Friday, July 29, 2016

1961 Post, George Altman

#195 George Altman

Here is something that I have not posted on here in some time. This card was not signed through the mail. It is an honest-to-goodness in-person autograph!

I got this card signed at a Royals game earlier this year. It was their annual Negro League game where the team sports some retro Kansas City Monarchs uniforms. I had been to a few of those games in the past and at the last one I attended three years ago, I noticed that there was an autograph line with some former Negro League players. Since I knew I was going to the game this year, I just assumed that they would have the Negro League guys there again. So I googled who was on the list last year and was lucky enough to have three of the four gentlemen return this year.

George was on the list and I did not have any cards of him. Actually, I had one, but I had already gotten that one signed TTM in 2011. I posted it four years ago and it can be seen here. So, I needed to find a new card of George. Usually, when a player plays for multiple teams, I try to mix up the teams when I get a second card signed. George played for the Cardinals and Mets, but only had one card with each. Both of those have generic looking hatless photos. So, I instead went the oddball route and got my very first Post card signed.

The Post cards are odd in that they have everything on one side. The back side is blank. I assume that is because they were probably cut out of a cereal box. But, the photo, write-up, and stats all on one side is a unique look and I was more than happy to get one signed in-person. As usual, I was very pleased with the results.

George was a very nice individual. After he signed my card, he asked me what I thought of the Cubs this year. That question caught me completely off guard and I actually looked down to see if I was wearing any Cubs apparel. Why I would think that I would ever wear Cubs gear to a Royals game remains unclear. That just goes to show how bad he threw me off. I then figured that he asked that because I was one of the few people that actually brought a non-generic item for him to sign. I do wonder, though, if he would have asked me about the Mets had I brought his Mets card.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

1960 Topps, Russ Kemmerer

#362 Russ Kemmerer

Here is the second card of Russ Kemmerer that I got signed through the mail in 2013. I posted the first one about a month ago and it can be seen here.

The two cards were the ones I got back from Russ, but were not the one I sent to him. I actually sent him a '64 Topps cards that showed him with the Colt .45s. While it would have been cool to add a new Colts card to the collection, I cannot complain about the two for one trade I got.

Russ pitched in the Major Leagues for nine seasons with four different clubs- the Red Sox, Senators, White Sox, and Colt .45s. He was mainly used as a reliever during his career, except for when he played for Washington. He primarily started for them and did not do too well. He never had a double digit win season, but he did reach double digits in losses three times, including a career-high of 17 in 1959.

Russ finished his career after the 1963 season with a 43-59 record with 8 saves and a 4.46 ERA.

Sadly, he passed away in 2014.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1960 Topps, Solly Hemus

#218 Solly Hemus

Here is the next card from the '60 Topps set, a managers card of Solly Hemus. I sent this card to Solly on the last day of 2012 and I had it back about two months later.

Solly had an eleven year playing career with the Cardinals and Philiies. He started out with the Cards before joining Philly for the second half of his career. Then, he rejoined the Cardinals in 1959 as their player/manager. That gig ran through June before he quit playing and was just a manager.

Solly was at the helm of the Cardinals for less than three seasons. The club finished the '59 season in seventh place with a 71-83 record. They turned it around a bit the next year with a 86-68 record, but it was only good enough for a third place finish. Then, in '61, the team was 33-41 when Solly got the ax. Johnny Keane took over and he had them in the World Series three years later.

Solly would never manage a Major League team again.

I love the layout of the mangers cards from this set. Though it is odd to have the cards so different from the rest of the cards in the set, they still came out looking good. I kind of wish that Topps had made an entire set based off of this design.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

1960 Topps, Johnny Kucks

#177 Johnny Kucks

The next card for the 1960 Topps set is another Kansas City Athletic, Johnny Kucks. I sent this card to him at the end of 2012 and I had it back about nine days later.

Johnny pitched for the Yankees and A's from 1955-1960. Most of that time was spent on some very good Yankee teams. They were so good, in fact, that Johnny had the privilege of pitching in four straight World Series.

For his career, Johnny was 54-56 with 7 saves and a 4.10 ERA. His best season was in the Bronx in 1956 when he went 18-9 with a 3.85 ERA.

In the four World Series Johnny pitched in, he appeared in 8 games and logged 19 innings. All of his appearances were in relief except for one. That one start was in game seven of the 1956 Fall Classic at Ebbets Field. Johnny pitched a complete game shutout while limiting the Dodgers to just three hits, all of which were singles.

Sadly, this is the second straight card that I have posted of a player that has passed away since I wrote to him.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

1960 Topps, Ken Johnson

#135 Ken Johnson

Next up is the former Athletic, Red, Colt .45/Astro, Brave, Cub, and Expo, Ken Johnson. I sent this lone card to Ken at the end of 2012 and I had it back about two weeks later.

Unlike the past few guys I have posted on here, Ken had a fairly long career. He played in the Majors for parts of thirteen seasons and, out of all of those teams, he saw the most time with the Braves from 1965 to 1969. Ken started and relieved throughout his career, but did have more starts than relief appearances. He finished his time in the big leagues with a 91-106 record with 9 saves and a 3.46 ERA. He reached double digit wins five times in his career with a season high of 16 in 1965.

Ken's claim to fame is pitching a no-hitter for the Colts in 1964. But, his no-hitter was unlike any other no-hitter in the history of the game. Ken is the only pitcher to throw a nine inning Major League no-hitter by himself and lose the game.

It was against that Reds in Houston early that season. The game went into the ninth tied at zero. Ken made an error that allowed Pete Rose to reach second base. Pete made it to third on a groundout before scoring on an error by third baseman Nellie Fox. Since then, four other teams have thrown no-hitters in losing bids. Three were thrown by visiting teams, so the pitchers only logged eight innings. The fourth was thrown by a home team, but two pitchers combined to no-hit the winning club.

Sadly, Ken passed away this past November. He was 82 years old at the time.

Monday, July 11, 2016

1960 Topps, Duke Carmel

#120 Duke Carmel

Here is the first 1690 Topps card of a player from eastern Missouri. And, for whatever reason, this is the third straight post where I sent the guy two cards to sign. So, there will be another card of Duke coming up next month. Anyways, I sent the cards to Duke early in 2012 and I had them both back nine days later.

Duke, whose real name is Leon, played in the Majors for just four seasons with the Cardinals, Mets, and Yankees. The New York native spent parts of two and a half of those seasons in St. Louis in 1959, '60, and '63. In '61 and '62, he ended up in the Dodgers and Indians organizations, but never made it to the big leagues with them. In fact, he got traded by the Cardinals three times. After he got traded to the Dodgers and Indians, he ended back with the Cardinals before the next season in what Baseball Reference lists as an "unknown transaction". The third time he got traded was when the Cards shipped him to the Mets.

Duke played in 71 games with the Cardinals and he hit .186 with 1 home run and 5 RBI. That one home run was a pinch hit home run in the bottom of the ninth off of Roy Face that tied the game for the Cardinals. They went on to win that game two batters later.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

1960 Topps, Russ Snyder

#81 Russ Snyder

Here is the first of two cards that I got signed through the mail by Russ Snyder in 2014. Come to think of it, I sent two cards to the guy in the previous post, too. Anyway, I sent this card to Russ at the end of January that year and I had it back about a week later.

These 1960 Topps cards that I am posting are going to lean heavily on the Kansas City A's. In fact, if it wasn't for an extra card a former player sent me, the cards from this set would all feature guys that played in Missouri. Being a Kansas guy and a Royals fan, I am always intrigued by the first Major League franchise in Kansas City. Because of that, I have quite a few Kansas City A's cards signed.

Russ played for the A's for just two seasons. He did well there, hitting .283 with 7 home runs and 47 RBI. After the '60 season, he and Whitey Herzog were shipped to Baltimore for a quartet of players.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

1960 Topps, Bud Daley

#8 Bud Daley

Here is the first of about a half dozen 1960 Topps. This one features the the former Indian, Athletic, and Yankee, Bud Daley. I sent this card to Bud in 2014 and I had it back nine days later.

Bud played in the Bigs for ten years, never playing for a team for more than three and a half seasons. He both started and relieved throughout his career, getting the bulk of his starts during the middle of his career with Kansas City. Over the 248 games that he pitched in, he had a 60-64 record with 10 saves and a 4.03 ERA. His best season was with the A's in 1959 when he went 16-13 with a save, a 3.16 ERA, and 125 strikeouts.

Bud made two All Star teams as an A and pitched in two World Series with the Yankees. He racked up three strikeouts in 1.2 All Star innings, ringing up the likes of Ernie Banks, Vada Pinson, and Orlando Cepeda. In the Fall Classics, he pitched eight scoreless innings and was the winning pitcher in game five of the '61 series.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

1960 Leaf, Al Spangler

#38 Al Spangler

I am starting off my newer cards from the '60s with an oddball from the 1960 Leaf set. I know absolutely nothing about this set. But I saw one on COMC one day and I knew that I had to get one to get signed. So I picked up this Al Spangler card and mailed it to him in early 2013 and he had this beauty back to me in about three weeks.

Al played for the Braves, Colt .45s/Astros, Angels, and Cubs during his thirteen year Major League career. Most of that time, he was the team's fourth outfielder. But, he did get a lot of starts while playing in Houston. For his career, Al was a .262 hitter with 21 home runs and 175 RBI.

His best years were with the Colts when he was patrolling their outfield most days. In 1962, his first year with the club, he had career highs in average (.285), home runs (5), and walks (70). In '63, he had career-highs in runs (52) and doubles (25). Then, in '64, he had a career-best 38 RBI. He was then traded to the Angels the next season where would resume his fourth outfielder duties.

According to baseballcardpedia, this Leaf set contains 144 cards and they were distributed in packs. Each pack came with a marble instead of chewing gum.