My Dad added this 1951 Bowman Eddie Waitkus card to my collection for Christmas. With the addition of this card, we're down to needing just five more cards to complete the '51 Bowman Phillies team set.
Eddie Waitkus debuted with the Chicago Cubs in 1941, but he missed the next four seasons while serving in World War II. Following the 1948 season, the Cubs traded him to the Phillies with Hank Borowy for Monk Dubiel and Dutch Leonard.
Eddie played first base with the Phillies from 1949 through 1953 and again in 1955, but he's known mostly for an off field incident in which a deranged female fan shot him in a Chicago hotel. The shooting took place on June 14, 1949, and Eddie needed five operations to miraculously overcome his wounds. The crime shocked the baseball world, and he was named an honorary All-Star in 1949. The incident was the inspiration for a similar event in Bernard Malamud's 1952 novel, The Natural, which was later made into the classic 1984 baseball movie starring Robert Redford.
Wearing #4, Eddie returned to the Phils in 1950, hitting .284 in 154 games as a member of the National League Champion Whiz Kids. He was the team's lead-off hitter in the 1950 World Series, hitting ahead of Richie Ashburn, and he won the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Eddie was known for his fine defense at first base, and he manned that position for the Phils again in 1951 and 1952. Following the 1953 season, in which he served as a reserve, he was sold to the Baltimore Orioles. He spent one season with the Orioles before returning to the Phillies in 1955 for his final season.
Solid Gold: My Dad also gave me several gold Phillies baseball cards from the 2008 World Championship set, as issued by The Danbury Mint. The cards are gorgeous in person, but sadly do not scan very well at all.