Friday, October 16, 2015

#2 Warren Giles - National League President

Warren Crandall Giles
National League President

Born:  May 28, 1896, Tiskilwa, IL
Died:  February 7, 1979, Cincinnati, OH (age 82)
Hall of Fame Induction:  1979

Having served in World War I, Giles rose up the ranks of organized baseball eventually earning the chairman's title of the executive committee for minor league baseball in 1933.  In 1937, Giles was named the president and general manager of the Cincinnati Reds and his guidance helped the Reds to win consecutive N.L. pennants in 1939 and 1940 and the World Series title in 1940, defeating the Detroit Tigers.

Giles was named president of the National League in 1951 during a golden age for the senior circuit. During his tenure as president between 1952 and 1969, the Dodgers and Giants moved West, the Braves moved twice (first to Milwaukee, then to Atlanta), and the Mets, Colt .45s (later the Astros), Padres and the Expos joined the league.  Giles approved the creation of the East and West divisions in 1969.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1979, the summer after he passed away at 82.

Building the Set
July 19, 1997 in Ocean City, NJ - Card #149
William Harridge occupied the top row of the first page of our 1956 Topps binder for over nine years before he was joined by Giles' card.  This card was the 149th card my Dad and I added to our set, and it came a few months after I had graduated college and a few weeks before I'd enter the working world.  My notes show that we paid $10 for the card, which seems like a fair price as our version of the card is well centered with four sharp corners.

The annual Ocean City baseball card show was still held at the Music Pier in 1997, but I remember it didn't quite feel as magical in 1997 as it had in the mid to late 1980s.  By 1997, it was getting much harder to keep up with the new baseball card releases and I remember being unfamiliar with some of the newer products for sale at the show.  It was a strange feeling to not recognize all the new, shinier releases.  Truth to be, while my Dad still enjoyed going to the shows with me, he was a lot less active in terms of tracking down cards on his own at this point.  I honestly think he liked just watching me thumb through stacks of cards, content to no longer be the primary searcher.

I have good memories of the summer of 1997.  Things would go decidedly south for me personally over the next five years before I'd find my path again.

The Card
If you think about it, the first two cards of the 1956 Topps set should be fairly difficult to find.  Kids in 1956 would have had no interest in baseball cards of two old guys in suits and I imagine a good share of the Harridge and Giles cards were simply tossed out by young collectors.  Fortunately, this is the last card featuring someone wearing a suit and tie in the set.

The back of the card refers to Giles' tenure in the Redlegs' front office, although they were still known as the Reds during those years.  The Reds adopted the Redlegs moniker in the mid-1950s at the height of the nation's Red Scare.  Topps kept up with the times and refers to Cincinnati's team as the Redlegs on the back of Giles' card and throughout the set.

Like the Harridge card, Giles' 1956 Topps card was reprinted as card #2 in the 2005 Topps Heritage set.

1956 Season
Giles is credited with creating the National League's logo, which featured eight stars for the eight teams and became official in December 1956.  He was entering his fifth season at the N.L.'s top spot when this card was released.

Phillies Connection
Giles and his wife Jane had one son, Bill, who was born in 1934.  The younger Giles shadowed his father throughout his baseball career and grew up completely absorbed by baseball.  Bill Giles helped establish the Houston Colt .45s in 1962 and he joined the Phillies organization in 1969.  He rose through the ranks with the Phillies, eventually becoming part of the new ownership group that acquired the team from the Carpenter family in 1981.  Giles served as general manager of the Phillies from 1984 to 1987 and as president of the club from 1982 to 1997.

He's now the honorary president of the National League, and he annually presents the Warren C. Giles trophy to the National League Champion.

1957 Topps #100
1958 Topps #300
1959 Topps #200
2005 Topps Heritage #2
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1956 Topps #2
First Topps Card:  1956 Topps #2
Last Topps Card:  1959 Topps #200
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2006 Topps Heritage #100

45 - Giles non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 10/15/15

Beckett Database
National Baseball Hall of Fame
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.


  1. Excellent start! Looking forward to following this blog!!

  2. Sharp card. Great point about kids tossing away the suits.