Friday, November 2, 2018

#29 Clem Labine

Clem Labine  Los Angeles Dodgers

Career: He pitched in 13 big league seasons, mostly with the Dodgers in Brooklyn. He was the Bums' main bullpen guy in their (sometimes) glorious mid-50s. He led the NL in saves in 1956 and 1957 which happened to be the two years he was an All-Star. He pitched in six World Series, five with the Dodgers. He had two Series game wins and two saves. He finished his career in 1962 with a short stint with the Original Mets. He retired to admire his three Series rings after being released a month into the season. 

In 1960: Nearing the end of his career, he was traded to the Tigers in June, released by them in August and was lucky enough to hook on with the World Series-bound Pirates for the last six weeks of the season. His full regular season numbers were pretty decent but like every Pirate pitcher in the Series against the Yankees he was shelled, badly. But as we all know the Bucs pulled out a classic seven-game Series win and Labine had his third ring. 

Off The Charts: The late Robert Creamer, one of our best baseball biographers, wrote this terrific article about Labine for the June 3, 1957 issue of Sports Illustrated. Seriously great writing.

The Card: Super nice color combo and a picture from Wrigley Field. What's not to like?  Interestingly Topps gave his card the 'write-up' treatment rather than the 'bulleted highlights' thing. He had eight saves and five wins in the previous season but I guess it was a matter of them wanting to touch on his career Series exploits rather than just 1959. Can't blame them.

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