Saturday, May 30, 2015

#94 Leo Kiely

Leo Kiely, Boston Red Sox

Career: Kiely went 7-7 in his rookie year of 1951 and then had his career interrupted by a stint in the military. He pitched in Japan in 1953 and later returned stateside to resume his major league career. After 1954 he bacame a full time reliever and was third in the AL in saves in 1958 with 12. His most successful year came while pitching in the PCL in 1957. That year he won 21 games, 20 of them out of the bullpen.

In 1960: Kiely was actually a member of the Kansas City Athletics in 1960 having been dealt twice over the winter. The BoSox sent him to the Indians in January and he was traded again, to the A's this time, just before Opening Day.

In KC he made 20 appearances up through June 20th. All were in relief and most were very good. He allowed only 4 earned runs in 21 innings. After his third blown save he disappeared from the majors. He was suffering from a sore elbow and had surgery to remove bone chips but never pitched again.

WikiFacts: From his SABR bio: Frank Sullivan, a keen observer of his surroundings, described Kiely’s penchant for beer: “He was one of the all-time beer drinkers. Never loud, never out of hand, he could sit quietly and drink you into oblivion. I continually marveled at the way he would pour each bottle of beer slowly and deliberately into a small glass and savor each sip as if it were the first of the day. I believe he was made up of 98% liquid. After five warm-up pitches he would literally be dripping sweat from the bill of his cap. His personality was as even-keeled as anyone I had ever met; he had absolutely no enemies. I counted him as one of my best pals on the team. Leo was one of the sweetest guys I ever met. There wasn't a bad bone in his skinny body."

The Card: My copy is a bit faded with soft corners and it's miscut. In other's perfect for my needs. That's Yankee Stadium and I've seen enough of that usher in the stands over Kiely's shoulder  on other cards in the '59 and '60 sets to think of him as a family friend.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#423 Ed Fitz Gerald

Ed Fitz Gerald, Cleveland Indians

Career: Fitz Gerald debuted in 1948 after a couple impressive minor league seasons and played 12 seasons with the Pirates, Senators and finally the Indians. His most productive seasons (and the only ones where he could be considered a starter) were in 1953 and 1954. He ot over 400 at bats with the Nats in '54 and hit .289 while tying his career high of 40 RBI.

In 1960: He was out of baseball by the time this card was issued, or at least as an active player. After being released by the Indians in April of 1960 he was added to the coaching staff and he went on to a second career as a major and minor league coach/manager.

WikiFacts: "While with the Pirates, Fitz Gerald caught Cliff Chambers' no-hitter on May 6, 1951. He also broke up, as a Washington Senator, Chicago White Sox pitcher Billy Pierce's bid for a perfect game on June 27, 1958 by doubling with two out in the ninth, the ball landing just inches inside the first-base line."

The Card: Looks like Fitz Gerald is wearing an Indians' home uni. Could this shot have been taken in Municipal Stadium. If so it's pretty rare for Topps.

Side note: Topps seems to have been undecided on the correct 'spelling' of Fitz gerald's last name (although 'spelling' way be the incorrect term). You can see from their cards that it's all over the place...'Fitz Gerald', 'Fitzgerald', 'FitzGerald'. I can't really tell but I think there is a slight space between 'Fitz' and 'Gerald' on the 1960 card. He signed autographs as seen on the baseball below. I'm not sure why I care about this but I do.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#389 1959 World Series Game #5 "Luis Swipes Base"

The Card: This is the first I've posted of the World Series subset that chronicles the 1959 Dodgers' championship. One card was issued for each game and a seventh shows the Dodgers 'celebration and has Series total stats on the back. The cards use painted game action photos.

This one, purportedly showing Game Five action has Luis Aparicio of the Sox sliding into second with a steal while Maury Wills takes the catcher's late throw.

Interestingly the action shown is actually from Game Four of the Series. Corbis' website had the original image and caption. The photo is dated October 5. And that's the date of Game Four in which Aparicio walked and stole second to lead off the top of the first.

Original caption: Luis Apariclo, Sox ss, steals second in the first inning after getting on base with a walk. John Roseboro's throw to Maury Wills was late. Note ball just reaching Wills glove.
In a further bit of ironic card trivia Maury Wills was famously not included in Topps sets of the day. He wasn't offered the standard Topps $5 contract and by the time he made a splash in the majors he had signed an 'exclusive' contract with Fleer. If you want some background on this the LA Times had a nice article in 2011.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

#324 Jim Perry All Star Rookie

Jim Perry, Cleveland Indians

Career: Older brother of Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry he pitched for 17 seasons in the American League. His longest tenure came with the Twins. Over ten seasons with Minnesota he was 128-90 with a 3.15 ERA. He pitched seven seasons (over two stretches) with the Indians and one each with Oakland and Detroit. His 24 wins and 3.04 ERA in 1970 won him the Cy Young Award and he helped the Twins to three post season berths including the 1965 World Series.

In 1960: Coming off a rookie campaign that earned him second place in the ROY voting he had a great season making a league high 36 starts for the Indians. He led the league with 18 wins and four shutouts.

WikiFacts: The Perry brothers are the only set of brothers to both win Cy Young Awards. Jim's son, Chris Perry, is a professional golfer who has won a tournament on the PGA Tour.

Notable Achievements:

1959 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
3-time AL All-Star (1961, 1970 & 1971)
AL Cy Young Award Winner (1970)
2-time AL Wins Leader (1960 & 1970)
AL Shutouts Leader (1960)
15 Wins Seasons: 5 (1960, 1969-1971 & 1974)
20 Wins Seasons: 2 (1969 & 1970)
200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1960, 1961 & 1969-1974)

The Card: This is another subset within the 1960 Topps set. These Topps All Star Rookie cards feature players who excelled as rookies in 1959. It's the first time the great 'Top Hat' Rookie trophy appears on Topps baseball cards. I think it's the best 'add on' to a card ever. You can see them all on this site. There were ten all told in the 1960 set and they run from #316 (Willie McCovey) thru #325 (Jim O'Toole).

You can see that the 'Season's Highlights' section on the back list the October 29 date as Perry having won the Topps Rookie Trophy. I wonder if it was the date of some post-season banquet or just the date the awards were announced. The front claims that the ten players were "Selected by the Youth of America". I was a 'youth' in 1960 and don't recall getting a vote.

Baseball Reference gives some background and history of the award winners.

Friday, May 22, 2015

#11 Norm Siebern

Norm Siebern, Kansas City Athletics

Career: Siebern played 12 seasons in the majors, all except a partial year with the Giants were in the AL. He won a Gold Glove as an outfielder for the Yankees early in his career but spent the majority of his time as a first baseman. He was a three time All Star and he won World Series rings as a part of the 1956 and 1958 Yankees. He also played for the Red Sox in the '67 Series against the Cardinals.

Notable Achievements:

  • 1957 Minor League Player of the Year, Denver Bears, American Association
  • 3-time AL All-Star (1962-1964)
  • AL Gold Glove Winner (1958/LF)
  • AL Bases on Balls Leader (1964)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1962)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1962)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1962)
  • Won two World Series with the New York Yankees (1956 & 1958)

In 1960: Traded the previous winter to the A's in the deal that sent Roger Maris to New York Siebern was an every day player with about equal time spent in left and at first. He hit 19 homers to go with a .279 average. He was two years away from his best year. In 1962 he finished #7 in MVP voting.

WikiFacts: "Siebern and fellow Yankee farmhand Jerry Lumpe played basketball at Southwest Missouri State Teachers College (later Southwest Missouri State University and now Missouri State University) and helped the Bears win the 1952 and 1953 NAIA National Championship Tournaments. Southwest Missouri State posted a 10-0 record in the national tourney over the two seasons, including wins over Indiana State, Murray State, and Gonzaga, though both Siebern and Lumpe headed to spring training prior to the title games."- from Siebern's SABR bio

The Card: This one is in pretty rough shape. If I decide to make an 'upgrade' list I'll put this card on it. One reason I'd like a nicer copy is that I like the color scheme and another is that Siebern played for the Orioles and I'm partial to him for that. I also hate to see the wonderful colors of the back of the card marred as they are by stains.

Obviously Topps didn't bother airbrushing the 'NY' off Siebern's cap. This is a Series One card and maybe they didn't have the time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#233 Don Elston

Don Elston, Chicago Cubs

Career: Elston was a Cubs signee who debuted in 1953. He was traded to the Dodgers but after a minor league stint and one Dodger appearance in 1957 he was traded back to the Cubs with whom he finished his career. 

In 1960: Elston was coming off his All Star season of 1959 (he got the save in the NL's Game 1 win). He had led the NL in appearances in '58 and '59 and finished third in 1960. It was also his third consecutive double digit save season. He ranked 7th in the NL with 10.

WikiFacts: -from Baseball Reference:
"He made his debut on September 17, 1953, the same day Hall of Famer Ernie Banks also made his first major league appearance in the Cubs lineup."
 "As one of the top firemen of his time, he was cited as one of the inspirations for the creation of the "save" statistic for measuring a reliever's effectiveness" 

The Card: The cartoon references a stretch of games in late August thru the first week of September of 1958 in which Elston went 11 innings between allowing a hit. He picked up three of his eleven saves and only walked one batter in that run.

The 'posed action' shot of Elston is a change from the usual portrait photos that dominate this set. It was taken at Seals Stadium in San Francisco. This is a replacement card for the one that came with my original large lot. While most of the cards that were included in that group were just fine for my needs the Elston was unacceptable. Someone didn't care much for Don Elston. 

Here is the original version:

A closeup of the damage:

Monday, May 18, 2015

#249 Earl Wilson

Earl Wilson, Boston Red Sox

Career: Wilson had double digit wins in eight straight seasons from 1962 through 1969. He pitched for the Sox and Tigers for the bulk of his career but finished up with a half season in San Diego in 1970. He won 121 games with 21 being his best season total. He led the AL with that in 1967.

Notable Achievements:
AL Wins Leader (1967)
15 Wins Seasons: 2 (1966 & 1967)
20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1967)
200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 7 (1963-1969)
200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1966)
Won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1968

In 1960: Called up in July he had three shaky relief appearances before given a shot as a starter. He responded with back-to-back complete game wins. He got seven more starts before the season ended with mixed results, a 3-2 record and 4.71 ERA. He spent the following season in the minors before returning to the bigs for good in 1962.

WikiFacts: "Occasionally used as a pinch-hitter, he was a definite home-run threat any time he stepped into the batter's box. Wilson hit home runs for teams in each league in 1970 - it would be 38 years until another hurler, C.C. Sabathia, duplicated the feat. His 33 homers by a pitcher in the post-1960 expansion era stands as a record; as of 2014, Bob Gibson and Carlos Zambrano were tied for second at 24."

The Card: From time to time you come across cards from this set on which the letters in the player's name are uneven. This is one of them.The color scheme isn't repulsive and the condition is about f/g.              

Saturday, May 16, 2015

#565 Roger Maris Sport Magazine All Star

Roger Maris, Sport Magazine '60 All Star Selection

As an All Star: Maris was selected to the AL squad four straight seasons, 1959 thru 1962. He played in seven ASG but didn't accomplish much as he collected only two hits in 19 at bats.

In the 1960 ASGs: Maris started both games in RF that year. He was 0-6 with a walk and the AL lost them both.

The card: This is the first 1960 All Star card I've posted. I think these rank behind only the 1958 All Star cards as favorites of mine. The design seems ahead of it's time for Topps. This subset comes at the end of the 7th Series. They were produced about a month into the 1960 season as the text references Maris' production in the first three weeks of the 1960 season.

The condition of this card pretty much reflects the low price I won it at. Maybe one day I'll look to upgrade it but for now it's perfectly fine.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

#546 Hank Aguirre

Hank Aguirre, Detroit Tigers

Career: In his 16 year career Aguirre spent four seasons as a starter for the Tigers and two others in which he split time about equally between the rotation and the pen. The rest of the time, including seasons with the Indians, Cubs and Dodgers, he was a bullpen fixture. He won 75 games and had 33 saves. His best season was 1962 when he won 16 games and led the AL in ERA, ERA+, WHIP and made the All Star team. He pitched three innings in the second of two ASGs that year and got a 'hold'.

In 1960: He went 5-3 in 37 games including six starts. He posted a 2.27 ERA and a career best 2.67 k/w ratio.

WikiFacts: One of the worst hitting pitchers of all time Aguirre got one at bat in that 1962 ASG. Juan Marichal whiffed him. he had one career triple. It came in a game at Yankee Stadium which I witnessed. I detailed that day in my post of Aguirre's 1959 card.

Notable Achievements:

AL All-Star (1962)
AL ERA Leader (1962)
15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1962)
200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1962, 1963 & 1965)

The Card: Red, blue, yellow and white is a nice combo on these cards. This was part of my initial large lot purchase. It's typical of the condition of the cards I got, a bit closer to 'good' than 'fair'.

I'm partial to this card because of my 'connection' to Aguirre. He probably had that same grin on his face as he stood on third base that day in Yankee Stadium. Those same stands were behind him at that moment that day as well.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

#494 Orioles Team, #224 Paul Richards & #455 Orioles Coaches

I've decided that since I've already posted the 1960 Managers cards on my regular blog I wouldn't repeat them here. But rather I'll 'piggyback' them with the team card and the Coaches card as well. Sort of a team trifecta. 

In 1960: After finishing no higher than 5th since moving from St. Louis in 1954 the Orioles flew to a second place finish in 1960. They were in 1st place in the AL on September 14 but then the bottom fell out and they slid to a finish 8 games behind the Yankees.

At the plate the Orioles were led in batting average by Brooks Robinson (.294), in RBI by Jim Gentile (98), and in homers by Ron Hansen....yes, Ron Hansen (22).

The pitching staff was led by a group of promising young guys including Steve Barber, Milt Pappas, Chuck Estrada and Jack Fisher. They were complimented by vets Hoyt Wilhelm and Hal Brown.

The Card: I had acquired all the Orioles related cards in this set many years ago. The large lot purchase I made to kick off my race to collect the whole thing brought me about 10 or 12, two or three of which were good enough to be upgrades over what I had. This team card was one of those. Not that the corners were any better but my original one had a badly marked checklist.

I'm fine with the condition of this one overall. I like that the orange reflects the O's colors. I wish team trainers still wore those white caps like they did way back.

Manager Card: Paul Richards

Career: Paul Richards managed the Orioles from 1955 to 1961. Before that he was a catcher with the Dodgers (1932), Giants (1933–35), Philadelphia A's (1935) and Detroit Tigers (1943–46). He managed the White Sox before and after he was at the helm in Baltimore. He also served as the General Manager for the Orioles, the Houston Colt .45s and the Atlanta Braves.

In Baltimore he was credited with developing many of the players that brought the Birds out of obscurity to a second place finish in 1960 including Brooks Robinson and several pitchers including Steve Barber, Milt Pappas and Jack Fisher who made up their young staff.

He also developed the over-sized catchers mitt that Gus Triandos and others used to handle Hoyt Wilhelm's knuckler. Although the Texan never won a pennant he managed 16 players who went on the manage in the big leagues.

The Card: His card provides the rare look at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium on a card from this era. My favorite stadium of all. This is the first of the vertical cards I've posted. The managers, coaches and some of the specials and World Series cards are the exceptions to the horizontal dominance of the 1960 set.

Coaches Card: Eddie Robinson played 13 seasons at first base for several American League teams. He made four All Star squads. I own one of his game used gloves and used it some back when I was playing.

Harry 'The Cat' Brecheen won 133 games for the Cardinals and Browns between 1940 and 1953. He was 4-1 in World Series games winning two rings. He earned three of the Cards four wins in the 1946 WS victory over the Red Sox.

Lum Harris pitched for the A's and Nats in the 40's and led the AL with 21 losses in 1953. He made his mark on the game as a manager and coach. He finished out the '61 season as O's manager after Paul Richards was moved out of the job. He managed the Astros in the mid 60's and then had a four and a half year run as skipper of the Braves. He led them to the 1969 NL East West title but were ousted by the Miracle Mets. Join the club, Lum!

The Card: I guess this was the first year that Topps issued dedicated coaching staff cards. I distinctly recall them from collecting as a nine year old. We thought they were weird. They are numbers consecutively in the set. I wish Topps had considered just doing a small cartoon for each of the coaches on the card instead of the 'wall of text' that they used. You can tell from the back of Paul Richards card that three or four cartoons could have easily fit. 

This Orioles' card is in pretty good shape. It's about as good as any of the ones I have. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

#17 Johnny Callison

Johnny Callison, Philadelphia Phillies

Career: Callison was a solid major leaguer who spent the best part of his career in the decade he played in Philadelphia. He made three All Star squads and was the runner-up in MVP voting in 1964. He came up with the White Sox and after his days in Philly he returned to Chicago as a member of the Cubs for a couple of seasons. He then finished up with the Yankees. He never played in the post-season coming close twice. He was with the '59 pennant winning White Sox but wasn't on the World series roster. The '64 Phils had that epic collapse in '64 which wiped out his best shot at a Series.

Notable Achievements:

  • 3-time NL All-Star (1962, 1964 & 1965)
  • 1964 All-Star Game MVP
  • NL Doubles Leader (1966)
  • 2-time NL Triples Leader (1962 & 1965)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (1962-1965)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1964 & 1965)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1964 & 1965)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1962 & 1964)

In 1960: This was his first year in Philly having been traded from the White Sox for Gene Freese the previous winter. He took over an outfield slot for the Phils and hit .266 with nine homes in 138 games. He was still a couple of seasons away from becoming an All Star for the Phils.

WikiFacts: In 1964, at Shea Stadium in New York, he hit a game-winning home run in the All Star Game off Dick Radatz.

The Card, etc: The photo showing Callison in his Sox uni is fine with me. I'd rather that than a crappy airbrush job. The Yankee Stadium scoreboard and stands with the apartment buildings beyond make this a memory inducing card. The red/yellow/white combo is a good one. The cards with four colors (see Rocky Bridges from my last post) are more 'over the top' I think. Ray Boone wore #8 for the Sox in 1959 so that must be him in the background. It's not likely to be a shot from 1958 since the Sox didn't play at Yankee Stadium after Callison was called up.

Johnny Callison was one of my favorite players growing up, definitely one of my favorite National Leaguers. My Callison PC isn't complete but it's close. I'm still looking for oddball and regional items.

Friday, May 8, 2015

#22 Rocky Bridges

Rocky Bridges, Detroit Tigers

Career: Bridges came up through the Brooklyn Dodgers' chain and played 11 major league seasons for seven different clubs. He had a few brief runs as an everyday starter but was mostly a back-up platoon type guy. He had a career line of .247/.310/16/187. He made the 1958 All Star team as a member of the Senators. After finishing his playing career with the expansion Angels he had a long tenure as a coach and manager at various levels of organized baseball.

In 1960: He played for three clubs. He began the year with Detroit but barely played (injuries) and was traded to the Indians in July. The Cards purchased him in early September but he only made three appearances for them during what was an unsuccessful effort to make a run at the Pirates.

WikiFacts: Sports Illustrated noted in 1964 that Bridges was “one of the best stand-up comics in the history of baseball.”

The Card: I don't know if there is a card (or picture for that matter) of Bridges that shows him without a wad of tobacco in his cheek. I'm partial to pink cards but the pink and red with the yellow and white letters just isn't that attractive. My copy is in decent shape with some staining in the corners.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

#138 Art Mahaffey Sport Magazine Rookie Star

Art Mahaffey, Philadelphia Phillies

Career: After steadily improving his numbers over a four and a half year minor league stint Mahaffey pitched for all or parts of seven seasons, mostly for the Phils. He finished with a short stay with the Cards. He was 59-64 for his career, ( he won 19 of those in 1962) making two All Star Squads.

In 1960: Mahaffey began the year in the minors but got a late July call-up. He soon was in the rotation for the Phils and pitched remarkably well. He appeared in 14 games making 12 starts. Only one of those starts could be called 'poor'. The other 11 would qualify as 'Quality Starts' using the current meaning of the term. His 7-3 record is complimented by a 2.31 ERA.

WikiFacts: He picked off the first three players who had base hits against him: Curt Flood and Bill White of the St. Louis Cardinals (July 30, 1960) and Jim Marshall of the San Francisco Giants (July 31, 1960).

On April 23, 1961, struck out 17 Chicago Cubs to set a Phillies team record. He also tied the since-broken National League record for most strikeouts in a day game.

In 1962, Mahaffey became the last pitcher to strike out at least 12 batters and hit a grand slam in a game.

The Card: Love these orange rookie stars! Mahaffey looks very young in this one, doesn't he? This copy is in fair condition, off-center with soft corners. Pretty much typical of the cards I picked up in the large lot I started my collection with.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

#160 Rival All Stars (Mantle & Boyer) and some set background

The Card: This is the first of the ten multi-player 'specials' in the 1960 set. Mickey Mantle, looking impossibly young, exchanges pleasantries and a smile with Cardinal Ken Boyer. Four years after this card was issued the two would face off in the 1964 World Series. Mantle would outhit Boyer but the Cards took the title in seven.

Mickey Mantle was a 16 time All Star and won 3 MVP awards. He had 43 at bats in 16 All Star games and hit .233 with two home runs.

Ken Boyer, brother of Mantle's teammate Clete and Cloyd, a Cardinal pitcher in the early 50s, was a seven time All Star and the 1964 NL MVP. In 10 All Star games he had two dingers and batted .348 in 23 at bats.

My copy obviously isn't pristine but it came cheap. I am going to pick up nice copies of the two other Mantle cards in the set so condition on this one wasn't a priority. The crease that shows up in the scan above isn't really visible when the card is sitting in the page pocket.

I recall specifically having this card when this set was new. I know Topps had multi-player cards previously, as far back as 1957 at least, but this one sticks out as the one I loved having in my cigar box.

Before I get too far into the set I figured a bit of background would be appropriate.

The 1960 Topps set had, like the '59 set, 572 cards. They were issued in seven 'series' with the final one having somewhat limited distribution and is therefore more expensive to complete. The key rookie cards from this set include #136 Jim Kaat, #148 Carl Yastrzemski, and #316 Willie McCovey. Among my favorite aspects of the set is the great assortment of subsets it contains:
  • 1960 Rookie Stars (#117-148)
  • Managers (#212-227)
  • Topps All-Star Rookies (#316-325)
  • World Series Highlights (#385-391)
  • Coaches (#455-470)
  • Sport Magazine All-Stars (#553-572)
In addition each team was featured on a 'team' card with a checklist on the reverse. The checklist references the series that contains the team card. Speaking of the 'reverses' I've mentioned before that the gold/orange and black printing on that cream colored cardboard is my absolute favorite among all of Topps' vintage cards.

The cartoons, by Jack Davis who is known for his work on Mad magazine and many other places, are another strong point. As an aside, Mr. Davis just retired last December. He was working at the age of 90! A story about his retirement is here and you can see some of his work on this page..

But, back to the set......I'm particularly enamored with the Rookie Stars (love the orange!), the managers (I've blogged that group) and the Sport Magazine All Stars that close out the checklist.

Topps had first used the horizontal format in 1955 and 1956 and revived it in 1960. They would never again issue a flagship set with primarily horizontal cards. Two subsets, the managers and coaches, were formatted vertically.

In addition to black and white Topps used eight colors on the card fronts: blue, red, yellow, orange, light green, light blue, pink, and dark green. The cards came in one- and five cent wax packs. I don't think I ever saw a penny wax pack. They also came in cello packs. Those I remember.

As time goes by and I find out more about this wonderful collection of cards I'll include items of interest here. Like the 1959 set this one is growing on me as I fill in the binder pages with the colorful cards. I hope you'll keep checking back.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

#95 Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas, Chicago Cubs

Did you know? (Stuff from the 'net)  As a teen, before playing the game professionally, Thomas entered a seminary in Niagara Falls, Ontario, to study for the priesthood. He eventually chose baseball. He was nicknamed "The Big Donkey" by fellow players, in part for his less-than-stellar people skills.

Notable Achievements:

  • 3-time NL All-Star (1954, 1955 & 1958)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 9 (1953-1958 & 1960-1962)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1953, 1958 & 1962)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1953 & 1958)

In 1960: Thomas, in his first and only full year as a Cub, hit .238 with 21 homers and 64 RBI in 135 games. It was a below average season for him as he was into the second half of his career. He was involved in a trade the previous December as he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Henry, Lou Jackson and Lee Walls.

The Card: Just a bit below the average condition for the large lot I bought to kick off the set. Call it Fair. Polo Grounds shot showing him in his Reds uni, his prior club.

His 1959 Card Page

His personal webpage

Frank Thomas' SABR bio

Frank Thomas' career at Baseball Reference

Friday, May 1, 2015

#28 Brooks Robinson

Welcome to my 1960 Topps Baseball blog. Attempting to post all 572 cards from another vintage card set was something I've kicked around since I finished my 1959 Topps blog just over a year ago. Blogging a set is a big commitment and I went back and forth on whether or not I was up to it.

When I took on the '59 set I began with a goal of posting a card each day. That quickly turned into a chore and led to my walking away from it for several months. When I took it up again I decided that a couple of posts a week would be more realistic and that made all the difference. That's what I'll attempt here.

I'm sure some of you may be wondering why I chose the 1960 Topps set. For one thing I don't think it's been blogged before. At least I can't find one.

But there is a bigger reason. I've mentioned before that the '58-'59-'60 sets were my 'stepping stones' into collecting. The '58s were the first cards I remember seeing as a kid. I still can recall a girl who lived down the street with a stack of those '58 cards. I was fascinated by them. The first cards I ever owned were '59s. I found packs in my Easter basket and got a few more each time I visited my grandparents in Brooklyn. My grandfather spoiled me rotten and took me to the little soda fountain/candy store on Bedford Avenue every day.

But the 1960 set is the first one I 'collected'. I kept my cards in cigar boxes and bought them for myself with money I 'earned' doing stuff around the house. By 1960 we had moved from Long Island to New Jersey and it was just a short walk to the stores. I could go get cards myself. I loved the yellow wrapped wax packs but when I was really lucky I could get my folks to buy cello packs at Korvettes.

I'm pretty sure I didn't complete the '60 set but I bet I was close. No doubt the nostalgia factor plays a huge role in collecting this. The gold backs, particularly the ones printed on the white cardboard, are simply my favorite and looking at one just brings me back to my 9 year old world. I loved reading those 'season highlights'. I'm not sure why they fascinated me so much but they did.

The fronts are pretty cool, too. I know the horizontal format doesn't get much love but I'm fine with it. And the set is so darn colorful! Some of the color combos work better than others. The black and white 'action' shot is another element that works better on most cards than it does on others. The shot of Brooks Robinson is awkwardly placed/cropped.

Two of the set's subsets have always struck a chord with me. The managers cards as well as the orange Sport Magazine rookie stars. I have had the intention of collecting the rookie set for a long time. Now I have a real reason to.

I'm also still trying to come up with a format I'll be happy with. Since so many of the players in the 1960 set were also in the '59 set I don't think rehashing those same bios would make sense (or be very interesting). I may take a few cues (i.e. steal some ideas) from other set bloggers. I'm sure something satisfactory will sort of evolve before long.

I jumped in with a large lot purchase on eBay. I picked up just over half the set at about sixty five cents a card. I've since added some stars. Of course I already owned the Orioles in the set as well as the managers subset which I've blogged previously. Having those cards and a couple of the All Star cards has made the decision to chase the 1960 set easier.

Well, enough chatter. Just enjoy the Brooks Robinson card, number 28 in the set. Brooks was the first card I posted in my 1959 blog so I figured this would be the best card to lead off this one. For the time being I'm going to list some accomplishments of each player, drawn primarily from Baseball Reference. And I'll add in a tidbit or two that I find interesting. That can pertain to anything at all.

Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Orioles

In 1960 he hit .294 with 14 homers, 88 RBI and a .324 OPS, made his first All Star team, his first Gold Glove and finished 3rd in MVP voting.

From the 'net:

  • 15-time All-Star (1960-1974)
  • AL MVP (1964)
  • 1966 All-Star Game MVP
  • 1970 World Series MVP
  • 16-time AL Gold Glove Winner (1960-1975)
  • AL At Bats Leader (1961)
  • AL RBI Leader (1964)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 6 (1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969 & 1971)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1964 & 1966)
  • Won two World Series with the Baltimore Orioles (1966 & 1970)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1983

Records Held:

  • Gold Glove awards, 16 (tied)
  • Consecutive Gold Glove awards, 16 (tied)
  • Seasons with one club, 23 (tied)
  • Triple Plays, Batted Into, career, 4
  • Games, third baseman, career, 2870
  • Assists, third baseman, career, 6205
  • Putouts, third baseman, career, 2697
  • Double plays, third baseman, career, 618

Did you know?
Brooks was a natural left-handed hitter.

Brooks' website

Brooks and myself circa 1983 at Arlington Stadium, Arlington Texas