Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1939 Play Ball #98 Arthur Carter Whitney

This is the last of the 1939 Play Ball cards I recently added to my Phillies collection, and it represents one of the best Phillies players of that era. The Phillies Encyclopedia begins its entry on Arthur Carter Whitney with the following bold statement: "Any discussion of the top third basemen in Phillies history must include Pinky Whitney."

Pinky Whitney (not to be confused with his ultimate replacement at third base, Pinky May), played 12 seasons in the Majors with the Phillies (1928-1933), Boston Braves/Bees (1933-1936) and the Phillies again (1936-1939). During that time, he averaged 98 RBI a season while owning a career average of .295. He hit over .340 twice in his career – 1930 (.342) and 1937 (.341) – while playing in Philadelphia’s old Baker Bowl, a renowned hitter’s park.

He finished in the top 20 in NL MVP voting three times (1928, 1929 and 1937) and he was named to the 1936 NL All-Star team. Pinky's 124 RBI in 1932 still stands as the Phillies single-season record for a third baseman. Entering the 2009 season, he was tenth on the Phillies all-time career batting average list. Pinky retired following the 1939 season.

Nostalgia: In recent weeks, my Mom has been painstakingly scanning my grandfather’s old slides into digital files. It’s been a blast looking at decades-old pictures, and I know my Pop-Pop would have loved this new technology and the fact my Mom is taking the time to share these pictures with the family. The old family pictures got me thinking about my Pop-Pop, and I wondered if Pinky Whitney was one of his favorite players growing up. Maybe he even owned this card at some point. Pinky's Phillies Encyclopedia entry notes he was the team's captain and he "was extremely popular." My Pop-Pop would have been in his late teens in Pinky's heyday.

I have distinct memories of listening to Phillies games on the radio while driving with my Pop-Pop to Sea Isle in his big white van. He loved the Phillies and he’d keep track of their wins and losses on a daily basis on a Phillies calendar hanging in his bathroom. I still have those calendars and the picture from July 1983 is of the Phillies all-time greatest third baseman - Mike Schmidt, Willie Jones and Pinky Whitney.


Pop-Pop said...

I have no memory of Pinky Whitney, but do remember the calanders in Pop Pop' bathroom

Matt Runyon said...

Those would be some cool calendars to have. Hopefully they'll stay in your family. It would be a fun tradition to continue with the kiddies.

Those Play Ball cards are great. I need to pick up some Giants cards after I fill in some holes in a few other team sets.

Walda said...

PopPop would have been your proudest follower.

Jim said...


Matt - Looking forward to seeing your Play Ball Giants cards in the near future.

Anonymous said...

He was a great player and a wonderful father. Suzanne

Jim said...

Hi Suzanne. Thanks for dropping by and for your comment. I hope you and all of Pinky's family are doing well!