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February is Black History Month so I would be remiss if I didn't do at least one post on the historic Negro Leagues. Rube Foster founded them in 1920 (see my colorful stamp commemorating that event way back in post #18) and they lasted until the early 1960s. Some of the greatest players to never wear a MLB uniform participated in the Negro Leagues. I am always excited to add a card of a Negro League Hall of Famer because there just aren't that many affordable cards of them available. Some players went on to have lucrative MLB careers such as Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Roy Campanella, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson. Others such as Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige were denied, although Paige made it to the MLB in the twilight of his career. Today I'm posting nine cards from my collection of Negro Leaguers whose names you may not be familiar with but each made a significant impact.

1986 Negro League Fritsch #71 Willie Wells (Nicknamed "El Diablo" or "The Devil" because of his acrobatic play at shortstop, Wells was a slick fielding speedster with power who ranks among the all-time Negro League leaders in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases. He was nine years into his career when the Negro Leagues held their first All-star game and Wells would go on to play in eight of them. I currently have just three Beckett recognized cards of Willie. This one is from Larry Fritsch's set of Negro Leaguers. The set is actually based on a 1984 set produced by Decathlon Corporation.)
1990 Negro League Stars #4 Biz Mackey (Mackey had a nearly 30 year career primarily as a catcher and would go on to mentor Roy Campanella. Many of his contemporaries consider him the greatest Negro Leagues catcher of all-time ranking him higher than Campanella and the great Josh Gibson. He rarely hit below .300 in any of his seasons. I have two Beckett recognized cards of James "Biz" Mackey. This card is from a set paying tribute to the Negro League players and featuring water color portraits, painted by Mark Chiarello.)
2001 Fleer Tradition Stitches in Time #ST7 Leon Day (Day was considered the best Negro Leagues pitcher of all-time besting Satchel Paige. He pitched in a record seven Negro League All-star games and was also a decent infielder and outfielder. I showed you my autographed card of Day back in post #310 and told you the story behind it. I currently own seven different Beckett recognized cards of Leon. This one is from Fleer Tradition's 2001 insert set featuring Negro League greats.)

2001 Greats of the Game #119 Buck O'Neil (You may recognized Buck O'Neil from the Ken Burn's documentary on baseball (highly recommended). Although Buck would fall short of induction into the Hall of Fame, he did serve for 19 years on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee and played an important role in the induction of six Negro league players to the Hall and in 2006 gave the induction speech at the Hall for 17 inducted Negro League players and executives. He also played a major role in establishing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He holds the distinction of being the first African American man to coach in the Major Leagues and to date is the oldest person to make a plate appearance in a professional baseball game when he appeared in the Northern League All-star game at the age of 94. I have five Beckett recognized cards of Buck including this one.)
2001 Topps Chrome What Could Have Been #WCB7 William Johnson (An outstanding fielder and clutch hitter, Judy Johnson was considered the best third baseman of his era in the Negro Leagues. I have nine Beckett recognized cards of Judy including this one from Topps' 2001 Chrome insert set featuring Negro League greats who never got to play in the Majors.)
2005 Helmar Brewing Company #32 Pete Hill (Hill played most of his career prior to the establishment of the Negro Leagues and was known as a premier center fielder with a rocket arm and excellent glove. A pioneer of the game, he was known to rattle opposing players with his constant motion on the basepaths. I don't have any Beckett recognized cards of Mr. Hill but I do own this beauty that was hand painted and produced by the Helmar Brewing Company from a set that featured famous athletes and was inserted into a bag of potato chips.)

2012 Panini Cooperstown #170 Oscar Charleston SP (Blessed with natural ability, Charleston was a five-tool player with exceptional speed and power and cannon of a throwing arm. He normally batted well over .300, batting as high as .451 in 1925. I have ten Beckett recognized cards of Oscar. This one is a short print from Panini's 2012 Cooperstown set.)
2013 Panini Cooperstown Colgan's Chips #114 Effa Manley (Effa Manley, to date is the only female member of the Hall of Fame. A committed businesswoman, Effa, owner of the Newark Eagles, gained recognition for her work in civil rights, creating respect for the Negro Leagues, handling her team's contracts, traveling schedules and promotions and played a major role in promoting the legitimacy of the Negro Leagues. I have two Beckett recognized cards of her one being this Colgan's Chip insert from Panini.)
2013 Panini Cooperstown International Play #10 Cristobal Torriente (Torriente starred as a player in Cuba prior to the formation of the Negro Leagues but transitioned over and became known as a powerful, stocky centerfielder who possessed all of the traditional five tools. He had tremendous extra-base power and ranks in the all-time Negro League leaders in doubles, triples, slugging percentage, total bases and RBI. I have four Beckett recognized cards of Cristobal. This is an insert from Panini.)
Another current player that I collect is Miguel Cabrera. He won a World Championship with the Marlins in his rookie season and has gone on to become an 11-time All-star, four-time Batting Champion, 7-time Silver Slugger, two-time MVP and of course the last player to win the prestigious Triple Crown. His career is winding down now but I currently own 982 unique Beckett recognized cards of "Miggy". Just 18 cards away from entry into my 1000 Card Club. Here are nine from my collection.

2001 Bowman Heritage #349 Miguel Cabrera SP (Unlike Bowman's 2001 base and Chrome cards of Miggy, this short print actually depicts him instead of Denny Bautista.)
2001 Royal Rookies Futures #16 Miguel Cabrera (He looks to be about 14 years-old on this card.)
2010 Topps Copper #623 Miguel Cabrera

2013 Topps Mini Gold #374 Miguel Cabrera
2015 Topps Allen and Ginter Relics #FSRAMCA Miguel Cabrera A
2015 Topps Opening Day Relics #ODRMC Miguel Cabrera

2016 Topps Chrome Holiday Mega Box All Star Stitches #ASRCMC Miguel Cabrera
2016 Topps Update Pink #US217 J.D. Martinez/Miguel Cabrera
(Pictured with former teammate and fellow 2015 Silver Slugger Award Winner J.D. Martinez.)
2019 Bowman Chrome Orange Refractors #23 Miguel Cabrera
In 2002 I took my card collecting to the next level when I discovered that I could trade cards with other collectors over the internet. I stumbled across a list of collectors online and started emailing them looking for trades and was quite successful so I joined an online trading group called Trading Bases and one of the prerequisites was that I had to have my own website. I bought a book titled The Complete Idiot's Guide to HTML and set about designing and creating my own website. I wanted it to be more than just a list of cards so I made individual Gallery pages of each player that I collect to display some of my favorite cards and added links to their resumes, stats and cards that I have available for trade of each player. I also devised a formula to come up with my own list of the Greatest Players of All-Time and put the top 100 on my site with links to pages of each player. By the way, the top 10 are pictured in my signature. You can also check my formula as there is a link to that. It's not perfect but it is fun and usually takes a player at least 10 years of excellence to crack the top 100. I added a page for links and another for information about me and my site and I have a Records page where I list the top 25 players in several key lifetime statistics along with links to all of their pages. You can literally spend hours bouncing around on my website and it is one of my proudest accomplishments. Here are nine cards from my collection that were all released in that year.

2002 Finest X-Fractors Protectors #62 Nomar Garciaparra
2002 Fleer Box Score All-Star Lineup Game Used #1 Derek Jeter Bat/Nomar Garciaparra Bat/Alex Rodriguez Jsy (I thought I'd picked up a card with three future Hall of Fame shortstops on it when I bought this. Whoops.)
2002 Fleer Platinum Clubhouse Memorabilia Combos #30 Alex Rodriguez Base-Jsy/300

2002 Greats of the Game Autographs #JB Johnny Bench
2002 Topps Archives Reserve Bat Relics #TRRCYB Carl Yastrzemski 67 B
2002 Topps Coaches Collection Relics #CCBW Billy Williams Jsy (This is another card that I acquired from my Red Sox trading partner in Scotland.)

2002 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection #CCGM Greg Maddux Jsy
2002 Ultra Hitting Machines Game Bat #4 Barry Bonds
2002 Upper Deck Peoples Choice Game Jersey Gold #PJKG Ken Griffey Jr.
A 15-time All-star with eight Batting Championships and five Gold Glove Awards to his credit, Tony Gwynn came out of San Diego State University and went to work with the cross-town Padres where he spent his entire career. after the first of his 20 seasons he never batted below .309 again. Tony died too soon at the age of 54 due to salivary gland cancer. A member of my 1000 card club, I currently have 1623 different Beckett recognized cards of him in my collection. Here are nine of my favorites.

1983 Fleer #360 Tony Gwynn RC
1995 Donruss Top of the Order #341 Tony Gwynn R
1998 Revolution Major League Icons #10 Tony Gwynn

1999 Finest Franchise Records Refractors #FR10 Tony Gwynn
1999 Finest Prominent Figures #PF21 Tony Gwynn BAT
2002 Diamond Kings Silver Foil #145 Tony Gwynn

2002 Stadium Club All-Star Relics #SCASTG Tony Gwynn Jsy G4
2002 Topps 206 Relics #TGW Tony Gwynn Jsy B2
2003 Donruss Classics Legendary Lumberjacks #23 Tony Gwynn/400
zeprock Wrote:A 15-time All-star with eight Batting Championships and five Gold Glove Awards to his credit, Tony Gwynn came out of San Diego State University and went to work with the cross-town Padres where he spent his entire career. after the first of his 20 seasons he never batted below .309 again. Tony died too soon at the age of 54 due to salivary gland cancer. A member of my 1000 card club, I currently have 1623 different Beckett recognized cards of him in my collection. Here are nine of my favorites.

1983 Fleer #360 Tony Gwynn RC
1995 Donruss Top of the Order #341 Tony Gwynn R
1998 Revolution Major League Icons #10 Tony Gwynn

1999 Finest Franchise Records Refractors #FR10 Tony Gwynn
1999 Finest Prominent Figures #PF21 Tony Gwynn BAT
2002 Diamond Kings Silver Foil #145 Tony Gwynn

2002 Stadium Club All-Star Relics #SCASTG Tony Gwynn Jsy G4
2002 Topps 206 Relics #TGW Tony Gwynn Jsy B2
2003 Donruss Classics Legendary Lumberjacks #23 Tony Gwynn/400
I was pleased to see some green arrows next to Gwynn's RC's.
For an oddball post today I am displaying nine postcards from my collection. I don't normally collect oversize cards but I don't throw them out if I happen to acquire some. These are all postcard size but I am sizing them down somewhat to better fit them on the page.

1982 Baseball Card News Advertising Rate Card #6 Hank Aaron (Editor-publisher Allen Kaye introduced a new newspaper titled the Baseball Card News in 1982 exclusively for baseball card collectors. It was in print for several years before being purchased by Krause Publications and being turned into the Sports Collector's Digest. This is one of the cards that Mr. Kaye distributed to prospective advertisers and includes advertising rates on the reverse. Although it is postcard size, this would actually be considered and advertising rate card. More importantly to me, it's a Hank Aaron card.)
1989 Perez-Steele Celebration Postcards #9 Happy Chandler (Postcards from this 44-card set were issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. They feature the artwork of Dick Perez known primarily throughout the baseball card collecting community as the artist behind the original Donruss Diamond Kings cards. This is one of only two Beckett recognized cards I own of the former Commissioner of Baseball.)
1989 USPS Legends Stamp Cards #4 Babe Ruth/Issued July 6, 1983 (The USPS issued this four-card set in 1989 showcasing four previously issued baseball stamps of Ruth, Gehrig, Clemente and Jackie Robinson. All of the original stamps featured artwork reprinted in this set of postcards.)

1991 Legends Sports Memorabilia Postcards #12 Ted Williams (I acquired a stack of Legends Sports Memorabilia magazines just for the cards that were printed and contained within each issue. I have showed a couple of these cards already in this thread. Each magazine also came with some postcards and of course I saved them too. The artwork is very well done. This one of the Splendid Splinter is from a 1991 issue.)
1992 Legends Sports Memorabilia Postcards #9 Johnny Bench (This is from a 1992 issue of Legends Sports Memorabilia magazine.)
2000 Hall of Fame Postcards #NNO Ty Cobb (I picked up a bunch of these at the Hall of Fame when I visited on HOF weekend in 2002.)

2000 Stan "The Man" Inc. Complimentary Card #NNO Stan Musial (I mailed a couple of cards to Stan Musial back in the early 2000s and the cards were returned unsigned but included was this postcard size card which I would assume is signed in autopen. Not what I wanted but still a pretty cool piece.)
2000 USPS Legends of Baseball Postcards #1 Roberto Clemente
(This 20-card postcard set, featuring beautiful artwork, was also issued by the USPS along with the 20 postage stamps celebrating some of the greatest players to play the game.
2001 Hall of Fame Postcards 19th Century Hall of Famers #7 Mike King Kelly
(I bought a complete set of these postcards during my same trip to the Hall of Fame in 2002. The Hall didn't have any standard-size cards for sale and I wanted to pick up some cards as a keepsake from my trip. It was my third trip to the Hall but my first without a wife saying, "Can we go already?" I like this set that features ten very early pioneers of the game.)
The next player that I collect to come up on the randomizer is Wade Boggs. I was a huge fan of his when he came up with the Red Sox. A 12-time all-star, Wade was a five-time Batting Champion within his first six full seasons and he picked up eight Silver Slugger Awards and a couple of Gold Gloves. I was happy to see him win a World Championship ring but hated that he did it with the Yankees. Who can forget him riding around on the back of a horse after the Yanks won it in '96? I currently have 1153 unique Beckett recognized cards of "The Chicken Man" in my collection. Here are nine of them.

1983 Fleer #179 Wade Boggs RC
1996 Leaf Preferred Press Proofs #67 Wade Boggs
2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th Splendid Splinters Game Bat #1 Wade Boggs

2002 Fleer Fall Classics October Legends Game Used #WB Wade Boggs Jsy
2002 Fleer Fall Classics Pennant Chase Game Used #WB Wade Boggs Jsy
2002 Greats of the Game Through the Years Level 1 #3 Wade Boggs

2005 Absolute Memorabilia Team Quads Swatch Single #TQ27 Boston Red Sox/150 (I'm showing both sides of this card picturing Boggs with three of his teammates. This card was in my Nomar collection until it appeared Nomar was not Hallbound then I moved it into my Ramirez collection and now it has finally settled into my Boggs collection.)
2005 Donruss Greats Sox Nation Material #12 W.Boggs Away Jsy T3

2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection #291 Manny Ramirez/Jason Varitek/Josh Beckett/J.D. Drew/Jonathan Papelbon/Wade Boggs (I'm showing you both sides of this cool card too. I won this in one of only two box breaks I ever participated in. I had the Red Sox, my favorite team in that break. I always thought that it was really lazy of Upper Deck to picture Drew in a Dodgers uni and Beckett in a Marlins uni on a Red Sox card. Boggs is the only player pictured that wasn't a member of the 2007 World Championship team. )
Moving up another year brings me to 2003. That was the year that I joined Beckett, although I had been checking things out on the website for awhile. Here are nine of my favorite cards from 2003.

2003 Fleer Fall Classics All-American Autographs 100 #HK Harmon Killebrew
2003 Fleer Fall Classics Pennant Aggression Game Used #CY Carl Yastrzemski Jsy
2003 Fleer Splendid Splinters Knothole Gang Patch #AR Alex Rodriguez (I bought this along with a couple other game-used at a card show from a box marked 3 for $10.)

2003 Leaf Limited TNT #128 Greg Maddux A Bat-Jsy
2003 SP Legendary Cuts Historic Lumber Green #CY C.Yastrzemski w/Bat/125
2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Archives Autographs #WS Warren Spahn D

2003 Topps Record Breakers Relics #NRA Nolan Ryan Uni C2
2003 Upper Deck Lineup Time Jerseys #IS Ichiro Suzuki
2003 Upper Deck MVP Total Bases #BB Barry Bonds
(I pulled this from a pack in 2003.)
I had a hard time feeling like a relief pitcher was worthy of the Hall of Fame and then came Mariano Rivera. He pitched 1283.2 innings over his career which translates to about 143 full games, less than one full season but he had a defined role and he was spectacular at it totaling more saves than any other pitcher in history. Should that be worthy of HOF status? Apparently. Should it be worthy of unanimously being voted into the Hall? I don't think so. That being said, I still have respect for Mariano and now think he deserves to be in the Hall. He was a 13-time All-star and 6-time Fireman of the Year with five World Championships to his credit. As of this posting, I have 636 different Beckett recognized cards of Mo including these nine.

1993 Bowman #327 Mariano Rivera
1995 Excel #102 Mariano Rivera
2002 Topps Heritage #375 Mariano Rivera SP (A short print from Topps Heritage.)

2009 SPx Winning Materials #WMMR Mariano Rivera
2013 Pinnacle Clear Vision Pitching Win #10 Mariano Rivera
2013 Topps Update #US313B Mariano Rivera SP/Running (Another short print variation.)

2014 Topps Manufactured Commemorative Team Logo Patch #CP9 Mariano Rivera
2014 Topps Tribute Green #64 Mariano Rivera (I got this from kerryandbeth.)
2014 Topps Yellow #42 Mariano Rivera

I sure appreciate seeing the Rivera cards.