Thursday, March 17, 2011

Topps Sells Out: 1970s Product Placement, Brian Downing

C'mon, Downing, move it to the left! Looks like we're selling ice cubes here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Topps Sells Out: 1970s Product Placement, John Ellis

Thanks, John! What aftershave to YOU prefer....?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Topps Sells Out: 1970s Product Placement, Ken Clay

Hey Ken, can you move just a little bit to your left? I'm uh, trying to catch your good side. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Topps Sells Out: 1970s Product Placement

Like last week's series, this week's features repetition of a certain piece of Yankee Stadium. This time, however, it's the SAME billboard for Brut
And poor Mike Willis. Are we supposed to believe he's working on his throwing motion over by the on-deck circle? More likely the photographer was getting some sort of kick-back for producing a few million miniature Brut ads that would be delivered straight to America's impressionable youth via little pieces of cardboard. As an ad campaign it's brilliant!

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Topps TTM Project: the 1950s

Cards previously posted have a link to that post. Enjoy!

1951 Bob Feller (post)

1952 Billy Pierce

1953 Roy Sievers (post)

1954 Bobby Shantz (post 1; post 2)

1955 Monte Irvin (post)

1956 Virgil Trucks (post)

1957 Gene Conley (post)

1958 Chuck Harmon (post)

1959 Whammy Douglas (post)

There we go, the 1950's in ttm autos! Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Topps 1951-present TTM Project

The goal: have at least one autographed card from each year Topps has been around, from 1951-present. I'll list successes here by decade. Enjoy!








Thursday, March 10, 2011

Left Field HOF: Ron Hansen

And the final inductee in this year's Left Field HOF class, Ron Hansen. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Left Field HOF: Pedro Ramos

Did you think I was kidding? This was THE got-to shot for Topps photographers in the 1950s and 60s. Today's inductee is Pedro Ramos

The inset picture is painfully airbrushed, which makes me think that's his Twins uni from two years before. It's a posed shot but we've got another player in the background, those omnipresent stands, and the jersey photographs really well with that unfortunate smiling Indian on the sleeve. The shadows are what really make this card. It's something Topps could re-learn nowadays with everything being washed out in favor of over-the-top electric colors on cards. Shadows are good. Depth is good. And Ramos...I'm assuming that's chaw in his right cheek. That or he just cut one. That smile is too damn wry to be trusted.

Career-wise Ramos posted a respectable ERA+ of 95 over 15 seasons. For the most part his best years were also his worst. Playing for the late-1950s and early-1960s Senators and Twins he led the league in losses but still made an AS team and had some respectable numbers. I'm guessing run support had a lot to do with that. The funny thing is, in 1964 (with the Yankees of all teams) he put up an ERA+ of 279 over 13 games. When I first saw that I figured he did that in a start or two in a short season, but he DID pitch in a fair number of games to put up some otherworldly numbers, striking out a batter an inning.

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Left Field HOF: Clete Boyer

Oddly enough, we've got Clete Boyer, the man who replaced Carey, as the second member of this year's Left Field HOF class. Once again, we've got a shot of the left-field overhang at Yankee Stadium as the backdrop for this shot.

This card demonstrates that this background was standard operating procedure and not just reserved for guys playing for the visiting team. 

Boyer was a great fielding 3B over his 16-year career but he only won a single gold glove (1969--with the Braves). His offense wasn't great (lifetime OPS+ of 86) but he's another of those guys you know who he is because he was a cog in the Yankee machines of the 1960s. 

As an inductee in the Left Field HOF, this card is plain strange. A guy known for his defense...pictured with his bat. In fact, it almost looks like Boyer was superimposed onto this backdrop because the light is so weird. But why NOT get a better shot of Boyer? Topps photographers basically camped out at Yankees Stadium during this period, they had about a million chances to get it right!

Have a good one everybody and good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Topps All-Star Rookie Project

I'm trying to collect one on-card auto from a member of each Topps Rookie All-Star team from 1960 to the present. I'm excluding years when Topps did not include the trophy on the card. This will be the homepage  for the project, and I will add years in increments of five.






Topps Rookie AS Project: 1960-64

Links from when these cards were originally posted accompany that cards. Cards without a link will have one soon!

1960 Jim Perry (post)

1961 Dick Stigman (post 1; post 2)

1962 Don Schwall

1963 Ed Charles

1964 Gary Peters

Well, there are the first 5 years! Have a good one everybody and good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Left Field HOF: Andy Carey

Born Andrew Arthur Hexem, Andy Carey was a full-time bit player at 3B for many of the 1950s Yankee dynasty teams. He's also the first inductee of the "Left Field HOF," the first class of which will be debuting this week at CCC. 
So, what if the Left Field HOF? Well, check out the scenery over Carey's right shoulder. You can see the left field awning from old Yankee Stadium. During the 1950s and 60s, this backdrop was THE shot for Topps BB card photographers. Think I'm wrong? Just you wait. It's the SAME shot, over and over with different players wandering through. Stadia tend to be rather spacious, but over the years we get this same chunk of Yankee Stadium in the background. If ritual can produce the sacred, we're talking hallowed BB cards here. 

As for Carey, he was league-average lifetime with his best years being '53 and '58. In all honesty, you wonder if he would have had a better career if he hadn't spent most of his prime splitting ABs at 3rd. That doesn't mean he didn't LIVE like a Yankee. He married an actress and became a broker after his carer was over. Apparently he also had quite an appetite

Here he's pictured with the A's after the Yankees had called up Clete Boyer to take over 3rd.

Have a good one everybody and good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Billy Klaus: Santa's Gritty Younger Brother

 In 1955 Billy Klaus finished second in the ROY voting to phenom Herb Score and 13th in the MVP voting. With a lifetime slash line of .249/.351/.686 he never set the world afire, but he had a solid 11-year career, splitting time between the Braves, Sawx, and Phillies. He went on to play in Japan and manage in the minors.
And man was he gritty. Have you ever seen a guy get so low while posing for a baseball card? Most guys are just posing, lounging about, going through the motions of getting on a baseball card, but Klaus obviously takes this pretty seriously. 
Then on the back we've got a mention of the minor league batting title he won in 1947. In other words, Topps went back TWO DECADES to pick out a career highlight to mention on the back of this card. Was that any way to pay Klaus back for his hard work on photo day? They would have never treated Eckstein like that.

Have a good one everybody and good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Junk Wax Heroes: Oil Can Boyd

Like a lot of you, the peak of my card collecting coincided with the peak of the junk wax era. That said, despite the overproduced worthlessness of it all, there are a few players whose cards, even now, bring a smile to my face. They're my junk wax heroes.
Dudes like Oil Can Boyd. Sure he was colorful, sure he was league average, but he always looked happy to have turned up in your overpriced packs of UD. And let's be frank: this card is just plain goofy. In a way, the overabundant exuberance of the card reflects the actual subject in a way that few cards ever have. When you say "Oil Can Boyd," I think of this card.
Just two years ago the 'Can was "serious about a comeback," in ways only the 'Can could have imagined. Given that so many of our heroes turned out to be PED-aided wannabes, it makes me a little sad that guys like Oil Can didn't hang around longer. It would have been nice to see him turn up smiling in more packs so as to to break up the clouds of McGwire, Bonds, etc. 

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Walking Man: Eddie Yost TTM

Another vintage ttm, this one from one of the game's greatest ever eyes, Eddie Yost. How good was Eddie's batting eye? Pre-roid era with all of its intentional walks, Eddie's 1956 season was 4th all-time in terms of BBs. The top three seasons? All owned by Ted Williams. Yeah, Yost was THAT good.
I LOVE the Bowman sets of the 1950s. You really get the feeling Bowman and Topps pushed each other in terms of design. Here we've got a close-up portrait of an up and coming 3B for the Washington Senators. It's transition time in Washington as Yost is replacing gentlemen like Cecil Travis and Buddy Lewis. In the background we've got the infinite, empty stands (home game) like a future waiting to be fulfilled.
And then we've got the old-school card back. Just WOW man. With "Circuit smashes" and "base knocks" it just seems like language was more flexible back then. The funniest thing, of course, is the Yost would eventually be better known for his BBs than his HRs. 

Have a good one everybody and good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Trainings Past: TTM from the Hawk

When I saw folks were sending cards out to the recent HOFer Andre Dawson I had to jump on board.
I loved Dawson when he was a Cub, love him in the spring training photo. I wonder if the photographer might have stepped back and said, "This guy is gonna be good."

Thanks Mr. Dawson, have a good one everybody, and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!