Results tagged ‘ eBay ’

The Greatest eBay Sales Pitches Ever

At the outset let me point out that there’s very little I can add to either of these authentic stream-of-conciousness sagas of Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews, the Mexican Dentist who saved him $20,000, the bartender, Adam West, the Elks Lodge, Socialized Medicine in France, “super famous guys living on cat food,” and the autographed baseball cards. So here are the links: the first one, the second one, and the – frankly – disappointingly brief third one.

All I can do is entice you to go, read them – preferably aloud. Maybe organize a party; anticipate needing an hour or so as you may want to read them aloud then dramatize them with various people playing the roles of the late Mr. Mathews, and the woman he gave the cards to, Michelle, and of course Larry Hagman. These eBay listings are at least a Telenovella if not a screenplay.

Just remember that she has strayed slightly from the premise of trying to get you to bid on these autographed cards.

For any of you who have heard unfounded allegations of Eddie’s control over the Drink OR RATHER, LACK THEREOF, it was not true.

Mind you, that’s the Topic Sentence in a 1,064 word attempt to sell you a baseball card.

But I’m interrupting! Sorry…

THE STORY NOW, I NEVER ASKED EDDIE FOR ANYTHING, NO SIGNED NOTHNG, WHICH I THINK SHOCKED HIM because everyone always did, napkins, any piece of paper they could find, it was tasteless. BUT, MY MOM WAS DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION OF WARNER BROTHERS when we were kids and our neighbor’s were  Batman(Adam West), and another neighbor Larry Hagman, of” I Dream of Jeannie”, at the time (he chased down some mean boys who stole my brothers Halloween Candy, so he has always been a hero since our little 4 year old minds watched the Superhero save the day in Malibu Colony, AND I WAS “FAMOUS PROOF”, meaning I  always knew we were all equal and had things to learn from the bums in the street ergo we are equal!! So Eddie made a point of giving me a signed card on my B-Days and holidays. Normally he wasn’t thrilled when people asked for stuff, some were great, the kids and real fans, but some were just opportunists who wanted to make a buck of him when he died, as he put it!!! Never one to mince words. I miss Eddie terribly. After his death I organized for his wife to throw in the first pitch at a Padres Game, and we all took a bus down and we did an event at the local Elks Lodge, but Eddie was woefully ignored by the Baseball Commissioner, Hank Aaron, and all the baseball world when he died and it was a Shameful thing, especially for the Commissioner and Hank Aaron, who was there and laughed when Eddie said that which led to his firing, it was that era, but he was caught up in the Politically Correct Avant-Garde, though the whole team, including Hank, talked a certain way to each other, but when the Press attacked Eddie for a mild statement of the times, Hank and the Team didn’t back him up, and it really broke his heart, deeply, I guess after all those years it was like your family saying, we don’t want you here anymore, the days of the hard drinking Babe Loving Babe Ruth days are over and now we are all so PC, and I usually am, but I know what he said and he should NEVER have been let go.

I’d like to point out one factual error that threads through all of these “item descriptions.” As the seller notes in each auction, the Braves – with Mathews as manager – did indeed announce that they would keep Hank Aaron out of the lineup for their opening series in Cincinnati in 1974 so he wouldn’t tie (and maybe break) Babe Ruth’s home run record on the road. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn did step in and order the Braves to play him at least once against the Reds (and he promptly tied Ruth’s record on opening day).

But contrary to the lady’s claims, Mathews wasn’t fired as skipper the night of (April 8), or the day after, Aaron’s 715th homer. The Braves let him go on July 21. And also contrary to the lady’s claims, when Mathews was canned at the All-Star Break the Braves’ players rose up to defend him in a way that I recall even at the time was considered unusually strong. In particular, Aaron was outraged. “It’s their club and they can do anything they want to,” he was quoted by United Press International as saying. “Personally I thought he did a hell of a job. I’ve seen a lot of managers fired but this one touched me especially hard. It was a blow to me.”

But I’m getting in the way of the pitch, which concludes with one of the greatest lines ever used on eBay – or maybe anywhere else:

Thanks for listening to the story, don’t know all that much about cards or their worth, but Eddie gave me the ones I am auctioning, so we know they are real, and his wife, Judy, lives in Del Mar and she’ll give me a confirmation, though I haven’t seen her in years.

emAnd yes, by the way, that “one bid” you see for each of the cards? Those are mine. The descriptions may be remarkable as uses of the written word, but the sentiment seems absolutely sincere and compelling. Feel free to outbid me.

 

The Hall, And The Meaning Of Stats

Don’t look it up. Try (at least first) to figure it out. I’ll answer it at the end of this first part of the post – and I’m doing it this way to underscore why a malleable attitude towards statistics and Cooperstown is mandatory.

Here goes: Who led the American League in home runs in the 1980’s?
Somewhere else on the web, somebody dismissed my support (and that of the 400 BBWAA electors who voted for him) of Bert Blyleven by claiming you can’t put a pitcher in the Hall of Fame who averaged only 13 wins a season.
A-hem…

Pitcher                                             Wins Per Season

Bob Gibson                                             14.76

Gaylord Perry                                          14.27

Allie Reynolds*                                        14.00

Tom Glavine*                                           13.86

Sandy Koufax                                          13.75

Steve Carlton                                           13.70

Chief Bender                                            13.25

Early Wynn                                              13.04

Bert Blyleven*                                          13.00

Dizzy Dean                                               12.50

Dazzy Vance                                            12.30

NOLAN RYAN                                           12.00

         * not in Hall of Fame


You can make a million different arguments about what this statistic means – and then move on to whether or not it really means anything in terms of the Hall. But the Blyleven (exactly 13 wins a year) versus Ryan (exactly 12 wins a year) comparison certainly is startling.
A much fairer, and slightly more subjective, view of the issue is provided by what we might call “Adjusted Wins Per Season.” It’s not a complicated formula. You just assess a pitcher’s “incomplete seasons” – only half a year in the majors, or less, or the last year when they were released on May 15th, or, particular to Koufax, the first two seasons of his career in which he was forced to stay on the major league roster (but was seldom used) because of a then-extant rule requiring such treatment for any free agent signed to a ******** bonus. You then throw out these “rump years” (and any scattered wins gathered in them) and re-divide.
Let’s do this for the same mix of a dozen pitchers, HOF and NON-HOF, as above:

Pitcher                     Adjusted Wins Per Season        “Rump” Seasons

Dizzy Dean                               16.50                                 Three

Sandy Koufax                           15.9                                   Two

Steve Carlton                            15.52                                 Three

Bob Gibson                              15.50                                 One

Allie Reynolds*                         15.17                                 One

Tom Glavine*                            15.05                                 Two

Dazzy Vance                             14.92                                 Three

Gaylord Perry                            14.27                                 One

Early Wynn                               14.19                                  Two

Chief Bender                             14.13                                 One

Bert Blyleven*                           13.00                                 None

NOLAN RYAN                            12.76                                  Two

         *not in
Hall of Fame

As usual when you research something – however trivial it might be – unsought data turns up. In this case it would include the suggestion that the voters need to reexamine the candidacy of Allie Reynolds. Somebody else interesting turns up in that “adjusted” category – Ron Guidry, at 15.27.

But the most fascinating is the comparison it provides for Blyleven and Ryan. Their ERA’s are similar, their 20-win seasons are similar (and unimpressive: Ryan, 2; Blyleven, 1), their average seasonal win totals are similar (adjusted or not). The differences are the no-hitters and strikeouts, and while I would agree they are enough to have made Ryan the first-ballot Hall of Famer he was, I don’t see how their absence has left Blyleven to decades of also-ran status.
By the way, the answer to the trivia question at the top: Mike Schmidt led baseball (and obviously, the National League) in homers in the ’80s with 313. Dale Murphy was second with 308. Eddie Murray was third overall with 274 and thus led those who played in each league during that decade. But your American League top homer man of the ’80s, and fourth overall in the game, was Dwight Evans with 256. I happen to think Evans deserves serious consideration for Cooperstown – but surely not for that stat.
CAVEAT EMPTOR

Fell victim to myself – and was contacted by a bunch of other suckers – to an eBay scam that, while clearly focused to rip off specialists in a very small branch of baseball memorabilia collecting – serves as a reminder to think carefully about the ingenuity people can muster while pursuing the proverbial ill-gotten gains.
To eBay’s credit, in my case at least, it and PayPal refunded my money, even as the seller claimed he was the victim, and smeared, and all the like. The ID was “tarheels17032″ and the man, a Randy Howard operating out of a post office box in suburban Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, put up for bid a “box” of vintage 1971 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards (the Canadian version of Topps). The illustration showed the retail box, and in it, 36 seemingly unopened packs in good shape. Upon arrival, I couldn’t resist opening a pack.
I was surprised, initially, as to how easy that was. The packages were barely sealed. As a kid, I actually opened packages of these cards when they originally came out, and they were stuck together for the long haul. But the biggest surprise awaited inside. The cards had clearly not spent the last 39 years in those packages. Some had creases and seriously stubbed corners, others didn’t. At least two cards that were not directly facing the gum in the packs, nevertheless had damage from having had gum stuck to them. The packages were in better condition than the cards – a physical impossibility if the packs had been unopened.
Unless we were dealing with cards granted the ability of locomotion, which had escaped their packs and managed to somehow injure themselves, then return home like salmon swimming back to spawn, there was something seriously amiss here.
Mr. Howard at first agreed to “take a look” at the cards if I wanted to return them to him. He then refused delivery at the post office in Dauphin, Pa. When I filed a complaint with eBay, he wrote: “First of all, please re-read my description. No where do I EVER describe in any of my auctions that something is ‘unopened.’ I’m not the original owner nor do I profess to be. I specifically state in my auctions to ask any questions prior to end of auction. I also state that all items are sold as is…”
As the complaint moved through eBay, he later posted that I had tampered with the packages. Needless to say, the eBay folks did not exactly buy that (since I had a registered mail receipt marked “refused” – he could not have seen the packages). Nor did they buy the ‘I never explicitly said these were unopened packs’ defense.
My travails with memorabilia sellers are not your concern. But when several other collectors advised me that there were several instances of this exact kind of rip-off involving supposedly unopened packs, I thought it merited mention here. The story as I understand it is that either two people working in cahoots, or one using two different eBay ID’s, buy up old empty card boxes, and empty wrappers that match the boxes. Lord knows where they get the gum, but they fill the “packs” with off-condition common cards, seal them just closed enough, then stick them in the empty box, and make big money selling not vintage unopened packs or boxes, but garbage.
Once eBay returned my money I thought it would be fascinating to open up Mr. Howard’s packs to see what was inside. Not one of the packs didn’t include something impossible. Several packs included not 1971 O-Pee-Chee cards (yellow backs), but ordinary 1971 Topps (green backs). The O-Pee-Chee cards were issued in series that year, so all the cards in each pack should have been restricted to Series One, Series Two, or Series Three, etc. But many were intermixed between the series. Topps and O-Pee-Chee made their money on making sure kids had to keep buying to get a full set, so they had state-of-the-art “randomizing” processes to be certain there were lots of doubles in a box and never anything like a run of cards in numerical sequence in a given pack. Nevertheless, nearly all the packs came out that way (one produced numbers 234, 235, 238, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244). And virtually every card in the box was a “common” – no stars, no rare cards.
But the piece de resistance was the fact that the battered cards in that first tentatively-opened pack proved to be just the start, in terms of damage and bad condition. You do not have to be a collector nor a detective to doubt that this card had always be in that pack:
fakeopc.jpg
Seriously?

                                              

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