Thursday, September 26, 2019

3rd Series Checklist (#191)

Many of the checklist posts I see on peoples' blogs are accompanied by statements like "I hate checklists", "Checklists are a waste of a card", or even "When I got a checklist, I usually threw it out".

Not me! I loved getting checklists. Back in the day, before the internet, before factory set sales, (and even before baseball card magazines!) checklists were the only way to find out what cards were available to collect. Back then, I kept every double and triple of every checklist I would get. (You never knew who might need one, or if you would have to re-do yours because it became an ink-stained mess.)

The first 3 years I collected cards were 1967-1969. In those sets, the checklists included the floating head of whichever superstar had the "x00" (hero) number on that checklist. How cool was that, as a bonus?

On this 1963 checklist, there are many names of players who never made it to the 1967 set, so I had no idea who they were for decades. In the past few years, I have begun collecting 1963-66 cards, and have blogged the cards of these players previously unknown to me:

Bubba Phillips
Ron Piche
Albie Pearson
Willie Kirkland
Roger Craig
Lenny Green
Joe Amalfitano
Ken Hunt
Joe Christopher
Joe(y) Jay
Hobie Landrith
Pete Runnels
Eli Grba
Frank Malzone
Billy Smith
Leo Burke
Jim Gentile

I still have no idea who these players are, nor their teams or positions:

Sammy Esposito
Cecil Butler
Glen Hobbie
Gene Conley
Tiger Twirlers (nyuk nyuk)
Mike Roarke
Don Leppert (I know he was a coach for some teams)
Johnny Logan
Ellis Burton
Dave Stenhouse

So these last 10 (and the unknowns from the other series) are the 1963 cards I will probably get next.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tommie Aaron (#46)

I was looking at the "Labels" section in this blog's sidebar tonight, and realized that there were no Giants or Braves posted yet. When I went to my 1952-64 binder, I found out why: I have no Giants, and only 1 Braves card. Here is that Brave - 1/2 of the greatest brothers' home run tandem! 

I already posted Tommie Aaron's 1968 card, but didn't really elaborate on his career then.

Tommie joined the Milwaukee Braves in April 1962, after batting .295 and .299 in his previous 2 minor-league seasons. He played in 141 games as a rookie, mostly as a defensive replacement at 1st base for veteran Joe Adcock, although he did start 39 games there and another 35 starts in the outfield. However, his .231 batting average looks to have punched his ticket back to the minors for 1963.

In 1963 he played sporadically, only getting 135 at-bats in 72 games from April to July, and again in September. Aaron was in the minors for all of 1964-67, except for 8 games in the first 5 weeks of the 1965 season. Somehow, he managed to get Topps cards in the '64, '65, and '68 sets despite all that inactivity.

Tommie resurfaced with the Braves for all of 1968-70, and part of 1971. Although he played quite a bit in 1968 (probably because Rico Carty missed the entire season with tuberculosis), Aaron got less than 70 at-bats in each of his final 3 seasons.

He played for the Braves' AAA team from 1972-73 before retiring. After his playing career, he was a minor league manager (1973–78) and major league coach (1979–84) for the Braves.

Aaron passed away in 1984 at age 45.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Stan Williams (#42)

Some years ago, I posted Stan Williams' 1968 card. Here is his 1963 card. What's this? The card says "Yankees", but he's wearing a Dodgers' cap. I'm so confused! Topps, please hire some airbrushers so that we, the card-buying public can better understand what we are looking at!

On second thought, never mind. We are intelligent enough to figure out that if the photo and team name don't match, it's because the player was traded!

Good photos (no matter what the uniform) are preferred over 1st-grade art projects!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Final Card: Sherm Lollar

Sherm Lollar (#118) was signed by the Indians in 1943, and played 3 seasons with their International League club in Baltimore. He made his Indians' debut in April 1946, but also spent part of that season back in Baltimore.

Lollar played for the Yankees from 1947-48, the bulk of the '47 season with their AAA Newark Bears team. He started 2 games in the 1947 World Series vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers. He rode the Yankee bench for most of 1948 as the 3rd string catcher, playing only 22 games (12 starts).

After the 1948 season, he was traded to the St. Louis Browns, and was their starting catcher for the next 3 seasons, making his first All-Star team in 1950.

Following the 1951 season, Lollar was part of an 8-player trade, sending him from the Browns to the White Sox.

Sherm was the White Sox' starting catcher for the next 10 seasons, making 6 All-Star teams and winning 3 Gold Glove awards. He also played in the 1959 World Series vs. the Dodgers.

After being the ChiSox' primary catcher since 1952, Lollar's workload began to diminish in 1961. That season he split the catching chores with rookie Cam Carreon (starting 93 games to Carreon's 63). The next season it was 85/59 in favor of Carreon.

In Lollar's final season (1963) he only started 18 games. Carreon started half the games, but J.C. Martin (who had been a 1B/3B in the previous season) started 63 games behind the plate. His final appearance was on September 7th, and he was released after the season, ending his 18-year career.

After his playing career, he was a coach for the Orioles and Athletics in the 1960s, and a minor-league manager for the A's in the 1970s.

Lollar passed away in 1977 at age 53.

In 2000, he was selected to the White Sox' All-Century team.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bob Bruce (#24)

Some years ago, I posted Bob Bruce's final card as part of a group post, but without any mention of his career. Now it’s time to give him the full treatment.

Bruce began his career in the Tigers' organization in 1953. He missed the 1957 season due to military service, but returned the following season, and made his Tigers’ debut in September 1959.

Bob played all of 1960 (34 games, 15 starts) and part of 1961 with the Tigers.

He was traded to the Houston Colt .45s a few months prior to their inaugural 1962 season, and along with Turk Farrell was one of the team's top starting pitchers from 1962-65.

In April 1964 he stuck out the side on NINE pitches, one day after Sandy Koufax had done the same. Bob is one of 12 pitchers to have done that.

Bruce was the opening day pitcher in 1965, the first regular-season game played in the Astrodome.

After an off-year in 1966, and with the emergence of Larry Dierker and Mike Cuellar, Bruce was traded to the Braves prior to the 1967 season (with outfielder Dave Nicholson) for 3rd baseman Eddie Mathews, infielder Sandy Alomar, and pitcher Arnold Umbach.

Bob only pitched 12 games for the Braves in his final season, the last coming on June 24th. He played the 2nd half of the season with the Braves' AAA team, before retiring.

Bruce passed away in March 2017 at age 83.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Final Card: Vic Wertz

Here is the final card for slugging right fielder/1st baseman Vic Wertz (#348). Vic played 17 seasons (1947-63), and was a regular from 1949-61.

Wertz was signed by the Tigers in 1942 and played in the minors from 1942-43, and 1946. During 1944-45, he was in military service.

Vic made his major-league debut at the start of the 1947 season. He was an outfielder for the first half of his career, and was the Tigers’ 4th outfielder from 1947-48, backing up the corner spots.

He became a regular in 1949, starting every game (155) in right field, including 150 complete games. Vic followed that with 145, 129, and 113 starts in right field over the next 3 seasons. He also hit 20, 27, 27, and 23 homers in that 4-year span, and made the All-Star team in '49, '51, and '52.

His final start for the Tigers was on July 20th. Three weeks later, he was traded to the St. Louis Browns in an 8-player deal. He started 36 of the remaining 39 games as the Browns' right fielder.

Wertz was the regular right fielder in 1953 (117 starts in his 128 games played). When the team moved to Baltimore for the 1954 season, he was the regular right fielder through the end of May, but was traded to the Indians for pitcher Bob Chakales.

Vic moved in to first base with the Indians, starting almost every game there for the season's final 4 months. He is probably best remembered as the player on the wrong end of "The Catch". Wertz hit a long fly ball over Willie Mays’ head in the 1954 World Series, but Mays somehow caught it running full-speed with his back to the play.

Wertz missed all but 74 games in 1955 due to contracting polio, but recovered and returned to full-time status in '56 and '57. Vic made his final All-Star team in 1957. That would be his last full season for the Indians, as he missed most of the 1958 season, returning in late-July and only seeing action in 25 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter.

After the '58 season he was traded to the Red Sox with outfielder Gary Geiger for outfielder Jim Piersall. Wertz and 2 others each started about 1/3 of the games at 1st base in 1959, but Vic bounced back in 1960 to start 110 games there. He start started 82 games over the first 5 months of 1961, then was claimed by the Tigers in September.

Vic spent the 1962 season on Detroit's bench, only making 14 starts, and was released in May 1963. The Twins picked him up in June, only to release him at the end of the season.

After his playing career, he formed a group that raised millions for the Special Olympics Winter Games.