Saturday, November 9, 2013

#123 Don Dillard The Sporting News Rookie Stars

This is the first of three consecutive 'rookie star' cards that Topps put out for Don Dillard. Dillard was a Cleveland Indians signee in 1955 and the outfielder spent six seasons banding around in their system with more good seasons than bad. He got a taste of the majors in both 1959 and 1960 before he earned a job as a fourth outfielder and pinch hitter in 1961.

He held that job for two seasons. In '61 he had seven dingers to go with a .272 average in almost 150 at bats. He was somewhat busier in 1962 but not as effective and the Tribe shipped him off to Milwaukee as part of the deal that brought them Joe Adcock in November of that year.

You'll note that the cardback mentions that Dillard has 'good speed'. But in his career he was 0-fer-3 in steal attempts. In his defense he had lots of doubles and triples in his minor league career so maybe he just never got the green light in Cleveland and Milwaukee. Base stealing was confined to a relative few players back then.

His one full season with the Braves didn't do anything to revive his numbers and he spent most of 1964/65 in the minors with a second half call up by the Braves in '65. After two more minor league seasons he was out of the game and starting his 'second life' as a businessman owning a marina and a sporting goods business. He later was co-owner of a baseball camp.

Dillard currently resides in his native South Carolina. His other two rookie star cards were issued in '60 and '61. The 1960 version used the same photo as this one. Here they are fresh from the 'net:

That 1960 rookie card design is one I like very much but the 1961 Dillard has a cool Colavito-esgue vibe don't you think? 

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