Saturday, April 22, 2017

#54 Leo Kiely















#54 Leo Kiely
Progress: None, 2nd of this card
How acquired: $3.99 on eBay
Condition: Very Good

I picked up my first '52 back in 2008.  I started this blog in November of 2012 with a decent number in hand, and spaced my posts a couple of days apart.  At some point I ran out of cards to post, and only posted when I picked up new cards, and would space those out as well.  You may have noticed this blog would go dark sometimes for maybe a month at a time.  That's a by product of not having any new cards to post.

Right now, that is not the situation.  I have a lot of cards to get up, something that hasn't been the case since the days when I first started the blog.  It's a direct result of not buying packs of new cards.  I went with a factory set of 2016 Topps instead of doing it by pack, and only bought a couple packs of 2017 and have been more actively trading.  I've also opted to completely avoid Archives, Heritage, and O-Pee-Chee Hockey, my other typical pack buys.  Of course, rather than do something practical like put this extra $10-20 a week in savings or give to an animal shelter, I've been buying '52 Topps.

This Kiely, is a first for me.  In that I bought it believing it was a "need."  It wasn't.  I was just so far behind in getting up my new acquisitions, that my need list wasn't up to date.  That problem has been corrected.  The "Need List" page is now always up to date (So it contains "spoilers" of whats to come).

I used to have a "Trade Bait" page on this blog.  It's gone, but the concept is still the same.  Any duplicate you may want to trade for let me know.  I don't need 52's in return.  I have many Topps base set needs from '52 on through 2017.

Friday, April 21, 2017

#16 Gene Hermanski




#16 Gene Hermanski
Progress: none, 2nd of this card
How acquired: $3.99 on eBay
Condition: Fair
I bought this along with about eight others from the same seller believing it was going to be an upgrade over my first copy.  I know I repeat this with just about every duplicate I post, but "upgrading" isn't something I really have any interest in doing with this set, regardless of how bad of shape a card is in.  Which I guess was good in this case, because this Hermanski ended up not being an upgrade, and instead had found it's way to my duplicate stack.  So much for that.  

But speaking of the duplicate stack, it's starting to grow.  I don't think that's a bad thing.  When I take a broad look at my collection as a whole, a stack of duplicate '52 Topps isn't the worst thing I have going.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#258 Steve Gromek


#258 Steve Gromek
Progress: 1st of this card
226 of 407  55.5% complete
How acquired: $6.25 on eBay
Condition: Very Good
Steve Gromek clearly has a family that is very proud of him (as well they should be given his 17 year big league career).  His Wikipedia page is one of the more impressive one's I've seen.  I'm sure the word count on his page far exceeds the majority of Hall of Famer's from his era.  Which is not to say it's a bad page, it isn't, it's just very detailed and thorough.  Someone put a lot of time and effort into it.  Which I think is a good thing.  When I post these cards I've made it a habit to pull up the wiki page to see if anything of interest is to be found.  It makes me kind of sad when guys have like two lines, "John Doe was a former major league pitcher for the Detroit Tigers.  He had a career record of 20-12."  I suspect these pages were built by people just trying to have links for every guy on a roster of a particular team.  It's a bit depressing to think that a kid could make it onto a Topps baseball card, and a couple of generations later no one is left to care enough to give the guy a decent write up on wikipedia.  Not Steve Gromek though.  Someone made a point to make sure his story would not be forgotten.

Stats: 17 seasons, All-Star, 123 wins, 108 loses, 3.41 ERA, World Series Ring in 1948 (1-0, CG, 1.00 ERA)

Best Hall of Fame Showing: 1964 0.5%

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#207 Mickey Harris


#207 Mickey Harris
Progress: 1st of this card
225 of 407  55.3% complete
How acquired: $4.75 on ebay
Condition: Very Good
Mickey Harris is a guy I was not familiar with before picking up this card.  He had a decent run with Boston as a starter, even making an All-Star team in 1946 when he went 17-9, before becoming the primary bullpen guy for Washington, leading the league in games (53), games finished (43), and saves (15) in 1950.  The artist was aware enough (or instructed well enough) to get the "C" on the cap right as Harris didn't play for Cleveland until the '52 season, but it looks like he kept the Senators' pinstripes on the uniform.

Stats: 9 seasons, All-Star, 59 wins, 71 loses, 4.21 ERA, 21 saves

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#198 Phil Haugstad


#198 Phil Haugstad
Progress: none, 3rd of this card
How acquired: $1.99 on eBay
Condition: Good 
Of my three Haugstad's, this one falls squarely in the middle condition wise.  At this point probably shouldn't be picking up three copies of any of these, but I lack the self control to turn down Brooklyn Dodgers at this price.  I don't really mind my duplicate stack of 52's growing.  It's not the same waste of space the box of 1990 Donruss I refuse to toss for sentimental reasons is on my shelf.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

#187 Bob Miller


#187 Bob Miller
Progress: 1st of this card
224 of 407   55% complete
How acquired: $5.50 on ebay
Condition: Good

This card is in pretty good shape, and does nothing to hurt my opinion that the Phillies have some of the better looking cards in this set.  After going 11-6 in 1950 and finishing 2nd in ROY voting, Miller only threw 34 innings in '51 and would only throw 9 in '52.  I'm guessing he had some sort of arm injury.  Likely in the World Series, where he started a game but only threw 1/3 of an inning and faced 4 batters (someone should look into this).  He would come back in '53 and put together a solid career, but never matched his rookie numbers, let alone reach the potential that he showed.

With each new '52 that I pick up, my need list shrinks by one.  That's great (and obvious).  I no longer simply search "1952 Topps" on eBay.  I go card by card on my need list, and add what's available in my target price range to my watch list.  I used to just sort by "ending soonest" and pull the trigger on what ever was ending.  The carpet bombing approach is no longer an affective means to find what I need.  Going card by card takes a lot longer, but I don't do it nearly as often, instead I just refer to my watch list throughout the week.  In addition to the way I search for cards, there's also been a change in how I pay for them, which is to say, I pay more.

The fact is, many of the cards on my list aren't available at any given moment on ebay, at any price.  Something that never occurred to me when my needs far out numbered my haves.  If paying $5.50 instead of $3.50 for a Bob Miller is going to be the difference between waiting a year or two, I'm at the point where I'll pay the extra buck or two.  Often too, there will be four of a card available, with three having "Buy it now" prices in the $20-50 range and one with a $6 price.  The $6 price suddenly doesn't look so bad.

Closing in on completing the 1-310 low series of this set has renewed by my interest and really sparked some excitement.  I've more or less completely stopped working on 1970's sets for the moment and this venture has my undivided collecting attention (beyond Tim Wallach cards).  As such, it also has my entire undivided card budget to work with.  When I sack Willie Mays and that need falls, I should make quick work of the rest.

Stats: 10 seasons, 42 wins, 42 loses, 3.96 ERA

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Saturday, April 15, 2017

#179 Frank Smith


#179 Frank Smith
Progress: 1st of this card
223 of 407  54.8% complete
How acquired: $5.50 on eBay
Condition: Good
The back of this card doesn't show it, but Frank Smith was coming off a 1951 season in which he had 11 saves, which was good for 2nd in the NL, trailing only Al Brazle's 16.  Last year (2016) 11 saves wouldn't have cracked the Top 10 in the NL, and was 40 behind the League Leader Jeurys Familia who had 51.  Bullpen guys today, at least the good ones, are celebrated like rock stars (even some of the mediocre ones).  Some of them celebrate their own pedestrian accomplishments with a flair and gusto that would deservedly get them a fast ball high and tight if they ever actually had to go to bat themselves (something today's "half-players" on the mound rarely do).  I doubt Smith was ever much for theatrics on the mound.  I've inferred, perhaps incorrectly, that there was a stigma to the bullpen back in Smith's era.  It was for guys not good enough to start, and who were only called on if the starter failed in his duty to his team to toss a complete game.  Maybe I'm way off, and I don't agree with that sentiment, but it's the impression I've picked up.  In any event, maybe I'm no fun, but I'd like to see the Fernando Rodney's of the world tone it down.  Great, you got three outs, and didn't blow a three run lead in the 9th.  Someone else got 24 other outs, and the batters built that lead.  Stop strutting around and shooting make believe arrows and show some humility.  Not screwing up the entire game during the your brief cameo appearance is literally the least you could do.  If it's out three in game 7 in early November, live it up, by all means.  But if it's a Thursday getaway game in June, maybe think about why you're not a starter instead of fist pumping like you're Mike Eruzione in Lake Placid after getting the number eight hitter on a last place team to fly out to the warning track.

Stats: 7 seasons, 35 wins, 33 loses, 3.81 ERA, 44 saves

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A