Friday, June 10, 2011
1955 Topps, Johnny Gray
#101 Johnny Gray
Last summer, the Kansas City T-Bones hosted their third annual Kansas City A's reunion. There was not an autograph signing for the event, but I bought some cards of all of the players that were scheduled to be there anyway. I got about half of my cards signed at the game and, this past winter, I decided to send off the other half to get signed through the mail. This was the first card that I sent off and it just happened to be the last one that I got back. It took just over two months to get this card back.
Johnny pitched in the Majors for parts of four seasons with the A's, Indians, and Phillies. He went 3-12 in his rookie season and posted a 6.51 ERA. In 105 innings of work, he walked 91 batters while only striking out 51. But, just to show how different the game is today, Johnny pitched five complete games that season.
Johnny pitched out of the bullpen in his final season in the Majors and he did a little bit better there. In 15 games (17.1 innings), Johnny posted no record and a 4.15 ERA. That was the only time that he had an ERA under 5 while in the Major Leagues.
For his career, Johnny was 4-18 with a 6.18 ERA. What really hurt him was his control. In 169 innings of work, Johnny walked 142 batters while striking out just 75.
When I got this card back in the mail, my letter that I sent with it came back home, too. That is not the first time that had happened. But, Johnny left me a little note at the bottom of the letter. He let me know that he was unable to attend the event last summer and then he said that he had never been to Salina (where I live) before. The first part I understood since that was the whole reason for writing him in the first place. But, the second half still doesn't make any sense to me. I reread the letter and I never even mentioned my hometown in it. It was kind of strange.
Speaking about my hometown, my next post will have a lot to do with it.
College baseball is back this weekend and one game is already underway. By Monday night, we should know the eight teams that are headed for Omaha.