Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Milestones: Joining the 3 & 400,000 Club

As 2010 winds down to its final hours, I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year in 2011, and thank everyone for their support of The Fleer Sticker Project over the past 3 years.

The blog reached 2 milestones this month:

This month marks the 3rd Anniversary of the blog. When I decided to start the blog as a way of cataloging all the variations I had found over the years among the various Fleer sticker/patch/quiz card/iron ons/etc., I never would have thought that I'd still be posting 3 years later.

I certainly never would have imagined the amount of interest in the site, but the stat counter tripped the 400,000 mark earlier this week, which completely blows me away. It is extremely rewarding to see that there are other people who are interested in reading what I am interested in researching and writing about.

I'd like to say a sincere Thank You to everyone who follows the blog or just stops by to read a particular post about something I've covered that interests them. Seeing that people are reading the blog and posting comments is why I am still posting 3 years later even after I've covered just about every possible Fleer issue that I could possibly research.

I'd also like to thank a number of people who have contributed to the blog over the years who have helped me with researching a number of the items that I've covered, and allowed me to share that information on the blog:

Craig - for his wealth of information regarding Fleer stickers and his generous contributions of images for items that I did not have in my collection (as well as some great trades that helped me acquire many of the Fleer items that you've seen pictured!)

Steve - for his help with a number of different NFL related items that he has come across in his years of collecting and writing The Cowboys Guide (and some great trades as well!)

Dave - from the amazing The Topps Archives for help on some of the Topps sets I've covered.

Troy - for the great information he shared with me from hobby publications from the late 1960's through the late 1970's that I covered in the series of posts called The Troy Files. The information Troy provided answered a number of questions I had about some of the Fleer releases during that time period.

Randy - for sharing some of the items from his Cardinals collection to compliment some of the sets that I had covered.

Finally, I'd also like to give a huge Thanks to Paul Lukas, whose fantastic Uni Watch blog has linked to the site on so many occasions, and has helped provide incredible visibility to the blog. I really appreciate the number of times Paul has linked to something I've posted on the Uni Watch Ticker News, and the kind things that Paul has said about The Fleer Sticker Project on Uni Watch.

Thanks to everyone for 3 great years, and Best Wishes to everyone for a Happy 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Photo of Brooks Robinson in the 1971 - 1972 Orioles Alternate Orange Uniform

Thanks to this photo on ebay, we have another picture to add to the small group of shots of the Orioles in their infamous all orange uniforms from 1971 and 1972:

If you take a close look at the picture, you can see that this isn't the Orioles usual uniform from the late 60's - early 70's. The stripes on the arm are much wider, the stirrups are solid black, and there is a small white stripe running down the pants leg. This is the rarely seen all-orange uniform that only made a small handfull of appearances in 1971 and 1972.

Unfortunately the picture is black and white so you really don't get the pumpkin effect, but it is nice to see a new photo come to light showing the rare alternate uniform.

The back of the photo provides the details regarding the picture:

The date on the back of this photo from the Baltimore Sun archives indicates the photo was taken on September 16, 1971 and used in the following day's newspaper with the caption that Brooks Robinson is shown hitting a grand slam homer. The handwriting indicates that the Orioles were playing the Yankees.

Sports Illustrated in their September 27, 1971 issue confirms the opponent was the Yankees in this article written by Ron Firmrite talking about the upcoming ALCS between the Orioles and the A's and how it may end up looking like "a ladies softball game":

The SI article also included a photo, which just happens to be Brooks Robinson being greeted by Paul Blair and Frank Robinson after the grand slam pictured above:

According to, Dave Johnson was the other runner on base at the time.

This is the same photo used in Bill Henderson's MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era to show an example of the uniform:

Based on the information on the back of the photo, I went to the Baltimore Sun archives to find this article from September 17, 1971 which explains that this was the game when the Orioles unveiled the alternate uniforms, and gives a detailed description of how they look:

Even though its B&W, we can add this photo to the small collection of the Alternate Orange Uniform photos, including these two great shots from Steve's Baseball Photography Pages:

as well as a few other B&W pictures:

UPDATE: Thanks to MP34's comments on this blog and Concealed78's comments on Uni Watch, it turns out there are some additional photos of Brooks in the all Orange uniforms on the Getty Images site.

The first set of photos appear to be shot for an article about Brooks (perhaps about his involvement with the uniform through his sporting goods company) since Brooks appears to be the only person in the Stadium and the locker room. Another possibility is that they were shot for promotional purposes to promote the new uniform.

The second set of images is dated April 1972 and indicate that they are from a game between the Orioles and the Indians:

These 2 pictures from April 1972 in Cleveland appear to be shot from the same game as the 2 color pictures from Steve's Baseball Photography Pages (which also identify the pictures as being from April 1972) as well as the 3 B&W photos of Brooks, Boog (notice the railing in front of the first row of seats is consistent with the railing behind the color picture of Brooks batting), and Jim Palmer (notice the empty seats behind Palmer appear to be similar to the color picture of Brooks at 3rd).

If I had to guess at the date of this game, I would say it was played on April 22, 1972. According to, this game was played on Saturday, with Jim Palmer as the starting pitcher. Brooks Robinson hit a double in the game, which is consistent with this picture which appears to be Brooks leading off 2nd:

The attendance for the game was 2,643, which seems to be about right based on the lack of spectators in the stands.

I appreciate the comments from both readers pointing me to these pictures. Thanks for helping me add a few more pictures to the collection!

UPDATE 2/2011:

I've got a few more pictures to the all orange collection. Here is Earl Waver:

The back of the photo shows this was from the same game as the Brooks Robinson photo at the beginning of this post:

We've also got Frank Robinson, who hit career home run #501 that night:

This article that appeared the day after the Orioles debuted their new uniforms shows the mixed feelings that the players had about appearing in all orange:

UPDATE 3/2012:

Thanks to Ron, we've got 2 more pictures from the Baltimore Sun archives to add to the collection of the all Orange Orioles uniform.

We've now got a picture of Bobby Grich

as well as an individual shot of Dave NcNally in the all orange uniforms:

According to Ron, these pictures are from the 2nd game of a double header against the Red Sox at Memorial Stadium on September 28, 1971.

Thanks Ron for passing along these 2 pictures!

Also, I had come across this picture of Don Buford that I have been meaning to post:

And finally, here are better shots of the pictures of Jim Palmer and Boog Powell which originally appeared in The Sporting News that I had posted earlier:

These last 3 pictures are all from April 22, 1972 in Cleveland.

UPDATE 11/2012:

We've got 4 more pictures to add to the collection taken at the April 22, 1972 game.

Now we a picture of Davey Johnson

and 3 of Merv Rettenmund:

UPDATE 6/2017:

3 more pictures to add to the April 22, 1972 game, this time in color!

Another color picture of Brooks Robinson

and 2 color pictures of Merv Rettenmund:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dr. J Playing for the Atlanta Hawks and Other Interesting Basketball Pics fromThe Topps Vault

The Topps Vault continues to deliver some great photos. Currently up for auction is a picture of Dr. J in an Atlanta Hawks uniform:

After playing for the Virgina Squires in the ABA in 1971, Julius Erving was eligible for the NBA draft in 1972 (as that is when his college class would have graduated and he would have been considered eligble by NBA rules at the time). He was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks (where he would have teamed up with Kareem Abdul-Jabar), but instead signed with the Atlanta Hawks (where he was teamed with Pete Maravich). Dr. J attended the Hawks preseason camp and played 3 exhibition games before having to return to the Virgina Squires due to a legal injunction. Since he was only on the Hawks a short time, there are not many photos of him on the Hawks which is why this Topps photo is such a great shot.

Fortunately for the ABA, Erving was forced to return to the league were he became a superstar and ultimately helped bring about the ABA-NBA merger. Had Dr. J been allowed to go to the NBA, its interesting to wonder whether the merger ever would have happened, or if the ABA would have simply faded away without the attention that he brought to the league.

Speaking of the Squires, here is a picture of Dr. J on the Squires with their pinstriped warmup pants:

While on the Squires in 1972, Dr. J played with The Iceman George Gervin

before Gervin joined the Spurs

While we are taking a look at some old ABA photos, it doesn't get any more '70s than this:

James Silas

While the ABA had style and flash, the NBA was seen as the more boring league:

This shot of Keith Erickson of the Lakers looks like he's practicing in his undershirt and boxers. I guess Keith didn't get the memo about picture day.

One of the interesting things about looking through the Basketball photos is that very few seem to be actually taken on a basketball court. Perhaps it was due to the lighting, but it looks like the Topps photographers would simply have guys pose in a basement

Baily Howell

or in a hallway

Norman Van Lier

or go outside

Skeeter Swift

I especially like this picture of Cazzie Russell dribbling on the grass:

To wrap up today's look at some great photos that have been hidden in the Topps Vault, here is a picture of The Logo Jerry West actually on a court, but against a white backdrop:

Keep these great pictures coming Topps!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amazing Baltimore Orioles Items from The Topps Vault

In looking through the negatives that The Topps Vault currently has up for auction, I came across a number of great one of a kind Orioles items, including the negative for Cal Ripken's Topps Traded Rookie card:

This is a great photograph which looks so sharp when compared to the image produced on the card:

Its interesting to note that it looks like they airbrushed out the white line from the coaches box right under his arm for some reason. The card looks very washed out when compared to the original negative.

Also up for auction is an alternative unused shot of Brooks and Frank Robinson from 1966 that was from the same shoot as the 1967 "The Champs" card and the 1968 "Bird Belters" card:

Speaking of Brooks, there are a number of negatives up for auction from some of Brooks' cards, including his 1961 All Star card

his 1964 card

and his 1970 card:

Finally, Topps is also auctioning off the Jim Palmer negative from his 1977 League Leader card

which has also been used on some recent cards as well, such as this 2009 Topps Legends of the Game:

I really enjoy looking at the negatives that Topps continues to offer from their archives, as the images that were selected for cards show much more detail than what was reproduced on the card, and the unused images are fun to look at as they provide an alternative view of many familiar cards.