Thursday, May 30, 2019

#98 Gordon Jones

Gordon Jones  Baltimore Orioles

Career: He spent three years each in the minors and the military before he made the staff of the '54 Cardinals. He started 19 games over two seasons before being transitioned to bullpen work. He pitched for five clubs and made numerous trips between the majors and minors until he retired after the '65 season. He won 15 of 33 decisions for the Giants, Orioles, A's and Colts/Astros in addition to the Cards.

In 1960: He was dealt to the Orioles late in '59 along with Jackie Brandt.

Off The Charts: After his playing career, Jones served for 1 1⁄2 seasons as the Major League pitching coach of the Astros—the full 1966 season and the first three months of the 1967 campaign. He was fired on July 8, 1967, by manager Grady Hatton after a rift developed between Jones and some members of his pitching staff. -Wikipedia

The Card: Top Three color combo for me. Does that look like Wrigley to you because it looks like Wrigley to me. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

#97 Ted Lepcio

Ted Lepcio  Philadelphia Phillies

Career: The bulk of Lepcio's 10-year career came with the Red Sox (1952-1958 + a week or two of '59) and the bulk of THAT time saw him competing for the second base job with Billy Goodman. Once he moved on to the Tigers in '59 kept his bags packed. He spent a year with them, a few games with the White Sox, and nearly a year each with the Phils and the Twins. In 1962 he joined the Mets during their initial Spring Training camp but was released before the season. He finished with 69 homers and a .245 career average and a few 1st place spots in some of the esoteric fielding stat categories that I don't understand (total zone runs?)

In 1960: This was his next-to-last season and he spent it as the Phils' utility infielder getting into almost 70 games and hitting .227 with a pair of homers.

Off The Charts:  Lepcio had been a college star at Seton Hall. Just a year later, as a rookie in 1952, he was Jimmy Piersall's roommate and got a close up look at Piersall's struggles on and off the field.

The Card: After Lepcio's early December '59 trade to the Phils Topps was able to make the card update but used his photo as a Tiger. It's a nice one though, and one of the rare Tiger (Briggs) Stadium shots you'll see from this era of Topps cards. Pink/blue/yellow/white works better than it seems it should! The back hits all the right notes as well.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

#93 Art Schult

Art Schult  Chicago Cubs

Career: Brooklyn-born Schult was a Yankees' signee who debuted with a small taste of the bigs in 1953 following a detour into the military during the Korean War. He bounced around through four other organizations and wound up with a season's worth of stats spread out over eight years.

In 1960: After a handful of games with the Cubs in April and May he was sent to the minors and that proved to be the end of his career.

Off The Charts: This Yankee site details the fact that Schult, as a returning serviceman, was entitled to a spot on their '53 roster. He refused a demotion to the minors and wound up making seven appearances for NY, all as a pinch runner! He later agreed to report to their AAA Syracuse club in return for a guaranteed World Series share. 

The Card: Open your eyes,'re in beautiful Wrigley Field! 😟 The card back blurb maintains he 'originally came to the majors with Cincinnati' but that's incorrect. And there is more Jack Davis work there on the back.

Friday, May 24, 2019

#92 Whitey Herzog

Whitey Herzog  Kansas City Athletics

Career: Herzog played eight seasons with four different AL clubs mostly as an off-the-bench fourth outfielder. His busiest season was his rookie year with the Senators in 1956 when he had over 450 plate appearances. His best season, at least in terms of average, was 1961 when he hit .291 in near regular duty with the Orioles. His later managerial career, mostly with the Royals and Cardinals, earned him Hall of Fame status.

In 1960: He was a platoon outfielder with the Athletics dividing up playing time scraps with Russ Snyder and another future Series-winning manager, Hank Bauer. (Dick Williams was on that club, too.) His 8 homers and 38 RBI were career highs. 

Off The Charts: His first managing job came during his time with the Army Corp of Engineers in 1953 when he ran the Fort Leonard Wood camp team. 

The Card: The 'rare' three-color card. It's nothing special. Jack Davis cartoon, though. That's always a plus.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

#90 Bobby Avila

Bobby Avila  Milwaukee Braves

Career: He played 11 seasons with the Indians and in their pennant-winning year of 1954 he won the AL batting title and finished third in the MVP voting. He struggled at the plate in the series against the Giants with just two hits in 15 at bats. He was a three-time All-Star. He played his final big league season with three clubs, the Orioles, Red Soxm and Braves. He finished with a .281 average for his career.

In 1960: Avila was farmed out in the spring of 1960 and wound up playing one final season, with the Mexico City Tigers. He helped that club with the pennant with a .333 average and he set a record for runs scored. After the season he began the next phase of his life by abecoming the president of Mexico's Vera Cruz League. 

Off The Charts: He's a member of Mexico's baseball Hall of Fame, has had two stadiums named for him, and served in Mexico's Congress and as the mayor of Vera Cruz.

The Card: This is a terrific card. Beautiful Braves classic uni with Connie Mack Stadium as the backdrop.

Monday, May 20, 2019

#89 Hal Brown

Hal Brown  Baltimore Orioles

Career: The bulk of his 14-year major league career came with the Orioles. He began in the Red Sox chain but came under the wing of Paul Richards in Seattle and he followed Richards to Chicago to make his debut. The knuckleballer was traded to Boston and then and later to the Orioles where he was reunited with Richards. He was primarily a starter but worked quite a bit out of the bullpen over the years. He finished his career with two games as a Yankee and a couple of seasons as a Colt .45 in Houston.

In 1960: He was the vet among the Baby Birds staff that featured four others aged 22 or under. He had 12 wins (a career high) and just five losses in 20 starts (30 appearances overall). His WHIP led the league although nobody would have known that stat had you asked around back then. He easily had the best K/W ratio on the staff fanning three hitters for each walk allowed. 

Off The Charts: From his SABR bio... In early 1943 he learned that he was about to be drafted, so he enlisted in the Army Air Force. He served as a gunner on bombers based in England. During one attack on Nazi submarine bases in France, his plane took heavy fire. “We got hit and didn’t make it back to England,” Brown said. “We had to bail out. They picked us up after a few hours in the (English) Channel."

The Card: Great color combo, old school logo, Yankee Stadium photo, highlights list and cartoon.  What a 1960card should be.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

#88 John Roseboro

John Roseboro   Los Angeles Dodgers

Career: He spent 11 seasons with the Dodgers before finishing his career with the Twins and Senators. He was a four-time All-Star and twice was awarded a Gold Glove. He played in four World Series with the Dodgers and won three rings. His outstanding career is sometimes overshadowed by the publicity he received stemming from the Juan Marichal 'bat incident' of 1965

In 1960: He was sidelined for chunks of June and July and played the fewest games of any season during his stretch as the Dodgers' #1 catcher. His .213 average was the lowest of his career for a full season.

Off The Charts: Wikipedia sez..."After several years of bitterness over their famous altercation, Roseboro and Marichal became friends in the 1980s. Roseboro personally appealed to the Baseball Writers' Association of America not to hold the incident against Marichal after he was passed over for election to the Hall of Fame in his first two years of eligibility. Marichal was elected in 1983, and thanked Roseboro during his induction speech..."

The Card: Memorial Coliseum lurks ghost-like in the background. Topps opted for the capless shot even though they must have had others to use showing Roseboro in Dodgers gear. It wasn't like he'd been recently traded. He shares a special card, Dodger Backstops, with Joe Pignatano in this set. I featured it in 2015.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

#87 John Romanowski

John Romonosky  Washington Senators

Career: Romonosky pitched in 32 major league games, debuting with two starts in 1953 for the Cardinals. After two years in the service, he re-emerged with the Senators in 1958 and pitched in parts of that season and the next. He had a career mark of 3-4 in just over 100 innings. He finished his career in the minors in 1961.

In 1960: He was released by the Senators in April. about the time this card was being found in packs. He spent 1960 in the Yankees organization at the AAA and then AA levels.

Off The Charts: There is (was?) a high school pitching award named for him given out by a Central Ohio baseball booster organization.

The Card: This is one of two Topps card he had, the other being his 'rookie' card in the 1959 set. Another Yankee Stadium photo, this time with some early arriving fans (or reporters) populating the background. A pleasant color combo on this one.