Wednesday, December 4, 2019

New To the Neighborhood: Mister Rogers RetroCards


My wonderful and protected world of the 1970s was made for me by a good family, a collection of quality friends and an involved neighborhood. The television we watched reflected this world and Mister Rogers Neighborhood was the perfect complement.

Unlike the sugar-rush pace of cartoons and children's programming today, Mister Rogers was calm, collected, mellow, and thought provoking. The goal of his program was to give an expression of care every day to each child to help him realize that he is unique. He said to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee in 1969, “If we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable we will have done a great service for mental health.”

2018’s documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and the 2019’s feature film “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks shows his lasting influence. RetroCards now offers a unique set showing the highlights of his show including the main cast and characters:

The 20-card set includes: Mister Rogers, Mr. McFeely, Lady Aberlain, Handyman Negri, Chef Brockett, Officer Cleamons, Bob Troll, plus the Land of Make Believe characters X The Owl, Henrietta Pussycat, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, and of course, the Trolly. Guest appearances by Big Bird from Sesame Street and Captain Kangaroo are also featured. Coming soon!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Facemasks Part II: Baseball Gets In the Act

In this second entry on facemasks, RetroCards looks at the world of baseball. Broken jaws are not uncommon in that sport and one early attempt at adding a facemask to a baseball helmet can be traced to Dave Parker (photos 1-4) in 1978 when he first used a hockey mask he purchased at a sporting goods store to protect a broken jaw. An intimidating player without the mask, he probably intimidating opposing pitchers with this unique choice until he switched to a football facemask which afforded him better vision.

The same goes for Ellis Valintine of the Expos (photos 5-6), where he wore a cut-in-half football facemask after a March 1980 injury to his cheekbone where it was shattered in 6 places. In another instance, Gary Roenicke used a football facemask after being hit in the mouth with a fastball that caused 25 stitches. He went to the Baltimore Colts locker room and used quarterback Bert Jones' mask, screwing it onto his batting helmet (photo 9). He had a more stylized one made eventually (photo 10). Meanwhile, photo 8 shows an unidentified minor leaguer using a rather large cage to protect the throat area. Photo 7 shows current player Giancarlo Stanton with a sensible and customized mask to protect his matinee idol face. Will these become standard equipment in major league baseball? Probably.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Facemasks: A Pictorial History of Oddities

  1. John Williams, Los Angeles Rams, 1978
  2. Fred Williamson, Kansas City Chiefs, 1968
  3. Keith Fahnhorst, San Fransisco 49ers, 1978
  4. Dan Dierdorf, St. Louis Cardinals, 1977
  5. Scott Player, Cleveland Browns, 2007
  6. Norm Thompson, St. Louis Cardinals, 1976
  7. Leonard Thompson, Detroit Lions, 1983
  8. Pat Hughes, New Orleans Saints, 1978
  9. Charlie Smith, Philadelphia Eagles, 1981
10. Toni Fritsche, Houston Gamblers, 1984
11. Eddie LeBaron, Washington Redskins, 1958
12. Y.A. Tittle, San Francisco 49ers, 1954
13. Doug Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1978
14. Ray Brown, Atlanta Falcons, 1974
15. Ollie Matson, Los Angeles Rams, 1959

Football facemasks have always fascinated me, particularly unusual ones. The evolution of the facemask had very humble beginnings. Starting in the leather helmet days, some facemasks were concocted on a one or two-game basis to protect a broken nose or some other facial injury. Early photos show facemasks being used as early as the 1940s. By the mid 1950s, facemasks were common and by 1960, nearly everyone used one.

The 1950s saw Riddle introducing the clear lucite facemask show above by Y.A. Tittle #12. Though they gave better vision, they could shatter so, they were discontinued. The handle you see on Y.A.'s helmet was for extra stability of the facemask but Y.A. commented in an interview that it was easier for the defense to pull him down by that handle!

Some of the above (#'s 4, 7, 9 13) were custom made to protect players with broken jaws while some were designed or modified to give additional protection. Some are just plain strange or totally unique with no apparent reason for the design.

Today, there are specs and rules for the types of helmets and facemasks that are allowed in the NFL, most of which are to maintain safety and protection.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Happy Halloween!

One of the scariest managers of all-time: Ned Yost. According to my stats, he actually had his own loss column! Best 3-D card I've ever seen!

Monday, October 28, 2019

1965 Philadelphia Football Series 6


RetroCards returns with a final series for the 1965 Philadelphia Football card set. To date, there have been two team sets created (Packers & Cowboys) and 5 comprehensive series that include NFL players who didn't have a card in the original set plus cards of AFL stars in this great design. To meet popular demand, a 6th series was added with even more NFL & AFL stars and semi-stars!

Series six includes: Red Phillips, Billy Kilmer, Bill Triplett, Palmer Pyle, Rip Hawkins, Paul Wiggin, Bobby Thompson, Homer Jones, Mike Henry, Richie Petitbon, Gary Cuozzo, Ernie Barnes, Pete Jaquess, Dick Westmorehead, Barry O'Dell, Art Powell, Bob Talimini, Paul Maguire, Billy Cannon, J.D. Garrett, Jacky Lee, plus 3 checklists covering 192 new RetroCards in the sytle of 1965 Philadelphia Gum football card! Order here!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Wonder Bread Cowboys of 1976

Many of the charming elements of card collecting have sadly gone away; getting a piece of gum in a pack whose flavor lasted about 15 seconds, cutting cards out of the back of a Twinkies box, trading cards with your buddies, or reaching deep into the plastic bag of a new loaf of bread to retrieve a card.

Those days seem to be a distant memory so RetroCards is offering some Wonder Bread cards minus the carbs. The 1976 Football Wonder Bread set was a favorite and one of three years (1974-1976) that Wonder distributed and all-NFL set.

This set includes: Ron Johnson, Preston Pearson, Golden Richards, Billy Joe Dupree, Drew Pearson, John Fitzgerald, Robert Newhouse, Bruce Walton, Roger Staubach, Harvey Martin, Ed Jones, Charlie Waters, Greg Schaum, Thomas Henderson, Randy Hughes, D.D. Lewis, Randy White, Mark Washington. Coming soon!

Friday, October 11, 2019

1962 Colt .45s: Inaugural Season

As one of two expansion teams in 1962, the Houston Colt .45s took the field on April 10, 1962 beating the Chicago Cubs 11–2. This was the start of a three game sweep of the Cubs. Eventually the league caught up with them and though they finished 36½ behind the San Francisco Giants, they finished 6 games ahead of the Cubs and 24 games better than the expansion Mets.

They would only keep their politically incorrect name for three seasons, trading "Colt .45s" for the "Astros" to coincide with the opening of the Houston Astrodome in 1965.

Though this first team was well represented in the regular baseball set in 1962, a few players were missed. This RetroCard set includes: Pidge Browne, George Brunet, Jim Busby, Jim Campbell, Dick Drott, Ernie Fazio, J.C. Hartman, Jim Umbright, George Williams, plus a Colts Stadium card and a commemorative Inaugural Season card. Coming soon!