Thursday, April 20, 2023

Bill Mazeroski - 1961 Pirates Team Card

I spent a long time waiting for the right 1961 Topps Pirates team card to send to Bill Mazeroski.  Something reasonably priced, with acceptable quality.

I had an eBay search set to run every day and I finally found one to buy.  It was graded as a 2.5, which seems low to me, although I don't really know much about grading.  There are no creases, the centering is good enough, and the corners aren't terrible for a card to be sent through the mail, twice, in nothing but a plain white envelope (pwe).

It's a high number card and despite being from the 1961 set, it's really commemorating the World Series-winning 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates, which may increase the demand for this card. 

Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off home run in game seven to win the championship.  This is the only time the World Series has been won with a walk-off home run.  Other World Series games have been won in this manner, but none that actually ended the series.

I have to imagine that this single home run helped Mazeroski into the Hall of Fame.  Some people argue he wouldn't have gotten in if it weren't for this one hit.  He was great defensively, with eight Gold Glove awards and seven All Star appearances.  He only hit .260, which wouldn't be too bad if he were a slugger, but he only had 138 home runs.  He had 2016 hits over his 17-year career, all of which were with the Pirates.

He is a very generous signer these days, charging just $10 to sign a card.  I'm not sure he has a set fee for other items. but I enclosed $25 when I sent in the head of his bobblehead to be signed.  I'd probably recommend sending in at least $20 for a ball, $25 if you want an inscription.

Mazeroski has several cards in the 1961 set.  He has his individual card, an All Star card, a card commemorating his home run, and one card showing him and Gino Cimoli celebrating after winning the World Series.  I wish I had Cimoli on this card, as well card #309 showing him safely sliding into second in game #4.

Card #312, showing Maz heading towards the plate after hitting his home run, is really hard to find in good shape.  I have no idea why.  The centering is almost always way off.  Bad centering is my biggest pet peeve, and as you can see, I settled for one that is almost miscut.  Good centering with otherwise reasonable quality will cost over $50 for this card (unsigned).  I paid about $15 for my copy of it, plus the $10 to have it signed.

Quite a while ago, I bought a 16x20 photo of his home run signed by Johnny Blanchard, who was the catcher for the Yankees at the time.  I think I got it from Steiner, with a Steiner COA/sticker.  I then sent it in to a signing for Bill Mazeroski.

Between 2003 and 2006, I worked on a 1960 Pirates team ball.  I ended up with 16 signatures on it.  Maz was the last of the 16, and I retired the ball after that.

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