Monday, August 13, 2018

#8 Bud Daley

Bud Daley  Kansas City Athletics

Career: Bud Daley worked his way through the Indians' chain and got a couple of brief (and very unsuccessful) shots in the majors in 1955-56. He had better results with a longer stay in 1957. As the '58 season approached he was traded to the Orioles and then, two weeks later, to the Athletics. He won 39 games in Kansas City with two trips to the All-Star Game before he was traded again, this time to the Yankees, in June of 1961.

With New York, he split his time between the rotation and the bullpen and won two World Series rings. He won the fifth and deciding game of the 1961 World Series with 6+ innings in relief of Ralph Terry.  He developed arm problems and missed much of the '63 season and retired after 1964.

In 1960: This was the second of his two consecutive 16 win seasons for a pretty terrible KC squad. But he also lost 16 games and his numbers across the board we down a bit from '59.

From WikiPedia...When Bud and [his brother] Pete Daley where batterymates in Kansas City, they were know as the only "Daley Double" in baseball. Bud moved to Lander, WY where he and his wife Dorothy, owned B&D Sprinklers, a lawn sprinkler company. As of January 2009, they were retired in Riverton, WY.
Daley's grandson, Jordan Pries, has played minor league ball since 2011, reaching AAA in 2014.

The Card: I must admit that the back's cartoon depiction of the Oriole is amusing.  When I pulled this card for scanning I noticed that it had a lot of gum residue on the front. Most came off but a rubbing alcohol treatment may be in order.  

Sunday, August 12, 2018

#6 Lou Berberet

Lou Berberet   Detroit Tigers

Career: Berberet was originally the property of the Yankees beginning in 1950. He spent some time in the military and then continued to put up pretty solid numbers at the plate in the minors. But as a catcher he had a roadblock named Yogi Berra in his way to say nothing of Johnny Blanchard, Elston Howard, Gus Triandos and longtime sub Charlie Silvera. It must have been like being the fifth son of the know you'll never sniff the throne. 

The Yanks dealt Berberet to the Senators before the 1956 season and he spent two years there sharing the catching job with Clint Courtney and Ed Fitz Gerald. Washington sent him on to the Red Sox early in the '58 season and then it was on to Detroit where he wrapped up his career in a platoon with Red Wilson.

In 1960: This was the final season in baseball for Berberet. He got nearly 300 plate appearances playing in half the games for the Tigers but hit just .194, his lowest full-season average. He then headed west to work in California as a sales manager in the liquor business, a career he continued later in Las Vegas until he retired.

WikiFacts: This nice tribute comes from his Associated Press obit in 2004:
Whether it was on the football fields and baseball diamonds of Long Beach as a youth, in major league club houses as a seven-year big league catcher or in a Las Vegas care facility following a 1993 stroke, Lou Berberet spent his life making friends.

"Especially here in Long Beach, everyone knew him," Tom Berberet said of his father, who passed away [on April 6, 2004] in Las Vegas after six months of heart trouble at the age of 74. "He never went any place where people didn't know him.

"He lived in Las Vegas for 26 or 27 years, but even now, people (in Long Beach) ask about him."

Card: Yes, that's a nice big jagged crease cutting across the card from the right edge. The corners are pretty soft as well. I keep a running tab on cards I might upgrade someday. My dealer friend Darrell has a bunch of 1960s in his bargain bin and I always forget to bring my list.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

#4 Bob Purkey

Bob Purkey Cincinnati Reds

Career: Purkey, who learned the knuckleball from Branch Rickey, started his career with the Pirates and ended with them as well. But in between he made his mark with the Reds winning 103 games over seven seasons there. He made three All Star squads and had a standout 1962 season with a 23-5 mark and ERA/WHIP  near the top of the league charts. He finished third in the Cy Young voting as well.

In the 1961 World Series he lost a tough 3-2 complete game decision to the Yankees in Game Three. He pitched two relief innings in the 'all hands on deck' fifth and final game of the Series.

In 1960: He went 17-11 after starting the year coming out of the bullpen.

WikiFacts: Purkey ran his own insurance agency in the vicinity of his hometown of Pittsburgh after his career ended.

The Card: Topps used identical pictures of Purkey in 1962 and '63 and reprised the 'action' shot on this card in '63.

Friday, August 10, 2018

#2 Roman Mejias

Roman Mejias Pittsburgh Pirates

Career: Mejias played in nine major league seasons after debuting with the Pirates in 1955. He was an original member of the 1962 Houston Colt 45s and had his best season that year. He hit 24 homers which is almost half his career total. He finished his career with the Red Sox in 1963/64 and then played a season in Japan. Happy Birthday to him as well. He turned 89 this week.

In 1960: He spent the bulk of the year in the minors and got only one big league at bat. With AAA Columbus he hit .278 and showed some power. Side note: He had only one at-bat with the Pirates in 1961 as well and had almost identical minor league stats.

WikiFacts: From his Wikipedia page:
On October 10, 1961, he was selected in the 11th round by Houston in the 1961 National League expansion draft, and was the starting right fielder in the Colt .45s' first Major League game on April 10, 1962. Batting third in Houston's lineup, Mejías had three hits in five at bats, with three runs scored and six runs batted in. He hit the first home run in Houston's Major League history, a three-run bomb off Don Cardwell in the third inning, and then followed with another three-run shot in the eighth off relief pitcher Al Lary, as the Colt .45s routed the visiting Chicago Cubs, 11–2. Mejías held the Colts' starting right fielder job all season, appearing in a career-high 146 games, and led Houston in hits (162), home runs (24), runs batted in (76), batting average (.286), stolen bases (12) and slugging percentage (.485).
And here's a snippet from a great SABR article on Mejias and his 1954 minor league team, the Waco Pirates. It is recommended reading.

Mejias in particular intrigued the parent Pirates. Born in Central Manuelita on August 9, 1930, he progressed to his third year of high school before going to work at his father’s side at 15 years old. Full of natural ability, he excelled in the Pedro Betancourt Amateur Baseball League in Cuba, and was later signed by Hall of Famer George Sisler who was scouting talent in the area. Mejias showed the propensity for hitting for average and power, had good speed on the basepaths, and played his outfield position ably, all tools which would serve him well on his climb to the big leagues

The Card: Topps liked to refer to the Pirates as the Corsairs. Every time I see that I think of this, one of my favorite doo-wop songs from back when it was my favorite music genre.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

#1 Early Wynn

Early Wynn, Chicago White Sox

Career: A Hall of Famer, Early Wynn won exactly 300 games over the course of 23 seasons. He pitched his entire career in the AL, hurling for the Nats, Indians and White Sox. He made a return engagement with Cleveland in 1963 and won that elusive #300 in Kansas City in June in a game in which he struggled to make five innings. That was the next-to-last start of his career.

In 1960: He was coming off his 22 win, Cy Young Award season. He went 13-12 with numbers that indicated his time as an ace was coming to a close. He was an All-Star for the seventh (and final) time and pitched two hitless innings in the second of two ASGs played that year.

WikiFact: He earned that '59 Cy Young at the age of 39 which is not the record for the oldest winner. Gaylord Perry (age 40) and Roger Clemens (age 42) were both older when they won. Wynn's award came during the time when one Cy Young was given out instead of one in each league.

The Card: Sometimes I'll have a comment on the card, sometimes I may post a card of the player that I have in my collection that I really like. For example, this beauty from the '53 Bowman Color set. Great card from a terrific set.

But I also should mention that I enjoy the fact that Wynn's Game One shutout of the Dodgers in the 1959 World Series is included in the Season's Highlights block.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

#484 Pirates, #223 Danny Murtaugh & #467 Pitts. Coaches

In 1960: Hail to the Champs! This 1960 Pirates squad was the one that beat the Yankees in a remarkable seven game Series capped off by Bill Mazeroski's epic homer. I will never forget watching the end of that game after having rushed home from school. Rather than recount the remarkable events of that day I'll link to a 2010 story by ESPN's David Schoenfield. He runs theu the game inning-by-crazy-inning and makes a case for it being the best game ever.

The Bucs led the NL in batting average, OPS, runs, OBP, doubles and RBIs. They were second in slugging. On the mound they were at or near the top in most major categories and their fielding percentage tied for the league lead.

Dick Groat won the NL batting crown and Roberto Clemente was fourth. Bob Friend and Vern Law led the staff and Elroy Face was the stopper with 10 wins and 27 saves out of the pen.

The Card: This one is in nice shape. Is that Clemente sitting up from with the batboys?

Managers Card: Danny Murtaugh managed the Pirates for 15 seasons with a winning percentage of .540 including two pennants and two World Series titles. On this card he's wearing the batting helmet seen on so many of the Pirates' players cards of the era. I've read that it was something Branch Rickey insisted on.

Coaches Card: Mickey Vernon is the best known of the floating heads seen here. He's was a two-time AL batting title winner and was newly retired from active big league duty after a 20 year career. Frank Oceak was a long time major and minor league coach and manager. He was on Murtaugh's staff for both Pirates championship teams.  Bill Burwell was a pitcher for the Browns and Pirates in the 20s and was another career coach and managers at all baseball levels. San Narron had a few glimces of the majors with the Cardinals. He was the uncle of Jerry Narron and grandfather of Sam Narron, both big leaguers.

Friday, May 4, 2018

#163 Hector Lopez

Hector Lopez  New York Yankees

Career: He had a solid if unspectacular 12-year career for the A's and Yankees. After playing primarily as an infielder with Kansas City he became almost exclusively an outfielder in New York.

In 1960: Lopez was coming off his career year. He came over to the Yankees in late May of 1959. And while his '60 numbers were down in the power categories he was in the first of five seasons that saw him playing in the World Series.

WikiFacts: In the 1960 World Series against the Reds Lopez took over for Mickey Mantle when the Yankees star got hurt in Game Four and got the Game Five start. He had a huge day in that clincher getting five RBIs with a triple, homer and sac bunt.

The Card: It's well off-center obviously. But the Season's Highlight box makes any card better. That cartoon is deceiving. He had 69 RBIs with the Yankees in 1959 which trailed Mickey Mantle (75) and Elston Howard (73) and equaled Yogi Berra. He had 93 when you include the 24 he had with the A's.