Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday's Haul

It started before I'd even left the house. I was eating breakfast, and the girlfriend's mom comes downstairs with something in her hand. "I found this laying on someone's front lawn near our old house about 20 years ago, and I've just had it in the bottom of a drawer since. Can you use it?"

That would be a resounding "HELL YEAH!", folks. Thanks, girlfriend's mom!

(Note: if you lost a '56 Topps Walter Alston about 20 years ago, please pretend that you never read this. I'm tryin' to put together a team set here, man.)

 From there, I went out to the flea market near here, to see if I could get a second chance at the '91 Topps Football factory set that I passed on the day before for some reason (probably because I really didn't need another brick of cardboard I'd be unlikely to ever actually do anything with, but it nagged at me after I left it there). The set wasn't, but a couple of card dealers (and my mailman, who apparently collects; I smell a really interesting trading opportunity there) were. Here are a couple of the highlights from my first stop:

1970 Topps Catfish Hunter, one of the few Topps base cards of his that I was missing (I still need the '65 rookie, '69 and '78, which is weird, but all the '78s I have/had were Burger King). Wearing a great flannel uniform here. Definitely not the world's best centering, but for $3, I'm cool with it.

A Fleer Unit Update card. I got the Fleer rookie too, both for a buck a piece. Had the update set already, but it's shrinked. See what I mean about bricks of cards? Anyway, the reason I'm posting this is that, length of mullet and injuries that'd happen to anyone who throws that hard aside, I'm not sure Randy Johnson ages. Seriously, this picture was taken in the '80s, and the guy still looks the same.

From there, I went on a drive with the missus, hit a bunch of book stores and such, but stopped on the way back at The Backstop, where I'd found a bunch of cool stuff about a month or so ago. Great little store if you're in NJ, and the owner's good people. It's tiny, but packed to the gills with stuff, there's always new stuff coming in, and the prices are awesome. On this visit, I got 18 cards for $10. Some highlights, starting with some cool '72 Topps Football cards:

An unmustachioed, unbearded Johnny Unitas card, in played-with but OK shape. I looked it up on eBay just to get a feel for what '72 stuff goes for, and that's what led me to that awesome card graffiti I posted yesterday.

Bubba Smith! I really should start a collection of trading cards of people who were members of the "Police Academy" cast.

"Thanks, Mean Joe!"

The recently departed George Blanda, who probably could've used Brett Favre as a toothpick (and don't get me wrong; in addition to being one of the best punchlines on Earth, I've always had fun watching Favre, no matter what he did. OK, maybe not those camera phone pics, but everything else, sure). I didn't know a lot about the guy, aside from that he was one of the greats, until he passed, not having delved too deep into f00'ball history, but my word, did he have a career.

Last, but not least, here's Broadway Joe! I actually got two of these, this one being a little worse for wear, but it's a '72 Topps Namath, and I'm sure someone will be happy to know that it's the first announced prize in my "CAPTION THIS CARD!" contest. Yep, this card's going in the pile for whoever comes up with the best caption. While I'm not a Jets fan by any means, I have always had a soft spot for Namath and the '68 Jets for some reason, maybe because he was on TV a lot when I was a kid, then maybe later because I'd kick the crap out of people with them on Madden '94. His Twitter/Facebook is a lot of fun, too, especially during Jets games if they're losing. He sits there and yells at his iPhone like most football fans do the TV.

These '72 football cards were a total impulse buy, kinda like that '91 set would've been. (I got another shot at it, being that The Backstop had one, too, but I passed, as I found cooler stuff there.) I still haven't figured out what kind of focus my football collection will have, if any. I have complete '84 and '86 Topps sets, I love anything Bo Jackson (got an '07 Fleer Ultra Gridiron Legends card at the flea market, actually, but I've got a migraine right now and didn't want to scan *everything* I got yesterday), I've got a modest pile of Refrigerator Perry cards, I do like Namath and Don Maynard, I'm working on this year's Score set for some reason, and I grab guys who are on my fantasy teams when I run into them. Beyond that, it's been a "whatever I find that's cool" deal. Maybe I'll leave it like that, as, if I focus on things too much, I'll end up picking up too many things.

Onto the baseball stuff!

This '73 Oscar Gamble is fantastic, even with the light pen mark near Dave Concepcion's glove that I didn't notice before I bought it. Gamble's slide took his helmet off, exposing us all to the glory of The World's Greatest Afro. You've got a nice Concepcion cameo, some dude (Bobby Tolan? Cesar Geronimo? Bernie Carbo? I don't think it was Rose, as he was playing LF that season.) running in from the outfield even though I think Gamble was safe here. Also, for some reason, Denis Menke appears to be standing in a hole in ground. We've got pandemonium here, people, and that's even before you get to the fact that Oscar's listed as a Cleveland Indian on the card, even though he's clearly in the National League as a Phillie! Has anyone ever done Retrosheet detective work on this card? I'd love to know what the hell is going on here.

Willie Horton, pre-mustache...

...and Willie Horton post-mustache! Willie's another one of those "guys I never saw play that I've become fascinated by". He was a great, star player who didn't quite get to Hall Of Fame numbers. He played the majority of his career for his hometown Detroit Tigers. He stood on top of a car in the middle of a Detroit race riot, in uniform, and tried to calm people down! He just seems like a great guy all around, and I've been enjoying tracking his cards down.

Second year Dewey with some pencil marks! Might even delicately be able to erase those, if you're feeling lucky. I say "you're" rather than "I'm" because this is also going in the "CAPTION THIS CARD!" contest pile!

Awwwyeah. Gorman Thomas rookie! It's hard to believe that he was ever this young.

"We've secretly replaced Steve Stone with a deranged caveman. Let's see what happens." As a kid, looking at this and the '81 Topps card, I couldn't believe that it was the same guy. Nice facsimile autograph, though. Good penmanship for a caveman!

And, finally...

I'm really kinda getting into this Pedro guy this week. This is two really cool cards of him I've come across in no time at all. '81 Topps was one of the better "players hanging out in the dugout" sets, wasn't it? There's some great dugout action in '77 too (Munson and Catfish both come to mind), but '81, it seems like half the set's in the dugout.

Man, that's a lot of cards. I done good! (I've also got to stop buying so many damn cards!)


  1. Hey I need the Alston back... my buddy and I were trading cards on my front yard and I accidentally left it out there. I'm glad your girl's mom found it. I was beginning to get worried. Feel free to ship it back to me whenever you want.

    It sounds like you have a cool flea market by you. I hit mine up too, but usually the prices are through the roof (people who collected during the 80's and think their Donruss Canseco rookie is still worth $60). However... I'm able to find a good deal here and there. Nice FM pickups... especially the Hunter.

    However the best part of the post are the 72 Topps... one of my favorite football sets of all-time.

  2. Yeah, those '72 football cards really are beauts. Not stuff I've gotten before (no access, really), but I had to. Probably could've gotten more, too, but I didn't look through the piles really closely. Like I said, the Namath (a little on the well-loved side, but still cool) is part of the prize package for the caption contest, so everyone's got a shot at one card from the set, at least!

  3. I'm going to pretend I didn't hear what you said about the Alston card.

    Also: $60 for a Canseco rookie? Ow. The guy who had the '91 football set had an '86 Donruss factory set (still sealed, but with a rough box) for $20 and I thought that was way too much. Once in a while, I run into people who think their '80s cards are still worth a mint out at the flea markets here (I've got 5 within reasonable driving distance), but mostly, people have resigned themselves to at least temporarily realistic pricing on these cards. I think that sometime soon, you're gonna see prices spike on at least some of that stuff, because nostalgia will overrule overproduction, but for now, it's pretty safe.

  4. lol... actually i didn't see a guy selling a $60 Canseco... it was just an exaggeration to prove a point... but there are guys out there who are still living in the 80's.

    i sure hope that nostalgia overtakes overproduction... but not until i grab everything i want from the 80's. i love picking up stuff i could never afford as a kid (like my recent purchases of mcdonald's football cards).


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