Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 Hall-of-Fame Induction Ceremony: C.Biggio, J.Smoltz, R.Johnson, & P.Martinez

Today, the 4 new members of the MLB Hall-of-Fame are being inducted at Cooperstown, NY.  Here are the rookie cards for those 4 former players.

1939/1940 Play Ball: Elden Auker, P

Elden Auker was born in the small Northwestern Kansas town of Norcatur on September 21st, 1910, which to this day, still only has a population of about 150-200 people.  Auker attended college at Kansas State University, where he starred in baseball, football, and basketball.  Upon graduation, Auker chose to play baseball for the Detroit Tigers over football for the Chicago Bears.  In 1932, the Tigers sent Auker to their minor league affiliate Moline Plowboys (class D) for 18 games and then the Decatur Commodores (class B) for 9 more games.  Auker started the 1933 season with the Beaumont Exporters (class A) for another 31 games before being called up to the major league club in August.  According to wikipedia, Auker struck out his very first batter, Babe Ruth, in just 4 pitches.  Auker played a total of 10 seasons in the majors for 3 different teams between 1933-1942.  He was mostly known as a Detroit Tiger, having pitched in two World Series: losing against the Cardinals in 1934, and winning against the Cubs in 1935.  Auker was traded to the Boston Red Sox after the 1938 season, which was just in time to witness Ted Williams as a 1st year rookie in 1939.  He would play his final 3 seasons with the St. Louis Browns (now Baltimore Orioles).  Auker lived to be almost 96 years old, and was known as the last living pitcher to have faced Babe Ruth when he passed away on August 4th, 2006.    

1939 Play Ball #4.

1940 Play Ball #139.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Jose Vizcaino

Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 7th round of this year's MLB draft was the familiar name of Jose Vizcaino Jr.  I recently got to see him play in A- ball in the minors as Vizcaino's team beat my team by a narrow margin.  Many people might remember Jose Vizcaino Sr. who played for 8 different teams over an 18-year career between 1989-2006--mostly for the Dodgers and Astros.  Vizcaino has one World Series ring with the 2000 Yankees in 2 WS appearances, 3 LCS's, and 6 LDS's.  Vizcaino's regular-issue Topps rookie card was in 1992, but he also had a Topps Debut card in 1990, which is perhaps his true Topps rookie.

1951 Topps #A-39: Ted Kluszewski, Cincinnati Reds, 1B

With the All-Star game being in Cincinnati this year, it is fitting that Ted Kluszewski a little recognition for the Reds.  He played 15 seasons in the majors between 1947 to 1961 for the Reds, Pirates, White Sox, and Angels.  As a Red, Kluszewski led the league in Hits, HR's, RBI, and was a 4-time All-Star.  He was a great defensive player at 1B, leading the league multiple time over in Putouts, Double Plays Turned, and Fielding %.  Kluszewski was the the runner-up for the '54 NL MVP award, and remained on the Hall-of-Fame Ballot from 1967-1981.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

1955 Bowman #242: Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs, SS

At the time of his passing earlier this year, I had made a post displaying a 2nd year Topps Ernie Banks card.  With this 2nd year Bowman Ernie Banks card, I begin to substantiate my '55 Bowman collection with a star player.  '55 Bowmans are relatively affordable for Topps/Bowman cards from the 1950's.

2015 Top Teams in each League

For much of this season's first half, the top spot in each league has belonged to both Missouri teams on the Illinois and Kansas borders: St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.  This is significant to me since I spent many years attending games at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and was in attendance at the New Busch Stadium during Opening Weekend in its inaugural season.  I'm looking forward to visiting the Royals again next month for T-Shirt Tuesday and Retro Replica Powder Blue Jersey night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

1956 Topps Baseball Starter Set

From less than 10%, to over 30% of the '56 Topps set in just a few days, I can now say that I'm a collector of this this set.  1956 was the final year of oversized cards, before the introduction of the standard-size card most people are familiar with today.  Also, 1956 was the final year that the player photographs look colorized or painted.  The major difference between the very similar '55s and '56s is a solid colored background opposed to a ballpark scene, respectively.  Like the 1955 Topps set, nearly all of the 1956's face horizontal.  The only other year that Topps produced a horizontal set was in 1960.  Pictured below are team pages from my binder that are filled.  


Friday, July 3, 2015

1949 Bowman #143: Bob Dillinger, St. Louis Browns, 3B

Bob Dillinger was primarily known as a St. Louis Brown, playing for 4 different teams over 6 seasons between 1946-1951.  Dillinger made the All-Star team in 1949, leading the A.L. in Stolen Bases for 3 consecutive years, and in Hits during the previous season.  In 1949, Dillinger was also 2nd in the league in Triples, and 3rd in Batting Average.  Defensively, he led the league in Putouts at 3B in 1947, and ranked 2nd the following two seasons, including 2nd in Double Plays Turned at 3B in 1948.  Dillinger was traded to the Athletics after the '49 season, and would play for 2 other teams in '50 and '51 before ending his MLB career.