Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My card collection is very ordinary.

No high-dollar, high-grade specimens meant to shock and awe, or win any ribbons at the county fair.

It's mostly vintage Mets, which by definition means it's mostly commons.

I'm happy with 7s and 8s, and will brook the occasional lower grade for a Seaver or a scarcity.

The majority of my cards are not special in any way, shape, or form.

But I'm going to crow about this one a bit...

The 1954 Dan-Dee set was distributed one card at a time in bags of Dan-Dee potato chips. The cards were unwrapped, and sat in their bags marinating in “hylo-ized” goodness.

And no, I don't have any idea what “hylo-ized” means, but it must have been very popular in the mid '50s, since the term is featured both on the bag and on the backs of the cards. Perhaps the process of hylo-ization somehow produced the “radiant energy” that is claimed on the front of the bag.

I don't know about the chips, but “radiant energy” is as good a description as any for this Gil Hodges card. It is a grease-stained, rough-edged, soft-cornered force of nature.

Gil is featured in a casual and engaging pose, his Brooklyn Dodgers' hat bisecting a lowering sky, and his Adam's apple acting as a perfectly centered focal point. The grease stains that helped earn this particular version a PSA 4 add a beautiful element of natural toning to the card, both on the obverse and reverse.

It really is an extraordinary card...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


OK, the fact that I own a PSA 9 Ed Whitson card might seem perverse at first blush.

You might think that I derive from it a shameful joy in remembering that long ago time when the Mets ruled New York. When Ed Whitson became a symbol of every boondoggle Yankees' free-agent signing, reviled in his own house and bar-fighting with his unstable manager...

Ah, good times.

But actually, I'm more interested in the card because it commemorates another Topps mini-card boondoggle.

Topps had gone down this road ten years prior, no doubt in an effort to see if it could reduce paper costs. The 1975 cards were produced in fairly large quantities and distributed in different regions (Michigan and California, primarily) in wax, cello, and rack packs.

These 1985 minis were a bit larger than their 1975 counterparts, and only 132 cards out of the 792 cards in the regular set were produced in this format. The cards were never released officially, but they have trickled into the hobby market over the years and are not hen's-teeth rare. They are cute but not cloying, and I highly recommend adding at least one to your collection if you have any affinity for the 1985 Topps set.

And Eddie Whitson? Well, from late June to September of that nightmarish 1985 season, he actually went 9-1 with a 2.27 ERA. But then came the aforementioned battle with Billy Martin, and a rough start in 1986 sealed his fate in New York. He was dealt back to the Padres, where he eventually recovered and managed to put together a few thoroughly decent valedictory seasons before he retired.