (obviously) I won and a Dick Farrell that I did not.  I was able to score the Oliver for less than $25 delivered.  The Farrell, which I bid way too much for, went for $132.  I suppose that is because he died in 1977 before the autograph craze really took hold.  I would have liked to snag that one, but I am not upset given the crazy price it went for.

This is the 60th autographed 1963 Fleer card in my collection, out of a total of 66 cards in the set.

I need the following cards to complete this quest:

5 - Willie Mays
23 - Vic Power
34 - Vada Pinson
38 - Dick Farrell
56 - Roberto Clemente
60 - Ken Boyer

What I am listening to: King Nothing by Metallica

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ten Records

The godfather of baseball card blogging, Night Owl, threw down a challenge earlier this week: to name 10 albums that were significant to you and tie it to baseball cards.  This is my effort.  I've gone a little further and added videos of songs from the albums (with one exception) and tied the cards to the song.    So, here we go:

1. Styx - Cornerstone

Why this album: This album changed my musical tastes.  Prior to buying Cornerstone, I listened to the worst of 1970s pop music, like The Village People and KC and the Sunshine Band.  The song Babe was what drew me in, but it was the rock power anthems on the record that converted me over to rock music.

Why this card:  Well, I am nothing if unoriginal.  Babe is the song that introduced me to Styx.  And what other baseball player to show?  Sure, there were many ballplayers with the nickname babe.  32, according to Baseball Reference.    But, none are greater than Babe Ruth

2. AC/DC - Back in Black

Why this album:  This album, bought at the KMart in Chili Center, NY really led me into the hard rock world and away from the (sometimes forced) theatrics of Styx.  A lot of Styx music sounds dated now.  Back in Black, at 37 years old, still fits into the modern music landscape.  Plus, I remember driving to Buffalo in a blizzard to see AC/DC as a college freshman.

Why this card: What Do You Do For Money, Honey?  Don Money?  Like I said, I don't pretend to orginality.

3.  Sammy Hagar - Standing Hampton 

Why this album: The first concert I ever attended was Sammy Hagar (with Aldo Nova opening) at the Rochester Auditorium Theater in my junior year in high school.

Why this card:  Well, standing hampton is a NSFW slang.   Look it up and you'll understand.

4. Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood

Why this album: I remember hearing a cut from this album, SRV's debut, on the radio during my senior year in high school and being completely blown away by it. The cassette tape was pretty much on loop for me the summer between high school and college.

Why this card:  Well it is Curt *Flood* and he was born in Houston, Texas.

5. R.E.M. - Reckoning

Why this album:  I first heard this playing on the store sound system as I wandered about The Record Archive in Rochester during college. It blew me away and I bought it immediately. It was my entrĂ©e into alternative rock.  The video is a bit of a stretch. I really spent some time thinking about this and never got anywhere.  I finally googled "R.E.M. " and "baseball" and found out two members of the band formed a group called The Baseball Project and released two baseball themed albums.  So, I went in that direction instead of beating my head on a wall trying to tie Harborcoat to baseball.

Why this card:  Well, the song is called Harvey Haddix.

6. Metallica-S&M

Why this album:  This brought me back to heavy metal after a long time away. I don't have an extensive metal library, but I do appreciate watching people that are really good at what they do.  And Metallica is that.

Why this card:  I defy anyone to come up with a different player.  Enter Sandman played whenever Mariano Rivera came in from the bullpen at Yankee Stadium and Metallica played at his final game.

7. Pine Valley Cosmonauts - The Majesty of Bob Wills

Why this album:  I came across this album in the music section of the late, lamented Borders Bookstore.  They had headphones along the rows of CDs that would allow you to listen to selected albums.  This album was one such selection.  It introduced me to Western Swing music, an amalgam of country and jazz most popular in the 1930s and 1940s.  It is still around, most notably by the Austin band Asleep at the Wheel.  Bob Wills is in both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame.

Why this card:  Well the song above is about the Alamo, which is in San Antonio. Cliff Johnson, a player on the Yankees teams of my youth is from San Antonio.

8. Social Distortion - Social Distortion

Why this album:  I really like the SoCal punk sound here.  And, when I found out that there was a fair amount of crossover between the SoCal punk scene and the classic country and Bakersfield sounds (typified most recently by Dwight Yoakam), I was hooked.

Why this card: Well, Casey Stengel wrote a book titled "Casey at the Bat: The Story of My Life in Baseball."

9. Slaid Cleaves - Broke Down

Why this album:  I don't rightly recall if this was my introduction to Americana music, since that is a fairly broad label that encompasses a number of other genres, like folk and alt-country. I will say that, after hearing this song on a locally produced radio show, I did go right out and get the CD and it did contribute to a new direction in my music listening.

Why this card:  Well, what else is the baseball equivalent of one good year other than the one year wonder.  And Joe Charboneau falls into that category

10. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson

Why this album:  Sturgill Simpson is the man.  Along with Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell, he is saving country music.  Much to the chagrin of Nashville's Music Row. But screw them. They are peddling crappy pop and bro country. If you haven't seen his performance on Saturday Night Live recently, you should.  Go here and here.  While I expect that Beyonce's "Lemonade" will win, I'd love Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" to win the Record of the Year Grammy.

Why this card:  Okay, this is a stretch. I admit it. But, I do need to show some faint glimmer of originality. Turtles all the way down is a colloquial expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology.  It is also considered an example of the Anavastha concept in Indian philosophy.  So, here is a card of two Indian natives who joined the Pirates minor league organization in 2009 as part of the reality show, Million Dollar Arm. Dinesh Patel only hung on for two years, both in Rookie ball.  Rinku Singh made it 4 years, getting as high as A ball.  He resigned with the Pirates in November 2015 and managed to pitch one scoreless inning in rookie ball during the 2016 season.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Updated 2017 Goals - A New Quest

So, on my previous post, I had a number of goals for this year, one of which was to add one more card to my 1963 Fleer autographed set.  With only 7 cards remaining in that quest, two of which are out of my reach (Mays and Clemente), I rated that as the goal I was least likely to achieve. I have started to broaden my searches for that by looking at auction houses, but I still rate it as my most challenging goal.

Then this happened:

On a lark, I submitted a bid on this card at Pristine Auctions. I didn't figure I'd win a autographed card of a Hall of Famer with my low ball bid. Alas, I did.  For a mere $16 (delivered,) this card is mine.  So, I decided to add 1960 and 1961 Fleer to my autographed set quest.  There are 79 cards in 1960 and 154 in 1961.  I'll start researching what is achievable with this project, so stay tuned.

I've already completed 1960 and am 4 cards away from completing 1961 as unautographed sets. But, while I like set building, I like challenges, too. The autographed 1963 Fleer set was a challenge. And hella fun. So, I thought I'd give this a try. There are probably plenty of cards that I can't get, like Babe Ruth, where the player died before these cards were issued.  And probably plenty that may be too expensive, but this is one of those challenges where it is the journey and not the destination. 

Well, that is it.  I need to head out to get stalls ready for the cold weather tonight and feed the horses. I have tickets for tonight's OKC Thunder-Denver Nuggets game.  My employer is a sponsor of the Thunder and I was able to score a couple tickets that are usually reserved for the marketing folks to use to schmooze customers.  Row B in the level closest to the floor.  Normally,  the nose bleed seats (300 level) is what I can afford. I will generally splurge once a year on 200 level seats. So, I am excited beyond belief!  Ta!

What I am listening to:  Away by Rorey Carroll.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Hobby Resolutions

Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't I?

Of course, being on the wrong side of 50, I have personal resolutions for 2017:

  1. Lose some weight.  In 2016, I slimmed down from over 220 to 188.  With the holidays, I've put about 8 pounds back on.  I'd like to lose that and a few more. Ideally, I'd like to get under 185.
  2. Exercise.  With a full time job, a 40-60 minute commute on each end of the day, and a 17 acre farm to care for, I have little time for aerobic exercise.  But, I'd at least like to start walking more.
  3. Thunder up!  My wife and I bought a 6 game package for the OKC Thunder this year and will probably end up going to 8-10 games, overall  We've talked about getting on the wait list for season tickets next year.  They would be in the nose bleed section, because anything closer to the floor would be out of our price range. It would be hard to make it to 40 games next year, so we may look for another couple to go halfsies with us.
On the hobby side, I have a few goals:

  1. Finish one or both of 1970 and 1972 Topps.  These are the last two sets I need to finish the run of Topps sets from the 1970s.
  2. Finish 1961 Fleer. Only four cards to go, although two are expensive: Ted Williams and Babe Ruth.
  3. Cut the remaining want list on 1956 Topps by a third. I need 75 cards, plus the two checklists, to finish.So, 25 new (to me) cards.
  4. Although I suspect that I'm pretty much at the end of this quest,  I'd like to add one more autographed 1963 Fleer card to that set. Of the 7 cards I still need, only one player is still living and that is Willie Mays. Of the 6 other cards, one is Roberto Clemente.  Those two ain't happening.  So, it will have to be Vic Power, Vada Pinson, Dick Farrell, Ken Boyer, or Gene Oliver.
  5. Maybe have some original content around here.  
  6. Get rid of all the cards I don't want. That is my collection in the picture.  Top two shelves are my sets.  The third shelf down is all my duplicates and unwanted cards.  The bottom shelf is supplies and what not.  I'd like to clean that third shelf out.

So, there it is.  Bring on 2017!

What I am listening to:  The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore by Billy Bragg and Joe Henry

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fleer Autograph Project - Part 59

Generally speaking, things have been quiet on the hobby front, what with previously lamented major expenditures and the holidays nigh upon us.  So, in order to stay active, but not break the bank, I have started working on 1970 Topps baseball. I've gotten most card numbers under 339 fairly cheaply. I've done this since I am essentially down to the expensive star cards and high numbers for my 1972 set (203 cards left, 163 of which are semi-high and high numbers).

Otherwise, not much new. Except this:

This is the 59th autographed 1963 Fleer card I have, out of 66 in the set.  I nabbed this when I woke up in the middle of the night and did a quick run through of my Ebay saved searches as I was trying to get back to sleep. This had just been posted as a Buy-It-Now or Best Offer. I submitted an offer and, surprisingly, received a counter within 5 minutes. Imagine that, buyer and seller up at 3 AM!  I accepted the offer and now it is mine.  Only 7 left to go to complete this autograph quest:

5 - Willie Mays
23 - Vic Power
34 - Vada Pinson
38 - Dick Farrell
56 - Roberto Clemente
60 - Ken Boyer
62 - Gene Oliver

Anyways, that is about for new stuff around here. I am cleaning up all my extra cards and doubles and may be selling them off.  I may list them here to see if anyone is interested before I go the EBay route.  Stay tuned!

What I am listening to: Dominick the Donkey by Lou Monte