Guest Post: Where's the Cookie?

Editor's Note: Guest Post written by my brother, Jim.

When my wife’s aunt passed away six years ago, she left a box of Phillies items to our family. In the box was a paper bag of newspaper clippings dating from the 1950s-60s, including 18 of the 25 artist Jim Ponter’s drawings printed in editions of the Philadelphia Bulletin during September 1964.  Each numbered 5x7” clipping features two drawings (a headshot and an action pose) and brief biography of the specified player.  Not a Picasso, but not bad for a Phillies collector like me…

I was familiar with the set of drawings from seeing them at shows, and though some had condition issues, I decided to try and get as many signed, as possible. I began the process by sending letter through the mail – nailing down some quick successes from players who sign for free such as John Herrnstein, Jim Bunning and Bobby Wine.   Then paying for others such as Rick Wise, Frank Thomas and Johnny Briggs. Over the course of three years I was a perfect 16 for 16 in returns from living players!

Collectors may note the companion set to the newspaper player photos: unnumbered 8x10” color versions printed on heavy stock paper.  There are 28-different drawings of 27 players – a variation of Jim Bunning exists with a head shot wearing a hat.  Available only through mail-order, these drawings seem to be more readily available on the secondary market, but are also generally more expensive than the newspaper version.  A complete set can sell for a few hundred dollars – with the Bunning variant serving as the most rare and expensive single card.

After buying 13 of the color cards at a local flea market I went back to the box of clippings where I had previously seen a mail order checklist to see who I was still missing.  Once found, the checklist revealed an oddity with the set – there was no option to order a Cookie Rojas drawing.  One of my 13 was a Rojas – so, it begs the question: How did he get distributed?  I have never read about, or heard from other collectors about Cookie being rare, so my only guess is that he was included when the complete set was ordered… but have no confirmation on this theory.  

Over the past year or two I have been scouring different places for the rest of the “Ponter drawings” collection.  I was fortunate to pick up a few on eBay and I am always able to get a couple at the Philly Show. To date I have been lucky to also assemble a partial set of 21 – and am currently saving up to buy the Bunning’s and Dick Allen.  I haven’t figured out the whole “Cookie Rojas checklist omission” yet but it’s just another reminder of why collecting is so much fun…

R.I.P - Alex Johnson, 1964 Phillies

Alex Johnson signed photo

The passing of former Major Leaguer, Alex Johnson on February 28th is just the latest reminder that players from Baseball's "Golden Age" will not be around forever.  Johnson, who spent 13 seasons in the Majors - breaking in with the Phillies during the star-crossed 1964 season and winning the A.L. Batting Crown in 1970, is the latest player from the era to pass.

As a member of the 1964 team, Johnson was brought up to provide right-handed power to the lineup.  In 43 games during the season he batted .303 with 4 HRs and 18 RBIs while platooning in Left Field with Wes Covington.  He was traded to the Cardinals in 1965 with Art Mahaffey for Dick Groat and Bill White.  

Though talented, he never spent more than two seasons with the same team.  Stories from his past include self-induced alienation from teammates and lack of focus on the field.  Unfortunately I missed him at a local appearance for the Poppel's a few years ago - but, when I asked Mr. Poppel (Eric and Adam's dad) about how it went he only spoke of about how polite and pleasant Mr. Johnson was at the show. 

While in conflict with the tales of his playing days, the story reflected his interactions with collectors in retirement.  With a 79% success rate (including many non-responses over the past few months while he was presumably ill), Johnson was regularly listed in recent TTM success listings.  I personally had two requests fulfilled in recent years - each time my cash donation was returned.  Phillies collectors, and the hobby will miss him.

Hunt Auctions - November Live Auction Preview

Online bidding for Hunt Auctions', 10th Annual Louisville Slugger Museum Live Auction ends tomorrow night.  The marquee lots have been reserved for Hall of Famer, Bill Mazeroski's personal collection, but as with previous editions, this year's event puts many desirable Phillies-themed items on the block.  I have already shared a few on Facebook this week, but here are a couple more to keep your eye on... 

Carlos Ruiz, 2010 Alternate Home Jersey

Game Used Carlos Ruiz Jersey

Game Used Carlos Ruiz Jersey

This is an underperforming beauty.  I'm not sure whether it is Ruiz's tenuous standing as a Phillie, or if the shine has truly rubbed off this former All Star, but there doesn't seem to be much interest in this log, to-date.  At this point, it would take a lot for the jersey to climb back into the pre-auction range of $400-600.  To be fair, it was probably a stretch to begin with...

Current bid: $138

Link to the lot


1964 Phillies Pin Display

"Go!  Phillies Go!"

As a collector of 1964 Phillies I've been familiar with these pins for years - often seeing them at flea markets or card shows.  The bold, blue font screaming 1960s camp, and of course, the classic logo make it a very desirable (and, low-cost) collectible. What makes pieces like this so attractive is the fact that they aren't supposed to be around anymore.  This cardboard store display would look great in any 1960s-era collection. 

Current bid:  $80

Link to the lot

1964 Phillies Pin Store Display

1964 Phillies Pin Store Display

Bobby Wine, 1980 Game Uniform

Bobby Wine, 1980 Game Uniform

Bobby Wine, 1980 Road Uniform

Maz isn't the only former player to be in the mood to clean out his closet - joining him is long time Phillie, Bobby Wine, whose own personal collection is up for bid.  There are several items from "The Wine Collection" worth mentioning, but I chose this one because of the significance the uniform has to the Phillies' 1980 Championship season.  The deep blue of this "powder blue" uniform would look awesome on display, and is still well within the pre-auction range $1,500-2000.  Some lucky collector may get a deal out of it...

Current Bid: $720

Link to the lot