Saturday, May 29, 2021

#219 Pete Runnels


#219 Pete Runnels

74 of 274

27% complete

"His Walk About" - A .291 career hitter, Runnels amassed 1,854 hits over 14 seasons.  A two-time league batting champion as a member of the Red Sox, he never hit below .314 in Boston.  Runnels narrowly missed out on a 3rd batting title in '58, finishing 2nd to his teammate Ted Williams.  He split most of his career between the Senators and Red Sox, before spending his final two campaigns as a member of the Colt .45's.

"That's Not a Knife" - It's 9 hits in a double header.  On August 30, 1960 Runnels went 6 for 7 in the first game of a double header against the Tigers and followed it up with a 3 for 4 performance.

"More of a love bite really..." - This card is in pretty nice shape with good edges.  The color is a little bit off, and it's slightly off-centered, but I'm not sure what needs to happen in a person's life for them to be upset about such minor details.  I know I'm not.

"Down Under" - Runnels is card #2 in the 1952 set. The cards are more or less identical, right down to what appears to be the same building or shed in the background.   I'll go with the '53 by a the smallest of margins.  That stretches the '53 set's lead to 26-23-7.

"At the Oscars"
3x All-Star ('59, '60, '62)
Led AL in Batting '60
Led AL in Batting '62
2nd AL Batting '58
3rd AL Batting '59
10th AL MVP Voting '58
2nd AL Runs '58
3rd AL Hits '59
4th AL Hits '58
4th AL Hits '60
2nd AL Triples '54
4th AL Doubles '56, '58, & '59
2nd AL Walks '59
33rd NL MVP Voting '50
9th NL Home Runs '54
5th NL Triples '52
8th NL Triples '53

Monday, May 3, 2021

#218 Les Fusselman

#218 Les Fusselman

73 of 274

26.6% complete

"His Walk About" - In his two big league seasons Les appeared in 43 games, all with the Cardinals, in 1952 and 1953.  He had 12 hits and one home run while batting .169 as a hitter. 

"That's Not a Knife" - It's a 31 year old rookie.  Fusselman spent a decade, seven years in the minors and three in WWII, before making his debut with the Cardinals in 1952.

"More of a love bite really..." - The corners are bit soft, and the card may be slightly off-centered vertically, but it's in more than acceptable shape.

"Down Under" - Les is card #378 in the 1952 set.  That's another high number that I don't own.  These cards are nearly identical, but if I have to make a choice, I slightly prefer the '52.  They're both pretty forgettable, though I'm sure the Fussleman family was pretty stoked that his 43 games in two seasons resulted in two Topps cards.  That cuts the '53 set's lead down to 25-23-7.

"At the Oscars"
*Signed as a Free Agent by the Cardinals prior to 1942 season
(Not much to work with here)

Monday, April 19, 2021

#155 Dutch Leonard

#155 Dutch Leonard

72 of 274

26.3% complete

"His Walk About" - When this card came out, Dutch was playing in his final, and 20th major league season in 1953.  He spent his first four seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers after making his debut in 1933, before moving on to Washington for nine seasons, then two as a Phillie, before spending his final five with the Chicago Cubs.  A four time All-Star, Dutch retired with a 191-181 career record and 3.25 ERA.

"That's Not a Knife" - It's a knuckle ball.  As a Washington Senator in 1945 Leonard went 17-7 with a 2.13 ERA.  Along with Mickey Haefner, Johnny Niggeling and Roger Wolff, Leonard formed what may be the only four man rotation in MLB history comprised entirely of knuckleball pitchers.  Washington finished a game and half back of the Tigers in the AL Pennant Race.

"More of a love bite really..." - The crease running across the center of this card is pretty severe, but it doesn't hurt the eye appeal of the card in any fundamental way. The photo selection on the other hand...

"Down Under" - Leonard is card #110 in the '52 set.  I prefer the '52, and if Dutch were still alive, I'm pretty sure he would agree.  That cuts the '53 set's lead to 25-22-7.

"At the Oscars"
4x All-Star
Led NL Saves '38
3rd NL Saves '52
3rd NL Saves '53
3rd AL Wins '39
4th AL Wins '41
2nd NL ERA '48
4th AL ERA '38
4th AL ERA '45
4th NL ERA '47
1.8% of the Hall of Fame Vote in '68

Sunday, April 11, 2021

#148 Mickey Grasso

#148 Mickey Grasso

71 of 274

25.9% complete

"His Walk About" - Grasso played in 322 major league games over parts of 7 seasons.  303 of those games were as a member of the Washington Senators.  He also appeared 15 times as a Giant (7 in '46, and 8 in '55) and 4 as Cleveland Indian (plus one additional as an Indian in the '54 World Series).  A .226 career hitter, Grasso retired with 216 hits and 5 home runs.

"That's Not a Knife" - ...And Grasso wouldn't be scared if it was.  A fan favorite in Washington due to his fiery temper, Grasso was captured and taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans in World War II, only to escape his captors while being marched with other POW's.

"More of a love bite really..." - If you're going to find something to complain about with this card, there isn't much to find.  It's a little off-centered and the corners have seen better days, but that can be said for all of us.

"Down Under" - Grasso is card #90 in the 1952 set.  I prefer the '53 and it's a pretty easy call.  The backwards cap is the biggest factor, but far from the only.  That pushes the '53 set's lead to 26-24-7.

"At the Oscars"
3rd AL Assist as a Catcher '52
3rd AL Defensive Games as a Catcher '52

Saturday, April 10, 2021

#145 Harry Dorish


#145 Harry Dorish

70 of 274

25.5% complete

"His Walk About" - "Fritz" pitched in 323 games over ten seasons, 283 of them coming out of the bullpen.  His best seasons came with the White Sox, but he also saw time with the Red Sox, and Browns/Orioles.  He retired with a 3.83 ERA, 45-43 record, and 48 saves.

"That's Not a Knife" - It's the last major league pitcher to steal home.  Dorish stole home as part of a double steal on June 2, 1950.  Imagine the pearl clutching by the Pro-DH crowd if Greinke or Kershaw (or any pitcher that doesn't embrace the "half-player" ethos) tried to pull that off today.

"More of a love bite really..." - This card is slightly off-centered, but in otherwise beautiful shape, even having a couple of corners that might be described as "sharp."

"Down Under" - Dorish is card #303 in the '52 set.  It's close but I'm going to give the edge to the '53 card for reasons that remain elusive.  It's just a gut call.  That cuts the '53 set's lead to 25-24-7.

"At the Oscars"
Led AL in Saves '52
2nd AL in Saves '53
8th AL in Saves '54
8th AL in Saves '55

Friday, April 9, 2021

#115 George Spencer

#115 George Spencer

69 of 274

25.1% complete

"His Walk About" - George pitched in 8, non-consecutive big league seasons between 1950 and 1960.  In four of those seasons he pitched 10 or fewer innings.  He finished with a 16-10 record and 4.05 ERA.  His best season was 1951 with the New York Giants when he went 10-4 with 6 saves coming out of the bullpen.

"That's Not a Knife" - It's the quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Spencer led the Buckeyes to a 4-3-2 record as their starting quarterback in 1946.

"More of a love bite really..." - This card was covered in a sort of "gunk" when I obtained it.  So, feel free to call me a monster, I boiled it in water for about 20 minutes, then stuck it between a couple paper towels inside a dictionary for about a week.  The "gunk" is gone, but it come out with this funny discoloration that wasn't there before.

"Down Under" - Spencer is card #346 in the '52 set and not one that I own.  While neither card is what I would describe as great, I still much prefer the '52.  That cuts the '53 set's lead to 25-23-7.

"At the Oscars"
4th NL Saves '51
4th NL Games '51

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

#91 Ebba St. Claire

#91 Ebba St. Claire

68 of 274

24.8% complete

"His Walk About" - Ebba appeared in 164 games over 4 seasons in the bigs.  A .249 career hitter, he knocked out 7 homers and 112 hits.  His best season was his rookie year in '51 when he hit .282 and drove in 25 runs while collecting 62 hits in 72 games with the Boston Braves.  In three subsequent seasons he would drive in 4, 5, and 6 runs respectively.

"That's Not a Knife" - It's a baseball family.  Ebba's son Randy St. Claire would play for 9 major league seasons as a pitcher, mostly with the Montreal Expos.

"More of a love bite really..." - There's some off-centering and the right edge of this card as a sort of a frayed cut, something I've read was due to dull blades at the shop.  I've also read that the hyper sensitive "codition nerds" don't view this as a defect. It's things like that, that keep me firmly in the great/okay/not great school of card grading.

"Down Under" - Ebba is card #393 in the '52 set and not one that I own.  The cards appear to be very similar, but I'll give the slight edge to the '52 due to it's dark green backdrop.  That cuts the '53 set's lead to 25-22-7.

"At the Oscars"
3rd NL Range Factor/9inn as a C '51
4th NL Stolen Bases Allowed as a Catcher '51