Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Stoney" Ulysses S. Grant McGlynn T206

Photos: 1910 Admiral Schlei, Catching, Sweet Caporal 350 / 30 and 1910 Stoney McGlynn, Piedmont 350 / 25, from my own collection

So these are two T206s I got much earlier this year, both replacing identical cards that were in poor condition. Both cards were in ungraded and very poor condition, with no hope of grading higher if I'd sent them to a grading company.  Both were purchased during my rookie days of T206 collecting, when I thought these cards were much harder, and much more expensive, to obtain than they really are.

Not that they're cheap, of course.

I bought 12 T206s in this batch, from July, with the total cost of shipping for all 12 just $6.50.  That's just $.54 per card.  So the McGlynn card, in PSA 2 Good condition, cost $26 and $.54 shipping, for a total of $26.54.  The Schlei card, in PSA 3 VG condition, was $43, with $.54 shipping, for a total of $43.54.  Both are in the upper tier of what I consider to be allowable prices for me to buy.

The very up-to-date T206 valuation website I use places the McGlynn card at $33 and the Beckett Graded book value (BV) is $40.  So that's a profit of between $6.46 to $13.46.  The real profit is on the lower end of that; you can get a T206 in PSA 2 Good condition on Ebay for between $25 to $35, routinely, for a common T206.  Anything below that is a steal (I've had some in the teens) and anything above that is a rip-off (I won't buy a common T206 in good condition for over $33).

The Schlei card is valued at the T206 website at $49 and the Beckett book's BV is $40.  So that's a loss of $3.54 or a profit of $5.46.  I knew I may have overspent a tiny bit on this one, which I justified because a) Schlei cards are a little more expensive in Ebay bidding, for some reason, and b) it was a little personal because this was one of the first cards I bought as a T206 rookie and I was eager to replace my mistake.  Also, I'd lost out on quite a few Schlei T206s, for some reason, even though there are three Schlei T206 variations (he was a popular NY Giant player).  Anyway, I find the website's valuation a little more up-to-date Ebay accurate, which I can attest to because he was such a pain in the butt to finally get.

So I basically break even on these two cards.  That's not usually good enough for me, but, like I said, they were replacements, and one was oddly personal.  I know that's a bad rule of business--buying when it's personal--but the Schlei was such an incredible hassle to finally get, it was worth it for me.

I'll go into McGlynn's background and save Schlei's for another time, since I've got his two other cards.

Background and Career

Ulysses Simpson Grant McGlynn was born in 1872 and played his first major-league game in 1906, at age 34, which is very old for a rookie, of any time, of any team.  He played for the St. Louis Cardinals his only three seasons in the majors, 1906-1908, which is a harsh thing to wish upon anybody.  His "best" or most productive year was in 1907, when he finished 14-25.  This isn't as bad as it looks.

The Cardinals that year finished 52-101, which means he won and lost a quarter of his team's wins and losses, which is a ton for just one pitcher.  He led the league with his 25 losses, but he also led the league with 39 game starts and 33 complete games, which means the team didn't think he was costing them games.  (They wouldn't have let him start and complete so many games otherwise.) This also means they realized they were terrible, and that he was their best chance to win, for whatever that was worth. He was probably the best pitcher on a very bad team. He led the league with 352 1/3 innings pitched, which makes sense if he leads the league in GS and CG.  He also led the league in hits allowed, but only gave up 329, which is really good for 352 IP.  But he also led the league in earned runs allowed, with 114, which--given the few hits he gave up versus innings he pitched--means he allowed a lot of walks, which he did: 112, which also led the league. That led to a 1.25 walks + hits per inning pitched, which is not good, but also not terrible.  His ERA was 2.91, in a time when plenty of pitchers had ERAs much higher and much lower than that.  But it was not close to being the highest that year, which means that his record still should have been much better than it was.  He probably pitched in a lot of bad luck, and his team didn't score much for him (I looked at his lineup, and it wasn't good), and he probably pitched just bad enough to lose a lot of the time.  Still, his record would've been at .500 or a little higher if he'd been on a better team.  He would've been the bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher for a better team and wouldn't have led the league in anything, but he would've been better. He was 2-2 the year before and 1-6 after, with ERAs that were still pretty good, but he pitched for St. Louis when they were not good.

(Though he did play with HOFer Jake Beckley, who played in the majors between 1888 to 1907, which means he was one of the few players to have an Old Judge baseball card and a T206.  Clark Griffith was another. Beckley finished with 2,934 hits and also finished in the top-90 in most offensive and defensive categories.  This justifies his selection for the Hall by the Veterans Committee 53 years after he died.  When that many years passes after a player's death and then he gets elected by the Veterans Committee, you wonder, but he was not one of the Veterans Committee's many bonehead picks. Beckley was also born in 1867 in Hannibal, Missouri, so he may have known Mark Twain, who was also born there.)

Astute readers may wonder why I have a 1910 T206 of a player released in 1908.  Answer: T206s have both major league and minor league players in the set.  And minor leaguers are that in name only. From 1909 to 1912 he played for the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, a good minor league team at the time.  He twice won over 20 games for them and played for them until he was 39.  He left the game for a year and then came back for Salt Lake City, and then did the same and returned with El Paso.  And then he was done.  He was probably paid just as well--if not better--in the minors than he had been in the majors.  The minor league teams were not owned and run by the majors at the time, and often held on to their good players before they sold them or traded them to a major league team.  Major league teams also traded players to minor league or independent league teams all the time, who then sometimes traded them to other major league teams.  Players also jumped teams all the time, and were sometimes made to go back.  Other times they did not go back, but could not enter a city or state sometimes of the team they'd jumped.  Players also jumped leagues all the time, as late as 1915, when many star and HOF players jumped to the new Federal League.

The game was simply run differently back then.

McGlynn played for Independent League and Minor League teams before he hit the majors, too.  My guess is that he played for bigger crowds in his minor league days, especially for Milwaukee, than he did for the 100-game losing St. Louis major league team.  Regardless, I'd be surprised if he thought of himself as unlucky for his major league time.  He was not a Doc "Moonlight" Graham.

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