The 20¢ Bin Affair
June 2nd, 2011 by slangon

I’ve been in a bit of a funk about writing about cards lately. I think it’s mostly to do with the weather. It seems lately when I get a few minutes to do card stuff, I’ve been opting instead to sit on my deck and drink a beer. One way to get out of that funk? Cheap vintage of course.

If you’ve been following the saga of the discount vintage bins at the local card shop that I frequent, you’ll know that it started as a $1 a card or 6 for $5. I don’t think they really did away with that box, but I think they stopped doing the 6 for $5 part and the cards that ended up there started to become more random inserts from recent times than vintage. So that box got replaced as the apple of my eye by the 25¢ bin, which I try to hit up every few weeks.

The last time I went to scrounge the quarter box, a strange thing happened. All of the sudden, I was told the price was 25¢ each or 5 for a dollar. Somehow I’m not convinced that that actually is the price, though. I have a feeling the shop assistant screwed up. Either that, or I buttered him up so much by giving him a giant stack of top loaders that had been building up on my desk for a while now so he decided to give me a discount. Who knows? Maybe that really is the new price. Either way, for one glorious day, I was able to save a nickel on every chewed up, stained and bent piece of cardboard that I picked up. Huzzah for me.

Here’s a bucks worth of 67’s.

#203 Al McBean

Alvin O’Neal McBean started his baseball career as a newspaper photographer in his native Virgin Islands. Apparently, the Pirates held a tryout camp on St. Thomas and McBean was assigned to photograph it for the newspaper he worked for. Howie Haak, a Pirates scout invited Al to make a couple of throws, you know, just for fun. I guess Howie was impressed because he signed McBean on the spot. I wonder if as a pitcher, he had a slight psychological advantage over the hitters by having the word “bean” in his name.

#268 John Briggs

John Briggs, a New Jersey native, played 8 of his 12 seasons in the Majors with the Philadelphia Phillies. Apparently, if it weren’t for a scout showing up late to his house, he might’ve played for the Mets. John was a big star at Eastside High School in Paterson, NJ (the same school made famous by Morgan Freeman in Lean On Me) and had the interest of several Major League clubs. Pete Gebrian, a scout for the Mets, was scheduled to meet Briggs at his house in New Jersey to discuss a signing bonus. Gebrian was late so Briggs met with a Phillies scout, Jocko Collins, first and ended up signing with Philly.

#66 Manny Mota

In my (not really) exhaustive study of name/position color schemes on 1967 Topps cards, I came to discover that Manny Mota’s card is the only one in the set where both the player’s name and position are in white type. Ground breaking, I know. Manny Mota made an appearance in the movie Airplane!, sort of. Ted Striker was having an inner dialog with himself after taking the controls of the plane. “I’ve got to concentrate… concentrate… concentrate… I’ve got to concentrate… concentrate… concentrate… Hello?… hello… hello… Echo… echo… echo… Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny Mota… Mota… Mota…” Oddly enough, Borbon and Mota never played on the same team.

#108 Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson spent 13 years in the Majors and played for 8 different teams. He never spent more than 2 seasons with one team which can be largely explained by his attitude, which you can see on this card. Pretty much every manager he ever played for characterized him as having a world of talent, but just not caring. He would ignore instructions as to where to play in the outfield, he routinely failed to run out ground balls, he walked out of clubhouse meetings, was combative with the press and not listen to instruction from coaches. He was benched and fined so many times that at one point he just wrote a check for $500 and opened a tab for fines. He also won the 1970 A.L. batting title.

#175 Bobby Knoop

Bobby Knopp was your classic “good field, no hit” infielder. He was nicknamed “Nureyev” by the sportswriters for his acrobatic play at second base and he won 3 straight Gold Gloves between 1966 and 1968. He was also a lifetime .236 hitter who never topped .269 in his 9 seasons.

One Response to “The 20¢ Bin Affair”

  1. Man, if I had an affair like that my wife would push me out of the house.

    Al McBean looks like he could be Earl Wilson’s cousin.

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