Monday, December 30, 2013
The latest card that I have added to my graded 1961 Fleer Baseball Greats set is #84 featuring Lloyd Waner. This card is graded PSA 7.
Lloyd Waner was a mainstay of the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield from 1927 through 1941. Along with his brother, Paul, the Waners gave Pittsburgh All-Star caliber players throughout the late 20’s and during the 30’s. In his rookie year of 1927, Lloyd hit .355 with 223 hits. He continued to be an offensive weapon throughout his career. His career batting average is .316 with 2459 hits. He and his brother hold the record for most hits by brothers (5611).
Lloyd was nicknamed “Little Poison”. His brother, Paul was of course “Big Poison”. The nicknames came from a Brooklyn accent pronunciation of Little Person and Big Person.
Lloyd was named to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1967.
I recently added a PSA 7.5 version of a 1961 Fleer #79 Tris Speaker to my collection.
Tris Speaker played baseball from 1907 to 1928. His career matched that of many more well-known players. He had a career batting average of .344. He only hit below .300 in one season. Even with this lofty batting average, Speaker is more known for his defensive skills a an outfielder. From 1910 to 1915, Speaker was a member of the “Million Dollar Outfield” for the Boston Red Sox. The other members of this outfield were Duffy Lewis and Harry Hooper. Grantland Rice said that this was the greatest defensive outfield that he ever saw. The “Million Dollar Outfield” was broken up before the 1916 season when Speaker was traded to Cleveland. Speaker was traded by Red Sox owner Joe Lannin over a salary dispute.
In his first season with the Indians, Speaker won the batting title hitting .386. He played for Cleveland from 1916 to 1926 and is a member of the Indians Hall of Fame. Speaker also played for Washington in 1927 and Philadelphia in 1928 before end this great career. During his career he hit .380 or better five times. He also collected 3515 hit and 793 doubles during his career. Speaker was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937.
Monday, December 23, 2013
My latest 1961 Fleer Baseball Great card is #67 Bobo Newsom. This card is a PSA 8. Newsom’s debut in MLB came in 1929 for the Brooklyn Robins. Newsom played for a number of teams during his 20 year career. His last game was in 1953 for the Philadelphia A’s. During his career Newsom won 211 games and lost 222 games. He is one of 114 pitchers to win at least 200 games during a career. Newsom’s best year came in 1940 as a Detroit Tiger. That year he won 21 and lost 5 with a 2.83 ERA. As a result Newson became the highest paid pitcher in baseball in 1941. That year he made $35,000.
Newsom earned a World Series ring as a Yankee in 1947. The Yankees beat the Dodgers that year. 1947 was Jackie Robinson’s first year.
Newsom is also one of two pitchers whose careers spanned both Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. The other pitcher is Al Benton, who actually pitched to both Ruth and Mantle. Newsom did pitch to Ruth but never faced Mantle in a MLB game.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Warren Giles is featured on card #33 of the 1961 Fleer Baseball Greats set. Giles was not a player but rather he had a 50 year career as a baseball executive. Giles joined the Cincinnati Reds in 1936 as a Vice President and General Manager. During this tenure, the Reds won pennants I 1939 and 1940. He was elected President of the club in 1946.
In 1951, Giles began an eighteen year reign as President of the National League. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979. His election to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee is not included on the card since it occurred well after the card was produced.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
The second card that I added to my 1961 Fleer Baseball Greats set also has a Cubs connection (Manager 1949 to 1951). Frankie Frisch is #30 in the 1961 Fleer set. Frisch was nicknamed the “Fordham Flash”. He was a four sport star for Fordham University where he earned the nickname.
Frisch primarily played 2nd base for the New York Giants from 1919 to 1926. After the 1926 season, Frisch was traded to the Cardinals for Rogers Hornsby. In august of 1926, Frisch missed a sign which cost the Giants a run and the ballgame. Frisch’s relationship with John McGraw went downhill quickly, leading to the trade.
Frisch was an integral member of the Cardinal’s Gashouse Gang and played in 3 world series as a Cardinal. Frisch finished his career in 1937 with a career batting average of .316 and 2880 hits. His hit total was a record for a switch hitter until Pete Rose broke it in 1977.
Frisch went on to manage the Cardinals, Pirates and the Cubs. He managed the Cubs from 1949 until 1951. Frisch was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947.
Friday, December 20, 2013
The first card that I added to my PSA Graded 1961 Fleer set was very appropriately a CUB. #23 in the 1961 Fleer set is Johnny Evers who manned 2nd base for the Cubs from 1902 through 1913. Evers appeared in over 1400 games as a Cub and had a batting average of .276.
Evers will always be remembered as a member of the remarkable double play combination of Tinker to Evers to Chance. These players were immortalized in a poem by Franklin Pierce Adams in 1910.
These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double-
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Adams was a New York Evening Mail sports writer but had been born in Chicago and was reportedly a Cubs fan.
That entire double play combination was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946. Only Evers lived to experience this honor.
Evers was also the player who called attention to the fact that Fred Merkle never advanced to 2nd base as he should have in a September 23, 1908 game that ultimately decided the pennant. Merkle was called out which negated a run that would have won the game for the Giants. Instead the game was declared a tie and the replay was won by the Cubs giving them the pennant.
Evers went on to play for Boston Braves, Phillies and the White Sox. He also managed for the Cubs and the White Sox.
My new project is really an old project. I first collected the 1961- 1962 Fleer Baseball Greats set as a student at Elwood Haynes Middle School in Kokomo, Indiana. At the time, I remember going across Markland Avenue at lunch time to buy these cards at a gas station. I cannot remember the name of the gas station at the SW corner of Markland and Cooper, but that is not important and the station is long gone.
I am not sure why I collected this set except that it was different. I am sure that most collectors of my age were more interested in buying Topps to collect cards of the current stars of the day. Players like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Willie Mays were a lot more interesting to collect than Chick Hafey, Bobo Newsom and Ki Ki Cuyler. But for whatever reason, I collected nearly a full 1st series set. I don’t remember collecting cards from the 2nd series. The 1961 – 1962 Fleer cards were also the last cards that I collected as a youngster. I did not restart an interest in baseball cards again until I was in my mid-50’s.
Unfortunately, I discarded the cards that I collected in 1961, when we moved from Kokomo to Michigan. Too bad, because I can clearly remember having at least two #75 Babe Ruth cards.
When I began collecting cards again in 2005, I completed a set of the 1961-1962 Fleer Baseball Greats. It was a nice mid-grade set that took about a year to finish. Completing a set has always been my interest, so in 2006, I sold the entire set on Ebay.
Now again in 2013, it seems important to assemble a full, PSA graded set of 1961-1962 Fleer Baseball Greats. So for at least awhile, I will try to report each of the cards that I get during this quest. I will probably buy a lot of these cards on Ebay as reasonably priced cards are available. However, I am also collecting raw cards from this set so I can send them into PSA for grading. I am expecting that this quest will take about 1 and ½ years to complete. So if this endeavor sounds interesting stop back once in a while to see how it is going.