Thursday, February 28, 2019

#42 John Roseboro

Johnny Roseboro is primarily remembered for the terrible 1965 confrontation he had with Juan Marichal and that's a shame because he was an outstanding big league catcher. After five seasons in the minors and a year in the service, Roseboro was thrust into the new spotlight of Dodger baseball in Los Angeles by the unfortunate accident that befell Roy Campanella in the winter of 1957.

Roseboro went on to make the NL All-Star squad that first full season and had a 14-year career that included three more All-Star teams, two Gold Gloves, and three World Series rings in four tries.

After a decade of catching the likes of Koufax, Drysdale, Osteen, and Sutton he was traded to the Twins where he helped win a division title in 1969.  He finished up with a year with the Senators. He later coached with a couple of major league clubs and served as a hitting instructor as well. Roseboro caught two of Sandy Koufax' no-hitters.

For those who have never seen them here are some outstanding pics of the 1965 incident.

Neil Leifer photograph and another.

Monday, February 25, 2019

#40 George Kell

Hall of Famer George Kell was a ten-time All-Star who played 15 big league seasons. He played about half his career with the Tigers and the rest with the Phils A's (his first club), the White Sox, Red Sox and, finally, the Orioles in 1956/57. He won the AL batting crown (.343) in 1949 by a whisper over Ted Williams. But his best year came right after that. In 1950 he hit .340, led the league in hits (218) and doubles (56) and drove in 101 runs with only eight dingers.

Kell finished his career with a .306 batting average and was a pretty slick glove guy as well. He led the AL third basemen in fielding on seven occasions and in assists four times. He was the Orioles regular at 3rd before the spot was claimed by Brooks Robinson. In Kell's final season, 1957, he hit .297 in 345 at bats.

After he retired as a player he opened a car dealership (still open in Arkansas) and was a popular broadcaster for the Tigers for 37 seasons. He was elected to the Hall by the Veterans' Committee in 1983.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

#39 Bob Martyn

Bob Martyn was originally a Yankees' signee in 1952. He spent a year in the military and then rose up thru the ranks in the Yanks' chain. He ended up being one of those guys who rode the NY-KC express as he was dealt back and forth between the Bronx Bombers and their unofficial farm club in Missouri a couple of times.

He served as the A's fourth outfielder from the middle of the 1957 season through 1958. He hit .263 in nearly 400 plate appearances before returning to the minors (Yankees' and Reds' clubs) for '59 and '60 and then retiring.

In college, he had double-majored in mathematics and sociology and he put that education to good use after baseball working for a tech/engineering firm in his native Oregon. He was also active with his college alumni organization.

If I had a buck for every late 50s card I owned with that glue/gum stripe across the back I could easily finish off my open sets!

Friday, February 22, 2019

#38 Dick Gernert

Dick Gernert was a multi-sport star at Temple University before beginning his pro career. With the Red Sox, he played a couple of minor league seasons before starting the '52 campaign in Boston. He was farmed out in May but returned in June and was installed as the regular first baseman. He started again in '53 and hit 21 homers. After a couple of years split between the Sox and the minors, he spent four years as a 'most of the time' starter.

He was tall and strong and was able to launch the ball over the Green Monster in Fenway. Beginning with a trade to the Cubs for 1960 he began a busy few years of playing for them, the Tigers, Reds, and Colt 45s. He was a member of the NL champion 1961 Reds and had four pinch-hit appearances against the Yankees. He played in the minors, again for the Red Sox, for a couple of seasons before retiring after the 1964 season.

He was then a coach, minor league manager, and scout for many years.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

#36 Ted Kazanski

Ted Kazanski played six seasons with the Phillies and had rather pedestrian numbers but he did have one fine moment in the sun. On September 25, 1955, he had an inside-the-park homer and started a triple play in a 3-1 win over the Giants in the Polo Grounds.

This page has some details about Kazanski's big day including his recollections and a newspaper account.

“I remember the triple play because it ended the season," Kazanski said. "It was the last play of the season and I think it was the last game that Leo Durocher managed the Giants. I remember that part of it. They got the first two men on. [Joey Amalfitano singled and Whitey Lockman walked.] We were winning the game 3-1. I think Bobby Hofman pinch hit. I was playing closer to second base for a possible double play. He hit a line shot right at me, I flipped to Bobby Morgan and he threw to first [Marv Blaylock] and the season was over! I don't remember the home run too much. The left and right center gaps were a mile away.”

Kazanski played quite a bit of minor league ball and was a member of the old IL Baltimore Orioles when that club was an affiliate of the Phils. He was 4th in fielding pct in the NL in 1956 which was his busiest year in the majors.

When I was assembling my first vintage set, the 1959 Topps, his card was the last one I needed to complete it and it was sent to me by fellow Orioles collector, Ed Schott. It was one of the very first of many generous card 'gifts' I've received since I began blogging and I remember it well. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

#35 Don Mossi

It's the ever-popular Don Mossi! Here's a Mossi tidbit...he led the AL in fielding three times.

Don was 101-80 over 12 seasons, all in the AL. He was on the '57 All-Star squad and was credited with a hold. He appeared in the 9th inning in old Busch Stadium in St. Louis, entering in relief of Billy Pierce who had gotten himself into a jam. Mossi stuck out Ed Mathews and allowed a single to Ernie Banks but Gus Bell was thrown out at third on the play. Bob Grim came in to relieve Mossi and finished off the NL by retiring Gil Hodges.

This copy of Don's card is not long for the set binder. I had marked it for upgrading (see the homemade editing?) but it got lost in the shuffle of chasing other sets. I rectified that on eBay the other day after I forgot to scout for a reasonable priced replacement at the TriStar show on Saturday.

My upgraded copy arrived just a few hours after posting. Quick service from a company just north of here, Battersbox.