Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Former MLB pitcher Elliott part of lynch mob

Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.

 In 1943 former major league pitcher Jim (Jumbo) Elliott was indicted in the lynching of a black man. The story has similarities to events in the news in recent years.

A brief in the “Caught on the Fly” column of the July 22, 1943, issue of The Sporting News, reported . . .

          James (Jumbo Jim) Elliott, former pitcher with the Browns, Dodgers, Phillies and Braves, who made his last Organized Baseball appearance with the Indianapolis American Association Indians in 1936, was one of 13 named in an indictment in East St. Louis, Ill., July 14, in connection with the killing of a Negro by a mob near Paris, Ill., last Oct. 12. The victim, James Edward Person, 33-year-old former soldier, is alleged to have been shot to death by a posse which pursued him across the Indiana-Illinois state line after residents of Vigo County, Indiana, had been aroused by circulation of false rumors concerning him. Elliott was a deputy sheriff of Vigo County when the killing took place.

Person’s lynching was immediately precipitated by a complaint by a local woman who told the sheriff that she had been “bothered” by a black man who had come to her back door looking for work or a handout.

Person, from Somerville, Tenn., was an honorably discharged veteran who was said to have been living in the woods in the vicinity of the Indiana-Illinois border. He was reported to have upset a number of white families in the area (the area was all-white) by peering into windows.

Vigo County Sheriff James Trierweiler formed a posse including some deputies and nine local farmers and set out in pursuit of Person. According to the federal indictment, the sheriff authorized the posse to shoot Person on sight.

Spotted on the Indiana side of the border, shots were fired and it was believed Person had been hit, but he continued his flight and crossed over into Illinois.

The vigilantes again caught up to Person as he was standing in a farmyard, eating a turnip and talking to the farmer. The posse pulled up in two cars and piled out. The farmer advised Person not to run, but he took off towards the woods and was cut down in a hail of bullets. There was no indication he was armed at the time.

Of the 13 men indicted by the federal grand jury on a charge of conspiring to deprive Person of his civil rights, nine stood trial. Each pleaded nolo contendere and was fined $200 and court costs. The Vigo County sheriff, two deputies (one was Elliott) and a retired deputy were not tried, as they had not been at the scene of the actual shooting.

The $200 fine handed down seems like a slap on the wrist for cold-blooded killing, and it was. However, according to contemporary accounts, at that time the maximum penalty on the federal charge was a $1,000 fine and/or a year in prison.

Elliott had played his first pro ball at Terre Haute, the Vigo County seat, between 1921-25. In 1925 he’d led the Three-I League with a 25-8 record. He went up to the Pacific Coast League for 1926 where he won 26.

In 1923 he’d played one game with the St. Louis Browns in 1923, and three with Brooklyn in 1925. When he returned to Brooklyn in 1927 he remained for four seasons.

Elliott was traded to the Phillies in the 1930 post-season in deal that brought Lefty O’Doul to the Robins. In 1931 he led the National League with 19 wins.
The Phils sold him to the Braves early in 1934 and he was, in turn, purchased by Atlanta of the Southern Association in mid-June.

He finished the 1934 season with Columbus in the American Association and ended his playing days with Indianapolis.

After retiring from baseball at age 35, Elliott had settled in Terre Haute, Ind., where he owned an automobile garage. In 1941 he was appointed as a deputy sheriff in Vigo Co.

Elliott served for 25 years, rising to the rank of chief deputy. In 1968 he ran for sheriff of Vigo County as a Democrat. His opponent was former college, Olympic and NBA basketball star Clyde Lovellette, on the Republican ticket. The race attracted special interest because of the size of the candidates; Elliott was 6’3”, 250 lbs., Lovellette was 6’10”, 235 lbs. Lovellette won the election.

Elliott died in 1970. His only mainstream baseball card was in the 1933 Goudey set.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Custom card: 1976 Topps Mark Fidrych

The most newsworthy newcomer in baseball in 1976 was Mark Fidrych. At age 21, he burst onto the scene with a 19-9 record, league-leading 2.34 ERA, an All-Star berth, AL Rookie of the Year honors and second place in the Cy Young voting to Jim Palmer. He brought some color to the game and attracted legions of fans.

I wasn't following baseball or buying baseball cards in '76, but I couldn't escape the media frenzy that accompanied every outing of "The Bird" in his rookie season.

You can't blame Topps for not including Fidrych in its 1976 set. He was only in his third year of professional ball and the Tigers had been searching for his role, reliever or starter, as Fidrych had been searching for control.

The only baseball cards issued of Fidrych in 1976 were some Mike Schecter Associates discs.

I like working in the 1976-Topps format, so when one of the followers of my custom card making suggested  creating a '76T Fidrych, it seemed like a good idea.

For as hot as Fidrych was in the early years of his all-too-brief career, I was surprised to find there really aren't a lot of suitable color photos that match the "look" of a 1976 Topps Tigers card. I tried half a dozen before determining to go with what you see here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Remembering 1964 Coke football caps

After going through all the effort to "hook" a cap from a
Coke machine's gizzard with a magnet. It sucked to find a
Viking instead of a Packer.

While reading microfilm of 1964 Sporting News recently, I found a short article that brought back childhood memories -- NFL Coke caps.

I didn't make note of which issue this appeared in, but here's what TSN had to say . . . 

Save the Bottle Cap, Kids;
Find Picture Underneath

               Something new is going on with the bubble-gum and Coke crowd.
            The junior sports executives who can so casually trade Mickey Mantle for Willie Mays in straight player deals are branching out. Any day now, Y.A. Tittle may go even up for Jimmy Brown.
            Where it used to be Topps, now it has also become tops.
            The Same wheeler-dealers who have been having fun trading Topps bubble-gum cards, now can trade for a new kind of tops—Coke tops, that is.
            Starting with the new pro football season, the fad for your lad will be “stocking caps.” Not the kind you pull down over your ears for those wintry days at the local pigskin palace, but the kind that adorns the top of your Coca-Cola bottle.
            In a “Go With the Pros” promotion, the Coca-Cola company hopes to start a new national collecting mania wherein pictures of players in both the National and American Football Leagues will appear under the bottle crowns.
            There will be more than 900 pictures, and local bottlers will offer various prizes for complete collections. The youngsters will be given charts to fill in all players on teams in their areas, depending on whether they live in NFL or AFL territory. For others who do not live in professional football areas, there will be all-star sets.
            It’s enough to make a youngster flip his lid.
            Or snap his cap.
            Or maybe even pop his top.

I was 13 years old when the Coke football bottle caps were introduced. I had pretty much abandoned card collecting by then, but I liked the caps and made an effort to collect them.

I suppose Coke was a dime a bottle back then . . . too expensive for me to buy many bottles of pop just for the caps. 

However, I soon figured out a way to score the caps without buying the bottles. 

Most of the neighborhood grocery stores -- there was one about every two or three blocks -- in those days had a pop machine out front, usually a Coke vendor.

When you opened a bottle of pop with the opener on the front of the machine, the cap fell down a chute and was collected in a bin below. I spent a lot of time that autumn "fishing" the caps out of the machines.

By tying a string between the legs of a plastic Scottie dog magnet, I could lower the magnet into the cap chute and pull up the caps one or two at a time. The weight of the magnet beneath the dog's feet allowed it to drop fairly straight, though you had to be careful to keep it centered so the magnet wouldn't stick to the sides of the chute.

I amassed a goodly trove of those football caps, concentrating, of course on Green Bay Packers. I don't recall now whether I had a complete team set. I also don't remember having a cap-saver sheet, though I'm sure they were available free for asking at the store's front counter.

Looking at images of the sheets, I see that complete 93-cap collections could be redeemed at local bottling plants for such prizes as a team bobblehead doll, a large pennant with team photo, a coach's cap or, for five sets, an "autographed football."

In recent years I've thought a time or two about starting a new collection of those Coke caps, since they are widely available on eBay and the original saver sheets are also seen there. However, I'm trying hard to divest myself of my sports "stuff," so I guess I'll resist that urge.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

1964 Auravision records were kids' party favor at Mays' house party

When the unsold hoard of 1964 Auravision records was dispersed into the hobby in the early 1970s, it was believed that the Willie Mays record was scarcer than the other 15 players in the issue.

With the advent of eBay, we now know that the scarcity is more perception than reality, but it is a bit of hobby lore that persists to some degree.

An article in the March 2, 1965, issue of The Sporting News offered a glimpse into what may or may not be a disparity in surviving numbers of the Auravision discs.

Headlined “Small Fry Load Up on Cake, Ice Cream at Willie’s Party,” the boxed feature was written by Art Rosenbaum of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The article, in its entirety, follows . . .

Willie Mays gave a block party for the neighborhood kids on February 16. The invitation list was provided by the Forest Hills Improvement Association and some of the parents came to pay their respects to the Giants’ star.
“We took the group from the three blocks around my new house,” said Willie. Then he looked at the growing crowd. “I guess the others just came.”
Each guest received a Willie Mays color-picture recording, an autograph and all the punch, potato chips, cake and ice cream it was possible to eat. The cake was decorated on top like a baseball diamond with toy baseball players.
One family, the Labaughs, contributed nine children of all sizes.
“These kids,” Mays added, pointing around the room, “didn’t come to see me. They came to eat.”
            He wasn’t too far off base. His friend, Robbie, in charge of refreshments, reported six jumbo-sized bags of potato chips had suddenly disappeared. Another emergency developed; a full punch bowl of ice cream had quickly become an empty bowl.
            Willie’s decorator-plus home was not harmed, though the gold carpet may need extra cleaning from spilled cake and bubble gum. The children were well-dressed and well-behaved. They seemed impressed, but not very awed, by the Great Mays.
            One brash youngster, a boy named Jimmy, didn’t seem awed at the carpet. “Not a bad pad you got here, Willie,” he said.

An article in the August, 1963, issue of Ebony magazine said that about 75 children attended the TSN-referenced party. The article offered a color pictorial tour of the home.

 That gold carpet that Rosenbaum detailed had been mentioned in an earlier TSN article about Mays’ new home on Mendosa Avenue in what writer Jack McDonald called “the fashionable Forest Hill district.”

According to McDonald, the nine-room home into which Mays moved had cost the Giants’ star $90,000. Mays could afford it; he was about to sign his 1963 contact that would make him the fourth $100,000 player in baseball history, joining Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial at that exalted salary level. Mickey Mantle joined the $100,000 club a few weeks later.

McDonald added, “Willie did all the furnishing himself. He picked out every piece of furniture and every picture on the walls.  Everything is in excellent taste.” Mays told the writer, “I felt everything should be something I really wanted to live with. So when I went shopping and saw something I liked, I bought it.”

Here’s how McDonald described Mays’ home . . .

            All the pieces blend beautifully. The living room drapes alone cost $3,000. His white-walled living room with $25 per square foot gold carpeting looks out on a breathless panorama that takes in the Golden Gate Bridge, Sutro Forest, Twin Peaks, St. Francis Wood and Angel Island.
            A circular marble living room coffee table with gold legs is set off with an attention-commanding burnished gold lion’s head. There’s a pleasant gas-log fireplace and plenty of conveniently placed ash trays.
            A circular staircase, leading off the living room to the garage below, allows him to get to his lime-green 1962 Eldorado convertible almost as quickly as if he slid down a fireman’s pole.
            This dining room, done in French Provincial, has a circular table and his white Ransfil china plates have gold rims and are monogrammed ‘WM’ in engraved Old English. The insignia also decorates his wine goblets and the glass doors of the showers in his three bathrooms, taps of which are gold plated.
            Willie has five phones in the house, and four TVs, one a $900 color set. The three others are portables. His bedroom has a king-sized bed. ‘I like plenty of room to thrash around,’ he said. A closet, running over 20 feet, the length of the bedroom, holds his many sports jackets and other wearing apparel.
            There is a glass-walled billiard room and an alcove he uses to house his many trophies. The den has a small library. ‘I’m a newspaper and magazine reader, not a book lover,’ Willie explained. The books are confined to an Encyclopedia set, a Bible and a new-style abridged Webster dictionary.
            Though Willie lives alone, except for a maid who comes in days to tidy up and make the beds, his place doesn’t have a ‘bachelor’ look’.
            Why does he need nine rooms? He’s not a party-thrower. His idea of a good time is to have a few friends drop in for a game of cards, four-handed whist, bridge or gin rummy. Does he play poker? ‘Once in a great while,’ he said. ‘But Alvin Dark doesn’t like it.’ Willie has a well-stocked locker, with Scotch, bourbon, vodka and gin. He never drinks himself but likes to pour for guests.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Yes, that is a Confederate flag on my Civil War News custom

Back on Dec. 18-20, 2014 on my blog I presented a pair of Civil War-themed custom cards in the format of the 1955 Topps Rails and Sails bubblegum card set.

At that time I mentioned that I had plans for a custom card in the style of the 1962 Topps Civil War News set.

Months passed and that project got put on the back burner.

Recent events, however, have spurred me to action. I present herewith my CWN custom, a tribute the University Greys of Ole Miss.

When I first heard the story of that unit, I was deeply moved.

When Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union, on Jan. 9, 1861, the students at the University of Mississippi, along with many of their professors, left school and formed Company A of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment.

The back of my card offers few more details, and you can spend days on the internet  studying the unit's participation in the war.

The patriotic spirit of the student-soldiers from Ole Miss is exemplified in a surviving letter home from one of Company A's casualties.

It is preserved in John Cofield's blog entry on HottyToddy.com, linked here:

A rebel's last words

As a child collecting Civil War News cards in 1962, I couldn't intelligently discuss the whys and wherefores of the war; I still can't. Suffice it to say that I was--and am--an admirer of the common man who took ups arms to defend what has been romanticized as the Lost Cause.

I have no illusions that the University Greys were the "common man" of 1860s Mississippi. The college students would have certainly been among the slave-holding aristocracy, but they were willing to fight and die for their beliefs. 

And that's all I'm going to say about the current politicization of certain symbols of Southern heritage.

Aw, hell. That's not all I'm going to say.

If that peckerwood had posted internet photos of himself holding the U.S. flag before he desecrated that church would there be an outcry to banish it? Or would the pointy-headed liberals find another pretense to reinterpret and demonize Southern history? Is what the Neo-Reconstructionists are doing any different than Isis's campaign to obliterate what it feels are politically incorrect historic sites and relics in the Mideast and Africa?

Once the Confederate battle flag has been removed from all government properties, will the bronze statues be toppled? Will bodies be exhumed from National cemeteries? There are already reports of Confederate soldiers' headstones being broken or defaced with graffiti. Will the playing of Dixie be outlawed?

Where does it end?

How divisive and/or violent will the inevitable backlash be?

Because my Civil War News custom card uses an original painting, "Imperishable Glory," by noted Gettysburg artist Dale Gallon, I will not be offering it for sale.

Friday, July 10, 2015

'64 Giants off-season plans detailed

One of the features I enjoy finding when I’m reading microfilm of back issues of The Sporting News are the roundups the beat writers would sometimes do about what a team’s players had going on in the off-season.

These features are a nostalgic look back at a time when even the game’s biggest stars had to work off-season jobs to supplement their baseball salaries and/or keep in shape.

Following the 1964 season, San Francisco baseball writer Jack McDonald penned such a run-down on the Giants players’ off-season plans.

Here’s what he shared . . .

Dick Estelle: The rookie pitcher worked days laying oak and maple floors for a Lakewood, N.J., flooring company. On Saturdays nights, Estelle was the lead singer of The Dardenelles, working the New Jersey hotel lounge circuit.

Bob Hendley: Returned to Macon, Ga., where he was in pursuit of a degree at Mercer College, where he was an English major, minoring in sociology and physical education.

Juan Marichal: An expert skin-diver, had purchased an expensive underwater camera and was going to photograph sharks for a Dominican Republic magazine.

Willie Mays: Postponed a European vacation for a “lucrative contract” from a bus company to conduct baseball clinics for kids in a dozen California cities. After the tour, he’d return to his promotions job at Golden Gate National Bank.

Duke Snider: Retired after 17 years as a player, he returned to his avocado farm and bowling alley in Fallbrook, Calif.

Billy Pierce: Also retired after the 1964 season after being in the big leagues since 1945. He bought a partnership in an auto dealership with offices in Chicago and Eau Claire, Wis.

Billy O’Dell: A “gentleman farmer” with 150 acres at Newberry, S.C., where he had 18,000 Christmas trees and was looking to expand into beef cattle.

Harvey Kuenn: Owned a bowling supplies company in Milwaukee.

Randy Hundley: Operated a bulldozer for his father’s road construction business in Martinsville, Va.

Jose Pagan: After suffering on off year at shortstop was returning to Puerto Rico for an eye operation.

Ken MacKenzie: Kept a diary all season on “the trials and tribulations of a fringe pitcher commuting from the minors to the majors.” The Yale graduate was going to his grain farm near Dayton, Ohio, to put the diary into book form.

Chuck Hiller: Was an off-season bailiff in the McHenry County sheriff’s office at Johnsburg, Ill., where he worked with delinquent boys.

Jim Duffalo: Went back to his home in Dubois, Pa., to look for winter work.

Bob Shaw: Was a “real-estate tycoon” in Jupiter, Fla., where he owned two industrial buildings and a medical center. In his off hours he played golf and hunted.

Jim Davenport: Studying for California exams to get an insurance agent’s license so he could go to work for former teammate Stu Miller in the firm of Miller & Merrick of San Carlos, Calif.

Willie McCovey: Signed on with Simons Hardware as a good-will ambassador for the company’s stores in Oakland, Reno and Walnut Creek.

Hal Lanier: Returned to his parents’ home in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he hoped to enroll in junior college; he’d been unable to get in the previous off-season.

Jim Hart: Had a job selling suits in a men’s clothing store in Hookerstown, N.C.

Cap Peterson: Returned to Lutheran Pacific College, Tacoma, to resume his studies for an unspecified degree.

Ron Herbel: Going to work in public relation and sales for the Slyter Chair Mfg. Co. of Tacoma.

Gaylord Perry: Went back to Williamston, N.C., to look for a winter job – “any kind of job.”

Tom Haller: Sold Pontiacs for a dealership at Burlingame, Calif.

Del Crandall: Having taken up residence in Atherton, Calif., was looking for work in the public relations or sales fields.

Orlando Cepeda: Went back to his native Puerto Rico where he planned to play about 25 games in the winter league there.

Bob Bolin: Having struck out 13 Cubs in his last mound appearance for S.F. on Oct. 2, was going back home to Hickory Grove, S.C., to spend the off-season fishing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Schwinn Whizzer newest World on Wheels custom

Some months ago I saw an episode of Pawn Stars that included a Schwinn Whizzer motorized bicycle. 

I don't recall such a "store bought" contraption from my childhood, but guys in the neighborhood were always tinkering with putting motors on their bicycles and cobbling together go-karts, etc. There was even a rumor that a kid on another block had built himself a hovercraft that actually got off the ground.  From the perspective of 50+ years and a rudimentary knowledge of physics and mechanics, I now tend to disbelieve that claim.

The retro look and even the concept of the Schwinn Whizzer "Black Phantom" seemed like a good fit for an addition to the 1954-55 World on Wheels card set. I've previously done five other WoW customs (see my blog entries of Aug. 29 and 30, 2014, and Jan. 1 and 21, 2015).

As I've said in earlier postings, I could probably do a couple of dozen more World on Wheels customs off the top of my head, but I think I'll hold those in abeyance while I pursue more seasonal card projects in the baseball and football realms.

I expect that when the calendar turns to 2016, I'll be more motivated to add to my WoW offerings, as well as some other non-sports issues.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Anson's '84 contract once offered to fund VA tix

Something I learned while reading back issues of The Sporting News for 1964 is that for a time at the end of the season, the Cleveland Indians were making noises about leaving Cleveland and their cavernous home at Municipal Field where they had played most of their home games that season to crowds averaging 8,065, about 10.5% of capacity.

The most serious suitor was Seattle, but the team was also being wooed by Oakland and Dallas.

Predictably the fan base, and everybody else in town who benefited from big league baseball there, rallied to convince ownership that the city could still support the team.

One facet of the effort was a drive to sell season tickets.

In the Nov. 4, 1964, issue, TSN reported on one fan who was offering to sell what today would be a five-figure bit of baseball history in support of the ticket drive.

The article was headlined, “Fan Offers to Sell ’84 Anson Pact, / Donate Tribe Ducats to VA Patients”.

In its entirety, the piece read . . .

CLEVELAND, O.—During the “Save the Indians” campaign, a Tribe fan offered for sale the original 1884 Chicago Cub contract signed by Cap Anson, with the money to be used to buy 1965 season tickets for patients of the Veterans Hospital here.
            The valuable document belongs to Raymond J. Carson, who operates his own insurance agency in Cleveland. Carson’s brother, Thomas, was married to the widow of Bert Briggs, a teammate of Anson.
            Briggs died in 1910 and his wife Bridgett, kept the contract until her death in 1953. It was then passed along to Carson, who is still willing to sell it—and still anxious to use the money for tickets for Indians’ games next year.
            Anyone interested in buying the collector’s item should contact Carson at [street address redacted], Cleveland, O.

The article did not speculate on the value of the Anson contract.

As usual in such cases, the team wasn’t really looking to accept the blandishments of major league wanna-be municipalities, but rather to squeeze the current home town – and its taxpayers – for a better deal.

In exchange for staying on the Cleveland reservation, the Indians got a new 10-year lease that called for a reduction in Stadium rent from seven percent of gross receipts to six percent.

The team also got a $32,500 annual credit to pay approximately two-thirds of the Indians’ costs in hiring special help (off-duty police etc.).

The city also kicked in with Stadium improvements including a new press box, new and added seating with rearrangement of the box seats, refurbished rest rooms, improved inside and outside lighting, an escalator, hard-surfacing of the parking lot and construction of a Stadium Club.

At the time the new lease arrangement was approved in mid-October the season-ticket sales campaign had raised over half a million dollars in just four days. TSN reported that was the equivalent of 2,750 season tickets, compared to the 1,925 sold for the 1964 season. The goal had been 4,500 season tickets.

When the Dec. 1 ticket-campaign deadline arrived, the sponsoring Greater Cleveland Growth Board and Chamber of Commerce announced that its $900,000 goal had been exceeded by $5,051.

Attendance did improve in 1965, to 934,786, an average of about 11,541, an improvement of about 43%.

I never saw a follow-up to indicate whether the Anson contract was sold, or for how much.

A 1918-dated signed Anson vaudeville contract has been making the rounds of hobby auction houses for much of the past decade. It sold in 2006 for $2,039, brought $2,937.50 in 2008 and $3,120 in 2012. A similar contract, dated 1917, sold at auction for $3,230 in 2013.

Because of its specific baseball connection, the 1884 Chicago contract would do considerably better in a sale today. In 2013, Robert Edward Auctions sold an 1883 Chicago White Stockings payment voucher signed by Anson for $8,888.

In 1884, Anson's team finished fifth in the eight-team National League. Anson batted .335 and led the league with 102 RBIs.

Friday, July 3, 2015

1963 Jell-O Mantle remake . . . and a Pete Rose

Yesterday I presented the first of a new genre for me . . . custom re-creations of 1963 Jell-O baseball card boxes.

Today I'm sharing the other two that I've done.

The first is a revision to the original Jell-O Mickey Mantle card.

The format and graphics are the same as an original (and as my reprint), but the card photo has been changed. I've dropped in the Mick's image from the in-store display materials used back in 1963. The unmistakable Yankee Stadium upper-deck facade and the brighter pose seem like an upgrade from the original Jell-O version.

Just for variety, I also changed the "flavor" of my Mantle 2.0 box from strawberry to black raspberry.

My third custom 1963 Jell-O baseball card box adds a player to the original line-up . . . a rookie Pete Rose. Just for the heck of it.

I'm not currently planning any more 1963 Jell-O box cards, but may reconsider if a high-res scan of the large "2c OFF" marked box or a 3-oz. box becomes available to me.

and non-sports cards can be found on my blog posts of June 14, 2015.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

There's always room for more Jell-O (cards)

Regular followers of my blog know that I recently completed the first phase of custom card creations related to the Post cereal box-back cards of 1961-63.

You can see what was accomplished by scrolling back to my April 24 posting (1961), May 15 (1963) and June 1 (1962).

Today I'm unveiling a spin-off . . . a re-creation of a 1963 Jell-O box.

For many years I had in my collection a never-used 1963 Jell-O "flat" of Frank Lary on a 6-oz. strawberry box. Before selling it recently, I made a high-res scan that I could use as the basis for some new creations.

I started with reproducing -- sort of -- the original 1963 Jell-O Mickey Mantle. I say "sort of" because my Mantle is actually a re-creation. 

If I could have gotten a high-res scan of an original card, I would have done so, but my efforts were unavailing. So I did my best to replicate the format and typography of an original, and dropped in the best scan I could find on the internet of the Mantle pose. 

I'm happy with the work I did on re-doing the typography. Only a really dedicated '63J collector would be likely to spot the subtle differences, and probably only then by having a real card to compare side-by-side.

Because my box so closely parallels the genuine  1963 product. I've added a discrete 2015 copyright notice.

As the culmination of the Jell-O box project, I printed out the complete box, attached it to card stock closely approximating the original, and got out my X-Acto knife and double-sided tape.

Being a past master in the art of box folding from decades of forming up card boxes and USPS Priority Mail boxes, I wanted to see if I could do a creditable job of cutting and pasting my Mantle flat into a 3-D presentation.

With the various fold lines clearly visible on the sheet, the job turned out to be easier than I had dreaded. By scoring the back of the cardboard with my blade, I was able to make generally crisp folds .A torn seam that manifests itself in the lower-left corner of the box back is evidence that I had done a good -- but not a great -- job.

I finished the project by inserting a package of strawberry Jell-O from a current package into my retro box. It gives the newly created box a pleasing heft and sound. 

While I will be offering my complete-box panels to collectors, I won't be offering my origami skills. Those who want to make a box will have to undertake the construction themselves.

Check back tomorrow and you can see my revised version of a 1963 Jell-O Mickey Mantle box and a box for a player who did not make the cut in 1963.