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.