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Monday, February 28, 2011

A $25 Ebay Gift Card Got Me ...

My sister-in-law and her husband gave me a $25 Ebay gift card as a late Christmas present.  I've been slowly making use of it.  Here is my latest purchase:

 1963 Topps #33
Total spent so far, $10.90

I did a post last year about 1960's Jewish pitchers who threw no-hitters.
Here's the part with Bo:

Some post ideas come from opening new cards, some from the day's events.   This one actually came from my picking an old book off a bookshelf in my living room.  It's a book I've had for over 30 years and I haven't read it since the 70's.

Notice anything familiar about it?  Check out the back cover.

Yes, you got it!  1972 Topps

I kid you not,  I picked this particular 1972 card because Nolan was an Angel.  It was only after I uploaded it here that I recalled his 7 no-hitters.  

Bo Belinsky threw a 2-0 ho-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles on May 5, 1962.  It was the first Angels no-hitter and the first at Dodger Stadium. It was only Bo's fourth major league start.

Belinsky started his career winning his first five games.  It was downhill from there.  He became more well known for his off the field activities than his pitching.  Below are a few shots  taken with a young Ann Margaret.  A-Rod's got nothing on Bo.  Bo knows chicks.

Blow Out the Candles Feb 28 -- Lil Stoner

Pitcher Lil Stoner was born in Bowie, Texas on this date in 1899.

Ulysses Simpson Grant Stoner was the 17th of 18th children in his family which included brothers named Benjamin Franklin Stoner, William McKinley Stoner, Theodore Roosevelt Stoner and Washington Irving Stoner.  He got the name "Lil" from younger bother Ted who had trouble pronouncing Ulysses. 

Another nickname, the "Bowie Baker" came as a result of a job he took as a sixteen year old at a Fort Worth bakery.

1928 Tigers signed baseball

Here are some highlights from Lil's biography on

"On June 8, 1926, Lil became a part of baseball lore. Unfortunately, he shared the stage with Babe Ruth, who received top billing. Up to this point, Stoner had never surrendered a homer to the Sultan of Swat. That afternoon during the fifth inning at Navin Field, Stoner stood on the mound, with Lou Gehrig at second base. Lil stared at baseball's prolific home run hitter and pitched to him cautiously. The count was three balls with no strikes when Ruth found a pitch to his liking. There was no exact account of where the ball left the park, but judging from Harry Bullion's story in the Detroit Press it was somewhere in deep right center field. Ruth's home run received a two-sentence mention from Bullion. The writer did not seem enamored with the clout. In fact, he waited until the eighth paragraph before mentioning it. "For length, the first ride that Ruth gave the leather doubtless established a record for Navin Field or anywhere else." Later he would describe it detail, "the ball cleared the fence with plenty to spare, skimmed along the top of parked cars on Cherry Street, landing on the asphalt pavement and a boy in pursuit of the leather caught up with it at the corner of Brooklyn Avenue." The newspapers in New York City estimated a distance of 600 to 626 feet. They all agreed that it was Ruth's longest in the big leagues."

"Before the 1928 spring training camp for the Detroit Tigers, a picture and story appeared in newspapers across the nation. It showed Lil posed alongside an orange sponge cake. It was 3 tiers high, iced in white, ornamented with green icing, lavishly decorated with paper leaves and flowers. It had 45 candles. Stoner baked it especially for a friend who was celebrating his 45th birthday. Towards the end of Stoner's major league career, his cooking ability became well known. In fact, there were those who claimed that he might not be the best pitcher in the big leagues, but no one would argue his cooking ability! His eldest daughter, Jean, claimed that during the Depression, the Stoner family always had food on the table. She remarked that her father was a nutritionist before anyone knew what nutrition was."
Aside from cooking, Stoner became accomplished at growing irises. He was considered such an expert that he was asked to travel statewide to judge irises in flower shows. His proudest botanical accomplishment was his creation of a pink iris hybrid.
While most Texans tended to be Country and Western music fans, Lil's daughter Jean Harmon says that Lil was a devoted opera fan. His interest began while he was playing in Detroit. A teammate had tickets for the opera and gave them to Lil. Stoner attended and was forever hooked. According to Jean, her father had amassed quite a collection of opera records. Caruso was his favorite.

Ulysses Simpson Grant Stoner died in Enid, Oklahoma, on June 26, 1966, following a brief illness. He sat in his hospital bed, eating a meal, listening to a ballgame on the radio. At some point, he scratched his head and died. Lil was sixty-six years old. He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Enid.
Lil Stoner had a career record of 50-58 with an ERA of 4.76 over nine major league seasons. He played with the Detroit Tigers and briefly with the Phillies and Pirates.
But when the "Bowie Baker" had all the ingredients, he produced a real delicacy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Autographed Baseball Cards A-Z -- Alou, Alou, Alou!

When I got back into collecting five or so years ago one of the things that excited me was the availability of autographed cards.  Perhaps I went a little overboard but I think I picked up some nice cards.  This will be an A-Z series of posts with varying numbers of cards.

The way I see it, if you have one of the Alou brothers you have to have all three.

2005 Topps

 2005 Topps

Felipe easily has the nicest signature.
2005 UD Past Time Signatures #FA
2003 Yankees Signature Series #PN-FA

Blow Out the Candles Feb 27

John Wockenfuss is 62 today.
1985 Donruss #549

 Johnny at a West Michigan Whitecaps game in 2009

"Problem with [John] Wockenfuss getting on base is that it takes three doubles to score him." ~ Sparky Anderson, the great Detroit manager.

Lakers Hall of Fame forward James Worthy is Celebrating the big Five 0 today.
Worthy driving on Danny Ainge, June 26, 1986
 June 5, 1989
Kareem, James and Magic

James Worthy's accomplishments

NBA Champion (1985, 1987, 1988)
All-Star (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991,1992)
NBA Finals MVP (1988)
All-NBA Third Team Selection (1990–1991)
1983 NBA All-Rookie Team
NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
NCAA Men's Basketball Champion (1982)
NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player (1982)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baseball's History Lost & Found

Have you seen the History Channel series, History's Lost & Found?  It was a show that chose an artifact from history, gave information about it and then indicated where the item was currently located.

I have a brother-in law that likes Babe Ruth so sometimes I'll e-mail him a picture or two that I find.   This was one that I chose recently and it got me thinking.  Whatever happened to the crown?

Here's the original caption for this photograph:

New York: In the Yankee clubhouse at the Polo Grounds this afternoon, George Herman "Babe" Ruth was crowned the "King of Swat," Miller Huggins placing the silver crown valued at $600 on "Babe's" worthy brow. "King Ruth" is the inscription on the crown. The crown stands more than one foot in height, its lower rim that fits over Ruth's forehead is studded with a row of 49 engraved miniature baseballs.

For $600, in 1921, you could have bought a Model-T Ford and enough gas to have driven it across the country 5 times.

So where is the crown right now?  It's not in Cooperstown.  It's in Arlington, Texas.

This is the "King Ruth" crown on display at the "Legends of the Game Baseball Museum" at Rangers Ballpark.

Do any of you history detectives (wait, that's another show), know anything more about the history of Ruth's crown?

Blow Out the Candles Feb 26

Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander was born in Elba, NE on this date in 1887.
 1992 Conlon Collection #630

"Old Pete" won 373 games, tying him for third place all-time with Christy Mathewson behind just Cy Young and Walter Johnson.

The legendary Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, AR on this date in 1932.
My wife and her Dad are big Johnny Cash fans so I've gotten to know him better by osmosis.

This is my favorite Johnny Cash song.

Johnny "Trash"

Rock and Roll pioneer Fats Domino is celebrating his 83rd birthday today.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blow Out the Candles Feb 25

Ron Santo, my favorite player, was born in Seattle, Washington on this date in 1940.  Although Ernie Banks is "Mr. Cub"(I think he copywrited it) no one personified the Cubs more than Ron Santo.  Since you've heard all you need to know following his recent passing I'll simply share a couple of my favorite non-vintage cards.
 2009 UD Goudey
This is the smiliest photo of Ron I've ever seen.  Love it!
2001 UD Decade 1970's

Negro Leagues and New York Giant Hall of Famer Monte Irvin is 92 today.
2005 Upper Deck Classic #70
Monte Irvin, Willie Mays and Henry Thompson
Monte played his last season (1956) for the Chicago Cubs

Zeppo Marx was born in New York City on this date in 1901.
 Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo and Chico
Zeppo, Harpo, Chico and Grocuho

Zeppo, the youngest of the five Marx Brothers appeared in the first five Marx Bros. films before giving up acting to become an agent.
Here are the four brothers each performing "Everyone Say's I Love You".  Zeppo is up first.

French impressionist, Pierre August Renoir was born in Limoges, France on this date in 1841.

Here are some of his works:
 These works all reside at The Art Institute of Chicago so I get to visit them from time to time.  My favorite of these is Seascape.  
 Chrysanthemums, 1881/82
Seascape, 1879
Two Sisters (On the Terrace), 1881
Young Woman Sewing, 1879
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