If you’ve been reading along with The Shlabotnik Report, you’ll know that CommishBob of the must-read Five Tool Collector recently stunned me with a Brooks Robinson rookie card.
To be honest, I still look at that scan and think “I own that? Me?”
Over the following weeks, it occurred to me that this very generous gift is also a gateway to something else to collect. With Brooks Robinson in hand, what are the remaining obstacles towards the 1957 Orioles team set? It’s not like that team was brimming with HOFers. The biggest names after Brooks are Tito Francona, Gus Triandos and a third Oriole who I won’t mention just yet because he’s featured in this post (but who is known for something other than playing). In other words, high #’s would be the biggest challenge for me.
So, when I recently went to a show, I decided to make 1957 O’s one of my goals… and I’ve got a few of those cards to share with you.
(I’ll just slip in here and mention that the 1957 Orioles went 76-76, finishing 5th in the American League, 21 games behind the pennant-winning Yankees.)
Ray Moore was mostly a starter with the Orioles, but he’d later go on to be a reliever with the White Sox, Senators and Twins. Moore threw hard, but walked a lot of batters.
I like the 1957 design in theory, but cards like this where the text blends into the photo is one of the reasons why it’s not a classic set. What is classic is the original Yankee Stadium, which is the background for many of these cards.
I mentioned before that this team set isn’t brimming with HOFers, but there is one other besides Brooks Robinson. Dick Williams is in the Hall Of Fame as a manager. As someone who first knew Dick Williams as the manager of the Angels in the mid-1970’s, Williams looks odd as a young man but even more so as a clean-shaven man.
Williams did three different stints with the Orioles and played more games with the O’s than any other team. He came up with the Brooklyn Dodgers and then moved on to the Orioles, then Indians, then Orioles, then Kansas City Athletics, then Orioles, then the Houston Colt .45’s (for whom he never played), and finally the Red Sox. It was with the Red Sox that he got his start in managing, first in AAA with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and then with the Red Sox.
…And it’s nice to see that the “Topps Tilt” goes back as far as 1957. Either that or Yankee Stadium was about to slide into the Harlem River.
Bob Nieman was an outfielder who played from 1951 to 1962, and while he played for the St. Louis Browns and the Baltimore Orioles, he didn’t move withe the Browns to Baltimore… Instead, he was traded from the Browns and eventually traded back to the O’s.
He was a regular outfielder for a number of years, and had a career batting average of .295
Daryl Spencer was a… Wait a minute! This guy’s not an Oriole!
OK you caught me. I got 8 cards from 1957 Topps, but only 6 of them were Orioles.
One thing I thought was interesting about Daryl Spencer is that he was 6’2″, 185 lbs, which is big for a middle infielder. When Cal Ripken came up, some said he was too big to be a shortshop, and he’s 6’4″. Spencer had 105 career homers, a pretty fair amount for a shortstop at the time. After being released by the Reds, he’d have a second career playing 7 seasons in Japan.
I’ve got a few more of these 1957’s to share, but I’m trying to pace myself with the cards from this show. Over the next week or two you might get tired of the phrase “I’ll share more of these in a future post”.