Friday, August 16, 2019

1956 Topps #58 Ed Roebuck

This a crossover post from my other blog, chronicling each card in the wonderful 1956 Topps set. Today's post features former Phillies player Ed Roebuck.  Please click on over there for all of the posts to date, including a look at all the Phillies Alumni featured in the set.

Edward Jack Roebuck
Brooklyn Dodgers

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  185
Born:  July 3, 1931, Millsboro, PA
Signed:  Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before 1949 season
Major League Teams:  Brooklyn Dodgers 1955-1957; Los Angeles Dodgers 1958, 1960-1963; Washington Senators 1963-1964; Philadelphia Phillies 1964-1966
Died:  June 14, 2018, Lakewood, CA (age 86)

All but one of Ed Roebuck's 460 appearances in the Major Leagues came in relief, and he served as one of the game's most reliable relievers from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s.  Roebuck was a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers team that won a World Series in 1955 and lost the Series in 1956 to the Yankees.  In 6 1/3 innings in the 1955 and 1956 World Series, he allowed one one run, and had an impressive ERA of 1.42.  Perhaps Roebuck's best season was 1962 when he went 10-2 with a 3.09 ERA and nine saves while appearing in 64 games for the Dodgers.  In his 11-year career, he finished in the top ten in the league in saves and appearances four different times.

After a few mediocre seasons with the Senators, Roebuck found new life with the Phillies, serving as one of the most durable relievers during the 1964 season but unfortunately he was part of that team's epic, late season collapse.  One of the game's most proficient fungo hitters, Roebuck was invited to Houston in 1964 to hit fungos as high as he could inside the Astrodome, still under construction, to make sure the roof would be high enough once official games commenced.

Following his playing days, Roebuck served as a scout for the Dodgers, Phillies, Braves, Reds, Pirates and Red Sox.  He retired in 2006 after earning his second World Series ring in 2004 as a scout for the Red Sox.

Building the Set
August 29, 1988 in Millville, NJ - Card #62
I shared this story back in March when I posted the Tom Brewer (#34) card, but I'll repeat it again here.  The Roebuck card was one of four cards I acquired for our 1956 Topps set via a trade, and all I had to surrender were a bunch of 1988 Topps doubles.

We were about a year in to officially collecting the 1956 Topps set when I added four cards to the set through a trade with a friend of mine.  Now my friend probably has no recollection of this, but I'm going to omit his name to protect the innocent.  In the summer of 1988, I was aware of a few different baseball card collectors from my school.  Most of them were busy accumulating as many "Future Stars" cards from the 1988 Topps set as possible, convinced these cards would be worth hundreds of dollars in a matter of a few short years.  The Kevin Elster card was a particularly hot commodity, as was anything with a Topps Rookie Cup on it such as the cards for Mark McGwire, Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks and Casey Candaele.

My friend had four 1956 Topps cards set aside in an "oldies" pile, and I'm guessing he had added these to his collection by accident or maybe through an older relative.  In any event, I went over to his house this late summer day in August, equipped with my 1988 Topps doubles, and ready to deal.  I don't remember the specifics of the trade, but I ended up with four 1956 Topps commons and he ended up with a small stack of 1988 Topps rookies.  We were both happy with our respective hauls, so in our minds it was a fair deal.

I've lost track of this friend over the years, but his name lives on in my official records of how each card in our 1956 Topps set was obtained.

The Card
Here's something I found extremely interesting, and I've been tracking this since starting this project.  Roebuck's card is the 47th card in the set to feature a player also included within the 1955 Topps set.  However, his is the first instance of a card using a different photo for his 1956 Topps card than what was used for his 1955 Topps card.  Why did Topps suddenly decide to go with a new photo for Roebuck's 1956 Topps card, when it had used the same photo for the prior 46 players?

1956 Season
Roebuck appeared in 43 games for the Dodgers, all in relief, going 5-4 with a 3.93 ERA.  Only closer Clem Labine had more appearances in relief that season for the Dodgers with 62.  He led the National League in wild pitches with 10.  Against the Yankees in the 1956 World Series, Roebuck appeared in three games, pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing only one hit and one run - a solo home run to Mickey Mantle in Game 4.

Phillies Career
On April 21, 1964, the Senators sold Roebuck to the Phillies and he appeared in 60 games in relief.  In parts of three seasons with the Phillies, Roebuck appeared in 110 games, pitching to a 10-8 record and a 2.83 ERA.  He recorded 15 saves, second only to Jack Baldschun (27 saves) during that same stretch.  During the late season collapse of 1964 resulting in ten straight losses, Roebuck pitched in four games and was scored upon only once.

The Phillies released him following the 1965 season, but he re-signed with them as a free agent and appeared in six games before getting released again on July 23, 1966.  He served as a scout for the Phillies after retiring as an active player, but I can't find any reference to what years he was with the club either online or from the team's yearbooks or media guides.

Roebuck's most readily available Phillies baseball card can be found in the 1965 Topps set.  He's also in the 1964 Philadelphia Bulletin set, the 1978 TCMA The 1960s set and he signed reprints of his 1965 Topps card for the 2014 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs insert set.

1955 Topps #195
1961 Topps #6
1964 Topps #187
1965 Topps #52
1978 TCMA The 1960s #165
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1955 Topps #195
First Topps Card:  1955 Topps #195
Representative Phillies Card:  1965 Topps #52
Last Topps Card:  1965 Topps #52
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2014 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-ER

52 - Roebuck non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 7/22/19.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Phillies Room
The Trading Card Database

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.

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