Thursday, June 23, 2016

#293 Sibby Sisti


#293 Sibby Sisti
Progress: 1st of this card
180 of 407 44.2% complete
How acquired: $6.00 on ebay
Condition: Very Good 
Sisti has a name that looks very natural on a baseball card.  It belongs there.  On a real estate agent's business card it would look wildly out of place, but on a baseball card, it looks completely normal.  It's just one of the many things that makes this card work.  I'm pretty sure that the under brims of caps weren't yet green in 1952, but the green hue looks great on this card. As always with this set, the Braves logo is fantastic.  Sisti lost three full seasons to military service during the middle of his career, but still managed to put together a solid resume.  During his 13 seasons, Sisti played every position sans catcher and pitcher, and would later be a coach with the Seattle Pilots.  He also appeared as a coach in the movie "The Natural." 

Take note of the card number, #293.  This is only the seventh card I've picked up higher than #250.  Per The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, 1952 Topps is comprised of 407 cards, issued in four series.  Here's a break down of the series:

#1-80
#81-250
#251-310
#310-407

The fourth series demand a huge premium, rarely selling for under $100 no matter how maligned the card is.  I've seen extremely creased examples with the white border completely trimmed off and pen marks sell for over $50.  I don't have any of those.  

Per my 2012 Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards, the first series (1-80) demands the next highest premium, followed by the 3rd (251-310) and then the 2nd.  In my experience the low number cards do demand a slight premium over the 2nd series.  However, the 3rd (251-310) have been much tougher for me, as evidenced by this Sisti being only the 7th card I've picked up from the 3rd series.  I've also noticed that the higher the card number within the 3rd series, the more the card seems to demand.  

This has been becoming increasingly frustrating as I've started to narrow my focus in on cards that I need rather than just scatter shot acquisitions of everything I came across.  So I did some research and discovered that my Standard Catalog was over simplifying things a bit.  A guy named Ron Hobbs broke it all down with incredible detail.  Within each series of 52's, cards were printed on 100 card sheets.  This led to double, triple, and quadruple prints within the individual series.  Not only that, per Hobbs there are actually six series of cards, not four.  The six series were however done in four print runs.

I expect his breakdown will be incredible useful going forward, or will at least provide a lot of piece of mind when I can't find a card for the price I want.  He goes into even more detail as far as the many variations with in the set, red/black backs, gray card stock, the color of stars on the back, the stitching on the baseball that houses the card number on the back, and everything else I can't imagine ever being such a degree of a completest to be concerned with.

Per Hobbs, this Sisti falls in the 5th Series (251-310), and was a triple print rather than a quadruple print.  Hobbs doesn't give suggested values, but in my experience, that puts this Sisti in the most difficult non-high number group of cards there is to be found.  So I feel pretty good about the deal I got on it, as it's in very nice condition.  Hobbs research is going to be my new road map going forward, and I feel a little goofy for not looking into it sooner.  I just never had any reason to question the thoroughness of the Standard Catalog.

Stats: 13 seasons, 732 hits, 27 home runs, .244 avg.

Best Hall of Fame Showing: 0.4% 1960


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