Sunday, September 14, 2014

RIP - Frank Torre

Frank Torre, former 1st baseman for the Braves and Phillies, and older brother of Joe Torre, passed away on September 13, 2014 of a heart attack at age 82.

Frank played for the Milwaukee Braves from 1956 to 1960, and played in the World Series in both 1957 and 1958. The Braves met the Yankees both times, winning in '57 but losing in '58. Torre played every game in both Series, and was a key contributor in the '57 Series, batting .300 with 2 homers and 3 RBI.

Although Frank and Joe were both in the Braves' organization at the same time, they were never teammates.

After spending 1961 in the minors, he resurfaced with the Phillies in 1962 and 1963.

Following his baseball career, Torre worked for the Rawlings sporting goods company, and was an executive for the Baseball Assistance Team.

Torre had been in failing health in recent decades, receiving a heart transplant in 1996 and a kidney transplant in 2007.

New York Times obituary

New York Daily News obituary

ESPN obituary

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

RIP - Jerry Lumpe

Former American League 2nd baseman Jerry Lumpe succumbed to cancer on August 16, 2014, at age 81 in Springfield, MO.

Lumpe was a bench player for the Yankees from 1956 to early 1959, then after his late-May trade to the Athletics, he was Kansas City's starting 2nd baseman through the 1963 season.

Jerry was traded to the Tigers prior to the 1964 season, and manned 2nd base for them from 1964-66. He wrapped up his career in 1967 as a bench player for Detroit, missing the World Championship team by one season.

Springfield, MO obituary

New York Times obituary

Friday, August 1, 2014

1955 Granny Hamner Red Man Tobacco Card

Wow! After having none of the 1955 Red Man Tobacco cards for the first 59 years of their existence, I now have my 2nd card in three months. Now that's progress!

A few weeks ago, I returned to the same Pennsylvania Dutch-area antique store where I found this card, and snared another Phillie: the Whiz Kids' SS/2B Granny Hamner.

(The card back is identical to the Simmons card.) 

Hamner's major-league career spanned from 1944 to 1962, and he was the Phillies' regular shortstop (and later their 2nd baseman) from 1949 to 1957. Traded to the Indians during the 1959 season, he played in the minors from 1960-62 before retiring.

Friday, July 25, 2014

1960s Blog Hall of Fame Results (#6)

Congratulations to veteran starting pitchers Whitey Ford and Warren Spahn on their induction into the 1960s Blog Hall of Fame. They join the 23 others shown below.

After receiving 66% of the vote last time, Ford leapfrogged over Spahn and 3rd baseman Eddie Mathews, and became the first inductee to receive 100% of the vote.

Only 6 people voted this time (down from 18 last time) with all voting occurring in the first 2 days of the voting period. (Have all the good players already been elected?)

After 4 votes, Mathews and outfielder Roger Maris were still in the running, but first Maris, and then Mathews, dropped below the 75% mark, each missing induction by 1 vote. Twins' 2nd baseman Rod Carew finished strong to match their 67%.

Complete results:

Four players received less that the minimum 15% to be retained for the next ballot.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1960s Blog Hall of Fame (#6)

Time again for the semi-annual 1960s Blog Hall of Fame Election!

Last time, Lou Brock was the only player inducted, joining the other 22 members in the Hall. Nobody received less than 15% of the vote, so all other candidates are returning this time:

Jim Bunning
Rod Carew
Orlando Cepeda
Whitey Ford
Roger Maris
Eddie Mathews
Ron Santo
Warren Spahn
Billy Williams
Norm Cash
Ferguson Jenkins
Tony Oliva
Frank Howard
Dave McNally
Boog Powell

Added to the ballot this time is pitcher Ted Abernathy, who missed the cut on the inaugural ballot.

Because of the recent failures of the Google Blogger poll widget, this Hall of Fame voting will take place in the comments section below (similar to what is going on over at the "$30 a Week Habit" blog). I know it's a bit cumbersome to type in up to 8 names, but I don't want to lose votes if the poll goes on the fritz again.

You can vote for up to 8 of the 16 people on the ballot. Candidates selected by 75% of the voters will be inducted. Those receiving less than 15% will be removed from the next ballot. The poll will be open until next Friday 7/25.

Here is the voting history for all the current candidates:

Click on the "hall of fame ballot" label below to see the results of all previous elections.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

RIP - Earl Robinson

Former Orioles' outfielder Earl Robinson passed away on July 4, 2014 at age 77.

He was a standout college baseball and basketball player at the University of California - Berkeley in the 1950s.

Long before Frank Robinson (no relation) was patrolling right field for the Orioles, Earl was out there, sharing the starting job with the veteran Whitey Herzog as a rookie in 1961. Earl appeared briefly with the Dodgers in 1958, then played all of '61 and most of '62 with the Orioles.

Robinson was back in the minors for all of 1963, then split the 1964 season between the Orioles and their triple-A team. He retired after playing the 1965 season with the Cubs' triple-A team.

Cal Berkeley obituary

(1961 card appropriated from the $30 a Week Habit blog) 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jim Bunning Hall of Fame Poster

With all the recent hoopla about Jim Bunning's perfect game on Fathers' Day 50 years ago, I was reminded of a poster I picked up a few years ago.

I found this tonight, and remembered that I got it at a yard sale. They had a whole stack of them for sale, so I picked up one for me and one for my brother.

This poster is from 1996, when Bunning was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The poster is 8 1/2" x 11", with a very high gloss on the front. Surrounding Bunning's portrait are all his Topps individual baseball cards from 1957 to 1971, plus the NL Strikeout Leaders card from the 1967 set. At the bottom is the ticket from the perfect game against the Mets in June 1964.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

RIP - Bill McCool

Former left-handed reliever Bill McCool passed away on June 8, 2014 at age 69.

Signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1963, he made his major-league debut at age 19 in April 1964, and was named to the Topps All-Rookie Team that season. McCool pitched for the Reds from 1964 to 1968. He led the team in saves in both 1965 and 1966, and made the all-star team in 1966.

Selected by the San Diego Padres in the October 1968 expansion draft, Bill pitched one season for the Padres, before finishing his major-league career with the Cardinals in 1970. In 1971, he pitched in triple-A ball for the Royals and Twins before retiring.

In 2013 he was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame, where he pitched in high school in 1962.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

RIP - Don Zimmer

Former player, manager, and coach Don Zimmer passed away on June 4th, 2014 at the age of 83. He had been hospitalized since mid-April following heart surgery.

Zimmer played 3B and SS in the majors from 1954 to 1965, for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, and also the Cubs, Mets, Reds, and Senators. He also played in Japan in 1966.

After his playing career, he was a big-league coach, and also managed the Padres (1972-73), Red Sox ('76-'80), Rangers ('81-'82), and Cubs ('88-'91). More recently, he was a Yankees' coach during the Joe Torre regime, and for the past 10 years has been with the Tampa Bay Rays.

CBS obituary

Sunday, May 18, 2014

1955 Curt Simmons Red Man Tobacco card

Here's an unusual find - not from the 1960s, but the player was still active in the 1960s.

Last weekend I was out and about to several flea markets and antique stores in my area, and I found this Curt Simmons card. This is a 1955 Red Man Tobacco card, which appears to be cut out of a box, similar to the early-1960s Post and Jell-O cards. The bottom edge is a little rough, which I have cropped in the photo of the card front.

I had no idea these cards even existed, but this vendor had the Simmons card, along with a 1955 Granny Hamner and a 1953 Robin Roberts (both Red Man cards).

In the same display case were other assorted Topps baseball cards from the 1950s - 1970s. The only one that jumped out at me was a 1973 Roberto Clemente card, issued in the year after his untimely death.

At that point in my day, I only had enough money left for one of these cards, so the vintage Simmons card (from a set that I had no other cards from) won out over the '73 Clemente. Maybe next time, Roberto.

Friday, April 18, 2014

RIP - Bill Henry

Bill Henry, who had a 16-year career (1952-69) as a relief pitcher for 6 teams, passed away on April 11, 2014 at age 86.

Henry began his pro career in 1948, and pitched for the Red Sox from 1952-55. After 2 full seasons in the minors, he returned to the majors in 1958 with the Cubs.

Traded to Cincinnati before the 1960 season, he pitched for the Reds for 5+ years until moving to the Giants in May 1965. He was with the Giants for several seasons, and pitched for the Pirates at the end of the 1968 season.

Bill was in training camp with the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969, but retired briefly until coming back with the Astros for a few months later that season.

Reports that Henry had passed away in 2007 were later attributed to identity theft.



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Vintage child's baseball jacket

Who among you readers had one of these back in the 1960s? My brother and I had jackets similar to this one back in the early 1960s. One of us had a red jacket, while the other's was dark blue.

That jacket was probably my first clue about which teams were in the major leagues, since I had it for several years before collecting baseball cards. What ever happened to it?  I dunno, chances are I left it outside until the weather and insects made it unwearable.

I found this photo on the internet a few weeks ago. This particular jacket has 2 Mets patches on it, which seems unusual since not all teams are represented. Just like with my jacket, this one has a 'Red Legs' patch (since a team simply called the 'Reds' must surely be communist!)

                             (photo mis-appropriated from the interwebs)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Wheelin' and Dealin' (Jan. 1965)

Another installment in the occasional series about some big trades in the 1960s: 

On January 20, 1965, the White Sox, Indians, and Athletics completed an 8-player, 3-team trade.

Going from Cleveland to Chicago were Tommy John, Johnny Romano, and outfield prospect Tommie Agee.

Chicago sent Fred Talbot, Mike Hershberger, and Jim Landis to the Athletics. The White Sox also sent Camilo Carreon to the Indians.

The Athletics only gave up one player, sending Rocky Colavito to the Indians.

It's easy to assume that Colavito was the biggest name in this deal, since Kansas City got 3 players in return for one. The Chisox gave up 4 players to get 3, while the Indians gave up 3 players to get two.

Although Colavito was the biggest name at the time, Tommy John was the long-term star, playing an additional TWENTY-FOUR seasons for the White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, and Angels. Tommie Agee was a starting outfielder for the White Sox and Mets from 1966-1973, and starred in the 1969 World Series for the Mets. John Romano was Chicago's starting catcher in '65 and '66, before wrapping up his career in 1967 as a reserve with the Cardinals.

The Indians and Athletics didn't fare as well in this deal:

Colavito was washed up by the end of 1966, and finished his career bouncing to the White Sox, Dodgers, and Yankees from 1967-69. Camilo Carreon spent most of '65 and '66, and all of 1967 in the minors before retiring.

Longtime White Sox' center fielder Jim Landis was an A's regular in 1965, then spent 1966 in Cleveland before ending his career in 1967 with several teams. Mike Hershberger played several seasons with the A's before returning to the White Sox for his final season in 1971. Fred Talbot pitched briefly for Kansas City, before moving to the Yankees for several seasons, and popping up on the Seattle Pilots in 1969 (much to Jim Bouton's dismay).

Advantage: White Sox