Sunday, December 7, 2014

Yankees Outfield of the Early '60s: H.Lopez, M.Mantle, & R.Maris

Every offseason, I eventually find myself digging through old boxes of baseball films that I've accumulated over the years.  Inspired by the film 61*, and the fact that I don't have any blogs posted for the 1961 Topps set, I decided to post one today. 
The following 3 players represent the typical Yankees Outfield of the early '60s.  Just about everybody is familiar with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, but most people like me that weren't around to watch baseball games in the '60s, probably aren't familiar with Hector Lopez.  He and Roger Maris were actually teammates together on the Kansas City Athletics in 1958-1959.  Lopez was traded to the Yankees first along with Ralph Terry in Spring of 1959.  Maris came along later during the offseason.  In 1959, Lopez split time in Leftfield with Norm Siebern before taking over completely in 1960.  Lopez pretty much held the Yankee Leftfield position until 1964, when he began to see a decrease in his playing time through 1966.  After being released by the Yankees, Lopez would finish out his playing career with the Washington Senators AAA ballclub in 1967-1968.

Maris held the Rightfield position for the Yankees upon arrival from 1960-1966 with the exception of 1965, which saw Hector Lopez primarily in Rightfield.  Just as Hector Lopez and Roger Maris had come to the Yankees during the same year, they also left during the same year after 1966.  Maris, however, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals where he would finish out his playing career with 2 World Series appearances leading to 1 more championship. 

Mickey Mantle requires little explanation.  He was the Yankees star Outfielder upon arrival to departure between 1951-1968.  The '61T card shown is from the 1996-1997 Mantle Commemorative Collection #11 of 36, which I have nearly completed (34 of 36).  Of all the Topps reprint sets ever made, this one probably has the greatest overall savings "value" due to the high cost of acquiring original Mantle cards.  The '61T Maris card shown is also a reprint from the 2002 Topps Archives set #4 of 200.  The only original '61T card shown is Hector Lopez #28.

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