Thursday, February 10, 2011

1956 Topps #72 Phillies Team

There were three variations of each team card released in the 1956 Topps set - with the date on front, with no date and a centered team name, and with no date and the team name at left.  I have the more commonly available "no date, team name at left" variation in my '56 Topps set.  The team cards from the set are cool in that they actually identify the players, coaches, and personnel featured.  I figured my post on the 1956 Topps Phillies cards wouldn't be complete until I fully catalogued the 37 men featured on the Phillies' 1956 Topps team card.

Based on my somewhat thorough and non-scientific research, I'm going out on a limb and saying the picture was taken at some point in 1955.  The men featured can be broken down into six subsets:

Blaylock made it into
the '56 set after all.
1.  The Usual Suspects (13):  These are the regulars - guys who saw significant playing time in 1955 and into 1956.  Stan Lopata, Marv Blaylock (who wasn't featured in the '56 Topps set), Granny Hamner, Willie Jones, Del Ennis, Richie Ashburn, Jim Greengrass, Andy Seminick, Roy Smalley (also not in the '56 Topps set), Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons, Jack Meyer (listed as "Meyers" on the card's front) and Bob Miller.  Regular second baseman Ted Kazanski must have missed photo day, as he's not included in the picture.

2.  The Reserves (5):  These are the guys who played with the Phillies sparingly in 1956, but they had been with the organization since 1955 or earlier.  Glen Gorbous, Bobby Morgan, Jim Owens, Murry Dickson, Herm Wehmeier.

3.  The Field Staff (5):  The manager and coaches.  Manager Mayo Smith, and coaches Benny Bengough, Wally Moses, Whit Wyatt and Maje McDonnell.

4.  The 1955 Phillies (9):  These are players who saw time with the team in 1955, but were gone by the time the 1956 season rolled around.  Peanuts Lowrey, Ron Mrozinski, Thornton Kipper, Lynn Lovenguth, Gus Niarhos, Jack Spring, Mel Clark, Dave Cole and Earl Torgeson.

Ortiz strikes again
The last two subsets are the most interesting, in my mind.

5.  The Prospects (2):

Lou Ortiz:  My new favorite non-Phillie is actually featured on the team card.  I wrote about my fascination with Ortiz in my '55 Topps post.

Tom Qualters:  Bonus baby Qualters pitched 1/3 of an inning for the Phillies in 1953, giving up six earned runs and earning a 162.00 ERA.  He bounced around in the minors before making it back to the Phils for seven games in 1957 and 1958. 

6.  The Batboy, the Trainer and the Dude in the Suit (3):

The Kenny Bush
rookie card
The guy standing to the far left is Phillies trainer and physical therapist Frank Weichec, Sr.  I did a quick Google search for "weichec phillies" and found this brief write-up which mentions that Weichec was the trainer for both the Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949 to 1961.

The dude in the suit standing to the far right is traveling secretary John Wise.  Ennis' Wikipedia entry mentions that he and Wise at one point operated a bowling alley in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, following Ennis' playing days.

And he's not named on the front of the card, but the batboy sitting in the front is none other than Kenny Bush, who served in that role from 1949 until 1961, and then went on to serve as the team's clubhouse manager for several decades.  Here's an ad from a 1955 issue of Boys' Life featuring the young batboy.

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