Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Charm of Series 2

I was all set to wait for the National to get a couple boxes of 2017 Series 2, but I got a sneak peek at pricing at the Chantilly show last weekend.  Since Steel City was asking almost $80 a box, I said never mind.  My continuing favorite online box vendor, Charm City Cards out of Baltimore, had resisted Judge-Mania and still had them for $61 a pop.  I bit.  I ordered them Monday afternoon (don't tell the boss), and they were on my doorstep after work the NEXT DAY.  Granted, I'm only an hour from Baltimore, but that's still great service!


Late Tuesday, after playing pool, I couldn't resist busting a few packs.  So I decided to open until I got the one hit from the first box.

As I went through, there were some inserts that looked familiar from the two hanger boxes I got before, but it wasn't bad.  I thought I kinda had a Miguel Cabrera hot box, since I got all these rather close together...


But the payoff came with seven packs left.  There were only two regular cards in the pack with this thing.  The jersey cards are especially thick this year.  (Spoiler: I got a Tallion regular relic in the other box and it was the same size.)

BOOM!!

Gotta love Charm City - I almost always seem to get something good from their boxes, over and above any from Blowout or D&A.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Star Trek: The Retro Football Card Set - Card #9

Will Decker was the Kirk-appointed Captain of the refitted Enterprise in the first movie.  Demoted to Executive Officer (XO) so Kirk could assume command, he merged with the V'Ger entity at the end and is classified Missing In Action.  So that's what the letters mean - not hugs and kisses from Miami.

Based on the 1950 Topps Felt Back design.





Made a slight departure from the Original Series cast this time.  Still managed to find a 50's design I hadn't used yet that wasn't just a plain photo.

Added noise and subtracted the color from a Decker photo for the front.  Toughest part was, again, cobbling the text from several cards, especially finding an X.  Wanted to mention the V'Ger somehow, but nothing fit.  A lot of these original cards have the guys with wild expression on their faces, so this wasn't going to work with a smiley photo.  And you can see that there are colorful descriptions of the player's position, not just an abbreviation.  Took some liberties with the color of the pennant back.  Just picked one that started with F and looked nice.  These original front and back don't come from the same card.

Friday, July 14, 2017

At Yankee Stadium

At Yankee Stadium

By Rick K. Smith

Yeah, I saw DiMaggio play in center.
Dad told me his spikes were extra long
so he wouldn’t tip over if he dozed off
when guys like Reynolds or Raschi
were on the mound.


And I saw Mantle, a 19 year old kid,
beat out a bunt as a pinch hitter
in his rookie year.
 

Woodling, Bauer, Mize, Coleman,
Rizzuto and Dr. Bobby Brown.
They couldn’t lose.
 

But my guys were Frank Leja,
the bonus baby who only got 4 at bats
for his $100,000. And Tommy Carroll,
another one of those whom no one remembers.


Charlie Silvera, back up for Yogi Berra;
he’d get maybe 80 at bats all year,
hit .320 and still couldn’t crack
the lineup.


What about Jim Brideweser,
utility infielder who tripled one afternoon
and was optioned to the minors
the next day.


Cliff Mapes hit an inside-the-park homer,
the only one I’ve ever seen in person.
He was in his twilight then.
When your legs start to go,
I guess you hope for a double.
You actually want the outfielder
to cut off your liner before it splits the gap
and rolls to the wall.


Running out a triple will wear you down.
I can only wonder what Mapes was thinking
Stumbling into the visitors’ dugout,
gasping for air after scoring the only run
for his lowly St. Louis Browns
on another bright and beautiful day
at Yankee Stadium
where once again the Bronx Bombers
would not need to swing
in the bottom of the ninth.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Take Up The Hunt

While researching (which means Googling and browsing my binders) the cards to match up with the poem in this post, I was amazed that I couldn't easily find a couple particular images.

The most evasive card photo was of a catcher showing a sign.  There are many shots of catchers in a crouch, some in full gear and some in just hat and glove.  But pretty much all of them are holding their bare hand outside their knees, either in a fist, or loose hand.  I looked through several vintage sets that I have, plus some from the 80's and 90's, including base Topps and Donruss, as well as Stadium Club, which has more unusual photos.  But I was unable to find any of them with the catcher actually extending fingers.  I found one that had his hand in position, but hand still balled up.

George is as close as I've seen
I challenge any and all of you to find a card like this.  Maybe you know a particular card or set that I don't have that has one.  Bonus points for full gear and in-game action.  Has to be an actual major company-produced card.  Customs are great, but that's cheating. 😊


I don't need you to send me the card, just a scan will do.  I may even be persuaded to send you a nice card or two from your favorite player or team if I have anything, or a couple hits to your want lists.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cardboard OCD Chapter 2: Which Way Is Up?

Everyone has their ways of doing things.  We talk about most of them all the time.  But there are some fundamental things that we do without much thought.  Simple tasks or perceptions that are second nature to us, but may be different to others.  Small psychological differences that are interesting when you take a second to think about them.  Or maybe I just have no life.  (Don't answer that!)

Most cards are oriented vertically, with the text reading from left to right along the shorter (2½") side of the standard card.  For all the examples in this post, the card is "flipped" over it's right edge.


When you look at a group of vertical and horizontal cards together, how do you feel the horizontal cards should be facing?

I consider the "correct" orientation to be like this:

Photo swiped from Nick at Dime Boxes
So what would be the upper left corner of a horizontal card moves to the lower left when turned vertically, or 90° counter-clockwise rotation.  For ease of discussion, let's call it being Right Side Up since literally the right edge of a horizontal card points up, or becomes the top edge.


Looks like the grading companies agree.  A quick search appears to show that they encase cards in this direction too.  If you turn it to read the grading label, the right side is against the label at the top.


The backs of horizontal cards may be vertical and can reveal if the designers agreed with this arrangement.
In this case, they did.



I believe the majority of sets that have horizontal-front cards are consistent with this pattern.  I'll go so far as to flip cards over that are facing the other way in a stack I'm sifting through or in a top loader that I bought from someone.  Cards that aren't Right Side Up just push that little psychological button that says "That's not right.  Needs to be fixed."  At least in my mind.

Now the really strange part is, vertical cards with horizontal backs are actually the opposite, in the sense that the back rotates clockwise 90° or "Left Side Up".


This seems consistent through more modern sets.



So horizontal fronts with vertical backs go counter clockwise, and vertical fronts with horizontal backs go clockwise.

But not always....

I've found some examples that diverge from the "norm".  There are a few sets where all the horizontals are Left Side Up throughout the whole set.  And there are others where it just plain gets weird.

1994 Score has all horizontal backs.  To keep all the backs in the same direction, the horizontal cards end up Left Side Up.  I omitted the arrows because you probably get the idea.





Well OK, that's all fine and good.  At least the whole set is like that.

There is (at least) one Topps flagship set where things seem to have gone awry.

1997 Topps has a couple sections of Prospects cards.  They are horizontal on the front.  The backs are vertical.  For some reason, the orientation flips around among these.  There could be others, I haven't verified.  Check it out:

Backs are all the same.  But flip them all over at once....
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Topps??
Seems like someone was asleep at the design console, perhaps?  I don't see where these are variations anywhere, so I guess it's just how they are.  I don't even think the flipped ones are the good players or anything.

And the most bizarre design I've come across so far is 1993 Select.  These have sort of a two-tone green frame design on the front that varies between left and right facing, as well as horizontals too.  But it really goes nuts when you find that some of the vertical cards have horizontal backs, and some of the horizontal cards have vertical backs.  It's really just totally random.

Left front frame - vertical back
Jose looks concerned....

Right front frame - vertical back
Ok, fine.  Mix it up.  No problem.  Harold knows it's about to get weird....

Vertical front - Horizontal back!
Say Wha?  It's almost like they put so much into the rear photos that they catered the layout to them.  Hey, OK.  Random, but OK.

Horizontal front and back
 Horizontal - Horizontal.  Nothing strange here.

Horizontal front - Vertical back
OK, now ya got me.  They've lost all control....  Though at least from the small sample size I have (a handful in my dupes box), All of the HorizF-VertB ones are Left Side Up to keep the backs upright.  I don't think I'll ever want to complete this set.  It would be too annoying to have them all over the place like that.

So the bottom line question is really this - Which one of these below is "Correct" to you?


Let me know in the comments.  Then go enjoy your properly socialized lives.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Excerpt from Donald Hall

From the Poetry Foundation's website:

In a 1985 essay, Donald Hall describes the sport’s most primal form: “Baseball is fathers and sons playing catch, the long arc of the years between.” Hall reminds us that as much as baseball and poetry are concerned with an unbroken tradition, they also share a devotion to commemorating specific, crystalline moments. Baseball is a game of punctuated stillness, of dramatic seconds surrounded by casual hours. The quiet intervals of nothingness between pitches make up most of the time spent watching a game . . . but then the pitcher glares in at home—and in “The Baseball Players” (1981), Hall explains what happens next:

Against the bright
  grass the white-knickered
  players tense, seize,
  and attend. 


A moment
  ago, outfielders
  and infielders adjusted
  their clothing, glanced
  at the sun and settled
  forward, hands on knees;


  the pitcher walked back
  of the hill, established
  his cap and returned;


  the catcher twitched
  a forefinger;


 the batter
  rotated his bat
  in a slow circle. 
 

But now
  they pause: 



wary,
  exact, suspended— 

 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Joy Of A Completed Page - 1960 Topps

Now and then when I'm flipping through my vintage binders, I come across a page that has some interesting aspects.  When you arrange a set in numerical order, you get certain groups of nine on each page, of course.  Here's another interesting full page from 1960.


Gonna work this one backwards, starting at Drysdale in slot #9.

There are lots of head shots in 1960, and really in most 60's sets.  Drysdale's is hatless, which they sometimes did if a player may have been changing teams.  Don't think this was the case here.  Gotta love the slick 'do with the part.

Don't know a lot about Al or Haywood, except I've seen them on cards a lot.  I don't like it when you get three in a row with the same color scheme within the set.  C'mon guys, mix it up better!  Though the names are fun - you got a Ned, a Haywood, and two Al's in a row.

The first Al is Mr. Dark, who I always associate as a manager for the Padres in '78, but that was apparently only a brief stint.  He also managed the Giants ('61-'64), Indians ('68-'71), and had two terms with the A's in both Kansas City and Oakland.

Ned Garver is with said A's.  I always think of this when I see his name.  Guess it's just because it rhymes.

And finally, coaches cards with Floaty Head Madness!!!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Infield Fly To The Moon

Infield Fly Rule is celebrating 200 posts and Adam is having a giveaway for a set of Space Shots cards (that I really want!).

As Anthony Bourdain put it in his recent Antarctica episode of Parts Unknown, we are living in "a time when science is held in open contempt". I thought a little reminder of how cool science can be, and more importantly, what America can do when there is a common goal, is a good thing to spread around.

Update:  I WON!!!