Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ed Rakow (#82)

Here's another card donated by the fine folks at Dean's Cards. It's also another from the Athletics' pre-green-and-gold era.

Ed Rakow was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1957, and had a 4-year tour of their minor-league outposts, including the Green Bay Bluejays and the Montreal Royals. Ed's major-league debut with the Dodgers came in April 1960, but he only played 9 games with them that season, while spending the bulk his time with their triple-A Spokane Indians.

In March 1961, Rakow was traded to the Athletics for pitcher Howie Reed (who will be found next week in my 1970 blog). Ed spent 3 full seasons with Kansas City. In 1961 he was primarily a reliever, compiling a 2-8 record in 45 games (34 in relief).

The following season he moved to the starting rotation, and was the team's ace (if a team that finishes in 9th place has an "ace"). He led the staff in wins (14), losses (a league-high 17), starts (35), innings (235), and strikeouts (159).

1963 was Ed's last season with the Athletics. His 9-10 record put him in the team's 2nd-tier of starters (along with Moe Drabowsky and Diego Segui), behind 12-game winners Orlando Pena (who lost 20 games) and Dave Wickersham. Rakow pitched in 34 games, but made only 26 starts.

In November, Ed was traded to the Tigers (along with Wickersham and 2nd baseman Jerry Lumpe) for slugging outfielder Rocky Colavito, pitcher Bob Anderson (who never played in the majors again), and cash. Rakow had one solid season (1964) in the Tigers bullpen, then spent most of 1965 and all of 1966 in the minors. He was released by the Tigers in May 1966, and picked up by the Red Sox the same month, but remained in triple-A.

After the 1966 season, Rakow was traded to the Braves. He pitched for their AAA Richmond club in 1967 and 1968, and pitched 17 games for the parent club in 1967, his last on September 28th. Ed's final card was in the 1965 set.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Extremely rare, short-printed card found!

Recently, a rare 1963 card thought to be extinct has surfaced. This highly-sought-after card appears to be in good condition, considering its age. This late-inning reliever no doubt spent several seasons with the Spokane Lumberjacks and Minot Red Roosters, before hooking on with Team Coco.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Charlie Maxwell (#86)

Here is another player unknown to me until today.

Charlie (Charley to Topps) Maxwell was signed by the Boston Red in 1947, and played 7 seasons in their farm system. Although an outfielder, he also pitched in 11 games in 1947. Maxwell's major-league debut came in September 1950, with a 3 game cup of coffee. He also appeared in 49 games for the Sox in 1951 and 8 games in 1952.

Maxwell made the big leagues to stay at the start of the 1954 season. He was Ted Williams' backup in left field, which is to say he rarely played there (12 starts). He did appear in 74 games that season, mostly as a pinch-hitter. After the season, he was purchased by the Orioles, who then sold him to the Tigers by mid-May 1955.

Charlie was the Tigers' 5th outfielder for the remainder of the 1955 season, but took over the starting left fielder's job to begin the 1956 season. Maxwell held the job through the end of the 1960 season. During Charlie's 5 seasons as Detroit's left fielder, he made the all-star team twice.

Rocky Colavito replaced Maxwell in left field at the start of the 1961 season, and after a year and a half of pinch-hitting duty, Charlie was traded to the White Sox in June 1962. Maxwell was Chicago's 4th outfielder during 1962, and started 45 games in left field. He was also the teams' top left-handed pinch-hitter.

1963 was more of the same, except that with the addition of Dave Nicholson to the outfield mix, Charlie was pushed down to the #5 slot. After only 2 pinch-hitting appearances in 1964, Maxwell was released on May 15th.