Saturday, August 29, 2009
Perpetuating a canard, Edgar Allan Poe and football
I had originally created this card after Favre's first retirement and prior to his comeback with the Jets, so the write-up on back is a bit outdated. I've decided not to rewrite the back copy unless or until he finally retires.
But in looking over the card back, I notice that I have been guilty of perpetuating the myth that Edgar Allan Poe played football for Princeton.
As with all of the cartoons on the backs of my "Second Series" All-American cards, this one is a direct pick-up from an original 1955 Topps card. The only changes I made to the cartoons in my #101-200 series was when a rule change had affected what Topps had written in '55, or somebody had broken a statistical record they had originally quoted.
In fact, Edgar Allan Poe never played football for Princeton. He probably never played football at all, and he never attended Princeton. He died in 1845, nearly a quarter-century before the first game of collegiate football was ever played.
The Topps writer back in 1955 must have been confused by the fact that in Princeton's early football history, some of its most famous players WERE named Poe. They were the six sons of Maryland attorney general John Prentiss Poe, who was a cousin of the mystery/macabre writer.
If I ever have occasion to need more of my '55-style Favre cards, I'll rework the cartoon to correct the Poe football myth.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Standard Catalog Update #21 : Globe Printing Independence Browns
To get caught up on Globe cards and Oklahoma collector Glen Turner's discovery of two new team sets, I'll wait here while you go back and read yesterday's post about the Ponca City Dodgers set.
Shown here is the only card we know of so far for what appears to be another Globe set from the 1952 Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League, the Independence (Kans.) Browns.
Independence had had an on-again, off-again presence in the Class C and D minor leagues since 1896. Prior to joining the K-O-M circuit in 1947, its second season, Independence had last fielded a team in Organized Baseball in 1932.
From 1947-50, Independence was a Class D farm club for the N.Y. Yankees. Independence was 17-year-old Mickey Mantle's first professional engagement. He hit .313 with seven home runs in 89 games.
Independence left the league for 1951, but was back in 1952 as a farm team for the St. Louis Browns. When the K-O-M League folded after the 1952 season, so did Independence's history in minor league baseball.
The '52 team was managed by 36-year-old Fred "Rip" Collins, who also played first base. It is Collins' card that has survived to provide proof of the team's status as a baseball card issuer. We currently know of no cards for the rest of the team roster of 17-23-year-old players, none of whom ever got a game at the major league level. If other Globe team sets of the era are any indication, there should be 18-20 player cards yet to be accounted for in the Independence team set.
Collins himself played 13 seasons in the minors between 1937-52 (with three years out for military service), mostly with the Yankees organization. He made it to the top levels of the minors several times, with teams like Newark, Kansas City and Toronto, but never got a day of MLB service.
I suppose that as long as I continue to work on the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, I'll be treated to new discoveries in the realm of Globe Printing Co. minor league cards -- at least I hope so. I hold out only faint hope that, since Globe did a set for the 1952 Oshkosh Giants, that they also did a set for my hometown Fond du Lac Panthers of the Wisconsin State League. I've had one long-time dealer tell me that he believes he has seen such cards, but they've never surfaced during my time in the hobby.
Oh, and speaking of Globe cards, despite the insistence of one veteran dealer, the Jim Jones in the 1953 Globe Sioux City Soos set is not the Rev. Jim Jones of Jonestown massacre infamy. The Soo was James Steven Jones, born in 1930. The cult leader was James Warren Jones, born a year later and practicing in the ministry by 1954.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Standard Catalog Update #20 : Globe Printing Ponca City Dodgers
- Boyd Bartley no sponsor
- Tony DeVelis Midwest Creamery
- Clyde Girrens First National Bank
- Russ Greenbush Cities Service D.M.F.
- Al Jarvis Colvin's Conoco Service
- Morris Mack Midwest Creamery
- Mike Ryan Jay G. Paris Furniture Co.
- Don Stewart Ponca City Savings & Loan
- Duke Stuart Alexander Distributing Co.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Standard Catalog Update #19 : Looking for a Hero
Among his eclectic collecting pursuits, he has been working on an uncataloged set of baseball player stickers known as Sports Heroes. These red, white and blue 2-3/4" diameter stickers were on my radar back in the 1990s, but a catalog listing was never actively pursued because of a complete lack of information as to the extent of the set.
Larry, with an assist from sports memorabilia auctioneer Bob McGann of Pennsylvania, now seems to have a handle on what was issued . . . almost.
According to McGann, the stickers were issued circa 1964-65 by Hunter Publishing Co., Winston-Salem, N.C. Besides their suitability to be used as wall, notebook, locker, etc., decorations, there were cardboard display pages issued on which the stickers could be placed.
It now appears that only three teams are represented in this issue: Tigers, Pirates and Yankees.
Larry believes that there were four players issued in each team set. He is lacking only one Tiger to complete the set.
The known checklist is this . . .
Tigers: Don Demeter, Bill Freehan, Al Kaline and ?
Pirates: Roberto Clemente, Donn Clendenon, Bob Friend and Bill Mazeroski
Yankees: Elston Howard, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Tom Tresh
Naturally, we're looking to identify (via photocopy or scan) the missing Detroit player. If you can help, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks much!
We have received a report from collector Ed Ford that another team, the St. Louis Cardinals, is represented in this set, as well.
Ed reports that he has Sports Heroes stickers of Curt Flood and Ernie Broglio. There are probably two more Cardinals yet to be found.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Tales of T212 #9 : Tom Madden
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tales of T212 #8 : Jacques Fournier
Standard Catalog Update #18 : '77, '81 Variations
In my role as one of the editors of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards I admit that I sometimes just shake my head and go ahead and add to the data base newly reported variations, even though I might not consider them to be a big deal. I've always espoused the philosophy that one of the best things about the baseball card hobby is that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to collect.
That said, I want to thank eagle-eyed New York collector William Lawrence for reporting and sending verification samples for two variations that affect entire sets.
1977 Topps Cloth Stickers
William reports that, as shown here, each of the 55 player stickers in the 1977 Topps cloth set can be found with either one or two asterisks at bottom preceding the copyright notice.
I'm guessing that both * and ** versions were printed on the same press sheet of 132 "cards" that would have yielded two complete sets and two rows of 11 double-prints.
It is unlikely that either version is numerically scarcer than the other, thus I wouldn't expect to see any price differential between them
1981 Permagraphic Super Stars Credit Cards
Another full-set variation reported appears in the lower-right corner of the backs of the 1981 Permagraphic Super Stars Credit Cards, in the area of the card numbers.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
My Newest Custom Card : Charley Pride
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Standard Catalog Update #17 : 1950s Mantle Decal
I don't know if this item will make it into print in the 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, but at least it will be in the data base.
With space in the print edition at a premium, it is less likely with each passing year that an item that is not an actual baseball card, or very close to the traditional definition thereof, will be added. By getting such things into the data base, however, we can include them in any expanded DVD version of the book.
This decal, measuring about 2-1/4" square, has only recently begun to show up in any quantitiy in the market. I attribute this to the discovery of an original hoard, rather than modern fakery.
There no way to accurately date the release of the decal; the last half of the 1950s seems like a good bet.
Dairylea was a milk producers' co-operative organized before World War II in Orange County,
just north and west of the New York metropolitan area.
I've seen this decal being sold in slabs from both Beckett and SGC. Prices seem to vary from $90-200, but I'd bet they come down some as more of these make their way into the hobby.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Tales of T212 #7 : Paul Strand
Paul Strand was something of an N.L. Babe Ruth
There were a number of similarities between Paul Strand and Babe Ruth. They were both left-handed pitchers who hit so well that they were converted into outfielders and posted league leading numbers at the plate.
Strand was a Western boy, born in late 1893 at Carbonado, Wash. As a side-arming lefty, he made his professional debut at the age of 17 with Spokane in the Northwestern League. He had only a 5-9 record for the Indians, batting .212, but he earned a spot on the checklist for the final year of Obak's cigarette card issues out West. He also earned the interest of big league scouts, and the Boston Red Sox bought his contract for $5,000.
The Red Sox turned him back to Spokane where he opened the 1912 season. After getting shelled for nine runs in one inning, he was sent down to the new Class D Tri-State Western League. Following the 1912 season he was drafted by the Boston Braves.
Strand pitched sporadically for three seasons for the Braves, with a 7-3 record and a 2.37 ERA. He was on the "Miracle Braves" team of 1914 that wonthe World Series, but Strand never got into the post-season action because the Braves used only three pitchers in sweeping the Athletics.
At the start of the 1916 season, Strand was sold to Toledo on the American Association, where he continued his conversion from the mount to the outfield. He hit only .215 and returned to the West Coast in 1917 with Seattle in the NWL. That season he pitched a perfect game on May 13 against his old team, Spokane. He had a winning season, 9-7, and raised his BA to .285.
Strand spent 1918 in military service during World War I. When he returned to pro ball in 1919 it was with Peoria in the Class B Three-I League. He hit .299 for the "Tractors," then finished the season up a grade at Class A Joplin, where he batted .386 in 17 games.
He split 1920 out West again, leading the Pacficic Coast International League (Class B) with a .339 average at Yakima, before moving up to the Pacific Coast League with Seattle, by now afull-time outfielder.
Moving inland to the Salt Lake City Bees for the next three years, Strand really hit his stride at the plate. After a .314 year in 1921, he led the PCL in 1922 with a .384 BA and 28 home runs. He also set a professional baseball record with 289 hits -- but remember, the PCL played nearly 200 games a season back then.
Strand broke his own hits-in-a-seaon record the following year, with 325 safeties on his way to the PCL triple crown, also leading the league with 43 home runs, 187 RBI and a .394 average. His 180 runs scored were also league-best.
Those numbers earned Strand another shot in the majors at the age of 30 when Connie Mack bought him for a figure variously reported at $35,000 or $50,000, and three players. With the Philadelphia A's for only a couple of months, and hitting only .228, he was sold to Toledo.
Strand continued to dominate pitchers in the high minors for the next three years. He finished 1924 with a .355 average for Toledo, and hit an even .300 in 1925. Moving to Columbus (Amer. Assn.) for 1926, he hit .335 before returning to the West Coast with Portland of the PCL, hitting .326. He remained with Portland for 1927, hitting .355.
At the aqe of 34, Strand wrapped up his pro career in the Southern Association in 1928, batting .273 for Atlanta and Little Rock.
In 14 minor league seasons, Paul Strand played in 1,561 games and had a career batting average of .334. He died in Salt Lake City in 1974 at the age of 80. Since his major league career began after the golden age of cigarette cards, he never appeared as a major leaguer on a baseball card, though he appeared in a number of card sets during his PCL days, including the popular Zeenuts candy issues of 1922, 1923 and 1927.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Standard Catalog Update #16 : 1949 Page's Milk
While the Page's Pittsburgh Milk Co. card set has been "cataloged" for more than 35 years -- in the sense that it was listed in the old Sports Collector's Bible -- we were never able to pin down the details for an updated listing in the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Standard Catalog Update #15 : W514 H.A. Robinson
This type of ad-back W514 is known in within the hobby in only one, or possibly two, surviving examples. Fortunately for the card's owner, veteran W514 collector Bob Zych of New York, the player on the front of this card is Black Sox pitcher Ed Cicotte. This card bears on its back the advertising of a Lynchburg, Va., peanut company, H.A. Robinson.
- The lack of specimens in the makretplace argues against someone having contrived this variation to cheat collectors. Granted, the pictured example has only recently been made public, and if it is a fake, the maker could be waiting for hobby buzz to develop before cashing in by leaking his other creations into the market.
- The subject matter of the ad-back is rather mundane. A con man might be inclined, if he was going to fake an ad-back, to go with a better-known brand name, a more glamorous type of product, or a more exotic location for the issuer.
- The details of the advertising are, with a little work, verifiable. There was an H.A. Robinson peanute company located in Lynchburg in the past. Two brands of five-cent peanut packages are mentioned on the card, "Our Hero" and "Robinson Cruso" (it was not unusual to spell the surname without an "e" in times past). A good guess would be that one baseball card was packaged with each peanut purchase, and the Cicotte card certainly shows evidence of having come into contact with some sort of greasy substance.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Standard Catalog Update #14 : Ad-back W514s
The company's long-time slogan for its ice cream was, "The Velvet Kind," and that line appears on each of the handful of known Hendlers baseball cards. Each card also exhibits a second slogan. Those known so far are:
- A Pal For Your Palate
- A Smile Follows The Spoon
- In The Triple Sealed Package
- Melts In Your Mouth
- On Your Way Take Home A Bric