Showing posts with label Favorite Cards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Favorite Cards. Show all posts

Monday, January 20, 2014

Favorite Cards: Milwaukee Brewers

1976 Topps #550 - Hank Aaron

I have long admired the career of the true MLB Home Run King, Hank Aaron. I've enjoyed following the Brewers, even when they were pitted against my White Sox in the same league. I've always thought the history of the team was fascinating, from their beginnings in Seattle to their move to the National League.

Well before they became division rivals of the Cubs, I was digging the classic yellow and blue combinations of their uniforms. Plus I've liked the old Brewers batting helmets since I found out Carlton Fisk wore one in the 1972 All-Star game.

The colors pop on this card against a watercolor sky. Hank Aaron's name demands recognition against the only pink on the card. The still new paint fresh position of designated hitter is displayed prominently under the cartoon graphic.

Hammerin' Hank looks like a man who has seen and accomplished a lot in his career. He is in the final stages of his MLB journey here, but you can still see the steely-eyed focus and the determination to make every at-bat count. Even posed, Aaron looks impressive at the invisible plate. This just has the perfect combination, in my estimation, to be my favorite Milwaukee Brewers card.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Favorite Cards: California Angels

1985 Topps #61 - Curt Kaufman

Sometimes a card sticks in your mind, years after you've last laid eyes upon it, but you have no earthly idea why. This is one of those cards.

When I close my eyes and remember the cards I ravenously liberated from wax packs in my youth, for whatever reason, this card is one that I always picture. Curt was never even close to a star. In two short seasons with the New York Yankees and one full season with the California Angels, Kaufman never once faced my beloved White Sox. I have virtually no frame of reference for this player, except for this one card that I found in a pack of 1985 Topps, when I was eight or nine.

The first thing that strikes me about this card is the look on Kaufman's face. It's one of concentration and bemusement. Curt would be either twenty-six or twenty-seven when this photograph was taken, yet he looks like the fifth year senior selling cigarettes in the high school bathroom for a quarter each.

Maybe the position of the head, in it's odd way floating ever so slightly to the right of the body. I know this wasn't tampered with, but something is off about the definition of the head in relation to the body that makes me openly question what I am seeing. The blurred trees in the background and the gradient blue sky remind me of the movie E.T. In a strange way, the subtle disembodiment of Kaufman's head and the sleek, thin neck reminds me of Zreck (E.T.'s actual name according to the sequel script), especially the way it seems to be gravitating away from the shoulder area where my eye interprets it should be. The fact that I can see "Angels" spelled out three distinct times just adds to the bizarre juxtaposition.

All these things have definitely contributed to remembering this card after twenty-seven years. Mostly because of these mind games, it continues to be one of my favorite cards.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Favorite Cards: San Diego Padres

1985 Topps #2 - Steve Garvey (Record Breaker)

When I was a kid, I devoured any statistical information I could about baseball. I was enamored with records being broken and the odd little things that always seem to pop up in the sport. With that ravenous appetite for math, it's hard to believe that it was my worst subject.

By 1985, I was into cards collecting for my third season. The 1985 sets were ones that I obsessively collected. Topps and Fleer were the ones that I bought regularly. For some odd reason, I could never find a pack of Donruss in the mid-eighties. I gobbled up cards, stickers, rub-downs... anything that had baseball players on it, I bought. I even purchased a few packs of Topps 3-D, but could't figure out what to do with them. They always got ruined, so I think I stopped at three packs.

Fleer and Topps always provided a thrill when opening a pack. I loved the special cards of Fleer and I loved the subsets in Topps. Topps was especially ripe with subsets in 1985. I can remember being thrilled each time I got a Father/Son or a Draft Pick card. It started an appreciation of Shawn Abner, that I still cannot explain fully to this day. I've brought out my love of Shawn Abner before, or should I say, Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kurstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-ein- nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumberaber-shönedanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.

The cards that combines all of my interests were the Record Breaker cards in the 1985 Topps set. I would study each one for what seemed like hours. Sure, I loved the Fisk card. It was a huge commodity around my neighborhood. The card that captured my attention more than any other of that subset was Steve Garvey. Yes, an errorless streak is impressive, but I was more concerned with how the front of the card looked.

I know know that the background is from inside the stadium, but as a kid, I could never figure out what the blurred object was in the background. That blob fascinated me to no end. At first glance, it looked like the setting sun was behind Steve Garvey. The yellow, brown an orange color scheme on the uniform just seemed to reinforce that glance. My imagination back then was limitless and this card will always remind me of that.

Most people see a card that with a slightly out of focus picture, with a fantastic player, just standing there, who accomplished an amazing feat, but I see the innocence of my youth and the unimaginable amount of possibilities that were ahead.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Favorite Cards: Chicago Cubs

1984 Fleer #491 - Jody Davis

Looks can be deceiving. Jody Davis was a two time All-Star for the Cubs and a Gold Glove winner. On this card, he just looks like the batboy or the younger brother of a Cubs player. He almost looks like he could've been the inspiration for the Punky Brewster episode where Punky gets to watch the game from the Cubs dugout after Henry gets the wrong tickets from a scalper. Jody almost looks young enough to be down with Punky Power.

Jody Davis was popular in Chicago, but I'm not exactly sure why. Yes, he was a good defender and usually an average batter, but the extraordinary lengths that some of my childhood friends would defend him was mind boggling. I could see Jody winning in a battle against Ron Karkovice. Ron was a good defender, but I'd be lying if I said he was even close to average at the plate. My Cubs fan childhood friends thought Jody was better than Carlton Fisk. He was pretty good, but Davis was definitely not in that league of catchers. It's like saying that Joel Skinner was better than Johnny Bench in 1983 because he was younger and had a slightly higher average.

Any Cubs player on the 1984 team instantly had a following by the Wrigley faithful afterwards. In the same vein, the 1983 White Sox team were regarded in a similar fashion. Of course Ryne Sandberg was the talk of the town for the Cubs, and he definitely deserved all the accolades, but Jody Davis was the name that I heard almost as often. I still hear Jody's name mentioned today by Cubs fans. The love is still there for Davis, often at the expense of Damon Berryhill, his full time replacement.

It was strange seeing Jody in a Braves uniform for the final few years of his MLB career. It was a long, rapid slide for Jody after his Gold Glove winning 1986 season. Based on his association with the 1984 Cubs and his spectacular 1986 season, he has found a place in the hearts of Chicagoans. I would have to say that this is my favorite Cubs card because it shows Jody on the cusp of greatness. The childlike smile and the playful attitude displayed on the card gave no hints about what was on the horizon for Davis and the Cubs, but it looks like the journey would be fun.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Favorite Cards: Oakland Athletics

1993 Select #257 - Harold Baines

Since the A's have been in Oakland, they have had their fair share of success. Big name players have come and gone through the ranks. There have been Hall of Fame players that are immediately identified with Oakland and there have been great characters who have emerged from the team.

Great hitting and great pitching have defined different eras in Oakland. From World Series dominance to bottom of the barrel, scrappy teams that you can't help but root for, the A's have had many cards that I've considered great.

In this instance, many things fall into place on this card. One of my favorite players is featured. The border color, which is suspect on many other cards in this set, matches perfectly with the uniform. The player featured has a big, natural smile and is caught in a candid moment.

For all the iconic cards of the Oakland Athletics from Rickey Henderson to Jose Canseco to Barry Zito to Reggie Jackson, this card pulls ahead, in my opinion. While I'm sure others will argue the merits of other cards, from superstars in their prime to hot rookie cards that have defined a year, this card, to me, represents what I love about baseball.

All the dedication and hard work and talent will only get a player so far. To truly appreciate the nuances of the game, the player has to enjoy what he's doing. Too many players carry their sullen attitude onto the field and keep it after the game. Every player that makes it into a game at the Major League level gets paid an extraordinary amount of money to play a game. Players should never forget what it was like to dream of playing in the majors, as a kid.

This card captures that innocence and joy of childhood fantasies perfectly. That's what makes this my favorite Oakland Athletics card.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Favorite Cards: Tampa Bay Devil Rays

2001 Topps Tribute #10 - Wade Boggs

As strange as it was to see long time Red Sox third baseman, Wade Boggs, on the Yankees, it was even stranger to see him on the Devil Rays. What was even more amazing was that Wade Boggs could still hit at age 41.

Wade collected his 3,000th hit in 1999, and finished his career with 3,010 hits. In his final year, he still hit over .300. In fact, the lowest average Wade had ever had for a season came in 1998, and that was still a respectable .280.

As a kid, I respected the hell out of Wade Boggs. I admired his high batting averages and wished that the White Sox could land him someday. Instead, I was stuck with a rotation of third basemen that included such household names as Tim Hulett, Wayne Tolleson, Steve Lyons, Carlos Martinez and Kenny Williams, among others. I always thought that Boggs could put the White Sox over the top and into the playoffs.

Of course, this was before I knew the intricacies of trades and free agency. If the White Sox did ever trade for Wade Boggs in the eighties, I probably would have missed out on seeing Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas and Alex Fernandez in a White Sox uniform. I was a kid and had no clue what four great years in the draft could do to revitalize my favorite team. Still, I would have loved to see Boggs hit in Comiskey Park on a regular basis, alongside Baines and Fisk.

I have a soft spot for newer teams. I'm always intrigued with additions to the MLB cache of teams or a city move. Back in 1993, I owned Marlins and Rockies shirts and would wear them often. I thought the idea of a team in a brand new place was great. I especially liked seeing more players get a chance to be on a major league roster. I thought it might introduce an influx of new cards.

When the leagues expanded again in 1998, I was curious. I absolutely adored the hideous Devil Rays uniforms with the interesting color scheme. It was even better that I saw an instantly recognizable face in that hideous uniform with Wade Boggs.

The combination of every factor is included in this card. Wade Boggs in a pose where one can truly appreciate that great mustache, the Devil Rays uniform with the rainbow lettering, and an eye catching card. There is a look of bewilderment on Boggs' face, as if he's wondering what he's doing there. My guess is that after hitting the first home run in Devil Ray history, he's waiting to become the first player in MLB history to hit a home run as his 3,000th hit.

A great card plus a great player plus a hideously great uniform equals my favorite Tampa Bay Devil Rays card.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Favorite Cards: Cincinnati Reds

1961 Topps #166 - Danny Kravitz

There are thousands of flashier Reds cards. There are hundreds of better players. In fact, there are many more players that actually suited up for the Cincinnati Reds. So why is this card my favorite Reds card?

For a time this was the oldest card in my collection. Right now I have no clue as to its whereabouts and I have since added older cards to my collection. That doesn't explain why it's my favorite though.

Technically a phantom player, Danny didn't play a single game for the Cincinnati Reds. He was with the Pittsburgh Pirates for four and a half years as a backup catcher. He was traded to the Kansas City Athletics in the middle of 1960. After the 1960 season Kravitz was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. He spent all of 1961 in Cincinnati's AAA affiliate in Jersey City. Danny never was called up with the Reds and he found himself bouncing between the Yankees and Orioles organizations in 1962 and 1963, before falling off the radar.

It was, at one time, the oldest card in my collection and Danny was a phantom player. Both of these things would make it a candidate for a great card in my collection, but it doesn't make it the favorite Cincinnati Reds card for those factors alone. The story of how I obtained the card puts it over the top.

I was eight or nine years old when I was given the 1961 Topps Danny Kravitz card, through my best estimation. My dad was doing some electrical work in a hallway wall, when he pulled out the Danny Kravitz card. One of the top corners was missing, but the rest of the card was in decent shape. I didn't care about the condition of the card. I had never held a card in my hands that old before. It seemed like a relic from an ancient time.

The haircut screamed late fifties or early sixties. The design was new and foreign to me, having only seen it on pictures of Roger Maris cards, up to that point. It was a player that I had never heard of, from a team that I had only seen on WGN and TBS and heard about on Family Ties. The most famous player on the Reds was Pete Rose and this player played before his arrival. I was transfixed!

There was only one owner of our house before us. He was a colorful veteran, who had some strange behavior. He turned the single car garage into a bar and toasted to his mother's memory every night. A few years after my parents bought the house, my dad found the mother's ashes in the garage attic. The previous owner had also taken a jackhammer and broke away the part of the driveway in front of the converted garage. While I was doing some work in 2008, I found every single piece of the broken poured concrete buried in the front yard, near the street. I was able to turn some of the pieces into a mosaic pathway.

What an odd, elderly man was doing with baseball cards in the wall during the sixties and early seventies is anyone's guess. It makes me wonder what other treasures we will eventually uncover. Suffice to say, every time there's work done on the original part of the house, I keep my eyes peeled for other 1961 Topps cards.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Favorite Cards: Louisville Colonels

1898-1899 National Copper Plate Portraits #45 - John Wagner

I have a strong fascination with 19th century baseball memorabilia. When cards or other items feature a defunct team or a famous player, something clicks in my brain to pay attention. The 19th century is littered with teams that changed radically, moved or folded. Some clubs were only around for a season.

The Louisville Colonels jumped from AA ball into the National League in 1892. The Colonels survived until 1899, when it was one of four teams contracted after the season. The owner bought half of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900 and moved many of his Louisville players to Pittsburgh.

Although the Colonels featured many star players and eventual Hall of Famers, the card that has always caught my eye is one of John Wagner, better known as Honus Wagner, perhaps the greatest all-around player of the dead ball era.

This portrait is the earliest known example of Honus on any type of baseball memorabilia. It doesn't show him in uniform, but he is identified as the third baseman of the Louisville club in 1899. Essentially, this is Honus Wagner's rookie card. The portrait was used again in the M101-1 Sporting News supplement on August 19, 1899.

Very few copies of this issue survive. There is only one known complete collection. These pictures were black and white photomechanical prints on semi-gloss paper in a size of 8-3/4-by-11 inches. They were produced by the National Copper Plate Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Wagner only played 2 1/2 seasons with Louisville, so any collectible, especially of that era, with the Colonels is rare. Most collectors today aren't aware that Honus Wagner was on any other team besides the Pittsburgh Pirates. The majority of those collectors aren't even aware that Louisville, Kentucky had a Major League baseball team. Those same collectors may be surprised at the things they might find if they look into the past.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Favorite Cards: Chicago Chi-Feds

1914 Cracker Jack #115 - Ad Brennan

From 1914 until 1915, there were games played in a third major league called the Federal League. It consisted of eight teams, four in established MLB baseball cities and four in cities that were more fringe, but still had a rich baseball history.

In the inaugural season of 1914, some teams had nicknames and some did not. Chicago was one of the teams without an established nickname, so the sportswriters came up with the Chicago Federals, or Chi-Feds for short, to distinguish the team from the American and National League franchises.

The Chi-Feds managed to land a few choice names from the other leagues, including manager Joe Tinker, who enjoyed success with the Cubs. Others, like Addison Brennan, who had played with the Phillies the past four seasons, were well known commodities. Still others, like Jack Farrell, only had major league experience in the Federal League.

Owner Charles Weeghman, who made his fortune in fast-food lunch counter diners, built a stadium for the new Chicago team in the Lakeview area of Chicago in 1914, called Weeghman Park. When the Federal League folded, Weeghman bought the majority shares of the Chicago Cubs and moved the team into the now vacated stadium, just in time for the 1916 season.

This is one of the very few examples of Chicago Chi-Feds period cards. Federal League players were only issued in a few sets during the league's existence. One of the main reasons why this card is one of my favorites is the positioning of Ad Brennan. You can clearly see the logo on the uniform in the picture.

Add in the iconic status of the set itself and this is a recipe for success.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Favorite Cards: Minnesota Twins

2007 Allen & Ginter Mini Wood #261 - Torii Hunter 1/1

Let me start off by saying that I do not have this card. There is only one in existence and it is not in my collection. I also have no idea whose collection this is a part of currently.

In 2007, I saw the base card of Torii Hunter, in the Allen & Ginter set and fell in love. There was something about the exaggerated expression on Torii's face that made this a favorite of not only me, but many other collectors. I have a copy of the base card which will not leave my extended collection.

In 2008, Torii's card in the Topps Heritage set came close to capturing the lightning in a bottle magic of the 2007 Allen & Ginter card, but couldn't overtake the perfect storm of unexpectedness and priceless. Regardless of what Torii Hunter accomplishes in his career, he is the proud subject of two great cards. Not every ballplayer can say that.

I have never even come close to sniffing a mini wood parallel card. It never showed up in any pack or hobby box that I purchased. On the secondary market, these cards usually command a pretty penny. I love the idea of them though and I hope to add one or more wood mini cards of players or teams I collect.

When I saw the image of Torii Hunter's wooden mini card earlier this year, it had managed to capture the same euphoria of the original card upon first view. I'm usually not one for endless parallels, but I would make an exception for this card. The feelings captured from the original card and the uniqueness of this parallel make this my favorite card of the Minnesota Twins.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Favorite Cards: Toronto Blue Jays

1983 Topps #488 - Alfredo Griffin

Unlike the previous entries in this series, this card is different in several ways. It features a team whose first game (against the White Sox) took place roughly five and a half months after my birth. This is also the first card featured that is younger than I am. It is also the first card to feature a Rookie of the Year, even though he had to share that honor with John Castino of the Minnesota Twins in 1979.

This is a copy of a card from my very first pack of card, back in 1983. I've told the story of that pack several times, so I won't re-hash that here. I will however re-hash and add things about the card itself.

Thumbing through that first pack could have been disaster. I was unimpressed with players that I was unfamiliar with and teams that I didn't follow. There were posed players that looked older than my grandfather, to my six and a half year old eyes. Then, I came across this card of Alfredo Griffin.

The first detail I noticed about the picture was the pucker of Alfredo's mouth. The second detail that caught my eye was the ball. It looked like he was about to miss the ball, but seeing only one frame of a play in motion, it was hard to tell for sure. I can remember looking at Griffin's headshot and thinking that he looked so sincere. He had a kind face. I was heavy into the Blues Brothers at that time (and still am), so the fact that Alfredo had sideburns like Elwood Blues may have subconsciously held my attention too.

It could be a combination of all these things and more. Whatever the reasons, I have not been able to get this card out of my memory. I thought so much of it as a child that I wrote "$1.00" in black crayon on the back. To me, at that time, $1.00 was the equivalent of pricing it at $100.00 today. It meant that much to me.

I have no idea what happened to this card. I assume it is tucked away in a box somewhere in a closet, trapped with other childhood memories. I did run across it about a decade ago, but I was in a non-collecting phase of my life, so I put it back wherever it was and forgot about it. I haven't been fortunate enough to replace the card and it is not on a high priority list. I have my memories and somewhere in my house rests the card, waiting to be discovered.

I haven't found another Blue Jays card that has ever captured my interest more than this card. It's been twenty-seven years and the search continues, but this Blue Jays card will be tough to beat.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Favorite Cards: Philadelphia Quakers

1887 Kalamazoo Bats N690 #20 - Jim Fogarty, James McGuire

Despite the wording on the card, McGuire is the one catching and Fogarty is batting.

The Quakers are today's Phillies. The Quakers name was used from 1883 until 1889. The Phillies name appeared in 1884 and took over fully in 1890. The Phillies name is short for Philadelphias, so in essence, the team is known as the Philadelphia Philadelphias.

What makes this card so striking is the use of photography that doesn't look like it was shot in a studio. The majority of cards from this period were very obviously staged inside a studio. This picture, while still staged appears to be taken inside either Recreation Park or the brand new (in 1887) Baker Bowl.

Either way, it offers a fascinating look at players in their element, at a time where photography of this nature was rare on a baseball card. This time period usually produced the previously mentioned studio shots or painted pictures on tobacco cards.

Cards measure 2¼” by 4″ and are on thick cardboard. The set is unnumbered, but the cards are unofficially numbered by alphabetical order, as usual with unnumbered cards. Players shown in the set are from New York and Philadelphia only. Backs can be found blank or with advertising.

I am a sucker for any photograph of players in uniform and inside their parks from the 1970s and earlier. It's a revelation that photographs of this nature exist from the nineteenth century. This is my favorite example of a Philadelphia Quakers card.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Favorite Cards: Cleveland Spiders

1893 Just So Tobacco #13 - Cy Young

The Cleveland Spiders are best known today as the worst team in professional baseball (sorry Mets fans). Their 1899 season is legendary in its awfulness. It wasn't always that way.

For a good portion of their existence, the Spiders were great. They even battled for the Temple Cup twice out of the four years that it was offered. What led to the quick demise of the team? The owners.

In what I can only describe as Wirtzian behavior, the Robisons (the Cleveland owners) decided to punish fans for low attendance by moving a good chunk of the Spiders home games to other cities, thus ensuring a record for most road losses that cannot possibly be duplicated. The reasons behind that decision was two-fold. The low attendance caused other teams to refuse to play in Cleveland. The other teams refusal to play in Cleveland forced the situation of playing home games in other cities.

The final straw for the Spiders was the sale of the St. Louis Browns to the Robisons. They renamed the Browns to the Perfectos (the modern day Cardinals) and moved all of the star Cleveland players to St. Louis, thus improving the odds that the 1899 season would be the worst ever seen.

Back in the glory days of the franchise, the Just So tobacco company put out a set featuring Cleveland Spiders personnel. The card that stands out the most to me is the card of D. T. Young, better known as Cy Young.

It still amazes me that Cy Young would be associated with a team that wrote the book on futility. Under the circumstances, I can see how it happened. The 1899 record of 20-134 was displayed by a minor league team masquerading as a Major League team. It's a shame that all the previous teams' efforts are erased in the minds of most baseball fans because of that one team.

This card of Cy Young symbolizes those other Spiders teams that get lost in the gloss over of history. Plus, it's not every day that you see a portrait of Cy Young in his mid-twenties.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Favorite Cards: Baltimore Orioles (NL)

1894 Alpha Photo Engraving #5 - Kid Gleason

First of the American Association, then of the National League, the 19th century Baltimore Orioles team was a force to be reckoned with. Lady luck smiled upon the team after the American Association folded. The Orioles joined the National League in 1892. By 1894, they were on their way to dominating the league.

Starting in 1894, the Orioles finished in first place for three straight years. They were involved in every Temple Cup game, which was the equivalent to the World Series of its day. The end of the season seven game series involved the first and second place teams in the National League. It lasted from 1894 until 1897. The Orioles played in all four series and won the cup in 1896 and 1897.

After a fourth place finish in the 1899 season, despite still being one of the elite clubs, the National League decided to fold the Baltimore Orioles along with three other teams.

Ninety-eight years before Scott Ruffcorn cut short his prom to attend a Topps photo shoot, thirteen of the first place Baltimore Orioles players and their manager were featured in a card set from Alpha Photo Engraving wearing their Sunday best. Ideas aren't really new. They're just recycled.

There's something about the face on Kid Gleason that makes this card stand out from the rest. His connections later to the White Sox as a player, then a manager, cinch this card as a favorite.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Favorite Cards: Houston Colt .45s

1963 Topps #338 - Russ Kemmerer

The Colts were one of my favorite teams as a kid. I wasn't alive when they were called the Colts, but name changes always fascinated me back then. They still do, actually.

From 1962 until 1964, the Houston team was named after the gun that won the west, as they say. The uniforms featured a smoking gun, with the smoke forming the "C" in Colts.

When the team moved into the newly constructed Astrodome in 1965, the team changed its name to the Astros. Instead of looking to the past, the team was seemingly looking to the future. In today's age of politically correct BS, the team would have been forced to project a more wholesome image by ditching the guns and choosing something that wouldn't potentially scare the bejeezus out of young, impressionable children.

This card featured the logo prominently. Later sixties sets would obscure any reference to the team name, as the fans were still getting used to the Houston team being named after explorers of the cosmos.

This choice has more to do with a combination of the uniform logo showing, an interesting background and the .45s logo on the cap, than the player. Interestingly enough, Kemmerer played for the White Sox the season before. Kemmerer was traded to the Colts in the middle of the 1962 season for Dean Stone. Small world.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Favorite Cards: Cleveland Bronchos

1902-11 W600 Sporting Life Cabinets - Napoleon Lajoie

Cleveland Bronchos? Was that a Major League team? You betcha!

The Bronchos were the modern day Indians, from 1902 and 1904. Many team histories are littered with name changes and city changes. Some are acknowledged readily and some are an open secret. Some clubs' histories are full of changes from minor to major leagues. I will be focusing on Major League ball clubs. Each name change or city change will be treated as a new team for this series.

I was a bit surprised to run across this doing research on other topics last year. I wasn't aware that the Bronchos had any cards made. I haven't found examples of the Cleveland Bluebirds (or Blues) yet. I can find examples of every name change after the Bronchos name. The Bronchos card discovery amazes me.

I am a huge baseball history buff, so this is like the mother lode of coolness for me. There were three different cabinets made of Lajoie for this ongoing set. The earliest examples (listing him as second baseman), were issued in 1903. One in a suit and one in a uniform were issued. There is a third cabinet card issued between 1905 and 1911, which lists Nap as a manager and infielder.

To me, this is the coolest example of the card. It was issued before the official team name change in his honor and it is a photograph of Lajoie in uniform. The most famous Lajoie card is essentially an artist's rendition of a photograph. Seeing cards with actual photographs from this period in time gives me goosebumps.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Favorite Cards: Seattle Pilots

1970 Topps #158 - Jerry McNertney

Sure, my favorite team is and always will be the White Sox. I can't foresee anything changing that. However, that doesn't mean that I'm not a fan of other teams or baseball in general. I can pick something out for every team that I like. It might be a player or a card or a feat. Well, you get the idea.

I'm a sucker for the oddities of baseball. Perhaps the oddest team in recent memory would be the Seattle Pilots, which are now the Milwaukee Brewers.

When I was absorbing information like a sponge as a kid, I was drawn to the Pilots, after receiving a 1970 card of a player in some baseball repack set that I chose from some rewards program. It was a huge catalog of items that I had access to by working for the Penny Saver newspaper.

I wondered if the Mariners were known as a different name. That quickly was discovered to be false. I learned that after one season, the Pilots were relocated to Milwaukee. I always wondered how that was possible in the twentieth century. I understood why teams started up, folded and moved in the nineteenth century, but I couldn't fathom why one would do that less than a decade before I was born.

I have a handful of Pilots cards, but I do not own this one. It is my favorite Pilots card, not because the player is an ex-White Sox player, but because of the composition of the photograph. It almost looks like someone caught Jerry in a compromising position. It seems to be a unique perspective, behind a batting cage and what looks to be a manager or a coach.

I do remember seeing this as a kid, possibly in the card shop called Family Coins, where they had binders of each set. It may have been priced a little higher because of the White Sox connection, which would explain why I did not get it. The oldest card I could afford was a 1974 Topps Luis Aparicio from that shop.

I can still remember being captured by the image on this card. It's still with me after all these years and it's what immediately comes to mind when I think of the Seattle Pilots.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...