Monday, July 23, 2012

Ebay Shenanigans: Caveat Emptor, Willie

Things are good but busy.

I've been selling a lot on ebay recently with an eye towards making one big purchase, a "purchase of the summer" if you will. I even had a target on this card, a 2001 Fleer Stitches in Time Willie Mays auto. Yep, auction is over, but don't congratulate me.

I was looking at making this card a new cornerstone of my collection and eventually completing a Stitches in Time master set. Naturally, I looked up a checklist online. Then I saw this post over at Sports Card Info. Yep, apparently Mays DIDN'T sign for that set even though Fleer printed up the cards. Some, however, made it out the back door as evidenced from this auction.

In short, there are "Wille Mays certified auto cards" circulating that have no auto on them. This is a DISASTER and, if I can believe my eyes, a big moneymaker for someone. As far as I can tell these don't pop up too often but the seller who sold the Mays card I was going to buy also sold one in December, listed here. Anyone could get duped and sell a fake auto this legit. "A" fake auto, not two or more of them.

Major props to SCI for saving me a lot of cash and grief. I'd have been bummed if I'd fallen into this.

Stay safe out there, everybody!

I'll be at the Rays games in Baltimore this week, if you're watching that'll be my cowbell.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Batting after Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard

I'm more stats-oriented, but I'll confess that I get all smarmy from overblown pieces about topics like baseball as metaphor for the national consciousness and whatnot. The works of A. Bartlett Giamatti come to mind. While that's a topic for another day, it's an appropriate segue into the topic at hand, the Negro Leagues and their legacy. For all of the fanfare surrounding #40, for all of the beautiful things written about the game, there should be broader public celebration of the Leagues themselves as well as of the men who played in them.

With regard to baseball cards, it appears that A&G has dropped Negro Leaguers as their subjects, which is more than a little sad for a set that includes everything from stands of dead presidents' hair to frisbee-catching dogs. As much as we tell ourselves that the hobby can play a part in educating young people about diverse topics, including the game, I'd like to think the Negro Leagues would have an important place in that set.

In the absence of 2012 cards, I went looking for cards from the past.
From the 1992 Front Row set, this Buck Leonard auto is one of my more prized cards. He's a Carolina boy (although from NC, not SC), whom Bill James ranked as the 65th greatest player of all time. He batted behind Josh Gibson on the immortal Homestead Grays teams, and is considered by many to be Lou Gehrig's peer, with Gehrig being the better batter and Leonard the superior fielder. 

From the NLBPA:

Buck Leonard was one batter that pitchers feared the most. Stocky, chesty, with powerfully built arms and legs, plus big hands to navigate a piece of lumber through the strike zone in warp speed. Add to this a great love for baseball, a starving appetite to hit the white apple and a God-given talent to coordinate muscle mass, eye and mind into one powerful swing, and you have Buck Leonard at the plate.

He was one of a number of Negro League stars for whom integration came too late. As quoted in his SABR bio, Leonard said

 “I was not bitter by not being allowed to play in the major leagues. I just said, ‘The time has not come.’ I only wish I could have played in the big leagues when I was young enough to show what I could do. When an offer was given to me to join up, I was too old and I knew it.”

From BR bullpen, this quote from Dodgers scout Elwood Parsons:

"I was talking about Robinson, Campy and Newk making it with Brookyln. I'll never forget Buck's eyes filling with tears when he said, 'But it's too late for me'." -- Elwood Parsons, Dodgers scout

There's a certain, almost tragic commitment to excellence there, as most report that Leonard declined to play in the big leagues because he knew he was past his prime and did not want to embarrass himself. It should also be stated that, although integration began in 1947, it would be awhile before African-American ballplayers would truly be integrated into the game. 

Leonard is a HOFer, and one of the true greats of the game by any measure.

As with the autos of most Negro League Stars, you can get Buck Leonard's auto's for relatively cheap.

This set above including the auto and COA, were less than a discount blaster at Wal-Mart. Franken cuts will cost you more, but given the state of the card companies at the moment I'm not sure what would make them preferable or more reliable.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Larry Doby Week

Alex Remington over at Fangraphs had a tremendous article earlier this month on Larry Doby and the official integration of the American League on July 5, 1947. Doby's legacy is being celebrated around these parts this week during this weekend's series, presumably because 14 was Doby's number and this Saturday will be July 14.

To join in the spirit and honor a ballplayer from my home state, CCC will be focusing on the Negro Leagues for the next few days.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vote Plaschke...

Actually it's Greg Z over here. He's a finalist in a Beckett contest for a Koufax auto. Vote early, vote often, do it for the blogosphere!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Now filling wantlists

At a yard sale yesterday I hit one of those "everything must go"-type bb card collection sales. Most everything is from 95-present, but among other cards I've found are a 84 Mattingly RC and a Donzell McDonald RC (he's Darnell's brother, and I watched him play in Mexico).

At any rate, at first gloss I know I have a ton of '87, '88, '89, and '92 Topps. There's a also a lot of 2002 Heritage and 1999 Bowman.

Beyond that there's mid-90s UD, a ton of Bowman Heritage, and other stuff I'll get to when I can.

At any rate, get your lists out. This promises to be random, but if you cover shipping I'll trade you/sell you what you need for cheap!