Monday, August 14, 2017
It only took 40 years
This particular magazine issue evokes one particular memory.
I am 12. I am seated in the back seat of the family station wagon. Right side. In my lap is an issue of Baseball Quarterly magazine, a new publication dedicated to baseball only and absolutely the coolest thing to read at that point in time.
We are going to my grandmother's house, about 15 miles away. We did that a lot on the weekend. But because I was now 12, going to grandma's wasn't as interesting as it had been. My grandpa had recently passed and he was the one who watched all the Mets games. My grandmother had tried to keep her back room stocked with items three boys would want to read. But we had been there so much that we had read most of them.
But Baseball Quarterly was new. It would keep me interested and, most importantly, keep me away from whatever Adult Conversation was going on in the living room. (I don't remember which issue I was reading in the back seat, but it was probably the one with Rod Carew on the front as that was issued in the spring of 1978).
As the station wagon hits the road, I turn the pages, and then I see it:
It's an advertisement for the magazine, one of those "don't miss a single issue!" ads. And pictured in the ad is the previous issue, the issue above, with Ron Cey on the cover.
Damn, I wanted that issue.
I've written about this before. I beat myself up about not subscribing to the magazine until after the Cey issue came out. What a genius I am! The Dodgers finally get some publicity out east -- my favorite player gets on the cover -- and I'm reading about a Minnesota Twin.
In that previous post that I linked, I mentioned that I've wanted that Cey issue ever since that moment in the car. And I've known it could be easily purchased on ebay for a long time. But I just never bought it.
Turns out I was waiting for someone to send it to me for free!
Fred, a reader from way up in New Brunswick for crying out loud, sent me the magazine along with a few other goodies that he said needed a better home.
He couldn't have found a better one.
I know there is not one single person in this world who has wanted this magazine issue for so long. And Fred sent it precisely 40 years after it would be arriving in people's homes in 1977! (Exactly how long is 40 years? Check out what they're using to interview Cey!)
I took a few snapshots of the inside of the magazine and will go through them quickly.
The big selling point of Baseball Quarterly, besides the fact that it was all about baseball, was that it featured full-color photographs, something that the other baseball-only publication at the time, Baseball Digest, couldn't do.
But this particular issue -- the third issue of Baseball Quarterly ever -- contained just two full color photos inside, this Yaz photo on the front inside cover ...
And this photo of Mickey Rivers on the back inside cover.
Baseball Quarterly -- which would later drop the "Quarterly" when it started publishing six times a year in 1979 -- would add more color photos in later issues.
Here is the prevalent Renata Galasso ad that appeared in almost every baseball publication at the time. You want 1,000 1977 Topps cards for $7.99? Gotta build a time machine and set the dial for 1977.
Since a complete Topps set was 660 cards at the time, I always wondered what the other 330 cards were. I see they were throwing in the 1976 Topps Traded set, but that was only 44 cards. Perhaps some Galasso Greats?
Some heavy hitters behind this magazine.
Book reviews! Included is a review of one of my all-time favorite baseball books, Roger Angell's Five Seasons. I can't wait to read this.
And now the moment 40 years in the obtaining: the cover story, by Abby Mendelson, a Pittsburgh-based writer who covered the Steelers during their glory days.
I'll probably read the whole story this evening.
Each Baseball Quarterly magazine contained a poster as that was the thing to do in the 1970s. The early posters were not in color but the later ones were, I owned the Steve Garvey color poster.
This issue's poster is:
Yes, I know it's sideways. Turn your phone sideways, I'm not shrinking down a beauteous collage like this.
The poster was produced to commemorate Mark Fidrych's return to the field in 1977 after encountering the first of his many arm difficulties.
Today also happens to be the late Fidrych's birthday. He would have been 63 today. We all miss you, Bird.
The profiles in this issue run the gamut from historical -- Connie Mack and Tommy Henrich -- to the latest. And there's also a story on both: comparing the Indians' Dennis Eckersley with a Clevelander of the past, Stan Coveleski.
Here is an ad for the 1976 SSPC set. Just about all of the ads in the publication are either for baseball cards or baseball books. This was a real baseball lovers publication. I don't remember whether the magazine ever received major sponsors, which is probably why it went under in the very early '80s.
Fred also sent a couple of other publications along:
A program from the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.
And a commemorative glossy publication full of Dodger goodness. I can't wait to read this, too.
For those of you wondering whether this has become a periodical blog, Fred did think about you:
Here is my first autographed card of the current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. That is one special autographed card, check out that face.
Here is a comical buyback of a 1989 Topps card.
And here is my 180th 1975 Topps buyback!
I know I mentioned I had 175 of them recently but I recalculated I actually have 180!!!
This was quite the varied package and hit a home run with just about every item.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to find a station wagon and see if I can get in the back seat to read my Ron Cey Baseball Quarterly.