Monday, June 23, 2014

A Very Busy Day for the Topps Photographer - May 28, 1972

A post on the great blog When Topps Had (Base) Balls! about the 1973 Gerry Moses card got me to thinking about the number of pictures in that set that show the Orioles playing at Memorial Stadium.  After looking through the set, I realized that there are a number of Orioles and Indians cards that appear to have been taken at the same game.  Doing some research on Baseball Reference.com, it looks like 10 different cards in the 1973 set came from a Sunday afternoon game played at Memorial Stadium on May 28. 

Two of the cards that clearly show this is a game between the Orioles and Indians involve Jack Brohamer.  In fact, I think both of these cards are from the same play:


In the top of the 3rd, Brohamer singled, and then was out on a double play on a ball hit to 2nd.  Jack's card shows him getting tagged out by 2nd baseman Bobby Grich.  I think the Mark Belanger card shows a photo of Brohamer at the conclusion of the play coming into 2nd, and Belanger jumping out of the way.


Brohamer did steal 2nd earlier in the game, but given that he isn't sliding, and Belanger isn't trying to make a tag, I don't think this card shows that steal.

In addition to the appearance on Brohamer's card, Grich's card also shows him at Memorial Stadium catching a infield popup.  Frank Duffy hit a popup to 2nd in the 2nd inning, and Tom McGraw popped up to 2nd in the 8th, so this card likely shows one of those 2 plays.


On the Gerry Moses card which started me on my search,  we can see an Oriole sliding in to home behind him.  The Oriole appears to be Mark Belanger, who wore # 7.  Gerry was traded along with Graig Nettles to the Yankees on November 27, 1972, which is why his cap has been airbrushed, and why his card lists him on the Yankees.


Belanger scored on a sac fly by Bobby Grich in the bottom of the 4th.  

Speaking of Graig Nettles, his picture was also taken at this game, and he received a rather poor airbrush job to show him as a Yankee:


These next 3 cards all show the same background as the Gerry Moses and Graig Nettles cards, so presumably they were all taken the same day as well:


 

We have one more card showing the Indians and the Orioles from this game.  Frank Duffy's card shows him making a play at 2nd with an unidentifiable Oriole sliding headfirst into the bag.  If I had to guess, I would say the Oriole is Don Baylor who was out at 2nd on a ground ball hit by Boog Powell to the 2nd baseman who threw to the shortstop to get the forceout.


And finally, we have Jim Palmer's 1973 card which shows him pitching at Memorial Stadium.  While there is nothing to confirm that this was taken against the Indians, Jim did pitch a complete game against the Indians on May 28, and got the win 5 - 1.  Given all the other pictures that seem to be from this game, I would say the Palmer card is from that game as well.


I'm not sure what the record might be for number of game used photos from a single game being used in 1 set, but having possibly 10 cards from the 1973 set coming from one game is pretty impressive!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rare Padres Cap Pics from The Topps Vault

As I was checking out the latest negatives up for auction from The Topps Vault, I came across two new pictures showing the short-lived 1972 Padres wide-spanning yellow panel:



That is a whole lot of yellow!  The player in both pictures is Al Severinsen.

According to a story a few years back by Paul Lukas on his amazing Uni Watch site, these caps were only worn for Sunday home games during the 1972 season, which helps explain why there aren't that many pictures showing this unique cap.

Even though this was apparently only a "Sunday Special", the design does show up in a couple of other interesting places.  Here is a picture of the Padres Bullpen Buggy, and its got the wide-spanning panel on the cap:


And finally, here is a 7-11 Slurpee Cup featuring Leron Lee, who is shown sporting the wide-spanning panel cap:


Monday, May 5, 2014

What is Going On Here?

In looking over some negatives that The Topps Vault has up for auction, I came across this interesting shot of Willie McGee:


There are a number of rather strange things going on in this picture.

First, the mismatched uniform with the white home jersey and the blue road pants.   I've never seen the Cardinals wear this combination before.  I know its just Spring Training, but still this is a very strange look.  We can tell that this was just not a case of Willie being mixed up with what to wear since the other player in the picture also has the same combination.

Speaking of which - it looks like the other player is passed out or has been knocked unconscious!
 

What in the world happened to this guy?  Did he have a few too many the night before, or did Willie just take him out with his bat?


Finally, take a look at Willie's cap.  Lets take a closer look at what has been written:



It looks like Willie is keeping track of his stats on the underside of the brim of his cap, or perhaps those are his goals for the upcoming season.  It looks like he is shooting for 100 runs and 50 stolen bases.

Topps says the negative is from 1986.  If that is the case, then this picture would have made a much more fun choice than this:


UPDATE:

Thanks to madding from Cards on Cards for pointing out that Willie can also be seen wearing what appears to be this same cap on his 1985 Fleer card:


As this looks to be the same cap, it would appear that the picture that Topps indicated from 1986 is more likely from Spring Training 1984.

Thanks also to Paul Lukas from Uni Watch for providing the complete rundown of what is written on the cap.  According to Paul, "The stuff written on his underbrim is his uni number (51) plus his statistical goals for the year: a .320 batting average, 100 runs, 50 SBs, 15 HRs and 80 RBI." 


Monday, November 11, 2013

1968 Topps Test Cloth Football Patches Wax Box

Recently an item came up for auction that I thought I'd never see - a 1968 Topps Test Real Cloth Football  Patches wax box:


Up until now, the only picture of the box I had seen was the proof sheet that had been offered for sale by the Topps Vault, which I included in my review of the set back in 2010.


Given how scarce this test issue was, I didn't think I would ever see a wax box, so I was very pleased to see the seller posted a number of pictures of the box:





This is one of my favorite Topps test sets, with the colorful team patches and the oversized team cards,




but unfortunately it was done on such a limited basis that the cards and patches are very hard to find, and therefore very expensive.

To give collectors a chance to put together a modern version of this set, I think it would be a great idea for Topps to incorporate this set into next years Archives Football release.  Just as they did this year honoring the 1971 Topps Greatest Moments (my other favorite test set) in this year's Baseball Archives set,


they could make the team cards box toppers (as they are the same size as the Greatest Moments), and include the cloth team patches a an insert set.  Are you listenting Topps?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

1988 Fleer NFL Team Action Football Sticker Red Strip Variations

Since my original post on the 1988 Fleer NFL Team Action Football Stickers a few years ago, a few more sticker variations from the set have been discovered. 

The 1988 stickers have the team name on the top which has a completely white background.  However, a few teams can be found where there is a red strip across the top.  While at first it may appear that this is just the result of a miscut sticker, if you take a closer look, you can see that the more common solid white top has a larger white space compared to the sticker with the red strip:



With the help of fellow Fleer collector Albert who has passed along information on some of the variations he has come across, it now appears that there are 12 stickers which can be found with the red strip at the top.


Both Colts variations (with the team name in small letters / large letters) have the red strip

and there are 2 different versions of the Seahawks sticker - one with the Peel arrows in black as normal, and another where the Peel arrows are almost while (as it appears the black did not print).   Here is a closer look at the Seahawks variations:

While this might just be a printing flaw, I am listing is as a variation as I've come across multiple versions of both stickers, which leads me to believe the Seahawks sticker with the red strip was likely double printed on the sheet, and one of the stickers had the normal Peel arrow, and the other sticker had the white variation.   I guess we'll have to wait until an uncut sheet surfaces to confirm.

If anyone is aware of any other stickers from this set having the red strip at the top, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One Thing You WON'T See at Fenway Park for Game 6

With news that World Series Game 6 tickets are going for record amounts, it made me think of a picture I recently found showing fans sitting on top of a billboard behind Fenway Park during the 1967 World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals:


These fans didn't have to worry about shelling out over $1,800 per ticket to see the RedSox, which is apparently what tickets are now selling for.  They just climbed up on to the billboard and watched for free!

Here is a closer look at those up on the billboard.  It seems someone brought a banner to hang up on the sign as well:



I would think it would be a bit dangerous hanging out on top of a billboard with a large group of people, especially for those on the top of the sign with a leg draped over the edge.

Times have certainly changed in the 46 years since the 1967 World Series, and Fenway Park has undergone a number of changes during that time as well.  However, there is still a billboard behind centerfield, but it now advertises Majestic instead of Old Grand-Dad as seen in the top right hand corner of the picture below:



Today, you would get arrested for climbing up on the billboard to watch the game.  Besides, even if you could find a way to get up there, your view would now be partially blocked by the Bank of America scoreboard:


Looking at the picture from 1967 with the bright blue sky, it makes me wish that they would play at least one game each Series during the day just so we could enjoy one game under the sun instead of under the lights.

Friday, June 28, 2013

When Were the 1962 Fleer Baseball Decals Issued?

Thanks to some information recently provided by Ray from Cardboardgold4u, I am beginning to question whether the Fleer Baseball decals that are normally referred to as being from 1962 are actually from that year.  Based on decals that Ray has found of the Reds and the Senators, it appears that the decals with the red backs that are usually identified as being from 1962 may in fact be from 1960 or early 1961.

Lets start with how the sets are currently defined:


According to the SCD, the 1960 set has a blue background, as seen on these Reds and Senators decals:



Note the logo for the Senators and the fact that the Reds are referred to as the "Redlegs"

For 1961, the decals have a white background, and a blue back:







The "blue" back refers to the blue text for the Dubble Bubble ad.

Note the Reds decal has changed from Redlegs to Reds, and the Senators have a new logo since they were an expansion team in 1961 as the old Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins, which is why there is a Twins decal in the 1961 set.



So far, so good.   There were 16 teams in 1960 and there are 16 decals in the 1960 set.  In 1961 the AL expanded by 2 teams, and there are 18 decals in the 1961 set.

Where we run into an issue is the so called 1962 / Red Back set.  Here's why:


Why would the Reds have gone back to Redlegs in 1962?



Why are the Senators now back to the old logo of the team that moved to Minnesota




And finally, why has no collector ever come across a red back sticker of the Twins or Angels?  No Fleer collector I've spoken with has ever found a red back decal for these 2 expansion teams, and PSA has never graded a single example.  There only appear to be 16 decals with the red backs, so it certainly seems like this set would have been issued prior to the 1961 set given the lack of the expansion teams.

The SCD indicates there are 20 decals in the red back set, which would imply that there would also be decals for the Mets and Colt .45's that joined the league in 1962.  However, no Mets or Colt .45's Fleer decals exist, so this shows that the information in the SCD guide is most likely just a guess.

Since the SCD guessed there must be 20 decals in the set since there were 20 teams in 1962, I have a feeling they also guessed on the year.  The red backs are much more difficult to find that the blue backs which may have been why the SCD decided to identify them as 1962 since the 2nd series of the 1961-1962 Baseball Greats set is harder to find than the first series.

Another interesting thing to note is that the 1960 set has a number on the back (82846) and the red back set has a similar number (83450), perhaps something like a product code.   However, the 1961 set has no number, so that is another detail that doesn't seem to make sense that the red back set followed the blue back set.

The thing I can't figure out about the red backs is the promotion for 2 free decals with the purchase of 10 pieces of gum.  There is nothing on the decal explaining how to get the 2 decals (no address to mail the gum wrappers to to collect your decals), and I have not found any Fleer Baseball card wrappers that advertise sending in Dubble Bubble wrappers to claim the decals.

So, another possible explanation is that these were sold with Dubble Bubble gum, and did not come in Baseball card packs.  Perhaps there was a 10 pack of Dubble Bubble that came with 2 decals, or the decals were included in the gum display at the store, and if you bought 10 pieces you could get 2 free decals.  Or perhaps there was something on the Dubble Bubble gum wrapper or the Dubble Bubble comics about the promotion.  I have no information to back this up, but it would make sense given the different product # on the back of the decal and the fact that there seems to be no information on how one would go about getting their 2 Free decals by spending $.10 on Dubble Bubble.

Another possibility is that the red backs were initially prepared for the 1961 Baseball Great series based on the same design as the 1960 set, but were replaced after a small run once they were able to create decals for the Twins and Angels.

While we'll likely never get a definitive answer on when and how the red backs were issued, the Reds and Senators decals (and lack of Twins and Angels decals) show that it appears the red backs are almost certainly not from 1962.

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Chicago Cubs Fleer Cloth Patch Variation Found!

I wanted to say Thanks! to Ray from Cardboardgold4u, who let me know that he found a Cubs Fleer Cloth Patch variation that I had not previously been aware of:



At first glance, there doesn't appear to be anything different about this patch.  To see the difference, you need to look at the "UBS" inside of the large "C".   The letters are further to the left and the S is completely inside the "C", whereas most patches with the darker blue background have the letters more to the right of the "C".

The picture below of the original 2 variations I've covered previously shows the difference in the position of the letters:



This newly discovered patch shows that for at least one year Fleer changed the color from light blue to dark blue and kept the Cubs logo the same before transitioning to the logo with the letters inside the "C" moved slightly to the right.

Thanks again to Ray for this new discovery!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Custom Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches from The Phillies Room

Jim from The Phillies Room has really outdone himself this time with a great set of custom Fleer Baseball Cloth Patches, like this design for the Orioles:


Jim created the patch designs to use for his posts where he looks at each upcoming series between the Phillies and their next opponent, such as their current series against the Braves:

 

Even though Fleer is gone, its great to see a "new" series utilizing this classic design. It almost feels like an "update set" to the original 1969 - 1976 sets that featured each team's city and logo so that we now get to see patches with updated logos, as well as patches of teams that weren't around at the time:


Jim previously did a similar project in 2011/2012 using the Fleer cap sticker design from the 1980's which was also a fantastic tribute:
 
 Jim - Thanks for keeping the memory of the great Fleer patches and stickers from the 1970s & 1980's alive with your amazing creations!