Five Facets of 1922 American Caramel (E120 set of 240): Babe Ruth, Surf Dry Casting, the Federal League, and more!
Number 5 Type Collection
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2d ago
Introduction Most collectors who know the 1922 American Caramel set (Old Cardboard profile) will recognize their baroque borders and aspire to own any big name from its star-filled checklist. The company, an important 1920s candy maker, made a comprehensive set (15 guys on 16 teams team) and attractive albums to display them, something seldom seen in our hobby's prewar era. Those intricate borders drew me in first. I spent a week going through E120 card by card, searching for insights into its players, photos, and peccadilloes. This post digs into five of them. 1. Borders = teams Each E120 car ..read more
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1961 Bell Brand Dodgers Baseball #5, Norm Larker
Number 5 Type Collection
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1w ago
This classic baseball pose under sunny Dodgertown skies made me wonder why I knew so little about its #5, Norm Larker. He even compares favorably to a HOFer, Red Ruffing, six-time World Series winner with the powerhouse 1930s Yankees. Does that mean Norm's been overlooked for Cooperstown in the six decades since his retirement? There's a catch! Red Ruffing earned his pay on the mound every fourth day, so Norm's similar to a good-hitting pitcher, an altogether different context. Larker notched some good seasons, including an All-Star year in 1960, without peaking for long enough to stand out a ..read more
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Sharkey Week: A Deeper Look at Baseball's Colledge Brothers of Comiskey Park
Number 5 Type Collection
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2M ago
Introduction If you're like me, Roy Carlson's Topps team card analysis for Sports Collectors Daily started a wave of enthusiasm for vintage player identification that's yet to crash. Discovering pre-rookie Tim Raines on Montreal's 1980 team card justifies his work all by itself. I turned back our hobby clock to prewar for a related investigation of Goudey's All-Star team premiums, cataloged R309-1, and cleared up several naming errors. Today's article focuses on three brothers who appear in its photos under a shared name, "Sharkey." We'll track those Comiskey Park staffers from photo to ..read more
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Identifying everyone in the 1933 Goudey R309-1 American League & National League All-Star Team photos
Number 5 Type Collection
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2M ago
The 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, also called A Century of Progress, included baseball's first All-Star Game, an assumed one-off benefit that became MLB's annual midseason event thanks to vigorous fan response. Plans coalesced into a real game midyear and team owners rearranged all scheduled games for July 6, allowing top stars to face off that day in Chicago, where the AL triumphed 4-2. Full ticket auctioned for $4300+ in 2004 Breathless pregame coverage included complete position-by-position and "who will pitch first?" analysis, little different than what you expect from modern spor ..read more
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2021 and 2023 TTM autographs from Vern Law and Pittsburgh's fielding safety helmets
Number 5 Type Collection
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2M ago
Our hobby's fortunate several 1950s veterans remain with us who sign through the mail (TTM) in 2023. Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Vern Law's own history goes all the way back to 1951 Bowman and he signs for $10/card to support his son's cancer care and no doubt pay other living costs that come from being 93 years old. Check out some of those card inscriptions! (Comeback Player of the Year, Lou Gehrig Award, 1960 World Series Champ, Cy Young, 2x All-Star, etc.) My 2021 return from Vern Law Edited letter from Vern: "Our son is home with us and is doing quite well under the circumstances, a ..read more
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Piercing the 1930s Sea of Sameness with Oscar Melillo
Number 5 Type Collection
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3M ago
People who pursue sets between the world wars notice a certain sameness to what's on offer. Some 1930s companies recycled their limited number of images, year by year, tweaking things just enough to keep their gum moving. Even 90+ years later, hobby malaise can set in. Think about spending hundreds on this top-tier HOFer. "How do I feel about such similarity? Are two cards twice as good as owning one? Half as good?" When kids opened penny gum packs in spring 1934, they found a familiar Foxx pose, as Goudey copied series one (#1-24) from existing 1933 cards. Any frustration ove ..read more
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Top Five Vintage Team Cards for Player Collectors
Number 5 Type Collection
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3M ago
Say Hey! What did I send you again? In November 2023, I mailed some vintage Giants to a collector friend. When they arrived, he said, "thanks for the Willie Mays card!" That gave me pause. Did I package up a key card, a top-tier HOFer, and then forget about it? Is age catching up with me in a way that benefits others? (That'd be my preferred outcome for aging, to be honest.) In truth, I sent a sort-of Willie Mays, and he clarified receiving my 1960 Topps Giants team card in the name of its biggest name. 1960 Topps #151: Say Hey! (lower right) My own player collections (Spike ..read more
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Baseball's Best Fifth Round Draft Picks 1975 - 80
Number 5 Type Collection
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3M ago
Here's my third post on the best players from fifth rounds of MLB's "Rule 4" amateur draft. Previous iterations covered 1965-69 and 1970-74. Evaluating talent must feel like fishing. You cast into the sea hundreds of times, hoping for one good hit that'll make all that time on a water's edge worthwhile. Fifth rounds of the late 1970s continued to impress me as 1-in-20 long shot picks, as history shows just one team took home a big fish. 1975: Lou Whitaker (75.1 WAR, 5x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, 4x Silver Slugger, 1984 World Series ring, 1978 ROY) I consider Whitaker baseball best fift ..read more
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Top Fifth Round Picks 1970-74
Number 5 Type Collection
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4M ago
Thanks to Immaculate Grid game #212's new category (first round draft pick) for inspiring me to bone up on MLB's Rule 4 amateur draft, which kicked off in 1965. Baseball Reference's statistical history includes Rule 4's complete record, broken down by draft phase and pick. I already covered 1965-69 in my prior post and will keep looking at five-year blocks until we run out of steam. Two of these names from the top of 1970's fifth round found similar overall success, right around WAR's break-even point. Pat Scanlon, who shares his name with an uncle of mine, played parts of four seasons for Mo ..read more
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Immaculate Grid and the Top Fifth Round Picks of the 1960s
Number 5 Type Collection
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4M ago
I'm a consistent Immaculate Grid player and use whatever cards litter my desk as "original sources" to plug in names. On Halloween 2023, the grid-makers added a curveball for game #212 with "First Round Draft Pick," something they introduced on earlier versions for football and basketball. I filled in six squares with familiar names and then observed the 1940s and 50s cards on my desk lacked any draft info, leaving me cold. I threw in three guesses, missing on Rick Ankiel and Keith Hernandez, and counted myself lucky to get Barry Zito. One problem with high picks: many first show up as low&n ..read more
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