Wednesday, March 26, 2008

#323 Hank Bauer

See, I told you I'd be back! I received this beauty from reader Tim in NO, who was kind enough to send me a box full of Orioles cards that I needed. I've coveted this Hank Bauer card since the day I first saw it while clicking around on The Baseball Card Project. Bauer had a classic, weathered face to match his gruff bulldog persona, and yet most pictures I've seen of him showcase his wide, endearing smile. That's the case here, and it's even better because the loose strands of hair poking out from under his cap combine with the glistening forehead to make it look like he's just had a rough night out.

Hank Bauer was a regular in the Yankee outfield for eleven years, winning seven World Series in nine postseasons. His best performance came in his last Fall Classic, the 1958 showdown with the Milwaukee Braves. In that series, Bauer hit four home runs in seven games for a .710 slugging percentage. His longevity in the New York lineup is even more impressive when you consider the fact that he didn't play a full season in the majors until he was 26. Hank lost his early playing years to World War II, where he served as a U.S. Marine from 1942-1945, earning two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. His second Purple Heart came in the Battle of Okinawa, when he commanded a platoon of 64 men. Bauer was one of only six who survived, being sent home after he was hit in the thigh with shrapnel.

Hank Bauer was also the manager that took the Orioles to the promised land, bridging the gap between the strong foundation that Paul Richards built and the prolonged greatness of the Earl Weaver era. In Bauer's first year at the helm (1964), the Baby Birds gave the Yankees a run for their money, spending 92 days in first place and holding the top spot as late as September 18. Ultimately they faded just a bit, finishing two games behind New York with a then-O's record 97 wins. 1965 brought another third-place finish and 94 more wins, but 1966 would be Baltimore's year. Bolstered by the addition of slugger Frank Robinson, Bauer's charges again won 97 games. This time it was good enough to take them to the World Series, where they swept the more-heralded Dodgers in four straight games, shutting them out over the last 33 innings. Hank was named Manager of the Year for his efforts, but the glory was short-lived. After an injury-plagued O's team stumbled to a fifth-place finish in 1967 and started slow the following year, he was replaced by Earl Weaver, who'd just been added to the coaching staff at the beginning of the season. The rest, as they say, is history.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Long-Overdue Update

I'm still around! Things have been slow on the 1965 Topps front, which has obviously affected the frequency of my updates here. But I've been busy in all other aspects of my baseball card mania, at the very least. I picked up a jumbo hobby box of 2008 Topps right after its release, and was able to complete Series One. I really do love the design, as well as a couple of the more well-conceived inserts. The best of the bunch is Trading Card History, which features current players on various vintage card designs throughout history. There's an equal mix of early (1880s-1930s) tobacco and gum card designs and previous Topps designs. I was fortunate enough to pull the Hideki Okajima card patterned after the 1965 Topps set, which I couldn't resist posting here; consider him the long-lost 599th 1965 Topps card.

Speaking of 2008 Topps, I've continued to update my trade and want lists. I've gotten a lot closer to completing some pesky old sets with the help of my readers/trading partners. 1987 Topps is now my first hand-completed set, in fact! 1989 Topps may be the second; all I need is one lousy checklist. I've also added want lists for 1989 Upper Deck, 1990 Topps, 2006 Topps, and the 2008 Topps inserts I'm trying to complete - Campaign '08, 50th Anniversary All Star Rookies, and Trading Card History. The big addition to my trade list is the other 2008 inserts I've pulled - Year in Review, Own the Game, and the Mickey Mantle stuff. Ideally I'd like to get 2008 inserts in return for 2008 inserts, even-up. I'm also working my way through a box of 2008 Topps Heritage. I'm going to need a lot of help completing that one, so I'll put up a want list (and a list of my Heritage doubles) by next week.

Hopefully I'll have some new posts in the near future. I know for a fact that at least one more 1965 Topps card is headed my way, and I've gotten an email from another reader indicating that a few more might soon follow. If things reach a standstill again the way they did over the past month, I was also considering buying up some singles on eBay. I know it runs counter to the original concept of this blog, but I want to keep the content coming on a more consistent basis. Besides, if nothing else, the trade/donation concept did give me a nice little headstart in compiling this great set. If you feel strongly one way or the other about this, let me know. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

1959

1959 Topps (151): 8, 9, 10, 14, 18, 20, 24, 26, 28, 30, 34, 36, 37, 38, 45, 46, 50, 51, 55, 57, 59, 61, 62, 68, 72, 73, 76, 77, 79, 81, 86, 90, 91, 93, 95, 102, 106, 110, 111, 120, 129, 132, 134, 135, 137, 141, 149, 150, 151, 152, 160, 163, 166, 167, 168, 171, 178, 180, 185, 188, 190, 191, 197, 202, 205, 212, 291, 297, 298, 301, 305, 308, 316, 320, 335, 338, 339, 343, 350, 352, 355, 358, 360, 374, 380, 385, 387, 389, 397, 402, 419, 424, 430, 435, 443, 450, 451, 454, 460, 461, 463, 464, 467, 472, 478, 485, 489, 491, 493, 495, 497, 508, 509, 510, 512, 513, 514, 515, 522, 525, 526, 527, 528, 532, 533, 534, 536, 537, 538, 541, 542, 543, 545, 546, 547, 548, 549, 550, 554, 555, 556, 559, 560, 561, 562, 563, 564, 565, 566, 569, 570, 572