|1909 T205 Polar Bear tobacco, Tony Smith (Brooklyn Superbas) ($8)|
Just about everyone knows the Dodgers moved to L.A. from Brooklyn. Their shortened version of "trolley dodger" was just one of several early team nicknames, though; Superbas also showed up regularly and that's what they're called on this 1909 T205 card, which came in pouches of Polar Bear, a brand of loose tobacco. (Scans of all 208 players at the Virtual Card Collection.)
|1963 Topps #25, Al Kaline ($3)|
Top-notch career achievements and HOF enshrinement don't mandate that your cards will cost a mint. Low-grade Al Kaline cards, for example, popped up all over for small money: 1960 and 1962 Topps for $5, this 1963 for $3, 1969 and 1971 for $1, and 1973 for 50 cents. I expect to find bargains in low-grade, but this bordered on a bonanza.
|1968 Venezuelan #102, Jose Cardenal (50 cents)|
Topps added a 25-card "Venezuelan" insert set with Spanish text to their 2011 Lineage product. (Checklist at Baseballcardpedia.) They're based on 1960s cards like this Jose Cardenal, when Caracas-based publishers reprinted several sets for South American fans. Most local collectors glued their baseball treasures into albums like this one, which pulled away paper on later removal.
Card stock's pretty close to our American version, but backs look darker and those printed by C. A. Litoven include this HECHO EN VENEZUELA tag line.
I don't expect to complete a vintage Venezuelan set without hitting the lottery, but will always pay 50 cents for a single.
|1976 Shakey's Pizza West Coast Greats #12, Duke Snider (50 cents)|
L.A.-native Duke Snider always takes a nice picture; find more set info in my profile of #5, Ernie Lombardi.
|1977-84 TCMA/Galasso, Gil Hodges (50 cents)|
Check out those guns! Hodges knocked plenty of baseballs out of Ebbets Field onto Flatbush Avenue and now we know why. (See fellow Dodgers Campanella and Furillo at the 1977 TCMA/Galasso set profile.)
|1950s Exhibit card, Hank Sauer (50 cents)|
These purple-tinted 4" x 6" Exhibits come on thick, postcard-sized stock and cover both sport and non-sport celebrities. Hank Sauer wasn't the prettiest ballplayer, but slugged 288 career homers and won the 1952 NL MVP with Chicago, which is probably when this card came out.
|1970s Seahawks team issue, Jim Zorn (50 cents)|
Being a Seattle semi-native, I pick up oddball cards of former Seahawk quarterbacks. Jim Zorn couldn't win many games as Redskins head coach, but did plenty under center for my favorite team in their expansion era.
|1990 Donruss Aqueous Test #102, Spike Owen (free)|
Spike Owen's my favorite player from Seattle's other 1970s expansion team and this came to me courtesy of a trading partner. (I've used "Spike" as a collector nickname and he's the reason why.)
|1980 Laughlin 300/400/500 #29, Lou Gehrig (50 cents)|
Cool oddball card of the Iron Horse for half a dollar? Yes, please! The set itself celebrates player milestones like 300 wins, .400 average, and 500 homers. I like the choice by artist and publisher Bob Laughlin to include Lou's World Series dingers and help Lou crest the 500 milestone. (Set profile of #5, Christy Mathewson.)
This week's scans covered my favorite pick-ups of the 2011 National in Chicago, with one or two more set aside for tomorrow's vintage giveaway. Start thinking about your favorite team's best sluggers now!