Wednesday, September 21, 2016

1963 Football Cardinals a Much Better Showing

1963 was the Big Red’s 4th season in STL and they were able to bounce back with a 9-5 record which didn’t qualify them for the playoffs.
This would be the 15th consecutive season the Football Cardinals failed to make the playoffs. The ’63 team included Hall of Fame rookie Larry Wilson who spent all 13 years of his career with St. Louis, former Heisman Trophy winner and Hall of Famer John David Crow, who had problems at birth which left him with the left size of his face paralyzed, fellow Texas Aggie Bobby Joe Conrad, rookie and 4 time Pro Bowler Ernie McMillan who played 14 of his 15 years with the Cardinals, and rookie and fan favorite and Hall of Famer Jackie Smith who played 15 of his 16 years with the Big Red, however he didn’t have a Topps card in 1963.

There was only one player in the NFL football card game and that was Topps. This would be Topps last NFL issue until 1968.  The most well known oddball issue of 1963 is that of Kahn’s Wieners which consisted of 5 cards.

Topps issued 12 Cardinal cards (#146-#157) with two variation cards. Topps really threw a touchdown with this design. Each team had the same color frame and in this case it was light blue. Players were framed in blue with a yellow-framed mini box at the bottom with player’s name, team name, and position.

The reverse was pretty straightforward with a light red print on plain cardboard. The card number in the top left corner with the usual information to the right. The reverse also contained a “secret” that was revealed by placing red cellophane over the cartoon that would provide an answer to the question asked.

A few interesting tidbits about the 1963 issue. Charley Johnson’s name was misspelled on the front as Charlie.

There is also the “purple sky” variation, which is thoroughly reviewed and covered at rbwoodenpuzzles.com. The author, whom I can’t identify or give credit to, posted an advertising panel he/she found that happens to show this variation and happens to be Cardinals! There are two Cardinals with this variation-#148 Bobby Joe Conrad and #149 Sonny Randle.

The only oddball issue for 1963 was from Kahn’s Wieners, which were issued in hot dog packages in the Cincinnati area. These “cards” look like team issues, they consist of B&W pictures of players with a facsimile auto  on the front, with Complement’s of Kahn’s “The Wiener the World Awaited”, the reverse has basic player info. St. Louis players in this issue were Bobby Joe Conrad, John David Crow, Jimmy Hill, Sonny Randle, and Bill Stacy.


1963 Completion Stats 3 cards of 12 and two purple sky variations owned.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Where are they now Anthony Reyes Edition.

No not the current Redbird Alex Reyes, but former Redbird and Cleveland Indian and member of the 2006 World Series Champs and top prospect Anthony Reyes. I picked up a lot of 23 Reyes cards for $1.75 plus $1.33 shipping. I thought he would make a good subject for a “Where are they now” post.

Anthony was a right-handed pitcher who played 5 seasons with the Redbirds and Indians. Drafted in the 15th round out of USC in the 2003 MLB draft.

Born in Whittier, CA in 1981 Anthony would attend USC playing with Mark Prior. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 2002 amateur draft, but would elect to return to school. Drafted by the Redbirds he would start at the Palm Beach Cardinals in 2004, then on to the Tennessee Smokies. Two thousand five he found himself at Triple A Memphis but would make his Major League debut against the Brewers on August 9th.  This would be his Major League win giving up two runs on two hits.

Back to Memphis for the start of the 2006 season.
He would be called back up when Mark Mulder went on the DL. He would square off against the White Sox and would carry a no hitter into the 7th, but failed to get the win. During the 2006 NCLS he started Game 4 against the Mets, pitched 4 innings, and had a no-decision. During the 2006 World Series against the Tigers he started Game 1 and threw a very good game-retiring 17 straight Tigers and he was able to pick up a win.

He would be less successful in 2007 when he had 0-8 record and a 6.08 ERA, which sent him back to Memphis.
He did get called up twice but was eventually sent back down. Anthony started the 2008 season in the Redbirds’ bullpen but a 4.91 ERA got him demoted back to Triple A Memphis.
 I think the Redbirds had enough and traded him to the Indians for reliever Luis Perdomo and $$$. The website Viva El Birdos has a really good story on Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan’s relationship with Anthony.

His time in the City by the Lake wasn’t positive. August 2008 he would make his first start for the Indians and got a win.  He would spend until August 5, 2011 with the Indians. During his time with Cleveland he had Tommy John surgery would spend much of his time in the minors. He would eventually end up with Padres but would retire after one season. His career would see a record of 13-26, 5.12 ERA and 205 Ks.Where is he now? He is becoming a firefighter! You can see a recent interview with him during which he talks about becoming a firefighter and reflects on the 2006 World Series.


Of the 23 cards I was able to add 11 including a game worn. Those cards are through out this post. According to Traing Card Database he has 257 cards.


Monday, September 5, 2016

1962 Football Cardinals Heading in the wrong Direction

Nineteen sixty-two saw the football Cardinals heading the wrong way. After finishing .500 their sophomore year the Big Red would slip to a record of 4-9-1 finishing second to last, finishing above the Eagles. Bright spots for the season were Sonny Randle who set franchise records for most pass receptions in one game-16, most receiving yards in one game-256 yard. John David Crow also set a franchise record with most touchdowns in one season-17. They were 10th in both points scored, and points scored on them. They were 3rd in yards gained, and 9th in yards given up.
Nineteen sixty-two Cardinals would see the arrival of rookie kicker and fan favorite Jim Bakken who would spend all 17 years of his career with STL and would kick 1,380 points. Garland Boyette (LB) also made his NFL debut. Perhaps a very unlucky player when it comes to having a NFL. Here is “his” 1964 Philadelphia Card, and here is the first card with the real Garland Boyette, 1970 Topps, Ernie McMillan (OT) made his debut in 1962 but wouldn’t have a card till 1963 as did Jim Bakken. Bill Triplett (RB) began his 10-year NFL career in 1962 as well.

Returning veterans included Joe Childress (RB), Bobby Joe Conrad (WR), John David Crow (RB), Bob DeMarco (C), Prentice Gautt (RB), Irv Goode (OG), Ken Gray (OG), Mal Hammack (RB), Jimmy Hill (DB), Charley Johnson (QB), Sonny Randle (OE), and Larry Wilson (DB).

Topps was the only producer of NFL cards in 1962. Topps issued the 1962 set in one series of 176 cards with 88 short prints. Mike Thomas on his excellent website Football Card Gallery believes catalogues have misidentified these. I will go with Mr. Thomas. Cardinals unfortunately have 7 of these short prints. There are 12 Cardinals in this set including a checklist. Topps also issued a football version of baseball bucks, which had thee Cardinals- John David Crow, Sonny Randle, and Prentice Gautt.

The ’62 Topps is known for condition issues related to the easily chipped black boarders, which make obtaining very high-grade copies an expensive challenge. Nineteen sixty-two would see Topps return to a horizontal format for the first time sine 1957. The front of these cards had three boxes all framed in black, with a black boarder around the entire card. The largest box to the right contained a portrait or posed action shot. A smaller box to the left and top shows a real game action shot-however, several of these show the incorrect player. A smaller color (red, blue, green, yellow) box below give the player’s name, team, and position. All teams show a mix of these colors, however almost all of the Lions have red boxes except for one player who got a yellow box.


The reverse is vertical grey stock with three boxes all outlined in red, with a red border around the entire card. The largest box contains a cartoon with some NFL trivia. Above this is the player career and previous year’s stats, an interesting fact about the player, physical stats, college, and of number of years pro. A smaller box in the top right of the reverse has the player’s name, team, and position. To the left of this a smaller box has the card number.

Topps Bucks were inserted in to packs and are 48 in total with, $1, $5, and $10 denominations.  The fronts have a player portrait in the center, with name, team, and position below, denomination in the corners, player fact one side, and the stadium or field of the player’s home club.

The reverse has the NFL and team emblems in circles, with denomination in center and corners, National Football League Stars at top, and number of the buck at the bottom.

I don’t want to always take a look at oddballs every year but those that I believe are unique I will do so. 1962 saw the only year that Post Cereal would issue football cards. Two hundred cards in all would be printed on the backs of boxes of Post cereal. Thirteen Cardinals have cards in this set.


1962 Card Stats 1/12 have

Saturday, September 3, 2016

1961 Football Cardinals' Sophomore Year

After their inaugural year, the football Cardinals would finish the expanded 1961 season with a record of 7-7 which placed them fourth in the Eastern Conference. They were 10th in points scored and 13th in total yards. While their defense was much better at 4th in points given up and 5th in yards given up. The 1961 team consisted of among others Sam Etcheverry (QB) who spent only two years in the NFL both with STL.  John David Crow, Charley Johnson (QB) who would spend 15 years in the NFL with STL, the Oilers, and the Broncos and for his career he would have a 51.2% completion rate and 24, 410 total yards. Bobby Joe Conrad is back for ’61 as was Pro Bowler Ken Grey (G-LB) who would spend all but one of year of his career with the Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals.

Nineteen sixty-one would see two national football (NFL) card issues for the first time. Topps and Fleer would go head to head only in 1961. Fleer issued two series in 1961, 1-132, contains players from NFL teams and the second series, #133-220, contains players from AFL teams.

Fleer’s set included 10 regular Cardinal cards. Fleer utilized a pretty straightforward approach in their design.  A player’s portrait is framed in white with name and position bottom left corner on the left side and the team emblem is located in the opposite corner. I don’t know when they took the player’s photo but many are positioned on the gridiron, probably before a game. Not one Cardinal is in an action pose, not one. Sonny Randle’s card cracks me up.


He is like “what the hell is going on here”. The reverse is also simple yet effective, while the front is vertical, the reverse for some reason is horizontal.  The back is a cream color with a light green box at the top that again repeats player’s name, position, and team. While below is some biographical info and just below that is a small paragraph with some story about the player. In 1961-62 Fleer also issued, via Complete Sports Pro-Football Illustrated magazine, a set of player’s in action or portrait form that were to be hand cut from the magazine-so called “Wallet” Pictures. The Cardinals had 6 players out of 145 included in this issue. The photos used by Fleer in the magazine are those used on the regular Fleer issue-above is Bill Stacey's regular Fleer card and here is his "Wallet" pictures.

Topps countered with 9 cards and one emblem insert.  Topps also divided NFL and AFL players in two series, cards 1-132, contains only NFL players and cards 133-198 only AFL players are showcased. While Fleer’s issue was much more simple than Topps. Topps utilized either action or portrait player shots with colorized backgrounds. The player’s name, position, and team are in a black box along the bottom. While the card’s reverse is light aqua or teal blue and horizontal. Topps crowds everything to a side bar while leaving a very large portion to a rub off “make a photo” gimmick.  A flocked team logo of each team was inserted in to packs of 1961 Topps Football.

Topps would be the only player so to speak in the NFL Football card game for next two years until 1964 when Philadelphia Gum jumped in.

Stats- 1961 Topps have 8/9 and Fleer 1/10

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Vintage Football Card Resources UPDATE

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MIKE THOMAS FOR THESE WEBSITES. I was reading some articles on PSA when I came across several references to Mike and the below resources. 


Hi everyone, I thought I would share a couple of resources for vintage football cards that I came across and are a must read for anyone interested in these cards, or is just plain fascinated by the history, design, and beauty of these oldies.

First is the Vintage Football Gallery-Reference Guide for Old Football Cards, I can't find the name of the person who put this magnificent site together but they also have also have the Near Mint Cards sales site as well as the Near Mint Blog which appears unfortunately to be defunct. All of these are a wonderful read and I want to thank the person or persons who put so much time into these resources.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Secret Weapon Better than a Value Pack Edition

The Secret Weapon is one of those Cardinals that every citizen of Redbird Nation adores. This season he has been away from his Third Base Coaches box because of some health issues.

Jose was born in Puerto Rico in 1963 and signed with the Mets in 1979 when he was only 15! Eventually traded to the Cardinals he would spend all of 1985 at Triple A Louisville. When he did make it the bigs the Wizard had shortstop locked up they would play Jose at different positions with 1987 being the season he played every position except catcher see above. As a Result Whitey Herzog would give him the nickname “The Secret Weapon”.

In 1988 he would actually complete the process and play catcher for a game. In 1989 he become the Redbirds starting 2nd baseman with only 5 errors in 851 chances. An injury in 1992 put him out for most of the season.  After which he became a utility player until his retirement in 1996 when he failed to make the Birds roster out of Spring Training. After coaching in the Redbirds Minor League system he became a bench coach in 1998 for their MLB team and then 3rd base Coach.
St. Louis natives and Redbird Nation citizens the Sklar brothers had a one-hour comical special on ESPN where they went to the Baseball Hall of Fame to lobby for Jose to enter the hall. They collected signatures and gave a presentation to the HOF committee at the end of which a utility closet in the HOF was given his name.  Here is the 5th part of the special when he gets his utility closet

Recently one of my favorite Ebay sellers had a lot of 31 al different Jose Oquendo up for bid for $3.76 w/$3.25 shipping. Unsurprisingly, I was the only bidder. Why would I spend $7.01 for this lot?

See the left hand corner card? Yep, that is a 2004 Topps Fan Favorites Auto. Score!

 Well worth the price of the lot, sure I added a few base cards-6 in total in addition to the auto-to our collection. But adding to our Archives Auto Collection for less than the price of a value pack is always good.

1988 Topps Tiffany
1991 Bowman
1996 Fleer
1992 Panini Stickers