Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner

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    Ted Taylor has been a life-long baseball fan and collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He began writing a hobby column back in the early 1970s and has been writing it someplace ever since. He was first president of The Eastern Pennsylvania Sports Collectors Club and co-promoter of the Philadelphia Baseball Card & Sports Memorabilia Shows. He served as VP of the Fleer Corporation (1991-97) and was co-founder and the first President of The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society (1996-99). Ted can be heard playing big band and swing music from 8 a.m. to noon every Tuesday on WRDV-FM (89.3), or you can email him at ted@tedtaylor.com.

Ted Taylor's latest three books . . .
  "The Ultimate Philadelphia Athletics Reference Book (1901-54)" available from www.amazon.com
  "The Duke of Milwaukee - The Life and Times of Al Simmons" available from www.EduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, PO Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($15 ppd.).

  "The Glenside Kid” – a story about growing up in the mid-20th century - available from www.eduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, P. O. Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($24 ppd).

July 20, 2014

This is our 39th Year of hobby columns

Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner

Catching up, again, with ’14 Topps Archives

  In the last column I didn’t get a chance to actually review a hobby box – though I had made enough store purchases to complete a basic set of 200. A day after the last column went to the web my hobby box arrived. Murphy’s law, for sure.

  Disappointing was that in the entire hobby box I got just six of the 50 short print cards – clearly I won’t be completing that part of the set. The six were Deion Sanders, Wade Boggs (in a Yankee uniform), Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasiel Puig (#250), Billy Hamilton and Robinson Cano. My signed cards were a ’73 inked by Bill Russell and ’82 Dave Parker signature. I got two “Major League” movie cards, neither one signed – Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger ) and Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen). Unsuspecting kids might think they are really Cleveland players. I got five deckle edge cards – four current stars, one vet (Dave Parker). One deckle was odd. It was Cardinal manager Mike Matheny as a catcher in full gear.

  I got a die cut “Stadium Club” card of Jose Canseco, All-Star cards of varying years (two old-timers, Howard Johnson and Vince Coleman) and a Tom Seaver card. Oh yes, a box topper of Carlton Fisk looking like a ’76 Topps on steroids.

Topps Pro Debut brings plethora of number 1’s

  I always enjoy cards of minor league players and the Topps 2014 “Pro Debut” offering is right on the mark. In my hobby box (24 8-card packs) I found 23 2013 number one draft picks. I also scored current Pirates’ rookie sensation Gregory Polanco in his Altoona uniform. Mark Appel the Astro’s number one pick (and the first player taken in ’13 adorns the box and the packs.

  As a Phillies fan I was quite happy to find J. P. Crawfrord, their ’13 number one pick, who is sailing through the farm system and seems destined for stardom. Lee Mazzilli’s son shows up as a Mets farm hand (40 years after his father played for New York). Jeremy Barfield, starting his seventh minor league campaign seems an odd inclusion in this set. Topps makes the case for him since he’s longtime big league slugger Jesse Barfield’s son and, this year, he’s making the switch to pitching (93 MPH fastball and all) after six years as a fly chaser.

  A few of the players in this set already have a ’14 card – from Bowman. Most prominent is Appel, but there’s also Twins’ young slugger Byron Buxton, Hunter Dozier (Royals), Tyler Marlette (Mariners), Mookie Betts (Red Sox) and Daniel Robertson (A’s).

  Promised four goodies on the box I got two signatures – Logan Bawcom (Tacoma) and Trae Arbet (Pirates GCL) – and two relics, Rafael DePaula (Charleston) and Jose Urena pictured with a Jupiter Hammerheads sewn logo.

  It’s a fun set and you’ll surely meet some of baseball’s future stars in these packs.

Reader sends along archives . . . and an offer

  Joe Gala of Drexel Hill a longtime reader of these columns (back to their Sports Collectors Digest and Philadelphia Daily News roots) sent me a package of clips, some baseball cards and an offer for my readers.

  He has a collection of Baseball Card (later Sports Card) magazines that he’d be willing to send along to someone who would enjoy them.  Joe sent me an October 1987 issue that includes a story that I wrote about the 16 missing 1951 Bowman baseball cards. I didn’t have a copy (for some reason) in my files but I do now.

  If you would like to take Joe up on his offer please e-mail me with your name, address and phone number and I’ll make sure that you connect with him.

  For the record, in that article I decided that the following missing 16 players should have completed the ’51 set – Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner, Jackie Robinson, Ferris Fain, Stan Musial, Mel Parnell, Bobby Doerr, Walt Dropo, Gil McDougald, George Spencer, Bobby Young, Jack Phillips, Don Lenhardt, Dick Kryhoski and a personal choice (since he was a Phillie and Bowman was a Philadelphia company) Ralph “Putsy” Caballero.

  Thanks to Joe for what he sent and his great offer.

Topps Tier One Baseball

  Can you say “high end”. This package comes with two autographs and one relic – or so it promises. Mine came with a relic (Dale Murphy bat scrap) and a signed Eric Davis card, plus one of those pesty “you are due to receive” cards that means I either have to go on line or mail it in (what I’ll get is an Evan Gattis – Braves - autographed bronze ink parallel card). Market right now has these three-card boxes going for around $115 – that’s $38-a-card. Wow! There are some real goodies in there, but you’d better bem feeling lucky at those prices.

Bowman Inception Baseball – outta here!

  We commented about Topps Tier One being “High end”. If possible this one is in the same ballpark. In the box there are six cards – and five of them are autographs! The one that isn’t is a replica chrome Deion Sanders card. This 6-card-box is going between $95-$115 in the market place. As usual, with Bowman, a lot of players are rookies (or not even that high yet). I got a Rafel Montero (Mets) signature/relic card, a signed Taijuan Walker card (limited 17/25) and three other cards – Carlos Tocci (Phillies), Noah Syndergaard (Mets) and Adam Walker (Twins). All cards are signed on the card, not a piece of tape.

Bowman 2014 Football

  Poster child for this issue is Eddie Lacy of the Packers (2013 Associated Press NFL rookie of the year). The box contains 10 packs of 25 cards and the goodie quotient suggests you’ll find four autograph and one relic card in every box. 2014 Bowman Football has some of the first rookie cards of the season. Sticking with the Bowman tradition, it's the young players that are the focus of the set.

  2014 Bowman Football has different designs for rookies and veterans but both have tons of parallels. On top of that, there are Rainbow Foil and Paper base cards. The box is selling in the $95-$120 range at hobby shops.

  Happy Baseball Season – I wonder what the second half will bring? Always happy for your comments on other topics, write me at: ted@tedtaylor.com. Thanks to Ted Silary for including this in his web zine and to all of you for regularly reading this.