Sunday, July 31, 2011

#11 Billy Hunter

Billy Hunter was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948. But when you can't hit a lick and Pee Wee Reese is ahead of you on the organizational depth chart you are probably better off somewhere else. Like with the St. Louis Browns. And so it went for Hunter. He debuted with the Browns in 1953 and, despite an anemic bat, made the All Star team in the AL. 

Hunter moved along to Baltimore with the Browns franchise in 1954 and spent a year as the Orioles' regular shortstop. In November of that year he was dealt to the Yankees in a giant transaction that ended up involving  17 players all told. I believe that's the biggest ever.

Two years later he went where darn near all Yankees went in the 50s, Kansas City. The trade that got him to the A's involved 13 players. So, if you are keeping score, Billy Hunter was traded twice within a bit over two years, in deals that included 30 players. Jeez.

A season plus with the A's produced more good fielding, no hitting action and Hunter was traded to Cleveland in June of '58. He never made it back to the majors as a player after that stint with the Tribe. He had a .219 lifetime average.

But Hunter never left the game. After serving as a coach (notably for the Orioles for many years) Hunter managed the Texas Rangers in 1977/78. He was fired at the end of the '78 campaign for his poor player relation skills. Pitcher Dock Ellis famously compared the old school Hunter to Hitler. After his managing stint in Arlington Hunter expressed disillusionment with the pro game and became head baseball coach and athletic director at Maryland's Towson State University, retiring in 1995. He's a member of the Orioles' Hall of Fame.

In this '59 card Hunter is pictured with the Yankee Stadium left field upper deck and facade in the background. That's a familiar sight in a lot of these cards. In fact the left field seats in Yankee Stadium are so often seen in vintage cards of this era that the guy behind the Carl Crawford Cards blog has featured quite a few and formed the Left Field Hall Of Fame. LOL

With the orange frame, the old school Indian uni and the Yankee Stadium background I think this card is among the most '1959-ish' of the 1959 set. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

#539 Gary Blaylock

After toiling in the Cardinals organization since 1950 Gary Blaylock made the big club out of spring training in 1959. He began the year in the starting rotation and had a decent start to the year. He had a 3-1 record and an ERA of 2.60 when things went south in late May.

After a few bombings Blaylock lost his starting job and his ERA rose to over 5.00 before he was waived in late July. He was picked up by the Yankees and finished the season in their bullpen. Unfortunately (for Gary Blaylock) 1959 was one of the few seasons during that decade that the Yanks didn't get to the World Series. Blaylock was out of the majors after '59, pitching in the minors for Yankee farm clubs through 1963. 

Blaylock coached and managed in the minors following his playing days and made a one game appearance as a player/manager in 1966.

Two more Gary Blaylock facts:
  • He earned a World Series ring as pitching coach of the '85 Royals.
  • He was one of two Blaylocks that pitched for the Cards in '59. Rob Blaylock was a September call-up for St. Louis so the two never got the chance to appear in the same box-score. Rob has a card in this set and will appear one of these days. 
This is a high number '59 and one of those color-enhanced black and white shots that are pretty common in the set, particularly among cards of the lesser known players. It's really off center but has nice corners and color. Looking at the card Blaylock looks like Larry Dierker to me. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

#435 Frank Robinson

I'm in a slump. I had built up a backlog of entries that lasted over three weeks but now they are down to just a couple. I'm sure a lot of bloggers hit a wall from time to time. This is my time. 

So I decided that the very best way to get out of a slump and maybe grab a flicker of inspiration would be with a card of a player that ranks, along with Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray, as one of my very favorites. And so here he is. 

Frank Robinson might not have had the all-around talent of Willie Mays, the flash of Roberto Clemente, the charisma of Mickey Mantle or the power of Hank Aaron. But of the players I've watched in my lifetime, I believe Frank did as much to help his team, on the field and in the clubhouse, as any player in the sport. He played the game hard and well, every day. He knew his opponents, inspired his teammates and studied the game.

Frank's accomplishments are many and well known. NL Rookie of the Year, MVP in both leagues, 14 times an All-Star, two time World Champion, Triple Crown winner, Hickok Belt winner, Presidential Medal of Freedom Award winner, MLB's first African-American manager, AL Manager of the Year winner and first ballot Hall of Famer, etc, etc. Plus, on the field, he was a badass 110%-er. He'd hold that bat straight up, lean over the plate and dare you to throw inside. 

In 1969 I went with a buddy, also an Oriole fan, to see the O's play at Yankee Stadium on a mid-week afternoon. We'd decided that we'd make a couple of banners to support our club. We set to work dividing an old bed sheet and, with orange paint and a marker, we each created a work of art. His was the number '5' for Brooks Robinson. Mine was a '20' in orange with 'RF' added on. 

We missed the Orioles' batting practice session but we hung out near the third base dugout in hopes the players would see our signs when they warmed up. Then a batboy approached me and asked if I would like him to take my banner to Frank in the clubhouse and show it to him. I said 'Sure' and handed it to him not knowing if I'd see it again. Moments later here comes my banner up the dugout steps being carried by Frank Robinson himself. He asked whose it was and brought it over to me and thanked me for bringing it. He asked for my pen and signed it right in the middle of the '0'. 42 years later I still have it. It's discolored and been stained a bit along the way, the orange color had darkened to a pinkish red and the autograph has faded some. But that banner still means more to me than any piece of memorabilia I own. 

I met Frank again a few years later in the Astrodome when he was playing for the Dodgers and that's another unusual story. My college group of friends and I were there to watch our University of Houston Cougars take on Arizona State. The game started at about 10 or 11 a.m. because the Dodgers were scheduled to play the Astros that night. It was the first two-sport doubleheader in the Dome IIRC and quite a lot was made of it that week. At one point someone said that he thought the guys behind us were the Dodgers. I turned around and the first person I saw was Frank Robinson in an aisle seat almost directly behind me. I asked him to sign my program and attempted some clever small talk along the lines of the O's needing him for their pennant race. He said they'd do fine. Turned out I was right, he was wrong. The O's, who were within a game or two of first finished five back in their division. BTW, we stayed for the late starting Astro-Dodger game which the Bums won. Frank didn't play.

 I love everything about the '59 Robinson card....the black frame, Mr. Redlegs logo, the "ballplayer as student" cartoon. But mostly I love it because it's Frank Robinson.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

#143 Willie Tasby The Sporting News Rookie Star

After a trial run the year before Oriole rookie Willie Tasby grabbed the centerfield job in Memorial Stadium in 1959 and hit .250 with 13 homers. In 1960 the Birds, with their 'Baby Bird' pitching staff had thoughts of contention and decided that Tasby's slow start wasn't going to help and he was traded off to the Red Sox. 

Tasby hit .281 in finishing out the year in Boston and then was drafted by the Senators in the expansion draft for 1961. While he hit only .251 for the Nats he racked up career highs in homers (17) and RBIs (63). 

Another slow start the following season earned him a ticket to Cleveland where he played out his brief career as a part time outfielder. He played the '64 campaign in the Indians farm system and then retired.

Tasby is at the center of a funny story about playing ball in a storm in Baltimore. I cant tell the story any better than it was told on the Roar From 34 blog. Recommended reading. 

My '59 Tasby is an upgraded from the one I had in my O's team collection and is in really great shape. The scanner chopped off a bit of it so it doesn't appear as centered as it really is.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#387 Don Drysdale

In 14 season with the Dodgers, stretching from 1956 in Brooklyn to his retirement following the 1969 season in L.A., Don Drysdale won 209 games. But he did much more than that. He established himself as a workhorse by leading the NL four times in starts and twice in innings pitched. He cashed in on his 'made for Hollywood' looks and made numerous TV and a few movie appearances. He led the NL in strikeouts three times, won a Cy Young (1962 when he had 25 wins), won three World Series titles and three World Series games and made eight All Star teams. In 1968 (his next to last season) he established the record for consecutive scoreless innings with 58 and 2/3 covering six games.

But what liked best about Drysdale was his reputation as a certified bad ass on the mound. If you dug in at the plate Drysdale was likely to knock you on your butt. He led the league in hitting batters five times and was second four more times. That's bad ass. Him and fellow bad ass Sandy Koufax famously held out together in 1966. It was a really big deal at the time.

Drysdale was also a pretty fair hitter and not just among pitchers. He had 29 homers in his career, twice hitting seven in a season. He frequently would bat eighth in the order for the Dodgers. After his retirement as a player he entered into a broadcasting career that included stints in ABC's national booth and with several teams including the Dodgers. He showed his versatility by working numerous non-baseball assignments including LA Rams broadcasts alongside Dick Enberg. 

Don Drysdale was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1984. This is no Hall of Fame copy of his '59 card. Severely miscut and a touch worn overall. But don't mention it to Drysdale, he'll knock you on your ass.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#547 Jim Baxes

The other shoe drops as we look at Jim Baxes, older brother of yesterday's featured Mike Baxes. Like his brother Jim Baxes had a limited career in the big leagues but got plenty of minor league work, Boy did he ever

From 1947 through 1961 he traveled through more towns than a circus train. All his stops were in the Dodger chain. His one year of major league service came in the year this card was issued. In '59 he opened the year with the Dodgers and was traded to the Indians in May. For the season he batted .246 but hit 17 homers. Not bad, and good enough for Topps to pick him as their 3rd baseball on the All Rookie Team.

 But it was back to the bushes in 1960 for Baxes. And after the '61 season he retired. 

BTW... Jim Baxes tried his hand at pitching in a 1950 game for the Hollywood Stars (managed by the recently featured Fred Haney!). The Los Angeles Times has an archived story and a fabulous picture of Baxes (wearing uni shorts!!) getting drilled with a pitch in that game. I'll reprint the picture below. Check the link for the story and to see the picture full size. Pretty cool.

Here is a view of that shot as colorized by a contributor to Paul Lukas' Uni Watch blog. Full size shot is here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

#381 Mike Baxes

Mike Baxes was primarily a career minor leaguer who got two shots with the Kansas City A's, first in 1956 and again in 1958. Between and around those half seasons of big league work Mike Baxes was the property of at least four major league clubs.

Mike hit .217 in his 146 games and had one homer, a shot off Hal Griggs in Washington on June 11, 1956. The year this card was issued, 1959, Baxes spent with Richmond, the Yankees AAA club. He was finished playing after the 1961 season.

Nothing special about the card other than it's being in pretty nice shape. Mike's brother Jim has a card in the '59 set which is coming up tommorrow.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

#568 Gus Triandos '59 All Star Selection

The first 1959 All Star game marked Gus Triandos' third consecutive All Star appearance. In that game he doubled and drove in two runs off Pittsburgh's Elroy Face. He did n't play in the second of that year's games. Triandos was coming off his best season as far a homers were concerned. He had hit 30 to set the O's team mark as this cardback states. Probably didn't hurt that the Memorial Stadium fences came in that season. 

In any case Gus Triandos was the Orioles' star player in their first half decade in Baltimore.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

#314 Don Cardwell

Two events jump out at you when you look at Don Cardwell's career. First, he was the first major league pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first game after being traded. That happened on May 15, 1960 and Cardwell was making his first start for the Cubs after a trade from Philadelphia.

The second came on September 12, 1969 as Cardwell was helping the Mets in their Miracle pennant race. In the second game of the Mets' doubleheader that day in Pittsburgh Cardwell pitched a 1-0 shutout and drove in the only Mets' run himself. What makes that unique is that in the first game that day Cardwell's teammate Jerry Koosman did the same thing. In that 1-0 shutout Koosman drove in the only run the Mets needed. 

So that day the fans in Pittsburgh saw 18 innings of baseball, two runs, both driven in by the opposing pitchers. Wild. And probably a little maddening. More on Cardwell's part of that adventure here.

Cardwell broke in with the Phils in 1957, was traded to the Cubs as noted in 1960. He won 15 games for the Cubs in '61, his career high. In 1963 he began four years with the Pirates after passing through the Cardinals organization briefly in the off season.

In the winter of '66 he was traded to the Mets and was there for their World Series championship in '69. He pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning in Game One of that Series.

Cardwell ened his career the next season, splitting his games between the Mets and Braves.

I sure like this card, the blue frame looks good with the Phils colors somehow and it's a shot taken in Connie Mack Stadium (at least it looks like it). This copy had decent corners and just a touch of gum residue. I'm looking for a way to get that stuff off this and a few other cards in the set.

Lastly, look at the cartoon. It shows 'Cardwell' yodeling and mentions his being Appalachian League ERA king. Do they yodel in the Appalachian Mountains? I thought that was Switzerland.

Friday, July 22, 2011

#166 Destruction Crew

Now here is a special card that Topps got right. Three terrific players wearing smiles and classic Cleveland Indian uniforms, politically incorrect Chief Wahoo head and all.

At the time it was issued the card represented a Rookie of the Year runner-up and 3rd place MVP vote getter (Colovito), a two time All Star and Gold Glove winner (Power) and a seven time All Star and MVP runner-up (Doby).

Of course Rocky Colavito and Vic Power went on to accumulate quite a bit more hardware and Larry Doby is a Hall of Famer. One of the coolest cards in the set I'd say.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

#505 Tony Kubek

Another orange frame card. This time a Yankee which is a rare occurence, most Yankee cards in the '59 set are red framed. Whatever. It isn't the best on my set but it's not nearly the worst. Very presentable (is that an official card grade?)

Tony Kubek broke into the majors with the 1957 Yankees and spent the year batting near .300 and  playing a little bit of everything in the Bronx. It all added up to a Rookie of the Year award for the Wisconsin native. He capped off the year with a standout World Series performance in a losing effort against the Braves. He had a pair of homers among his eight hits in the Series.

Kubek went on to play nine seasons in New York but, despite the fact he made several All Star squads and played a solid shortstop next to Bobby Richardson, he never was able to completely fulfill the promise of that rookie season.

Kubek played in six World Series with the Yanks and won three rings. He gained a measure of noteriety when he took a Bill Virdon bad hop grounder in the throat in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the '60 Series. Virdon reached safely and the Pirates were able to rally and go on to win the Series on Bill Mazeroski's homer.

It was never determined*, not even by Kubek himself, if the shot to his throat was responsible for the vertebrae problems that shortened his career. He retired after the 1965 season, moving to the broadcast booth as NBC's Game of the Week analyst.

He worked on that broadcast with Curt Gowdy and Bob Costas among others. In my opinion he's the best analyst of baseball I've ever heard. He was also a broadcaster for the Blue Jays and worked in the Yankee booth following NBC's losing of the GOTW contract. He retired after the 1994 season, reportedly disillusioned by the MLB strike.

Following his retirement he's lived in Wisconsin and doing charitable work. He was elected to the broadcast wing of the baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.

*=this is a link to a story on Bleacher Report probably the least reliable site possible for anything sports related. But I found it interesting. I just feel obligated to post a warning. ;-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#437 Ike Delock

When I was a little kid I always thought Ike Delock looked like the Red Sox logo 'sock guy'. I know that's stupid but hey, I was 8 years old. 

After a series of impressive minor league seasons Delock debuted with the Red Sox in 1952. Following a few  years of shuttling back and forth between Boston and their AAA club in Louisville Delock was in the bigs for good in 1955. His first season was split between starting and relieving and he won 9 games.

Then he landed a full time bullpen gig and saved twenty games for Boston over the '56 and '57 seasons, leading the league in that catagory in '57 with 11. Jumping back into a starters role in 1958 he remained a mainstay of the Bosox staff into the 1963 season when he was released and the Orioles in June of that year. 

I'd completely forgotten that Delock spent a little more than a month with the Orioles in 1963. That month was his last in the big leagues. Delock was selected as #77 on a list of the 100 Greatest Red Sox players in 2007.

I'm struck by two things. First, that's not a bad copy of his '59 card, clean with pretty decent corners. Second, he does kind of resemble the 'batting Sox logo'!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

#499 Johnny O'Brien

Johnny O'Brien played six seasons in the National League, primarily with the Pirates. End of story? Not hardly.

First of all he's one half of the 'O'Brien Twins'. His brother Eddie was his double play partner with the Pirates in their rookie year of 1953. That season they both played exactly 89 games. They served in the military in 1954 and returned to the Bucs in '55.

In that '55 season Johnny O'Brien his .299 in 84 games. But his average declined in '56 and the athletic O'Brien began to dabble in pitching. He was more or less a full time pitcher in 1957 with mixed success. Ironically he had his best batting average (.314) that same season. 

That season marked the end of his experiment as a hurler. He made one more mound appearance after the '57 season. His brother Eddie had also pitched a bit for the Pirates during their mid-fifties tenure there, making 5 cameos on the mound.

The Pirates dealt him to the Cardinals in 1958 and he split that season between the majors and minors and found himself in Milwaukee for 1959, his last big league season. Another minor league season and O'Brien hung up his glove(s).

The O'Brien brothers had played basketball at an All American level at Seattle University previous to their major league days. On a memorable day in 1952 the collegiate club played (and won) an exhibition contest against the Harlem Globetrotters. That short article I linked is worth the read, great stuff.

My copy of the card is seriously miscut but has sharp corners and really looks as new as any card in my set. But how about that Braves cap logo? Looks like the Topps artist added it with a pencil. Geez. 

Here's a bonus card, the Topps 1954 O'Brien card featuring both of the twins. How cool is that?

Monday, July 18, 2011

#542 Jim Perry

Jim Perry is less well known than his Hall of Fame brother Gaylord but he put together a fine career in his own right. This card, his rookie cardboard, shows him as be broke in with the '59 Indians. He won 12 games with an ERA of 2.65 making 13 starts among 44 appearances. He was Rookie of the Year runner-up to Bobby Allison.

The following season he won 18 games to lead the AL and had 4 shutouts. In a fraction over four seasons with the Tribe he won 52 games. He was dealt to the Twin in May of '63 for Jack Kralick, a steal for Minnesota as it turned out. Perry was a mainstay of the Twins' staff for much of the 60s culminating with back to back sterling years in 1969/1970. He won 20 and 24 games in those years and helped the Twins make the postseason. He was the 1970 AL Cy Young winner. Prior to that he had a fine 12 win season in '65 to help Minnesota make the World Series.

Perry's career slid a bit after that as he struggled to stay above .500, landing back in Cleveland for the '74 season where he won 17 games. He finished up in 1975 with Cleveland and Oakland.

Finally a fairly decently centered card. It's a high number. I wish Topps had used the red and black scheme on the back of this whole set. But it does make a high number easy to spot.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

#447 Bob Anderson

See the black space under Bob Anderson's mug? It appears to be the top of a mug shot placard but I'm sure it was just that Topps had cropping problems with this one. 

Anderson pitched for the Cubs for six seasons, primarily as a starter. '59 was his best year as he won 12 and pitched seven complete games. On July 1st of that year he was involved in a weird play that involved two baseballs, the field announcer, Stan Musial and an ump. Rather than re-explain it I'll just quote Bob Anderson's Wikipedia page:

Bob Anderson was involved in one of baseball history's weirdest plays. It occurred during a game played on June 30, 1959 , between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Stan Musial was at the plate, with a count of 3-1. Anderson's next pitch was errant, evading catcher Sammy Taylor and rolling all the way to the backstop. Umpire Vic Delmore called ball four on the pitcher, however Anderson and Taylor contended that Musial foul tipped the ball. Because the ball was still in play, and because Delmore was embroiled in an argument with the catcher and pitcher, Musial took it upon himself to try for second base. Seeing that Musial was trying for second, Alvin Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball. The ball wound up in the hands of field announcer Pat Pieper, but Dark ended up getting it back anyway. Absentmindedly, however, Delmore pulled out a new ball and gave it to Taylor. Anderson finally noticed that Musial was trying for second, took the new ball, and threw it to second baseman Tony Taylor. Anderson's throw flew over Tony Taylor's head into the outfield. Dark, at the same time that Anderson threw the new ball, threw the original ball to shortstop Ernie Banks. Musial, though, did not see Dark's throw and only noticed Anderson's ball fly over the second baseman's head, so he tried to go to third base. On his way there, he was tagged by Banks, and after a delay he was ruled out.
Here is a fun newspaper account of the shenanigans complete with a hand drawn diagram of all that transpired. How often do you see that sort of illustration nowadays?

Oh, BTW, Bob Anderson went on to complete his career with a one year stint with the Tigers and a year in the A's chain. He was 36-46 for his career.

The rumor that the black bar across his chest is the top of an intake mug shot placard is untrue. My copy is about as nice as I have among the set's commons. It's an upgraded one.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#262 Hitters' Foes

These three Dodger 'musketeers' must have known how the 1959 season would end for them, with a World Series title.

The trio entered the season deserving of an appearance on a special card like this. Don Drysdale was coming into his own with a 39-22 mark over his first two seasons as a full fledged member of the rotation. He's led the league in K's in '58.

Johnny Podres, while only 25-24 since returning from a 1956 Navy stint, was still basking in the glow of his '55 World Series heroics and had hurled six shutouts in 1957 to go with a 2.66 ERA.

And Clem Labine, at this point a wily vet, had compiled a 52-36 record in his previous five years with the Dodgers and racked up 73 saves in a time that saves ere not as common as they are now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

#287 Don Zimmer

Don Zimmer has become a cottage industry in a manner of speaking. His popularity during the last twenty years of his baseball life far surpass anything he enjoyed while playing. He's picked up a few colorful nicknames along the way including 'The Gerbil' and 'Popeye'.

Zim broke in with the 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers, and stayed with the club through a couple years in L.A. He moved to the Cubs where he made his only All Star team in 1960. He was drafted by the Mets in the expansion draft of 1962. Following his time with Casey Stengel (I bet that was fun) he had a couple of short stints with the Reds and Dodgers (again) and finished with three seasons in Washington. With the Senators he had the same role he'd enjoyed his whole career, playing a bit of everywhere in the infield.

A year in Japan and a stint in the minors in 1967 ended his playing career. Then he began coaching in the minors and for a short time in the bigs before beginning his managerial career with the Padres in 1972. He managed four big league clubs, the Red Sox, Rangers and Cubs amassing an 885-858 record and winning a pennant with the 1989 Cubs and being named Manager of the Year in the NL. Zim was on the wrong end of the 1978 pennant race in which the Yanks won a playoff game over Boston with the (in)famous Bucky Dent homer.

He spent many years as a coach in the majors between and following his managerial jobs. 

The famous 2003 playoff confrontation with Boston star pitcher Pedro Martinez cemented his play in baseball lore.

Love how young Zim looks in his '59 card. That's the Memorial Coliseum in the background. Topps used the same shot in 1960 and the stadium is a bit more clearer to see in the background. My copy of Zim's card is clear and bright. A bit off center but pretty sharp copy, especially for my collection.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

#310 Luis Aparicio

There was a lot of debate on Luis Aparicio's Hall of Fame credentials when he came up for consideration. All I know is that I'd have voted for him but then again I'm an Oriole fan and Looie helped lead the O's to the 1966 championship.

I'll just post some numbers and let it go at that. The following paragraph comes from The Baseball Page:

In an 18 year career, Aparicio played in 2599 games, accumulating 2677 hits in 10,230 at bats for a .262 career batting average along with 394 doubles, 83 home runs, 791 runs batted in, 1335 runs and 506 stolen bases. He ended his career with a .972 fielding percentage. Aparicio led American League shortstops eight times in fielding percentage, seven times in assists, and four times in range factor and putouts. He led the American League in stolen bases in nine consecutive seasons (1956–64) and won the Gold Glove Award nine times (1958–62, 1964, 1966, 1970). Aparicio was also a ten-time All-Star (1958–64, 1970–72).
The bolding is mine. I'm impressed. And you can add in the 1956 Rookie of the Year award. Jerome Holtzman of the Chicago Tribune voted for Aparicio as part of the All Century team. 

Aparicio debuted in 1956 with the White Sox, helped them gain the '59 World Series and batted .308 in that Series. He was traded to the Orioles for the 1963 season after having led the American League in steals every year he had played in Chicago. His defensive skills played a part in the Orioles 1966 title and then following the '67 season he was back with the White Sox. He spent the last three years of his career in Boston, retiring after the '73 season.

The White Sox retired Aparicio's #11 but Omar Visquel was allowed to bring it out of mothballs when he arrived to finish out his career with the Sox. It was a tribute to Aparicio.

Seems like every White Sox card is red framed. I think it looks good with this nice, color enhanced portrait. Mine has pretty good corners and it's still shiny and bright. Go Go Looie!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#92 Dave Philley

It's Dave Philley on the Phillies! Known late in his long career as a premier pinch hitter, Philley broke in with the White Sox in 1941. After a stint in the military and some minor league work, he stuck with the Sox in 1946. He held a regular outfield slot in Chicago showing a touch of power and a bit of speed. He was traded to the Philadelphia A's as part of a three way trade also involving the Indians in 1951 and continued as an everyday there through 1953. 

In 1954 he was traded to the Indians and, after picking up a hit in the '54 Series, in 1955 he was sold to the Orioles in one of six midseason transactions between those two clubs. In just half that season in Baltimore he played well enough to be named the team's MVP.

Traded back to the White Sox in 1956 Philley began an odyssey around the majors that brought him to San Francisco, Detroit, the Orioles (again), the Phillies, Houston (signed and traded in the same day by the Colt 45s) and finally the Red Sox.

He set a record for consecutive pinch hits when he ended the 1958 season with eight straight and had another on Opening Day of 1959 for a total of nine. His 24 pinch hits with the '1961 Orioles also set a record. Philley managed for several years in the minors after his playing days.

This card boasts the black frame (cool!) and what I believe to be Connie Mack Stadium in the background (different!). Overall it's in nice shape. Best of all I learned quite a bit about a guy with a long and solid big league career. And about his place in Orioles' lore.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

#562 Al Kaline '59 All Star Selection

Al Kaline, a class act (and Baltimore native), was a 15 time All Star. He homered in the first '59 game in Forbes Field. In that year's second ASG, in Los Angeles, he was 0-2 after checking in for Ted Williams.

Not my favorite design but I'll take a Kaline card any old day, even one as miscut as this one. Surely a candidate for upgrading.

Monday, July 11, 2011

#130 Lou Jackson The Sporting News Rookie Stars

Impossibly young looking Lou Jackson had three cups of coffee as an outfielder in the bigs. He debuted with the '58 Cubs with 35 at-bats including his only homer, was recalled in September of '59 and then headed back to a journey through the minor leagues. He played in the Reds and Braves organizations before he re-emerged with the Orioles in 1964. Just a handful of at-bats later Lou was out of the majors for good. 

He ended up playing in Japan following his stint with the Birds and a couple of seasons with their AAA Rochester farm club.

I can't sum up Jackson's Japanese career as well as his Bullpen page on Baseball Reference:

In '68, Jackson collapsed at home plate one day. He struggled statistically that season, hitting .219/.269/.367. The next year he died of pancreatitis. An alcoholic, he was known as a hustling, defensively-minded outfielder.
WTH? That doesn't warrant a bit more elaboration? Guess not.

Anyway, Jackson DID appear to lead a  grueling life while his career whizzed past. Want proof? Compare his visage above with this pic:

Is that the same guy? 

My scan cut off the left side of this card so it's better than it looks. One of my better Rookie Stars cards.