The Death of the 6-4-5 Bin
January 21st, 2011 by slangon

No. That’s not a post title based on an old b-movie title. The 6 for $5 bin at the old local card store where I’ve picked up many a vintage goodie is no more. Talking to the owner, he said it was getting too hard to keep replenishing it on a steady basis, so they did away with it. That was a bit of a bummer, but that bummed out vibe was quickly dispelled when he steered me over to the newly installed Quarter Bin. I’m talking about a legitimate 25¢ bin, as in 4 cards for $1.00.

Look, I loved the 6 for $5 bin. I yanked some sweet cards out of that sucker, but every now and again I got the feeling that maybe it’s time was passed. Even before talking to the shop owner, I had noticed that the contents of it were not turning over as quickly as it did when I first started plucking cards from it. Also, sometimes I started to feel like even the $0.84 that I was drop for each card was a bit of stretch for some of the things they had in there. Last time I looked through there, there was about a million Terry Francona rookie cards. For a buck? Really? I don’t mean to talk trash about old 6-4-5 because he’s been pretty good to me in the past, but I think it was time for a change.

That change is named Quarter Bin. I’ve always actually been a little jealous when reading other peoples posts about quarter bin finds that my local card shop didn’t have a legit bargain bin. This new box totally fits the bill, though. Like I said, I was sort of running in and out, so I didn’t have the time to spend really looking through it, but the little bit I did see was awesome. Unlike the defunct 6-4-5 bin which had either older commons that were in pretty good shape, or old stars that were a bit beat up, this box was chock full of beat up old commons with some stars mixed in there. Basically, it has my name written all over it.

When I was at the card shop, I was in the middle of running last minute errands in preparation for a visit by my parents, who were due at my house in about 2 hours, so I didn’t have a lot of time to rummage. From the little bit of perusing that I did do however, I’m pretty excited about this turn of events. This is what I got for a scant $2.00. Keep in mind that I only made it about 1/4 of the way through the first row of a 5000 count box.

1967 Topps #75 George Scott

For some reason, I love getting George Scott cards just because every time I hear his name, I envision Christopher Lloyd yelling “Great Scott!” in my head. I also love me them old timey All-Star Rookie trophies with the top hat. Very classy.

1967 Topps #81 Eddie Stanky

There are 3 very clear cut reasons why I picked this card. One, 1967 is one of my favorite sets. I just like the stark simplicity of it. Second, it’s a manager card. Lastly, the guy’s last name is Stanky. Awesomeness.

1966 Topps #269 Don Heffner

I bought all these cards a few days ago. I just realized right this second that Don Heffner was not, in fact, the manager of the Dodgers. Does it strike anyone else as a little out of the ordinary for there to be so much blue on a card of a guy who is the manager of a team called The Reds? Coincidentally, I think this airbrushed photo of Don is actually from his days as the third base coach for the Mets. Yes, I think I can detect a little piece of the blue and orange Mets logo that the airbrush artist forgot on his jersey right above the “na” in “manager”. Doesn’t he look like the kind of dude you’d love to sit down and talk baseball with over a case of beer?

1966 Topps #48 Paul Blair

There’s something a little incongruous between Paul Blair’s steely gaze and the cartoon Oriole peeking out on his sleeve. There’s also something pretty brilliant about it.

1966 Topps #60 Curt Flood

I really find this particular card visually pleasing to look at, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. As I was trying to figure out what the hell it is, I realized that this happened to me before with a ’67 Bob Gibson that I coincidentally happen to have pulled out of the 6-4-5 bin about a year ago. Spooky.

1966 Topps #19 San Francisco Giants Team Card

Here’s a slightly rumpled copy of the Giants team card. Anybody got an iron? I love that they used to put what place in the standing the team was the year before.

1966 Topps #37 Billy Herman

Yet another crusty copy of a crusty old skipper, who happens to be a Hall of Famer. Judging by the fact that he led the 1965 Red Sox to a 62-100 record, I assume that he went into the Hall as a player, not a manager.

And speaking of Billy Herman, here is by far the best of the beat to crap quarter cards that I got.

1955 Topps #19 Billy Herman

I guess this one actually takes the cake as far as being the coolest card and the most beat up. You can’t argue with a 56 year old card of a Hall of Famer for 25¢ though, no matter how beat to hell it is. I mean, if you were walking down the street, and saw a quarter laying on the ground and this card, which would you grab? And saying that you’d grab them both is not a valid answer, wise-ass. I love that he’s signaling safe, too. “Remember kids, it’s always your job as third base coach to try and influence the umpire.”

I’ve made it pretty painfully clear that I love me some manager cards and that extends to coach cards. If anything, I sort of like them slightly more than managers, just because they’re not as abundant. Topps only made them part of the regular set from 1952-56. What’s a little strange to me is that they seemed to be a little arbitrary as far as which managers and coaches they included. In 1952, for example, they only included 6 managers out of 16. The also threw in 11 coaches. In ’53, there were no managers, but 3 coaches. In 1954, they had 4 managers but 23 coaches. The ’55 set had 4 of each. In 1956, they only had 2 managers and 1 coach. That’s also they year they started with the team cards. I would love to know what the thinking was as far as which managers and coaches they decided to include. I would assume that it had something to do with who they were able to get contracts with, but it still strikes me a little strange that they didn’t care about at least representing every team. Part of me is actually slightly surprised that they included them at all considering that all of those sets were relatively small. I mean, if I was a kid in 1954 and I knew there was only 250 cards in the set and 27 of those were of old men, I’d be a little pissed. I want to pull Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams, not the Phillies 3rd base coach. But I digress.

Here’s the back.

It’s kind of interesting that they even include the stats section for him, seeing as he was a coach. On one hand, that takes up a pretty good chunk of real estate, but on the other hand it’s pretty interesting to see his lifetime stats. I also think it’s pretty funny that they actually point out that he wasn’t on the active player list.

There you have it. 8 cards for 2 bucks. They might not be the prettiest specimens, but dammit, that’s the kind of cards I like. Old, awesome and cheap. I can’t wait to get back to the shop and dig through the box proper-like.

One Response to “The Death of the 6-4-5 Bin”

  1. That Billy Herman card’s a great find and it looks like the parents named him after presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan (also of Scopes Monkey Trial infamy).

    Good question about why they included certain coaches! My hunch is that they became checklist stand-ins for players “lost” to Bowman card contracts, hence a mid-50s randomness and more consistency after Bowman sold their business to Topps in early 1956.

    George Vrechek has a great breakdown of the 1951-1955 exclusives and notes Bowman signed a number of Brooklyn players, including Campanella, Furillo, Maglie, Newcombe, and Reese.

    1955 Topps has a comparatively short checklist, several players without previous game experience (including one Sandy Koufax), and multiple coaches, all signs that Bowman beat them to punch competitively in filling out the set. Too bad they spent themselves into financial insolvency!

    George’s article:

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