Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Card Show Purchases: The Vintage

When my interest in baseball cards was rekindled earlier this year, the one new spark that produced a flame in me immediately was to seek out cards that I did not collect when I was a kid -- either because I couldn't find them or, more likely, because I couldn't find them in a price range that I could afford then. Since I now can afford some of those cards, I decided to collect some of those cards.  

Once again being choosy, though, led me to decide to collect only Milwaukee Braves cards. Yeah, I have nascent player collections of Joe Adcock, Warren Spahn, and Eddie Mathews, and I'll probably add 1957 World Series MVP Lew Burdette to that. But, I want to collect all the Milwaukee Braves cards I can. At least from the major sets.

Since I haven't catalogued those PCs yet, I was careful about what I bought from any of those players.  But, I knew that I had not picked up the Mathews or Spahn from Gypsy Queen.  

Those photos are nothing original from Topps; I'm pretty sure that the Mathews photo has been on at least four different inserts in the past several years, and the same is true for Spahn.  

Now, these cards are new so they better be in perfect shape or else they better be free.  I'm not all that choosy on vintage cards, though, when it comes to condition. Let's be honest -- finding a few dime or 50 cent cards from the 1950s or early 1960s is likely to lead to finding these cards in less than ideal condition.  But, when I saw the vintage binder with dollar cards, I got sucked in.  

Hank's brother was nowhere near as good as he was, but not many people have ever been that good.  

Future GM Woody Woodward is looking very serious in his pose in foul territory during spring training.  He never hit any homers as a Milwaukee Brave and had a slash line of .207/.241/.257.

Did he have blackmail photos of the Braves GM?

Blasingame was touted as being the heir apparent to Warren Spahn when he was signed straight out of high school in 1961. He ended up on the Houston Astros in 1967. Eventually, his sartorial style featured in Ball Four.

Someone before me thought that Ty's hat looked better Red. Ty attended Clemson University, so after Clemson's recent trip to the land of Red and Black in Athens, he may disagree with that assessment.

Yup, it's a 1966. Joe's as disgusted about my inability to identify a 1966 Topps as I am. Topps avoided showing guys in hats so as to avoid the whole "Atlanta stealing the Braves and leaving Milwaukee without baseball" discussion.

Mack had to be happier than most of the Braves when the team moved to Atlanta, since he grew up in the ATL. Mack passed away 10 years ago and is buried in Forest Law Cemetery here in Atlanta.

Rico was one of the first players from noted Dominican baseball factory San Pedro de Macoris to make it to the major leagues, and he was the first San Pedran to be an All-Star. Indeed, he still stands fourth all-time in games played by San Pedro natives -- though Robinson Cano probably will pass him in the next year or two.

Lee Maye (not Lee May) played 7 years with the Braves beginning in 1959. He was a far better R&B and soul singer under his full name, Arthur Lee Maye.


I love YouTube.

Bob Buhl to me will always be the pitcher who couldn't hit. I think it came from going 0 for 1962 -- 0 for 69 at bats, to be exact, with the Chicago Cubs.  With the Braves, his worst hitting year was probably 1954, when he went 1 for 31. 

Pisoni got a badly-drawn boy card in the 1959 Topps set. He had never played for Milwaukee before and had appeared in 9 total games for the Braves that season -- going 4-for-24.  After that performance, the Braves decided to send Pisoni back to the New York Yankees from whence he came in the Rule 5 draft.

Covington came up with the Braves in 1956. He and Hank Aaron were contemporaries in the Braves system and, according to his SABR biography, Covington had a propensity for two things -- getting hurt and pissing people off by opening his mouth.

I'm a lawyer, so I can relate with that second one.

This card of the Nitro, West Virginia, great is what may spur my starting that Lew Burdette collection.  It's actually in much better shape than most of these cards are, but that's not why I am going to start the Burdette collection. I'll start the Burdette collection because Lew went 179-120 with a 3.53 ERA with the Braves (6-11 in Boston in 1952, otherwise with Milwaukee) and he was the MVP of the 1957 World Series -- which, to date, remains the only World Series victory for a Milwaukee team.

When I tell people about my collecting the Braves, I tell them that while some kids went to bed with stories of giants and beanstalks, I went to bed with stories of Giants and Brutons. He didn't get to the major leagues until 1953 when he was already 27 years old, and he immediately led baseball in stolen bases in 1953 (with 26), 1954 (34), and 1955 (25). 

People didn't believe in stealing in the 1950s.  It was a simpler time.

Ray Shearer got a baseball card in 1958 for playing in 2 games with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 -- one on September 18 and one on September 29. He passed away very young -- at the age of 52 in 1982 in York, Pennsylvania.

Bob Buhl appears to be questioning me about why I'm picking on him for his hitting when Al Leiter didn't get all kinds of crap in 2003 when he went 1 for 53 for the New York Mets.  

I'm sorry Bob -- I didn't know. 

Like I said at the top, I'd have rather these cards been in better shape than they are, and perhaps some day I'll seek out better and better copies of these cards for my collection. But I'm not buying these for "investments" so frankly, I really don't care if Ty Cline's hat is colored in red. I just care that I have the cards.

Even for Ray Shearer and his 3 at bat career.


  1. Awesome post, I've been buying some cheaper "beater" vintage cards myself lately for all the same reasons you state. I have a bunch of Brewers cards kicking around, would love to send you a bubble mailer to get some of them cleared out of my card room. If you're interested drop me an email at shanediaz82 at yahoo dot com...

  2. Replies
    1. Totally agree. I'd prefer it to be just a little cheaper, but inexpensive cards from that era make me very happy!

  3. What a haul! I really need to go to a card show. I'm really jealous.

    1. We have three shows a month here! ;-)

  4. Beat up vintage is the best kind of vintage. Nice finds!

    1. You do pretty well yourself at your flea markets.

  5. Every now and then I'll be surprised when someone features a 1950's card that I already have... As a Mets fan, my collection largely picks up in 1962. Anyway, when I got to the Ray Shearer card, I said "Holy crap, I have that one!", which is kind of a stupid reaction because lots of people have the Ray Shearer card, but even so... Hey, I have that one! I think I got mine in similar circumstances... Cheap, old, lesser-condition.

    I'm getting to that age where I hear about anyone passing away at 52 and I think "OMG, that's SO YOUNG!!!!"

    I'll bet Bob Buhl spent his whole life having people ask him "What are you so angry about?"