Tuesday, March 24, 2015

'59 Topps set build #15/572 Stu Miller

It's time to get back into the swing of things around here, and I'll start off with another installment of the '59 Topps set build, featuring the card of one of the best "swing" men of his era, Stu Miller.

Card #183:  Stu Miller

Career beginnings:   Stu was signed by the Cardinals in 1949 as an amateur free agent.  He would first appear on the Cardinals roster in 1952, starting 11 games, winning 6 of them with 2 shut outs. 
Stu served in the Navy before starting his career with the Cards.

Cartoon on the back:  Interesting cartoon depicting a hitter being frightened by what appears to be a fast ball.  But, if you look at Stu's bio, it speaks to the "junk" that he throws, and further goes on to describe his best pitches as slow and slower. 

How'd he fare in 1959?  Quite well, actually.  Stu appeared in 59 games, 9 of them starts.   He had 8 saves, and had just enough innings to qualify for the ERA title.  His 2.84 ERA for the '59 season trailed only his teammate Sam "toothpick" Jones' mark of 2.83. 

  • Stu had a great September, compiling a 1.45 ERA and finishing 9 of the 12 games he appeared in.   Unfortunately, the Giants were just 2-10 in those 12 games. 
  • His 2.47 ERA led the National League in 1958. 
  • Stu became a reliever exclusively at the start of the 1961 season, and was named relief pitcher of the year in '61(NL) and '63 (AL).
  • He was selected to the NL All-Star team in '61, and was famous for committing a balk by being blown off the mound by high winds at Candlestick Park.
  • Stu combined with Steve Barber on 4/30/67 to be the first pitchers to throw a combined no-hitter in over 50 years while with the Orioles.
  • Stu would also win a World Series with the Orioles in 1966 while not appearing in any of the games.   The only WS in which he did appear was in 1962 with the Giants.  He pitched in games 1 & 5, not allowing any earned runs.   The Yankees won that series in 7.
Stu passed away in January of 2015 at the age of 87.

Thanks for reading, Robert 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

'59 Topps set build #14/572 George Strickland

I didn't really realize how long it had been since I created one of these posts.  It's been almost a month, which is way too long.  I've got a bunch of '59s scanned and in the queue, and with a much needed week long vacation coming in a couple of weeks, I should be able to pop a few of these posts out in the not too distant future.

Card # 207:  George Strickland

One day, I will sit down and rank the different color combinations from the '59 set in order of preference.  I'll be curious when I do to see where the light blue border with the white letters stacks up against the rest. 

George is another example of a player signing very young; the Brooklyn Dodgers signed him to his first contract when he was just 17 years old in 1943.   He would play the 1943 season in single A New Orleans before spending 1944 & 1945 in the US Navy. 

1946 was his first year in the Red Sox organization, where he would stay for 3 years until the Pirates picked him up in the Rule 5 draft in 1949.

The cartoon puzzles me a bit.  Yes, George did play all the infield positions during his 10 year pro career, but I'm not too sure why the player in the cartoon is shrugging his shoulders and saying "who needs more?"  Maybe someone out there can enlighten me.

George had a gap in his career, as he was retired for the 1958 season.  But there were no gaps in his baseball card library, as you can see here.  

How'd he do in 1959?  George played in 132 games for the Indians, hitting .238 with 3 HR and 48 RBI (the 48 RBIs were a career high).

  • George hit well off of Mickey McDermott during his career, sporting a .415 average with 17 hits and 4 doubles.  
  • Strickland and the Indians made it to the '54 Series, losing to the New York baseball Giants in 4 straight.   George unfortunately went 0 for 9 with 2 K's while appearing in 3 of the 4 games.
  • He didn't have any 4 hit games during the '59 season, but he did have 6 3-hit games, including a 3 for 4 opening day with 2 RBI's in a 6-4 over the Kansas City A's.
  • His longest hitting streak in '59 was 10 games.  A 2 hit game to start the streak, and 9 consecutive 1 hit games afterwards.  George's average actually dropped 39 points during the streak.
George's playing career ended in 1960 with the Indians.   He would go on to manage the tribe over parts of the 1964 & 1966 seasons, winning 48 while losing 63.

George passed away in 2010 at the age of 84 in his hometown of New Orleans, LA.

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Just set it, and forget it

In the ongoing hunt for cheap prices on the many sets/PCs I'm chasing, I spotted an auction recently for a 2015 Topps black parallel of my newest player PC, Brett Lawrie.

It had a starting bid of $4, which I didn't think was too bad.  I wasn't planning on spending any more than that, so I threw down the $4 bid, and if I got outbid, oh well...

The next day I get the email from eBay saying I won the auction.  I had totally forgotten that I had bid on the card to begin with. 

This makes a bakers dozen so far for the Lawrie PC, nothing spectacular yet in the collection but this is definitely a nice addition.

My only question now is, why can't I do this for the key cards I need for the '64 Topps set?

I should be so lucky...

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, March 2, 2015

There's hope for me yet

February saw the blog hit 20 posts during a calendar month for the first time since November.  It's not that I haven't wanted to write anything.  When I've had the time, and the inclination, the posts have come rather easily.  I probably sent more envelopes in February (11 total) than I did in the previous 3 months combined.

The days that haven't been spent putting a post up haven't been spent slacking, instead I've spent a lot of time working on getting the Blue Jays collection into pages (35 pages were completed over the past 2 attempts), and I've also spent some time getting all the parallels and inserts that I have for trade on the trade page (I still have a long way to go there...).

My main goals for 2015 are still the same however, completing the two tasks that I'm closest to finishing.  SNI, and '64 Topps.  Picking up 1 or 2 cards a week for the '64 set has been a thought that's crept into my head recently, and I started off with this beauty.

Putting the hex on opposing batters for over 2 decades
Love this card.  It's as if he's giving you the evil eye.  I got it for a decent price on a buy it now, and grabbing this leaves me with 78 cards to go.  I'm not sure if I'll finish before the end of the year, but I'm going to give it a go.

There's always hope....

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Geez, I thought this would take me quite a while

When I ran the tournament last summer to see what set I was going to build, I had some parameters built in.  I figured the older sets would take me quite a while to complete, largely because of the price point of a lot of the star cards, as well as the commons being more expensive and eating into the budget a lot quicker. 

So far, I've been very fortunate with the '59 Topps build, as it has progressed a lot quicker than I ever imagined.  I received a surprise box in the mail last week from CommishBob, and inside was a "slab" of '59s that just blew me away.

Fantastic looking cards, I'm being spoiled rotten.

How can you not love a card of a guy that's named Rip!!

Every time I look at Harry Anderson, I think of the judge from Night Court.  

These 3 photos totaling 18 cards only account for half of what Bob sent me.  This lot brought me up to 199 cards already for the '59 set, which means I am already 1/3 of the way complete.

I am appreciating more and more the various color schemes for the borders.   The pink and black on cards like Carl Willey remind me (and other wrestling fans, no doubt) of the Hart Foundation during the 80's and 90's in the WWE.  I'm torn between the black/yellow and the yellow/red as to which is my favorite color combo.  Both look great and for me they make the card "pop" more than the other combinations.

At this pace, I may have this set done in about half the time I expected.   It's all due to bloggers such as Bob, who make the term blogger generosity very easy to use.  

Thank you for the cards Bob, they really are appreciated!!

thanks for reading, Robert