Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Monday, August 10, 2009

David Segui, 2002 Topps Heritage #254

Like many collectors, I'm a sucker for retro-designed cards, especially the Topps Heritage series. But as aesthetically pleasing as these cards are, they've still got nothing on the real thing. If you don't know what I mean, just sit tight for a little show and tell.

Last Friday, I was in Laurel, MD for my good friend (and former roommate) Mikey's wedding rehearsal. We had to meet at the church at 7:00 PM, and I didn't want to chance being late, so I came straight from work. As a result, I was 45 minutes early. As luck would have it, the church was a few blocks away from Sports Card Heroes, a hobby shop that I frequented when I used to take the train from Laurel to Washington D.C. for work. With the recent news of Topps' exclusive licensing deal with MLB fresh in my mind, I was feeling a little current-day card fatigue, so I made a beeline for the vintage baseball card display case. I noticed a small box of 1952 and 1953 Topps, so I asked the owner to let me have a look. Most of the cards were in well-used condition, and were reasonably affordable ($75 and below, if I recall correctly). The owner informed me that they were all 30% off of the marked price, which was music to my ears. I did a little crack math in my head, and nabbed the following four cards for about $12. Not too shabby!
George Zuverink
First up is George Zuverink, 1952 Topps #199. I only had one card from this famed set (Phillies outfielder and fellow Washington College product Bill "Swish" Nicholson), and this one is a great addition. I specifically chose it because George was a reliable reliever for the Orioles later in his career, posting a 3.07 ERA with the team and collecting 23 wins and 36 saves from 1955-1959. As the icing on top of the cake, this is his rookie card!
Here we have another future Oriole in Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel, 1952 Topps #251. He was one of the first of a long line of All-Star shortstops from Venezuela, playing in four Midsummer Classics in total. He played his only season in Baltimore in 1959, batting .223 with 28 RBI in 114 games before calling it a career. Look at that odd signature - his letters seem to slant in the opposite direction!
I've always appreciated the artsy look of the portraits in the 1953 Topps set (which the 2002 Topps Heritage set was patterned after, of course), but I never did get around to adding some of them to my collection until now. They were worth the wait. First is #55, Maurice "Mickey" McDermott. He would peak in 1953, going 18-10 with a 3.01 ERA for Boston. Shane Diaz, who is collecting the 1953 set, has a good summary of McDermott's colorful career on his blog.
Finally, we come to the only man in this quartet that I didn't recognize, #185, Jim Pendleton. This is another rookie card, but Jim wasn't your average rookie. He was a World War II veteran who was signed by the Dodgers in 1949, but found himself stuck behind Pee Wee Reese in the shortstop pecking order. He would hit .299 with the Braves in 1953, only to lose his job the following year to a kid named Hank Aaron. He collected only 369 at-bats between 1954 and 1959, but re-emerged in 1962 as the elder statesman of the brand-new Houston Colt .45s. The 38-year-old hit .246 with a career-high 8 home runs and 46 RBI for the club that would become the Astros before riding off into the sunset.

I know you can get some good deals on vintage cards on eBay, but there's still something satisfying and tangible about buying them from a hobby shop now and again.


Commishbob said...

Great post, Kevin. I'm with you, the throwback designs are great but the real vintage cards are very special. I love the logos, especially the White Sox' flying sock. Something about it I really like.

After another bashing tonite I needed a baseball boost.

HandyAndy said...

I agree those old logos are great, the Red Sox one rocks

shoeboxlegends said...

Awesome cards. There's only one hobby shop around me that has any cards this old, and instead of 30% off they sell them for about 400% of book value.

deal said...

I think you made solid picks. It would be awfully hard to beat those prices if you picked up the cards on eBay - shipping the cards would be $2-3/each

Jim said...

Great cards! I agree with you - nothing like walking out of an actual card shop with a nice stack of vintage cards.

Paul said...

The problem about people commenting before you is that they steal your thunder. I was going to bring up the White Sox flying sock as well. It is a sensational logo!

Kevin said...

Bob and Paul - I actually meant to mention the Flying Sock in the post, and didn't. Great minds think alike!

HandyAndy - You just don't see enough anthropomorphized socks these days.

Shane - Yeah, this shop is generally a little overpriced on current year packs, but I never really spent much time checking out their vintage stuff. Maybe I should have, after the way this trip turned out.

deal - Good point, though I try to only buy on eBay from dealers with combined shipping.

Jim - I used to go to a shop in N.E. PA that had a random box of loose cards for $1 each. I bought them out of 1978 Topps one day (Andre Dawson, Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell, etc.).