Thursday, March 19, 2015

Group Picture

Since I don't have any new acquisitions on the horizon for my 1953 Topps project, I figured now would be a good time to post a group picture of what I do have. 

That's all 101 of them.  I looked at the spreadsheet I've been using to keep track of this project, and thus far it's cost me $2209.09!  That's an average unit cost of $21.87, though it's dragged down by the cards I bought for a few dollars and got signed TTM.  Those have pretty much dried up by now, so that cost will rise as I get further and further in to this project.  It's been a labor of love though; I've had a lot of fun putting it together, and it's been a pleasure working with the other collectors who have helped me to plug holes in it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Update

With 4 days to go until the Spring Equinox, I figured now would be a good time for another update on my goals for the year.

  • Get to at least 100 signed 1953 Topps.  With my most recent purchase, I've exceeded this one.  I'm currently at 101 (36.86 %).  I'm going to shoot for 125 by the end of the year.
  • Add at least six new Hall of Famers to the set.  I've added three so far this year: Whitey Ford, Warren Spahn, and Dick Williams.  I don't count the Mathews because I ordered that one in 2014 and it just took a while to arrive.  I'm taking the advice of another collector and focusing on adding tough cards, so it looks like it might be a while before I make any more progress on this one.
  • Add at least two more Boston Braves.  In between the Spahn, the Johnny Logan and Ebba St. Claire purchases, I've exceeded this one.  The Philadelphia Phillies are another team who I don't have very many from, but there were only 9 Phillies in the set that year.  If I can pick up one additional Phillie, I'll be happy.
  • Get at least two more 1949 Bowmans signed.  I exceeded this goal pretty early in the year.  I am currently trying to talk my self into picking up Carl Scheib's card, but other than that I don't really have any plans to add to this set soon.  I'd like to pick up Dave Ferriss's card from this set as well, but his card is very pricey.  Apart from those two, there aren't really any signers left from the set who I don't already have.  Sam Mele signs for everybody but me; I've lost two '49 Bowmans and a 1966 Topps sending to him already, and I've decided to cut my losses.  Ralph Branca, Yogi Berra and Red Schoendienst are all still alive but haven't signed in years, and to my knowledge there isn't anyone else still alive and signing who I don't have.       

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Eddie Mathews and Dick Williams

The last two: #37 Eddie Mathews and #125 Dick Williams.
Last week I picked up a Dick Williams, and my Eddie Mathews  that I ordered in November finally got back from PSA.  Mathews and Hank Aaron hold the record for home runs hit by a pair of teammates, and he was the only man to play for the Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves.  He was also on the cover of the first issue of Sports Illustrated.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.  Williams was featured prominently in The Boys of Summer, although he is more famous around here for leading the "Impossible Dream" 1967 Red Sox to the World Series.  After being fired from Boston, he lead the Oakland Athletics to two consecutive World Series.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

I'll post an update tomorrow on my 2015 goals.  I've taken a good sized chunk out of them recently, but I just got back from a wedding so I'm too tired to assess it now.


George Shuba and Ed O'Brien

Two more here: #34 George Shuba and #249 Ed O'Brien.
Shuba became somewhat famous for a photograph taken in 1946 of him shaking Jackie Robinson's hand as Robinson crossed home plate.  At the time the two were minor league teammates; they wound up spending seven years together with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Shuba was the last living man to have been on the field when the Dodgers won the 1955 World Series.  O'Brien and his brother John (#223) were both bonus babies with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Neither amounted to much, although they did become the first set of twins to play in the same game in the majors.

Cal Abrams, Herman Wehmeier, Tommy Byrne, Johnny Logan

Four more from the auction: #98 Cal Abrams, #110 Herman Wehmeier, #123 Tommy Byrne, and #158 Johnny Logan.

Wehmeier is another tough one; he died at the age of 46 in 1973, two days before he was to take the stand in an embezzlement trial.  Byrne settled in Wake Forest, NC after his career was over and was elected to serve as its mayor for two terms.  He was the losing pitcher in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series.  Logan was a four-time All-Star and was the shortstop on the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

Joe Dobson, Jim Hearn, Sherm Lollar, Ebba St. Claire,

I won several eBay auctions over the past few weeks as well.  There was a large collection of signed '53 Topps that was being broken up, and I picked up a few of them.
These four are #5 Joe Dobson, #38 Jim Hearn, #53 Sherm Lollar and #91 Ebba St. Claire.  Dobson was a member of the 1946 Boston Red Sox, and is featured prominently in The Summer of '49.  Hearn was a member of the 'Miracle at Coogan's Bluff' 1951 New York Giants.  Lollar started out as Yogi Berra's backup with the Yankees, but he wasn't getting enough playing time so they shipped him to Chicago, where he made several All-Star teams.  He is usually ranked as the second-best catcher of his era, behind Berra.  St. Claire had a son, Randy, who went on to pitch for the Montreal Expos, including the year they made the playoffs.  

Luke Easter, Dale Mitchell and Bob Porterfield Purchases

It's been along time since my last post.  I had exams all last week and this week and got really bogged down in those.  But I'm home for spring break now, and have a lot of catching up to do.

I picked up several 1953 Topps over the past few weeks.  These three, #2 Luke Easter, #26 Dale Mitchell and #108 Bob Porterfield all came from a fellow member on Net54baseball, who knew someone who had them and arranged the sale.  All three of these are very difficult to track down because the players died very young.

Luke Easter was one of Tim Russert's heroes growing up.  He was known for his mammoth home runs, nicknamed 'Easter Eggs'.  By the time this card came out, he was 38 and battling several injuries, but played for several more years with the Buffalo Bisons, where Russert saw him several times.  After his career was over, he became a pay steward for one of the steelworkers' unions in Cleveland, where he was murdered in an attempted robbery in 1979.  Mitchell was a two time All-Star for the Indians who made the final out in Don Larsen's World Series perfect game.  Porterfield came out of nowhere to win 22 games for the 1953 Washington Senators and throw two no-hitters that year.  He made the All-Star team the following season before fading away.