The 6-for-5 Bin Strikes Back
February 10th, 2010 by slangon

I know my part of Jersey hasn’t seen as much snow as some of our neighbors to the south, but my back is still a-barkin’ from shoveling on Saturday and now we’re expecting to get another 12-18″. What do you do when it seems like Mother Nature has it out for you? Write about some old pieces of cardboard with pictures of old baseball players on them of course.

1971 Topps Scratchoffs #18 Boog Powell

Here’s yet another Topps Scratchoff card, this one being good old Boog Powell. This one is scratched off. In addition to that bit of defacing, the previous owner actually used the scoreboard on the back to keep track of the game.

Apparently, this youngster and his opponent opted to be the Mets and the Giants. Perhaps whichever person was the home team was an old-timey feller from Brooklyn, judging by his use of the team name “Gints”. I also see that some things never change as the Mets took a commanding lead early in the game only to have it wilt away in the 8th thanks to some shoddy bullpen work.

1975 Topps #203 Zoilo Versalles / Willie Mays MVP

I guess it’s not too often that Willie Mays gets overshadowed, but that’s exactly what happened with this card. I initially grabbed it because of Willie, but the more I studied it, the more I was drawn to the left side. I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable student of the game, but I must admit, I never even heard of Zoilo Versalles before this. I believe I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I love about league leader cards is when one (or more) of the guys on the card end up being sort of nobody players who were able to hang in there and end up toward the top in whichever statistical category. Now they’re forever enshrined in cardboard right next to Hall of Famers and legends. That certainly extends to these MVP cards. Here we have a lifetime .242 batter with a very unusual and fun-to-say name on equal footing with a guy who it can easily be argued is the greatest all-around player to ever lace up spikes. Democracy in action. Although you can clearly see how relaxed and poised The Say Hey Kid is, whereas Senor Versalles looks tense and slightly skittish. Perhaps they both realize the unlikeliness of the situation. Also, is it just me, or does Willie’s card look just a hair bigger than Zoilo’s?

1976 Topps #95 Brooks Robinson

I’d have to double check this, but I’m pretty sure that this is my first Brooks Robinson card. I might have a Legends of the Game card of his or some other modern card celebrating great players of the past, but I think this is my first actual vintage card of his. Of course it happens to be from a period when Brooks was a shadow of his former self. 1976 marked the first time in 16 seasons that the American League Gold Glove third baseman wasn’t named Brooks Robinson. It also marks the first time in 16 seasons that he failed to play over 140 games. In fact, he only played in about half that. He ended up with a very un-Brooks-like .211 average to go along with 3 homers and 11 RBI’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still psyched to have this card in my collection, it’s just always a little bittersweet to realize that even the Great Brooks Robinson is no match for the passage of time.

1979 Topps #418 Dutch Leonard / Walter Johnson All-Time Record Holders

This card is throwing me off a little bit, just because the stats they give on the back, and thereby the pitchers who are shown on the front, don’t match up with what’s on As far as I know, that site is a perfectly reliable source of information, and according to them a fellow by the name of Tim Keefe had a lower ERA than Dutch Leonard during the 1880 season. Now I’d be willing to chalk that up to the fact that I’m not sure if Tim Keefe’s records from 1880 really count as Major League records. I mean, were the Troy Trojans really a Major League team? It’s also a little baffling that the card has Dutch’s single season ERA. listed as 1.01, whereas Baseball Reference lists him as 0.961. This whole thing becomes much more dicier when you start looking at the Walter Johnson stats. The card lists him as having 2.37 ERA, with an asterix and a note stating “Does not include 1729 innings pitched 1907 through 1912; allowed 520 total runs in that period. Earned run total not available but if all 520 runs were earned, Johnson’s career ERA would be 2.47”. They also specify “Lowest Career Averages (3000 or more Innings)”. Again, Baseball Reference has him listed as having a 2.167 career ERA, which obviously is not 2.37 or 2.47. What’s with the discrepancies? On top of that, Baseball Reference also lists 10 guys with lower career ERA’s than the Big Train. A bunch of those pitcher either straight up don’t meet the 3000 innings pitched criteria, or they pitched in leagues other than the National League. Christy Mathewson, however, clearly surpassed 3000 innings and had a career ERA of 2.13, which is lower than any of the differing ERA’s of Johnson. I realize that many records from back then are a bit sketchy, but that just seems a little strange to me. I mean, I would imagine since Mathewson and Johnson were two of the greatest pitchers of that era, their stats might be a little bit better kept than some other lesser known guys.

1973 Topps #609 Rookie Second Basemen

I know Davey Lopes isn’t necessarily one of the biggest stars of his era, but still, I couldn’t pass up getting his rookie card. I’ve also been toying with the idea of trying to actually collect the 1973 set, so there’s that. I sort of miss the colored dot with the silhouette of whatever position though. It would actually be pretty funny if they had a rookie silhouette rather than a second baseman silhouette. Maybe it could be a guy carrying a bucket of balls or shining a veteran players cleats or something.

1961 Topps #31 Bob Schmidt

I got to admit, I’m not crazy about the 1961 design. I think because of that, I’ll be passing on Topps Heritage this year. Actually, I’m also not too crazy about the ’62 design, so I might just wait for 2012, when they do my favorite, the 1963 design. Just because I’m not crazy about this design, that didn’t stop me from grabbing this card. It’s another of my many collecting goals that I want to try and get at least one card from every Topps base set. I think with this one, I just need ’52. ’53, ’54 and a couple of ’90’s sets. I guess it’s a little weird that I would need a bunch of ’90’s cards, but I wasn’t collecting during that period and I really don’t like many cards from that era.

Well, there you go. Another 6-for-5 in the bag. Hope everyone has fun during the big snow that’s a’ comin’.

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