Dear Babe: While cleaning out my grandparent's house, I came across some old black and white post cards with a variety of players such as Lefty Gomez, Joe DiMaggio, Red Ruffing, Lou Gehrig and Dizzy Dean. They are not written on. I would say they are in great condition. On the back, it says "1973 TCMA, Ltd. Stan Martucci, 44 Dewhurst St., Staten Island, N.Y. 10314."
-- T.M., Merrimack, N.H.
Babe: The Card Memorabilia Associates (TCMA) was in its heyday in the 1970s. Da Babe was having trouble figuring out exactly which cards you had based on the description. Then Da Babe stumbled onto Stephen Mitchell, whose eBay ID is "TheBaseballHobbyist."
Here's what he had to say: "The cards with Stan Martucci's name and address were issued in 1973 or '74 by TCMA and consist of 16 unnumbered postcard size cards: Joe Cronin, Dizzy Dean, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, Lefty Gomez, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Ted Lyons, Heinie Manush, Joe Medwick, Mel Ott, Red Ruffing, Bill Terry and Paul Waner. They feature borderless photos on the front (with no player identification) and a postcard-style back with player ID at the top/left and a Stan Martucci note in the message portion. Another, similar issue was created in 1973 by TCMA for Sports Scoop magazine. A set of 12 postcard size cards pictured 12 players selected for their Hall of Fame caliber careers -- yet who were then still non-HOFers. (Of the dozen, half eventually were selected by the HOF's Committee on Veterans for induction.)"
Mitchell definitely knows about the Sports Scoop cards -- he was editor of Sports Scoop magazine, which had a 20-issue run in 1973 and '74.
As for value, the Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest lists the 16-card set at $15 with Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig the most valuable at $5 apiece. Jimmie Foxx and Dizzy Dean book at $2 each with all the rest $1 commons.
Dear Babe: I have Wilson baseball with red and green laces. It is signed by what looks like "T.J. Rickey." My father gave it to me in 1942. He played professional baseball in the early 1900s. Can you identify the signature? When were these baseballs used?
-- F.D., Hemet, Calif.
Babe: "I am very familiar with this minor league ball from the 1920s and 1930s," said Mike Gutierrez, consignment director for Heritage Auctions (www.ha.com). "Interest on these has waned in the last decade." He valued the ball at $50-$75.
Trying to track the player that signed the ball is going to be tough. Branch Rickey's first name was Wesley, so it's not him. Records for minor leaguers that date back into the 1920s and '30s are sketchy at best. It doesn't look like the signature is going to add to the value. It probably detracts from its worth to a person who collects baseballs.
BABE NOTE: The National Hockey League labor dispute appears over and teams likely will be back in action soon. Despite the player lockout, there have been plenty of new hockey-related products released by Panini and Upper Deck. Panini issued Certified, Classic Signatures and 2012-13 Score Hockey. Upper Deck released NHL O-Pee-Chee, NHL Artifacts, NHL Upper Deck Series One and 2012-13 NHL Black Diamond. NHL SP Game-Used is slated to be released next week.
(Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)