It's St Patrick's Day! Conventional blog wisdom says that I should be doing a post about green cards, or something pertaining to a pot o' gold, but my Irishness would never allow me to do something so cliché (I have no problem with other people doing it though).
I don't talk about it on here very often, but I am very proud of my Irish Ancestry (sometimes too proud), and hate the thought of posting a piece about the time some kids stole my Lucky Charms, or some other such nonsense. I do feel like blogging today though, and after doing a quick search through my scan folders, found a suitable set of items -- so instead of some generic holiday themed post, you're gonna get baseball cards, old baseball cards to be more exact. These will be old in terms of age, and acquisition, as these came from my pre-Rona (and pre-card boom) COMC shipment back in December of 2019.
Oh, and it looks like some of these are 'green', but I can assure you that that wasn't intentional, think of it more like one of Bob Ross' "Happy Accidents".
This is my favorite Gene Conley card, and has been since whenever it was that I first saw it. And it's not for the oft used faux pitching pose, nor the lack of baseball in his hand. No, my appreciation for this card is based solely on the raggedness of his attire. This is back when they didn't get a new jersey before each and every game. Other than maybe a few of the country boys, I can't imagine any of today's baseball players wearing a shirt with a tear in it for any length of time. And they'd certainly never go into a new game with an old ripped jersey/undershirt.
With a record of 0-6, 1958 was an atrocious year for Gene. This after going 9-9, and winning a ring with the Braves the previous season. But despite the bad showing, he would bounce back the following year when he went 12-7, and was selected to the All-Star team. 1959 also saw him winning the first of his eventual three rings with the Celtics.
It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that I was finding cards to add to my "Telstar Four" collection (this is made up of the four players that were featured in the Cubs v. Phillies live look-in during the Telstar broadcast), but apparently this '66 Altman was the last card that I added to that collection. It doesn't feel like it's been over a year, but it has been a long year, and probably wasn't hard for me to forget about such things. Now that I'm using the TCDB, I need to go back and make a new checklist, especially since I can't seem to find my paper copy.
Aside from is rookie card, Johnny Podres is one of the more affordable vintage stars to collect. For example, this really clean and well-cut '61 Post set me back all of $1.05. And granted, this was bought probably close to two years ago, but even so, I don't imagine his prices have gone bonkers like so many others have since. 1961 was a good year for Johnny too, in fact as far as wins and losses go, it was his best, as finished with an 18-5 record; and yet, he wasn't an All-Star! He made the team the year before, and the year after, both times with a less impressive record. I'm sure that there's a story behind that, but I don't know it.
Thanks to Bo, I'm finding myself looking in the background of vintage baseball cards much more often than I used to. I know that other people have an interest in backgrounds as well, so I did a quick search on this card. No old blog posts came up in the results (or at least there weren't any in the first four pages), and no website mentions either (non-sales websites that is), so does that mean that no one has ever talked about this particular background online before? I find it hard to believe that no one has, but I guess I'll go ahead and pretend that that's the case, and that I'm actually doing something original here (please don't burst my bubble if I am not in fact covering new ground).
I've seen enough photos on the blogs at this point of, and around, Dodger Stadium, to know that this building wasn't located anywhere near it. And despite the Tigers moniker, Johnny is clearly still wearing a Dodgers cap, so the next logical place to look for a building match would be around their spring training facility. After just a minute or two of searching, I found a match:
I'm gonna have to break from some of my fellow bloggers who had expressed surprise over Mr. Aaron's semi-recent passing. Dude was 86, and had been in declining health for some years, it was only a matter of time before it got the better of him. It's just unfortunate that someone of such high character had to spend the last few years of his life ostensibly being forced at gunpoint (metaphorically speaking) to sign autographs so that his handlers could continue to increase their coffers. Hank's situation wasn't quite as bad as the one that poor Stan Musial found himself in, but it was still bad nonetheless, and I wish nothing but ill-will towards the kind of people who think it's acceptable to profit in such ways. Apparently my negative thoughts haven't been enough to affect any of these people's outcomes though, as I've yet to see a headline along the lines of "Entire Musial family wiped out by falling meteor" or "D*cks of Hank Aaron's handlers mysteriously fall off, doctors baffled!".
My accumulated Hank Aaron cards may be the most impressive part of my vintage baseball collection, which is kind of interesting, because I never set out to collect him, I've just been in the right places, at the right times, to acquire many of his cards for much less than they normally sell for; the above card being no exception. I can't remember how much it cost, but do know that I got this card from one of those famous, and now very infrequent, fire sales, the kind where the person is clearly looking liquidate all of their COMC holdings in a hurry. With the way the card market is now, I don't expect to see too many more of these sales anytime soon. Piece of advice though, if you do ever come across one, and you're early enough, don't dilly-dally around thinking that you have any real amount of time to browse and buy at a leisurely pace, because you won't, other sellers will pick up the scent and have that carcass stripped within minutes of it going live.
It's hard not to sympathize with tragic figures, and when it comes to baseball, I'd have no trouble putting Roger in the top 5 for that category. Also, unlike Hank Aaron, I feel like I have a real chance to complete Roger's entire Topps run; which is a goal that I really should start focusing on more. Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder what his rookie card is currently selling for?
On second thought, I don't want to know, it'll probably just be depressing.