Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Deep Cuts and B Sides?

I mentioned yesterday that I went to a card show about two weeks ago and probably gave the punchline to the joke before I even made the joke. I mean, who starts with "here's the trade bait"? Well, there is a reason in my rhyme.

It's like a live concert, especially for a band who is still pretty new on the scene. There's almost a formula for how those live shows go, especially if the band has about three or four songs everyone loves/knows.  The band often starts with their third or fourth best known song. The true fans are into it and it warms the crowd up. But, that intro song always needs to be an attention getter.

My attention getter was the trade bait.

Usually, the second song out of the box is one that, again, fans will know. Perhaps it's a B-side to a hit, or perhaps it's a song that has been getting buzz from fansites and the "True fans". 

In my case, I view that buzz from the fansite as being similar to cards from the 1950s and 1960s. The "true fans" -- let's call them "TFs" -- are really into the cards from that era. That's true, that is, if you have some reason to care such as a favorite player or team from the era.  The music fan TFs will swear up-and-down that the best song on the album is that fourth song that never got airplay.

Similarly, the baseball card TFs will tell you that Topps peaked as a card company around 1960 or 1965 or whatever year is their favorite set. 

I'm a team collector and a player collector, though, so I tend to look at cards as "ones I want" and "ones I don't."

Enough babbling about theories on how concerts are setup with set lists.  Let's look at the cards.

1.  Hank Aaron Special, 1974 Topps

Now, it's strange to start off a post about cards from the 1950s and 1960s with a card from 1974. But, this $1 Hank Aaron special from the 1974 set -- with sharp corners -- was far too good of a deal to pass up and it features the first four cards of Henry Aaron's Topps run.  

2.  Hank Fischer & Frank Bolling, 1963 Topps

Fischer attended Seton Hall, where he was a basketball star as a freshman out of Yonkers. His coach at Seton Hall, though, was a man named John "Honey" Russell. Russell's job other than coaching basketball at Seton Hall was to serve as a scout for the Milwaukee Braves. Perhaps it said that Fischer was never destined to be a 6'-tall basketball star, but Russell recommended that the Braves sign Fischer. Fischer spent 4 years in Milwaukee, split the 1966 season among Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Boston, pitched in Boston in 1967, and then was out of baseball after a 1968 season spent in Triple A.

The Frank Bolling card suffered from a hyperactive scanner cutting off that left part of the card.  Bolling came over to the Braves after the 1960 season from Detroit, where he had played in 1954 and then from 1956 to 1960 (after a year in the military). Bolling was part of the trade that sent Bill Bruton and Chuck Cottier to the Tigers.  Bolling was a four-time All-Star (twice in 1961, twice in 1962).

3.  1964 Topps Billy Hoeft

Billy Hoeft was a hometown boy of sorts for the Braves. He was born and raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. His best season in the major leagues came in 1955, when, as a member of the Detroit Tigers, he led the American League in shutouts with 7 at the age of 23 and also played in the All-Star game. He won 20 games in 1956, though he did that with a 4.06 ERA (3.45 FIP) in a generally less impressive season. He only spent the 1964 season with the Braves as a reliever, winning 4 without a loss in 42 appearances and 73-1/3 innings.

And now, for two cards and players that need little introduction...but they get one anyway.

4.  1965 Topps Warren Spahn

By 1965, Warren was 44 years old. But, he was just two seasons removed from a 23-win season and 22 complete games. Spahn's contract was purchased by the Mets after the 1964 season, and he lasted just 3 months into the year before he was released. The San Francisco Giants then signed Spahn, but at the end of the year they too decided that Spahn was done.

Oddly, this was 7 years after he received his first vote for the Hall of Fame. As the Hardball Time explained a few years ago, there was a point in time when active players were eligible to receive votes for enshrinement in the Hall. After his 1957 season in helping the Braves win the World Series, Spahn received a single vote from some intrepid reporter to enshrine him into the Hall. 

This card is a little beat up, and it cost me a full $1 -- the same as the other three just above it from 1963 and 1965.

This last card actually cost me a little more.

5.  1964 Topps Eddie Mathews

This card is crazy. Yeah, there is a little crinkling at the upper right-hand corner. My scanner cut off a bit of the white border at the top and bottom of the card, though, so the centering is better than it appears.

The price for this one?  Three dollars.


During the show, I overheard a couple of the guys talking about how they came to the shows around Atlanta to try to stock up for shows elsewhere in the country. They were saying that "high-end" cards and memorabilia tends to be underpriced here in the Atlanta area as compared to the prices at, for example, the National Convention.  

Maybe it's true. 

With a 1965 Mathews with corners that were sharp -- yes, dinged, but sharp -- to cost $3, I believe them.


  1. Great stuff all around but man, what a steal on those last couple particularly!

  2. Well done. I just picked up that Fischer for my 67 RedSox master set.

  3. Great pickups! You can't beat discount vintage. (P. S. -- That's actually a '64 Eddie Mathews.)

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed that typo

  4. Great deals Tony! $3 Eddie Mathews card!!!!