Monday, February 29, 2016

1922 American Caramel 240 Series: Jack Tobin, St. Louis Browns, OF

Jack Tobin started his MLB career with the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League that only lasted two seasons as a major league team: 1914-1915.  He, and 10 other of his teammates were purchased by the Browns of the American League after the F.L. folded in 1916.  Tobin would remain with the Browns for 10 years through 1925 before playing out his last couple of seasons with two more teams.  In 1922, Tobin was just coming off of a strong 1921 performance, leading the league with 179 Singles, 18 Triples, and 671 At Bats.  He didn't skip much of a beat in 1922 either, scoring 122 Runs on 207 Hits with 34 Doubles and a .331 Batting Average.  After the 1927 season, Tobin played three more years in the minors before hanging it up for good after 1930.

1951 Topps #B-24: Sherm Lollar, St. Louis Browns, C

     Sherm Lollar was just coming off of an All-Star season in 1951, which would be his last with the St. Louis Browns.  He had originally been called up to the Indians in 1946 after 3 years in the minors, and then spent the next two years with the Yankees before reaching the Browns.  Lollar's 1951 season was marked by a league top 5 performance in Putouts, Assists, and Range Factor/Game as a catcher.  After the season's end, he would be involved in an 8-player trade that would send Lollar to the White Sox for the rest of his MLB career through 1963. 

1947 Tip-Top ('91 reprint): Billy Southworth, Boston Braves, MGR

Billy Southworth was an outfielder for a number of years between 1913-1929.  His Hall of Fame managerial career began in 1929 with the Cardinals that he carried to 3 consecutive World Series in 1942, 1943, and 1944.  Southworth went to the Braves in 1946 where he'd serve out the rest of his managerial career through 1951, and highlighted by a World Series appearance in 1948.  

1954 Topps #235: Vern Law, Pittsburgh Pirates, P

Vern Law came back to the Pirates in 1954 after serving two years in the military during the Korean War.  Law did more pitching in 1954 than he had during either of his first two seasons in the majors in 1950-1951, including Games, Games Started, Games Finished, Complete Games, and Innings Pitched.   

1951 Topps B-Series Lot (Blue Backs)

Well, I got a bunch of '51T B-series cards in the mail the other day.  I've been slowly chipping away at this tough to collect series since completing the A-series subset.  It was definitely a low-grade lot, with only one card outside of my normal "collect-ability" range--the Carrasquel RC missing half the paper on back.  My B-series set now includes 25 of 52 total cards with a grand total of 79 of 106 total cards in the 1951 Topps set.

Included in this lot are:

#B-3: Del Ennis
#B-14: Red Munger
#B-15: Eddie Joost
#B-18: Ned Garver
#B-19: Phil Masi
#B-24: Sherm Lollar
#B-25: Sam Mele
#B-26: Chico Carrasquel
#B-28: Harry Brecheen
#B-43: Willie Jones

Sunday, February 28, 2016

1922 American Caramel 240 Series: Rabbit Maranville, Pittsburgh Pirates, SS

     Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville was already a veteran of 10 years entering his 11th season in 1922.  As a 2nd year Pirate Maranville was very reliable, playing 155 games in a 154-game season.  He came up to bat 746 times, score 115 Runs on 198 Hits, 26 Doubles, 15 Triples, and a .295 batting average.  It took the Pirates three players, including Hall of Famer Billy Southworth, in a trade with the Braves to bring Maranville to Pittsburgh.

Here's Rabbit Maranville inserted into my binder with the rest of the 1922 set reprinted.

Here's what the card looked like when purchased it--before "cracking the slab".

1935 Goudey ('85 Galasso reprint) #27-5: Babe Ruth, Boston Braves, OF

Babe Ruth was released by the Yankees at the start of the 1935 Spring Training and signed the same day (2/26) with the Braves.  After coming off of 2 All-Star appearances in 1933 and 1934, Ruth's final year as a MLB player was probably a lot quieter.  He played in 28 games during his final year, scoring 13 Runs on 13 Hits with 6 HR's, 12 RBI, and 20 Walks.  Ruth played his final MLB game on May 30th, 1935.  This was his final card as a player.

The 1935 Goudey set can seem a little confusing.  There are 36 unnumbered card fronts featuring 4 players each.  30 of those card fronts feature four players on the same team.  6 of those card fronts feature four players on two or three different teams.  This creates difficulty for me in organizing my set in the usual way (by team performance and then player age), so I'm still trying to determine a method.  I'm not sure how pricing guides decided to number this set, but it's listed as card #27 (I'll explain the dash 5 below).  The Braves ended up being the worst team in the majors in 1935, so Ruth's card is currently situated at the end of the final page along with the other two Braves cards.

The 1935 Goudey card backs are what really adds to the confusion to this set.  There were 9 puzzle backs in this set:

1. Detroit Tigers (12 pieces)
2. Chuck Klein (6 pieces)
3. Frankie Frisch (6 pieces)
4. Mickey Cochrane (6 pieces)
5. Joe Cronin (6 pieces)
6. Jimmy Foxx (6 pieces)
7. Al Simmons (6 pieces)
8. Cleveland Indians (12 pieces)
9. Washington Senators (12 pieces)

Doing the math, you'd need at least 72 cards to get all of the puzzle pieces.  What Goudey did in 1935 was issue their 36 cards with 2-4 different puzzle backs, which ended up totaling 114 different front-back combinations.

This particular reprint card features a piece from puzzle 5, so this card is numbered #27-5.  Card #27 featured four different backs for puzzles 1, 3, 4, and 5.  The latter two are considered the most valuable cards in the set.  This 36-card reprint set completed puzzles 4-8.  I'm not sure if puzzles 1-3 and 9 are featured on other reprint sets, but would like to know if they are.  Guess I'll have to start collecting originals for the missing puzzle backs.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

1962 Topps #561: Gene Oliver, St. Louis Cardinals, C

In 1962, Gene Oliver began catching regularly for the Cardinals after being called up to the team in 1959.  He saw time at 1B and the corner OF positions as well.  Oliver's MLB career lasted through 1969 with 5 different teams.

Friday, February 26, 2016

1933 Goudey #24: Hod Ford, Boston Braves, SS

Hod Ford entered his 15th and final season as a major leaguer in 1933.  He started with the Braves back in 1919, and would end up finishing his career with the Braves after playing with 4 other teams. 

1933 Goudey #166: Sam West, St. Louis Browns, CF

After 6 seasons with the Senators, Sam West was traded along with Lloyd Brown, Carl Reynolds, and $20,000 to the St. Louis Browns for Goose Goslin, Fred Schulte, and Lefty Stewart in the winter before the 1933 season.  West ended up appearing in 4 of the first 5 All-Star Games as a Browns Centerfielder.  He would remain with the Browns almost 6 years before being traded back to the Senators for Mel Almada during the first half  of 1938.

1951 Bowman #154: Pete Suder, Philadelphia Athletics, 2B

Pete Suder was the primary 2nd Baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1951.  He spent his entire career with the A's from 1941-1955, and was with the team during their first year in Kansas City. Suder finished the 1951 season leading the league in Field Pct., Range Factor/9Inn, and Double Plays Turned by 2nd Basemen.

Baseball Card Price Guide Comparisons, 2010-2012

     I started using Beckett Monthly around 1987 for pricing data.  About 15 years ago,  I started using Beckett's  Official Price Guide of Baseball Cards, which I still use today as my primary checklist and as a pocket guide during travels (4-1/4" x 6-3/4").  I made it pocket-sized (1/2" thickness) by pulling out all the pages that I didn't need (everything except Topps, Bowman, Play Ball, Goudey, and Tobacco).

At home, I started using the much larger 2012 Beckett Price Guide 34th edition a few years ago (measuring about 8" x 11" with a 1-1/2" thickness).  I started outgrowing this guide lately when some of the vintage or more obscure sets I've been collecting were nowhere to be found.  I knew of two other options: the Almanac of Baseball Cards & Collectibles and the Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards.  I found them both for $4.00 each ($0.01 + $3.99 shipping).

     I replaced my Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide with the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Cards (shown below).  This book is just like my other Beckett guide above, but much thicker (about 2-1/4" thick or 75% thicker).  It includes almost all of the vintage and obscure sets that I've been looking for, as well as modern pricing.        

     The Beckett provides a chart for adjusting pricing based on age and grade of your cards.  Older cards are hold their value better through the lower grades using the Beckett.  This method of pricing requires a little more figuring on our own part, so I've created a modified version of this chart to suit my collecting needs (provided on a separate tab of each of my blogs).

The Beckett provides only two columns for a LO and HI value.  I tend to use the HI column for singles and the LO column for complete sets (adjusted using my version of the chart above).  This is the method that I'm most comfortable with.

     I also purchased the Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards as an opportunity for another perspective.  As far as I can tell, the Standard Catalog moved to strictly vintage pricing with its 2012 edition.  Beckett also began offering a strictly vintage price guide last year, but includes all four major sports instead of just baseball.  Both, the Standard Catalog, and the Beckett Vintage guide boast larger print.       

 My favorite aspect about this guide so far is the chronological index in the back.  Actually, I'd prefer price guides to be organized according to the chronological index for pre-Topps cards (through 1955 Bowman) instead J.Burdick's American Card Catalog system that's been used ever since his first publication back in 1939.  Back then, the industry didn't know much about the companies or the years that baseball card sets were produced, so a library-type card catalog system was invented to organize all of the sets.  Over the years, enough research has been conducted to determine who made the sets and when, so I figure it's about time to start organizing them chronologically.  A primary example is the 1911 Tobacco Gold (T-205) set being listed before the 1909 Tobacco White (T-206) set.  1909 should come before 1911.  I end up having to flip all over the book to go from one year to the next in many cases.  Knowledge of vintage sets becomes difficult to determine--It's confusing.  The chronological index in the back of the Standard Catalog is definitely a first step in the right direction.    

     For pricing, the Standard Catalog uses 3 columns based on condition rather than a range for a single condition, which leads to a little less figuring required.  There is a [NM 7.0] column, an [EX 5.0] column, and a [VG 3.0] column.  [EX-MT 6.0] and [VG-EX 4.0] pricing can be determined by averaging two adjacent columns.

     As a low grade vintage collector, the key to most of my pricing is in the shaded portion of the guide shown below:

*[GD 2.0] condition cards can be determined by halving the the [VG 3.0] column,
*[FR 1.5] condition cards can be determined by halving the [GD 2.0] column.
*[PR 1.0] condition cards are stated to be worthless, which I'll take to be less than [FR 1.5].

  I'm just not so sure that I'm on board with this system yet.  I tried pricing a few low-grade cards using the above logic and came up with some interesting results.  

     I tend to use the Beckett guide more for pricing and the SCD guide more for locating or identifying sets.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

1933 Goudey #79: Red Faber, Chicago White Sox, P

     I've got a rough one here.  Extremely rounded corner that was probably once a cut, but still collectible enough for my tastes.  Red Faber spent 20 years in the majors with the White Sox from 1914-1933 after 5 years in the minors between 1909-1913.  He turned 45 years old in 1933, converting mostly to a closer during his last couple of years.  He was a member of the 1919 Black Sox, but did not participate during the World Series.  In 1964, Faber was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee after appearing 16 times on the ballot between 1937-1962.  He often appeared at the top of the leader board throughout the '10s and '20s.  During the '30s, Faber cracked the top 10 in Fielding % as P ('30), ERA ('31), Games Finished ('31,'32,'33), and Saves ('32,'33).  He was also the oldest player in the A.L. in 1932.  Faber was born and raised in Iowa in 1888, and passed away at the age of 88 in Chicago.   

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

1947 Tip-Top ('91 reprint): Eddie Miksis, Brooklyn Dodgers, IF

     Eddie Miksis debuted in the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944 and remained with the team until being traded with Bruce Edwards, Joe Hatten, and Gene Hermanski to the Cubs for Andy Pafko Johnny Schmitz, Wayne Terwilliger, and Rube Walker before the All-Star break in 1951.  He continued to play through the '58 season.  Miksis appeared in 2 World Series in 1947 and 1949, but failed to earn a ring against the victorious Yankees both times.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

1922 American Caramel 240 Series ('91 reprint): Frankie Frisch, New York Giants, 2B/3B

    Before the Gas House Gang, there was Frankie Frisch with the New York Giants for 8 years.  In only his fourth MLB season, Frisch helped lead the Giants to their 2nd consecutive World Series championship in 1922--and would lead them to two more appearances in 1923 and 1924.  As a Giant (1919-1926), Frisch made the league top 3 in Runs ('21,'23,'24), Hits ('21,'23,'24), Total Bases ('23), Triples ('23), RBI ('23), Stolen Bases ('20, '21, '22, '26), and Singles ('23).  Defensively, Frisch would also lead the league in major categories at 2B and 3B.  After the 1926 season, Frisch was traded with Jimmy Ring to the Cardinals for Rogers Hornsby.

1947 Tip-Top ('91 reprint): Yogi Berra, New York Yankees, C

Perhaps Yogi Berra's real rookie card?  This hidden gem can be found in the '47 Tip Top set, which consists of 163 total cards.  Beckett lists the original card's value at $500--a little less than his $800 Bowman rookie.   

Sunday, February 21, 2016

1939 Play Ball #34: Frank Demaree, New York Giants, OF

Former 2-time All-Star Frank Demaree entered his 1st of 3 seasons with the Giants in 1939 after being traded by the Cubs with Billy Jurges and Ken O'Dea for Dick Bartell, Hank Leiber, and Gus Mancuso during the offseason.  With his best years behind him, Demaree still proved to be a good defensive outfielder for the Giants by reaching the league top 5 in Putouts ('39), Assists ('39), Double Plays ('39,'40), Range Factor/Game ('39), and Fielding Pct. ('39).  Demaree would end up with the Braves by the end of 1941 the Cardinals in 1943, and then the Browns in 1944 before finishing out his playing career in the minors in 1950.