Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sports Impressions Plates

Sorry about the lack of posts recently, I'm going to try to return to at least twice weekly updates if at all possible. Today's posts includes two plates produced by Sports Impressions, which are know for making sports related plates and figurines.

This first plate is full-sized, and titled "Born to Steal." It features a nice collage of Rickey pictures, as well as a great collection of time lapse drawings featuring Rickey stealing a base with his uniform changing over time.

The plate is part of the "Sports Superstar Collector Plate Series," with Rickey being the All-Time Stolen Base Champ. The plate was produced in 1990 and is a limited edition of 1990, with mine being number 705. The drawings were done by Ron Lewis, who is known for these type of collage drawings.

This next Sports Impressions plate is a mini-plate, only about 5" across. Similar to the larger plate, this one is called "Born to Run." I apologize for the bad picture, but the scanner didn't like it, so this is the best I could do.

This small plate was also produced in 1990 and is part of the same collectors series as the larger one, but is not serial numbered. This plate was designed by Terrence Fogarty, but in a similar style to the larger one, and most other Sports Impressions plates.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rickey Henderson Full-Size Wall Posters

Today's post will be light on the text, and heavy on the photos, as it contains picture of all the the Rickey posters that I have. The pictures are not always the best, but thanks to a set of three juggling balls, and one hacky-sack, you should at least be able to get the general idea.

The first poster, titled "119 and Counting" was produced by Mizuno in 1982, and is one of my favorites. It's actually a smaller poster, and measures only about 18" x 24". Rickey had an endorsement deal with Mizuno in his early years, and they really produced some great posters and advertisements.

This poster was actually signed by Rickey just next to his right knee in blue ball point pen (this was before the days of the Sharpie), so it's unfortunately not very easy to read. But, since it is such an early signature, you can actually make out all of the letters of his name!

I'm not exactly sure the date the next poster was made (it's between 1986-1988), but it was produced by Sports Illustrated and Marketcom, and I actually received it as a birthday present from a classmate as a kid. I remember it was my favorite present that year!

This next poster was produced by Starline in 1988 and is titled "Run." The one I have has actually never been opened, so I pulled the picture off of a website online.

Most of my posters are from 1990-1991, when Rickey was at the peak of his career, and so was my collection. This first poster from 1990 was produced by Starline and is number 17 in their "Star Series."

The Costacos Brothers produced this next poster in 1990, titled "The Man of Steal," which unfortunately has seen better days. When I was younger my house lacked air conditioning, and I usually left my window open in my bedroom. Well, a gust of wind caught this poster just right one day, and ripped it right off the wall!

On May 1, 1991, Rickey broke the all-time stolen base record. This next poster was a supplement inside the May 2, 1991 San Jose Mercury News. It's also a smaller poster, measuring about 14" x 24". It gives all sorts of details about his 939th steal, such as the fact that it was 1:52pm on a 1-0 count when he stole the base and was called safe by 3rd base umpire Gary Cederstrom.

Later in 1991, Starline released a poster titled "All-Time Stolen Base Leader."

The Costacos Brothers 1991 release was a little more creative, and their "The Man of Steal" poster is still one of my favorites. They make sure to give special thanks at the bottom to "Loomis Armored, Inc., and Bill Hatch Sporting Goods."

While attending an A's game later on in 1991, I received the following Mizuno poster. I like the fact that they titled it "939 and Counting," as a follow up to their "119 and Counting" poster from almost 20 years prior! It was an awesome surprise, as it was an unannounced giveaway, and was just sheer luck that I happened to be there.

Not surprisingly, Rickey made the All-Star team in 1991, and is featured here with a few others from that game in Toronto.

I went a few years before picking up another Rickey poster, but then found this Costacos Brothers poster from 1999. They once again utilize the "Man of Steal" moniker, with the New York skyline in the background (which I only just now noticed prominently features the Twin Towers).

This final poster isn't really a Rickey poster at all, but a poster produced by Beckett showcasing all of their covers over the years, three of which have featured Rickey.

Rickey received his first Beckett cover in December 1989, which he shared with a picture of his rookie card.

His next cover came less than a year later, in September 1990. I was never really a fan of this cover, as I really disliked the yellow border. Looking at the Beckett poster now, this was the only time during that cover design that they included a border, so they must not have liked it either!

Rickey's final cover came in April 1991, right before he was to break Lou Brock's all-time record. The card with Brock on the front of the magazine was later re-issued with the April 1st dated added above the 939.

I know that there are probably quite a few other Rickey posters out there, but these are the ones that I grew up with, totally covering the walls of my room. It was fun relieving the "walls" of my youth, and I hope everyone else enjoyed it to!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Few Commemorative Cachets

It seems that every time Rickey did anything, there was a commemorative postal cachet released for the event. I've obtained quite a few of these over the years, with a selection of them included below.

This first cachet was produced by Z Silk cachet's and was issued on September 25, 1988 and cancelled in New York, NY. The picture of Rickey is a small swatch of silk that has been attached to the envelope. Of all the different types of cachets, I believe that these are my favorite. This particular cachet was issued to commemorate Rickey's 88th stolen base, breaking the Yankees single season record, which he had previously set in 1986.

The second cachet was issued on July 10, 1990 to commemorate the Rickey being voted the starting left fielder for the 1990 All-Star game in Chicago. It is a "Sportsmarks Limited Edition Cover" and is numbered 544 of 1,000. Unlike the Z Silk cachets, the picture on the Sportsmark cachets is actually printed directly onto the envelope. But, I do like the special (and large) cancellation stamp that was created for this cachet, as opposed to the generic cancellation on the Yankees cachet above.

On October 10, 1990 Z Silk issued another Rickey cachet, this time in honor of the A's 4-game sweep of the Red Sox to win their 3rd straight American League pennant.

When Rickey tied Lou Brock's all-time record of 938 stolen bases on April 28, 1991 (at a game I was able to attend), Z Silk issued the following cachet. I was definitely one of the people in the crowd providing the standing ovation!

I have obtained two different cachets from May 1, 1991, the day when Rickey stole his 939th base, and passed Lou Brock as the All-Time stolen base leader. The first cachet is once again by Z Silk, with the second one produced by Sportsmarks (and numbered 337 of 939).

I do have a few more of these packed away somewhere, including one signed by both Rickey and Lou Brock, but those will have to wait for a later post.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Visiting Collections: Rickey's High School Yearbook

I've finally finished cataloguing all of the Rickey cards I just received, and have included a link to my new trade list at the top of the blog. If anyone is interesting in trading for cards on either my priority or overall want lists, I'd definitely like to hear from you!

Today marks the debut of a new feature which I'm going to call "Visiting Collections." While browsing around online a few weeks ago, I came across an online photo album featuring some really awesome Rickey items, including a 1983 game used bat and jersey. But, what I found really interesting, were a few pictures from his High School Yearbook.

I e-mailed the owner of the album, and Steve quickly responded and sent me a ton of pictures from what I think is a very cool piece of Rickey memorabilia. Rickey graduated in 1976 from Oakland Technical High School, and was drafted in the fourth round by the A's that same year.

Even though he was a 3-sport athlete, Rickey did at least find some time to attend his Social Studies class.

In what will come as no surprise to anyone, Rickey was voted to be in the "Best Shape," by his classmates. Even in retirement, Rickey's still probably in better shape than most active major leaguers today.

Aside from baseball, Rickey was also played football his Senior year. The picture is a little small, but Rickey is in the front row on the far right hand side.

Here's an "action shot" of Rickey "in for a rest." The captions on the pictures are really hilarious, and will be even more so when we get to the baseball pictures. Note that Rickey is wearing #35, the number he wore when he first came up with the A's.

Rickey was arguably a better football player than baseball player in high school. He was voted 1975 All City 1st Team running back and 2nd Team linebacker. Although not mentioned, Rickey was also an All-American running back his Senior year.

Just as a side note, one of my biggest pet peeves is when Rickey is spelled "Ricky." I guess I could let it slide in a high school yearbook, but there's not really an excuse once he became a major leaguer.

Since he seemed to have plenty of spare time, Rickey also played on the Varsity basketball team. He's kneeling in the front row, the third from the left.

It's finally time for Rickey's Varsity baseball pictures. In the team picture on the bottom, "Ricky" is the first person on the bottom row on the left. He also appears in the picture in the middle of the page, as he "makes a hit."

Although not featuring Rickey, the picture on the left contains the caption, "Milton Knapp gets a double-hitter," which just makes me laugh. I'm assuming that he hit a double, but we may never know.

Finally, the picture you've all been waiting for, Rickey's senior portrait! I think it's hilarious how they included the astrological signs (Rickey's a Capricorn) of the Seniors underneath their pictures. It's also interested that Rickey is noted as playing Varsity football, as well as JV and Varsity basketball, but no mention is made of baseball?

I've saved the best for last, as this picture perfectly sums up Rickey. Even in high school, Rickey loved Rickey. In case you can't read it, the caption reads, "Being cool is What Ricky Henderson practices all day."

I want to once again than Steve for sending me these great photos. I also want to let everyone know about the pretty cool blog he's started, called Broken Bat Baseball Cards. The blog only features cards depicting shattered bats, which I think is a really fun concept.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I did. If anyone else has any interesting Rickey items that they'd like to share, just let me know, as I'd definitely be interested in showcasing anything fun that comes my way.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Last Place I Expected to Find a Rickey Card

My wife and I just returned from a relaxing week long trip down the California coast. On the way down we stopped at the touristy town of Solvang, a sort of recreated Danish village, to stretch our legs and get few pastries to snack on.

On our search for a bakery, I noticed a sign for TJ's Hobbies, a baseball cards and collectibles store, which I decided to check out on the way back to the car. I wasn't expecting much, as card stores in most tourist oriented areas never seem to be the best, but I was pleasantly surprised. The store contained a lot of old and new cards, as well as a ton of binders full of singles, which are hard to find in most places now.

I came away with a 2006 Topps Rookie of the Week, one of Rickey's newer cards that I've been interested in acquiring, since it borrows its design from the 1980 Topps set of his rookie year. The front of the card looks just like his rookie card, only with a different picture.

The back of the card is also very similar to his original rookie card, with one odd difference. On the original, it say "A's" to the right of his name on the back, while the new one says "Athletics," a change that doesn't seem to make much sense to me.

Later on this week I plan to dig a little deeper into some of my newly acquired cards, as well as get a list up of all the doubles that I now have for trade.