Wednesday, February 14, 2018

#15 Bobo Newsom

#15 Bob Newsome
15 of 274
5.5% complete

"His Walk About" - Bobo had an epic twenty season MLB walkabout with a three year hiatus from 1949-51, that saw him play for 9 different clubs and strikeout over 2,000 batters.  A 4x All-Star Bobo led the league in loses four times while compiling a career record of 211-222 while keeping his career ERA under four at 3.98.  A 3x Twenty game winner, Bobo played in two World Series and won his only ring with the Yankees in 1947.

"That's Not a Knife" - It was three complete games that Bobo threw for the Tigers in the 1940 World Series.  During Game One against the Reds, Bobo surrendered two runs in a 7-2 Tigers win.  Tragically, his father who traveled to the game from South Carolina, died that same day.  Pitching in honor of his father in Game 5, Bobo threw a three hit shutout.  Then two days later, Bobo threw another complete game as the Tigers lost the decisive Game 8 (yes, Game 8) and World Series to the Reds 2-1.

"More of a love bite really..." - This card has some edge wear but nothing upsetting.  For the most part these 53's are finding there way to my desk in pretty good shape and at very reasonable prices, especially compared to the 52's.  What a difference a year makes I guess.

"Down Under" - Bobo wasn't in the majors from 1949 to 1951, and as a result wasn't included in the 1952 set.  I have hard time imaging it would have been better than this '53 even if there had been one.  I wasn't familiar with this card prior to buying this copy, but it's an all-timer.  I assumed it was a manager until I flipped it over.  With nothing to compare it to, this gets scored as a draw.  The 1953 set still leads 8-6-1.  

"At the Oscars"
4x All-Star '38, '39, '40, '44
4th AL MVP '40
5th AL MVP '38
Led AL Strikeouts '42
71st All-Time Strikeouts
Led AL Games Started '36, '37, '38, '39
Led AL Complete Games '38, '39
2nd AL Wins '38
2nd AL Wins '40
3rd AL Wins '39
6th AL Wins '37 
9.4% of Hall of Fame Vote in '69

Monday, February 12, 2018

#13 Connie Marrero

#13 Connie Marrero
14 of 274
5.1% complete

"His Walk About" - Morrero lasted for five MLB seasons, and never won more than 11 games as a starter, but he did make one All-Star team.  Had he made his MLB career prior to his 38th birthday his career numbers likely would have been more impressive.  Instead he tallied up a long career in the Cuban Leagues prior to finally making his way to the States.

"That's Not a Knife" - It's a mural in the Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, that depicts Connie Marrero.  Marrero is a well respected figure in Cuba, and cited as a link between the Cuban League and the Cuban National Baseball System that replaced it following the Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.  Marrero died in 2014, just two days shy of his 103 birthday.

"More of a love bite really..." - This card is off-centered, but not horribly.  That's about the only complaint I can find to make about it's condition.

"Down Under" - Connie Marrero is card #317 in the 1952 set (it's starting to feel like '53 is comprised of nothing but '52 hi-numbers). The '52 Marrero has the look of a mug shot, and is not a fun looking card.  This '53 however is a great looking card.  Topps does a great job in capturing Marrero and this is an easy call, I like the '53 better.  The 1953 set extends it's lead to 8-6.  

"At the Oscars"
All-Star AL 1951
9th AL ERA '52
10th AL Shutouts '51
Oldest Player in AL '54

Friday, February 9, 2018

#7 Bob Borkowski

#7 Bob Borkowski
13 of 274
4.7% complete

"His Walk About" - Borkowski played for parts of six major league seasons, but only once appeared in more than 100 games.  A .251 career hitter, Bob collected 294 hits and 16 home runs.

"That's Not a Knife" - It was a trade that brought the Dayton, Ohio native Borkowski from the Cubs to the Dodgers during the 1955 season.  It would be Borkowski's final season in the Big Leagues, and he appeared in 9 games for the eventual World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers.  It was the only Pennant winning team Borkowski ever played for.

"More of a love bite really..." - Much like Borkowski's career, this card clearly has some history, but there really isn't too much to show for it.  The colors are still very bright and there is still some semblance of a corner or two.

"Down Under" - Bob Borkowski is card #328 in the 1952 set. That's a high number that I don't have (seems to be a common theme so far).  I prefer this '53 sequel to the original.  I'm not wild about the horizontal cards in the '52 set and the Borkowski is a rather bland one.  But this isn't just based on my dislike of the '52, I actually kind of like this '53 sequel.  Something about the flag pole and colors is very appealing to me, it adds an almost comic book effect to the card that I really like.  13 cards in, the 53's now take a 7-6 lead in this category.
"At the Oscars"
3rd NL Fielding % as OF '52
5th NL Range Factor/9inn as OF '52

Saturday, February 3, 2018

#2 Luke Easter

#2 Luke Easter
12 of 274
4.3% complete

"His Walk About" - Luke saw time during six MLB seasons, only three of which were anything close to full.  But Easter made the most of those three almost full seasons, averaging 28+ HR and 100 RBI from 1950-52.  For "some reason" Easter spent the better part of the 1950's in the minor leagues where he went all "Crash Davis" and crushed 269 home runs.  Easter made his home runs count too.  He was the first player to ever hit a ball into the center field bleachers at the Polo Grounds.  His blast were dubbed "Easter Eggs" by his teammates.  Once when asked about whether a particular homer was the longest he had ever hit, Easter allegedly replied; "If it came down, it wasn't my longest."  
Easter, who began his pro-career with two seasons in the Negro League, retired from pro-ball in 1964 at the age of 48.  Though his exact age is somewhat unknown, as depending on when he was asked, Easter was born anywhere from 1911 to 1921.

"That's Not a Knife" - Tragically, it was two shotguns that were used in the murder of Luke Easter on March 29, 1979 in Euclid, Ohio.  Approached outside a bank while making a deposit for the Aircraft Workers Alliance, Easter refused to turn over the money and was shot twice at close range.

"More of a love bite really..." - This card has aged very well.  It has some faint wrinkles, but we should all be so lucky to look this good when we're 65 years old like this card is.

"Down Under" - Luke Easter is card #24 in the 1952 set.  While I find this 1953 card to be a very nice looking example of a baseball card, Easter's 1952 just has more going for it.  Easter looks like a hulking giant, and for some reason the power lines and trees in the background just look like objects this monster slugger would blast balls over after clearing out field walls.  I'm going with the '52 and that ties the tally at 6-6 twelve cards in.
"At the Oscars"
International League Hall of Fame Inductee
1st AL Hit by Pitch '50
2nd AL Home Runs '52
4th AL Home Runs '51
6th AL Home Runs '50
4th AL RBI's '51
6th AL RBI's '52
8th AL RBI's '50

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#53 Sherman Lollar

#53 Sherman Lollar
11 of 274
4% complete

"His Walk About" - 18 MLB seasons was enough time for Sherman Lollar to pick up a lot of numbers in his walk about.  A defensive star behind the plate, Lollar won the inaugural Rawlings Gold Glove Award for catchers in 1957, and would win it the next two years as well.  A .264 hitter, the 7x All-Star retired with 1,415 hits, 155 HR, and 808 RBI.

"That's Not a Knife" - It was actually a bowling alley.  Following his MLB career, Lollar spent a few years as the Orioles Bullpen coach, then bounced around some minor league coaching gigs (including one of my old PCL League favorites, Tucson Toros), before opening a bowling alley in Springfield, MO.  Sadly, Lollar passed at the young age of 53 due to cancer in 1977.

"More of a love bite really..." - This Lollar is a little rough around the edges, but ultimately is in more than acceptable shape.  I'm not sure if it's a result of the paper stock, or just a coincidence, but a lot of my 53's appear to have this sort of edge wear, which I didn't see as much with the 52's.

"Down Under" - Sherman Lollar is card #117 in the 1952 set.  This is probably the best match-up so far, as it's the first time I've really liked both cards.  I think I prefer the backwards cap and image of Lollar holding the ball to the glove and chest protector in the '52 (which I really like as well), on the other hand, I prefer the White Sox logo on the '52, which just looks better in the yellow circle than it does in the black triangle on this '53.  It's close, but I'm going with the '53 due to the way Lollar's face is colored on the '52, it just looks too "pretty" for me.  The 53's take a 6-5 lead in this running tally.

"At the Oscars"
3x Gold Glove Winner '57, '58, '59
7x All-Star '50, '54-'60
World Series Ring with NYY '47
9th AL MVP voting '58
9th AL MVP voting '59 
10th AL RBI's '58
8th AL Doubles '56
2nd IBB '55
3rd IBB '61
6th IBB '62
7th IBB '59

Friday, January 26, 2018

#49 Faye Throneberry

#49 Faye Throneberry
10 of 274
3.6% complete

"His Walk About" - 307 hits over 8 MLB season's (with two lost to military service) was the ground covered during Throneberry's walk about.  1959 saw Throneberry set a number of career high's including games (117) and home runs (10).  He spent his first four seasons with the Red Sox, before spending four with the Washington Senators, and finally wrapping things up in 1961 with one season as an L.A. Angel after being selected by them in the expansion draft.

"That's Not a Knife" - Nope, it was a field dog, or as often called, bird dog or "pointer."  After his playing career, Throneberry became a trainer of Field Dogs and in 1973 he trained Miller's Miss Knight, who won the Field Trials National Championship in 1973.  The dog was inducted into the the Hall of Fame for Field Dogs in 1981.

"More of a love bite really..." - This Throneberry has it's share of surface wear, but overall is in fine shape.  There's nothing that really stands out or detracts from the card.

"Down Under" - Marv Faye Throneberry is card #376 in the 1952 set.  For those of you paying attention, you'll notice that's a high number, and won't be surprised to learn I don't have a copy of it in my collection.  I like what I've seen of the '52, and this is a close call, but I'm inclined to say I like the '53 better.  That Fenway scoreboard in the background of the '53 is the difference maker for me.  The running tally in this '52 vs. '53 match-up is now tied at 5 apiece.

"At the Oscars"
1st Double Plays Turned as Outfielder '52
5th AL Stolen Bases '52

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#44 Ellis Kinder

#44 Ellis Kinder
9 of 274
3.3% complete

"His Walk About" - Kinder's MLB walk about lasted 12 seasons, which is actually quite impressive given he didn't start it until the age of 31.  After beginning his career as a starter, and very good one at that (Kinder won 23 games in 1949), he became one of the pioneers in the niche of relief pitching.  He retired with 104 saves, which was good for 2nd all-time in 1957 (Johnny Murphy was the leader with 107 at the time).

"That's Not a Knife" - It wasn't a knife, it was a there pound smelt (that's a fish) that fell from the sky and smacked Kinder on the head while pitching as a member of the St. Louis Browns in Fenway Park on May 17, 1947.  Dropped by a seagull flying overhead, Kinder was undeterred and picked up the a 4-2 win by throwing a complete game.  Kinder must have enjoyed the expierence, because he joined the Red Sox the following season in 1948.

"More of a love bite really..." - This Kinder appears to have crossed path with a crocodile or a hole puncher at some point, as there's a clean (cleanish) hole going straight through the card.  Thankfully, given the crease clearly shows someone folded this card in half horizontally once or twice, the hole wasn't punched while the card was folded, or there would be a hole on each side.

"Down Under" - Ellis Kinder is card #78 down below in the 1952 set.  The '52 is a nice enough card, but based on the strength of the scoreboard in the background of this '53, I'm going to give the edge to the sequel here.  The 52's keep their lead, but it's down to a 5-4 edge.
"At the Oscars"
Inducted to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2006
AL TSN Pitcher of the Year 1949
1st AL Shutouts '49
1st AL Saves '51
1st AL Saves '53
1st AL Games Finished '51, '53, and '55
2nd AL Wins '49
3rd AL Strikeouts '49
9th AL Strikeouts '47
5th AL MVP Voting '49
7th AL MVP Voting '51
2nd AL Saves '54
2nd AL Saves '55
4th AL Saves '50
5th AL Saves '49