Sunday, February 28, 2016

TTM Triumph #17: Frank Lary

Finally! A successful return from a former baseball player. I have not had great luck with baseball players, which is why you tend see a lot of basketball related TTM's from me. But after a two month wait (my longest), one finally returned from "The Yankee Killer":

Since I'm suffering from a serious case of "poo brain"...

...thanks to the card show yesterday (next post), I'm going to cheat a little bit on this post and do a full copy and paste from Wikipedia. I hadn't planned on doing this again, but Mr. Lary had a pretty darn good career and I don't want to diminish it by just adding a couple stats and calling it good. So for anyone that's interested, you can scroll down and see the particulars.

As always, a big thank you goes out to Mr. Lary.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Frank Lary
Frank Lary.jpg
Born: (1930-04-10) April 10, 1930 (age 85)
Northport, Alabama
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
September 14, 1954, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 21, 1965, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record128–116
Earned run average3.49
Career highlights and awards
Frank Strong Lary (born April 10, 1930) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (1954-1964), New York Mets (1964, 1965), Milwaukee Braves (1964), and Chicago White Sox (1965). He led the American League with 21 wins in 1956 and ranked second in the same category with 23 wins in 1961. Lary was selected to the American League All-Star team in 1960 and 1961 and won the Gold Glove Award in 1961. He was known variously as "Taters", "Mule", and the "Yankee Killer." The latter nickname was won due to his 27-10 record against the New York Yankees from 1955 to 1961.

Early years

Lary was born in Northport, Alabama, in April 1930. He was raised with six brothers on his family's farm near Northport.[1] His father, J. Milton "Mitt" Lary, was a semipro spitball pitcher,[2] and five of the Lary brothers went on to play baseball for the University of Alabama.[3][4] His older brother Al Lary was briefly a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, but spent most of his baseball career in the minor leagues. Lary followed his older brothers to the University of Alabama,[5] where he had a 10-1 record in 1950 and won two more games in the College World Series.[3] Lary dropped out of Alabama after two years to play professional baseball.[3]

Minor leagues

After his performance in the 1950 College World Series, Lary signed a $6,000 contract with the Toledo Mudhens, the Detroit Tigers' American Association farm club.[3] He began his minor league career playing at Thomasville, Georgia, in the Georgia–Florida League. After winning four consecutive games in Thomasville, he moved to Jamestown, New York, in the PONY League, where he compiled a 5-2 record.[3] Lary missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons due to service in the U.S. Army.[3] He was considered a leading prospect with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League in 1953 and 1954.[6] During the 1953 season, he compiled a 17-11 record and threw a no-hitter against Ottawa. In 1954, he compiled a 15-11 record and won 10 of his last 12 games.[3][7]

Detroit Tigers

Lary was called up to the Tigers late in the 1954 season, making his Major League debut on September 14.[8] He played in parts of 11 seasons for the Tigers, and his 123 wins rank tenth in team history.[9]
In 1955, Lary stepped into the Tigers' rotation as a starter and compiled a record of 14-15 in 36 games.[8][10]
In 1956, Lary compiled a 21-13 record and became the Tigers' first 20-game winner since Hal Newhouser won 21 games in 1948. His record was 17-3 after July 1.[11] Lary also led the American League in multiple statistical categories in 1956, including wins (21), games started (38), innings pitched (294), hits allowed (289), hit batsmen (12), and batters faced (1,269), and finished 17th in the voting for Most Valuable Player in the American League.[8] His total of 1,269 batters faced was the highest total by a pitcher in the American League during the 1950s.[12]
During his years with the Tigers, Lary became known as "The Yankee Killer." He had a 27-10 record against the New York Yankees from 1955 to 1961, years during which the Yankees won six American League pennants. In 1956, he compiled a record of 5-1 against a Yankees team that had an overall record of 97-57. In 1958, he was 7-1 against a Yankees team that had an overall record of 92-62. He became the first pitcher to win seven games in one year against the Yankees since Ed Cicotte accomplished the feat in 1916. A good hitting pitcher, Lary defeated the Yankees 4-3 on May 12, 1961, by hitting a lead off home run in the top of the ninth inning. This took place immediately following the ejection of teammate, outfielder Rocky Colavito, who had bolted into the stands at Yankee Stadium when he observed a Yankee fan tussling with his father.[1][13][14] In The Sporting News, Joe Falls wrote: "As far as Frank Lary is concerned, the war between the states never did end. There merely was an 89-year interlude between Lee's surrender at Appomattox in 1865 and Lary's arrival in the major leagues in 1954. The objective has remained the same: rout the Yankees."[1] He was also 5-1 against the Yankees in 1959. Yankees manager Casey Stengel once delayed the appearance of his star pitcher, Whitey Ford, by one day so Ford would not have to face Lary. Stengel explained to reporters, "If Lary is going to beat us anyway, why should I waste my best pitcher?"
Lary also was known by the nickname "Taters" after a teammate noticed him write "Taters" for potatoes on a dining car order during a 1955 road trip. "He has been 'Taters' around the clubhouse and in the dugout ever since."[3] In a 1961 profile of Lary, Sports Illustrated wrote:
"Frank Lary is a classic kind of ballplayer—the type, alas, you don't see much of these days. He is a throwback to the Cardinals of the 30's, a cotton pickin', gee-tar strummin', red clay Alabama farm boy, unspoiled by a little college or a lot of success. He is mean on the mound and a joker off it. To strangers he is quiet, but to the Tigers he is the Jonathan Winters of the dugout, keeping them loose and laughing. Sometimes he is a Casey Stengel, his legs bowed, his pants rolled above his knees. Then he is the trainer, complete in white shirt, white trousers and with a Turkish towel wrapped around his head."[2]
In 1960, Lary was selected for the first time as an All-Star. He led the American League that year in games started (36), complete games (15), innings pitched (279.1) and hit batsmen (19).[8]
In 1961, Lary had the best season of his career. With a record of 23-9, he was the top pitcher on a 1961 Detroit Tigers team that compiled a record of 101-61. Lary's 23 wins were a career-high and second in the American League to Ford. Lary also threw a career-high and league-leading 22 complete games in 1961.[8] Lary was also selected for the American League All-Star team and won the Gold Glove Award in 1961.[8] He finished third in the 1961 Cy Young Award behind Ford and Warren Spahn.[15]
Lary was a workhorse for the Tigers from 1955 to 1961. During that seven-year span, Lary led the American League in wins (117), complete games (115), innings pitched (1,799-2/3), games started (242), and batters faced (7,569).[16] He started more than 30 games in each of those seven season and led the American League in complete games three times in four years from 1958 to 1961.[8]
In 1962, the workload caught up with Lary, as he began having shoulder problems. He began the season with a 2-6 record and had only two complete games in 13 starts. He was placed on the disabled list in August 1962.[17] Lary started the 1963 season in the minor leagues,[18] and compiled a record of 4-9 after being recalled to the Tigers.[8] He began the 1963 season with an 0-2 record for Detroit, giving him a record of 6-17 in his final three seasons in Detroit.[8]

Mets, Braves and White Sox

In May 1964, the New York Mets purchased Lary from the Tigers.[19] Lary compiled a 2-3 record for the Mets, and threw a two-hit shutout in his last game for the team during the 1964 season. In August 1964, the Mets traded Lary to the Milwaukee Braves in exchange for Dennis Ribant and $25,000.[20] He was reacquired by the Mets in March 1965.[21] Lary had a 1-3 record for the Mets in 1965.[8] In July 1965, the Mets traded Lary to the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later.[22] Lary appeared in 14 games for the White Sox and compiled a 1-0 record.[8]

Later years

After finishing his pitching career, Lary went on to coach and scout for various teams. After retiring from baseball, Lary lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he began a construction business.[5] In 1986, he was living in Northport and working for a company that paved roads.[23]


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Breaking down a two card trade

Recently Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown showed off a recent one of his custom TTM successes from Al Hrabosky. In the post he mentioned having an extra for trade if anyone was interested, which I was. So after finding some cards that were to Gavin's liking, I ended up with this:

The blurring is from the bad picture I used for this post.

As part of the trade I also got one of Gavin's Alan Young custom cards, so that I could try and get it signed. The card isn't shown here because it was sent out fairly soon after it arrived (and I forgot to scan it first). So I will show it off in a post, when hopefully it comes back signed (fingers and toes crossed). Thank you again Gavin for the trade! And for anyone who hasn't seen any of his customs in person, believe me when I say they look incredible. For someone like myself who has next to no computer know how, it is amazing to think that somebody is capable of creating cards that look this good. It seems like maybe the card companies should start taking notice of the folks out there with this kind of talent, as it wouldn't hurt to try and hire some people with fresh ideas.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Monday, February 22, 2016

TTM Triumph #16: Billy Keller

I had a much more elaborate post that I had hoped would be ready either yesterday or today, but alas, it's still not finished. So instead you get to see yet another one of my recent successes:

Billy Keller was an Indiana guy (he has since moved away) through and through, having been born there he played his entire basketball career there (high school, college, pro, and coaching). In his senior year ('69) at Purdue, he along with future ABA'ers/NBA'ers Rick Mount and Herm Gilliam, led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten title and the school's first ever appearance in the NCAA tournament, making it all the way to the finals. They would end up losing to UCLA in the title game, but it should be mentioned that by this point in the tournament the Purdue team basically limped in to the final game with multiple injuries to key players. Which of course made them easy pickin's for a UCLA team that was led by a young Lew Alcindor (among others) and coached by the great John Wooden. Also during Billy's senior year, he was awarded the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which is given out to the nation's best player under six feet tall (he is 5'10).

Billy was chosen in the seventh round of the 1969 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, but elected to join the Indiana Pacers of the ABA instead. Over his next seven seasons he would win three ABA championships with the Pacers and go to two more finals. He would end up with second most made 3's in league history and lead the league twice in free throw percentage ('73 and '76). Billy retired in 1976 when the ABA finally folded, ending up with a scoring average of 11.8 points per game. And from 1980-87 he coached at the University of Indianapolis.

As always, a big thank you goes out to Mr. Keller.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Not cool

So two days ago I got a Fairfield baseball repack of the 75 cards plus a pack in the hanger box variety, which is not uncommon for me. Now normally I have pretty good luck with these (especially the basketball ones), I just don't ever show any of the contents because there are always more interesting things I would rather showcase from card shows, COMC, ebay, etc.

Anyway, yesterday was opening day (for the repack). And upon the opening the pack I was absolutely delighted (sarcasm) to see that every card in the box, save for seven, had a corner mushed in. Now the box had no outward appearing damage, but judging by the damage to the cards it most likely got dropped at some point and of course then I had to be the lucky recipient of said dropped box.

So since I'm talking about it, let's take a look at some pictures. Also, I didn't bother scanning anything and I only edited a couple of the pictures. So if they look like garbage, that's why.

How about a close up?

Here's a few of the cards in the pack that I would have liked to have:

And of course this box had to be one with the 1:4 "hit":
Note the serial number, 148/250.

Now I'm not familiar with Brendan Harris, nor am I going to look him up. And it's not like this card means a whole heck of a lot to me, but I'm sure a Cubs team collector out there somewhere might have liked it (undamaged, of course).

And if this repack wasn't already enough of a disaster, Fairfield decided that it would be a good idea to include these as the unopened pack:
These Triple Play cards have got to be some of the lamest cards ever produced and I am supposed to be excited about the possibilities of what could be in my unopened pack. By the way, I haven't even bothered opening yet, as I'm sure it's full of punky corners too.

Since I'm complaining so much in this post, I might as well add to it with one more item included in this box:

I don't know what the f*&% this is, but it's not a card! It's only about half the size of a normal card and appears to be almost like a tag off of something. But it was certainly counted as one of the 75 cards.

It's nice to know that when someone get's a box like this, that there is no recourse. You can't take it back to the store, that's for sure. If I had the blogging status of say a Fuji or a Night Owl I could probably take to the twitter and say " Hey Fairfield, what's up with that?", and a replacement would likely show up in no time at all. But as is, they would just be like "who cares about this Joe and his thoughts on pretty leaves". And yes, I know this isn't the end of the world but it still stinks. My repack buying is likely going to cease for awhile as well.

Just so this doesn't end up being a post that is completely negative in tone I will close with three things on the positive side.

1. While opening this repack I was nearly given a heart attack by a sudden loud noise at the living room window that is about two feet away (at head level) from where I was sitting. Normally this type of scenario would not have an amusing outcome, but in this instance it did:

Thankfully she stayed long enough for me to get this picture. I don't know if food or the want to see if I got anything good was the motivation for the commotion, but in retrospect I'm very grateful for the distraction (minus the palpitations).

2. Recently, Jeff of 2x3 Heroes fame was giving away some pocket schedules to anyone that was interested. And like most people I'm a big fan of free stuff, so here is what ended up getting sent my way:
Thanks, Jeff! These are very cool.

3. Also, as I'm pretty sure everyone reading this already knows but Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown is having another one of his customs contest. It sure looks like whoever is fortunate enough to win is going to end up with a pretty unique prize. So if by chance you didn't already know about it, I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A 2009 Topps American Heritage revelation

Hopefully "revelation" isn't too strong of a word for this subject. But it does seem appropriate to me. So just yesterday I figured out how to tell the 2009 American Heritage apart from the 2009 American Heritage Heroes edition. Now if any of you reading this already know how to tell them apart and think I must be daft not to have known the difference, I will justify this post by mentioning that I have seen two separate bloggers post on the same difficulty as far as not being able to tell them apart goes. And none my google searches have revealed any useful information either.

Before I get to my eureka moment. I will mention that this set is yet another one that is fairly new to me. I came across a couple of singles in some dime boxes last year at the first show I attended in Nashville and was instantly attracted to the design of historical figures on vintage baseball card designs. Once I got home with them was when the confusion began as I soon found that they were from two different sets that looked identical. So rather than deal with it then, I decided to put them in a box and come back and try again at a later date. I didn't come across any more until the last show I went to a couple of weeks ago, when I found a few more for 10 cents apiece again.

Real quick here are the couple from this past show.

2009 Topps American Heritage:

And these are from the Heroes edition:

So yesterday while searching the backs for any kind of way to tell them apart, I noticed one small difference in the fine print at the bottom.

This is the back of one of just the American Heritage:
And here is the American Heritage Heroes edition:
As you can see the Heroes edition has the extra bit about tracking and a code. Fairly easy to spot the difference, huh?  I feel like kind of a dumb dumb for failing to notice it sooner, but I guess it's better late than never.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page!

Monday, February 15, 2016

TTM Triumph #15: Paul Hornung

I want to start this post off by sending a thank you out to Jeremy of The Autograph Boss for showing his success from Mr. Hornung, and for mentioning that the fee usually charged by Paul Hornung to sign doesn't seem to be in affect right now. Which is why I'm showing this most recent success out of order, just in case anyone reading is interested in sending something to get signed. If you are interested, it probably would behoove you to act fast as he probably won't be signing for free very long. Especially once the word gets out and all the greedy SOB's out there start blitzkrieging him with half a dozen cards at a time that will be destined for ebay, and thereby ruining this opportunity for everyone else. But of course, they won't care because they got theirs and that's all that matters.

Now that my mini rant is out of my system, I will get to what you came here to see:

And a bonus:

From what I've read, he will sometimes keep a card (a lot of athletes do). So I sent two and asked if he could please just sign one. And, lo and behold, he sent both back signed. The crazy part of this is that the SASE I provided wasn't even sealed. Since I use those self sealing envelopes with the strip that you remove and seal shut, well the strip wasn't removed so the flap was just folded over. I don't know the cards even stayed in there, and of course anybody could have just reached in there and took them out. But, I'm just glad they made it back safely. I should probably mention to that this was my fastest return yet at only five days, granted he is located in the next state up but it still seems pretty darn fast.

I don't think it's even possible for me to list all of his accomplishments, so I will apologize in advance if this is missing anything. In his junior and senior season's at Notre Dame he played almost every position on offense and defense at an extremely affective rate. A Heisman Trophy winner in 1956, becoming the only player to ever do so on a team with a losing record. In addition to that he also was a starter on the basketball team during his sophomore season.

Mr. Hornung was the #1 pick in the 1957 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. For his first couple of seasons he would serve as halfback, field goal kicker and occasionally quarterback.  He led the league in scoring for three straight years between 1959-61. He was the league MVP in 1961. Played in two Pro Bowls. He would end up winning four NFL Championships (three of these were pre Super Bowl). And he is a member of both the college football hall of fame and the pro football hall of fame.

As always, I would like to send a big thank you out to Mr. Hornung.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A much desired bobblehead and a couple of SLU's

Let me start off by saying that I am not really a fan of bobblehead's. It's not that I dislike them, it's just the fact that the idea of them has never really appealed to me. That was until I found out there was a bobblehead of Satchel Paige in a Portland Beavers uniform. I should probably mention that before this I had all of one bobble in the form of Harley Quinn that I got early last year on clearance. I bought it because it was Harley Quinn, not because of her bobbling head.

Anyway back to Mr. Paige. This figure was a giveaway at a Portland Beavers game in 2002. But I only became aware of it's existence thanks to an unrelated ebay search about two years ago and have looked for it off and on ever since. They don't seem to come up very often and when they do it's usually for around $25-30, which is more than I wanted to pay. So fast forwarding to a couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to win this one via an auction for around $14 shipping included. It didn't come with the box, which wasn't a big deal. It was nice to see that it looked even better in person as well, since giveaways can sometimes be lacking in quality. It is also much heavier than I would have imagined.

Hopefully the pictures are alright, we have had snow again for the last couple of days which makes for really bad lighting.

I don't know if anyone cares, but here are few more angles:

Portland has never really been a big baseball town, despite having a minor league team (they left in 2011) that has had a plethora of former and future big time names playing for the club over the years. Satchel Paige joined the Beavers in 1961 at the age of 55 for a little less than three weeks. His best days were far behind him, so he was really only brought in to help boost attendance for the team and of course to earn a paycheck for himself. He ended up pitching a total of 25 innings with the team going 1-4 during his outings, he finished with 19 strikeouts and gave up 18 earned runs. But the hopes of boosting attendance worked, both at home and on the road as a lot of people showed up to see him even during the games he didn't play in. And of course he provided the crowds with plenty of entertainment (as he did everywhere he played), including sitting in a rocking chair outside of the dugout to poke fun at his age.

It would have been neat if the Beavers would have done more bobbles for other past players. I personally would have loved to own a Jim Thorpe bobblehead.

I got some Starting Lineup's a few months ago off of Sportlots and figured they would sort of fit in with this post. They all came in very beat up packages, but that just meant that they could be had for a much cheaper price. I can't remember the last time I got any SLU's, if I had to guess though, it would have to be around 15-20 years ago. I bid on a few more from this same seller, but these were the only ones that stayed cheap.

These first two are from the Cooperstown line.

Up first is Tris Speaker:

I really like how they made the figure depicting his later career. I don't know how well you can see it, but he has gray hair and eyebrows.

Up next is Buck Johnson (in a very cool Homestead Grays uniform):

Next we move to basketball with this Larry Legend figure:

This one is from 1988 and therefor looks a little crude as some of the earlier one's did. If this one were in a Mavericks uniform, you would swear it was Brad Davis.

And finally, Wilt and Kareem from one of the Legends lines:

The picture isn't so great, but I think these two look really good. I also like the fact that neither is in a Lakers uniform.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

TTM Triumph #14: Swen Nater

I really haven't wanted to do a post for the last couple of days, but this recent success pretty much writes itself:

Mr. Nater also included a business card:
The signature on this one is preprinted. And with the back you can where the "writing itself" part comes in:
As you can see Mr. Nater has provided all the stats and career info for me, which makes this a very easy post to put together.

As always, I would like to send a big thank you out to Mr. Nater.

Thank you for taking a moment to look at my page!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My first trade as a blogger

It took a little longer for my first trade to occur than I though it would, but this one was definitely worth waiting for. It will come as no surprise to most of you reading this that the person responsible for everything you will see here is none other than Mark Hoyle, who from what I have seen , seems to have achieved almost mythical hero amongst the bloggers (although I wouldn't be surprised if that carries over to daily life as well).

After giving Mark my want lists, he gave me no indication what or how much was being sent. I can honestly say that I was amazed by what was sent and how much was sent. It was also neat to be informed that a lot of these cards were pulled from packs by Mark himself, as a youth. I don't think I own too many cards pre 1980 that I know who the original owner was, so that fact just adds to the overall coolness of these cards.

So I guess it's time to show the contents of this mystery package.

1974-75 Topps:
With this group here, I'm only 15 cards away from completing the set. And since none of the 15 are big names I should be able to finish it off this year. Very exciting stuff!

1975-76 Topps:

How's that for star power? I could do a post or two just on the contents of this group. The Bob McAdoo has been a long desired card of mine. I can't really explain why I like it so much, I just do. With this selection marked off the checklist, I'm down to 25 needed. It will probably be tough to finish the set this year, so I will be optimistic and say hopefully next year.

1976-77 Topps:
Three out of the four are serious upgrades. The Bob Lanier on the other hand is a card that has been alluding me for quite a while now. It is definitely my second favorite of the entire package.

1977-78 Topps:
There is some serious name power in here. I had forgotten I needed some of the stars represented here, but I guess that is bound to happen when they are put in checklist by numbers only. Of all the 70's basketball sets, this is the one that I have focused on the least. But now with all these cards coming off the needs list I think I will start trying to complete it sooner than later.

So I will finish by saying thank you, Mark. You really outdid yourself. Hopefully you can comment on a future post after you receive my side of the trade, so that the other bloggers know I am willing and able to match trades with equally as great of items.

Thank you for taking a moment to look at my page.