Saturday, January 31, 2015

1950 Bowman #174 H.Thompson, #232 A.Rosen, & #234 B.Shantz

Last year, I completed my first baseball card trade since the 1980's.  With this post, I've officially completed my second trade in over 25 years.  This recent trade, added 8 new cards to my vintage collection today.  This post will focus on the three '50 Bowman cards I received, which brings me to within 16 cards of completing the last set ever produced prior to the Topps baseball card world takeover.  These cards helped me to complete two team sets: Giants and Athletics.  My next post will focus on the other 5 cards from this trade.

The first card in this lot is #174 Hank Thompson, who's professional career actually began at the age of 17 with the Kansas City Monarchs.  Thompson played his first season in the major leagues with the St. Louis Browns in 1947.  He went back to K.C. briefly in 1948, before getting back to the majors with the New York Giants in 1949.  Thompson appeared in two World Series throughout his career, scoring a total of 3 Runs against the Yankees in 1951, and batting .364 in 11 AB's against the Indians in 1954.  The Giants won it all in 1954.  Thompson would continue to play out the rest of his major league career with the Giants in New York throughout 1956.

Also appearing on the field during the 1954 World Series was #232 Al Rosen, making his 2nd appearance.  Rosen played his entire career with the Cleveland Indians from 1947 to 1956.  He experienced a World Series Championship early on during his career against the Boston Braves in 1948.  Rosen was a 4-time All-Star between 1952-1955, and won the A.L. MVP title in 1953 after leading the league in Runs, HR's, RBI, SLG, OPS, and TB.  He was the A.L. Homerun champion in 1950.

#234 Bobby Shantz had a fairly lengthy career of 16 years in the majors with 7 different teams--mostly with the Philadelphia/Kansas City Athletics.  The year before Rosen won the A.L. MVP, Bobby Shantz held that title as the Philadelphia A's pitcher in 1952 (when he won 24 games with a 2.48 ERA in 279.2 innings pitched).  Of his 33 starts that year, 27 of them were complete games.  Shantz made the All-Star team 3 times during his career, with the last time being in 1957 when Shantz would also win his first of 8 total Glove Glove awards.  Also in 1957 was Shantz' first year of two total World Series appearances.  His second World Series appearance was in 1960.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chicago Cubs Ernie Banks (continued)

I don't think that I'm the only person guilty of going out and purchasing extra cards for a legendary player after his passing.  Last year, there was Jerry Coleman, Al Dark, Ralph Kiner, Jim Fregosi, Connie Marrero, Frank Torre, Don Zimmer, and Tony Gwynn--among many others.  This year, it's Stu Miller, Bill Monbouquette, and Ernie Banks.  I recently added the following two Banks cards since my last post.  

*1964 Topps #55: Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs, 1B.

*1965 Topps #510: Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs, 1B.

This was my 200th post on the 20th-Century Topps Baseball blog.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Turn Back the Clock Five Years: San Francisco's 1st World Series Championship

In 2010, the Giants won their 1st World Series as a San Francisco ball club (coming close in 1962, 1989, and 2002).  Now, 5 years after their 1st World Series, the San Francisco Giants have emerged as a dynasty for the '10s decade winning 3 of the last 5 championships.  Here's a quick glimpse of the players that made up that first winner in 2010.   

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chicago Cubs Ernie Banks

It's a sad day in the baseball world with the recent passing of Ernie Banks yesterday.  He was already a legend, having just been inducted into the Hall of Fame, the year I was born.  I remember staring in awe at my first Ernie Banks card a few years ago when I acquired his 1971 Topps card--his last one.  It felt like I had finally made it in the baseball card hobby when I could say that I was collecting players like Ernie Banks.
His positive attitude towards the game of baseball is what really made him stand out among his peers.  Although I never had the opportunity to watch him play, I did get to see his positive energy and well-spoken mannerisms during Banks' appearances on the original Home Run Derby show that came out in 1960.
Here's Ernie Banks' Topps card from 1960 along with a few of his teammates.  I've been slowly compiling this set from an initial 100-card lot purchase that has now grown to nearly 1/3 of the complete set. 

Since acquiring my first Banks card, many others have found their way into my collection, to include the rest of his '70s cards, most of his '60s cards, and even a couple of his '50s cards. 

I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about Ernie Banks and his legacy throughout the 2015 season.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

1960 Topps Kansas City Athletics Team

With 24% of the '60T set completed, it's probably time to admit that I'm now formally a collector of this set.  As one of the most unique Topps baseball card sets of its era, 1960 set is also the year of the lowest valued Topps set manufactured between 1952-1963. 

This set's uniqueness stems from the combination of horizontal and vertical images that make it somewhat difficult to view this set in a card binder without rotating the thing around every few cards.  Topps never again produced a card set in horizontal format during this modern card size era (1957-present).  The 1955 and 1956 Topps sets also used horizontal images, but the larger card size requires special 8-pocket pages, which makes viewing horizontal cards simple.  Nevertheless, this is an outstanding card set in my opinion, that is every bit as colorful as the '59, '63, '72, '75, and '81 sets--if not more. 
One of the interesting aspects of this set, I think, is the inclusion of a coaches card to go along with the team checklist and manager cards.  The manager and his coaches are an important part of every team, but aren't included in recent card sets anymore.  In fact, coaches cards are rare in any card set--especially as a separate card like it is in the '60T set.  

Other distinctive card issues included in the '60T set are Sport Magazine Rookie Stars, Topps All-Star Rookies (not shown), Sport Magazine All-Stars (not shown), player combo cards (not shown), and world series/playoff cards (not shown). 

Although the Kansas City Athletics had the worst record in the major in 1960, I chose to start with this team because of their surprising recent World Series appearance in 2014.  The K.C. Athletics cards shown are all I currently have available from this set right now. 

The card backs show a combination of either gray or white cardstock, which I cannot explain.  It's not something I really pay attention to when collecting cards from this set.  Perhaps someone will have some further insight into the usage of the two different types of cardstock here.  I've noticed it in other vintage sets as well.