Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#96 Ralph Terry

Ralph Terry  New York Yankees

Career: Won 107 games over twelve seasons, 78 of those wins came in two stints with the Yankees ('56-'57 and '59-'64). He pitched in five consecutive World Series from 1960 thru 1964. He had a 2-4 WS record but pitched way better than that as he 2.93 ERA and 1.02 WHIP indicate.

In 1960: Terry was 10-8 in 23 starts and a dozen relief efforts for the Yanks. He famously gave up Bill Mazeroski's game winning homer that won the World Series for the Pirates.

WikiFacts: He was such a fine golfer that he played on the PGA tours after his baseball career ended in 1967. He also is credited with teaching Tug McGraw the screwball during his time with the Mets in 1966/'67.

The Card: Another fine Jack Davis cartoon graces this card which I remember from my schoolyard days in New Jersey. Yankee cards were highly sought and most kids held them back during our card flipping sessions at recess. Colorful scheme on the front, cream colored cardboard, season highlights and a fine illustration=a great card. The scan makes the back appear miscut. It isn't.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

#155 Charlie Neal

Charlie Neal  Los Angeles Dodgers

Career: Charlie Neal signed with the Dodgers in 1950 but as a middle infielder his spot on the major league roster was blocked at the top by a couple of guys named Reese and Robinson. He broke through in 1956 with Brooklyn and had a a short but very good eight year career. He peaked in 1959 with sparkling work at bat and in the field. He hit .287 with 19 homers and nearly 90 RBI. Add in 17 stolen bases, a Gold Glove and leading the NL with 11 triples and it's not hard to see how he finished in the top ten in the MVP balloting.

In the 1959 World Series against the White Sox Neal had two homers among his 10 hits and a .370 average. His six RBI in the Series easily topped the team.

Neal was an original '62 Met having come to New York in a trade the winter before the club opened play. He was among the few bright spots for the expansion team but in '63 he was slumping and traded to the Reds in July. He retired after that 1963 season.

Neal is also a vet of the Negro Leagues having played with the Atlanta Black Crackers.

In 1960: He was coming off his best season but his numbers dipped across the board. Despite that he again made the NL All Star squad. It was his second and final time for that honor. His average dropped nearly 30 points to .256 and his homers fell off to just eight.

WikiFacts: Neal had 24 triples in his second minor league season, 1951 with Class B Lancaster. No major leaguer has had that many in a year since 1925. Among current players only Curtis Granderson and Jimmy Rollins have had as many as 20 in a big league season season.

The Card: That's really a nice color combo for a Dodgers player in this set. Neal is in Memorial Coliseum. The season highlights give a good accounting of how well Neal played in 1959. Featured are his fielding marks (tied for most putouts in a game in MLB history) and his postseason exploits (big games in the NL playoff against the Braves and the World Series against Chicago). Too bad the card isn't on the cream colored cardboard.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#256 Dick Brown

Dick Brown  Chicago White Sox

Career: Dick Brown signed with the Cleveland Indians and in 1953 began a climb thru their system that saw him debut in the bigs in 1957. He gained playing time as his career moved him to the White Sox and he was the Tigers starter in 1961 and 1962. He was dealt to the Orioles and again worked his way into what was to be a starting job in 1966 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Another tumor was found soon after and his career as a player was over. He scouted for the Orioles for several years until his death in 1970. He was only 35 years old.

In 1960: Prior to the 1960 season he was traded by the Indians with Don Ferrarese, Minnie Minoso and Jake Striker to the Chicago White Sox for Norm Cash, Bubba Phillips and John Romano. He spent quite a bit of the season in the minors (curiously he was playing for an Orioles affiliate) but manged to get 43 at bats for the Sox, He hit only .163 in what was his worst season as a major league catcher. He was traded to the Tigers after the season by way of an initial trade to the Braves.

WikiFacts: Brown was a high school catcher for Herb Score and was dating Score's sister Helen when Score signed with the Indians. Brown was planning on going to dental school, but Helen told the Indians they should sign Score's catcher also. The Indians needed catchers in their minor league system, so they did in 1953. -Baseball Reference Bullpen

The Card: I'm gonna take a guess here and say it's Municipal Stadium in this one. He gets the small write-up rather than a season highlights listing. That's always a letdown. It's one of many capless player poses. At least there's a reason for this one...he was traded in the off season.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#7 Master & Mentor

The Card: Even without the creamy home Giants jerseys you can tell this was taken at Seals Stadium. You can make out just enough of the red railings in the seating areas to be sure.

Nice photo of Willie Mays and Bill Rigney near the batting cage. The back features a write-up that focuses mostly on the Giants' manager. This is an inexpensive card ungraded and an easy way to  snag a Mays card from his career.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

#287 Felipe Alou

Felipe Alou  San Francisco Giants

Career: He was the first native of the Dominican Republic to play in the modern big leagues when he debuted with the Giants in 1958. He was followed soon thereafter by many others including his brothers Jose (doh) Jesus and Matty. The three played together in 1963 with the Giants. Felipe worked his way into the Giants' starting lineup over the course of several years and by 1962 he was an All Star.

The Giants stacked plenty of slugging talent in those days and Alou was traded to the Braves in 1964. There he made two more All Star squads and twice led the NL in hits. The went on to play for the Yankees and several other clubs before beginning his second baseball life and a coach and manager, most notably with Montreal.

He had the Expos six games up in the NL East in 1994 at the time of the lockout and missed his shot at managing in the postseason. He did win Manager of the Year.

In 1960: He played in over 100 games for the first time but his numbers were off a bit (8 homers, 44 RBI) from his 1959 production.

WikiFacts: Contrary to the popular myth the three Alou brothers never started a game together in 1963. The three all appeared in the same game for the Giants eight times and on three occasions they played the outfield as a unit.

The Card: Classic posed 'action shot' which stands out among the many portraits in this set. I'm guessing that's Wrigley Field. Nice color combo as well. Makes for one of the better cards in the set IMHO.

Friday, October 14, 2016

#365 Minnie Minoso

Minnie Minoso  Chicago White Sox

Career: Minoso began his pro career with the New York Cubans of the Negro Leagues in 1946. He finished with a cameo at the age of 77 as a member of the independent St. Paul Saints in 2003. In between he spent 17 seasons in the majors winning three Gold Gloves, being named to 7 All Star squads, finishing second in the 1951 ROY balloting and four times finishing in the top five in MVP votes. He led the A.L. at various times in hits, doubles, triples, hit by pitches (many times) and sac flys.  He was a player/manager in Mexico for quite awhile in the '60s and '70s.

In 1960: This was his first season back with Chicago after having spent seven years with the from 1951 thru 1957. He made the All Star team and led the A.L. with 184 hits. He hit 20 homers and drove in 105 runs.

WikiFacts: From his Wikipedia page: "Miñoso's White Sox uniform number 9 was retired in 1983, and a statue of him was unveiled at U.S. Cellular Field in 2004. Miñoso was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in Exile in 1983, and to the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996."

The Card: Looks like Topps tried to replicate the White Sox jerseys by putting their sleeve number over the Chief Wahoo logo on the sleeve. But the Sox wore the number on the other sleeve.  They get points for trying though.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

#553 Bill Skowron Sport Magazine All Star

Bill Skowron Sport Magazine '60 All Star Selection

As an All Star: Skowron was a four time All Star as a Yankee. He was selected as the starting first baseman for four straight years beginning in 1957. He was 6 for 14 with a double over his five games.

In the '60 ASGs: He started both games at 1B for the AL going 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and a walk.

The Card: Another nice Jack Davis cartoon. Interesting that Topps references the Yankees as 'falling apart' in 1959.