The name of this blog is dedicated to my mother. Back in little league, my mother used to stand back behind home plate and give me that one, simple batting instruction: "get the bat off of your shoulder!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1969 Deckle Edge inserts, now and then

Topps cards have had inserts for as long as I can remember collecting.

As a kid, I don't recall coming across too many, but I had enough to make them special. There's the story booklets and posters from the '70 set, the scratch offs and metal coins from the '71 set. I have a few of each of these, but the oldest insert cards I have that I actually pulled myself from packs, are a pair of what is called "deckle edge" cards from the '69 set.

I have had them forever. For many years I didn't even keep them with my regular baseball card collection. They got to go in the special wooden chest full of odd trinkets such as a huge Bolivian coin that I was convinced was pirate treasure and a bright red plastic apple I stole from the Snow White ride at Disneyland on a dare. 

For many years, I really thought that the autographs were real. No one could convince me otherwise. I used to take the card out and stare at it and wonder where was Jim Fregosi sitting when he signed my card?
Did Don Kessinger know that it was *me* that had this one and only card that he signed?
Probably because of the blue ink, I was convinced they were real.
There have been many baseball card sets over the years that have had printed signature on them, but I am pretty sure they were all black and, to me at least, pretty obviously pre-printed.

Recently I bought a handful of 2012 Topps Archive. I pulled this Ichiro Suzuki deckle edged card from a pack and nearly dropped my shorts! A signed Ichiro Suzuki card! Wow! Look at that! It's right there in the blue ink! How did I get so lucky!.

It was a fun 10 minutes as I rushed over to look at eBay to see if this was really a signature, and how much these were going for. It didn't take long to realize that the printed ones had the blue ink signature too.
I cracked open the binder I have with all the odd-ball cards in it, and sure enough there were Jim Fregosi and Don Kessinger, signed names with blue ink, smiling at me, almost laughing, "You're still just a big kid, aren't you?"

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why can't cereal boxes be like this now?

This last weekend was a big "sports collectibles" show here in Houston. It's about as big a card show as we get here. More aimed toward football than baseball, only one of the dozen athletes doing signatures was a baseball player; Billy Williams. Interestingly, his autograph, and picture with him if you wanted, was only $55 - lowest of all the people at the show.

But what was great about attending this show was that I was with my dad! I have not been to a card show with my dad since... boy, maybe mid-80's, so this was a treat. 

There were some great framed photos, one in particular was Koufax winding up and delivering at Dodger Stadium. I think it was from his September 1965 no hitter. I was mesmerized by the photo. It was big, maybe foot-and-a-half by two feet, and Koufax took up whole picture, batter, ump and catcher just a blur in the foreground. Behind Koufax, in the distance, you could make out the scoreboard. It was framed, autographed and over $300. Which is not a lot of money considering, but I passed on it.

I only really brought lists for a couple sets I'm trying to finish, primarily the 1970 Topps. After looking around for an hour, I had sort of given up hope when the best price I could find for the 7th series no-name high-number guys was like $7.
Not gonna happen.
Rick Reichardt? $7?
$6.75 for Duffy Dyer?
I'll pass.
I bought Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente in this set for $7 and $4.50, respectively. No way am I paying $7 for a common, I don't care how rare someone thinks it's "high" number is.
Unfortunately for the guys selling this stuff - I've seen Sportslots. 

I'm just about to leave empty handed when the last table on the way out has a dollar box and the tab dividers are all 60's and 50's. Jackpot!
I found a handful of these 1962 Post cards. They were so worn and loved and beautiful that I knew I had to have them. Of the 10 Angels in the Post set, here were 4 of them at a buck each. One great thing about collecting the Angels is that other than Nolan Ryan, (and apparently 1970 Topps Rick Reichardt!), there aren't too many high dollar cards.


I like these, and the poorly cut edges only make them more fun for me. I am reminded of a time when getting a treat from the morning cereal box was a huge part of a kid's life!

My dad even bought me a card! How about that? He ponied up the dollar for Steve Bilko! Thanks pop!
Steve Bilko was a big part of my dad's childhood baseball. He grew up in Los Angeles, which back in the 1700's when he was a kid, had no Major League teams.
But they did have the Pacific Coast League, which meant Los Angeles Angels and Hollywood Stars.
Dad's favorite player with the Angels was Bilko, because the guy used to rip the cover off the ball and send many a kid home with a souvenir. Here's a pic of Bilko that I "borrowed" from the LA Times archives.

Thanks dad!