Thursday, September 30, 2010

Negro Leagues: 1909 Rube Foster/ Pete Hill Postcard

Even with the economy as tough as it is, vintage and rare Baseball memorabilia can still garner big prices. Check out this great vintage real photo postcard featuring a heralded Negro League team from 1909 called the Chicago Leland Giants. It is notable because it features Hall of Famers Rube Foster (top right) and Pete Hill (top left). Anything with Pete Hill is extremely rare. It sold for an astounding $22,137.50 (over $21k above estimate).

As a special note, Rube Foster was seen by NY Giant manager John McGraw at around 1901, and (as legend has it) was so good McGraw wanted to have him play for his team. Of course, those times would not allow it, so he instead had Foster coach a young pitcher named Christy Mathewson on how to throw his fadeaway pitch (screwball).

Some Baseball historians have discredited this story. I, nevertheless, would like to think it is true. After all, John McGraw was an unusual character. He was fiery and temperamental, a brawler and a cheater, Baseball's best talent scout and a racist. Yet, upon his death, in his personal belongings, was not only a piece of a noose used in a lynching that he kept for good luck but a list of Negro League players he had seen who he wished could have played for him.
(click pic to enlarge)
(Hake's Auction Link)

Below is from the auction description.
In 1901 Frank Leland combined the “Chicago Unions” with the Chicago Union Giants (1901-1904) and in 1905 they were re-named the Leland Giants. Rube Foster joined the Giants in 1907, leading them to a 110-10 record including 48 straight wins. In 1909 the Giants entered the tough integrated city league. In Foster’s first 11 stars he won 11 games with 4 shut-outs. By 1910 the Giants were the talk of the Midwest but Foster and Leland parted ways with Foster retaining legal rights to the Lelands Giants name. Foster chose to re-name the team “American Giants” for the 1911 season while Lelands’ new team was named the Chicago Giants. Rube Foster is shown on the back row at far right. Rare. Nice clear image.
Rube Foster is probably one of the finest pitchers most fans have never heard of. Unfortunately, we can't use his playing record as a way of comparing him to the best at the time. We do have, though, some first hand accounts from some of the best. Frank Chance said he was, "the most finished product I'd ever seen in the pitcher's box. Honus Wagner said Foster was, "one of the greatest pitchers of all time...smartest pitcher I've ever seen..."

Auto Collection: Steve Garvey 2005 Donruss Signature Club

Here is a combination game-used bat and autograph insert card of Steve Garvey from the 2005 Donruss Signature Club Series. It's not numbered, but is just a great looking card.

1978 Clinton Dodgers

Here is a vintage minor league set produced by TCMA of the 1978 Clinton Dodgers. Check out the entire 33 card set here in my photo album. The Clinton, Iowa team was the Dodgers single A ballclub for only 3 years- from 1977 to 1979.

Overall, this was a fairly terrible team as they recorded a dismal 53-83 record. Not surprisingly, only three future Major League regulars came out of here- Mitch Webster, Brian Holton and Ron Kittle. Only former Dodger Mitch Webster has a card in the set. You can see it above on the top left. Also, I was surprised to find that Kittle was once Dodger property. I had no idea. He would have looked pretty good in Blue in the early to mid-80's.
One of the great things about these early minor league sets are some of the strange quirks within it. If you check the very first photo of the post, on the top right, you see the team operators- Mr. & Mrs. Bach. Here is a terrible looking B&W photo of Riverview Stadium with a great note about how it would soon be home to a TV shoot.
I bet nobody messed with Ron LeFlore on that team. And of course, I had to show the batboys card. Congratulations Matt Potts and Fred Lunett, you have been immortalized on cardboard.

Card of the Week: King of Beers

This Bud's for you, Jay Johnstone. He sure knows how to party. He's hanging out at good ol' Wrigley Field prepared for some wet weather and thinking about lounging out on the dugout steps with a cold one. Here is his 1984 Fleer Baseball card which is this week's "Card of the Week".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

eBay: Billingsley Book Card

I wouldn't mind adding this to my collection. Here is a Chad Billingley book card that features a large Dodger script patch. Only 3 of these were made.

Monty Sheldon: 1955 Brooklyn WS 55th Anniversary Art Card Set

I've been a big fan of the artwork of Monty Sheldon for some time now, and was thrilled to find out back in April that he was selling Sheldon’s Sketch Card Champions "1 of 1" art cards on eBay. If you haven't seen some of his work before check out this site for more. His painted Baseballs are very impressive.

Now, Monty is tackling the 55th Anniversary of the Dodgers first and only World Championship in Brooklyn. Check out the press release below.
Artist Monty Sheldon has been creating Sheldon’s Sketch Card Champions during the past two years, and in addition to the 2010 regular set, he will be releasing a sub set that will acknowledge the 55th anniversary of the World Series Championship achieved by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955.

Sheldon’s sketch cards are made available weekly through E-bay auctions, and starting with card no. 106 and continuing through card no. 112 he will be auctioning off a 55th anniversary set of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, who won their only World Series Championship in an exciting 7-game series versus their World Series nemesis, the New York Yankees.

Sheldon will be providing a sketch card that will correspond with each game played of
the 1955 World Series. Included in the set will be Dodger team members that played a pivotal role in each of the games and each card will be signed and finished 55 years to the exact day that World Series game was played, making this a true 55th anniversary set.

Included below is a player checklist and the auction end date for each card. The scheduled eBay 7-day auctions will all take place at 19:55 (10:55 PM eastern, 7:55
PM pacific) and you can find Sheldon’s auctions by searching with his eBay seller ID -- rube77 .

Tuesday, SEPT 28 (game 1) - Jackie Robinson & Carl Furillo (card #106) - auction ends 10/5

Wednesday, SEPT 29 (game 2) - Pee Wee Reese (card #107) - auction ends 10/6
Thursday, SEPT 30 (game 3) - Roy Campanella (card #108) - auction ends 10/7

Friday, OCT 1 (game 4) - Clem Labine (card #109) - auction ends 10/8

Saturday, OCT 2 (game 5) - Duke Snider (card #110) - auction ends 10/9

Sunday, OCT 3 (game 6) - Jim Gilliam (card #111) - auction ends 10/10
Monday, OCT 4 (game 7) - Gil Hodges, Sandy Amoros, Johnny Podres (card #112) - auction ends 10/11
Go here to see the first card available for auction on eBay. Every day over the next week each card in the set will be placed up on eBay.

2010 Topps Triple Threads Dodger Inserts

Here are some of the cards Triple Threads collectors love to chase. All of the cards have three pieces of either a uniform or bat piece placed within windows that spell an important achievement. They also come in different parallel versions. In most cases, each player has several different phrases available. The cards below do not come close to showing all the different Dodger cards out there.

Here is Manny's "Mannywood." I've also seen "MLB", "15 Game LCS HIT STR", "MAN RAM", "9 TIME SILVER", and "PS HR LDR 29 CAREER".

This is the only Roy Campanella version I've seen- "8 TIME ALL STAR".

This is the only Jackie Robinson version I've seen- "415 '47".

Here is Manny Ramirez's auto bat relic card spelling out "MLB".

Here is Chad Billingsley's uniform relic card spelling out "NL WEST CHAMPS". I have also seen "MLB" and "1.04 NL DS ERA" versions.

Here is Duke Snider's "5X 40+ HR" autographed bat relic card. There are also "MLB", "HOF 1980", and "SILVER FOX" versions.

This is the only Clayton Kershaw version I've seen- "100 SOS".

Here is Matt Kemp's auto uniform relic card spelling "THE BISON". Others I've seen include "MLB", "2009 GG & SS", and "101 RBI".

Below are two of the Rookies & Rising Stars autographed relic cards of Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Auto Collection: Kirk Gibson 2005 Fleer Classic Clippings

With the Dodger season quickly coming to a thankful close there is nothing left to do but to share some autographed Dodger cards from my own collection. As a new feature here I will share some of these cards here as often as possible. If you can't wait, feel free to check some of them out on my facebook page, here. I'll be updating that page often over the next coming weeks and months.

Here are the front and back of the 1995 Fleer Classic Clippings "Cut of History" autographed card of Dodger hero Kirk Gibson. It is serial numbered 9 out of 25. I often imagine Gibby glaring out to left field in the pic on the card as he takes Eckersley deep in the World Series. As Dodger Blues is want to say this was the last meaningful Dodger moment.

eBay: Manny's Bat Barrel Triple Threads Book

Even though the enigmatic one is no longer a Dodger you have to admit that this bat barrel book card is pretty cool. It is two cards that fold into one- much like a book. This "1 of 1" card has a couple of pieces of a game-used uniform and features the nameplate from Manny's bat. Unfortunately, neither the bat or the uniform piece correspond to his time with the Dodgers.

2010 Topps Triple Threads Dodger Base Cards

The always anticipated 2010 Topps Triple Threads cards have just been released and a whole bunch of Dodgers are included. As always, the base cards come with numerous different parallel card designs. The normal base cards come in red. Below are the Dodger cards in the much rarer parallel designs.

Andre Ethier #52 in both emerald (of 240) and sepia (of 525) designs.

Jackie Robinson #48 in a sapphire design (of 25).

Roy Campanella #57 in both emerald (of 240) and sepia (of 525) designs.

Pee Wee Reese #66 in a gold parallel (of 99) design.

Manny Ramirez #73 in a sapphire design (of 25).

Matt Kemp #97 in a sapphire design (of 25).

Monday, September 27, 2010

LA Kings: Are You Ready for the Start of the Season?

Can it be, the LA Kings are actually favored by NHL experts. How is this possible? The Kings had been the laughing stock of the league for so long it's hard to believe they could actually be favored to win anything. But there you go, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN says we will win the Pacific Division. I don't think a Kings team has been ranked this high since the days of Gretzky.

10. No 'I' in team
The Kings are a team. They are a tight-knit group. Many teams claim this, but not all actually are.

"A few years ago, only one or two players trained here in the summer. Now these guys all train together here in the summer," Lombardi said during Kings camp. "I've got a room that cares, there's no doubt in my mind."

That chemistry is a likely product of Lombardi's careful and patient rebuilding.

"We really got put together slowly but surely," Kopitar said. "Every guy on our team has a role, and that's really important. We don't rely on one or two guys. We are a team. That's what made us successful last year, and hopefully we can build on that and go further than we did."

PREDICTION: The Kings will win the Pacific Division and reach at least the second round of the playoffs. This roster isn't done improving. Look for GM Dean Lombardi to add another piece or two before the March trade deadline.

On top of that, TSN is running their annual team previews and they have the Kings ranked as one of the top 5 teams in the league. Go here to see it.

By the way, there are plenty of great blogs to read about the Kings, especially Rich Hammond's official Kings blog LA Kings Insider, but I wanted to make a special gesture to point you all to one of my favorite blogs called Surly & Scribe (LA Kings News). It's always a fun read. Besides, Surly happens to be my seat neighbor during home games, so be sure to check them out.

Go Kings Go!

Hat Tip: Surly & Scribe:

For Sale

Over the past couple of weeks I have decided to make a more concerted effort to go through my collection in order to pare away items that really don't fit with my collecting interest anymore or are doubles of what I already have. As many of you collectors know, it can be easy to find your collecting den filled sky-high with things you never really intended to keep or buy in the first place, but somehow they found their way into your hands. Of course, at one time they were cherished, but now you can't help but wonder what you were thinking.

Well, I'm at that point and I figure I could sell some of them in hope of using the dough to spend on other things or to expand my collection in a more focused manner- at least that is what I am telling myself. So, please go to my "FOR SALE" link here or on the top right of this blog to check out what I am selling. Everything is postpaid and I don't mind receiving offers.

You'll see everything from T5 cabinets, 19th Century Baseball trade cards, 100+ year old vintage cards, boxing and much much more. I'll be sure to add more over the coming days and weeks so feel free to check back often. Thanks.

60th Anniversary Topps 2011 Cards

If you frequent card/ hobby blogs then you already know that the Topps 60th Anniversary 2011 set design has already been unveiled. I think its design is very clean and crisp, and as long as the photography is as sharp as the Pujols above then I'm sure collectors will enjoy it. Not only that, I suspected they will create some pretty nice inserts to celebrate the milestone. See that base card design above. Go to Topps facebook page for more pics here.

For us Dodger fans we wonder, "how about some Boys in Blue?" Well, none of the current roster players are featured, but there are some old-timers nicely displayed in the below sell sheet unveiled today on dbj610's Baseball Card Blog. Go to his blog for a look at what will be coming for next season. Click the pic to enlarge it.
As for special inserts, for their diamond anniversary each base card will have a "1 of 1" parallel, called Diamond Collection, embedded with an actual diamond. How's that for fancy?

Erskine's Last Pitch

Here is a great vintage Sporting News press photo featuring former Dodger hurler Carl Erskine at Ebbets Field for the last time. He stands next to the Baseball painted wrecking ball and appears to be ready to throw his last pitch at that hallowed ground.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blog Kiosk: 9/26/2010

  • GCRL makes an awesome 1982 Topps card "that should have been." Just go there and check it out.
  • Awesome. Gaslamp Ball visits the Field of Dreams.
  • This is great news. T. S. O'Connell tells us that The Conlon Collection will be coming back.
  • Here is a first. A gold medal from the 1980 USA hockey team (once owned by forward Mark Wells) is going up for auction for the very first time. Who knows how much it will sell for? Via Boston Herald.
  • I found this utterly fascinating. The Empathic Civilization.

YouTube Link:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Allen & Ginter Poster

I thought some of you Topps Allen & Ginter collectors might get a kick out of this auction item. Up for grabs right now at Brockelman and Luckey Auctions is a very rare N28 Allen & Ginter 1888 advertising poster. This poster was hung in store windows to drive sales of their cigarettes and features all 50 cards from the card set put into packs. Considered one of the finest chromolithography posters ever produced less than 10 of these are known to still exist in any condition.
(click pic to enlarge)
(Auction Link)

Have You Seen This Dodger Tray Before?

From time to time I'll get an email from a collector wondering about an item they have that they know nothing about. A couple of weeks ago was one of those times, and I have to admit that I'm stumped.

What we have here is purported to be a Dodger lunch tray given out during an Opening Day Lunch event at the Coliseum in the late 50's. It was called an Opening Day Picnic. Fans could have lunch on the large outfield grass (I'm assuming beyond the right field fence) catered by the team. The emailer said the original owner was served steak and salad set atop the above lunch tray with some notable Dodgers drawn on it.

If you happen to now anything about this event please let me know. I'd love to know more.

On the tray are face shots of Johnny Podres, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills, John Roseboro, Duke Snider, Wally Moon, Sandy Koufax, and two players on the bottom right who I can't exactly place. Maybe Charlie Neal and ?

UPDATE: Check out my post clearing up the origins of this Dodger Tray, here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Carroll Wins Campanella Award

Jamey Carroll has proven himself to be the hardest worker out there. Congrats!

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that infielder Jamey Carroll was named the winner of the fifth annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniform personnel, will be presented to Carroll by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, during an on-field news conference this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. and both will take part in a pregame ceremony prior to tonight’s game.

The award presentation will also coincide with the announcement of a long-term partnership between the Dodgers Dream Foundation (DDF), California State University, Northridge and the Campanella family that will ensure the legacy of the Hall of Famer catcher for years to come. The DDF will make an annual financial contribution to support the Roy and Roxie Campanella Physical Therapy Scholarship Endowment at CSUN while also providing an internship opportunity within the Dodgers’ medical department each season for a student from the university’s physical therapy program.

Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006 and since then the honor has been bestowed to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009) and now Carroll.

In his first season with the Dodgers, Carroll is hitting .295 with 48 runs scored and a team-leading .383 on-base percentage in 129 games. The versatile infielder has played 64 games at shortstop, 44 at second base, 11 at third and five in left field. He has made just six errors on the season, despite 429 total chances at the four positions.

Carroll has been stellar in place of oft-injured starting shortstop Rafael Furcal and ended up shattering his career highs in games (68), starts (64) and innings (565.0) at short. The Indiana native owns a .985 fielding percentage at the position this season, which ranks third among all Major League shortstops (min. 60 games). When Furcal was out from April 28-May 5, Carroll played in 25 straight contests (24 starts) and the Dodgers rolled to a 17-8 record during that time.

In addition to his hustle out of the batter’s box and knack for making the tough play, Carroll is hitting .326 (61-for-187) at home and ranks second on the team in walks with 50, despite having only 342 at-bats. Carroll is also batting .360 with two outs and .326 with runners in scoring position and two out.

In August, he led the club with a .322 average and ranked seventh in the National League with a .419 on-base percentage. The 36-year-old also put together a terrific June (.344) and is currently hitting .361 in September. Carroll hit .500 (6-for-12) as a pinch-hitter this season and .331 against the NL West.

Carroll, who like new Manager Don Mattingly is from Evansville, IN, will return to the club next season and plans to once again be active in the Los Angeles community. This year Carroll took part in an MLBPA clinic at the Urban Youth Academy and was featured in the Dodgers’ Heart Gallery Calendar, which featured children from the Los Angeles County Department of Family Services.

eBay: 1957 Dodger Schedule Blotter

Here is a 1957 Brooklyn Dodger schedule sponsored by Schaefer Beer on a ink blotter. Blotters were relatively large, this one measures 3.5" x 7", pieces of cardboard used for laying and absorbing ink drips from an old fashioned drip pen. The coolest thing about this blotter is the original drawing of the Brooklyn "Bum" by Willard Mullin.

Kings Hockey Fest ReCap

As some you already know I am just as hardcore of a Kings fan as I am a Dodger fan. In fact, of late, considering the recent play of the Dodgers, I have moved much of my attention to the men on the ice. Tonight is the first preseason home game for the team, so I felt it only proper to finally post a little bit about the recent Kings Fest a couple of weekends back.
Above was the main presentation area where players and management would be speaking directly to the fans and below is GM Dean Lombardi on that stage giving the "State of the Kings" talk to the fans.
At the same time, many Kings prospects were on the ice for practice.
The signing event, though, was the main reason for my attendance. Here I am with team captain Dustin Brown.
I caught Heidi Androl interviewing one of the fans right in front of me while we stood in line waiting for autographs.
I was most excited about meeting one of my all-time favorite Kings- Jay Wells.
If you watched the Kings during the Gretzky era then you know this man. Here is the always affable Marty McSorley.
This is what I got signed- a vintage purple and gold jersey. I collected 8 autographs that day.