Friday, July 24, 2015

Wallet Card Goes To The (Other) Hall Of Fame


Some of you may have read about my meeting Wes Parker at the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day. 

Here is my experience of what a grand Induction Day it was! 

The induction was held at Pasadena's Central Library, where there is a simultaneous exhibition of curios and memorabilia from the Reliquary's archives. Here are a few shots from the exhibit...

How about 10 cent beer night! What could possibly go wrong? 

Who doesn't want one of these cool beer coolers? 

Inside the glass you can see the actual plaque the Godfather of Feathers received from the Shrine of the Eternals. 

Just when you thought you've seen it all...along comes a tortilla with Walter O"Malley's ever-lovin' mug on it. 

Wallet Card rightfully took his place beside the other baseball oddballs. 

Laker Dave and I arrived 45 minutes early for the ceremonies, and a line had already formed. 

Note the guy standing alone in the blue shirt and light-colored pants. Yup, it's none other than Wes Parker. He was in line one person ahead of Laker Dave and I, and we never even noticed. I didn't even notice that fact until I inserted this pic into the post! 

Before the ceremonies, just milling around, and noticed this cool jersey. More on this guy coming up. 

 Finally, it's time for the ceremony to begin. Baseball Reliquary Executive Director, Terry Cannon, calls us to order with the ringing of the cowbell; this is done in honor of legendary Brooklyn Dodgers super-fan, Hilda Chester. 

The event began with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in a fashion that, according to Terry, "We have likely never seen before, nor will we ever see again".  Boy, was he right! 

Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the podium for this one. Can you spot our lovely singer on the far side of the podium? 

Here's a shot of her belting out a high note...

I have never seen before, nor shall I see again. Thanks to one-of-a-kind singer, Jackie Lee.

On to the first award - the Hilda Award - presented to Tom Keefe, the founder and president of the Eddie Gaedel Society, Spokane Washington, Chapter 1. 

The society keeps alive the legacy of Gaedel’s historic walk into baseball immortality as a member of the St. Louis Browns in 1951.  They meet annually on August 19th, the anniversary of Gaedel’s one plate appearance, at O’Doherty’s Irish Grille & Pub in Spokane.

 Next was the Tony Salin Memorial Award, given to Gary Joseph Cieradkowski, the man behind The Infinite Baseball Card Set blog. His blog is definitely worth a visit or two. He recently published The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes

Joseph gave a great speech, fascinating us with his tales of crossing the country's minor league parks presenting an exhibit from the Babe Ruth Museum, which featured Ruth's priceless bat from 1927.

Then came the actual inductions. This years class was Glenn Burke, Steve Bilko and Sy Berger. If you don't know who they are, I encourage you to read about them, as they are all certainly deserving of the honor. 

Below is a shot of Glenn Burke's sister, who accepted his induction into the Shrine. Burke, the first openly gay player in baseball, played for the Dodgers, and was traded to Oakland because of the fact he was gay. 

We saw a video clip where his former teammates spoke about how they were devastated by their close friend being shipped off. Some wept openly at their lockers at the news. 

 Below is Steve Bilko, star of the old Pacific Coast League, the Babe Ruth of the West Coast. What a larger than life character. I am now a Steve Bilko collector. (Got that, trade partners?) 

Here is Sy Berger's plaque. Speaking of larger than life characters, ol' Sy was the father of the modern baseball card, and Topps' representative to baseball for many years. 

He was very close to numerous players from the 50's and 60's. Willie Mays called Sy his best friend, and said he never would have made it in baseball if not for Sy. 

A few more shots of the awards and plaques...

What an afternoon of baseball love, shared with lovers of baseball.

 The old tales, often touching, of these baseball players and fans were fascinating and wonderful. I can't wait till next year!  


Sunday, July 19, 2015

There Is Nothing Like A Surprise Auto!


Today Wallet Card and I went out to the Baseball Reliquary's annual induction of honorees into the "other Hall of Fame", the Shrine of the Eternals. 

But that's a story for another post. THIS post is about me running into one of my baseball heroes - my first favorite Dodger! 

Before Steve Garvey was the iron man at first base for the Dodgers, there was Wes Parker - a southpaw just like me. 

So there I was, sitting in the auditorium, awaiting the start of ceremonies, when the guy sitting next to me (who will also be featured in a future post), taps me on the shoulder and asks if I know who that guy is across the aisle; the guy who's signing autographs.

I look over and see a boy of about six approach the mystery man and hand him a baseball to be signed. 

I don't know who it is, so I ask Laker Dave, who is sitting next to me, if he knows who it is. Suddenly I get a hunch. He looks a little older, but he's got that same long and lean frame - I think it's Wes! 

 Laker Dave immediately jumps on his phone and we're scrolling photos trying to match one of them to the man across the aisle. That might be him. 

It's a real old-time Dodger RIGHT THERE! 

I decide to take a chance. I go over to him, and carefully picking my moment, I say, "Excuse me, but my friends and I have a bet. I'm betting that you're Wes Parker." 

He keeps a straight face...maybe I'm wrong???!!!! 

Then an ever-so-slight smile emerges, and he says, "That's a pretty good guess." 

Immediately I'm a ten-year old kid again, right beside my baseball hero! I tell him he was my first favorite Dodger, and he jokes that at least I didn't say Sandy Koufax. 

I ask for an autograph and he obliged me. I picked out what I considered an unimportant page in my program and asked him to feel free to sign as large as he liked. 

Wow !
Afterward, Wes joked that my friend doesn't get an autograph for betting against him. 

THANKS for the great autograph, Wes! 

More on the inductions of Steve Bilko (the Babe Ruth of the West Coast), Glenn Burke (the first openly gay major leaguer), and Sy Berger (50 years with Topps) into the Shrine of the Eternals, to come later.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

This Way To A Post About Cool Cards From The Clubhouse

Aloha everybody,

I don't know about all of you out there, but I was going through withdrawal during that All-Star break. It's sure good to have baseball back again. 

You know what else is good? Gettin' some great cards in the mail, that's what. 

I received these courtesy of Mark Kaz from This Way To The Clubhouse. He described them as "shiny Hollywood" cards, and I can't argue...

You can't get much more Hollywood than a Matt Kemp purple refractor. 

One great thing about this card: it's among the last that will list Kemp as playing for Hollywood - errr - Los Angeles on the back. 

One more shiny goodie coming up... 

It's a beautiful, Hollywood Hanley Ramirez, limited to 99. I absolutely dig limited edition cardboard. 

DonRuss cards have always honored the home run hitters of the game with great inserts. This one follows right in the tradition.

 Hanley smashed that ball in Colorado, and Kaz smashed this trade out of the park as well, with some great Hollywood bling to add to my collection. 

THANKS, Kaz! Aloha!  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sometimes Angels Work Through Packages From Texas

Aloha everybody,

Last night the Dodgers and Phillies played a marathon 4 1/2 hour game that ended with the Dodgers on top, 10-7. Whew!  

Looking at that score you  might think it was an epic slugfest filled with excitement. Nope. It was pretty much baseball torture as the final innings dragged on and on....and on. Watching that game would have convinced even the most anti-pitch-clock, baseball purist that somebody needed to call for a clock on those final pitchers. 

Speaking of epic, I recently received a package o' Dodger cards from an Angels fan who lives way out in Texas, so far away from his team, Tom from The Angels, In Order. I sent Tom a little ol' PWE, and he sent me a Texas-sized package of cards in return. Here are some of the highlights...

Nomahhh leads off in sparkling home whites.
 I love this "eyes on the ball" shot of Jeff Kent. Great photo of a professional hitter at work. 
 Eddie Murray cards are always welcome, as are cards with lurking ivy from the friendly confines. Eddie always managed to look like his batting helmets were too small.

These are my first Toys r Us cards. Nice additions. 

 Welcome to the jungle, Monsieur Gagne. 

 I'm not a big fan of Holly, but I'm pretty sure I had this same shirt back in the day. 

 Rafi hung up the spikes this season. Baseball's gonna miss his hustle. 

Here come a few oldies but goodies (cards and players)...

 Lovin' this Red Turn 2 Turner card. The gold frame really complements his red hair and beard. 

I especially love that D-back on his knees bowing to Dodgers awesomeness. All your pools are belong to us! 

 Mondy taping up is a nice change of pace photo, but I really appreciate the Jackie Robinson 50th anniversary patch. Maybe I should get one of those off the bay one day.
Finally, a great Piazza card. Very cool because it's new for my collection, I love the "barely there" mustache, and the rookie number 60, before Piazza became number 31. 

Thanks for the great cards, Tom. They're great additions to my collection.  


Sunday, July 5, 2015

It Doesn't Hoyt To Have This Giant In My Collection

Aloha everybody,

I've been away for a bit, but my love for our hobby hasn't ebbed - I've just been away with other things. I've got some free time tonight, so I figured why not update ATBATT and reconnect with my old blogger and collecting buddies. 

About a month ago, Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown held a contest - perhaps it was Twitter exclusive?  At any rate, I was lucky enough to win a PWE full of cards. 

Let's check out mah winnins....

Ordinarily, I would prefer not to have Giants in my collection, but I'll make exceptions - and one of those exceptions is for knuckleballers.That goes double for cards showing off that trademark knuckleball grip.

This card is a real beauty with its olive green complemented by shiny gold leaf framing and text. The photo shows Hoyt in a NY uniform, but lists him as a SF Giant. It's two variations of Giants...yechhhhh - but is that the Polo Grounds in the background?  I secretly dig this card.

In another card with a great old-time photo I got Hoyt releasing one of his patented knucklers. 

I don't know how Gavin knew to send me one of these Hall of Records inserts, but he made a great choice as I already have a couple others. I think I'm going to have to actively chase this insert set and complete it. 

Although this contest was centered around Hoyt, Gavin was cool enough to include cards from other players I collect. Check em out..

It's always great when I get a new Rickey card. 

And you can't go wrong by including cards of this sentimental favorite of mine...

 Gary Carter used to go to the Fullerton Boys and Girls Club when he was young, and he never forgot them. Right out of college I worked for the Fullerton Club, and Gary supported the club with money, sporting goods and memorabilia for fundraising auctions. He truly was an All-Star to me. 

Gavin knows I collect Dodgers, so he included some of the Boys in Blue...

The Dodgers have had plenty of great closers, but I feel Saito is totally overlooked as one of them. Everybody remembers the fireballers, but Saito had such great movement on his pitches, I never saw so many guys go down looking. I absolutely LOVED watching Saito pitch. Great card.

I love cards with Nomahhhhhh!!! 

You know who else I love cards of? PIAAAAAZZZZAAAAA!!!

This PWE was the bomb. Cool winnings from a cool dude, indeed. 
Thanks. Gavin!