These four bring me to 82/274 (29.92 %) of the way there. I have a couple others in transit that I've ordered, and a few requests out that hopefully will trickle in sometime soon.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
I filled four more holes in the 1953 Topps set today, with #46 Johnny Klippstein, #174 Billy Loes, #179 Gene Hermanski and #201 Paul LaPalme. Hermanski was a member of the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, and is featured somewhat prominently in the movie 42. Loes was a member of the 1955 Dodgers, and became well known for saying that he didn't want to be a 20-game winner because "Then I'd be expected to do it every year".
Thursday, January 29, 2015
After I finished digging out from underneath the blizzard that was dumped on my area earlier this week, I had three returns and a purchase waiting for me. For my 1953 Topps project, #207 Whitey Ford signed his card for his $40 cash fee. The purchase was #102 Connie Ryan. Ford is the first Hall of Fame'er that I've added to the set this year, and these two brought me to 78/274 (28.47 %) completion. My 2015 goals included getting to 100/274, which I'm well on my way to, and adding four new HOF'ers, which I'm off to a good start on. The other two returns were both from the 1949 Bowman set, #45 Wally Westlake and #109 Ed Fitz Gerald. My 2015 goal for this set was to add two more, and combined with the Gil Coan I added a few days ago, I've brought in three so far, with another request outstanding.
Monday, January 26, 2015
It's been a while since my last post. I have two returns and a purchase that I'd been meaning to post but hadn't gotten around to because I've been away at school. I swung by home today and finally scanned them in. For my 1953 Topps project, I received #48 Bob Del Greco with his $5 fee, and purchased #149 Dom DiMaggio off eBay. I don't usually buy unslabbed autographs off eBay, but this one passed PSA's Quick Opinion service, which was good enough for me. The other return was a 1949 Bowman, #90 Gil Coan. Mr. Coan was kind enough to sign and personalize my card, my letter and add his own signed card.
The DiMaggio was the second Red Sox card I've added this year from the set, which meets my original goal. I will see if I can add two more players from the other Boston team, the Braves, by year's end. By my count, I'm now at 76/274 (27.74%) of my 1953 Topps project. I have a few more on the way, including one that was supposed to arrive today, but was probably delayed because of the weather. We're in for a massive blizzard here--my area is supposed to get 2-3 feet of snow, and Boston could get up to 40 inches. Driving back to campus today, I-95 was a parking lot. I think the fastest I went was 35 MPH, and that was only for a little while. Pretty soon it got so bad that I got off and took the back roads.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Today a purchase arrived that I'd forgotten about when I gave an update yesterday: #219 Pete Runnels. The player on the card is actually his teammate Don Johnson; somehow the name got switched so the card was printed with Johnson's portrait.
This brings me to 74/274, or 27 % of the set. The Matthews I'm waiting on will make it 75/274 (27.37 %). Only 199 more to go!
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Today I received another return, this one from #60 Cloyd Boyer. I mailed it the day before Christmas, so it took about three weeks. He is the older brother of former Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer, and former Yankee Clete Boyer, both deceased. I also had a few purchases arrive; #103 Joe Astroth, #152 Bob Adams and #153 Andy Seminick.
I currently have 73/274 of the 1953 Topps signed and on hand, with the 74th, #37 Eddie Mathews in the mail. Once it arrives, it will bring me up to 27% of the set. I started the year at 24.81%. My 2015 goal is 36%, so I feel pretty confident that I'll get there.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
One of the purchases that I had been waiting on arrived today: #214 Bill Bruton.
Bruton lead the National League in triples two times, in runs scored once, and in stolen bases three times. He was a part of the 1957 World Series winning Milwaukee Braves. He also led off a game with a home run twelve times.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Received my first return of the year today, although this one gets an asterisk. Gene Conley swapped out my 1953 Topps with a 1961 Topps, and inscribed 'Happy Birthday' on it. Evidently someone else ordered this as a gift, and our cards got switched. I'll probably send this one back to him, and hope that whoever got my card did the same.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Still waiting on my first return of 2015, but a purchase arrived today: #40 Johnny Lipon, the shortstop who replaced Johnny Pesky. He was traded to Boston midway through the 1952 season, along with George Kell, Dizzy Trout and Hoot Evers for Pesky, Walt Dropo, Fred Hatfield, Don Lenhardt, and Bill Wight.
I currently have 68 of the 274 cards signed and on hand right now, with two more I ordered in the mail. I may order a few more before heading back to school later this month. I wanted to add two more Red Sox to the set at some point this year, so he is the first of that.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Pedro Martinez, who won two Cy Young Awards with Boston and another with the LA Dodgers, was inducted into Cooperstown earlier today. Now the big question: which cap will he wear? I'm pulling for a Red Sox cap, and I do think they'd have the inside track there.
Read more: Pedro Martinez Elected to Hall of Fame
Read more: Pedro Martinez Elected to Hall of Fame
Picked up another 1953 Topps today: #120 Davey Williams, second baseman for the New York Giants. This one I purchased from Brian at Autographed Baseball Cards Unlimited. I've bought about 20 cards from ABC Unlimited for this set, and I can't say enough good things about them. The prices are very competitive and fair, the shipping is lightning fast, and the customer service is excellent. I go there first when shopping for this set, because I've found the prices are so much better than everywhere else.
Williams made the NL All-Star team in 1953, but his career was cut short after a back injury caused in a collision with Jackie Robinson. Giants pitcher Sal Maglie had been throwing beanballs, and so Robinson bunted down the first base line with the intention of slamming into Maglie hard. Maglie anticipated this and stayed on the mound, so instead Robinson took out Williams, who had gone to cover first.
This brings me to 70/274 (25.55%) completion. I have 67 of the cards on hand, and I'm waiting on three more that I ordered. In addition, I have three requests out and will get out a fourth once the Bob Del Greco card I ordered gets here.
I know this blog is mostly vintage autographs, but I had another one of my pet projects that I wanted to share. Every year, Dunkin Donuts sponsors a card set giveaway one night at McCoy Stadium, home of the Pawtucket Red Sox. The only way to get these sets is to go to the game that night, as they are not sold in stores or anywhere else. McCoy seats about 10,000 people, so that's probably about how many of these sets are printed. In all my years in the hobby, I've never seen any cards from this set signed, other than the ones I have. There are 30 cards in the set; I have 25 signed. Most of them I obtained TTM, with the exception of Jon Lester, who I got through a signing with Steiner.
The only remaining players I need to complete it are Kevin Cash, Jacoby Ellsbury, George Kottaras, Brandon Moss and Ed Rogers. The first four will eventually do a signing somewhere that I can get them at, but Rogers will be difficult to get a hold of, especially since I believe he retired to the Dominican Republic.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Almost forgot about these three:
All three were obtained TTM: Bunning charges a $5 fee, Craig does as well but I got him for free, and Richardson doesn't charge at all. Richardson's double play partner was Tony Kubek, and I read in October 1964 that in 1976, when Richardson was running for Congress, he asked all his former teammates to come down and campaign for him, and the only one to not was Kubek, who as a liberal Democrat endorsed Richardson's opponent.
I had picked up this 1952 Bowman Jimmy Piersall a long time ago, but I'd heard bad things about him switching out cards that were sent TTM, so I held off. A couple months ago, I finally sent it off to him and it came back about a week/two weeks later.
Piersall played for the Red Sox from 1952 to 1958. He had bipolar, which at the time was not well understood. On several occasions, his roommate Ted Lepcio would need to intervene on Piersall's behalf to prevent Piersall from getting beaten up.
This was one of the first autographs I purchased. I picked it up when I was in fifth grade. It was in an eBay auction, and I remember thinking that the auction ended at about the same time as school, so I sprinted home to see if I'd won. It's a cachet from September 28th, 1981, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Williams going 6 for 8 in the last doubleheader of the season to raise his average to .406.
I'll take a brief detour from baseball, and post one of my favorite returns: Alex Morgan, the forward on the US Olympic women's soccer team. She was part of the team that won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
I sent this one in January 2014, and it came back the following August. I'm not sure why she used two different color sharpies, but no complaints here. I sent it to the address for the Portland Thorns FC, for who she is currently playing.
The Feller I picked up when I was in middle school at a sports collectibles store up in Providence. I don't remember the name of the place, but I do remember that about two weeks after I bought it, the recession hit and the store went under. I got a really good price on it too, $10, at the time Feller was charging that much to sign, plus postage and the cost of the photo. That looks like Cy Young on the left. The Doerr I got TTM about a year ago. I'd had it lying around for a while and finally figured I should send it out.
A few other scorecards I had lying around:
I had bought these when I was in middle school with the intention of getting the remaining players from these teams on them, and at the time there were still a few, but I didn't get around to it until this past summer, and so Bobby Doerr was the only one left. One thing that is interesting to note is how many alcohol and tobacco adds there are--more than half of the total.
I thought I'd take a break from posting signed cards, and post some other memorabilia I had.
The original owner noted that the Red Sox beat the Browns 5-0. I checked baseball-reference, and it appears that this game was the first game of a doubleheader on July 21, 1946, with Dave 'Boo" Ferriss beating Tex Shirley. Mr. Ferriss added the blue post-it note on the front when I sent this to him last July. It's also signed by Bobby Doerr. Those two are the last living members of the 1946 team, which is the last Red Sox team to have won 100 games. But since then, the team has won six pennants and three World Series, so I'll take it.
This is the cover from the October 1946 edition of Baseball Digest. I have the rest of the magazine as well, it just got separated in the mail.
I found the above picture of Ferriss online several years ago, and I did some digging and found the copyright was held by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. So I emailed the curator, and asked if the museum could send me a copy. She wrote back "I'll do you one better. I am his daughter and will have him send you one". About a week later, the signed photo arrived, postage paid, along with a signed note on my original email (had to crop out the email as it had my address)! If you've ever sent anything to Mr. Ferriss, you know he really goes above and beyond for his fans. He was also featured in the 1949 Bowman set, but he was a high number, so his cards are really difficult to come by. I'd like to add one, but the cheapest one on eBay is $125, so I'll pass.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Bobby Doerr was the recipient of the first TTM request I ever sent. I was in fifth grade, and was so excited to be writing to a major league baseball player and teammate of Ted Williams that I forgot to enclose a SASE. Not only did Mr. Doerr use his own stamp and envelope to reply, but he told me to send anything and he would sign it. I probably took advantage of that too much (I remember sending a huge package his way) but he signed it all. With that in mind, I have three vintage cards signed by him. I also have some Red Sox scorecards from the 1940s signed by him as well, but I haven't gotten around to scanning those yet.
The cards I have that coincide with his playing career are his 1941 Play Ball (he is the last living player from that set), his 1948 Leaf (I believe he is also the last living player from that set, though I could be mistaken) and his 1949 Bowman.
Seeing as I didn't get back in to the swing of collecting until the summer, I didn't have any goals in mind for 2014, other than to build up my 1953 Topps set once I decided to do that. With that in mind, my goals for 2015 are:
- Get to at least 100 signed 1953 Topps. I'm at 68 right now, and 100 would give me 36% of the total.
- Add at least four new Hall of Famers to the set. I'm currently bidding on one, but I'm not sure which HOF'ers I'd go after from there. I received an email from Yogi Berra's museum today telling me that due to age, he is no longer signing autographs. I'd like to add him, but the cheapest slabbed one I can find on eBay is $225, so I'll hold off for now.
- Add at least two new Red Sox to the set. Again, not sure which ones I'll add, but eBay is looking rather fallow at the moment, so I'll wait and see what comes up later.
- Get at least two more 1949 Bowmans signed. I have five signed right now, all of which were TTM, and I'd like to get a couple more that way before everyone left from that set passes.
The last signed 1953 Topps I have that I haven't already uploaded is #191 Ralph Kiner. As the inscription indicates, Kiner lead the league in home runs 7 times and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975. The back of the card says that he is "rated the best chance of breaking Babe Ruth's home run record." It also mentions that the prior year he had back troubles; those troubles would end his major league career at 32. I'm currently bidding on two more signed 1953 Topps cards. If I win them, I'll be sure to post them up here soon.
The last two 1953 Topps I have slabbed by PSA (for now, at least) are #151 Hoyt Wilhelm and #279 Joe Coleman. The Wilhelm has some minor paper loss on the back, but it isn't too bad. The Coleman was another eBay find, which I jumped at for $17.99 shipped. It looks like Coleman fell off a cliff after making the All-Star team in 1948 and winning 13 games in 1949; it says he won only won game in the next two seasons combined and spent all of 1952 in the minors. Wilhelm for his part went 15-3 in that year, his rookie season, and would go on to pitch another 20 years, eventually making the Hall of Fame Class of 1985. Coleman's son and grandson eventually became MLB players in their own right, and I believe the grandson is still playing.
Here are two more Yankees, #87 Eddie Lopat and #119 Johnny Sain. Sain was more well known as a Boston Brave, where he was one half of the 'Spahn and Sain and pray for rain' duo. The signature on the Sain shows up a lot better in person than it does in the scan, the quality of the Lopat is what it is. I'm noticing now that on a lot of these cards, Topps got the year of birth wrong: Sain was born in 1917 and Preacher Roe was born in 1916, not 1918 as they are both listed.
Next up are former Cardinals #77 Johnny Mize and #78 Al 'Red' Schoendienst. Mize came up with St. Louis in 1936, and in what was one of the few bad trades Branch Rickey ever made, was sent to the New York Giants in 1941 for peanuts. This was his last year, though he was still very productive off the bench. Like Slaughter, Schoendienst was also a member of the 1946 Cardinals team. Both eventually made it to the Hall of Fame; Mize in 1981, Schoendienst in 1989.
Up next are #19 Mel Parnell and #28 Hal Jeffcoat. Parnell has always been a favorite of mine; he came up in 1948 and went 15-8 and 25-7 for Red Sox teams that lost the pennant on the last day of the season each time. I had always meant to write to him, but he passed away before I could get my act together. The Jeffcoat was a bargain find on eBay at $18 slabbed.
The last three I have in toploaders are #252 Hank Foiles, #254 Preacher Roe and #262 Bob Oldis. Foiles's and Roe's cards are actually consecutive because there was no card #253 in this set. Foiles sent the card back to me in a cardboard sheath he made with a note that read "This is my rookie card, not a reprint. It has some value". The sheath came in handy, as my SASE took a beating in the mail. On the back of Roe's card, it mentions that he went 23-3 in 1951, which is not bad at all for a guy who turned 35 that year.
Shown here are #238 Cal Hogue, #242 Charlie Silvera, #246 Roy Face and #247 Mike Sandlock. In David Halberstam's October 1964, he mentions that Silvera (Yogi Berra's backup), was something of a legend among Yankees because he went to six World Series with them, played in only one game, but since he was on the roster, cashed checks for all six. He was also a teammate of Jerry Coleman's in high school, and they came up through the Yankee farm system together. Sandlock is the oldest living former major leaguer, and was Warren Spahn's roommate when they were rookies with the 1942 Boston Braves. He turned 99 last October.
Shown here are #211 J.W. Porter, #212 Jack Dittmer, #225 Bobby Shantz, and #231 Solly Hemus. Yes, the Porter actually is that beat up. When I sent it to him, he felt so bad about its condition that he also included a signed reprint card of his. With the exception of Dittmer, these were all obtained TTM, and without fees. I mentioned earlier that Shantz was coming off an MVP season; that year he went 24-7 with a 2.48 ERA for the Mackmen, who finished 4th, 16 games out. That crease in the scan is on the penny sleeve, not the actual card.
These four are #196 Bob Keegan, #197 Del Crandall, #209 Jim Greengrass and #210 Bob Cerv. I knew from watching the movie 61* that Cerv was Mantle and Maris's roommate during the 1961 season, but I'd forgotten he played for the Yankees before then as well. Cerv and Crandall each charged $5, Greengrass doesn't have a fee.
Above are #164 Frank Shea, #183 Stu Miller, #184 Hal Brown and #192 Wally Westlake. Shea would have won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 if it had been given in both leagues, as it was he finished third, behind Jackie Robinson and Larry Jansen. He hurt his arm after that, and never pitched well again. His was purchased; the others were TTM successes. It's interesting to read the backs of the cards and notice how many of the players served in the military or had offseason jobs. It mentions Westlake spent three years in the service, and on the back of Sievers's card, it says he works as an inspector in an automobile plant during the winter.
Up next are #155 Dutch Leonard, #156 Jim Rivera, #157 Bob Addis, and #159 Wayne Terwilliger. Leonard was purchased; the others were all TTM. Terwilliger charges a $5 fee. On the back of his card, it notes that he served with the Marines at Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. I mentioned in my letter that I have a neighbor who was a Marine in Vietnam, and he wrote back on my letter "Semper Fi to your neighbor, and tell him thanks for his service". I used to know another Marine who had also been at Saipan, and was wounded there. He said of his experience that the Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan was the closest anyone will ever come to making a realistic war movie, and even then it still fell far short. He added if anyone did make a realistic war movie, it would never be shown in theaters. It was enough to make me glad to have been born in 1994, not 1924.
This group is #140 Tommy Glaviano, #141 Allie Reynolds, #143 Billy Pierce, #154 Dick Groat. Pierce and Groat I received TTM during the fall, both for free. After reading up on some of Pierce's accomplishments, I'm convinced he should be in the Hall of Fame: he is statistically similar to Whitey Ford, Jim Bunning and Don Drysdale, who are all in, and his career stats were hurt because his managers saved him for good teams i.e., the Yankees with Mantle, Martin, Bauer, and later on Maris, Kubek and Richardson. Groat, I keep going back and forth on: he was a vital cog on two championship teams (1960 Pirates and 1964 Cardinals), and even was MVP in 1960, but he lost two years due to the Korean War, and those really hurt his career stats.
Featured here are #133 Gil Coan, #135 Al Rosen, #137 John Rutherford and #138 George Kell. Rosen went on to win the 1953 AL MVP Award, and probably would be in Cooperstown today alongside Kell if back troubles hadn't ended his career when he was in his 30's. I had written to Gil Coan in September but sent it to the wrong address. When several weeks went by without a reply, I realized my error and contacted his son, who could not have been more helpful in helping me with my request.
The featured cards include #112 Ned Garver, #121 Walt Dropo. #124 Sibby Sisti and #130 Turk Lown. Garver and Lown I both acquired TTM for free. Lown usually charges a $20 fee, but my card got so beat up in the mail that I guess he took pity on me and returned the money. I keep meaning to send him a thank you note for that, and for his service in World War II. That back of his card notes that he was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. I found an article here by Woody Paige about Lown, and when Paige asked about Lown's service, Lown shut him down. That battle was 70 years ago this month,
These four are #85 Bobby Morgan, #95 Willard Marshall, #109 Al Dark and #111 Hank Sauer. I got Dark and Morgan TTM in August, about three months before he passed away. Considering that, he gave me a really good signature. Continuing with the theme of bad players with good teams, Hank Sauer, who hit 288 career home runs, was coming off a season in which he hit .270 with 37 home runs (tied for league lead with Ralph Kiner) and 121 RBI en route to winning the 1952 NL MVP Award. That's a pretty good career for a guy who didn't make the majors for good until he was 31. Him and Dark, the 1948 MLB ROY (the last year there was only one for both leagues) both probably lost Hall of Fame careers due to World War II.
These four are #66 Roy Sievers, #67 Minnie Minoso, #69 Dick Brodowski, and #73 Eddie Robinson. All four were obtained TTM during the past few months. Sievers and Brodowski signed for free, Robinson and Minoso both charged fees. Those two took so long to get back to me that I'd written them off, so it was a pleasant surprise to get them back. They each charge a fee of $10. I've always thought that Minoso belongs in the Hall of Fame, and Sievers, the 1949 AL ROY, is the first man to hit 300 home runs and not make it in. I've read that after he won the ROY award, the Browns tinkered with his swing and messed it up royally. It took him the better part of five seasons to get back in the groove, and so that probably ended his HOF chances right there.
The above are #36 Johnny Groth, #42 Gus Zernial, #45 Grady Hatton, and #57 Carl Scheib. Groth and Scheib both were obtained TTM, and each charged $5. The other two were purchased. For a second-division team, the Philadelphia Athletics sure had a lot of talent: Zernial lead the AL in home runs in 1951, and consistently had over 100 RBI's each season, Scheib was a pretty decent pitcher himself, and they had Bobby Shantz, the 1952 AL MVP and Harry Byrd, who was the Rookie of the Year that season as well.
Next up are #21 Billy Johnson, #23 Toby Atwell, #30 Willard Nixon, and #35 Irv Noren. Most of these were ordered online, with the exception of the Noren, which I got signed over the summer. I'd heard he charged $5, he sent it back signed with a note saying it was $15 now. One of the contributing factors to me getting the Nixon (aside from needing it for the set) was so that I can say I have Nixon's autograph. I know the other Nixon is more famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) but it's tough to not like a guy who beat the Yankees five straight times from 1954 to 1955.
Autographed Baseball Cards Unlimited. Most of the stuff he has is in better shape than the one I have pictured; it came from his lowgrade list which is why the condition is so poor. Still a very good pickup for $5.