Monday, May 28, 2012

1953 Topps Project - Tony Bartirome

The next card towards my 1953 Topps set is Tony Bartirome of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  I would wager to guess that out of the 274 players included in the 1953 Topps set, Tony here may have the least amount of career MLB experience.  You can't fault Topps for including him on the checklist I guess.  After all, he had seen action in 124 games at first base for the Bucs during his rookie season in 1952, at just 20 years old.  Unfortunately for Tony, he would never see big league action again.

After the '52 season Tony was drafted into the army, and served for 2 years.  He would return to the Pirates minor league system in 1955, and would bounce around professional baseball for a few more years, but he never saw another Major League at-bat.  Bartirome did stay involved in the game of baseball for many more years, as a longtime trainer with the Pirates.  He had a few brief coaching stints as well before finally calling it a career.  Interestingly, Tony has the distinction of never having grounded into a double play.  Not too bad for 124 games played.

You have to wonder if Tony's fortune may have been different had he stayed with the Pirates organization in 1953 instead of getting drafted into the Army.  Might he have gone on a hot streak at the beginning of the '53 season, giving him the confidence that he needed as a 21 year old to go on to a lengthy MLB career?  Maybe so, maybe not (after all he hit just .220 in 1952).  Either way, this seemed like an appropriate card to post today.  I'd like to take a moment to say a public thank you to Tony Bartirome, to my own father, to my many close friends, and to the millions of other Americans who have served in our country's military over the years.  Have a safe and happy Memorial Day everyone.

Set Progress:  45 of 274 (16%)

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