This is a blog documenting items that are added to my 1961-62 Fleer Baseball Greats collection. Hopefully you will find it interesting as well. If you enjoy what I am trying to do here, stop back from time to time.
The latest card that I have added to my graded 1961 Fleer Baseball Greats set is #84 featuring Lloyd Waner. This card is graded PSA 7.
Lloyd Waner was a mainstay of the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield from 1927 through 1941. Along with his brother, Paul, the Waners gave Pittsburgh All-Star caliber players throughout the late 20’s and during the 30’s. In his rookie year of 1927, Lloyd hit .355 with 223 hits. He continued to be an offensive weapon throughout his career. His career batting average is .316 with 2459 hits. He and his brother hold the record for most hits by brothers (5611).
Lloyd was nicknamed “Little Poison”. His brother, Paul was of course “Big Poison”. The nicknames came from a Brooklyn accent pronunciation of Little Person and Big Person.
Lloyd was named to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1967.
I recently added a PSA 7.5 version of a 1961 Fleer #79 Tris Speaker to my collection.
Tris Speaker played baseball from 1907 to 1928. His career matched that of many more well-known players. He had a career batting average of .344. He only hit below .300 in one season. Even with this lofty batting average, Speaker is more known for his defensive skills a an outfielder. From 1910 to 1915, Speaker was a member of the “Million Dollar Outfield” for the Boston Red Sox. The other members of this outfield were Duffy Lewis and Harry Hooper. Grantland Rice said that this was the greatest defensive outfield that he ever saw. The “Million Dollar Outfield” was broken up before the 1916 season when Speaker was traded to Cleveland. Speaker was traded by Red Sox owner Joe Lannin over a salary dispute.
In his first season with the Indians, Speaker won the batting title hitting .386. He played for Cleveland from 1916 to 1926 and is a member of the Indians Hall of Fame. Speaker also played for Washington in 1927 and Philadelphia in 1928 before end this great career. During his career he hit .380 or better five times. He also collected 3515 hit and 793 doubles during his career. Speaker was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937.
My latest 1961 Fleer Baseball Great card is #67 Bobo Newsom. This card is a PSA 8. Newsom’s debut in MLB came in 1929 for the Brooklyn Robins. Newsom played for a number of teams during his 20 year career. His last game was in 1953 for the Philadelphia A’s. During his career Newsom won 211 games and lost 222 games. He is one of 114 pitchers to win at least 200 games during a career. Newsom’s best year came in 1940 as a Detroit Tiger. That year he won 21 and lost 5 with a 2.83 ERA. As a result Newson became the highest paid pitcher in baseball in 1941. That year he made $35,000.
Newsom earned a World Series ring as a Yankee in 1947. The Yankees beat the Dodgers that year. 1947 was Jackie Robinson’s first year.
Newsom is also one of two pitchers whose careers spanned both Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. The other pitcher is Al Benton, who actually pitched to both Ruth and Mantle. Newsom did pitch to Ruth but never faced Mantle in a MLB game.
Warren Giles is featured on card #33 of the 1961 Fleer Baseball Greats set. Giles was not a player but rather he had a 50 year career as a baseball executive. Giles joined the Cincinnati Reds in 1936 as a Vice President and General Manager. During this tenure, the Reds won pennants I 1939 and 1940. He was elected President of the club in 1946.
In 1951, Giles began an eighteen year reign as President of the National League. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979. His election to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee is not included on the card since it occurred well after the card was produced.
The second card that I added to my 1961 Fleer Baseball Greats set also has a Cubs connection (Manager 1949 to 1951). Frankie Frisch is #30 in the 1961 Fleer set. Frisch was nicknamed the “Fordham Flash”. He was a four sport star for Fordham University where he earned the nickname.
Frisch primarily played 2nd base for the New York Giants from 1919 to 1926. After the 1926 season, Frisch was traded to the Cardinals for Rogers Hornsby. In august of 1926, Frisch missed a sign which cost the Giants a run and the ballgame. Frisch’s relationship with John McGraw went downhill quickly, leading to the trade.
Frisch was an integral member of the Cardinal’s Gashouse Gang and played in 3 world series as a Cardinal. Frisch finished his career in 1937 with a career batting average of .316 and 2880 hits. His hit total was a record for a switch hitter until Pete Rose broke it in 1977.
Frisch went on to manage the Cardinals, Pirates and the Cubs. He managed the Cubs from 1949 until 1951. Frisch was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947.
The first card that I added to my PSA Graded 1961 Fleer set was very appropriately a CUB. #23 in the 1961 Fleer set is Johnny Evers who manned 2nd base for the Cubs from 1902 through 1913. Evers appeared in over 1400 games as a Cub and had a batting average of .276.
Evers will always be remembered as a member of the remarkable double play combination of Tinker to Evers to Chance. These players were immortalized in a poem by Franklin Pierce Adams in 1910.
These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double-
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Adams was a New York Evening Mail sports writer but had been born in Chicago and was reportedly a Cubs fan.
That entire double play combination was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946. Only Evers lived to experience this honor.
Evers was also the player who called attention to the fact that Fred Merkle never advanced to 2nd base as he should have in a September 23, 1908 game that ultimately decided the pennant. Merkle was called out which negated a run that would have won the game for the Giants. Instead the game was declared a tie and the replay was won by the Cubs giving them the pennant.
Evers went on to play for Boston Braves, Phillies and the White Sox. He also managed for the Cubs and the White Sox.
Recently, I have not been very good at keeping up this blog. But, I am going to try again. I have started a new project to write about, so I am hoping that I can be keep this going on a regular basis.
My new project is really an old project. I first collected the 1961- 1962 Fleer Baseball Greats set as a student at Elwood Haynes Middle School in Kokomo, Indiana. At the time, I remember going across Markland Avenue at lunch time to buy these cards at a gas station. I cannot remember the name of the gas station at the SW corner of Markland and Cooper, but that is not important and the station is long gone.
I am not sure why I collected this set except that it was different. I am sure that most collectors of my age were more interested in buying Topps to collect cards of the current stars of the day. Players like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Willie Mays were a lot more interesting to collect than Chick Hafey, Bobo Newsom and Ki Ki Cuyler. But for whatever reason, I collected nearly a full 1st series set. I don’t remember collecting cards from the 2nd series. The 1961 – 1962 Fleer cards were also the last cards that I collected as a youngster. I did not restart an interest in baseball cards again until I was in my mid-50’s.
Unfortunately, I discarded the cards that I collected in 1961, when we moved from Kokomo to Michigan. Too bad, because I can clearly remember having at least two #75 Babe Ruth cards.
When I began collecting cards again in 2005, I completed a set of the 1961-1962 Fleer Baseball Greats. It was a nice mid-grade set that took about a year to finish. Completing a set has always been my interest, so in 2006, I sold the entire set on Ebay.
Now again in 2013, it seems important to assemble a full, PSA graded set of 1961-1962 Fleer Baseball Greats. So for at least awhile, I will try to report each of the cards that I get during this quest. I will probably buy a lot of these cards on Ebay as reasonably priced cards are available. However, I am also collecting raw cards from this set so I can send them into PSA for grading. I am expecting that this quest will take about 1 and ½ years to complete. So if this endeavor sounds interesting stop back once in a while to see how it is going.
The two graded cards that are pictured in this post represent a momentous achievement for me. These two cards were the last cards that I needed to complete my 1975 and 1964 graded sets. One of my collecting goals is to complete as many Chicago Cubs graded sets as possible. I am keeping these graded sets listed in the PSA Set Registry.
The 1964 Topps #550 Ken Hubbs In Memoriam card is difficult to find in high quality condition. The card is from the rarer high number series (523 – 587) and is more highly sought because of the subject matter. Ken Hubbs had finished his second full year for the Cubs in 1963. His potential seemed high. However, as he was piloting his plane on a flight from Provo, Utah to Colton, California, his plane went down in a snow storm. Hubbs’ 1964 card was issued in memorium.
My 1964 Cubs set is the 8th best in the current listings. My set currently has an average grade of 7.634 out of 10. When one is looking for PSA 8 or better the price and bidding activity increases dramatically. I would like to slowly improve the average grade for this set to 8.00. But that will take some time and the inclination to spend additional cash.
The 1975 Topps #15 Jose Cardenal was also difficult to add to my collection. It was not because of being a high number but rather it seems that graded 1975 Jose Cardenal are hard to find in PSA 8 or higher condition. When they appear on EBay, there is always a lot of interest and bidding.
My 1975 Cubs set is also the 8th best in the current rankings. The 1975 set has an average grade of 8.32. I am actively looking for 1975 Topps Cubs with a PSA grade of 9.0. I buy most of the PSA graded Cubs from EBay but will from time to time send some in to PSA for grading.
I am now seeking graded 1978 Cubs in hopes of completing that set next. I currently have 13 of the 30 required cards with an average PSA grade of 8.94.
I was able to make time to go to another card show this weekend. In southeast Michigan we have at least three quality card shows every month. Two of the shows are at the 2 Gibraltar Trade Center locations. The third show is smaller but still has several quality dealers in attendance each month. The third card show is held at the Redford, Michigan VFW Hall. This month, the show was held on February 3 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. They always have some signers. This month it was Gates Brown and Skeeter Barnes. The show was crowded while I was there…partially because of the signers and also because it is held in a much smaller hall than the Gibraltar Trade Center. You can see in the photos that there was a lot of buying, selling and trading happening. There were several dealers with the low cost boxes of cards, but for someone like myself, there were several dealers with high quality 1950’s and 1960’s card available. Of course, since we were in southeast Michigan there was a lot of Tigers and Red Wings items.
I did find some nice cards. I found a 1955 - #7 Gene Baker. This one looks to be a bit better that the one I found last week. The same dealer also had a great looking #88 Steve Bilko. However, if you look closely at the scan of both cards, it is pretty obvious that the Bilko card has been trimmed off of the right side. The dealer agreed and threw the Bilko card in for free. I will use it as a place holder until I can find a better version.
I also picked up four 1951 Bowman Cubs. The dealer said that he had just gotten a bunch of 1951 Bowmans from an estate. The previous owner obviously took great care of his baseball card collection. I took the four Cubs that were included in the lot. The dealer also had a very nice bunch of 1959 Ted Williams cards.
It seems that every time I go to a card show like this one, I find other baseball related items to acquire. This show was not any different. I found two books the add to my collection and hopefully read some day. The first was “Hawk” by Andre Dawson with Tom Bird. Andre Dawson played six seasons for the Cubs. So I look forward to reading this book.
I also found “Campy” by Neil Lanctot. This is the story of Roy Campanella. The book talks about Campanella’s success with the Brooklyn Dodgers and then his courageous fight to recover from an automobile accident in 1958 that left him paralyzed below the neck.
I also found a program from the 2012 Hall of Fame Induction. That was the year that Ron Santo was finally given the honor of induction. It was too bad that his widow had to accept the honor. This program carries a stamp and cancelation from the day of the Induction ceremony (July 22, 2012).
The last thing I picked from a dollar stack of magazines was the 1990 Sporting News Baseball Yearbook. The magazine features a photo of Ryne Sandberg on the cover.
The February Redford Card Show was great entertainment. There will be another on March 10. So if you live in southeast Michigan, you might want to give it a try. The announcement for the next show is below.
I recently added another Cubs program to my collection.
This program is from the 1952 season. This program is another great example of the artwork of Otis Shepard, who is responsible for the Cubs program covers from the 1940’s through the late 1960’s. Each cover is unique and makes a great framed addition to my Cubs collection. As I get Cubs programs, I am framing them and using the framed programs as a border around the top of my room.
This is one of many Cubs programs to use the Shepard "Fatman" on the back. Shepard's name also appears in the upper left corner.
I did buy one fun thing that was not related to my Cubs collection. One of the vendors had an unopened box of 1992 Conlon Collection available for $10.00. He was probably very happy for someone to take these cards off of his hands and I was equally excited to get a box of cards that had never been touched by human hands. There were several sets of these cards available between 1991 and 1994. The complete 300 card 1992 set lists for about $15.00. My purchase contained 36 cello packs of 15 cards each. So I got 540 cards for my $10.00.
The box promised that 20,000 cards autographed by living greats and that one of my packs might contain an autographed card. I opened all 36 packs and there was not an autograph in the bunch.
There was one card of interest. My last name (High) is not as common as Smith or Jones. Now there have been roads that carried my name (Highway) and even many schools (High School). But one card from this box featured a MLB player with my last name. Card number 648 (shown above) in the 1992 Conlon set features Andrew Aird “Handy Andy” High. He played several years for the Dodgers, Braves and Cardinals. His best year was 1928 with the Cardinals when he played in 146 games and batted .295. He also led all NL 3rd basemen in fielding percentage. My brother is the genealogy “expert” in the family, so I will leave it to him to discover if we have a distant relative who played MLB.
This card show was so much fun that I may take the time to go the the show at the Redford VFW this Sunday. The Redford show is not as big as the Gibraltar Trade Center show, but there are several quality dealers that regularly attend this show. Gates Brown is going to be there to sign autographs.
Yesterday was a “free” Saturday. My wife was in Saginaw presenting talks at a conference. The grandchildren that had been a big part of most Saturdays for many years, have recently moved to Texas. So, most of the day was not committed to anything or anyone.
My choice of what to do was to go check out the card show at the Gibraltar Trade Center. Here in Southeast Michigan, we are very fortunate to have several, regular card show featuring a large number of high quality dealers. There are two Gibraltar Trade Centers. One is located on the north side of the Detroit area in Mount Clemens and the other is located on the south side in Taylor. There is generally a high quality card show at each location, every month.
I spent several hours looking at vintage cards from many different dealers. I generally find that the selection at these card shows is much larger (both in quality and variety) than on Ebay. You have the opportunity to examine the cards in person. I have often been disappointed in purchases from Ebay, when the quality is not nearly as good as the pictures show.
The big buzz around yesterday’s show was a 1952 #311 Mickey Mantle card that was being offered to the highest bidder. It was not in great condition. The upper left corner was in particular was very worn. But it was the 1952 Mantle card.
I was hoping to pick up a few vintage cards for my Cubs collection. My long term goal is to build a collection of graded Cubs cards from 1948 (the year of my birth) through 1970. I like to pick up ungraded Cubs cards in excellent to NM condition at these shows and from Ebay. From time to time, I will send the cards to PSA for grading.
After looking at all of the dealer’s tables, I that I would focus on 1955 Bowman cards. There were 4 or 5 dealers that had a substantial supply of 1955 Bowman cards at this show. All together, I bought eleven, 1955 Bowman Cubs. Six were low quality and will merely serve a placeholders until a better card comes along.
I was able to find five 1955 Bowman Cubs that may end up going to PSA for grading. These five included #7 Gene Baker (showing a large bandage over his right eye. Cost $4.00.
#8 Warren Hacker Cost $4.00
#52 Hal Rice Cost $4.00
#87 Randy Jackson Cost $4.00
#273 Bubba Church Cost $6.00
So, for about $35.00 including entrance fee ($2.00), I was able to a enjoyable time at the Gibraltar Trade Center Card Show yesterday.