Sunday, March 13, 2011

1950-1959 Phillies

1988 Pacific Legends #8, 1998 Upper Deck Richie Ashburn #1,
2007 SP Legendary Cuts #70, 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game #6
Before moving along to the Topps sets from the 1960's, I thought I'd take one last look back to the Phillies of the 1950's and their Topps baseball cards.

Decade MVPs
Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts run away with the honors.  With the exception of home runs and RBIs, Ashburn led the Phillies in every major offensive statistical category for the ten seasons between 1950 and 1959 - games (1,523), batting average (.313) runs (952), hits (1,875), doubles (252), triples (82), stolen bases (158) and walks (828).  Ashburn's 19 home runs were a little behind the top three home run hitters of the decade - Del Ennis (175), Willie Jones (159) and Stan Lopata (108).  And his 422 RBIs placed him fourth behind Ennis (765), Jones (657) and Granny Hamner (593).  Ashburn went to three All-Star Games during the decade and was the National League batting champ in 1955 and 1958.

Roberts led the team in every major pitching category - wins (199), complete games (237), shutouts (30), innings pitched (3,009.1), strikeouts (1,516) and ERA (3.32).  No other pitcher even came close to matching those numbers, although Curt Simmons, Bob Miller, Jim Konstanty and Russ Meyer show up in the top five of most of those categories.  Konstanty had the most saves during the decade with 45, but Roberts was actually fourth on the list with 19!

2010 Topps Tribute #33, 1992 Upper Deck Heroes Highlights #HI 7,
2004 eTopps Classic #ETC51, 2004 SP Legendary Cuts #100

1951-1959 Topps
The Breakdown:  141 baseball players wore the Phillies uniform between opening day in 1950 and the last game of the dreadful 1959 season.  Topps released 173 Phillies baseball cards in its main sets between 1951 and 1959, featuring 78 different players, 2 different manages, 2 coaches and 6 players who did not play a game for the Phillies during the decade.

Most Featured:  The following Phillies players (along with a team card) were represented the most in Topps' sets from 1951 to 1959:

8 cards - Ashburn, Hamner, Jones
6 cards - Roberts
5 cards - Ted Kazanski, Bob Miller, Simmons
4 cards - Lopata, Jack Meyer, Team Card

1980 TCMA Whiz Kids #22, #21, #23, #5

The Phillies Topps 60
What if Topps released a set of the top sixty Phillies cards from 1951-2010?  It's not likely, but I'll pick ten cards from each decade just in case Topps is looking for my opinion for this set's checklist.  You'll notice the sets from the 1950's with poor player selection or featuring a design I don't care for aren't represented - my set, my rules:

1 - 1951 Topps Blue Backs #8 Dick Sisler
2 - 1952 Topps #59 Robin Roberts
3 - 1952 Topps #357 Smoky Burgess
4 - 1953 Topps #88 Willie Jones
5 - 1953 Topps #146 Granville Hamner
6 - 1956 Topps #120 Richie Ashburn
7 - 1956 Topps #180 Robin Roberts
8 - 1956 Topps #220 Del Ennis
9 - 1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera ERR (no "a" on Herrara)
10 - 1959 Topps #338 George Anderson

Cards That Never Were Series
And what if Topps asked for my help in putting together a checklist for the Phillies cards that never were?  Of the 141 Phillies players from the 1950's, 78 made it onto Topps baseball cards as Phillies, while 63 players were never represented wearing the red pinstripes. 

There are three players with over 500 at-bats with the Phillies during the decade who didn't get a Topps Phillies card - first baseman Earl Torgeson, right fielder Mel Clark and second baseman Mike Goliat.  So they need Phillies cards, and they're all in the set.  As is second baseman Putsy Caballero, just because he has one of the greatest baseball names of all-time.  Steve Ridzik (105 games, 311.1 innings pitched) and Bubba Church (71 games, 394 innings pitched) will also be represented.  And I'd like to see a card of long-time Phillies coach Maje McDonnell, who spent 57 years with the organization as a coach, scout, batting practice pitcher and Veterans Stadium tour guide. 

I decided not to limit this to just ten cards per decade.  If there's a Phillies player, coach or manager who should have had a Topps baseball card in any given year, he's in my set:

1 - 1951 Topps Blue Backs Putsy Caballero
2 - 1951 Topps Red Backs Bubba Church
3 - 1951 Topps Red Backs Mike Goliat
4 - 1953 Topps Richie Ashburn
5 - 1953 Topps Robin Roberts
6 - 1953 Topps Del Ennis
7 - 1953 Topps Mel Clark
8 - 1953 Topps Steve Ridzik
9 - 1954 Topps Robin Roberts
10 - 1954 Topps Earl Torgeson
11 - 1954 Topps Terry Moore MG
12 - 1955 Topps Richie Ashburn
13 - 1955 Topps Robin Roberts
14 - 1956 Topps Elmer Valo
15 - 1956 Topps Marv Blaylock
16 - 1956 Topps Harvey Haddix
17 - 1956 Topps Maje McDonnell CO
18 - 1958 Topps Ed Bouchee
19 - 1959 Topps Chris Short
20 - 1959 Topps Eddie Sawyer MG

Stay tuned for more Phillies Topps cards as we're about to enter the 1960's.  It will be groovy.

1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #32, 1986 TCMA All Time Phillies #7,
1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes #41, 1983 Cramer Baseball Legends #94


Cards That Never Were said...

I'm sure you are aware of why Big Ed Bouche didn't have a 1958 card. I actually just recently stumbled across this info, which is a double whammy for me because I am a baseball card geek and I was friends with Ed's son for many years. If I had only known this before we lost touch with each other. Truthfully, I probably would've done nothing. Busting each others balls is good but that subject might go a bit too far.

Jim said...

I never knew the entire Bouchee story until writing up my post on the 1958 Topps set:

And here's a little more on the matter: