Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
From 1954-1958 Roy was able to pick up the pace again while playing for the Washington Senators. He clubbed at least 95 RBI in each of these five seasons and was selected to the American League All Star team 3 times during this time period. He managed to finish 3rd in A.L. MVP voting in 1957 behind Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams. Roy hit home runs in an impressive 6 straight games during that season. Roy was pretty clutch with the bases loaded, hitting for 10 career grand slams...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Ernie was the first black player to suit up for the Cubs, and he played there his entire career (first at shortstop and then eventually moving to first base). He became known for the saying "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame, let's play two!". Unfortunately for Banks, the saying could just as easily have been "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame, let's play 2,528 of them and never make the playoffs!". Yes, the Cubs were so terrible during Banks' tenure that he holds the record for most games played without a playoff appearance.
I can't imagine what it must've been like to be that great a player, play that many seasons, and never even get a shot at winning the World Series. If this happened it today's era, you'd probably see quotes from Ernie, demanding to be traded, splashed all over Chicago newspapers and SportsCenter. Maybe that's why I enjoy collecting his cards. It's refreshing in this day and age of high-pressure baseball and huge contracts to think of a Hall of Famer who loved the game and was perfectly content despite playing for a losing team for almost 20 years.
The reason I chose the 1970 Topps card is that it was on this day in 1970 that Ernie Banks connected for his 500th home run at Wrigley Field, a feat that only 23 players have accomplished so far (Manny Ramirez is just a few swings away from becoming the 24th).
Friday, May 9, 2008
Cards like this one are the reason I love collecting...
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Gus Zernial is not as well known as a lot of 50's ballplayers, but he was actually a great slugging outfielder who played about 10 years in the majors (1949 - 1959). His good looks and huge physique (6'3", 220 lbs!) earned him the nickname of "Ozark Ike" (taken from a popular comic strip at the time).
According to Wikipedia, Gus had the fourth highest home run total in Major League Baseball in the 1950's (behind Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Larry Doby). That's a pretty impressive stat in my book. Here we see Gus at the tail end of what was probably his best 3 year stretch in baseball. In 1951 he led the league in home runs (33), RBI (129), extra base hits (68) and outfield assists (17). In 1953 he clubbed a personal best 42 home runs and topped the 100 RBI mark for the 3rd straight year.
During his career, Gus broke his collar bone on two different occassions while diving for balls in the outfield. The funny thing is that the second time he did so was during an 18-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Breaking a bone diving for a ball in a game you lost by 18 runs shows the grit and determination that Gus played with. With power hitting numbers like he put up in the 50's, you have to wonder if he would've been a hall of fame caliber player had he made it to the majors at a younger age...
You can check out Gus' official website here.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I got the package a couple of weeks ago and Paul is now in his proper place in my binder (in between Dino Ciccarelli and Al MacAdam). Arranging trades or getting pieces of mail like this have actually been some of the most rewarding aspects of having the blog. I really like dealing with the community that seems to be forming from all of these card blogs. It reminds me of my sixth grade self heading over to my buddies house with a shoebox full of cards for an afternoon of trading and talking baseball.
I'm pretty sure that Todd has been at work other places as well. Thanks for the card Todd and for reading my blog. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!