Friday, December 28, 2018

#38 Jerry Casale

Jerry Casale  Boston Red Sox

Career: Brooklyn native spent five seasons (mostly good ones) in the Sox chain and did a military tour before his 1959 rookie season. Went on to play for five seasons for three teams including the '61 expansion Angels. During that 1961 season, he gave up  Carl Yastrzemski's first career homer.

In 1960: He was coming off his rookie season which was by far his best one (12-8, 9 CG and 3 shutouts). He fell to 2-9 in '60 with a woeful ERA. That sad sophomore year prompted the Red Sox to let him go in the expansion draft to the Angels.

Off The Charts: From Wikipedia.....After baseball Casale went into the restaurant business. He opened a restaurant in Manhattan called Murray's with former New York Mets players Art Shamsky and Ron Darling, and later opened an Italian restaurant called Pino's on 34th Street in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan.

The Card: Run-of-the-mill card which may be a shot of Comiskey. Red seats usually mean Connie Mack but that wouldn't make much sense for this one. It does have the highlights bullet list, so there's that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

#37 Bill Bruton

Bill Bruton  Milwaukee Braves

Career: Bruton led the NL in steals his first three seasons in the league. He went on to play centerfield for twelve years, eight with the Braves and the last four with the Tigers. He was a member of two NL championship Braves squads but missed the '57 World Series due to a knee injury. He hit .412 with a homer in the '58 Series. 

In 1960This was his last season in Milwaukee but he made it a good one as he led the league in runs and triples.

Off The Charts: From his SABR bio: "...Bruton’s development as a player benefited directly from the professional baseball help and advice he received from his father-in-law, Hall of Famer William Julius “Judy” Johnson. Johnson spent 18 years in the Negro Leagues playing third base primarily with the Hilldale Club of Philadelphia and the Pittsburgh Crawfords."

The Card: Wonderful card that ticks off all the boxes for this set...nice color combo, "action" (posed) shot, great Braves uni, Wrigley Field background, cream cardboard, Season's Highlights bullet list on the back. Damn near perfect!

Monday, December 10, 2018

#36 Russ Nixon

Russ Nixon  Cleveland Indians

Career: Russ Nixon spent 12 seasons as a big league catcher for the Indians, Red Sox and Twins. He was never an All-Star or hit for much power but he had a respectable career .268 average. He also managed the Reds and Braves and served as a coach, instructor, and  minor league manager well into his 70s.

In 1960: He split the year between the Indians and Red Sox due to a trade in June. The deal revived his bat and he hit .295 after arriving in Fenway. Here's a fun fact from Wikipedia on his 1960 season: "Nixon was actually traded twice to the Red Sox in 1960. Cleveland initially dealt him to Boston on March 16 for catcher Sammy White and first baseman Jim Marshall. White chose to retire and the trade was canceled but not before Nixon played five exhibition games for the Red Sox. Nixon returned to the Indians and started the regular season with them, appearing in 25 games, 21 as the starting catcher; then, almost three months after the original swap, on June 13, he was traded to the Red Sox a second time, with outfielder Carroll Hardy for Canadian-born pitcher Ted Bowsfield and outfielder Marty Keough."

Off The Charts: His twin brother, Roy Nixon, never reached the majors. They were both signed on the same day by the Cleveland Indians and were teammates on the 1953 Green Bay Bluejays and both had 46 hits - but Russ did it in 137 AB while it took Roy 182 at-bats to reach that figure.

The Card: Someone, likely a kid, wrote his initials on the back of this card. Writing on the front of a card is an issue for me. On the back? It's not a big deal. This photo was taken at Municipal Stadium. Nice for a change of pace. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

#35 Whitey Ford

Whitey Ford   New York Yankees

Career: Ford burst on the scene in July of 1950 and won nine games for the Series-bound Yankees. He was 9-0 until he lost in relief late in September when he was asked to pitch several innings two days after a complete game win. In his Hall of Fame career he was known for his control, fast games, clutch pitching, and friendship with Mickey Mantle among other things.

He won six titles in New York while helping the Yanks to eleven WS appearances. He had ten Series wins with a WHIP of just over 1.1 and was the '61 Series MVP with 2 wins. Over the course of the 1960 and 1961 Series he pitched 32 innings without allowing an earned run. 

In 1960: He went 12-7 and had four shutouts which led the league. He started the second of that season's two All-Star games and threw gopher balls to Willie Mays and Eddies Mathews and took the loss. He was the only effective Yankee pitchers in their Series loss to the Pirates.

Off The Charts: "Some of Ford's totals were depressed by Yankees manager Casey Stengel who viewed Ford as his top pitching asset and often reserved his ace left-hander for more formidable opponents such as the Tigers, Indians, and White Sox. When Ralph Houk became the manager in 1961, he promised Ford that he would pitch every fourth day, regardless of the opponent; after exceeding 30 starts only once in his nine seasons under Stengel, Ford had 39 in 1961". -Wikipedia

The Card: One of my very faves in this set. Love the color scheme, the cartoon and even the fact that four of the 'season's highlights' came against the Orioles.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

#34 George 'Sparky' Anderson

George Anderson  Philadelphia Phillies

Career:  Sparky Anderson signed with the Dodgers in 1953 and after six years climbing the extremely crowded ladder that was their farm system was dealt to the Phils. He had an interesting one year career. Interesting in that not many players are full-time starters as rookies and then never appear in the majors again. Of course, Sparky was destined to manage with the Reds and Tigers and land in the Hall of Fame for that body of work. He was a pretty decent minor league hitter before and after his one big league season.

In 1960: Coming off his .218 average as the full-time second-baseman for the Phils he was set adrift and landed in Toronto with the AAA Maple Leafs. He hit .227 for what was that year an Indians affiliate club.

Off The Charts: Anderson is the last American League manager to date to win a game by forfeit. This came a month after being hired in Detroit when, as a result of Disco Demolition Night in Chicago, the second half of a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox had to be called off after an anti-disco demonstration went awry and severely damaged the playing surface at Comiskey Park. Even after White Sox groundskeepers removed debris from the field, Anderson refused to let the Tigers take the field. -Wikipedia

The Card: Sparky was a guy who always looked to be in his 70s. But this photo, taken in Connie Mack Stadium, actually seems to do him some favors. The red in the uni, cap, and seats is a nice compliment to the card color combo.

Monday, November 12, 2018

#33 Tom Morgan

Tom Morgan  Detroit Tigers

Career: Morgan was an under-the-radar spot starter turned reliever for the powerful Yankee clubs of the early to mid-50s. He put up fairly consistent numbers in the Bronx.  And he won three rings. His time with the Tigers, A's and Senators was a bit rockier but he found his form again 1961 in Los Angeles. He went 8-2, had ten saves and a WHIP under 1 and backed that up in '62 with a nine-save season. He retired as a player after 1963 but spent many years as a pitching coach, manager, and instructor in several organizations.

In 1960: Morgan was dealt from the Tigers to the Senators in July. He made 36 appearances overall and his subpar numbers gave no indication of the nice season he was to have with the fledgling Angels in 1961. 

Off The Charts: Morgan was traded twice in February from the Yankees to the Athletics and in November from the A's to the Tigers. Those two trades involved 25 different players. 

The Card: Morgan seems to attract the oddball colors in Topps' sets. He had a sweet pink card in 1958 and a lime green one in '59. Seafoam green/red/yellow/white is not common in this 1960. I've come across worse I guess.

Friday, November 9, 2018

#30 Tito Francona

Tito Francona  Cleveland Indians

Career: The father of Indians' manager Terry, Tito Francona had a long pro career. He began as a Browns signee in 1952 and played 15 big league seasons, six with Cleveland. He was a top 5 MVP candidate in 1959, led the league in doubles in 1960 and made the AL All-Star team in 1961. He passed away at the age of 84 earlier in 2018.

In 1960: After a sterling 1959 season (.363 and a career-high 20 homers) in 1959 his numbers dipped a bit to a .291 average and 17 homers.

Off The Charts: He and Rocky Colavito tied for 2nd with one vote each in the 1956 ROY balloting. The winner was Luis Aparicio who got 22 votes. Hey, second place isn't always the first loser.

The Card: Dig that chaw of tobacco in Tito's cheek. And that classic gold on cream card-back with seasons highlight bullet points. I love it. It takes me back to the schoolyard and my friends and I shuffling through stacks of these things. Nostalgia is a helluva drug.

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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

#27 Dick Drott

Dick Drott   Chicago Cubs Career: Drott came to the majors in 1957 as a hard (but wild) throwing prospect and he didn't disappoint. He won 15 games for a Cubs club that won 62 games total. He also led the NL in walks allowed. He never approached that sort of season again. He pitched through 1963 with the Cubs and Colt .45s and only in '58 did he win more than 2 games in a year. In 1960: He was coming off an injury suffered early in 1959 and was largely ineffective. He was 0-6 with an ERA over 7 in 23 appearances including nine starts.   Off The Charts: According to Baseball Reference on 'April 24, 1957, Drott was ejected from a game for using a wheelchair to wheel Moe Drabowsky to first base after Drabowsky claimed he was hit on the foot by a pitch.'  The Card: Very common red/yellow/black color combo. That's not to say it is unattractive. In fact, I like it a lot. Drott got a paragraph instead of a highlights bullet list because of his limited '59 season. But he got a neat cartoon. I like knowing he collected records. A year or so later I was doing the same thing. And this is one of the cards that I swear I got in EVERY pack, cello and wax, that year. Hell, I think I was pulling this card in seventh series packs. 😉

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

#26 Wayne Terwilliger

Wayne Terwilliger  Kansas City Athletics

Career: He's the epitome of a baseball 'lifer'. He broke into pro ball in 1948 and had his major league debut in 1949 with the Cubs. Never a big hitter he got through nine seasons with multiple teams using his versatility and hustle. Following his playing days he managed and coached at nearly every level of baseball until he finally quit in 2010 after 62 seasons on the diamond. His Fort Worth Cats won the independent Central Baseball League title in 2005. He was 80 years old. Only Connie Mack had previously managed at that age.

In 1960: He was about at the end of his playing days. He made two appearances for the Athletics before being 'traded' to the Yankees. It was one of those Yankee-A's trades that happened quite frequently in those days. He spent the rest of the season playing for the Yanks' AAA team as an insurance policy.

Off The Charts: From his very own website..."In 2005, Twig became the second man ever to manage at age 80, led the Ft. Worth Cats to a league championship, posted a franchise record for wins, was Manager of the Year, got an earring, and published his autobiography."  Check below for a shot of his book. It has some nice reviews on Amazon.

The Card: I always like pink cards but this pink/green/yellow/white combo? Meh. Bonus point awarded for the classic A's logo.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

#25 Roy Sievers

Roy Sievers  Washington Senators

Career: Sievers was the 1949 AL ROY and went on to an excellent career that spanned 17 years and five clubs. His best seasons came in athe mid-50s to early 60s run with the Senators and White Sox where he made four All-Star squads and three times finished in the Top 10 of MVP voting. His Baseball Reference Similarity Scores list him with hitters like Edwin Encarnacion, Boog Powell, Rocky Colavito, and Greg Luzinski...good hitters probably a notch or so below Hall of Fame levels.

In 1960: Sievers was traded to the White Sox on April 4 for Earl Battey and Don Mincher,  went on to contribute to the Twins rise to title contenders in the mid-60s.  He took over at first base for the aging Earl Torgeson and had another fine season. He had 28 homers, 91 RBIs to go along with a .295 average and  .930 OPS.

Off The Charts: Roy Sievers died in 2017 at the age of 90. There is a very nice obit/tribute that can be found here.

From Baseball Reference Bullpen....
Sievers appeared as the swinging double for actor Tab Hunter in distance shots in the 1958 movie Damn Yankees. Hunter's character, Joe Hardy, was left-handed, so the right-handed Sievers was outfitted with a mirror-image Nats uniform and the film was reversed in production.

The Card: Obviously this is a first series card and the trade to the Sox was done after it was on store shelves so he's a Nat here. The yellow/red/black combo is one of them more attractive ones Topps used.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

#24 Dick Gray

Dick Gray  St. Louis Cardinals

Career: He was highly touted as he worked his way up the overstocked Dodgers' chain and finally broke through when the club moved west. He was sidetracked by injuries early in the 1958 season and never really recovered his hitting prowess. He never played a full season in the majors finishing with a .239 average and six homers. Four of those homers came in the first nine games ever played by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 1960: He had five at-bats for the Cardinals before he was traded to the Pirates in May in a deal that sent Julian Javier to St. Louis. The Pirates kept him at AAA for the season where he struggled at the plate hitting .255.  He never returned to the majors.

Off The Chart: Baseball Reference tells us that... 

From the time the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, CA in 1958 until Ron Cey took hold of the third base position for a decade starting in 1973, over three dozen different players where used at the hot corner. But the very first one in that 1958 season was 27-year-old rookie Dick Gray, who arrived in the majors after his big year with St. Paul in 1957.

And from Wikipedia...

Gray was the regular third baseman for the Dodgers in their opening series against the San Francisco Giants at Seals Stadium. On April 16, 1958, in the second game of the series, the Dodgers crushed the Giants, 13–1. In the second inning of that game, Gray belted a two-run homer off Ramón Monzant, to become the first player to hit a home run in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

The Card: Plenty of pink in this first series so far. This is my original copy of this card but I have since upgraded it (along with a few dozen others) thanks to the vintage bins at the local hotel show.

Friday, October 5, 2018

#23 Eddie Fisher

Eddie Fisher  San Francisco Giants

Career: The knuckleballing reliever pitched for six teams over a 15-year major league career. 1965 was his best season by far as he had 15 wins and 24 saves to go along with his 0.94 WHIP. He finished fourth in the MVP balloting that season (for a White Sox team that ended up second in the AL). That effort earned him a trade to the Orioles the following June. Like everyone else in the '66 Orioles bullpen (except Moe Drabowsky) he earned a ring without breaking a sweat.

In 1960: After a mid-season 1959 debut with the Giants that proved rather bumpy after a first appearance win, Fisher spent the season as a starter in Tacoma for the Giants' AAA club. He got into three games after a September call-up.

WikiFacts: He shares a name with the 1950's singer/actor and serial 'celeb marrying' Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher's dad.

The Card: Love the pink on the front. I wish I had a dollar for every vintage Topps card back cartoon that showed a 'pirate' walking the plank.  As for the picture on the guess is Wrigley Field.

Monday, October 1, 2018

#21 Dutch Dotterer

Dutch Dotterer  Cincinnati Reds

Career: Dutch had a long climb through the Reds organization that included a two-year detour for military service. He had a couple of brief stretches with the big club in '57-'58 and settled in as the backup in 1959. That was the only year he was in the majors wire-to-wire. He was traded to the Athletics after the 1960 season but was taken by the Senators in the Expansion Draft a few months later. He got into a few games for the Nats in '61 before he finished his playing days in AAA in 1962.

In 1960: His game logs show he opened the season in a platoon with Ed Bailey but was hitting .228 when he was sent back to the minors in July. His numbers in AAA for the rest of that season were pretty good and probably are what sparked the senators to pick him in the draft.

WikiFacts: Apparently Dutch was something of a Renaissance man!  And his family had some serious athletic skills...this is from his Wikipedia page:
His father, Dutch Dotterer, Sr., was a longtime scout with Cincinnati, the Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees. His brother, Tom, an infielder, played minor league baseball in the Cincinnati organization.

Also, his son, Mike, graduated from Stanford University, where he is a member of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame in both football and baseball. Mike was drafted by the New York Yankees (1979, 1983), the Oakland Athletics (1982) and in the NFL by the Los Angeles Raiders (1983), where he was a member of the 1984 Super Bowl Championship Team.

The back of the card mentions that he once caught a ball dropped from a helicopter. His page from the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame mentions it as well. Not much about it online but this site quotes a book entitled Redleg Journal:

(Reds General Manager) “Gabe Paul offered $25 to each Reds and Giants catcher who would attempt to catch the balls dropped from the helicopter; and an additional $100 for each ball caught. Only Landrith and Dotterer–a Reds farm hand on leave from the Navy–volunteered.
 The Card: Nothing extra special about this one but it bears mentioning that his 1959 card is awesome. And his 1961 card actually has a photo of his brother.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

#20 Roy Face

Roy Face  Pittsburgh Pirates

Career: After an impressive four season minor league stint he debuted in 1953 and was hit pretty hard. After a year back in the minors he returned in 1955. He transitioned into a relief specialist and became one of the best over the next decade and a half. He was a three-time All-Star and led the NL in saves three times.

In 1960: He was coming off a sterling '59 season which saw him go 18-1(!) out of the Bucs' bullpen. In 1960 he had 24 saves and a WHIP of 1.06 as the Pirates won the NL pennant and defeated the Yankees in that memorable World Series. Law had three saves in that October classic.

WikiFacts: "He achieved his success almost exclusively with the forkball, which he had learned from Yankees reliever Joe Page."

The Card: As a kid, impressed by numbers on the back of baseball cards, I was in awe of Roy Face's 18 win season in 1959. So while I don't collect Face at all I do appreciate his cards. This one, with its pink element, is no exception. BTW.....Roy is giving someone a righteous side-eye, yes?

Monday, September 24, 2018

#19 Felix Mantilla

Felix Mantilla   Milwaukee Braves

Career: SABR says the key word in describing Felix Mantilla is versatility. In 11 seasons, 6 with the Braves, he played everywhere except pitcher and catcher. He was a member of the '57-'58 Braves and won a ring. He was also a member of the 'Original Mets' club in 1962 and so in the course of four years, he saw the sublime and the ridiculous in the game. He finished his career with the Red Sox and Astros. He made his only All-Star squad with Boston in 1965 as the starting second baseman.

In 1960: Mantilla hit .257, his best in a full season with the Braves, while playing in 63 games. He split time in those between second and short with some outfield time as well.

WikiFacts: Even decades after his days with the Braves, Mantilla is doing good things for young people in the Milwaukee community and in his native Puerto Rico.

The Card: While I prefer the backs that have 'Seasons Highlights' there is nothing much I don't like about this one. It features one of the better color combos and Mantilla looks happy. Why shouldn't he be wearing the wonderful Braves' cap and uni?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Dodger Team Trio #18, #212 and #463

Los Angeles Dodgers Team Card #18

The 1960 Dodgers were, of course, the defending World Series champs. As so many teams do, they found it tough to repeat and they finished fourth, 13 games behind the Pirates. They again had plenty of pitching but were mid-pack in most important hitting categories.

Sandy Koufax was still a season away from blossoming into the most dominant lefty of his generation. Don Drysdale anchored the staff and his 15-14 mark is a result of the weak Dodgers attack more than anything he did. He had sterling numbers. Frank Howard won the Rookie of the Year award and led the team with 23 homers.  Maury Wills led the league with 50 steals. It was the first of six consecutive seasons he'd be the NL theft leader.

Obviously, the card is marked on the back. I have no issue with marked checklists.

Manager Walt Alston Card #212

I have already posted this Alston card over on my Five Tool Collector blog. Here what I said:

Alston has one at bat in the majors. One. On September 27th of 1936, as a member of the Cardinals, Alston entered the game at first base after Frankie Frisch pinch hit for the ejected Johnny Mize. He came up to bat later and fanned. Made and error at first as well. Never saw the field in a major league game again, as a player at least.

 That didn't deter him from having a standout Hall of Fame career in the Dodgers' dugouts in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. He took over the Dodgers from Charlie Dressen in 1954 and held the job for 23 seasons. His clubs won for World Series' titles and seven NL pennants. he managed 3658 games and won 2040 for a '558 winning percentage. Only four times out of those 23 seasons did the Dodgers finish in the second division of the NL.

The serious and studious looking Alston never signed more than a one year contract as manager of the Dodgers. As always he appears on his card looking like your favorite old uncle. 
It was pointed out in a comment that the card back has an error. The cartoon on the upper right has the dates incorrect. They should read '58 and '59. 

L.A. Dodgers Coaches  Card #463

Of the four coaches pictured Bobby Bragan is the biggest name although Pete Reiser was probably the best known at the time. He was a Dodger outfielder through the 40s known for crashing into outfield walls

Bragan managed the Pirates, Indians and most notably, the Braves from the mid-50s through mid-60s. He never won a pennant but spent a lifetime in the game and both Wills and Hank Aaron give him credit for improving their careers.

Greg Mulleavy had a brief big league career with the Red Sox and White Sox in the 30s and then was a coach and scout for the rest of his life. Joe Becker was a catcher who, according to Wikipedia is "a member of the relatively small fraternity of former catchers who became celebrated throughout baseball as a pitching coach (which included men such as Ray Berres, Dave Duncan, Rube Walker and Mike Roarke), Becker coached for four NL championship Dodger clubs, including the 1955, 1959 and 1963 world champions."

Saturday, August 18, 2018

#15 Pete Runnels

Pete Runnels  Boston Red Sox

Career: Pete Runnels played fourteen seasons in the majors, seven with the Senators, five with the Red Sox and two with the Colt 45s as he was winding down his impressive but underappreciated career.

Runnels was an excellent defensive player at all four spots in the infield at various times. He won two AL batting crowns with the Red Sox and was an All-Star three times. He was close to winning the batting title in 1959 but finished just behind Ted Williams as they fought it out in the closing days of the season. His reward for the '62 title was a trade to Houston for Roman Mejias.  He didn't hit for power but his career batting average was .291 and he had a .375 OBP. He hit .320 for the Red Sox in his five seasons there.

He coached for Boston for two seasons after his playing days and had a 16 game stint as interim manager at the end of the '66 season.

Following that he returned to the Houston area and opened a couple of businesses in the Pasadena area just over the bridge from me. One was Pasadena Sporting Goods which I helped keep in business for a while!

In 1960: It was a good year for Pete Runnels. He won a batting crown with a .320 average and made the AL All-Star team.

WikiFacts:  From his SABR page--
Runnels was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004. His career .291 average is higher than many of those in Cooperstown. His name lives on in an annual Lufkin high school baseball tournament, the Pete Runnels Texas Shoot Out.

The Card: As noted previously I like cards that include pink but this one just has too much going on. And that's saying a lot for this set. Pete looks wistful there at Yankee Stadium. Or maybe the sun is bothering him.

Friday, August 17, 2018

#14 Jim 'Mudcat' Grant

Jim Grant  Cleveland Indians

Career:  Grant spent 14 seasons in the majors, seven with the Indians. His biggest splash came when he led the AL with 21 wins and six shutouts for the pennant-winning Twins in 1965. But it's hard to overlook his 1970 season when, at the age of 34, he pitched in 80 games out of the pen for the Pirates and A's with 24 saves, a 1.86 ERA and a 1.064 WHIP.

He was twice an All-Star and made three starts in the '65 Series versus the Dodgers. In that Series he got complete-game wins in Games One and Six while taking the loss in Game Four. That Game Six win came on two days rest. He also started the first game in Montreal Expos history in April 1969.

Grant was well known as a singer and entertainer and hosted a local TV program in the Minneapolis area in 1965. At the bottom of this post I have embedded a video of Grant signing at a tribute to the late Harmon Killebrew (accompanied on guitar by Tony Oliva's son).

In 1960: In his third season in the majors Grant's numbers took a slight downturn from his previous two. But the most notable thing about the 1960 season for him was something that occurred that September that seems remarkable for the time and certainly connects to the current political climate. I don't believe I'd ever heard about this incident until I was researching this post. And I thought I knew a little something about Jim Grant.  Click here to read about the national anthem performance that ended his season in an article that appeared last October in the Tampa Bay Times.

WikiFacts: Also contained in that article in the Tampa Bay Times :

The two-time All-Star was the AL's first black pitcher to win 20 games (for the Twins in 1965), and there's a street named after him in his hometown. His legacy includes two nephews (Troy and Darren Hambrick) who played in the NFL.
He was also the first black pitcher to win a World Series game for an AL team (Twins, 1965).

From Wikipedia:
After his playing career ended, Grant worked for the North American Softball League, one of three Men's Professional Softball Leagues active in the pro softball era. He later worked as a broadcaster and executive for the Indians, and also as a broadcaster for the Athletics.

In recent years, Grant has dedicated himself to studying and promoting the history of blacks in baseball. On his official website, Grant pays tribute to the fifteen black pitchers (including himself) who have won 20 games in a season. The "15 Black Aces" are: Vida Blue, Al Downing, Bob Gibson, Dwight Gooden, Grant, Ferguson Jenkins, Sad Sam Jones, Don Newcombe, Mike Norris, David Price, J. R. Richard, CC Sabathia, Dave Stewart, Dontrelle Willis, and Earl Wilson. In 2006, Grant released his long-awaited book, The Black Aces, Baseball's Only black Twenty-Game Winners, featuring chapters on each of the black pitchers to have at least one twenty win season, and also featuring Negro League players that Mudcat felt would have been 20 game winners if they were allowed to play. The book was featured in the Hall of Fame during Induction Weekend 2006, and in February 2007 President Bush honored Mudcat and fellow Aces, Ferguson Jenkins, Dontrelle Willis and Mike Norris, and the publication of the book at a ceremony at the White House.
The Card: This is just a terrific card. I love cards that have pink as part of the design. Add to that there is a neat Jim Davis cartoon, the Season's Highlights block and the fact that it's The Mudcat! Good stuff.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

#13 Wally Post

Wally Post  Philadelphia Phillies

Career: The bulk of Wally Post's 15-year career came as an outfielder with Cincinnati. He was originally signed in 1946 as a pitcher but had transitioned to the outfield by the time he made the bigs in 1949. He hit over 200 homers but in the talent-laden NL of the 50s never made an All-Star squad.  The closest he came was in 1957 when he was on the happy end of the ballot-stuffing done by Vladimir Putin the Cincy fans.

He and some other Reds teammates were dropped from the ASG starting lineup by decree of the commish at the time, Ford Frick. He was hurt at the time and was unable to play in the game in any case. His best year was 1955 in Cincy when he slashed 40/109/.309/.372 and got some MVP votes.

In 1960: He began the season with the Phils as depicted on his card but was traded to the Reds in June for his second term in Ohio. The move sent him from a last-place club to one in fifth and soon to be on the rise. He had hit only two homers at the time of the trade but hit 17 for the Reds the rest of the way. He went on to help the Reds win the NL pennant in 1961.

WikiFacts: Post is the grandfather of former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Bobby Hoying.

The Card: Post had been with the Phils for two full seasons prior to this card being issued so I'm not sure why a capless photo needed to be used. I suppose it could be an old pic from his first go-round with the Reds with pinstripes added to his shirt. But the Reds hadn't worn sleeves since 1955 so that would make it a really old shot, even for Topps. that's Connie Mack Stadium in the background.

BTW...The 'perfect day' on August 28 cited by the Topps editor turns out to be three singles in three at-bats in a 9-0 wipe out the Phils suffered in Forbes Field

Added Attraction for the craft beer crowd (which includes me):

Microbrewer Moeller Brewing of Ohio put out this beer named for Wally Post in 2017. More info on the brew and Wally here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#12 Milt Pappas

Milt Pappas  Baltimore Orioles

Career: Milt Pappas pitched very well for a very long time, first for the Orioles and then, after the trade he is most remembered for, the Reds, Cubs, and Braves. He won 209 games, pitched a no-hitter  (coming within an out of a perfect game), started the 1965 All-Star Game, saved one of the '62 ASGs, and admitted to grooving one that Roger Maris popped for his 59th in 1961.

The trade mentioned, of course, is the one that brought Frank Robinson to Baltimore in December of 1965. "Most lopsided trade of all time" is always tagged on to any mention of that deal and that always bothered Pappas. But he always felt a kinship to Charm City and was a special guest at a 2014 Old Timers reunion held by the Orioles.

In 1960:  Pappas had his second consecutive 15 win season. At 21 he was part of the 1960Baby Birds rotation along with Chuck Estrada (22 y.o.), Steve Barber (22) and  Jerry Walker (21). The Orioles jumped from sixth in 1959 to second in '60 by reversing their W/L from 69-85 to 85-69.

WikiFacts: From his Wikipedia page:
During his career, Pappas was in the top 10 in ERA eight seasons, in wins six seasons, fewest walks per nine innings nine seasons, complete games seven seasons, shutouts eight seasons, and he was tied for the league lead with a perfect fielding percentage (1.000) in four seasons. Pappas also hit 20 home runs as a pitcher; as of 2014, he is one of 13 pitchers to hit at least 20 home runs.

The Card: One of my favorite color combos and a cool Jack Davis cartoon. This is a card I specifically remember from when it was new. I likely pulled it from a cello pack my folks bought me at EJ Korvettes.