…So I’m not going to do one. You’re a strong person, I’m sure you’ll find the strength to deal with this particular setback.
I am going to show off a few of the 1956 Topps cards I got on Black Friday. I’ll admit, that I know little-to-nothing about the guys on these cards, I bought them solely because they were cheap and attractive.
…I mean the cards. Whether or not the players themselves were cheap and attractive is something I won’t address here.
Wow, we struck “fascinating background” paydirt with the first card! Bob Powell – Topps mistakenly called him by his middle name – was a “bonus baby” out of Michigan State in 1955. As his signing bonus was greater than $4000, it meant that he had to spend 2 years on the 25-man roster… But as the White Sox were a contending team at the time, and the manager liked to go with veterans, he stayed on the bench the whole season, except for one pinch-running appearance in September. Frustrated at his lack of opportunity, he asked the White Sox to allow him to fulfill his military obligation in 1956. In 1957 he faced the same obstacles, and again had one pinch running appearance before he asked the Chisox to give him his release. Before too much longer he gave up on baseball and became a civil engineer.
This is Bob Powell’s one and only baseball card.
In trying to find information on “Leroy Powell”, I found a band called Leroy Powell and the Messengers, and they ain’t half bad. Here’s a song called “Slow Train”, you can listen to it while I get on to the other cards…
Update on 12/28/13: I removed the embedded YouTube video because I think it was causing problems with my blogroll feed. Sorry for any confusion.
Bill Sarni was the Cardinals’ primary catcher in 1954 and 1955. During the 1956 season, he was traded to the New York Giants in a deal that involved nine players, three of whom would later manage in the Majors: Red Schoendienst, Alvin Dark and Whitey Lockman.
Sarni suffered a heart attack in Spring Training of 1957, which effectively ended his playing career.
Frank House caught 580 games, mainly between 1954 and 1959. He finished his career with an impressive 47% caught stealing percentage. In 1948, he signed out of high school for $75,000, which was one of he biggest signing bonuses of that time.
Gene Freese was a well-traveled third baseman, playing for 6 teams over 12 years. He started for the Pirates, White Sox and Reds, and also played for the Phillies, Cardinals and Astros.
Freese passed away this past June at the age of 79.
Gene Woodling played for 17 years in the majors and batted over .300 five times. He’s possibly best known for his time with the Yankees, and won five straight World Series with them from 1949 to 1953. He finished out his career in 1962 with the Mets — because the early Mets were always happy to acquire former Yankee/Dodger/Giant players.
Merry Christmas, everybody!