Monday, March 5, 2018

#175 Billy Martin

#175 Billy Martin
Progress: 1st of this card
306 of 407 75.2% complete
How acquired: $50.00 on eBay
Condition: Good (PSA 2 MC, technically)

Billy Martin is one of the big guns in the first 310 cards, and I had to pay accordingly, which wasn't a very pleasant experience.  I'm not as wild about this Martin as I was few of the other big names that set me back, such as Rizzuto and Berra.  I'm not sure why, I like Billy Martin, but this card just didn't generate the same excitement for me.

I caught a bit of a break on the price of this card, as ridiculous as that may sound, due to the fact that it's miscut.  If you notice, the back of this card is severely miscut, with the bottom of the card next to it appearing along the top.  It's done in such a way though, that you could be forgiven if you just thought that was the regular design.  It's not like it has someone else's name showing up on the back.  So it really doesn't bother me at all.  The coloring is a little faded (I think), and I'm a little disappointed in that, but ultimately, I'm just happy to cross this off my need list and add it to my ongoing efforts with this set.

Stats: 11 seasons, All-Star, 877 hits, .257 avg., 5x World Series Rings (4 as a player one as a coach), 1,253 wins as a manager

Best Hall of Fame Showing: 0.3% 1967

Martin's #1 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1986

This Martin came encased in a PSA slab.  I'm not a "graded card guy."  If you are, that's great, I won't try to talk you out of it, but it's just not for me.  I like to touch my cards.  Feel them in my fingers the same way some random person long lost to history did when they first pulled it from a pack, smell them (I know that's weird), and wiggle them to see how sturdy they are, you get the idea.  However, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the benefits of PSA, or BVG, or SGC.  When I'm dropping what I consider to be a lot of money (like $50 on this Martin) for a card on eBay, I like the added reassurance that the card is genuine that these graded card services provide.  A little extra piece of mind.  Still, once I have it, the cards coming out.  I wish there was an easier way to do it.  Would it kill these companies to leave a slot or something that a screw drive could be easily inserted into to get these cases open?  Instead, I have to break out my tools and I actually cut my finger in the process of opening this one.

The first thing I did was crunch the corners off.  It takes a little elbow grease, and while I like handling my cards and can live with whatever extra "damage" that may cause, I'm not out actively looking to make them worse.  So it's a little nerve racking to be taking these tools to the case.

Once I removed enough of the corners, I was able to slide a screwdriver into the case.  It wasn't too difficult to pop the thing open from there. (You can see a dab of my blood below the "Y" in Billy Martin on the PSA tag)

Properly freed from his plastic prison, I was able handle my '52 Martin (after cleaning my cut) the way Sy Berger intended it to be all those years ago.  From there, Martin took his place in my '52 binder creating yet another completed page.  As any vintage set builder can attest to, the completed page is one of the most satisfying feelings there is to be found in collecting.


  1. Good for you.. to free that card from its coffin!

  2. I feel exactly as you do re: slabbed cards for sets I'm building. It's nice to have the knowledge that the card is real but those plastic tombs are not for me. Browsing thru binder pages is too much of a joy to do it any other way. I've cut myself just like you did. And I also dinged a Killebrew rookie for my '59 set breaking him free. I learned to be more patient.

    Congrats on nabbing that card and finishing off one more page.