Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sports Card Tour 2018 - New York City

Live from New York it's ...The Collector's Sports Card Tour! This will be a long post but there are several short stops upcoming.

Seven pro sports teams have "New York" in their name, but only five actually play in the city: the Knicks and Rangers in Manhattan, the Yankees in the Bronx, and the Mets in Queens. The Islanders (and Nets) play in Brooklyn.

New York City's title total is heavily weighted toward one team. The Knicks won two championships in 1970 and 1973. The Amazin' Mets shocked the baseball world in 1969 and won a second World Series in (sigh) 1986. The Rangers' four Stanley Cups are the fewest of any Original Six team; their last title was won in (sigh) 1994. 

Interestingly, the New York team with the second-most championships no longer plays in New York. The baseball Giants won seven championships-and five World Series-before moving west to San Francisco.

All of those teams combined can't match the total won by the (deep sigh) 27-time World Champion Yankees.

Derek Jeter was the Yankees' shortstop for five of those titles, and the only player in franchise history with over 3,000 hits.The "flip" play against Oakland is as gut-wrenching to me as anything he did to the Red Sox, but you have to tip your hat to him..which is something he did to Boston Manager Terry Francona during every Sox-Yanks game.

I don't know what Don Mattingly did to anger the baseball gods, but it seems impossible that an everyday player of Donnie Baseball's stature could wear the pinstripes for more than a dozen years and not play in a World Series. Adding insult to injury, Jeter is Mattingly's boss in Miami - a team with a total payroll roughly one-third of the Yankees'.

I rewatched Billy Crystal's film 61* a few months ago. The actors were terrific (Barry Pepper really looks like Maris) and the story of these two very different men was well-told. But there were some scenes that looked like Yankee Stadium was green-screened or painted on a background wall. 

One day I'd love to own an authentic Turkey Red Cabinet card. Doubt I'll ever be able to afford one, so the Babe Ruth Topps insert will have to do. The Stadium Club Ruth cost me about seven cents at the card show. I've never seen Pride of the Yankees but I have seen John Goodman in The Babe. What's your favorite baseball movie?

1956 was the year Mickey Mantle returned to the Topps set after Bowman ceased production. That's one reason why I wanted to collect the '56 set - every great player active at the time save Stan Musial is in it. Another reason is that my mother gifted me the Rizzuto card.

She also gave me this Mickey Mantle autograph. I put the hologram sticker there, to cover up some of the scratches and smudges on the photo. There's no COA with it but I wouldn't sell it anyhow (though I'd consider trading it for a Ted Williams auto.)

The rest of my Yankees hits. Bauer and Beltran were COMC purchases. I pulled the Maris from a box of Sweet Spot Classic purchased at the East Coast National ten years ago. The Sanchez photo variation came from my 5-box break of Heritage; the cheapest copy on COMC is listed at $28. (Anyone want to trade me a Kris Bryant photo variation for it?)

Word 'round the blogosphere is that Whitey Ford and Graig Nettles are unpleasant to autograph seekers. The '54 Ford was a one-card purchase from 4 Sharp Corners; I bought the Andy Carey ungraded on eBay. Can't remember where I got the Nettles 9 - it was probably 4SC.

 If you're looking for Aaron Judge or Wayne Gretzky, you'll find them in my 99th post.

This All-Star Game program will be part of my Sports Card Tour Giveaway. Not sure if it will be included in a box of books, or a bundle of NYC-centric memorabilia.

There are seven Yankees in my 1956 Topps set build - and twice as many New York Giants. Here are four of the fourteen I have so far:

I don't have a '56 Willie Mays yet, but I have a '55 Mays...

...and a '55 Bob Lennon.

A.J. (The Lost Collector) recently asked bloggers what card(s) we would donate to an exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I doubt that I have anything more historically significant to contribute than my 1951 Bowman cards of Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomson.

My cards of New York's current National League franchise aren't quite as impressive:

This Ron Darling auto was sent to me by Gavin (Baseball Card Breakdown) along with two other autos, hundreds of cards, and dozens of CDs. I'm passively collecting MLB Network personalities including Darling, Dan Plesac..and of course Heidi Watney.

Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry won world championships with both the Mets and the Yankees. Drug and alcohol problems curtailed what could been Hall of Fame careers for both. Still, they were two of the most exciting players of the 1980s and early 1990s.

I was disappointed when Pedro Martinez left Boston for New York - but it was a good business decision by Theo Epstein not to give him a four year contract. New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani once said he wanted Pedro thrown in jail over the Don Zimmer incident. (There's an abuse of power remark in there somewhere, but I'm trying to keep this blog apolitical.)

The rest of my Mets hits. Jeff Kent would get my HOF vote. I'm a big fan of 2015 Bowman's Best refractors -especially the blue ones. The David Wright Beam Team came from the one pack of Stadium Club I purchased..and the Granderson pink refractor was pulled from a repack.

I don't usually pull out base cards unless I'm really low on cards to discuss-but I thought these two were particularly interesting. McPhee build the Vegas Golden Knights from the ground up; he gets my vote for GM of the century. Acuna never made it above double-A but his son Ronald Jr. is starting for the Braves at age 20. This card lists Acuna Sr.'s birthday as 2/1/81 - which would make him younger than me. However baseball-reference lists his birthday as 6/30/79.

Mike Richter won 300 games and a Stanley Cup for the Rangers. He was also a key contributor to team USA in their World Cup win over Canada in 1996. The Goalie Masks card is a gold parallel #d/99.

Henrik Lundqvist has won over 400 games and a Vezina trophy as the NHL's top goalie. He has not won a Stanley Cup and with the Rangers in rebuilding mode the 36 year-old netminder might not get another chance.

The rest of my best blueshirts hits are all blueliners. The Staal was part of a JBF giveaway draft that served as the inspiration for the one I'll be hosting.

This isn't technically a Rangers item. It's a sports page article from December 9, 1925 reporting on a game between the New York Americans and the Montreal Canadiens. I found it inside the walls of a house that was being demolished. If it sounds like the writer is explaining hockey to people who have never seen it that might just be true. This was only the third game in franchise history and the Americans hadn't yet played a home game.

My basketball card collection still lags behind all the other sports. I have twelve Knicks cards in my star player box - and eleven are Patrick Ewing.

The twelfth star is this Bernard King Prizm I got from Jon. I don't have any Kristaps Porzingis cards of any kind (I wonder if it bothers Spike Lee that the best player on his favorite team is a white guy...again) and only one Carmelo Anthony - this 2015-16 Donruss insert.

The Jackson Prizm also came from Jon. The Childs and Oakley parallels were part of a huge chunk of Fleer cards in the eBay box. I might make that a giveaway item, too.

Favorite Yankees player: I have to? It's really hard to hate Aaron Judge, he seems like a gentle giant. I hate myself for selling his rookie card though.

Favorite Mets player: Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard

Favorite Knicks player: The Unicorn

Favorite Rangers player: The King

Next tour stop: Oakland

Thanks for reading this very long post. Have a great weekend!



  1. As much as it pains me to say, this group of Yankees are entertaing and *gulp* likable.

  2. My favourite baseball movie is wither Bull Durham or Field of Dreams.

    One of the few Yankees cards I have that I'm keeping is of Canadian George Selkirk. About the only way I'll acquire Yankees cards unless I need them for sets is if they're Canadian.

    Jeff Kent was part of the trade that brought a rental of David Cone to the Jays.

  3. Favorite Yankees player: Ron Guidry and Thurman Munson

    Favorite Mets player: Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling

    Favorite Knicks player: Mark Jackson and Nate Robinson

    Favorite Rangers player: Brian Leetch and Mike Richter

  4. The Islanders are not a Brooklyn team, the move is temporary and they are returning to Long Island. They are actually going to be playing half of their games back at the Nassau Colosseum over the next few years until their new arena is finished.

    1. The Isles were playing in Brooklyn when I wrote my Brooklyn post. And they're not playing in New York City. I suppose I could have said that the Islanders "were included in my Brooklyn post" as opposed to "play in Brooklyn." But there's only two teams playing at the moment anyhow.

  5. Curious about the NYC memorabilia. Would also be interested to learn what else you have found demolishing houses.

  6. Was looking forward to this one! Some really great cards featured there.

  7. Dude. I am speechless after seeing this post. Judge sp, Mantle auto and the Derek Jeter rookie card I have ALWAYS wanted. Then all of the other great stuff on top of it. Wow.

  8. Even though I'm roughly 60 miles north of NYC, I don't go there and take great pains to point out that I am from "upstate" NY...the Rangers are still my team. And the Knicks are in my top 5 for the NBA although as you probably recall the Nets are my #1 NBA team. I also root for the Islanders as long as they aren't facing the Rangers. I guess the fact that they are the home teams and I see them all the time...not just playing but their memorabilia for sale, people wearing their logos all the time, etc...they are ever present. I guess it plays a role. While I don't do baseball, it sure would be nice to have a local team(s) that I could actually expect to see win a championship in my lifetime. Unfortunately I hadn't discovered hockey in 1994 yet.

  9. That newspaper clipping is cool. When I was a kid we found a clipping from 1920 in a friend's basement. It was about the 1920 World Series. I had that for quite awhile, not sure what happened to it.

  10. I've never seen those 1961 Golden Press cards before. They look pretty awesome. Nice Judge rookie variation, too. I have the same one of Benintendi.

  11. Another great post even if it is on teams from New York City. Like yourself, I cannot bring myself to name a favorite Yankees even though Lou Gehrig and my favorite player Cal Ripken Jr will forever be linked. And the 1986 Mets were one of the first baseball champions I remember. By the way, my favorite baseball movies are The Sandlot and Field of Dreams.

  12. I LOVE Greats of the Game autos. I think it is my favorite auto set of all time.

  13. Your '51 Branca and Thomson are really cool! I've been toying with idea for a while now of trying to collect all of their cards, especially since I have sort of unintentionally acquired quite a few Bobby Thomson's over the last couple of years.