Monday, January 7, 2019

Let's start from the beginning

I mentioned on the last post of 2018 that I received a large box of cards on the last day of 2018.

It was a box from reader Jonathan, who won one of my contests last year. I sent him a '75 Topps Nolan Ryan card for his winnings and what I got back dwarfed that Ryan card. Hell, I think it might even dwarf a Nolan Ryan rookie card.

It is so full of goodies that I've had trouble figuring out how to approach it for the blog. There's no doubt I will need to break it up into separate posts. There's no way I can cover everything in one post. But how to start? Where do I start? There are Dodgers and oddballs and vintage and Sabres and nonsports ... I need a road map for this thing.

Earlier today I was looking through the box in hopes of finding inspiration. I found it.

Tucked into the side next to one of the rows of cards was a toploader with the above 1954 Bowman Carl Erskine card inside. I had gone through the box when it arrived at my house. I never saw the Erskine card. It was sitting in my house for a week without my knowledge.

I immediately started scanning the other hiding places in the box.

I pulled out a 1956 Wally Moon:

Then I pulled out a 1956 Joe Black:

Both were surprises that I didn't come across during my first tour of the box. And it gave me the idea I needed. "That's it," I said to no one but the dog. "I'll start from the beginning!"

For this box, the beginning is the 1950s cards contained within. You've seen three of them already. That is not all.

This 1954 Topps Bob Milliken card is tied with the 1954 Bowman Erskine as the oldest in the box. With this card I need just three Dodgers to complete the '54 Topps team set. Two of those are named Lasorda and Robinson. Yep, that want list will be up for awhile.

This Jim Hughes card was one of the two 1955 Bowmans in the box.

This was the other one:

Pee Wee himself. This card made me so happy. Every Pee Wee Reese card is sheer joy. There are few players that can produce that kind of feeling with just their card. I just love this to death.

The other 1950s cards were a bunch of off-condition 1956 Topps. I am not very picky about my 1950s cards. They can be off-center and have worn corners and even a few creases. So, many of these cards crossed numbers off my '56 want list and it's not every day that you can knock off '56 wants by the dozen.

Since I'm starting from the beginning, I'll show you all the '56 cards (besides Moon and Black) from the start of the set.

#18 - Dick Donovan

OK, Dickie is staying on the want list. I commend his card for surviving whatever battle or battles it went through many decades ago, but the back is even more loved than the front.

#36 - Rudy Minarcin

#47 - Art Fowler

Billy Martin's pitching coach and drinking buddy.

#54 - Bob Keegan

#57 - Duke Maas

#61 - Bill Skowron

Moose's creases are more apparent on the scan than in person. Knowing how much '50s Yankees go for, this is a likely keeper.

#88 - Johnny Kucks

#89 - Norm Zauchin

#90 - Cincinnati Reds team card

Those '56 team cards are a bitch, but I think I'll look for one that hasn't been gnawed.

#92 - Red Wilson

#115 - Jackie Jensen

The 1958 AL MVP. Awesome.

#139 - Tommy Carroll

#148 - Alvin Dark

Some creases won't keep me from keeping this card. Not for awhile anyway.

#160 - Billy Pierce

You know the scribble in the corner is off-set (some would say "enhanced") by the wonderful action photo on the opposite side.

#165 - Red Schoendienst

Holy smokes. I don't even mind the lightly scrawled correction in pen. Schoendienst was traded to the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 so it's a vintage correction!

#217 - Billy Klaus

#225 - Gil McDougald

Gil is kind of missing his left side. Not too bad, though.

#227 - Russ Meyer

#236 - Kansas City Athletics team card

Someone finds team cards very tasty.

#263 - Bob Miller

#265 - Sandy Consuegra

Collecting 1950s cards makes you realize how many times the same 50 or 60 baseball names from the 1950s are repeated. There were a whole bunch of '50s players that hardly anyone seems to know.

 #271 - Foster Castleman

 #276 - George Zuverink

#281 - Art Houtteman

#286 - Bill Wight

#287 - Bobby Adams

Crease action!

#297 - Bob Skinner

This card was folded at one point. Excellent action photo.

#307 - Hoyt Wilhelm

Hoyt! With another vintage correction!

#314 - Hobie Landrith

What a card.

#320 - Joe Adcock

Joe got caught in the rain a time or two. Then was stuffed in a pants pocket.

#322 - Karl Olson

#331 - Dick Hall

#340 - Mickey McDermott

Last card in the set!

And that's the end of the beginning.

I can't wait to learn about a lot of these guys and to turn the cards over to read the best cartoons to ever appear on cardboard.

Probably the most impressive part of the box. But there is so much more to come.


  1. Skowron was the first 56 card I owned as a kid. Great package

  2. How many cards are left for you to complete the 1956 Topps set? Could 2019 end up being the year that you end up finishing it off?

    1. No. Still need Aaron, Mantle, Mays, Williams, Clemente, etc., etc. I may finish it in 2029. Or never. Who knows.

  3. Whoa! That looks like a whole lotta fun!

  4. My favorite words: A big box of baseball cards.

  5. Awesome. And the vintage corrections... not to encourage it, but in this case: awesome.

  6. Based on what you've shown so far, I'd bet you were thinking about the contents of this box while at work, lol.

  7. Wow! Now these are BASEBALL CARDS! Not a Yankees fan, but I especially like that Skowron card. The Jensen card is very nice as well.

  8. If this is only the beginning of the box I can only imagine what else is in there. Great cards!

  9. Now I'm glad I didn't tell you what all I was sending.

  10. Whenever I see someone post about a like this it always makes me wonder how/why people have this kinda stuff just lying around their house. I wish I had a surplus of vintage to send to people, much less '56 Topps! So, so many terrific action shots, almost all of which I'd never seen before.

    1. Trust me, I wish I had a surplus of vintage as well. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and pulled out my phone and checked Night Owl's want list. Someone needing cash brought them into my LCS while I was standing there. Just really lucky.

  11. Those cards are works of art! I can't wait to see what else was in the big box!

  12. Congratulations on getting that much closer to completing the '56 Topps set. We're pulling for you to complete it soon.

  13. Awesome stuff. Never heard of Hobie Landrith... but his 56T card is a beaut. Can't wait to see what else was in the box.

  14. I really enjoy those 1956 Topps, on bad days I pull out the binder with my set and let the wonderfulness make me happy. I remember seeing some o these guys play. Great post thanks for sharing,

  15. Holy jaw-dropping shit! The artwork on that Billy Pierce card of him running down the first base line looking at the ball & catcher is fantastically fantastic.

  16. that's a very good place to start! anything that makes Peter poop is worth sharing! Duke Maas and Red Wilson - I need these boys! what a freakin' fantastic group of cards N.O.!

  17. Wow, what a box! I've got boxes from COMC that didn't have that much goodness in them.