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Thursday, January 19, 2012

January Vintage Show Top 20 - #19 Dollar Box Gem

According to my self-imposed schedule, this card should have been posted yesterday, but the blog was blacked out in a stand to try to keep freedoms on the internetz. Fat lot of good that did, as the very next day the Feds shut down MegaUpload to teach all us geeks a lesson. Noone said the birth of the Information Age wasn't going to have labor pains. So now servers have been confiscated, over 9000 file share sites are still in operation and everyone who bought a subscription to MegaUpload for perfectly legitimate uses just lost their data forever and not a goddamn thing was accomplished just so the politicians running for reelection can woo back the Hollywood donors for the 2012 campaign. At least there is a Presidential campaign going on so real issues that affect every American's life will be discussed.

Ah well, fuck it. I've seen this kind of movie before (legally, not pirated) and I know all the possible endings, and every single one of them is dreadfully entertaining. Why sweat it? I'mma write a blog post about cards instead.

Once I was done with my orgy of bargain box scrounging I had nineteen cards total. BUT... I specifically had a request to do a top twenty card show series. Well, there was no choice! TO THE DOLLAR BOX!

Actually, there was no specific dollar box. The entire bargain box was littered here and there with dollar cards and there was a separate box filled with some old crummy Bowmans that were a buck a pop (2 for Yankees and Dodgers, grumble). Roger uses a system of dots on the sleeves to make it easier for him to sort through the bargain cards. A yellow dot means the card is a buck. I was being a high roller this time and only picked up one dollar card out of the non-sports pile in my initial card grubbing. There was also a little stack of cards from the '50s for a dollar each. That's where this one came from.

Ain't it purdy?? it's a 1953 Bowman card. You can tell by the design. Or rather, lack thereof. 1953 Bowman is a helluva set that I should really respect more than I do. I'm far too blinded by 1953 Topps though to really appreciate the set the way it deserves. What a kick in the ass for Bowman. They take the time, effort and expense to produce the first card set with really fantastic quality photography, and their competitor puts out a set that is worthy of hanging in the Louvre. Ok, maybe not the Louvre. It could certainly hand in MOMA though. It's like meeting a beautiful, funny, smart girl who likes the same music you do and then she introduces you to her sister Natalie. (might want to hover over that link before you click on it so you know what you're getting into) Just ain't fair, I say.

This card is well loved, but you can still make the picture out from behind all the wrinkles. And what a picture! The batter kneels, bat in hand. Two more bats at the ready, resting on his knee. He glares to his left at an unwelcome intruder into his photo shoot. Ten minutes after this picture was taken that interloper would be dead, his lifeless corpse dumped behind some trashcans in a nameless alley in the Bronx. He would later be found by a junkie who boosted his wallet to buy some smack. That junkie would get busted for puking on a cop, get sent to Rikers for a stint, find Jesus while in the joint and turn his life around. He worked as a dishwasher for a small pizza joint in Brooklyn run by an immigrant who came to America in 1932 after leaving his family an Napoli. He was eventually promoted to the kitchen and did so well, he took over as manager when the old man retired. He married a widower from Queens whose husband was killed in a tragic ferry accident and the used the money to buy the pizza place, where they worked together, the husband cooking, the wife doing the books, until his death in 1975 from a stroke. Widowed for a second time, she cashed out the parlor, moved to Jamaica and smoked grass with local reggae musicians until passing away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 92 naked on the beach with a bottle of rum in one hand and a half smoked blunt the size of Pittsburgh in the other. Yankee Stadium is also visible in the background just like 97.4% of all Vintage Bowman cards ever. Moral of the story: don't mess with people with Boston when they are getting their picture taken. They get tetchy. So who is this alleged vicious killer?

How'd you like to be bludgeoned to death by a long ball hitting fly chaser named Hoot? Muck up his photo shoot and find out! While everyone oohs and ahs over the front, the backs of 1953 Bowman is where the true genius of this set lies. A blogger recently asked what would be on a perfect card back, and this right here comes pretty close to the mark. Text is readable. Card number is on the top left and big enough to see without your glasses. Player name large and bold in a font that could be Comic Sans' great grandpappy. Bographical stats and a nice paragraph on the player. Career and 1952 year stats including fielding stats. And the true kicker: a blank line for 1953 stats! Anyone ever seen one of these with the stats written in?

I picked up two '53 Bowman cards at the show, the other was Herman Wehmeier. That card looked a lot better and I'm kind of fond of people named Herman right now, but I couldn't leave a dude name HOOT off the top 20 list, could I? Nah. Not when he's got that bat in his hand.

Now that the gov'mint is bound and determined to destroy the internet over a severely broken copyright system, the question remains: just who the hell owns the copyright on this picture? It's a 59 year old photo from a defunct company. Topps gobbled up their competition in '56, so do they own it? Does the original photographer own it? Since I scanned this particular image with this particular pattern of scuffs and creases and wrinkles, do I own it? Does no one own it? Well if by some freak legal accident I happen to own it (not bloody likely as I don't have a team of lawyers at my beck and call) I say copyleft the sucka! Go little assemblage of 0s and 1s! Fly, be free! Go out into the interwebs to find your fortune! Stay away from that area labeled 2 Girls, 1 Cup, though. You don't wanna go there. I believe in you little .JPG! Be all you can be! It's not like they can take stuff in the public domain and drag it back into copyright, can they?

Oh Goddamnit. Et tu, Supreme Court?

Here's the complete list of Top 20 posts. See if you can guess what cards are coming up!

#20 - Wantlist Fail Part 1
#19 - Dollar Box Gem
#18 - At Least He's a Hall of Famer Now
#17 - Thurman Inaction
#16 - Cocktail Hour
#15 - Kid Stuff
#14 - Clubbed Cub
#13 - Cheapest High Number I Could Find
#12 - '59, Dude!
#11 - Look at the Whistler
#10 - Heartbreaking Taunt
#9 - '54 Ford With a Beat Up Chassis
#8 - King of the Bums
#7 - Joy of a Completed Page
#5 - Oh, because this one is...
#4 - Awwww, come ON.
#3 - Admit It, You Knew This Was Coming
#2 - Wantlist Fail Part 2
#1 - Feat of Clay


Hackenbush said...

I'm intrigued!

Play at the Plate said...

I don't know what is coming next, but if the write up is anything near to this genius, I can't wait. Unfortuately, I have the image of a drunk, stoned, naked and dead 90 year old in my head. Of course in my head, she has Natalie's butt.

deal said...

one issue w/ the murder mystery. There is an anachronism. The Male reformed Junkie could only marry a WIDOWER in present day Queens. not in the gritty streets of 1975Queens which is celebrated here....

beautiful post - good luck keeping this up for 18 more cards. I think I would have gone w/ top 3.