Friday, July 21, 2017

#49 Johnny Sain


#49 Johnny Sain
Progress: None, 2nd of this card
How acquired: $3.00 on ebay
Condition: Fair

This Sain isn't an upgrade on my first copy, but I don't mind having it at this price.  I bought this and a good number of other duplicates (and a few needs) from a seller at prices I haven't seen for probably about eight years, or in the case of this Sain and a few others to come, prices I've never seen.  What I've learned, is that others are much better, or more careful, at looking at eBay pictures and making judgments on the conditions of cards.  This Sain, and all the other's I bought from the seller, have been heavily treated with rubbing alcohol.  Their odor is extremely strong, and you can see all the discoloration on the card.  I'm guessing that's what happened anyway, and also assuming it was done to remove paper and glue from the backs.  I could be wrong, but that's my working theory.  I'm not upset about it, and have no ill will towards the seller.  For one, he (or she) made no claims as to the condition of the cards other than that they were in terrible shape. And two, I'm more than happy with these cards in this shape at this price.  In fact, I'm pretty excited about these pick-ups.  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

#275 Pat Mullin


#275 Pat Mullin
Progress: 1st of this card
270 of 407  66.3% complete
How acquired: $4.99 on ebay
Condition: Poor
Somehow I didn't notice the bottom edge of this card when I bought it.  I need to look at the pictures more closely.  It looks like some sort of animal nibbled along the edge.  This isn't going to work.  I didn't know nibbled edges were such an issue for me before this card, but apparently, they're a HUGE issue for me.  Just looking at the scan upsets all kinds of OCD impulses I didn't previously know I even had.  For now, it'll work as a place holder, but eventually I'm going to need a copy of this 2x All-Star that hasn't been snacked on.

Stats: 10 seasons, 2x All-Star, 676 hits, 87 HR, 385 RBI, .271 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Monday, July 17, 2017

#274 Ralph Branca


#274 Ralph Branca
Progress: 1st of this card
269 of 407  66.1% complete
How acquired: $22.39 on eBay
Condition: Very Good
Ralph Branca has been one of the more difficult cards to obtain thus far.  At least, by my methods, it's more or less alway available if you're willing to pay for it.  I however, am working on a budget.  This price felt like a punch to the gut, but after focusing on it for more than a year, it's about as well as I could hope to do.  It's also in pretty decent shape, which is nice, as it is after all none other than Ralph Branca.

In addition to being one of the more expensive cards in this set for me so far, this Branca is also one of my favorites.  It's really a great looking card of a guy who will forever be a central character in the annuals of baseball history.  This card has the look of one that very easily could have been given the solid yellow or red treatment for the background.  I'm glad the colorer opted not to.  The blue sky with clouds, and hint of tress just scream "summer" to me.  The colorer also chose not to mail in the uniform either, going into very nice detail on the uniform piping, and getting the dimensions of the "B" on the hat just right.  Out of whack hat logo sizes is a real problem within this set.  It's nice to see Branca done right.

Stats: 12 seasons, 3x All-Star, 88 wins, 68 loses, 3.79 ERA

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A


Sunday, July 16, 2017

#27 Sam Jethroe















#27 Sam Jethroe
Progress: None, 2nd of this card
How acquired: $0.99 on eBay
Condition: Fair

"The Jet" is another one of my favorites in this set that was in need of an upgrade.  "Upgrading" is far from a priority, but I find myself doing it more and more when the price is right.  Recently I struck eBay gold from a particular seller and picked up three upgrades at 99¢, 99¢, and $1.84 along with some needs (wasn't so lucky on the prices for those).  

Jethroe has a fascinating stat line as far has his career numbers in MLB go.  He literally streaked across the league like a comet for three seasons, leading the league in stolen bases twice and winning the Rookie of the Year Award, before developing vision problems (and perhaps being older than he claimed) and fading into baseball oblivion.

This is the only Topps card Jethroe ever appeared on, but his 1951 Bowman is one of my favorite cards in my collection, and as I don't see myself ever getting around to a '51 Bowman blog, I'm going to use this post as an opportunity to show it off.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

#3 Hank Thompson















#3 Hank Thompson
Progress: none, 2nd of this card
How acquired: $0.99 on eBay
Condition: Very Good
As I near completing the run of cards from #1-310, and flip through the pages of the binder of the pages they sit in, my feelings on "upgrades" has evolved a little.  Originally I had no intention of ever seeking an upgrade.  That's no longer the case.  There are few that stick out in the album that I intend to improve.  Not all for the same reason.  Some cards are in disproportionately horrible shape, but others are just ones I like, and would like a nicer copy of.

This Hank Thompson falls into that latter category.  My first copy isn't too bad looking (at least on the front), but it's a card I really like, and a player with a lot of history (often tragic) to his name.  So this is a card I'd been keeping an eye out for.  The fact that it fell into my lap at this price was really a pretty nice surprise.  And given that the likes of "Mike Garcia," and "Bob Lemon" are going for $40+ on eBay, it's nice to be reminded that these cards can be found for friendlier prices with a little bit of patience.

Friday, July 14, 2017

#265 Chuck Diering


#265 Chuck Diering
Progress: 1st of this card
268 of 407  65.8% complete
How acquired: $3.26 on eBay
Condition: Fair

This is a nice looking card.  It almost looks like something you could pull from a pack today, sans the "NY" on the hat.  To their credit the Giants have never really tried to mess with a good thing as far as their uniforms, aside for the obvious switch to the "SF."

I am working on the assumption that the blue background is meant to be the sky, and is not a stylized solid fill as is common with this set.  There appears to be distant outfield bleachers in the lower left, and I can't quite tell what the green in the lower right is.  I think it's a railing or wall that he's leaning on.  Diering wasn't a pitcher, but that looks like a grip for a knuckleball that he's got in his right hand.  Or perhaps the artist just shorted him on his fingers while coloring in the photo.  In any event, this card still gets positive marks from me.

Stats: 9 seasons, 752 games, 411 hits, 14 HR, 141 RBI, .249 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#256 Pete Suder


#256 Pete Suder
Progress: 1st of this card
267 of 407  65.6% complete
How acquired: $5.19 on eBay
Condition: Fair
These 52's with the bright yellow background were clearly a source of inspiration for sets that would follow later in the 1950's ('54, '55, '58, '59).    I don't think collector's today would be very amused if Topps tried to use a solid color background as a design in a modern base set.  Maybe something like the 1960 design, with a small color block on one side would be tolerated, but I can't imagine a full on '58 style set would be well received.  If we see something like this again, it'll probably be in the form of some sort of limited instant lottery insert variation on the base card.

Suder's professional career lasted over 20 years, 13 of them in the majors, with a couple of seasons lost to military service.  From his fielding statistics (and write-up on the back of this card), it appears likely that "Pecky" would have won a couple of gold gloves at second base had them been giving those out during his playing days.

Stats: 13 seasons, 1,268 hits, 49 HR, 541 RBI, .249 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A