Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Favorite 1961 Topps Card least I think it might be. There are 4 or 5 others that are close, but when I saw this particular card while browsing through my Topps book a few weeks ago I had to have it. A quick eBay search turned up a nice EX copy for a buck, and a few days later the package arrived at my door. If you think you have an idea which card it is you're most likely wrong. At least, I'd be impressed if you had it right. The card's subject never won 20 games, hit 30 home runs or 100 RBI. He wasn't known for his speed either, and was never an All-Star, although he did win a World Series. So, who's card did I chase down?

Wes Covington. The 1961 Topps set is almost never mentioned amongst the best of the decade, and rightfully so. The design is minimal and less than spectacular, there aren't any iconic rookie cards (no disrespect to Juan Marichal, Billy Williams or Ron Santo), and there are countless incredibly boring, tightly cropped headshot photos, many of which feature capless players.

There are a few times though when I think the clean, simple design combined with a great photo create a pretty nice card. This Covington card is the best example of that in my opinion. There are so many things to like about this card. The photo is very creative, with Wes standing on the dugout steps pulling some bats. The Braves patch on his shoulder is great, so are the striped stirrups and the fan in red plaid in the background. Yup, I'd put this card up against any from this set.

The seller that I bought this from had thousands of vintage singles and charged $3 to ship regardless of how many you purchased, so I did what any good collector did and browsed around. I grabbed 18 other singles for a total of $20 plus the $3 shipping.

Another example of where 1961 Topps actually does pretty well, the checklists. Can you think of a vintage baseball set with better looking checklists than this? I can't, but someone will probably comment and prove me wrong.

I grabbed this Bob Miller card because I recently featured his 1960 card. This card features a pre-game warm-up photo that is very similar to the one featured on that card, which I learned in my previous post is taken in Seals Stadium in San Francisco, California.

The final 1961 card I picked up was another of my favorite photos from the set, Gene Baker, also featured at Seals Stadium.

1967 Topps - #275 - Fred Whitfield - I really had no reason to buy this one other than the sick illusion I have that I will some day finish the 1967 Topps set. One card closer I guess...

1969 Topps - #466 - John Boccabella - A couple of days after I paid for this card Night Owl did a great post where it was featured. I picked up two other 1969 Topps to go with it.

1969 Topps - #287 - Jose Tartabull

1969 Topps - #232 - Dave Ricketts - This Dave Ricketts will go nicely with the '67 I got a while ago. I still like that card better but this one isn't too bad either.

1960 Topps - #153 - Bobby Thomson - I ended up with three 1960 Topps cards, which is probably my favorite set of the decade. I now have 35 cards from this set. 11 of them are Red Sox, so I'm making some pretty good progress in completing that team set.

1960 Topps - #249 - Earl Wilson

1960 Topps - #232 - Jim Busby

1975 Topps - #356 - Rico Petrocelli - Two 1975 Topps were in the package. Rico is nice but I like this one better:

1975 Topps - #533 - Rudy Meoli - I've wanted this card since I read about it in Josh Wilker's outstanding book, Cardboard Gods. If you love vintage baseball cards and you haven't read this, you have no excuse. Go buy it now. I'm telling you, you won't be disappointed. Josh does a better job at evoking that nostalgic feel provided by childhood baseball cards than anyone I've ever read. You can check out a video of Josh reading a segment of the book on this very card here.

1965 Topps - #91 - Chicago Cubs Team Card - The Cubs went 72-90 in 1965, finishing 25 games behind the Dodgers for the NL Pennant. Oh well, I still like this card.

1964 Topps - #2 - AL ERA Leaders

1964 Topps - #251 - Choo Choo Coleman - I'll buy a card for any of a variety of reasons. Sometimes a funny name is enough. Choo Choo's real name is Clarence.

1964 Topps - #134 - Don Zimmer - This is my one and only Don Zimmer card.

1963 Topps - #53 - Joe Moeller (RC) - Who can define the stadium in this one?

1969-70 Topps - #75 - Pit Martin - Finally, we have the one and only hockey card from the bunch. Sadly, Pit was killed in 2008 when the snow-mobile he was riding broke through ice and into a lake.

That wraps it up. This was a great eBay seller, and for the price of a blaster I was really satisfied with this haul...

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Should Keep Me Busy for a While...

So the other night I stopped by my local shop and made a purchase that I was extremely happy with. Here's a picture I snapped when I got back home:

What you see here are 20 wax packs of 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee hockey and 17 wax packs of 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee hockey. Now, the first question that always comes to mind with wax this old is whether it has been tampered with or whether the packs have already been searched and re-wrapped. This definitely entered my mind but I went for it anyway, and I had a couple of good reasons to do so.

First and foremost, I trust the owners of this shop. The two guys that run the place are great, and since I discovered it a few months back about 95% of my card spending has gone to them. They pointed out before even showing me these that the wrappers failed the "blow test", meaning if you turn it upside down and blow across the back, the two flaps where the wax wrapper should be sealed pop up slightly. This can sometimes indicate that the pack was searched and repacked. It could also mean that the seal just wore off over time, but like I said they were very up front with me about this.

The second reason I went for it is that I love these two sets, and my collection is severely lacking cards from both. Even if they were searched the cards are in mint condition and with this many packs I'll end up with a few hundred mint condition cards to put me well on my way towards these two sets.

Finally, because of the uncertainty on the status of these packs, the owners didn't feel comfortable putting them out on the shelf. They're smart enough to know that if someone buys just a pack or two and doesn't pull anything great, they will complain that they weren't legit. For that reason they set these aside for me because they know I am a big hockey guy and I like the older stuff. Because they couldn't put them out and because I'm a frequent shopper they sold them to me for $1 a pack. Yes, that's right, a buck. I would've probably paid this price even if I knew for sure that they were searched.

Most of the packs I took home in an unopened state, as you can see in the picture. I plan to enjoy them slowly over time. I did open 2 packs of each year in the shop though, and was very encouraged by what I found. First of all, in each pack the card at the bottom of the stack (closest to the front of the wrapper) has literally become one with the enclosed stick of petrified gum. The fact that there was gum present, and that it had completely molded to the card, shows if nothing else that if these were repacked it was done a long time ago. Supporting this argument is the fact that in each pack I opened the card at the top of the stack, where the back of the wrapper was sealed together, had wax stains on the front from where the pack was sealed up. If someone repacked these they were careful enough to make sure that these top and bottom cards stayed as is. Finally, in the 4 packs that I opened I pulled some pretty decent cards, a couple of which probably wouldn't have been left behind by a pack searcher. Here are a few highlights just from these initial 4 packs. First, the 2 packs of 1983-84:

I think a lot of people overlook Mike Bossy or forget just how much of a sniper this guy was. Most fans know he is a Hall-of-Famer, but when I mentioned to the shop owners after pulling this card that he scored 50+ goals in each of his first 9 seasons they thought I was joking. Those 9 50 goal seasons are still the record for most consecutive. Not only that but he and some guy named Gretzky are the only two players to record 50 or more goals 9 times. They're also the only two players to record more than 60 goals 5 times! The most impressive thing is that Bossy played only those 9 seasons, plus a 10th where he missed close to 20 games and still netted 38 goals before back injuries forced him out of the game at the age of 30.

In just 10 seasons he scored 573 goals, racked up 1,126 points, won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year (the first player to score 50+ in his rookie campaign), became the second player to accomplish the 50-in-50 feat (50 goals in the first 50 games of the season), and won the Lady Byng trophy 3 times. Oh yeah, he also won 4 consecutive Stanley Cups with the Islanders and captured the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP as well. Talk about going out on top!

In 62 games with the B's in the 1982-83 season Peeters went 40-11-9 with a 2.36 Goals Against Average, capturing the Vezina trophy. He is also known for giving up Mario Lemieux's first career goal. To tie him back to the Bossy card above, in the 79-80 Stanley Cup finals he gave up the overtime goal to Bob Nystrom in game 6 that gave the Islanders what would be the first of their 4 consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

One of the Jets' all time greats. Man those were some sweet uniforms...

Finally we have Lanny McDonald's base card. Despite having precious few cards from this set this is the 3rd one of these in my collection. I've shown it on the blog before. That about does it for the 2 83-84 packs I opened. I did a little better I think with the 2 82-83 packs:

Here's the Minnesota North Stars team leaders card. I've always been partial to Dino Ciccarelli who registered career highs in goals (55) and points (106) in the 1981-82 season.

Second year card of Hall-of-Fame defenseman Larry Murphy.

This was easily one of my favorite cards from these couple of packs. Stoughton was a scoring threat in Hartford for a few seasons, scoring 40+ goals for the team in 4 straight years, from 1979-80 through 1982-83. In two of those seaons he netted 50+. He spent the mid to late 70's in the WHA though, where he was inconsistent, and as a result his career NHL totals are lacking a bit. He still averaged nearly a goal every two games in the National Hockey League.

I don't have much to say about Pat, and he's definitely a common, but I just thought the photo was strange on this one. Pretty tightly cropped shot for a goalie card...

Another Hall-of-Famer. This time the shop owner got me with a fact I was somehow unaware of. Rod Langway was born in Taiwan. Somehow I never noticed this on the back of his cards.

After 5 consecutive 100 point seasons, Trottier fell just short in 1982-83, registering 89 points. When he retired at the end of the 1993-94 season though he was 6th all time in career point total. Oh yeah, he was also part of 6 Stanley Cup winning teams (the 4 consecutive Cups the Islanders won in the early 80's as well as the back to back Penguin championship teams of the early 90's).

One of my favorite 80's players, Peter Stastny. If you ever watch the NHL network you've seen the "Moments on Ice" shorts they mix in with commercials during their broadcasts. I caught a great one the other day on how Stastny and brother Anton defected from Czechoslovakia to join the Quebec Nordiques.

Finally, we have the Edmonton Oilers team leader card featuring the Great One. I love this card because it represents one of the greatest seasons in the history of the NHL, Gretzky's 1981-82 campaign. The numbers on this card are simply mind-blowing. Gretzky's astounding 92 goals is a record that stands to this day and one of his many records that will likely never be topped. Tack on a cool 120 assists and you're looking at a 212 point season! The most amazing thing to me is that this is one of four 200 point seasons he registered within a five year stretch. In the final of those 5 years, the 1985-86 season, he would top even this 212 point mark, registering 163 assists and 215 points (both records that stand to this day as well). He recorded over 1,000 points in those five seasons alone! Best of all, this card is number 99 in the set, a nice touch.

Well, that about wraps it up for the few packs I've opened so far. I'll be sure to post the rest of what I pull when I get around to opening.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Hat or the Gun? Which Would You Choose?

A couple of older wax packs that I've opened in recent months have had some pretty funny mail-in offers that I thought might amuse you all. First, from 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee hockey we have the plastic gun with suction cup darts:

Way back in 1982, the year I was born, any kid could scrounge up a dollar and send it off Ontario along with 5 O-Pee-Chee hockey wrappers, then wait anxiously for their suction cup dart gun to arrive in the mail. Not surprisingly, I couldn't find any auctions for or pictures of said gun, nor can I find any pictures of a "revolver style" suction cup dart gun like the one depicted on the wrapper. I think it's safe to assume this would've broken within days or even hours, if it worked at all. Not to mention you'd be the laughing stock of all the cool kids who were using the far more sophisticated NERF guns, of which my brothers and I owned quite a few.

Of course, in this politically correct day and age, I doubt any trading card company could get away with a promotion that provides a child with a toy that even somewhat resembles an actual gun. What is this world coming to? One final note, there is no expiration date specified for this offer, so I am pretty tempted to send 5 of these off to Upper Deck with a dollar enclosed just to see what happens.

The other interesting mail-in offer is found on a 1986 Fleer baseball wrapper:

Fleer was offering this very cool All Star Collector's hat! In this case you had to pony up $2.95, which is a bit steep, but you only needed 3 proofs of purchase compared to O-Pee-Chee's 5. In return you got this cap, which features 8 pockets around the hat where you can insert your favorite cards and impress your friends. I couldn't find any pictures of this hat either, but if you know of one I'd love to see it.

If I had shown up to school wearing this back in the day, I would've had my ass kicked and my lunch money stolen (along with the 8 cards) by lunch time, guaranteed!

As a kid I would've chose the gun over the hat, but if I could pick one now I'd take the hat, fill it with Whalers cards and take a picture of myself wearing it to use as my Blogger profile photo. Which item would your childhood self rather have had?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Went to a Card Show...I Guess

Last week I was on vacation from work. Though I hoped to get in more posts than usual as a result, I ended up going the entire week without a single post, or any time for cards at all for that matter. Anyway, it was a good week regardless and it was actually nice to take a break from both cards and the job for a while. I did have some time to kill on Friday afternoon though, and heard there was a card show at a local mall about 20 minutes from my house.

I was excited to check out a show. The opportunity doesn't present itself to me very often, so it has literally been years since I've been to one. When I arrived I was disappointed to see that the "show" was actually about 6 or 7 total dealers set up in the middle of the mall, one of which was the local hobby shop I frequent. I made the best of the situation though, and with my very limited budget added some great cards to my collection, courtesy of one friendly gentleman who was the only person there with any vintage hockey. With the NHL season having kicked off the day before, and the Bruins opening game the very next day, I knew I was in the mood for hockey rather than baseball. Here's what I picked up, newest to oldest:

I was able to knock 10 cards off of my 1979-80 Topps needs list. Some of them are pretty decent ones too, like this league leaders card featuring Lafleur, Bossy and Trottier.

A couple of commons. Don Maloney is now the GM of the Phoenix Coyotes, in case you cared...

Charlie Simmer rookie card. Casual modern-day NHL fans may not be familiar with Simmer, but when this card came out he was about to begin his first of two consecutive 56-goal seasons. He was a very solid scorer who tallied almost exactly a point per game during his NHL career (711 points in 712 games).

The first Topps card of Simmer's linemate, Dave Taylor (he has a card in the 78-79 O-Pee-Chee set). Those of you who watched the 40th Anniversary Canucks/Kings game this weekend saw these sweet old-school jerseys sported by the Kings. You also saw Kings leading scorer Anze Kopitar catch a brutal (albeit accidental) stick to the face. It's never good when you see the trainer picking up parts of teeth off the ice. Shudder... The best part is Kopitar still played the 3rd period. If you want to know why hockey is my favorite sport this is a good example.

Bobby Smith rookie. Stupidly, I accidentally purchased two of these, a mistake I also made with the league leaders card that led off this post. If anyone wants to trade let me know! My last 4 79-80 Topps are guys that had been around the league a while:

Guy Lafleur's base card is definitely one of my favorites in the lot, that KOHO wood stick is great.

Back to back Canadien Hall-of-Famers.

Rounding out the lot we have Stan the Man with his trademark bulbous helmet. Only ten cards, but some great players in this lot, not to mention the Simmer RC, Dave Taylor, and Bobby Smith RC are 3 of the top 10 most valuable cards in the set.

I grabbed this one single card from the 1976-77 Topps set. I have very few cards from this set, in fact this is just my 12th, but I couldn't pass up this trio of Hall-of-Famers.

I'm always looking to add a new Tony Esposito to my collection. This is a 1976-77 Topps glossy insert, smaller than an average card and with rounded corners.

1975-76 Topps Rogatien Vachon. Another set I have precious few cards from. Even though I wish more of the 1970s hockey sets used game action photos, this one is pretty decent. Another set I've been working on for quite some time is 1974-75 Topps. I managed to find a dozen cards I needed, and like the 79-80 needs I found, some of these were pretty good cards:

Second year card of Islanders stopper Billy Smith.

A couple of Bruins' greats, Phil Esposito...

...and The Chief, Johnny Bucyk!

A Jacques Lemaire with one rough corner.

Another set of Hall-of-Famer teammates, this time from the New York Rangers. Jean Ratelle...

...and Brad Park. Brad is also featured on the Rangers leaders card that I picked up...

I needed the Kings leaders card as well. Butch Goring's haircut kills me.

The last 4 I grabbed from 1974-75 Topps are from the trophy winners subset that appears at the very end of the set.

I had to have this card even though I don't really collect 73-74 Topps and I'm not familiar with Terry Harper. The photo is awesome though and it works so well as a horizontal card. I love the facial expression on Harper as Jack Egers of the Blues pursues him.

I grabbed a couple of goalies from this set as well.

This Cesare Maniago card is perhaps my favorite card of the lot from the show. What a great photo.

I picked up 9 cards from the 1971-72 Topps set. This is definitely one of the top 3, maybe even top 2 designs of the decade.

I have to confess that when I picked this one out it was based solely on the fact that I didn't have it already and that I liked the North Stars jersey. I had no idea until looking it up afterwards that Grant won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year and also had a 50-goal season.

Red was born in 1939. He is the active coach for Michigan's college hockey team. Let that sink in a minute...

I learned about Magnuson's life when I pulled his card out of a 1978-79 Topps pack not too long ago...

Another card of Hall-of-Famer Ratelle.

The final 1971-72 card is this great shutout leaders card. Esposito was the main reason I wanted this one. That does it for the 70's, but I added a few cards from the 60's as well. My very first 1969-70 Topps cards:

Sadly, Stewart is probably most known for being involved in the accidental death of teammate and roommate, Hall-of-Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk. Just after the 1969-70 season that this card represents came to an end, the two players were involved in a drunken argument/wrestling match and Sawchuk died as a result of his injuries.

Murray, a five-time All-Star, had already enjoyed his best years (with the Boston Bruins) before this card came out.

I don't know much about Ehman, I picked this one up solely because of the sweet Oakland Seals logo. Finally, wrapping things up, I found 11 cards from the 1968-69 Topps set, the very first in my collection:

The design is pretty nice, and the backs of these cards are done just as well as the fronts:

We get only one year of stats, but making up for that fact is the gigantic cartoon!

The background pictures on these cards are re-used throughout the set. Sometimes different portions of the same picture are shown. For example, look at the background on this Ken Wharram card. Now, look at the background on the Marotte card just above it. Same picture, except the Marotte background is offset a bit to the left, revealing a player's leg that is not visible on the Wharram card.

This is probably the best cartoon of the 11 cards I purchased.

This Doug Roberts was the only one that was miscut, but it's the one I wanted most for sentimental reasons.

Well, there you have it. I was happy with how I did given my limited budget and this sad excuse for a show. I've got some more post ideas lined up for October, so hopefully I can get back to my (semi) regular posting schedule soon.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...