My Recent Red Man Acquisitions, Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Red Man cards I got at a recent card show, I ran across a number of 1950’s Red Man Tobacco cards from the 1950’s and even though they were lesser-condition commons, I couldn’t walk away from them at $1 each.

It wasn’t until I was writing up this post that I realized that I’ve got four cards here and they each represent one of the four years of Red Man Tobacco cards.  Believe me, I’m not organized enough to do that on purpose.

1952 Red Man Wes Westrum

Westrum played 11 years for the New York Giants, was a starter for several years and made two All-Star teams.  Known for his defense and handling of pitchers, Westrum retired as a player just before the Giants moved west.  He spent a number of years coaching and managing for the Mets  (replacing Casey Stengel in 1965) and Giants.

1953 Red Man Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson is the one player in this post I know very little about as a player, although I vaguely remember him being the Texas Rangers’ GM in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  He played in 13 seasons for 7 different American League teams;  the Boston Red Sox are the only 1950’s A.L. franchise he didn’t play for (although he only played 4 games for the Orioles and 13 games for the Tigers).  He spent 7 years as a starting first baseman and made 4 All-Star teams.

1954 Red Man Gene Woodling

Woodling played from 1943 to 1962, losing two years to Military service.  He once lead the AL with a .429 OBP and has a career .386 OBP, which is tied with 3 other players for 127th best all-time.  Over the course of 26 World Series games he had 27 hits with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 3 homers;  scored 21 runs and batted .318.  As a scout, he signed Thurman Munson for the Yankees.

1955 Red Man Henry (Hank) Thompson

Henry “Hank” Thompson was among the first African-Americans in the Majors in 1947 with the St. Louis Browns, but did not stick with the Browns and went back to the Negro American League Kansas City Monarchs.  He’d later be acquired by the Giants, where he play for 8 years, mostly as a third baseman.  Aside from being among the first African-Americans in the Majors and being involved in a number of “firsts” (first African-American batter/pitcher matchup, first all-African-American outfield), he also set a Major League record in 1950 by being involved in 43 double-plays as a third baseman, a record which has since been broken.

Eddie Yost, The Walking Man

Former major leaguer Eddie Yost passed away this past Tuesday; his nickname, ‘The Walking Man’ came from his ability to draw a large number of walks. Over 18 seasons, Eddie lead the AL in walks six times, had 100+ walks eight times, was in the top 10 in walks 10 different times and twice lead the AL in on-base percentage. What makes this really impressive is the fact that nobody was pitching around Eddie like they would pitch around Ted Williams or Babe Ruth, he just had that good of an eye.

Eddie Yost was a Mets coach when I first started following baseball, and the more I learned about him, the more I came to appreciate him. He was 17 years old when he made his Major League debut during WWII with the Senators.  He never played a day in the minors, but did spend some time in military service.  He was the Senators’ starting third baseman from 1947 until he was traded to Detroit after the 1958 season.

At the time of his retirement, Yost was fourth on the all-time walk list behind Babe Ruth, Williams and Mel Ott, all power hitters who nobody wanted to pitch to.   He now ranks 11th on the all-time list, behind Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Ruth, Williams, Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Thome , Mickey Mantle, Ott and Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas. Among the players with fe wer career walks are Stan Musial, Pete Rose, Harmon Killebrew, Chipper Jones, Lou Gehrig, Mike Schmidt, and Willie Mays.

He wasn’t completely about the walks; he was an All-Star in 1952, he lead the AL in doubles in 1951, runs in 1959 (his first year with the Tigers).  He was also a fine defensive third baseman;  eight different seasons he lead the AL in putouts by a 3B, and twice in assists by a 3B.

About the 1952 Red Man card pictured above:
I love Red Man cards, but this is the only one I own.  The main reason I don’t own more is because there aren’t many players I collect who appeared on a Red Man card… although I’m thinking that I should do with Red Man what I started doing with 1956 Topps, which is buying affordable commons that visually appeal to me, regardless of who’s pictured on it.