Friday, February 26, 2010

Warren Spahn is Larger Than Life

Wow, the class of players being shown as the Nitty Gritty Card of the Day has been pretty great of late. Roberto Clemente, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle have been the last three. Talk about a PERFECT outfield… We are gonna keep going in that same direction, but instead of sluggers, we are going to switch gears to one of the greatest pitchers to ever throw a baseball. Regarded by many as the greatest left-handed pitcher of All Time. He is at least the winningest. I am speaking of the late, great Warren Spahn. He is shown here on card #31
In 1960 Spahn earned his 20th victory of the season in style, no-hitting the Philadelphia Phillies. He then no-hit the San Francisco Giants the following season. In 1963 he finished the year with a 23-7 mark, including his 350th win, which is celebrated on the back of this card. He would finish his career with 363 victories against 245 losses in his 21 year career. He topped 20 wins a season 13 times and led the NL in wins 8 times. He was an All Star 17 times and was the NL Cy Young in 1957-his Braves were World Champions that same year. The following year the Braves fell to the Yankees in the Series despite Spahn pitching 2 complete games, one of them a shutout. He also got it done at the plate that Series, batting .333 with 3 RBI. Over his career Spahn batted .194 with 35 homers and 189 RBIs. Infielders have had long careers with numbers worse than that. I could go on, but the short of it is, there will never be another Warren Spahn. 363 wins? Never again. He pitched 382 complete games and 63 shutouts. No one is gonna get close to those numbers ever again. The guy won 75 games AFTER turning 40. He was flat out amazing. I really love this set. 46 years, later!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Nitty Gritty on The Mick!

Some call him Muscles, some know him as the Commerce Comet, others just call him the Mick, but I think everyone knows who Mickey Mantle, whether they are a baseball fan or not. Aside from his rookie year in 1951 he was named to the All Star team for each of the next 17 seasons, being named to 20 All Star Games, starting 13 of them, appearing in 16 and hitting 2 homers as an All Star. During the regular season he was named the American League MVP 3 times, led the AL in homeruns 4 times and in runs scored 6 times. In 1956 he won his first MVP award and also won the American League’s Triple Crown, batting .352 with 52 homers and 130 RBI. Since then only 2 other players have won the Triple Crown and no one has done it since Yaz won it in 1967. The Mick had some amazing regular season performances, but he became a Legend for his feats in October and that is what today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day focuses on. The CotD is from the 1964 Topps Giants set, card #25, titled Mickey ties Ruth Record-Mantle Smashes 15th Series Homer. The Mick played for 12 American League Pennant Winning teams in New York and his Yankee squads won 7 World’s Titles. Mantle played in 65 World Series games and went to the plate 273 times in October. His career batting average in the Series (.257) is considerably lower than his career batting average of .298 in regular season play, but Mantle got things done with the long ball in the Series. The back of this card touts Mantle tying Babe Ruth’s record with 15 homeruns in the Series, but less than a year after this card was printed Mantle had one of his best postseasons ever. At 32 years of age, the 1964 Series would be Mantles final time in the postseason. His Yankees team fell to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games, but Mantle batted .355 with 3 homeruns and 8 RBI in a losing effort. That gave him 18 World Series homers and set the record for most homers in the Series. Mantle would play for several more seasons with the Yankees before retiring after the 1968 season at age 36. He hit 18 homers in his final season and ended his career with 536 homers, which at the time was 2nd most of All-Time. Presently he is 16th on the All Time list, but has more homers than any other switch hitter in MLB history. Among those ahead of him on the All Time list; only Mike Schmidt (548) hit all of his homers for one team. Mantle spent his entire career (1951-1968) with the New York Yankees. His number 7 has been retired by the Yanks and he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1974. I love this set, I love this hobby, and I love this game and its rich history. 46 years, LATER!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Card of the Day! 1975 Shakey's Pizza Ted Williams

Shakey’s Pizza was founded in 1954 in Sacremento, California. About 20 years later the restaurant began producing baseball legends sets of cards. According to what I have found, this card is from 1975 and was around the time that Shakey’s got involved in baseball card game. This card features the Splendid Splinter and is in perfect condition. It isn’t from his playing days, but it is still a 35-year-old card of the best hitter ever. It might be up for trade, it might not be… I LOVE odd ball cards and I want to chase every set I discover, but I can't collect all of them. Make me an offer!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Roberto Clemente, A Giant Among Men...

Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from current favorite set, 1964 Topps Giants. The set is getting closer and closer to completion, thanks to a lot of help from my friends. You can view my current wantlist HERE. Naturally this is my favorite card in the set. It is card #11 and celebrates Clemente winning the batting title in 1961 with a .351 average. I won't ruin it with my words, just bask in the beauty of an oversized card of one of the Greatest to ever play the game... If I can ever find time and a scanner I have about 15 new cards to post from this glorious set. I love this hobby! 46 years, LATER!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Long John Jones-More Photos From Pirate City

Long plus Long equals really long? I couldn’t resist this photo of Pirates hitting coach Don Long and Altoona Curve hitting coach Ryan Long. Being named Long goes a long way if you are looking for a job as a hitting coach in the Pirates system. On a related note we have brothers from different mothers Brandon Jones and Garrett Jones. Both Jones’ came from the Braves organization where Jones was the name to have… The photo would have been more effective if the other "ex-Brave" who isn't named Jones was cropped out. troll out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

1964 Topps Giants-An Update

I have not been able to scan them yet, but I have recieved a number of brandy new 1964 Topps Giants for my collection. My list of Hall of Famers now includes Mickey Mantle, Al Kaline, Juan Marichal and ROBERTO CLEMENTE!!! I am very psyched about that last one. There will be posts of all of these giant cards, but there is now an official want list. You can check it out HERE. I am gonna get to work on getting some more list together right now. Thanks for reading. I love this hobby. 46 years later!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nitty Gritty Card of the Day-1965 Topps TRADED Howie Reed

I know what you are thinking; they didn’t make TRADED cards in 1965. Well, in the instance of this card, someone did the work for Topps with a ballpoint pen. I received 3 of these “traded” series cards from 1965 in a trade recently. I don’t know why I lost damaged and mutilated cards so much, but I do and I got more excited when I saw these than I would have if they were gem mint cards. I did NOT get these from their original owner, so I don’t the story behind them or the urgency to get these guys listed on a different team. I almost wish that the person kept on task with updating Reed's current team and crossed off the Angels for the Astros and then the Expos...
The first of these cards that I will highlight is number 544 in the regular 1965 Topps set and features relief pitcher Howie Reed, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reed actually spent the ENTIRE 1965 season with the Dodgers and even appeared with them in the postseason when they defeated the Minnesota Twins for the Championship. Reed saw action in 2 games. He pitched an inning and a third in the game one loss without allowing a run. His next appearance came in game 6 in Minnesota. He entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. He walked Bob Allison with one out and he stole second base as he struck out Don Mincher. He then walked Frank Quilici intentionally to bring up the pitcher, Mudcat Grant. With 2 men on and 2 outs Grant drilled a homerun over the left-centerfield wall. This increased Minnesota’s lead to 5-0. Grant went the distance for Minnesota and the Twins won the game 5-1 behind his homerun. The Dodgers came back in game 7 behind Sandy Koufax’s 10-K, 3 hit shutout. Howie Reed never appeared in the postseason again and his official ERA sits at 8.10. Despite have a solid regular season in 1965 (7-5, 3.12, 38 games) Reed was traded away to the Angels after just one relief appearance in 1966. The Dodgers got relief pitcher Dick Egan in return. Reed lasted just that one season with the Angels, went to Houston and eventually headed to Montreal in 1969 where he was used often, appearing in 131 games over 3 seasons. His big league career ended after the 1971 season in Montreal. He had a career record of 26-29 with a 3.72 ERA and 9 saves. The highlight of his career had to be that season with the Dodgers in ’65 that ended with him being a Worlds Champion. Whoever owned this card then didn’t want that memory to live on. The back of the card shows Reed’s entire pro record beginning with his first season in the Southern League with Little Rock in 1958. It highlights his season in 1963 with the Spokane Indians where he posted a 19-7 record with a 2.75-leading the Pacific Coast League in victories and earning a spot on the Dodgers the following season. Stay tuned as there are more 1965 Topps Traded cards to come! I love this hobby! 45 years, LATER!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day-1960 Fleer Baseball Greats

Greetings Nitty Gritty card collectors! Today’s card of the day comes from the 1960 Fleer Greats of the Game set. After making a Ted Williams set in 1959, F.H. Fleer returned in 1960 with this 80-card set of baseball greats. This set includes Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and many of the legends of the game to that point. The early Fleer sets, ’59 Ted Williams (80 cards), 1960 Fleer Baseball Legends (80 cards), 1961 Legends (152 cards) and the 1963 Fleer set, a 66 card set which included current players. The ’63 set has Maury Willis rookie card and also includes Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Carl Yastremzki, Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills rookie card. These early Fleer sets are still very affordable and the short checklists make the sets possible to complete. My personal favorites are the ’61 and ’63 sets which have appealing designs. I will be posting these cards periodically here and as I get more cards I will put together a wantlist. For now, today’s card of the day is #20 in the 1960 Fleer set of Eddie Collins, Hall of Fame second baseman, shown as a Philadelphia Athletics. He was born Edward Trowbridge Collins May of 1887. He was better known as Eddie or sometimes just Cocky. He attended Columbia University and signed with the Philadelphia A’s after college and went directly to the Majors (he did play a few games of A ball the next year) and became the A’s full-time second baseman in 1908 and in 1909 he batted .347. He would hit over .300 in each of the next 8 seasons. In 1910 he stole 81 bases, setting a major league record which stood until 1962. Collins scored 100 or more runs in a season 7 times and led the league in that category in 3 straight seasons. He hit .300 or higher 20 times, his best being .372 in 1920. His superstition was legendary and he would only use a bat made half of white wood and half of red timber. He credited his bat with his .333 career batting average (27th All Time). He sits in the top-ten in several offensive categories including 10th in hits (3,315), 2nd in singles (2,643), 7th in steals (744) and 10th in times on base with 4,891. He is the all-time leader in sacrifice hits with 512. The current active leader in this category is Omar Vizquel with 244. In other words, that record will not be contested any time soon. He shares the record of most steals in a single game with Carl Crawford, Otis Nixon and Eric Young Sr. Collins did it twice. He was a World Champion 3-times with Philadelphia and won another with the Chicago White Sox in 1917. In 1919 he was still a member of the Sox and played in the infamous Black Sox series. He was never charged with any involvement in the scandal despite only batting .214. He finished in the top-10 in MVP balloting during his career, winning the honor in 1914. His son Eddie Collins Jr. was born 2 years after he won the award. Collins Jr. signed with the A’s after graduating from Yale in 1939. He lasted for parts of 3 years in the big leagues, but never shared the success that his father had. Collins Sr. was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 with George Sisler and Wee Willie Keeler. Collins is regarded by some as the greatest second baseman of all time. For all of his success on the diamond, he is not the most photogenic man in the world. I have had this card for many years and his evil-imp look has prevented me from posting it. I think he would have benefited from a dual-flap batting helmet. Just saying. Stay tuned for more on these early Fleer sets, 1950s Bowman, 1965 Topps, 1964 Topps Giants and yes, someday 1978 Topps. I love this hobby! 50 years, LATER!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nitty Gritty Card of the Day-1951 Bowman Duke Snider

Today’s card of the day comes from one of the other sets that I am working on, 1951 Bowman. There are a few reasons why I chose this set, which I will get into later. There are a few reasons why I regret picking this set. They are Willie and Mickey. Very expensive rookie cards of two great centerfielders for New York teams. Willie and Mickey are generally followed by the Duke and here he is. Shown on card #32 in the 1951 set. 1951 was Duke’s 3rd full season in the major leagues with Brooklyn after 4 years in the minors and a year off for military service. He played in his 2nd All Star Game in 1951and drove in over 100 runs for the second straight year. The background of this card is so green that Duke in his white and blue really jump out at you. The rendering shows him completing his swing, most likely during batting practice. Most of the seats are empty, but the ushers are ready. Here is what the good folks at Bowman Gum Inc. had to say about the Silver Fox on the back of the card:
Paced the National League in 1950 in base hits (199) and in total bases (343). Batted .321, fourth NL high. Banged out 31 doubles, 10 triples, 31 homers. Drove in 107 runs. In 1949, Duke’s first season as a Dodger regular, hit .292. Began in organized ball in 1944. Spent ’45 in service. Minor-league experience includes St. Paul, Fort Worth and Monteral. Classy fielder, strong hitter.
Bowman didn’t waste time with complete sentences, but they were right about him as classy and strong. He won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955 and again in ’59 and he went into the Hall of Fame on his 11th try in 1980. I have about 15 cards from this set so far. Get in touch if you have any to trade. 68 years, LATER!

Frank Howard is GIANT Sized!

Welcome Nitty Gritty card collectors. It is time for another card of the day from the 1964 Topps Giants set. This one is card #24 of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ slugger Frank “Hondo” Howard. Here is the Nitty Gritty straight from Topps on the back of the card.
Frank Howard collected the only two hits off Yankees ace Whitey Ford in the finale of the 1963 World Series. Smacking a homerun and a single, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder provided the victory margin in the 2-1 ballgame. All told, Frank batted .300 vs. the Yanks in the October classic. One of the biggest men in baseball, 6’7” Howard has hit some of the longest home runs in the game. In his year of organized baseball, Frank batted .333 at Green Bay and led the I.I.I. circuit with 37 homeruns and 119 runs batted in. Frank hit .356 at Victoria and then .319 at Spokane in ’59. In 1960, the youngster was the National League Rookie of the Year.

Topps has been pretty creative with their card titles in this set, but they fell flat with this one, “Frank gets a big hit”. They scored big time with the card celebrating this event in the regular set. The title on card #139 in the 1964 (regular sized) Topps set. The title on that card is “Sealing Yanks Doom”. Now that has a MUCH better ring to it. That card and Frank Howard were profiled on my brother blog, the Collective Troll, you can read the whole story right HERE. Of course, not too long (only 2 months) after Howard sealed the Yanks doom in 1963, he went to Washington to play with the Senators beginning in 1964. It was there that he assumed his new identity as the Capital Punisher. He would flourish there, representing Washington in 4 All Star Games and leading the American League in homers twice. Howard hit 382 (56th all time) homers over his 15 year career. Not many of those homers were as important as his blast on October 3, 1963 off of Whitey Ford. Not many homers were big enough to earn a player 2 cards, one of them GIANT sized. Please continue to check out this blog and its brother blog the Collective Troll for more on this over-sized and super awesome set. From big to small, look for posts soon on the quest to finish 1951 Bowman as well. I love this hobby! 55 years, LATER!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Nitty Gritty is Back and It's GIANT!!!

Greetings Nitty Gritty card collectors! Has anyone noticed that it has been a few months since I have posted here? I don’t think I have added a post here since early to mid-December. The reason is VERY simple. On this blog I am showing every card in the 1978 Topps set, one card at a time, starting at #1 and working up. Well… I took the next 9 cards I needed to scan out of the set’s binder to scan them AND I HAVEN’T SEEN THEM SINCE! Who knows where they are. Somewhere in my house I am sure. I have sorted through several thousand cards this month and they haven’t turned up yet. When they do, the 1978 Topps blog will return. Until then I want to write about other sets I am building. My newest obsession is the 1964 Topps Giants set. It is a small set (in quantity), it only has 60 cards in it (1-60). It was made by Topps in 1965 and the cards are oversized, hence the name Giants. They are the same size as 1969/70 Topps Basketball Cards. That was a set I used to obsess over. It took me over a decade to finish it in near mint condition and I started out with a gem copy of Lew Alcindor. Divorce sucks. Anyway, I am pretty obsessed with this set at the moment. I have lucked out in a major way that a lot of folks out there had one or two of these laying around. Out of 60 cards I need 26 more to finish the set, meaning I am at 57% completion. I have some of the big names in the set like Mantle, Clemente, Whitey Ford, Killebrew, Kaline, Bob Gibson, Brooks, Frank Robinson, Yaz, Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn, BUT I am still lacking Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax along with 23 other slightly less legendary players. Anyway, once I get a scanner I intend on posting ’64 Giants as I get them on this blog. I put Milt Pappas at the top of this post and the card’s back here to give you an idea of how amazing these cards are… For now, here are the cards I need to finish off the set. If you have any of these OR if you have sleeves or top-loaders that fit these cards, please get in touch.
1964 Topss Giants Needs List
Gary Peters Chicago White Sox #1
Sandy Koufax LA Dodgers #3
Ron Hunt NY Mets #6
Roy McMillon New York Mets #8
Nellie Fox Houston Colt 45s #13
Tony Gonzalez Philadelphia Phillies #14
Dean Chance California Angels #16
Dick Ellsworth Chicago Cubs #17
Chuck Hinton Washington Senators #20
Elston Howard New York Yankees #21
Joe Torre Atlanta Braves #26
Eddie Brinkman Washington Senators #27
Bob Friend Pittsburgh Pirates #28
Bill Freehan Detroit Tigers #30
Camilo Pasquel Minnesota Twins #32
Jim Maloney Cincinnati Reds #34
Dave Wickersham Detroit Tigers #35
Luis Aparacio Baltimore Orioles #39
Dick Stuart Boston Red Sox #42
Wayne Causey Kansas City A’s #45
Galen Cisco New York Mets #47
Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves #49
Willie Mays San Francisco Giants #51
Juan Pizzarro Chicago White Sox #53
Leon Wagner Cleveland Indians #54
Orlando Cepeda San Francisco Giants #55
Bill Skowron Washington Senators #60
Thanks for checking out my list! 45 years, LATER!