February 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hal Rice

Today's Cardinals birthday is Hal Rice, who was born 88 years ago today in 1924 in Morganette, West Virginia.

Rice spent six seasons with the Cardinals from 1948 to 1953. As an outfielder on a club with future Hall of Fame outfielders Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, it was difficult for him to be an everyday player. In 1952, with Musial at first base, Rice played in a career-high 98 games for St. Louis, batting .288 with seven homers and 45 RBIs. The following season, with Musial back in left field and having played just eight games, Rice was traded with cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for third baseman Pete Castiglione. A lifetime .260 hitter, he played his last major-league season in 1954 with the Pirates and Chicago Cubs. Rice passed away on December 22, 1997 in Bloomington, Indiana, and as a World War II veteran, he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

February 10, 2012

Cards in the Mail: Traded and Update Cards

Today's mail brought one of those eBay auction wins that was done for only four cards I needed out of 11 offered, but the price was too good not to buy them all.

This was for a group of Cardinals 1990 traded and update cards. The ones I needed were Fleer Updates #U-52 Geronimo Pena, #U-53 Lee Smith, and #U-54 John Tudor.

Now I just need three regular-set cards to complete the Cardinals team set: #249 Frank DiPino, #255 Jose Oquendo, and #656 Cardinals Checklist. If anyone has these cards and would like to trade, please send me a comment or email. Thanks!

The fourth card I needed was a 1990 Donruss Rookies #31 Todd Zeile.

It still leaves me needing:

  • Eight cards for the 1990 Donruss set (#29 Todd Zeile, #161 Jose Oquendo, #163 Joe Magrane, #319 Todd Worrell, #418 Scott Terry, #518 Frank DiPino, #536 Jose DeLeon, and #653 Ted Power)
  • Five cards for the NL's Best (#22 Ken Dayley, #34 Terry Pendleton, #71 Todd Zeile, #83 Ozzie Smith, #138 Vince Coleman), and
  • Two cards for the Learning Series (#9 Ozzie Smith and #34 Joe Magrane).

Hall of Fame in Storage

The triangular building in downtown St. Louis that once housed the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum sits vacant, while its artifacts, jerseys, and other team memorabilia rest in storage at nearby Busch Stadium. Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch updates readers about what's happened to them and the eventual goal of a new building at Ballpark Village whenever that projects finally breaks ground.

It's a shame the collection isn't available for fans to see when they're going to the game, but many items will be on display for fans in and around Little Rock, Arkansas this spring and summer, per the article above.

In the meantime, Cardinals fans can take a virtual tour of the collection on the Hall of Fame Museum's new website.

February 9, 2012

Set Completion: 1982 Topps Cardinals

Today's mail brought the last card I needed to complete my 1982 Topps Cardinals set: #108T Lonnie Smith.

"Skates" had been traded to the Cardinals from the Philadelphia Phillies on November 20, 1981, as part of a three-player deal with the Clevand Indians. He spent three full seasons in St. Louis (1982-85) and by the end of his 17-year career, he had played in five World Series for four different teams (the Phillies, Cards, Kansas City Royals, and Atlanta Braves). In his first season for the Cards, he finished fourth in the National League with a .307 BA and second in the league with 68 stolen bases. Though he enjoyed good seasons in St. Louis, drug and alcohol problems plagued him and with rookie Vince Coleman and fellow outfielder Andy Van Slyke vying for playing time, Lonnie was dealt to the Royals in May 1985. Of course he came back and played against his old team for the World champion Royals that fall.

I've been searching months for this particular card and finally found an auction for it on eBay a few weeks ago (along with another Cardinal, #79T Steve Mura, though I already had him). $4.99 for both cards, but the shipping was free.

Steve Mura (along with fellow pitcher Al Olmstead) was part of the multi-player deal with the San Diego Padres that brought Ozzie Smith to St. Louis on December 10, 1981. He had a 12-11 record with a 4.05 ERA as a starter for the World champions before being selected as a free agent compensation pick by the Chicago White Sox in January 1983.

2007 Topps Heritage: Jim Edmonds

A few years ago, I came across the Topps Heritage cards for the first time while looking through some eBay auctions. I thought it was cool that Topps would place modern-day players on vintage card designs, so I bought a few Cardinals cards here and there from the 2004 and 2006 sets.

Last weekend when I went to Cards-R-Fun, I found this 2007 Jim Edmonds #210 in a box of Cardinals cards.

I always liked the 1958 Topps set and I have a complete set for the Cardinals (which includes #464, Curt Flood's rookie card). The solid, single-color background with the player in the center kind of pops out at you and the triangular team logo with the yellow background hearkened back to the 1955 set.

This is the only card I have for this particular set. If anyone has any Cardinals they'd like to trade, please let me know and maybe we can work something out. Thank you!

February 8, 2012

Weird Card Wednesday: 1966 Topps Mike Shannon

Welcome to the debut of Weird Card Wednesday!

Every Wednesday, I'll feature a card from my collection that has something unusual or weird about it. The inaugural card is Mike Shannon's 1966 Topps #293.

Mike Shannon was an outfielder, third baseman, and emergency catcher for the Cardinals from 1962 to 1970. Today's fans know him more for his unique play-by-play style of broadcasting Cardinals games on KMOX, for which he was nominated in 2011 for the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasters given by the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Former teammate Tim McCarver won the award.)

This has to be a very unflattering card for Shannon. Who wants to have their armpit hair immortalized on a bubble gum card for kids across the country?

Getting Back into the Game

Now that I have my own card collecting blog, I've been reading a lot of fellow bloggers' work out there and adding their sites to my blogroll, getting ideas and learning what folks are working on. I've also discovered there are more guys like me who are getting back into card collecting after 20-plus years away from it, such as Ryan's Pitch and a few others.

For me, one big reason I lost interest was being overwhelmed by all the different manufacturers and sets that were available. When I started collecting back in 1987, there was Topps, Fleer, and Donruss. Those were the "Big Three" and each company produced one set per year (plus traded or update sets)--easy to keep up with and financially feasible to find all the cards and create team sets. Then came Upper Deck and Score, both of which brought simple designs and quality photography and elevated collectors' expectations about what a baseball card could be. The result was the "Big Three" producing their own higher-quality cards with names like Bowman, Bowman's Best, Stadium Club, Fleer Ultra, Pinnacle, Topp's Finest, Leaf, Emotion, Studio, Upper Deck SP...ugh. And of course those premium cards came at a premium price. It was just too overwhelming and expensive to keep up with them all, so I stopped buying them. All of them.

"The Big Three" manufacturers--Topps, Fleer, Donruss--in 1987 B.C.
(Before Cardmageddon)
I take that back: I stopped buying new cards and stuck with the vintage ones, working to complete the old Cardinals sets from the 50s, 60s, and 70s that I had started with my dad. And that's what I've been doing the last 10-15 years.

I'm getting back into the card-collecting game mainly to fill in my existing sets from the 80s and 90s (while easing my way into the 2000s) and encourage my 13-year-old son to collect. Every week or so, I'll stop by Wal-Mart (the only place in town where I can find them), buy two jumbo packs and two regular packs of 2012 Topps cards, and sit down with him and open them and compare what we have. That's the best part for me: seeing his interest in the hobby. And yes, like his old man, he mainly collects Cardinals cards, but he likes the Golden Moments ones too with DiMaggio, Mantle, and Musial.

The Bearded One, Mr. 600 Homers, and an Ex-Cardinal
A brief review of the 2012 Topps cards: I like them. The design is simple and not distracting, and the team logos are a nice touch. (I don't really like designs in which the name is spelled out.) The photography is great and the white backs are easy to read (compared to the gray ones back in the old days). I really like the 1987 design minis and could see myself collecting all of them, even the non-Cardinals. (I've yet to see one for the Cardinals though.)


February 6, 2012

Most Wanted

The Top 10 St. Louis Cardinals cards I need to complete sets (in no particular order):

Red = Either trade or purchase is in transit

Updated 3/1/12
  1. Any Allen and Ginter's Cardinals--I love these cards! (The only ones I have are 2007 #26 Jim Edmonds; 2006 #146 Mark Mulder; and 2008 #173 Rick Ankiel and #287 Chris Carpenter).
  2. 1991 Classic #39 Ozzie Smith
  3. 1990 Classic Series 1 (Blue front) #18 Ozzie Smith
  4. 1990 Score Dream Team #3 Todd Zeile
  5. 1990 Score #233 Ken Hill
  6. 1991 Topps Traded #1 Juan Agosto (gray back)
  7. 1991 Topps Box Card #0B Willie McGee (with Dwight Evans information on back)
  8. 1989 Bowman #432 Joe Magrane
  9. 1993 Bowman #488 Dan Cholowsky
  10. 1975 Topps #202 Ken Boyer MVP

Name Change

Since the primary cards I collect are St. Louis Cardinals, it just seemed right that my card collecting blog should reflect it. So I've changed the name from Books and Baseball Cards to St. Louis Cardinals Cards with a brand new address. I'll still be collecting books, but I may shift that focus over to another blog. Thanks!

Trade Bait

For the last 10 or more years, I've been away from card collecting. So my trading pool is significantly more shallow than many other traders out there for newer cards, especially the autographs, relics, and other specialty cards.

If you're looking for mid-70s to early 90s, I have a ton of cards gathering dust that many traders might need to fill their want lists. If you have specific needs, please let me know and I can see what I have. Maybe we can work out a trade!