A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It Finally Happened

During my time reading baseball card blogs, one of the things that made me the most jealous was the opportunity that others have had of perusing discounted boxes of vintage cards.  In my (limited) experience, this has been pretty much unheard of, as the cheapest boxes I've found have been at least 50 cents, but those were all current commons, not anything close to vintage.

It all changed yesterday.

My wife has been looking for some mismatched chairs to go along with our kitchen table, and her craigslist searching has been in vain, as nobody ever calls her back or takes down the ads.  It drives her crazy, which in turn drives me crazy.  Anyways, we decided to make the drive down to Austin for "City Wide Garage Sale".  While not always a cheap as a regular garage sale, there's a good variety of stuff to look at, and some deals to be had.  We didn't find any chairs (though a craigslist ad in Austin responded while we were down there, so we didn't go home empty-handed), but I did find a couple of tables selling baseball cards.

One, I had seen before, and was peddling the usual overpriced stuff.  The other had a glass case of vintage... right next to a box of random vintage.  As I started digging through it and feeling alright about the prices, the guy informed me that everything was half off.

Score!  I started off with a decent pile of stuff, but then, trying not to overspend (I mean, some of these weren't even Padres, c'mon), came away with five dollars worth of cards from the vintage box.  Here are the top ten, listed by age, newest to oldest.

I mentioned in my last post that when I was a kid, the first glove I remember buying (not the first glove I used in T-Ball, I think this would've been a few years later) was a Jim Palmer model with his signature printed onto the glove.  For some reason, this is my first "real" Palmer card, from his playing days, not from an Allen & Ginter set.  Not too shabby.

For lots of collectors, this might be a Jim Palmer card, but for me, this is all about Randy Jones.  Two great heads of hair here, though Jones' is obscured by the brown and yellow.  The Padres leader in wins this season is Jason Marquis (9), and he hasn't won a game since the middle of June (though he went on the DL in the middle of July).  1976 seems like a long time ago, though the Padres currently have a winning percentage that is 3% better than that '76 squad.

Ollie Brown marks the fourth non-Padres card from the '73 set that I've gotten.  "Downtown" Ollie Brown was the first pick for the Padres in the Expansion Draft of 1968.  He was a Padre for three years, and later traded to Kansas City in '72, whereupon he was selected off waivers by the Brewers.  Looking at his wikipedia page, it appears that Brown threw a no-hitter while in the minor leagues.  Impressive.

There wasn't a huge selection of Padres vintage in the box.  A handful of '70s and '71s, but no '69s, which is the only vintage team set that I'm trying to complete at the moment ('71 and '73 bit the dust months ago).  While I'm not a huge fan of the '72 set, and I passed up a few of the Padres that I saw, I had to get this one.  I'm a sucker for "Rookie Stars" type cards, even if the guys featured never turned out to be stars (which is usually the case).  I'd never even heard of Darcy Fast, though Thomas and Ivie had decent careers, at least by early Padres standards.  A bit off center, but my best Padre pickup of the day.

The last time I got a decently priced vintage card from Austin, it was Tommy Harper's card from the '69 set.  This time, Mr. Harper makes another appearance from the '71 set.  I'm not a Tommy Harper super collector or anything, but if I see a card of his from a set that I like with a decent price, I'll take it.  This one was fifteen cents.

This would be the oldest Padre card that I'd walk away with.  Ivan Murrell is another Original Padre who started for them for the first three years of their MLB existence.  While not a great player by any stretch (.236 career batting average), he has some decent looking cards, including this one.

Okay, here we begin to get to the really good stuff.  Well, at least in my opinion.  This is my first '64 card.  There was actually a decent selection of '64s (no stars or anything, but lots of teams represented) to choose from, but I was having a hard time finding one that I had to have.  Too many teams that I don't like that just wouldn't feel right in my binders.  Then I stumbled upon Choo Choo Coleman.  The blue and orange design looks great on the card, as does the photo.  And the guy's name is Choo Choo.  Also a very interesting wikipedia page.  My favorite quote found there is when Duke Snider - who didn't believe that Coleman knew who he was - asked "Choo Choo, do you know me?"  To which Coleman replied, "Yes, you're number 4".

I had a similar dilemma with cards from the '63 set, in that - since the Padres weren't around, and there weren't any star players in the box - it was hard to choose a random player to add to the binder.  I only have one other card from the '63 set, but when I saw this card of Bob Uecker, I knew it had to be mine.  The price after the discount was only $1.25, which the seller took even more off of, since the cards I got averaged out to be about 40 cents apiece.  Ripped off corner or no, this is a cool card to have.  Who knew that Harry Doyle used to be a baseball player as well?

Alright, more "first time" territory.  This is my first '62 card.  While I know a decent amount of Padres historical trivia, when it comes to earlier baseball history (60s and beyond), I mostly only know the "basic stuff".  Not a lot of players that I'd recognize on a checklist from 1962.  Vern Law, however, is an exception.  Even though he's a two time All Star and one time Cy Young award winner, it might not be a name that many are familiar with.  I'm only familiar with it because when I was a kid, my grandma gave me an autographed photo of Vern.  I'm hazy on the details, but I believe she got it because she met him at church once.  According to wikipedia, Law is currently the pitching coach for Provo High, across the street from Brigham Young University, where his son, Vance Law, used to coach of the baseball team.

This was the oldest card that I came across, and it joins Foster Coleman as the only other '58 Topps card in my collection.  If you've been following Red Cardboard's countdown of the best Reds cards ever made, you'll recognize Whammy Douglas' name.  He was born Charles William Douglas, but got the nickname after striking out a bunch of players during a semipro game.  Very impressive for a player who was blind in one eye, after getting his eye split open with a stick in 6th grade.

All in all, a pretty successful first try at the elusive "vintage discount" box.  Hoping that this isn't the last time our paths cross...

Good job team.

I also picked up this box for eight bucks.  Probably overspent on it, since it turned out to be a pretty small set, but fun to rip and left me with a bunch of package filler.  I'll try to post on that soon, though I have a couple of doozy trade packages to report on as well.


  1. I sure do miss the nicknames of the past. Choo Choo and Whammy. Good stuff!
    Nice job at the vintage discount box!

  2. Still waiting for it to happen ...

  3. Nice team effort. Sweet find. Way to go! One time you don't want to yell "No Whammies!"

  4. Great haul! The Uecker is easily my favorite from this bunch. My copy is probably in worse shape than yours, believe it or not.

  5. Vance's last season as coach at BYU was 2012. I always remember how Vern's wife and children (8 of them?) also all had names that begin with V.