Friday, June 12, 2009

1967 Topps #443 Tito Francona

John Patsy "Tito" Francona played in just 27 games with the 1967 Phillies, hitting .205 as the team's primary first baseman in April and May. In early June, he was sold to the Atlanta Braves. Between 1964 and 1969, Tito was sold to 4 different teams - to the Cardinals by the Indians (December 1964), to the Phillies by the Cardinals (April 1967), to the Braves by the Phillies (June 1967) and to the Athletics by the Braves (August 1969).

He played 15 seasons in the Majors, never making it to the Postseason, and was named to the AL All-Star team in 1961. His best years were with the Cleveland Indians (1959-1964), where in 835 games, Tito hit .284 with 85 home runs and 378 RBI. In 2001, the Indians named him to their "Top 100 Cleveland Indians Roster".

Tito's son Terry would also play in the Majors, and he would eventually go on to manage the Phils.

1 comment:

Jim from Downingtown said...

This was a late-series card (5th, as I recall), which I believe was changed to a PHILLIES card (from Francona's previous team) after the Phillies acquired Francona the day before the 1967 season.

Back in 1967, the norm was to have 25 player cards per team. The Phillies had 27 player cards, so I've speculated that the 5th-series' cards of Tito Francona and Ruben Gomez were redesigned as PHILLIES cards after the season started.

Regular 1st baseman Bill White injured himself in the off-season, and wasn't available until early May. The Phillies had invited veteran Jim Gentile to training camp, but he didn't make the team, which is why Francona was signed.

In any case, Tony Taylor got the majority of starts at 1B until White could return to full-time duty. (Taylor would also take over as the full-time 3rd baseman in late August, after Richie Allen was lost for the season.)