Card collecting update, plus some HOF thoughts

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago when I wrote that I’d be taking a break from thinking about baseball cards? So much for that.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me and my family after my Grandpa’s passing, but something that felt good to them was whenever they could get out of the house and do some traveling. So I did that.

I spent Friday in the Quad Cities putting together research for another project (stay tuned!), and had some time to visit some of the baseball card shops in the area.

I wound up getting 5 cards on my search list: 1977 Topps, Mariners coaches w/ Vada Pinson; 1976 Topps, Angels team card with Dick Williams, and a John “The Count Of” Montefusco rookie card; 1982 Donruss, Vada Pinson coach card; and a 1953 Topps, Virgil Trucks. All but the Trucks card came from Superstars and Superheros in Davenport, knowing the owner had shoeboxes of those cards. The Trucks card came in a bargain bin at Midwest Collectibles also in Davenport.

Not pictured is my first Dom DiMaggio card, also from the 1953 set and from the same bargain bin. I also made a stop at Atomic Sports Cards in downtown Milan and came away with the only card from the 1974 Topps set to have a Willie Mays action shot (World Series Game 2); he also is pictured on the 1974 Topps Mets team card, but looks much tinier. The Mays card is one of the those unofficial “career capper” cards within a subset, as his last true base card was in the 1973 set.

The two Vada Pinson cards new to my collection means I’m halfway through with Pinson’s coaching career arc. I have Pinson’s player arc (Reds, Cardinals, Indians, Angels, Royals; and he never did appear on a Brewers card despite playing with them only during 1976 Spring Training). The two Pinson cards I’m missing are from the 1990 Tigers Team Issue, and the 1993 Marlins Publix coaches card. Pinson’s name has come up quite a bit lately for long overdue Hall of Fame consideration with his 2,700+ hits and comparable numbers to existing members.

Vada Pinson cards bring up two other items:

Many successful players became coaches after their playing careers. Managers often had their own cards, but you’ll almost only find coaches cards in localized oddball sets. Bob Gibson and Luke Appling once wore Braves uniforms, Frank Howard wore a lot of different hats after his playing career, Robin Yount won a World Series ring as a coach with the 2001 Diamondbacks. This is still an area of research of mine to identify such cards and see what I would like.

Pinson’s name coming up in Hall of Fame discussion should have vintage investors on alert for rookie cards. In recent years, we’ve seen where rookie cards of Ted Simmons, Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat skyrocketed in value upon their inductions. This fact has moved such rookies as Pinson, Dick Allen, Mickey Lolich, Frank Howard and Luis Tiant, among a few others, a little upward in value recently. Vintage cards move for various reasons, and investors just have to figure out what that is before the prices go up. I, for one, want to snatch up any Al Oliver or Vida Blue rookies for cheap, as they are real cheap rookie cards.

That being said, the Hall’s most recent Veteran’s Committee era decision is in a couple of days. Among the choices are: Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling.

Belle, McGriff, Palmerio and Schilling rookie cards haven’t moved at all since the end of their careers. The rest have gone up a little, and Bonds more than the others. Murphy is the only one with a rookie card in the 1970s (1977), which gives it the greatest chance of a price increase if he is selected. I don’t see the others moving.

The 4 new Topps cards to my collection narrows my mainstream vintage card list (Topps/Bowman) down to a few:

• 1957 Topps, Brooklyn Dodgers team card
• 1964 Topps, Wilbur Wood
• 1967 Topps, Tommy Helms
• 1970 Topps, Adolfo Phillips (high-number)
• 1972 Topps, Hector Torres (high-number)

• 1951 Bowman, Virgil Trucks
• 1952 Bowman, Bob Cain

I’m hoping that I can find the Wood and Helms cards for $1, the 1950s cards for $3, and the 1970s high-numbered cards for $3.

The rest of the cards on my search list are either newer cards or oddballs. The cards after 1980 will very likely be found in $0.25 or $0.10 boxes, and it’s just up to me to find these boxes and dig through them. Almost all of the pre-1980 oddballs will be a tougher find, and I’m hoping not to break an arm and a leg over them.

Ebaying for the vintage cards and digging through boxes for the post-1980 cards. That’s where I’m at right now collecting-wise.

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