Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Up All Night

I received a package from Night Owl recently and it must have given me good luck because after a week of heavy rains in Southern California, we suddenly had three sunny days. With that said, thanks for the cards as I was able to knock a few more Garvey's off of my wantlist. Below is a recap of what I received.

1986 True Value Hardware Stores #2 (front)

This was a premium set produced for True Value Hardware by Michael Schechter Associates (MSA). MSA used this photo in quite a few sets during the mid-1980's (i.e. Kraft, M&M's, Burger King, Meadow Gold, General Mills)

1986 True Value Hardware Stores #2 (back)

If someone one hasn't written one yet, I think an interesting blog could be written about MSA. I myself don't know much about the company itself but they definitely produced a slew of MLBPA only licensed sets from the mid-1970's to early 1990's.

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars #6 (front)

I also received one of these from gcrl recently. When it comes to Garvey cards, doubles are a good thing.

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars #6 (back)

Topps' produced a lot Premium Sets for other companies when Steve was a Padre. Unfortunately, I can't think of any that they produced for other companies when he was a Dodger.

2002 Upper Deck World Series Heroes #33 (front)

Nicely designed card produced by Upper Deck early last decade. My guess is that the photo was from around 1975.

2002 Upper Deck World Series Heroes #33 (back)

Between licensors and Upper Deck itself, it's interesting to see that Upper Deck has five different logos on the back of the card. I'd have liked to see Upper Deck show statistics from each of Steve's World Series appearances as well as condense the space used for the copy.

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #118 (front)

I'm sure I'm not alone with this opinion but this is my favorite design of Topps All-Time Fan Favorites of Steve Garvey. The fact that they used a horizontal picture with the 1974 design along with taking a photo from Shea Stadium (which Topps' commonly did in the 1970's) are why I like this card.

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #118 (back)

Interesting to see that they included Steve's stats up to his last year in Los Angeles on the back of this card.

2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Dodgers Greats #LAD-SG (front)

This is an insert card from Fleer Greats of the Game. The card front has a documentary feel to it. I feel like this could be a screen shot from one of those ESPN Sports Century shows about Steve's career.

2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Dodgers Greats #LAD-SG (back)

The back is pretty basic.

2008 Donruss Threads College Greats # CG-11 (front)

This is an interesting card from Donruss. In order to get around not having a MLB license, Donruss produced cards of players in High School, College and/or logo-less MLB uniforms. As a result, Donruss went the College Route with Steve which is a welcome change as prior to 2008 there hadn't been a lot of Michigan State cards of Steve outside of the 1990-91 Michigan State Collegiate Collection set.

2008 Donruss Threads College Greats # CG-11 (back)

The back is a bit of a disappointment though the information about being an All-American in football in 1968 was news to me. I'd have liked to see Steve's statistics for both baseball and football while in college.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Where's Greg Brady?

I recently purchased a 1971 Los Angeles Dodgers Dell Today's Stamp album and liked it so much I thought I'd post it online. I was only two years old when these were released so specifics such as how these were distributed aren't familar to me. If you happened to know how and where these were made available or have any stories of collecting these back in 1971, I'd love to hear about them.


What's Shown: Each album costs 39 cents. The album comes with free picture stamps and includes player biographies, statistics and records. These are officially licensed by Major League Baseball and MLB Players. The artwork on the cover shows a nondescript batting sequence in an unidentifiable stadium.

My Thoughts: The cover screams early 1970's with it's choice of fonts. The artwork style reminds me a lot of cartoons from that era as well. With regards to the Major League Baseball Players logo, I wonder if this was a precurser to the Major League Baseball Players Association?

Coolness Factor (ranking from 1-10):  8

Inside Cover (Page 2)

What's Shown: An introduction by Today's to Collectors as well as a recap of the Dodgers History.

My Thoughts: Considering that President Nixon hadn't made his historic visit to China yet, it's nice to see that it was still a concern to note that this album was printed in the good old USA.

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 5

Page 3

What's Shown: The fronts of the first twelve of twenty-four stamps found in this album. Players shown include: Bill Sudakis, Manny Mota, Jeff Torborg, Willie Crawford, Joe Moeller, Jose Pena, Al Downing, Willie Davis, Wes Parker, Bill Singer, Maury Wills and Jim Lefebvre. The stamps in the album are perforated. There's a disclaimer noting that "The above subject to player trades and/or other changes."

My Thoughts: Al Downing is wearing a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. I guess Topps' had a monopoly on all the airbrushers. Every other player had their picture taken with the sky as a backdrop. Was the disclaimer necessary?"

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 9

Page 4

What's Shown: Valuable Data and Biographical information for the twelve players on the previous page.

My Thoughts: Taken as a whole, the front and backs of the stamps remind me of 1951 Bowman Baseball. Where's the mention of the Brady Bunch and Greg Brady on the back of Wes Parker's stamp?

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 6

Page 5

What's Shown: Statistical records for the players shown on page three.

My Thoughts: This is the first time I've seen a trading card, sticker or stamp be allocated two card backs for just one card front. The footnotes include unique abbreviations for Games Won, Games Lost and Strikeouts.

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 4 - I'm taking off two points (when compared to page 4's six points) for the use of a second card back.

Page 6

What's Shown: Historical Events of the National League and a painting of what appears to be a turn of the 19th century baseball game.

My Thoughts: When this was printed in 1971, Jackie Robinson's breaking of the "Color Barrier" was reference as the "Black Barrier". It's interesting to see that some "Sophisticated Easterners" viewed the Milwaukee Braves as a "Backwoods Tribe" in 1957.

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 7

Page 7

What's Shown: The fronts of the second twelve of twenty-four stamps found inside this album. Players shown include: Jim Brewer, Mike Strahler, Bill Grabarkewitz, Bill Russell, Pete Mikkelsen, Duke Sims, Tom Haller, Rich Allen, Claude Osteen, Don Sutton, Bill Buckner and Steve Garvey.

My Thoughts: Hey, it's a Steve Garvey Rookie. Boy do Bill Russell and Bill Buckner look young. It's also nice to see that three of the players have backgrounds other than the sky.

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 10 - This page is the reason I bought this album.

Page 8

What's Shown: Valuable Data and Biographical Information for the twelve players on the previous page.

My Thoughts: It's interesting to see that Bill Russell was viewed as one of the fastest men on the team. That's saying something when Maury Wills was Bill's teammate. Surprise, Surprise, I didn't know that Claude Osteen was nicknamed "Gomer".

Coolness Factor (Ranking 1-10): 7

Page 9

What's Shown: Statisical Records for the players shown on Page 7.

My Thoughts: Pretty much the same as when I looked at page 5. "Is this necessary?"

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 4

Page 10

What's Shown: An Advertisement to order all four division sets (24 teams total) with the enclosed envelope found in the middle of the album.

My Thoughts: How much do these cost? Note: The answer is found on the insert. I'm familar with most of the 1970 style logos that wrap around the advertisement with the exception of the White Sox (bottom left), Brewers (middle right), Phillies (top right) and Senators (middle right).

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 8

Inside Back Cover (page 11)

What's Shown: Pictures and Biographical information on eight of Los Angeles Dodgers All-Time Stars.

My Thoughts: Not to nit pick but Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella never played for the "Los Angeles Dodgers" and Pee Wee Reese only played for one season. Also, does Jim Gilliam belong on the same page with these other players.? I always thought of him as a Bill Russell or Steve Sax type of player.

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 9

Back Cover (Page 12)

What's Shown: The Los Angeles Dodgers 1971 Official Team Schedule.

My Thoughts: Wow, there are five doubleheaders on the schedule including three at Dodger Stadium. There is a lot of 1970's style fonts in play between the use of all lower case for the months and 1972 Topps-esque arch of the words "Official Team Schedule".

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 9

Free Bonus Offer Insert

What's Shown: Pricing information on albums for the other teams as well as a "Free All Time Great Stars" album and a "Handsome Division Set Binder" that you get when you purchase any or all of the four MLB division album sets. Note: This was a four page insert (two pages of front and back photos). I wasn't able to scan the rest without damaging the album so you're going to have to trust me on this.

My Thoughts: Finally, I get the pricing information. Note: If you're wondering it's $1.50 for 1 set of six teams in a division album, $2.50 for two, $3.50 for three and $4.50 for a set of all four division albums.

Coolness Factor (Ranking from 1-10): 8

Garvey or Not Garvey?

In building up my Steve Garvey baseball card collection through the years, I've accumulated quite a few cards of his. If I ever create a master list of every card I have of his, I'll have to include a Roger Maris type of asterisk (i.e. 61*) on the ones listed below because each of them for one reason or another isn't actually a licensed Steve Garvey card. With that said, I'm actually interested in acquiring more of these type of cards because of their uniqueness.

1971 Topps Steve Garvey Reprint/Counterfeit #341 (front)

One of the advantages of today's hobby is that the valuable cards produced in new packs are much more difficult to reproduce because of the crash numbering, fancier printing technology and inclusion of game-used relics and signatures on the cards. The same can't be said for the desirable cards from yesteryear.

Case in point is Steve Garvey's 1971 Topps cards which was first counterfeited over twenty years ago. While it's not easy to see, the photo quality of the 1971 Topps card above isn't as clear as the actual card and the card stock is slightly thinner.

1971 Topps Steve Garvey Reprint/Counterfeit #341 (back)

While collecting in the 1980's, I remember that counterfeiting of trading cards reached a point where 1) one of the publishing companies produced a guide on how to spot certain trading card counterfeits and 2) law enforcement ended up getting involved to curtail the problem. 

For some unknown reason instead of actually destroying the counterfeited cards, someone (i.e. law enforcement?) actually just stamped "REPRINT" on the cards. You can see this on the back of Steve's 1971 Topps card above. Besides Steve's 1971 Topps cards, I remember that in the 1980's counterfeits were produced for Pete Rose's 1963 Topps Rookie Card and Tom Seaver's 1967 Topps Rookie Card and "REPRINT" stamps were added to the card so that they could be re-introduced into circulation. Note: I'm sure this happened to other cards but I don't have examples offhand.

1972 Topps Steve Garvey Reprint/Counterfeit vs. Regular #686 (front)

Above are the fronts of a poorly trimmed 1972 Topps Reprint and a regular version. You'll notice the difference in the two when the backs are compared.

1972 Topps Steve Garvey Reprint/Counterfeit vs. Regular #686 (back)

I acquired the reprint version of this card already trimmed so I don't know if the word "reprint" was ever found on this card. The fonts on the back of the counterfeit and regular versions are very different.

1976 Topps Steve Garvey/Bill Robinson Miscut vs. Steve Garvey Regular #150 (front)

On a more positive note, miscuts and diamond cuts were commonly found on 1970's and 1980's baseball cards. In almost all cases, I usually ended up disposing of these cards because of they didn't conform with the rest of the cards in my collection.

Thirty plus years later, the world now has taught us to appreciate individuality and as a result I've learned to like Topps' mistakes.

1976 Topps Steve Garvey/Bill Robinson Miscut vs. Steve Garvey Regular #150 (back)

In case it wasn't apparant that Steve's cap was underneath Bill Robinson on the front of the card, Topps made it easy for collectors by including Steve's #150 on the back of the card.

I don't have these listed on my want list found on this site but if you have any Counterfeits/Reprints or Manufacturer Mistakes (i.e. Miscuts/Diamond Cuts) of Steve's that you'd like to trade, I'd be interested in making an offer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Odds and Ends

Below are some assorted oddball cards of Steve Garvey's that were released during various points of his career. These are items that I missed out on acquiring during my childhood years and have picked up recently.

The Sporting News' 1970 Baseball Register (front only)

This actually came out of an annual preview publication. I like that it only shows stats up until 1969. It's amazing that Steve wasn't able to settle in as a regular until 1973 even though he hit .373 in 1969 in AAA.

1984-89 O'Connell & Sons Ink #43 (front only)

This set was produced by Sports Collectors Digest writer T.S. O'Connell during the late 1980's. The backs of the cards are blank. I'm curious as to how these were made available to the public and if they were even licensed by MLB and/or MLBPA. My guess is that they are because they're listed in Beckett Baseball and they don't list unlicensed baseball cards (i.e. Broders)

1984 Seven-Eleven Coins #W7 (front and back)

These coins were the precurser to Sportflics' Magic Motion concept since they predated their first release by two years. I wonder if the company that produced these also produced Sportsflics.

1985 Seven-Eleven Coins #W8 (front and back)

I never collected them but I could imagine that these would double for POGs (Pineapple, Orange, Guava) lids when the fad took off in the 1990's.

1987 Topps Coins #32 (front and back)

I wonder how many times in their history did Topps produce a coin-themed baseball product. These don't scan that well because the pictures are recessed.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hall of Famer?

I hope everyone had a Happy New Year. With the College Football Season coming to a close this week and the NFL Playoffs starting, the 2010 Baseball Season is right around the corner though officially you could argue that it begins with tomorrow's Hall of Fame voting announcement.

On the subject of Hall of Fame voting announcements, each January from 1993 to 2007 brought along the tradition of me following the results of baseball's Hall of Fame voting and seeing how Steve Garvey did in the voting as well as who would be inducted in the upcoming year. Up until Steve's final year on the ballot, I hoped that Steve would gain enough votes to get elected or at least get more than the year prior. For reasons unknown to me, Steve not only wasn't inducted into the Hall of Fame but his percentage of votes dropped significantly as the years went by (I'll save my thoughts/conspiracy theories on this for a future post).

With that said, I hope that the deserving candidates that have been on previous ballots (i.e. Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire, Harold Baines, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Bert Blyleven) experience sizable vote increases from last year or if they're lucky even receive enough votes to get inducted. As for this year's significant newbies (i.e. Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff, Edgar Martinez, Andres Galarraga), I wish you the best of luck.