The Gold Glove Page!
1956 Topps #170 Bill Virdon
|1956 Topps #154 Dave Pope
On this page, we feature some great fielders. Down through baseball's history, there have been many terrific fielders; Tris Speaker ("The Gray Eagle"), "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" (all of whom are mysteriously
enshrined in Cooperstown, but if you check their stats you would have to say they must have been SPECTACULAR glove men). The original "Pistol Pete," Pete Reiser of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was famous for his spectacular
head-first crashes into the outfield walls (before padding) which prematurely ended his promising career. Joe DiMaggio was considered a graceful centerfielder who rarely made mistakes in the outfield. In the 1950's, there
was a debate about who the greatest centerfielder in New York was- Willie Mays of the New York Giants, Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees, or Edwin "Duke" Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers. You also had
the emergence of talented infielders from South America like Luis Aparicio, and some terrific outfielders like Jimmy Piersall, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, & Carl Yastrzemski (to name just a few). This page
honors the great glove men of baseball.
Nelson "Nellie" Fox was a sure-handed fielder who played almost 2,300 (2,295) games at second base. Along with Venezuelan shortstop Luis Aparicio, they teamed for one of the great double play
combinations in baseball history. Nellie won 3 Gold Gloves and would have picked up more except for the fact that they didn't start giving away Gold Glove awards until 1957. By that time Nellie had
already been played 10 seasons. His last two seasons were as a member of the Houston Astros and I have heard Hall Of Famer Joe Morgan (also a second baseman) say that he learned a lot from Nellie Fox.
Nellie died in 1975. He was only 48 years old. Luis Aparicio was a key figure in baseball history. His fielding at shortstop was the beginning of scouts going to places like Venezuela and other Latin American
countries in search of good ballplayers. In Venezuela, Aparicio is revered like a God. Dave Concepcion was another great shortstop who came in Aparicio's footsteps. And so many others. Both Nellie Fox and
Luis Aparicio are in the Hall of Fame. This is a terrific card featuring both players.
Carl Yastrzemski took over left field for Ted Williams (who had retired after the 1960 season) and while Yaz never batted over
.400 like Teddy Ballgame, he did put up some impressive hitting numbers, especially during the 1960's (which was considered a
"pitcher-friendly" era; in fact, Yaz won the 1968 AL Batting Title with a .301 average- the only American League player to post a
.300 average that year!). But while Williams was the master of hitting, Yaz was the master of left field. Yaz learned to play the
Green Monster like he owned it and not only did he make spectacular catches, he also had a terrific arm and seldom would a
runner take chances on a bullet from Yaz. In the 1969 All-Star Game, Yaz made a spectacular catch to rob Johnny Bench of a 2nd
home run. Yastrzemski won 7 Gold Gloves for fielding excellence including one in 1977 when he was 38 years old! Come on,
are you kidding me??? Yaz was the man. Here is one of the few cards to picture Yaz with a glove. Most of the Topps cards
pictured him with a bat. You gotta love these "posed" action shots from Topps. It wasn't until 1971 that Topps finally started using
game shots in their photography.
Trivia Time #1: Who holds the record for most Gold Glove Awards at a single position? Scroll down to the bottom of this page
for the answer!
While Eddie Waitkus never won any Gold Glove awards (they didn't start until 1957 and Waitkus was
finished by then) he was considered one of the finest fielding first basemen in the National League. Most
have never heard of Eddie Waitkus, but if you have ever seen the Robert Redford baseball movie "The
Natural," that story was based on the real-life Eddie Waitkus. Waitkus never hit a dramatic game-ending
blast that shattered the outfield lights; but he WAS really shot by a deranged female fan in 1949 (as was
Redford's character Roy Hobbs in the movie). It is a testimony to Eddie Waitkus that he made a remarkable
comeback and was able to play a few more years in the major leagues after his serious injuries. Eddie was a
member of the 1950 "Fightin' Phillies" team that went on to the World Series vs. the New York Yankees.
While Eddie Waitkus is not remembered so much as a ballplayer, it should be noted that he served in
numerous campaigns in the Pacific during World War ll. Our veterans, both past and present should always
be remembered. A terrific book on the life of Eddie Waitkus is "Baseball's Natural: The Eddie Waitkus Story"
by John Theodore.
For more on Eddie Waitkus check out our new Eddie Waitkus Page!
1969 Topps #95 Johnny Bench
While there will always be a debate about who was the greatest player at a certain position, there should really be no
debate about who is the greatest catcher in baseball history. Johnny Bench REVOLUTIONIZED the position. Even as a
rookie in 1967, there was no doubt as to who was in charge out there. Bench won the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award
in 1967 and won the Gold Glove award at catcher in his very first year. Bench was the catcher behind "THE BIG RED
MACHINE" that went to the World Series in 1970, 1972, 1975, & 1976. At the time of his retirement in 1983, Bench
had acquired 10 Gold Glove awards and was the All-time Home Run leader among catchers. Both records have
since been beaten, but if I had to choose a catcher (in their prime) among Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Piazza, or Johnny
Bench, I am taking Bench all the way. I think if you combine Rodriguez' fielding with Piazza's hitting early in his career
you would have an idea of what Johnny Bench brought to the game when he played. On the back of Bench's 1970
Topps card (#660) Topps calls Bench "a future Hall of Famer at 23." Keep in mind this was only Bench's 3rd card!
What a player. For more on Johnny Bench, as well as other great catchers like Carlton Fisk, Mickey Cochrane, Yogi
Berra and more, check out our CATCHERS PAGE!
1966 Topps #1 Willie Mays
When you talk about all-time greats, the name Willie Mays is always mentioned. Mays had it all. He could hit
for average. He could hit with power. He could run. And he could field. I am pretty sure Mays is considered the
greatest outfielder ever. And quite possibly the greatest player, ever. Mays, like some the players mentioned
earlier, did not get as many Gold Glove awards as he deserved, yet still won 12 Gold Glove Awards and
is the All-Time Leader in putouts by an outfielder with an astonishing 7,095. A good portion of those were
probably hits that Mays took away. Back in the 1950's, when the major powers were the three New York
teams (Dodgers, Giants, Yankees) and each featured a superb centerfielder, (Snider, Mays, Mantle), there was
a debate about who was the greatest centerfielder. There was even a song called "Willie, Mickey, & the Duke."
But in 1957, the first year of the Gold Glove Awards (and it was just one award for both leagues) guess who
won the award for centerfield- you got it, Willie Mays. Topps usually held the #1 card as a place of special
honor and in 1966 it was Willie Mays who got the #1 spot as he had won the N.L. Most Valuable Player
award the previous season (1965). As is the case with most #1 cards (& the last card in the set), it is tough to
find in NM or better condition. This is due to the fact that most kids would put the cards in numerical order,
wrap rubber bands around them and stuff 'em in shoe boxes. Hence the first and last cards were always more
susceptible to wear. Mays was also featured on a #1 card in the 1973 Topps set which honored the three
All-Time Home Run Leaders (Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, & Willie Mays) at the time.
This is one of the few regular Topps picture cards to show Mays with his glove. His 1953 Topps #244 card
pictures him doing a "basket catch" and the 1959 Topps #464 "Mays' Catch Makes Series History" depicts
the classic World Series catch at the Polo Grounds in 1954 (see below for pic).
1967 Venezuela Topps #210 Al Kaline
How good was Al Kaline? Well for starters, Al Kaline never played minor league ball. He went straight to the bigs. And
not only that, he won a batting title in only his third year with a .340 average in 1955. Kaline and Yastrzemski were similar
in a lot of respects in that both had over 3,000 hits and both had nearly 400 HRs or more (Kaline had 399, Yaz had 452).
Kaline had a lifetime .297 batting mark to Yaz's .285. Even their jersey numbers were close! Kaline wore #6 while Yaz
wore #8. And both were fantastic outfielders. Kaline was also the recipient of the first Gold Glove Awards (1957) and went
on to acquire a total of 10 Gold Gloves as an outfielder. A real classy guy I remember reading a quote of Kaline about
Mickey Mantle. Some fan yelled out to Kaline in right field "you ain't no Mickey Mantle." Well Kaline responded "Son, no
one is half as good as Mickey Mantle." What a class act. I got to meet Al Kaline in 1980 prior to the All-Star Game in Los
Angeles and it was quite a thrill to meet him. This is another rare Topps card showing Kaline with a glove. The only other
Topps card to feature Kaline with a glove is his last card (1974 Topps #215) which features him playing first base at the
end of his career.
While the front of this 1967 Venezuela Topps #210 Al Kaline (right) is the same used on the regular Topps card,
they are world's apart. The Venezuela Topps cards are very rare and almost always found in lower grades. The card stock
is inferior and it is quite common to find these cards showing some evidence of once having been pasted in a scrapbook
(common practice in Venezuela). Note the thin borders around the card, the Topps cards have wider borders (see above
Mays card). The card backs are entirely diffferent. Different card numbers, different colored backs, different languages (the
Venezuela Topps cards are printed in Spanish). The prices are world's apart as well; the SGC 60 EX example to the right
has a price tag of $1000 or best offer (eBay, June 2010). Compare to a regular 1967 Topps #30 Al Kaline, which lists
for $15 in similar condition.
|1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente
|One of the most colorful players in baseball history was Jim "Jimmy" Piersall. Piersall got into fights (usually with
Billy Martin by calling him "big nose"), had a nervous breakdown, ran around the bases backwards, kicked a fan in the
rear who had ran after him on the field, even called player's wives "horny broads" (while he was an announcer with the
Chicago White Sox; he also called the owner's wife a "colossal bore." He was shortly fired...). He was such a
character they even made a feature film about his life ("Fear Strikes Out" starring Anthony Perkins and Karl Malden). But
all antics aside, Piersall was considered by most to be the best fly chaser in the American League. On the back of one
of his baseball cards it says that if "you want to find Jim Piersall all you have to do is throw a baseball on to the field
and he will show up to catch it." (I think that is on the back of his 1955 Bowman #16 card). Again Piersall did not win
as many Gold Gloves as he should have as he began playing in 1950. He did win 2 Gold Glove Awards for his
outfield play (one in 1958 with Boston, and one with Cleveland in 1961). But like Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) said at a
Grammy Awards Show several years ago after receiving an award, "You know...this really doesn't mean anything."
And Vedder is right. Jimmy Piersall did not need any award to tell him he was a great and gifted outfielder. He knew it
and he showed it.
For more on Jimmy Piersall check out our PIERSALL PAGE!
1960 Topps #159 Jim Piersall
The great Roberto Clemente. Clemente is still considered one of baseball's best right fielders of all-time. Clemente won 12 Gold Gloves and had 269 assists in his career. This works out to almost 15 assists per
season and he would have had more but for the fact that most runners did not take a chance on Clemente's arm. A wonderfully talented player that almost ended up a DODGER. The Dodgers had signed Roberto to a
minor league contract but instead of calling him up they tried to "hide" him in their Montreal farm club. Instead he was spotted by a Pittsburgh scout and he was signed to play with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Can you imagine
Clemente on the great 1960s Dodger teams with Koufax, Drysdale, Willie Davis, Frank Howard, Tommy Davis, Jim Gilliam, Maury Wills, etc.? They probably would have owned the 1960s. Clemente did appear in 2
World Series, both winners (1960 vs. the Yankees, and 1971 vs. Orioles). The 1960 game was mostly remembered for Mazeroski's heroics (see below) but Clemente actually had a fine series batting .310 with 9 hits. But it
was in 1971 that Clemente showed the world his talents on the big stage and he went on to hit .414, with 12 hits (2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HRs), 3 runs, and 4 runs batted in. He also played flawless in the field. Clemente is
the right fielder against which all others are measured. This is Clemente's second year card (his rookie card is 1955 Topps #164) and check out the catch!
1960 Post Cereal #128 Bill Mazeroski (Company version)
A lot of people think Bill Mazeroski got into the Hall of Fame based only on his series-ending clutch HR to end the 1960 World Series vs. the favored New York Yankees. Maz was a good hitter, not great, but
more than adequate for his position (2B). He had over 2,000 hits, scored 769 runs, and drove in 853. He also batted .400 in 3 League Championship Series and hit .308 with 2 HRs in 2 World Series. However it
is for his fine play at second base that Mazeroski is in the Hall of Fame. Maz won a total of 8 Gold Gloves in his career and I am sure even Joe Morgan, another Hall Of Fame second baseman, would agree that
Mazeroski belongs in the Hall. This is an early Mazeroski card from the 1961 Post Cereal set. In 1961 you could obtain these cards by either cutting them out from the cereal box or you could also get them directly
from the company in team sheets that were perforated so that you could pull the cards apart. This is one of the Post company issues. The difference is that the Company cards usually show signs of perforations while
the cereal cards usually show signs of being cut from the cereal box (in most cases the cutting is pretty rough as most were cut out by enthusiastic kids). The paper stock is also different on the two versions.
1952 Topps #189 Pete Reiser
The original "Pistol Pete," Pete Reiser was an up and coming star for the Brooklyn Dodgers, helping them to their first pennant in 1941. Reiser led the league that year
with a nifty .343 average, along with 39 doubles, 17 triples, 14 HRs, 117 runs, and 76 RBIs. Not bad for a rookie. Reiser was a great fly chaser, however it was his almost
suicidal penchant for running head first into concrete walls (remember this was before padding on the outfield walls) that brought a premature end to Reiser's career. In
July of 1942 Reiser ran into the center field wall at Ebbett's Field chasing a drive by Cardinals Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter and fractured his skull. Unbelievably just 3
days later, Reiser was back in a Dodger uniform despite severe head pain. Today, this would never happen with a player, but back then the owners sometimes did not
take care of players the way they should have. The Dodgers were in a pennant drive and so Reiser played, despite bouts of double vision. He only batted .200 the rest of
the season and finished at .310. Essentially Reiser's career ended in 1942. He only played 7 more seasons, mostly part-time for the Dodgers, Braves, Pirates, and Indians.
So his career, like so many others, was that of "what could have been." However Reiser was absolutely adored by Brooklyn's faithful and he is still remembered thanks to
baseball cards. This is his last card as an active player, from the classic 1952 Topps set.
1910 T206 Beals Becker (American Beauty back)
I am not sure if Beals Becker of the Boston Braves was a GOLD GLOVE fielder, but he sure looks like it in this beautiful early tobacco card! Great catch!
The T206 cards were issued with different brands of tobacco, with Sweet Caporal and Piedmont being the most common. There are many scarce and rare backs. The
"American Beauty" backs would fit more into the "scarce" catagory. Not rare, but pretty scarce. Backs with other than Sweet Caporal or Piedmont usually command a
1971 Topps #331 WS Game #5 B. Robinson 1973 O-Pee-Chee #90 Brooks Robinson 2004 Topps Fan Favorites Brooks Robinson
"They call Brooks "The Human Vacuum Cleaner."" That's what the cartoon on the back of this 1973 O-Pee-Chee #90 Brooks Robinson (above center) bubble gum card reads. And vacuum cleaner Brooks was,
winning a record 16 Gold Gloves (consecutive) in his career. He was also quite a clutch performer and finished his 23 year career with almost 3,000 hits (2848), 482 doubles, 268 home runs, and 1357 runs
batted in. Brooks won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1964 in leading the Cardinals to the World Series that year vs. the New York Yankees. They still talk about the fielding clinic Brooks
displayed in the 1970 World Series vs. the Cincinnati Reds. Topps even made a World Series card in 1971 that showed a pretty poor image of Brooks diving in the dirt entitled "Brooks Commits Robery! (1971
Topps #331 World Series Game 5; above left). I prefer the 1973 Brooks Robinson card. I may be wrong but I think the only other (regular) Topps card that pictures Brooks with a glove is 1976 Topps #95.
Topps did feature a horizontal Brooks (doing what Brooks did best) photo on it's 1971 Topps Greatest Moments Brooks Robinson card. The 2004 Topps Fan Favorites card (above right) was made to look like a
1973 Topps card but features an earlier picture of Brooks (you can tell by the uniform). It was also personally autographed ("To Tim, My Best, Brooks Robinson HOF 1983") just this Saturday (Feb.26, 2011) at the
OC Dugout in Anaheim. I was nervous as hell but Brooks is a terrific signer and a gentleman. Not to mention the greatest fielding third baseman ever. Thanks Brooks! Tim
1979 O-Pee-Chee #52 Ozzie Smith RC
1925 Exhibits Tris Speaker
Considered to be one of the greatest fly-chasers of his era was the immortal Tris Speaker. Of course I am going by hearsay; in checking Speaker's fielding record, while making
6938 career putouts, he also made 224 errors for a .971 fielding average. Not exactly stellar but he did post some ungodly assist totals, 461 to be exact. Now that is impressive.
Twice he posted totals of 35 assists a season! Speaker was also a Hall Of Fame hitter, batting .344 lifetime with 3515 hits, 792 doubles, 223 triples, 117 HRs, 1881 runs, 1559
RBIs, 1381 bases on balls, and 433 stolen bases to boot. He played in 3 World Series, batting .306 with 22 hits (including 4 triples). So who am I to argue with that? Tris
Speaker was great!
Here are 3 things to know about Ozzie Smith: 1.) His nickname is "The Wizard Of Oz" and for good reason: 2.) He won 13 consecutive Gold Glove Awards at shortstop. 3.) He made the
Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (2002).
The 1979 Topps #116 Ozzie Smith rookie card is notorious for terrible centering. Expect to pay a hefty premium for a well centered example. The above 1979 O-Pee-Chee #52 Ozzie
Smith is also tough to find perfectly centered and there are other problems as well; O-Pee-Chee cards are commonly found with "rough cut" edges, which bother some collectors (not me). The
O-Pee-Chee cards are much tougher to find than the Topps issues.
1980's Louisville Slugger Fred Lynn glove card
If you watched "This Week In Baseball" with host Mel Allen back in the 1970's and 1980's, chances are you would see a Fred Lynn highlight catch. Keep in mind this was before
ESPN became so prominent and highlight clips are played almost endlessly, over and over and over again. Fred Lynn won 4 Gold Gloves in his career, including one his rookie season
(1975) and probably would have won more if not for injuries, most of which were caused by crashing into (non-padded) outfield walls. In the 1975 World Series vs. Cincinnati (a
classic!) Lynn crashed into the centerfield wall at Fenway and nearly knocked himself out. In the 1979 All Star Game in Seattle Lynn went nearly face first into the (unpadded) centerfield
wall at the Kingdome in pursuit of a Mike Schmidt triple (Lynn says he "catches that one in his dreams"). When the last time you saw an outfielder go into a (non-padded) wall in an ALL
STAR GAME? Because of guys like Fred Lynn, padded walls started to be used on outfield walls. Now most of the time on ESPN you will see guys bounce off the padded walls, use them
to climb to snare home run balls, etc. They can thank guys like Fred Lynn for that. He may not have as many Gold Gloves as say, Jim Edmonds, but he was every bit as good and in my
biased opinion, even better! I am willing to wager that Jim Edmonds favorite player growing up was Fred Lynn... (mine was too).
The above Fred Lynn card was attached to a Louisville Slugger baseball glove (note the hole punched in the corner) in the early 1980's when Lynn was a member of the California Angels.
For more on my favorite ballplayer, Fred Lynn, check out our FRED LYNN PAGE!
Just kidding! Well Marv Throneberry had a hard time getting noticed with the Yankees; however he did make a legend of himself playing for the fledgling New York Mets. Yes, the
same Mets who lost 120 games their first season; the same team which prompted manager Casey Stengel to exclaim, "Can't anyone here play this game? Throneberry later gained a
measure of fame doing the original Miller "Lite Beer" TV commercials ("Taste's Great! Less Filling!").
"STONEFINGERS." "THE BOSTON STRANGLER." "Doctor Strangeglove." These are the unflattering nicknames for slugging first baseman Dick Stuart. While he could hit , he certainly
had a problem in the field. According "The Great American Baseball Card, Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book" by Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Clarke (Little, Brown, & Co., 1973),
Stuart "chartered new dimensions in defensive ineptitude. Every ball hit his way was an adventure, the most routine play a fresh challenge to his artlessness. Stu once picked up a hot dog
wrapper that was blowing toward his first base position. He received a standing ovation from the crowd." Need I say more?
1966 Venezuela Topps Joe Morgan
Hall Of Famer (& current ESPN baseball announcer) Joe Morgan won 5 consecutive Gold Gloves at 2B from 1973-1977. Morgan was mentored at playing the position by Hall of Fame member Nellie Fox, who
finished his career with the Colt 45's (the Houston Colt .45's became the Houston Astros). Here, Joe Morgan demonstrates proper fielding fielding technique on his second year baseball card. This was the first year
Topps produced Houston cards with their new name, the Astros. Previously they had been named the expansion Houston Colt. 45's. Being that Houston was heavily involved in the space program ("Houston, we
have a problem...") and the fact that the new stadium, the Astrodome, was at the time very "futuristic," the Astros became the new team name. Personally I prefer the Houston Colt .45's but that's the way it goes.
Back in the 1960's, space was the final frontier (remember we didn't walk on the moon until 1969). Now the Astrodome is no more, but it did spawn artificial turf ("Astro-turf") which has been the scourge of
baseball (along with the designated hitter, steroids, and free agency) since it's inception.
1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle
It may surprise you to know that Mickey Mantle won just 1 Gold Glove award in his career. Judging by this amazing catch on his 1956 Topps baseball card, you would have thought
that Mantle won several Gold Glove Awards. Nope, just one in 1962 (his 3rd MVP season).
1956 was the year Mantle won the American League Triple Crown. This 1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle baseball card is one of his best; it was from his best season and it's a
beautiful card. It was also his first Topps card since the 1953 set (there are no Topps cards of Mantle from 1954-1955 as he was under contract with rival Bowman Gum). So if you
want a Mickey Mantle baseball card from 1954 and 1955 you are going to have to get his Bowman cards from those 2 years. There are also some very tough regional issues like Dan
Dee Potato Chips, N.Y. Journal-American, Red Heart Dog Food, and Stahl Meyer Franks but these are pretty scarce (and very expensive).
1975 Wire Photo Fred Lynn makes diving catch in 1975 World Series
1976 Topps Keith Hernandez
One of the best fielding first basemen of the 1970's through 1980's was Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals
and Mets. He batted .296 during his 17 year career with 2182 hits, most of them of the clutch variety. But he
was sensational with the glove, winning 11 Gold Glove Awards at first base. That is a record for first basemen.
Hernandez was also a 5 time All-Star and was instrumental in 2 World Championships for the 1982 Cardinals
and 1986 Mets. He later dabbed in acting; I remember seeing him on a "Seinfield" episode and also on some
pretty cheesy "Just For Men" hair coloring commercials (I think he was paired up with Walt Frazier of New York
Knicks fame). Terrific ballplayer, bad actor.
This 1976 Topps Keith Hernandez baseball card is his 2nd year card. Hernandez's rookie card is 1975
Topps #623 Rookie Infielders.
1959 Topps #468 Snider's Play Brings L.A.Victory (Duke Snider) 1959 Topps #464 Mays' Catch Makes Series History (Willie Mays)
In 1959, Topps created this special "Baseball Thrills" subset (card numbers 461-470) which featured "in action" cards of Mickey Mantle, Al Kaline, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Stan
Musial and more. The above two cards feature two of the premier centerfielders of the era, Duke Snider and Willie Mays. The Snider card shows him going up against an unpadded
wall to rob someone of extra bases. The Mays card highlights one of the greatest catches ever caught on film; Mays robbing Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series. Not only did Willie
make the catch with his back turned towards home plate on the dead run, but he also whirled and threw a BB back to the infield to keep a critical run from scoring. If you collect Willie
Mays cards, you are going to have to pick this one up. It is pretty reasonable, about $17.50 in ungraded EX condition! The Snider card is much less, though the above example has been
autographed by "The Duke" himself. Great cards!
10/5/75 UPI 1975 American League Playoffs Game 2 (classic Fred Lynn)
|1963 Topps #78 Marv Throneberry 1963 Topps #478 Dick Stuart
1966 Topps #35 Ron Swoboda
1969 World Series Game 4 Ron Swoboda robbing Brooks Robinson
The "Amazin' Mets" were the "Miracle Mets" in 1969. Led by a strong pitching staff led by Tom Seaver and
Jerry Koosman, and a strong supporting cast of players like Tommie Agee, Don Clendenon, Bud Harrelson,
Cleon Jones and Manager Gil Hodges, the Mets surprised all of baseball and won the NL Pennant. Their World
Series opponent? The heavily favored Baltimore Orioles, featuring Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Brooks & Frank
Robinson, Boog Powell and more. Clutch pitching and hitting, along with some key defensive plays by Tommy
Agee and Ron Swoboda (above) inspired the Mets to their first World Championship. Ron Swoboda had a
brief career and was not considered a "defensive" outfielder, but that one catch is still remembered by Mets
fans (& the Baltimore Orioles and their fans) today.
1949 Bowman #54 Marty Marion (Back view)
I don't know much about Marty Marion ("Slats") but reading the back of his1949 Bowman Gum card, he must have been a terrific fielder: "Mr. Shortstop himself. One of greatest fielders that game has ever seen -
some say he is the greatest ever -" I went to Baseballreference.com and Marty Marion was a 8 time All Star and won both the 1944 NL Most Valuable Player Award and Major League Player Of The Year Award.
Marion batted .267 that year so it must have been his fielding to win those two awards. Marion was the best fielding shortstop in the NL 4 times in his career, and twice he led in Assists. He played only 13 seasons,
mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals where he appeared in 4 World Series (the Cards won 3 of the 4 Series). Marty Marion finished his career with the St. Louis Browns in 1953. He is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame,
however he did garner as much as 40% of the BBWAA vote in 1970. Due to the lack of baseball cards during World War ll, this is the 2nd year card for Marty Marion. His rookie card was included in the 1948
Bowman Gum set.
In my humble opinion, Johnny Bench is the All-Time Greatest catcher. Not only was he a terrific slugger, but he was the premier catcher in the National League throughout his career. For
10 consecutive seasons (1968-1977) Bench took home a Gold Glove Award. That combined with 2 Most Valuable Player Awards (1970, 1972) and his leadership behind the plate for
the Cincinnati Reds ("The Big Red Machine") was more than enough for a ticket to Cooperstown. He was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame his first year of eligibility in 1989. For more
on Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Roy Campanella, and other great backstops see our CATCHERS PAGE!
|1969 Topps #95 Johnny Bench 1973 O-Pee-Chee #380 Johnny Bench
Trivia Time #1 Answer: Brooks Robinson (16 Gold Glove Awards at third base)
1960 MacGregor Willie Mays premium
1972 Topp Vault photograph Roberto Clemente
Sure, we already mentioned Roberto Clemente earlier on this page. But you know what? We are going to mention him again! He was that great! This beautiful photograph is from the
Topps Vault and was used to make the 1972 Topps Roberto Clemente baseball card. You know, we tend to worship those who maybe don't deserve to be worshipped. We "worship"
celebrities who are famous for big bouncing boobs, big bouncing butts, bad acting, or just being the latest "thing." We have "American Idol" where we even manufacture a new star. Do
they deserve it? Do athletes deserve worship because they won 3 Championships in a row, or won a Batting Crown, or won the Stanley Cup? Where exactly are our priorities; athletes
and celebrities? It is no wonder our education system is severely lacking, because our priorities are ass-backwards! With Roberto Clemente the worship is warranted. This guy could play
baseball and he was one of the best. But he died trying to help earthquake victims in another county... he was helping his fellow man. You can't be more honorable than that. So if you
really want to worship an athlete, pick one that does something beyond the sports field. Ted Williams sacrificed 5 years in his prime to service in two different wars (WWll & Korea).
He didn't just get some easy state-side duty or some easy desk job overseas. He was a Marine fighter pilot and served in hostile conditions. His life was on the line. Same with Clemente.
He did not serve in combat, but he was serving others. And that is what sets him apart. This page is dedicated to the great Roberto Clemente. Muchos Gracias Amigo! If there is a heaven
you must be in it!