Tuesday, May 24, 2016

1957 Topps, Pete Daley


#388 Pete Daley

Here is the last 1957 Topps card that I got signed through the mail in 2013. I sent this card to Pete in February of that year and had it back just over a month later.

Pete played in the big leagues for just seven seasons, seeing time with the Red Sox, A's, and Senators. He spent five of those seven seasons in Boston and was mainly their back-up catcher behind Sammy White. Pete was a .239 career hitter who finished with 18 home runs and 120 RBI.

Pete's best season was with the Sox in 1956. That year, he played in just 59 games. But, he had career-highs in average (.267), doubles (11), homers (5), and RBI (29). Pete would get more at-bats in three other seasons, but could never outdo the numbers he put up in '56.

I have never asked for an in-person autograph to be done in ballpoint pen. I always want it done with a Sharpie. But seeing a signature like this makes me consider rethinking my practice when it comes to older cards. I love the way the pen came out on this card. The look fits the time period better than any Sharpie would.

Monday, May 23, 2016

1957 Topps, Ed Fitz Gerald


#367 Ed Fitz Gerald

Next up is the card that Ed Fitz Gerald signed for me through the mail in 2013. I sent this card to him in February and I had it back five days later. It was quite the turnaround. This one and the previous card both arrived in my mailbox on the same day, which happened to be the day before my birthday. So, they were like early birthday presents to myself. But then again, anytime you get a TTM in the mail is like an early birthday present to yourself.

Ed spent a dozen years in the Majors with the Pirates, Senators, and Indians. He was mainly a backup catcher his entire career as he only started a majority of his team's games once. That was with the Sens in 1954. That was his first full season in Washington and he responded with a .289 average, 5 triples, 4 homers, and 40 RBI. That was pretty good for a .260 career hitter.

Ed's career started in the late '40s and he has some good looking early cards that would be cool to get signed. His '49 Bowman stands out as does his fantastic looking '52 Bowman. However, since I got this card signed three years ago, I have no idea if Ed is still signing through the mail. He is 92 years old.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

1957 Topps, Johnny Groth


#360 Johnny Groth

Here is the next vintage card pick-up from the bi-monthly card show in Wichita. I picked up this card for about a buck and sent it to Johnny the first chance I had. Johnny charges five dollars to sign through the mail and I have no problem sending an old-timer a few bucks to help them out. It is not like those guys made the type of money today's players do. Johnny had this card back to me in less than two weeks.

Johnny played in the Majors for parts of fifteen seasons with the Tigers, Browns, White Sox, Senators, and A's. He was originally signed as a twenty year old by the Tigers and made his Major League debut with them that same season. He would go on to spend about eleven years in Detroit, seven to start his career and three and a half to finish it.

Johnny never made an All Star team and he never played in the playoffs. But, he hit .279 for his career with 60 home runs and 486 RBI. His best season came with the Tigers in 1950 when he had career-highs in average (.306), doubles (30), home runs (12), runs (95), and RBI (85).

Johnny's career started in 1946, so there are some nice early cards of him available such as his 1950 Bowman and 1951 Topps Blue Back. I am not sure if the nearly ninety year old gentleman still signs through the mail or not since I got this one signed three years ago. But, if he does, there are some cool cards of him out there that would be fun to get signed. I am happy with a signed Kansas City A's card, but a '51 Topps would be a nice addition to my collection.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

1956 Topps, Jack Crimian


#319 Jack Crimian

Next up is this card that I got signed by Jack Crimian through the mail. I sent this card to Jack at the end of 2012 and I had it back about a week later.

Jack pitched professionally for fifteen seasons, but only appeared in Major League games during four seasons. He spent parts of two seasons with the Cardinals, a full year with the A's, and then a partial year with the Tigers. He appeared in 74 games over those four seasons and 56 of them came with the A's in 1956. He was almost exclusively used as a reliever during his time in the big leagues and he went 5-9 with 4 saves and a 6.36 ERA.

His only decent season was his year with the A's. The A's were horrible that year, finishing 52-102, and I guess that is why they kept Jack up all season. He made 7 starts that season and finished with a 4-8 record with 3 saves and a 5.51 ERA.

I tend to be drawn to Kansas City A's cards to get signed through the mail. I probably have at least a dozen of them coming up over the next couple of months of posts.

In 1953, Jack was traded by the Cardinals to the Reds for Alex Grammas, the person of interest in my previous post.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

1956 Topps, Alex Grammas


#37 Alex Grammas

At the end of 2012, I started attending the bi-monthly card show held by Rock's Dugout in Wichita. There was one dealer there that always had a nice assortment of singles from the mid '50s through the early '70s. Back then, I would spend 95% of my time at the show looking through his stuff in search of cards of guys that signed through the mail. The guy would always cut me a good deal which brought me back every time. Because of him, I have this nice assortment of random TTMs that I am posting now.

This one features the former Cardinal, Red, and Cub, Alex Grammas. Alex was the prototypical slick-fielding/light-hitting shortstop that was the norm back in the day. He was a .247 career hitter with just 12 home runs and 163 RBI over his ten year career. His best season was probably with the Cardinals in 1959. That year, he had a career-high 368 at-bats and responded with a .269 average with 3 dingers and a career-high 30 RBI.

I sent this card to Alex in February of 2013 and I had it back one week later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

1955 Topps, Monte Irvin


#100 Monte Irvin

Next up is Hall of Famer, Monte Irvin. I think I originally bought this card for All Star Fanfest in 2012 when Monte and Ernie Banks were on the initial list of players to attend. Both of them ended up not making it to the event, but luckily, Monte was a great TTM signer. He charged ten dollars to sign a card and that seemed like a bargain to me. So, I sent this card to him at the end of November that year and I had it back two weeks later.

Sadly, Monte passed away earlier this year. He was about a month shy of his 97th birthday. I thought about posting this card that day, but there were so many tributes to him on the card blogs that I did not even want to try to compete with all of them. So here it is now, right where it belongs on this blog.

Monte's career in the Major Leagues spanned just eight seasons as some of the better years of his life were spent in the Negro Leagues. Though he only made one All Star team, he had two monster seasons with the Giants. The first one came in 1951 when he hit .312 with 24 home runs and 121 RBI. The second one came two years later when he hit .329 with 21 dingers and 97 RBI.

He finished his career a .293 Major League hitter with 99 home runs and 443 RBI. He won one World Series and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.

Monday, May 9, 2016

1952 Topps, Del Crandall


#162 Del Crandall

If I am going to show off some cards from the 1950s, what better way is there to start than by showing off a '52 Topps card? This is only the second card from the set that I have got signed and, just like the first one, I got it signed through the mail. TTM successes are going to be the theme of this blog for some time to come. The first '52 Topps card I got signed was by Eddie Joost and that card can be seen here.

The last time I was posting some vintage TTM successes on here, I posted a Colt 45s card and declared that I had a signed card of every team to ever play from 1952 on up. And, not only did I have every team, I also had a card from every city that the teams played in since 1952. Then it dawned on me. I had forgotten about the Boston Braves. I had a Milwaukee Braves card signed, but not Boston. I guess I just assumed they were in Milwaukee by 1952. Once I had figured out I was missing a team, I quickly picked up this card from COMC for a few bucks. This card would be in decent shape if it wasn't for the staple holes running down the middle of the card. Apparently this card's original owner was not a Del Crandall fan.

I sent this card to Del in November of 2012 and I had it back three weeks later. Del charges five dollars to sign through the mail and it was well worth it to get this card signed.

Del had a long and productive Major League career. He played for sixteen seasons with the Braves, Giants, Pirates, and Indians, spending the majority of the time with the Braves. As a Brave, he played in two World Series and was an eight-time All Star and four-time Gold Glove catcher. Del was a .254 career hitter with 179 home runs. He had three 20 home runs seasons and caught three no-hitters

I am kind of surprised that Topps even made this card of Del in 1952. He missed all of the '51 season serving in the military. The card notes Del's service on the back and even adds that he "does not expect to be discharged in time to play this year", which proved to be true.