Conlon Collection provides chance to uncover forgotten diamonds

COLLECTORS NOTEBOOK

January 26, 1992|By Ruth Sadler

Baseball fans who delight in their sport's apparent changelessness probably will love the Conlon Collection.

These are cards for baseball in the daylight, on a summer afternoon, in a quirky old park -- no modern amenities like color, photos on the back, computer-generated graphics. (The cards are nice -- you don't want to get mustard on them.)

Everything is black and white, since the photos were taken by Charles Martin Conlon between 1905 and 1942. The Sporting News had purchased many of Conlon's negatives before the photographer's death in 1945. This 330-card set is the second the magazine has done with Megacards and continues the numbering sequence begun with the 1991 Conlon cards. The cards are also virtually identical to those in the first set, with the addition of the Major League Baseball logo.

Subsets should appeal to baseball history buffs. There are cards for 49 no-hitters, including Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive ones (two cards). An intriguing subset asks why 12 players (among them Joe Jackson, Lefty O'Doul and Hal Newhouser) are not in the Hall of Fame. Other subsets feature baseball players who also competed in pro football (Jim Thorpe and Ernie Nevers are the big names), a tribute to the St. Louis Cardinals' centennial this year, how players acquired their colorful nicknames and a reprise of "Great Stories," anecdotes excerpted from interviews conducted by baseball historians Donald Honig and Lawrence Ritter.

Collectors of Marylanders, note: There's a Tommy Thomas card.

These cards, which come in packs of 15 and 33, aren't completely old-fashioned. There are 20,000 cards autographed by Bob Feller, Johnny Mize, Bobby Doerr, Enos Slaughter, Vander Meer, Newhouser and Marty Marion.

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Super Bowl alert: Upper Deck distributed commemorative sheets honoring the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills at Super Bowl Card Show III in Minneapolis. They were freebies at Upper Deck's booth, but look for them to surface at card shows -- with a price tag.

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Brother acts: Score's brothers subset in its 1991-92 hockey cards shows eight sets of NHL brothers, including the Washington Capitals' Kelly and the Detroit Red Wings' Keith Miller and the Capitals' Dale and the Hartford Whalers' Mark Hunter. (Score spokeswoman Julie Hadden says the company concentrates on players and never considered the other Washington-Detroit siblings, coaches Terry and Bryan Murray, although the subset does contain one coach, the St. Louis Blues' Brian Sutter, one of three Sutters. NBA Hoops' Series I Harvey Grant card shows the Washington Bullets forward -- and his twin brother Horace of the Chicago Bulls. According to Greg Sanchez, editor of the "Sanchez Comprehensive Basketball Price Guide," this is the first basketball card with twin brothers, although twins Eddie and Johnny O'Brien of the Pittsburgh Pirates appeared together on a 1954 baseball card.

NFL in translation: Pro Set has produced a 300-card NFL set in Spanish, the first trading-card set in that language. The cards, taken from 1991 NFL Pro Set Series I and II, are being marketed to Hispanic communities across the country. The set al

so features five special randomly inserted collectibles available only in the Spanish-language edition. Cards come in packs of 15.

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Upcoming events:

Saturday, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695, Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Sunday, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26 S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.

Feb. 8, baseball card show to benefit Arundel High baseball team, Arundel High (1001 Annapolis Road, Gambrills), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Feb. 8, baseball card show to benefit Running Brook Elementary School PTA, Running Brook Elementary School (5215 W. Running Brook, Columbia), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 964-0870.

Feb. 9, baseball card show, Martin's Ballroom-Westminster (140 Village Shopping Center), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Feb. 15, baseball card show to benefit Anne Arundel Chapter of the Sunshine Foundation, Columbian Center (335 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 987-5919.

Feb. 16, baseball card show to benefit Loch Raven Recreation Council Baseball League, Loch Raven Optimist Bingo Hall (Loch Raven Boulevard and Taylor Avenue), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 931-4881.

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