Thursday, June 23, 2016

Eddie Miksis Purchase

Whoever won #39 Eddie Miksis in the set break from a couple weeks ago also won a couple others and is trying to flip them on eBay.  I snagged this one for the opening bid.
Miksis was a member of the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, and was still with them in 1951, but was traded before they collapsed.  Of the 13 Cubs in the set, he is the 10th one I've picked up.  The only really tough Cub is Bob Schultz, who was murdered in 1979.  I also ordered #28 Eddie Pellagrini from the same seller; when that one gets here, it will put me at 169/274 (61.68 %).

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Bunch of eBay Wins

Someone working on a signed 1953 set must have given up, because recently someone listed most of the cards (I counted ~210) in the set on eBay.  Based on the condition of most of them (creases, dinged corners, paper loss, writing on the back, etc) I'm guessing that they started this collection as a kid when the cards first came out.  I feel bad for the seller; for the most part, they brought in very weak prices.  In particular, the Sid Gordon he auctioned off for $60 is the same one that sold as an eBay BIN for $125 a couple years ago.  The only cards that seem immune from this trend are Dodgers, Yankees, and some Hall of Famers.  Most of them I either already had or didn't want to get in to bidding wars over, but there were 10 I chased after.  I picked up 9 of them, with Dave Madison being the only one to get away.
Clem Koshorek was the starting shortstop for the 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates, who went 42-112.  No that's not a misprint; they actually were that bad.
Clyde Vollmer was turning in to one of my white whale cards.  I was seriously starting to think he didn't like his portrait, or had a feud with artist Gerry Dvorak.  This was the first Vollmer I've seen.
Bill Kennedy died in 1983 from stomach cancer.  I couldn't find a whole lot about him, other than he lead the American League in games pitched in 1952.
Ted Wilks is another tough one; he died in 1989.  He was a member of the 1944 and 1946 St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Browns and the Red Sox, respectively, in the World Series.
Mike Clark played 17 seasons of professional baseball, but only spent parts of two of those seasons in the Majors; 1953 was his last.  His Wikipedia entry notes that he toiled in the Cardinal's farm system from 1940 to 1959, with time out for World War II.
Like Koshorek, Woody Main also survived the 1952 Pirates.  He pitched better than his 2-12 record indicated.  He threw a complete game against the New York Giants and won 6-2, and his ERA was two tenths of a point lower than the staff average of 4.65.  He served with the Marines in World War II, though I couldn't find any more details than that.
Johnny Lindell was a reserve outfielder for the 1949 New York Yankees.  A generation before there was Bucky F***ing Dent, there was Johnny F***ing Lindell.
Sid Hudson, like Vollmer, was deceptively difficult, though at least in Hudson's case I can kind of understand, since he was a high number.  The only other Hudson I've seen on eBay has a very faint signature and is horrendously overpriced.  Hudson had the misfortune to spend his career with lousy teams: first with the Washington Senators, from 1940-52, then the Red Sox, by then a second division team, from 1952-54.
In the run up to the 1957 All Star game, Roy McMillan was caught up in a ballot stuffing campaign by Cincinnati Reds fans.  They managed to get seven Reds in to the starting lineup, prompting Commissioner Ford Frick to remove two of them and appoint Willie Mays and Hank Aaron as starters instead.  

I picked up #39 Eddie Miksis yesterday.  When he gets here, that will bring me up to 168 / 274 (61.31 %).  There are a few others I'm watching, and I'm weighing whether or not to pull the trigger on them.  My goal of getting 200 by the end of the year is looking iffy, so I came up with a secondary goal of finishing off the Red Sox in the set.  There are 21, and with these recent purchases I have 17 of them.  The four I still need are #44 Ellis Kinder, #49 Faye Throneberry, #63 Gus Niarhos, and #169 Dizzy Trout.  Niarhos comes up every now and then, Throneberry is very scarce for someone who died in 1999, and Kinder (d. 1968) and Trout (d. 1972) are scarcer than hen's teeth.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Clem Labine Gift

About a week ago, my mom noticed that I didn't yet have Clem Labine, the only Rhode Islander in the set.  She picked up this one from Mickey's for me.  Labine grew up in Woonsocket, as did my mom and her siblings.  There is a picture floating around somewhere of a group of neighborhood boys, among them one of my uncles, getting a pitching lesson from him.  I'll have to find it at some point.

Labine had a couple of double digit win seasons for the Dodgers in the 1950s, including 1955, when he won a game in the World Series.  He died in 2007.  It mentions on the back of his card that he was a paratrooper during World War II; I had forgotten that.  I tried to see if he had been in combat at all, but I couldn't come up with any details about his time in the service, beyond that he entered the service in August 1944.  That would have made him too late for the jumps in Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland, although he potentially could have caught the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Varisty, or if he was in the Pacific, the jump on Corregidor. 

Labine brings me to 158/274 (57.66 %).  He also puts me past the halfway point in terms of the number of Brooklyn Dodgers; he is the 11th one I've picked up, out of 20 Dodgers in the set.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sid Gordon Purchase

I was able to nab #117 Sid Gordon from another Net54 member for a very good price.  This is only the second Gordon I've seen (he died in 1975).  The other one sold for $125 about a year and a half ago.  Because of the crease and some minor paper loss on the back, I was able to get this for $60 plus shipping.

This makes 157/274 (57.29 %).  The only Boston Braves I still need are Vern Bickford and George Crowe.  Bickford is very rare (he died in 1960 from stomach cancer).  For someone who died in 2011, Crowe is surprisingly difficult.  I think I've seen signed copies of every Topps card he appeared on except the 1953 issue.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Harry Lowrey and Ken Raffensberger Purchases

It's been a while, but I did manage to pick up two new cards, including one of the keys to the set; #16 Harry Lowrey, and #276 Ken Raffensberger.
Lowrey died in 1986, so he is not easy to come by.  Growing up, he worked as a child actor and was one of the original members of Our Gang.  This was the first one I'd seen in the almost two years I've spent building the set.  From what I've read, Stan Musial had a very tough time with Raffensberger, even calling him the toughest lefty he had ever faced.  These two bring me up to 156 / 274 (56.93 %).

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Preston Ward Purchase

I picked up #173 Preston Ward a little while ago.  He had just gotten out of the military when this card was issued; according to the back, he spent the 1951 and 1952 seasons in the service.  It doesn't say if he was ever sent to Korea.
I'm now up to 154/274 (56.20 %).  I'm looking at making a couple other purchases soon, so stay tuned.  Nothing earth-shattering, just a couple that I've had a moderate level of difficulty tracking down.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016 Update and Goals

I realized I haven't updated my goals in almost 8 months, since last June.  Without further ado:
  • Reach 125 signed 1953 Topps.  I blew past this one, to end up at 153.  I'd really like to try and hit 200 this year.  That may start getting expensive on account of the tougher cards, but I'm not doing this to make a profit.
  • Add at least six new Hall of Famers to the set.  I came up short here: after picking up three in the first half of the year, I only added two (Irvin and Rizzuto) in the last half.  Of the HoFers I don't have, for the most part they're pretty big name guys (Robinson, Campanella, Mantle, etc) who will be either difficult, expensive, or both.
  • My other two goals for 2015 (add at least one new Phillie, and add two more signed 1949 Bowmans) I had already met at the time of the June update.  
Overall, I'm happy with the progress on the set that I made last year.  I'm cautiously optimistic that I can hit 200 this year, or at least come very close.