Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1954 Topps #243: Ray Blades, Chicago Cubs, CO

Ray Blades was born in Mt. Vernon, IL on 8/6/1896.  He began playing for the St. Louis Cardinals as a leftfielder in 1922.  He was a part of the Cardinals first 4 World Series teams, but did not appear during their 1st World Series Championship season of 1926.  He did appear with the Cardinals during their 1928 W.S. loss to the Yankees, their 1930 W.S. loss to the Athletics, and then their 2nd World Series Championship victory over the Athletics in 1931.  Blades retired with a lifetime batting average of .301 in 1932.  He immediately began managing for the Cardinals minor league system.  In 1939, Blades was brought up to manage the St. Louis Cardinals until 1940.  Afterward, he became a coach for various other teams including the Reds, Dodgers, and Cubs.  Ray Blades passed away in Lincoln, IL on 5/18/1979 at the age of 82.

BV: $15.00 (for commons)
Cost: ?
Condition: PR 1.0 (worth 5% BV)
Completion: 1 of 250
Comments: This was the first 1954 Topps card I ever owned.  I can't remember exactly what I paid for it, but it certainly couldn't have been much more than 50 cents considering the strict baseball card budget I had as a college student after serving in the military.  I've always liked the '54 set, but as a budget-minded collector, I never really believed that starting a collection of 54's was actually feasible.  For one thing, the values listed in Beckett are astronomically outrageous.  I hadn't yet adjusted to paying more than $1 for a common card until I started working on the 1972 high-series set.  I also didn't realize that I could find many of these cards for under 10% BV if I collected them in PR, FR, and GD condition.  In addition, the larger card size just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of my "book" collection, until I discovered 8-pocket pages.  Lastly, I didn't know where to begin since most of the common players were unfamiliar to me.  That all began to change a couple of years ago when I discovered a large used book for $10 showing every Topps card ever produced between 1951-1985 (a newer one that goes up to 1990 also exists).  I now use this book as a type of checklist to do all of my research, budgeting, planning, and strategizing.  After purchasing the complete '54 reprint set, I was soon ready to begin replacing some of those reprints with original cards.  To date, I have acquired about 30 original cards from the '54 set--and it all started with #243.

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