Author Archives: Shawn V

New Casey Stengel Book Brings Insight and Laughs

Casey Stengel has been gone for over 40 years but thanks to Marty Appel’s latest work, “Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character”, (Penguin Random House-March 28, 2017) we have the opportunity to visit with a baseball icon and understand him on a very personal level.

Stengel had historic success as New York Yankee Manager. Pictured w/ Mickey Mantle.

Casey Stengel

On the cover of SI. He was the first manager of the New York Mets.

It is an in-depth and enjoyable ride that takes us from 1890’s Kansas City through his glory days in New York City which paved his way to Cooperstown.

Relationships

Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel was so much more than a fine ballplayer and Hall of Fame manager. He was a successful banker, oil well investor, and speaker. We are privy to Casey when he was joyous and triumphant and we also see Casey when he was frustrated, distraught, and hurt. Our journey allows us to visit with him in the dugout, clubhouse, restaurants, hotel bars, and during transitional moments in his life. Casey and his relationships take center stage. Of special note are the New York Yankee beat writers that he called “my writers”.

Casey Stengel

With his wife, Edna. 1971

Casey Stengel was one of the most beloved and recognized man in baseball because his appeal was so broad. Advertisers were always eager to have Casey pitch their product. Men, women, children, young and old, everybody wanted to be around him. And that suited Casey just fine as he loved people and cultivating relationships. The relationships developed during his lifetime were brought to life in this book. We learn much about the man in the way he treated others. If you happened across Casey’s path, you would have a story to tell the rest of your life.

 A Baseball Lifer

“Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character” allows us to see Stengel as a man who was blessed with drive, determination, and a love for the game. Though well-known for his “Stengelese“, Marty reminds us that he should also be remembered as one of the great minds of the game. His professional career spanned from 1910 to 1965. His years as New York Yankee manager were legendary. Casey drew generation after generation to the ballpark with his baseball savvy, persona and charm.

1921 W551 Strip Card.

Casey Stengel

Statue in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It really does look like him.

There will be plenty of laughs and smiles, but you will be surprised by the broad swath of emotions that will churn as you delight in this book . Marty Appel worked for the Yankees for ten years and produced Yankee games on WPIX. It is a tremendous effort and will be available on March 28, 2017.

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Pirates & Cardinals to Play in Williamsport PA, BB&T Ballpark Aug 20

Exciting news for the City of Williamsport PA. Major League Baseball has announced the “MLB Little League Classic” to be played at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. It will be played in conjunction with the Little League World Series. Links Below.

BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

Link to USA Today article

Link to MILB.com article

 

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Searching for Dusty Baker: Completing the 1971 Topps Baseball Set

Summer of ’71

What began in the early summer of 1971 finally came to fruition on a cold March day in 2017. Baseball card collecting began when I was six. Our newspaper boy graciously offered his small collection of 1971 Topps baseball cards to me. There was about 50 cards in all. I studied them and took them to “show and tell”. I took them everywhere I went, as such, they never had a chance to be in mint condition.

1971 Topps

A few of the original 50 cards given to me.

I never worried too much about the condition of the cards I acquired for this set. Over the years, I had picked up some of  the well-known players from the 1971 Topps set as well as “lots” of 50 or 100 cards here and there. I really began to think about completing the 1971 set in the mid 2000’s when I realized I had about 2/3 of the set.

The Men in Black: 1971 Topps Baseball Set

Collecting 2/3 of this set was really just the beginning of putting this set together as I would learn. Much has been written in the collectibles universe about the 1971 Topps Baseball Set and I can tell you that it is all true. The black borders, hi numbers, seven series, short prints, all lend a dynamic to the collecting of this set that adds fun and frustration. Hence the dozen or so years to wrap up the task of completing the set.

1971 Topps

The 1971 Topps Baseball Set was recently featured in Sports Collectors Digest.

The entire project was hastened, thanks to Mrs. V. Every birthday or Christmas, Mrs. V would  contribute to the collection. Exchanging cash for cardboard went against every fiber in her body. But loves overcomes and she was a major contributor to the completion of the 1971 Topps Baseball Set.

Dusty Baker/Don Baylor rookie card number 709

Whenever you complete a set of sports cards, you never know what card will be the last one needed. For me it happened to be the Dusty Baker/Don Baylor rookie card number 709. It was a rookie card, a hi number, and a short print. I needed about 15 cards to wrap up the set so I attended the Philadelphia Sportscard and Memorabilia Show on March 4. Those reasons I mentioned above for taking a dozen years to complete this set surfaced at this convention. I had to visit about 20 dealers until I finally tucked away the last card needed.

My set would grade fair to good overall. As I was looking over the completed set, I noticed I had two Frank Johnson cards in my album.

1971 Topps

My system was flawed. These are duplicates purchased…after I already owned them.

1971 Topps

One of my pages has two Frank Johnson cards. That throws the entire album off by one. It upsets me just to type this.

His card is number 128, that would mean moving over 600 cards back one slot. Well, guess what? That extra card is staying put. Every time you glance incorrectly at one of these black border beauties, a fleck of the black border comes off.

1971 Topps

I found this card on the street. It is more brittle than a Dead Sea Scroll found in a Bedouin Cave.

I have a few 1959 Topps baseball cards…But I am certain…Mrs.V is not ready for that pursuit. That would be even older cardboard.

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