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Friday, December 24, 2010

Months-old Garage Sale Finds

This isn't so much a holiday post, but one where I recall when it was a bit warmer out, in early September.

This is a post that I've been waiting for an opportunity to do since then, that's when I stood out at a neighborhood garage sale and thumbed through stacks and stacks of cards on the unusually hot and sunny afternoon. I'm surprised that I didn't get heat stroke. Given the recent cold we've had here, I'm surprised anyone could ever get heat stroke.

Anyway, as you might guess from the cards up top, this post was triggered by the selection of Paul Blair a couple days ago. I was able to do his post on his playing days because of this neighborhood garage sale and my find of his 1977 Topps card, the first one of him as a Yankee.

The card back has him as a solid Oriole, with stats from 1964 through 1976. The cartoon is kind of interesting, but I'm not sure if it was cartoon-worthy. According to the cartoon, a player named Moses Solomon hit 49 homers at Hutchinson, Southwestern League in 1923.

I just added that stat to the Southwestern League Wikipedia page. Baseball Reference doesn't go back that far to have a listing for Solomon.

When I look through these stacks, I don't have a list of CMC players, just my vague memory. I remember seeing the Blair card and vaguely remembering he was in the set. I picked it up, just in case he was.
Most of the ones I catch that way are the obvious ones. In this setting, there was this Frank Thomas. There are obviously a lot of Frank Thomas cards out there, but this one struck me. It's a 2004 Bazooka card. It also explains why they call Thomas The Big Hurt. He hurts baseballs.

Another obvious one was Denny Neagle. I covered Neagle back in June, topping the entry with his mention in the Mitchell Report. But his 1991 Leaf card was long before that report.

He was seen as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, according to the Leaf card back. He's in the CMC set as a member of Visalia. Leaf wrote that he had a "sensational season" that year, going 20-3 between there and AA Orlando. He was the first minor leaguer in four years to amass 20 wins.
A teammate of Neagle's at Visalia was another top prospect, Pat Mahomes. Here he is on his 1992 Upper Deck Diamond Debut card. Upper Deck even called him a "hotshot pitcher," noting how he was left alone while other pitchers got the press.

He pitched two consecutive 100-inning seasons going into 1992, Upper Deck wrote. He struck out 16 in a game and was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Year for 1991.

Tim Salmon and Cal Eldred I new were in the set, too. Both had their share of cards. What struck me about these two were that they were Topps Finest. I remember back in the day when Finest came out and I marveled that they were really cool, but also way out of my young price range. So I don't think I ever got any. Now I have two, Tim Salmon and Cal Eldred.

Eldred I covered back in February, but he is also on my list for players to redo. I have yet to cover Salmon. The card backs are pretty basic. Eldred's 1993 Finest back has a year of stats and his career totals, along with a photo and his pedigree information. Salmon's 1994 Finest entry has the same info, but adds his "Finest Moment:" That came in his last at-bat for 1993, setting the team record for home runs when he "rocked a grand slam."

These last couple players I pulled were actually team checklist cards from 1977 and 1978 with the operative players being Jim Essian and Johnny Grubb.

Essian is here on the White Sox card. I have yet to cover Essian, but I did reference him in his trainer Brian McCann's post and the post on our trip to Reading, Pa., to see the Phillies back in May. The team photos don't seem to be in any order, or not an obvious order. And I didn't feel like examining the photos close enough to confirm that Essian, or Grubb, actually were in them. But they're on the checklists on the back and that's enough for me.

It seems fitting that I have two Grubb cards on team cards, because he is on a three-coach card in the CMC set. I covered Grubb back in May. Here he is on these cards with the Padres for 1977 and the Indians for 1978.

There were several team cards in the stacks when I was looking. I turned the cards over to see if there were any players I recognized. I thought there might be a hidden CMC player on the three team cards I picked up, but I ran the names and there weren't.

Only the Indians card was checked, by the way. Whoever originally had the card also had Larry Anderson, Cardell Camper and Dave Oliver. They were apparently missing, among others, the key player on the team, future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley.


  1. What is the number on the back of that 1977 Paul Blair (as a Yankee?) I've never seen that before. Indeed, card 313 in the 1977 Topps set is Paul Blair as an Oriole. See here:

  2. Never mind. I found it. It was part of a Topps Burger King set issued later in the year. It should be card #21.

  3. I was wondering about that. The photo didn't seem altered. But the card also makes no mention that it is anything other than a regular issue card, Burger King or otherwise. But it is card #21.