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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How Baseball Cards Got Weird

One night not long ago, with my 3-year-old son finally asleep and my wife wisely heading to bed, I settled onto the couch, beer in hand, to catch some baseball. Well, not really baseball. I opened my laptop, navigated to breakers.tv, and prepared to watch a pair of rubber-gloved hands in East Wenatchee, Washington, open an entire case of baseball cards—more than 4,000 cards in all.

On the strangeness of modern card collecting.

jmurph Posted: October 15, 2019 at 11:30 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards

Thursday, August 22, 2019

‘You’re the guy with the ball to the crotch’: The inside story behind the funniest baseball card ever made

The photographer who showed up that day was shooting for the 1989 ProCards set, so we were doing this for next year’s cards. He had his hat backward, like you might expect from a photographer. While that guy was setting up for the shoot, my teammates started talking about how they wanted to sabotage their own cards.

One by one, they stepped up and posed. Right-handed batters tried to hold the bat like a lefty; left-handed pitchers wore right-handed gloves. They tried everything. The photographer caught every one of them. He had a sheet, or something, that had our numbers and lefty-righty stuff on it. He was really, really strict. He wasn’t having any of it.

Finally, it was my turn. The photographer asked me what I wanted to do, expecting I’d do one of the basic poses. I thought about it for a second, and then it came to me: “I want it to look like a comebacker hit me in the nuts,” I said. The photographer didn’t like that. “Sorry, man,” the guy said to me. “I’m under strict rules. I can’t take that picture.” I pleaded with him, but the photographer wouldn’t budge.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

‘You’re the guy with the ball to the crotch’: The inside story behind the funniest baseball card

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory…

Keith Comstock played on four major league clubs as a journeyman reliever, but his professional career is most often remembered for one thing: a ball to the crotch. Thirty years ago—in what otherwise would have been a forgotten minor league set—Comstock appeared on one of the most memorable baseball cards ever made. Here’s the story of how it came together, in his words.


Monday, July 22, 2019

Baseball card collectors suspected rampant fraud in their hobby. Now the FBI is investigating.

The green stadium seats shown on the baseball card are empty as Stan Musial, wearing a crisp white uniform, grips a bat and digs in. His eyes gaze toward the pitcher over his right shoulder, his white teeth peeking out in a grin. It’s almost as if, on this vividly colored card issued in 1952 by the Bowman Gum Company, “Stan the Man” has spotted a fat fastball.

The card’s lone obvious blemish is a stray black print mark on its white frame. Even with the defect, it sold in an online auction in late 2017 for $2,800.

Seven months later, a 1952 Bowman Stan Musial card without that print mark sold for $28,100. Collectors have since claimed the two cards are in fact the same item, improperly altered to inflate its value and then auctioned off a second time. Now, the FBI is asking questions about that card and hundreds of others like it as a scandal over trading cards that have allegedly been fraudulently altered rocks the billion-dollar memorabilia hobby.

Fascinating look into modern card collecting.

jmurph Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:57 AM | 92 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bruce Markusen: #CARDCORNER: 1979 TOPPS GENE TENACE

Tenace turned in his gaudy, green-and-gold Oakland polyesters for the even gaudier brown-and-yellow threads preferred of the Padres. Making the transition to the National League, Tenace hit 15 home runs, but his patient hitting style drew the ire of Kroc.

“Tenace kept saying if he played every day he’d improve,” Kroc complained to the Sporting News. “Well he’s been in there every day and he hasn’t done a damn thing. All he wants to do is walk. Well, we can’t win games waiting for walks. He’s being paid to hit, and he can’t hit.”

In reality, Tenace did hit that season, putting up an OPS of .824.

He would follow that up with three more productive seasons in San Diego, but the Padres failed to make the postseason during his time there.

Fiore Gino Posted: May 18, 2019 at 10:28 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards, gene tenace, oakland a's, san diego padres

 

 

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