Monday, February 27, 2017

#328 Earl Battey

Earl Battey  Chicago White Sox

Career: After coming through the White Sox system and three seasons as a back-up Battey's career took off in Washington. After being traded from the Sox to the Senators just before this card was issued he went on to backstop that franchise as they moved to Minnesota. He helped the Twins win the AL Pennant in 1965.

During his seven seasons as the Twins primary catcher he made four All Star squads and won three straight Gold Glove awards ('60-'62). He also finished in the Top Ten in MVP votes three times. He hit .302 in 1961 and had career highs in homers (26) and RBI (84) in 1963. There were not a whole lot of catchers who matched his combination of hitting and defense during his heyday.

In 1960: Battey was traded to the Senators two weeks before the 1960 season opened. And when it did he was ready. He had a couple of hits including a two run homer in support of Camilo Pascual's nifty three hit 15 strikeout performance in a win over the Red Sox. Handed the starting job he slashed a solid 15/60/.270 and picked up his first Gold Glove.

WikiFacts: Battey's SABR bio has the story of his original signing by Chicago:
According to Bob Vanderberg, Chicago Tribune assistant sports editor, “Billy Pierce told me the story that when the Sox were in California training, Paul Richards after practice asked Billy to go with him to see a high-school game. When Billy asked why, Richards told him about a great young catcher [Battey] who supposedly was the best in the country.” White Sox scout Hollis Thurston signed Battey to a $3,999 contract. His mother was ill and his family needed the money. At that time, a player signing for a bonus of $4,000 or more had to be kept on the major-league roster for at least two years.

The Card: It has an interesting color combo and you have to love old Comiskey in the background. For me though the uni Battey wears makes it such a nice card. I love the pinstripe look and especially the red-trimmed elements. I've always liked the white and red S-O-X logo's cap. It took me a long time to find a well made example.. I finally nabbed one when we saw the Sox play in Chicago last summer.

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