Saturday, February 7, 2015

Stu Miller 1927-2015

Stu Miller pitched in the majors from 1952-1968 with the Cardinals, Phillies, Giants, Orioles, and Braves.  He began his major league career in the Cardinals' starting rotation, completing more than half of the games he started, and throwing a couple of Shutouts during each of his first two seasons.  Miller pitched for the Cardinals through the start of the '56 season before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Harvey Haddix.  

After the end of the 1956 season, the Phillies traded Miller to the New York Giants for Jim Hearn.  During the Giants first year in San Francisco in 1958,  Stu Miller led the N.L. with a 2.47 ERA.  He made both All-Star teams that were formed in 1961, and then led the league in Saves that year.

In 1962, Miller made it to his first World Series against the New York Yankees, closing the final innings of Games 1 and 5 while maintaining a 0.00 ERA.

In 1963, the Giants traded Stu Miller along with Mike McCormick to the Baltimore Orioles where Miller would lead the league in Games Played, Games Finished, and Saves.  Miller posted a career best 1.89 ERA in 1965 and won a World Series ring as a member of the Orioles the following season.  Miller posted ERA's of 2.25 and 2.55 during his final two seasons with the Orioles in 1966 and 1967.  He played his final season in the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 1968.

1948 Bowman #14 A.Reynolds, 15 E.Joost, 21 F.Fain, 37 C.Hartung, & 46 H.Wehmeier

The rest of the cards that were included in my recent baseball card trade include 5 Bowmans from the 1948 set.  This acquisition significantly increases my '48 collection from 4% completion to almost 15% of this 48-card set.  With relatively so many new '48s, it kind of make me wonder what it would have been like to have been able to go to a store and find boxes of '48 Bowman penny packs for sale.  How many people actually remember collecting these these things back in the 1940s?  Ten dollars would have bought you 1000 packs of '48 Bowmans--good enough for over 20 complete sets.  Imagine that.  "I'll take 2000 packs of your 1948 Bowmans please".          

The first of my new '48s is Allie Reynolds of the New York Yankees.  He turned 31 years old that year and had already been playing in the majors since 1942, so I really have difficulty referring to this as his rookie card, but it is Reynolds' first baseball card.  I guess it's not as bad as calling Babe Ruth's baseball cards from the '33 Goudey set his rookie cards.  By the way, today is Ruth's 120th birthday.  Anyway, Reynolds was just coming off of his first World Series championship during his first year with the Yankees in 1947.  He pitched a complete game against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium in Game #2 for a 10-3 victory.  Reynolds started Game 6, but was knocked out of the game in the 3rd inning.  Reynolds went to the Yankees after the '46 season in a trade for Hall-of-Famer Joe Gordon to the Cleveland Indians.  Reynolds would go on to appear in all 5 World Series championships the Yankee would win between 1949-1953 before retiring after the following season.  He appeared on HOF ballots between 1956-1974, earning up to 33% of the 75% of the votes needed for induction. 

Eddie Joost was a former All-Star that played in the majors for 17 seasons between 1936-1955 for the Reds, Braves, Athletics, and Red Sox.  He was a member of the Cincinnati Reds' World Series championship over the Detroit Tigers in 1940.  

Ferris Fain was a former All-Star that led the league in Doubles, Average, and On-Base Percentage.  He played mostly for the Athletics during the '40s and '50s, but also saw time with the White Sox, Tigers, and Indians.

Clint Hartung played for the New York Giants between 1947-1952.  He pitched in the 1951 World Series against the Yankees who were in the middle of a 5-year World Series championship run.

Herman Wehmeier pitched for the Reds, Phillies, Cardinals, and Tigers from 1945 to 1958.

How about taking in a ball game?

Friday, February 6, 2015

1960 Topps #326: Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF

My 1960 Topps set is starting to build up relatively nicely.  This morning I counted out a total of 216 cards from this 572-card set.  With over a third of the '60T set complete, I've also managed to stack up quite a number of key and subset cards like team checklists, managers, coached, rookie stars, all-star rookies, sport magazine selections, and player combos.  Little by little, this set seems to just have almost built itself.  As icing on the cake, I've now added Roberto Clemente to this collection.  This acquisition is especially significant because in 1960, the World Series featured the Clemente's Pittsburgh Pirates vs. the New York Yankees.  This was probably the year that Clemente first exploded as a superstar on a national scale because he was selected to his first of 12 total All-Star teams, and would begin winning Gold Gloves every year afterward throughout the rest of his career.  Next to his '55T rookie card, this is probably the next most significant card to have for a Clemente collection.  Although this particular card have some surface wear and corner rounding, it's very well centered for the most part and represents the type of low-grade vintage I like to find.   

Thursday, February 5, 2015

1948 Bowman #31: Bill McCahan, Philadelphia Athletics, P

The second '48 Bowman baseball card that I ever owned was acquired within the past year or so.  Somewhat like the 1970 Topps set, the '48B had to grow on me over time before I could gain an appreciation for these cards (at least the '70T set was in color).  Considered to be the first baseball card set of the post-WWII "modern" era, this was the only set issued to date that was printed completely in B&W.  Well, the 1953 Bowman set actually contained 64 B&W cards and 160 different Color cards, which I consider to combine to form a 224-card total set.  Although a 48-card baseball set is hardly representative of available talent for any given year, this set did mark the start of an unbroken streak of baseball card production to this day.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Baseball is Back!!!

For baseball fans, the end of the Superbowl marks the start of the baseball season.  With only 18 days left until pitchers and catchers report, spring is finally in the air.  

Can you feel it?

No, you're not dreaming; it's really true.

It's okay to get excited.

There's nothing like the feeling of being at the ballpark.

Did your team add anyone new to its line-up?

You've had all winter to catch up on vintage footage.

Did your team make any upgrades this off-season?

How do you feel about that new pitch clock?

Yes, it's going to be another great year.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

1948 Bowman #32: Bill Rigney, New York Giants, 2B

In anticipation of my upcoming post about the second part of my recent trade (hint hint), I realized that I've never posted a blog about any of my '48 Bowmans (all two of them).  Besides the motor oil looking stain on the left and a horizontal crease through the middle, this is a really nice looking card.  The centering, corners, and edges would all rate very well, so it's only the surface that restricts the grading of this one.  Since Beckett allows up to two half-grade increases to the lowest rating when all other areas are exceptionally higher, I think card is a perfect example of when that principle would be applicable. 

There probably aren't too many people around that still remember Bill Rigney as an All-Star player in 1948, a World Series contender in 1951, or the rest of his eight years as a major league infielder for the New York Giants between 1946-1953.  Many people, however, will still remember Rigney during his managerial career, which lasted through 1976.  He managed 3 different teams during 18 seasons between 1956-1976.  Rigney was the last manager of the New York Giants, and the first manager of the San Francisco Giants.  He managed the original Los Angeles Angels in 1961, and remained the team's manager through their name change to the California Angels in 1965, and throughout the rest of the '60s decade.  Rigney managed the Twins for a few years in the early '70s before finishing out his managerial career with his original team.

1948 Bowman baseball cards are much smaller than today's modern baseball cards, which varied in sizes before 1957.  These cards are identical in size to the 1949 Bowmans, the 1950 Bowmans, and the 1951 Topps cards.  I store them in 9-pocket pages as shown below by first inserting them sideways into individual card holders that have been cut down to 2-1/2 inch lengths.  Here is the New York Giants team set from 1948.  I replace the reprints with originals as I acquire them.