Friday, November 11, 2016

#2 James "Pete" Runnels


#2 James "Pete" Runnels
Progress: 1st of this card
198 of 407  48.6% complete
How acquired: $7.50 on ebay
Condition: Very Good
I've been on a bit of a spending spree, but still feel like I'm getting some pretty nice deals for a change.  Card #1 in this set is Andy Pafko (it's the card Indiana Jones is going for in the banner above), and given the price Pafko demands (4 figures in prices guides!!!) relative to Pafko's career, it's obvious I'm not the only collector who covets card #1 in Topps first set.  At some point I will get my hands on a Pafko, but for awhile now, I've targeted card #2, this Runnels.  It's just one number off after all.  Apparently, I'm not the only collector who figures #2 is almost as cool as #1, because this Runnels also routinely out punts his price coverage on ebay, going well above the $20 mark on a regular basis.  So when this one popped up with a "Buy it Now" price under ten, I went for it.  Occasionally, I'll see a well worn copy of this card go for less, but not often, and I always come up short on the bidding, so who knows what the actual ceiling would have been.  As it is, it's another first series need to cross off my need list, and a nice looking card of a former All-Star.  The downside is, my itch to drop way too much on a Pafko just became a lot worse.

Stats: 14 seasons, 3x All-Star, 1,845 hits, 2x AL Batting Champ (.320 '60, .326 '62), 49 home runs, .291 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#15 Johnny Pesky


#15 Johnny Pesky
Progress: 1st of this card
197 of 407  48.4% complete
How acquired: $10.25 on ebay
Condition: Excellent
This Pesky is a card that has eluded my budget for years.  I'm not a Red Sox fan, and have no deep seeded affection for Pesky or his pole, but many Sox fans do.  As a result this card routinely demands a premium I'm simply not willing to pay for non-Hall of Famer on a team I don't care for.  So while $10 is still one of the higher numbers I've laid down for a card in this set so far, it still feels like a pretty good deal, especially given the nice shape it's in.  To read more about "Mr. Red Sox" and the myth behind "Pesky's Pole," click here to view his Wikipedia page, it's an interesting read.  Pesky finished with 1,455 hits, but lost three years to military service, sandwiched between 200+ hit seasons.  There's little reason to doubt he would have cracked 2000 career hits had he not lost those years.

Stats: 10 seasons, 2x All-Star, 3x AL Hits Leader '42, '46, '47, .307 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: 1960 0.4%

Sunday, November 6, 2016

#16 Gene Hermanski

 




#16 Gene Hemanski
Progress: 1st of this card
196 of 407  48.1% complete
How acquired: $6.00 one ebay
Condition: Fair
I went a little higher than I would like for this Hermanski, but I was already going with some other cards from this particular ebay seller, and he had flat rate shipping, so I bit.  It's in pretty good shape, though the colorization on the front has taken on a little bit of a sepia tone.  It's a pretty cool photo of what I presume is Wrigley in the background, though I can't be certain.  Hermanski was never an all-star in his nine MLB seasons, but was a regular contributor for the Brooklyn Dodgers from '47-'50, and played in 11 of the 12 World Series games of the two series the Dodgers lost in '47 and '49.

Stats: 9 seasons, 533 hits, 42 home runs, .272 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Monday, September 26, 2016

#19 Johnny Bucha






















#19 Johnny Bucha
Progress: 1st of this card
195 of 407  47.9% complete
How acquired: $6.00 on ebay
Condition: Good
I think this is a great looking card.  The coloring, with the green back drop, red jersey, pink sleeves, brown glove and yellow in the logo all work together very well.  Even if it were a standard portrait shot, the colors would make it a nice looking card, but it's about as close as you'll see to an action shot for Topps for another 18 years or so.  Add in a catcher's glove and the Cardinal jersey and it all adds up to be one of the nicer looking cards I've seen in the set.

Stats: 3 seasons, 84 games, 40 hits, 1 home run, .222 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Monday, August 29, 2016

#51 Jim Russell


#51 Jim Russell
Progress: 1st of this card
194 of 407  47.6% complete
How acquired: $6.00 on ebay
Condition: Good
This card could be the only one in my collection to feature two defunct teams.  He's wearing a Boston Braves hat, while the logo on the card reflects his trade to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  The novelty of it probably impresses me far too much, but I'm not ashamed to admit it.  

The 16 games this card shows Russell to have played in '51 were the last 16 of his career.   That's another trivial bit that I probably get too much of a kick out of.  Those 16 games allowed Jim to have a Topps card made of him.  For my entire childhood, I considered having a Topps card as about as high an honor a person could receive in life.  I'm guessing this is Russell's only card, but I like to think somewhere he has kids or grand kids who take a huge sigh of relief at the fact that he had one.  Because without the Topps card to prove it, being in the majors without one is much like the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

Stats: 10 seasons, 959 hits, 67 home runs, .267 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A



Friday, August 26, 2016

#69 Virgil Stallcup




















#69 Virgil Stallcup
Progress: 1st of this card
193 0f 407  47.4% complete
How acquired: $5.50 on ebay
Condition: Good 
There are no major flaws on this card beyond a reasonable amount of wear, which one should expect when talking about a card that is now 64 years old.  Stallcup had a very nice run from '48-51, during which time he was the every day shortstop for the Reds and twice led NL shortstops in fielding percentage ('50 and '51).  Stallcup has one of the darker wiki pages that I've come across while doing this blog.  If you're interested, here's a link, but it's not going to  brighten your day. 

Stats: 7 seasons, 497 hits, 22 home runs, .241 avg

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#73 William "Bugs" Werle


#73 William Werle
Progress: 1st of this card
192 of 407  47.2% complete
How acquired: $6.00 on ebay
Condition: Good
I over paid for this card of "Bugs."  It's pretty faded on the back, has erased pencil marks on the front, and pen marks on the back.  None of which was desernable from the ebay listing.  None of that is anything I can't live with, far from it, but this card merits the $2-4 range, nothing north of $5.  Zoom in and read the card back, it's worth the extra 15 seconds out of your day.  The claim of being "the only man in baseball to make a study of insects," probably still holds true today.

Stats: 6 seasons, 29 wins, 39 loses,  4.69 ERA

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A