Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#13 Billy Hoeft

Billy Hoeft pitched for numerous clubs over a 15 year period. The high water mark came in 1955 when he was 16-7 with a sterling 2.99 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He made his only All-Star team that year.

He had 20 wins the following year but his other numbers dropped off and show the error of basing one's evaluation of pitching on wins. (Guilty as charged). He had an outstanding year for the Orioles in 1961 as a swingman making 12 starts among 35 appearances. He had a 2.01 ERA and a 1.167 WHIP. 

In September of 1953, he became the ninth pitcher in history to record an 'immaculate inning'...three strikeouts on nine pitches. The game has changed a bit since as this occurred eight times in 2017 alone. 

The best thing about the back of the card is Topps referring to the Tigers as the 'Bengals'. When I hear that I think of sitting on our front steps and scanning old Sporting News headlines on Saturday afternoons as a kid. Old school.

Friday, September 7, 2018

#11 Jim Rivera

'Jungle' Jim Rivera was a New York boy who grew up under difficult circumstances and spent time in prison before playing baseball, quite well btw, in the 1950s. He bookended a ten year White Sox run with time spent with the Browns and Athletics.

He was an excellent outfielder and while he hit only .256 for his career, he led the AL in steals in 1954 and was second on six other occasions.

Rivers'a story is one which I could see being the plot of a Mickey Rooney movie and it makes his SABR bio a worthy read.

I'm partial to any card with that Flying Sox logo, this one especially. I think I recall this one from my earliest days as a collector. Those should actually be called my days of interest in cards. I didn't have any '58s that I recall but I had a friend down the block in Jericho on Long Island that had some. I remember the cards more so than her.