Friday, July 31, 2009

Standard Catalog Update #13 : Brooks Robby Find

Another former contributor to the "Big Book" (and a major contributor to the hobby by virtue of some work he did in the anti-counterfeiting fight) who has checked in since my return, Scott Roemer, has made a great find that we'll add to the 2011 edition.
Scott, who is a big Brooks Robinson collector, has verified the existence of a Brooks Robby lid in the 1976 English's Chicken Baltimore Orioles Lids set.
Prior to this report, the checklist for the set had stood at just four O's: Mike Cuellar, Ken Holtzman, Lee May and Jim Palmer.
These "cards" are actually the lids for buckets of fried chicken and they measure an impressive 8-3/8" diameter.
The mid-Atlantic chicken chain reprised the concept of lid cards in 1983, and Jim Palmer once again made the set, along with a dozen other Orioles, including Cal Ripken, Jr.
We don't know how deep the English's set issued in 1976 went into the roster, but that was the only year that Reggie Jackson played for the Orioles. I'm just sayin' . . .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Standard Catalog Update #12 : 1948 Indians 4-in-1

A new version of the 1948 Cleveland Indians team-issued picture pack has been reported by East Coast collector and long-time Standard Catalog contributor Bill Atkinson.

At the 2008 Greater Boston Sports Collectors Club show he bought a post-season 4-in-1 set.
The set of 5" x 7" cards was issued in a manila envelope that identifies the team as "World Champs."
Each card in the set has four downsized versions of the photo pack pictures that had been issued earlier that season. There were 33 pictures in the full-size set; the 4-in-1 set contains eight cards. Missing from the 4-in-1 version is the picture of Hank Greenberg in civvies, and Al Lopez. The difference is made up by having Bob Feller's picture on two of the 4-in-1s.

Lopez is missing from the World Champs set because he played his last game for the Indians, his only season with the Tribe, in mid-September. He was released in early October and signed on with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, for whom he had played 1940-46, as a playing manager with the Indianapolis Indians, one of the Bucs' top farm clubs. After three seasons with Indianapolis, Lopez returned to the Cleveland Indians as manager and took them to the World Series in 1951.
I won't print the checklist of the 4-in-1s here. The set will be added to the Standard Catalog data base and will be published in the 2011 edition . . . if we continue to include team-issued photo packs in the vintage section of the printed catalog.

Bill also sent along a report of a baseball collectible that probably won't seen print in the catalog, but is nonetheless worth preserving in the historical record.
What it is, is a paper insert that was included, reportedly only in the Boston area, in boxes of Between the Acts Little Cigars around the time of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs.

The approximately 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" card is a reproduction of the cover of the "Official Score Card" for the series. It pictures Red Sox owner Harry Frazee.
Bill says the identification of this item as a true tobacco insert was made by renowned vintage dealer and tobacco-era specialist Terry Knouse.
Bill estimates the value of the insert at $800.

Please excuse the quality of the image in this post, they were made from photocopies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tales of T212 #6 : Rollie Zeider

Back in the early 1980s I thought I'd combine my interests in minor league baseball and vintage baseball cards by assembling a collection of the Obak cigarette cards that were distributed on the West Coast in 1909, 1910 and 1911.I didn't realize it then, but those cards are so much rarer than most of the contemporary T206 cards from "Back East" that putting together complete sets of the Obak could take decades to accomplish -- and that's if a guy had more money than God to buy the cards when they became available.At about the time I started my Obak collection I also started researching the players who appeared in the sets. Over the course of several long Wisconsin winters I pored over microfilms of The Sporting News and The Sporting Life from the period several years before to several years after the Obak cards circulated, making prodigious notes on 3x5 file cards for each player in the set.I gave up trying to collect the T212s (that's the catalog number Jefferson Burdick assigned the three sets in the pioneering American Card Catalog in 1939), long ago, and have since sold off all my Obaks, one-by-one, first on eBay, then on the Net 54 baseball card forum. As I was selling each card, I included interesting tidbits about each player from my notes. The bidders seemed to like learning a little bit about these guys on the cards, so I thought I'd now begin sharing their stories here.

Zeider Played for Three Chicago Teams

One of the players appearing in the 1909-11 Obak cigarette card sets who had a long major league career was infielder Rollie Zeider. Among the Obaks, Zeider appeared only in the 1909 issue, by the next season he had begun his big league career and was soon showing up in many of the well-known card sets of the day (T207, Collins-McCarthy, Cracker Jack, etc.).

Zeider was born in Auburn,Ind., in 1883. At the age of 21 he began his pro career in Canada with Winnipeg and Crookston in 1905. He spent parts of the next two seasons with Winnipeg, also playing with Springfield IIII League) in 1906 and San Francisco in 1907, doing a little pitching as well as playing a stellar shortstop.

The Chicago White Sox bought Zeider from the Seals for 1910, paying $5,500 and two players to be named later. Zeider played the 1910-12 seasons with the White Sox, and was with them until June 1, 1913, when he was traded to the N.Y. Yankees with the later-banned Babe Borton for bad boy Hal Chase. Zeider, one of whose nicknames was "Bunions," or the "Bunion King," suffered a serious injury early in 1913 when Ty Cobb spiked him at second base, nearly cutting off his bunions and putting Zeider in the hospital for six weeks with blood poisoning.

In 1914, Zeider jumped to the new major league, the Federal League, with the Chicago Whales, playing there until the league disbanded. In the dispersal sale of Fed players, Zeider went to the Cubs, completing his Chicago trifecta.

Zeider's big league days came to a close in August, 1918, when the majors cut their season short because of World War I. In the off-season he had the garbage disposal contract for his home town of Auburn. In 1919 he joined Toledo as player-manager, but left the team in mid-season to manage a semi-pro team in LaPorte, Ind.

With the war over, Zeider returned to California in 1920, playing there with the L.A. Angels in 1920-21 and the Vernon Tigers in 1921-22. He was very popular in the Pacific Coast League. Baseball Magazine called him, "the Hans Wagner of the West . . . the greatest drawing card out there." He split the 1923 season between Portland in the PCL and Mobile.

In 1924, at age 40, Zeider began the season wth Shreveport, but obtained his release in late June to sign as playing manager with the Paris North Stars of the Class D East Texas League, his last professional engagement.

Zeider died back in his native Indiana in 1967.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Custom Card : 1968-style Jerry Kramer

Here's an interesting card trivia fact . . .

Jerry Kramer had three career-contemporary (mainstream) football cards, one each from three different companies:

1959 Topps
1961 Fleer
1964 Philadelphia

I thought he could use one more, so I created this 1968 Topps-style.

You can see many more of my custom baseball and football card creations at

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rum cocktails - El Ritual

When it comes to rum cocktails, most people who like the occasional umbrella in their drink have tried a Cuban Mojito, a Strawberry Daiquiri or a Pina Colada, but how many people have tried Venezuela's wild and wonderful rum concoction El Ritual?

Closer to a Tequila slammer than a true cocktail El Ritual, as its name suggests, is not about mixing interesting flavours in a glass, but creating an

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Venezuelan Rum - Ho Ho Ho!

Sorry for not posting for a while but I was travelling in Venezuela for work. I'm currently researching material for an update to the "Bradt Guide to Venezuela", a travel guide in English which will come out next year.It's a lot of work but I'm loving the opportunity to criss-cross the country, catch up with old friends, make new friends and have some adventures. I'm hoping this impressive shelf