Monday, November 9, 2015

#6 Ray Boone - Detroit Tigers

Raymond Otis Boone
Detroit Tigers
Third Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  172
Born:  July 27, 1923, San Diego, CA
Signed:  Signed by the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent in 1942
Major League Teams:  Cleveland Indians 1948-1953; Detroit Tigers 1953-1958; Chicago White Sox 1958-1959; Kansas City Athletics 1959; Milwaukee Braves 1959-1960; Boston Red Sox 1960
Died:  October 17, 2004, San Diego, CA (age 81)

I'll admit that I know Ray Boone more because he's Bob Boone's Dad and not because of his 13 seasons in the big leagues.  But the elder Boone was a two-time All-Star and garnered A.L. MVP consideration in 1953, 1954 and 1955 when he tied for the league lead in RBIs with 116.  Playing most of his career with the Indians and Tigers, Boone starred on the Tigers teams of the mid-1950s along with Harvey Kuenn (#155) and Al Kaline (#20).

After his playing career ended, Boone served as a long-time scout for the Red Sox and two of his more notable Phillies-related signings were Curt Schilling and Todd Pratt.  Boone was in attendance at the 2003 All-Star Game in Chicago which featured his grandsons, Aaron and Bret Boone.

Building the Set
July 19, 1997 in Ocean City, NJ - Card #150
My Dad and I purchased this card along with the Warren Giles (#2) card and 9 others at the 1997 Ocean City baseball card show held on the boardwalk in the Music Pier.  My records show we paid $5 for this card and it was the second most expensive card we purchased that day behind the $10 paid for the Giles card.

The Card
I knew about Boone prior to purchasing this card as he appeared with his son Bob on the awesome Father & Son cards in both the 1976 and 1985 Topps sets.  I'm assuming the action photo on the front of the card is supposed to represent Boone sliding hard into second base.  The cartoon in the center panel references Briggs Stadium which was what Tiger Stadium was called between 1938 and 1960.

I'm going to start keeping track of this, as Boone joins the other first four player cards in the 1956 Topps set that feature portrait photos recycled from the 1954 and 1955 Topps sets.  I should also mention that this is the "white" backed Boone card and the first 180 cards from the set are available in either a white backed or gray backed version.  My Dad and I didn't realize this until we were well into collecting the set, and we came to the mutual agreement that we didn't really care if we added a white-backed or gray-backed card to our set.

Our only criteria was that the card had be in great shape - well-centered with sharp-ish corners and no front or back major surface blemishes.  This was more my Dad's rule than my rule, but looking at our set today I'm glad he set this standard.

1956 Season
Boone made his second All-Star team with the Tigers in 1956, and he'd finish the season with a .308 average, 25 home runs and 81 RBIs.  This season was to be his last as a starting third baseman, as he'd move over to first base to start the 1957 season.

Phillies Connection
Boone's son Bob began his 19-year Major League career with the Phillies in 1972, and he was behind the plate when Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson to give the Phillies their first World Championship title in 1980.  I believe the image to the right was taken during an Old Timers game in the late 1970s at Veterans Stadium and it features the three generations of Boone's who had or would play in the Majors.  (I think I first saw this photo in a Phillies Yearbook, and I was definitely confused by the older guy wearing a Phillies hat with a Red Sox jersey.)

1951 Bowman #54
1951 Topps Red Backs #23
1960 Topps #281
1976 Topps #67
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1951 Bowman #54
First Topps Card:  1951 Topps Red Backs #23
Last Topps Card (as a player):  1960 Topps #281
Representative Phillies Card:  1976 Topps #67 (with Bob Boone)
Most Recent Topps Card (post-career):  1985 Topps #133 (with Bob Boone)
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2006 SP Legendary Cuts #94

I'm also going to be keeping track of players in the 1956 set who appear in Topps flagship sets following their playing careers.  Boone is the first player so far to make it into a Topps set from the 1980s.

71 - Boone non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 11/5/15

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
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. That's one heck of a baseball family... I remember seeing a game in Cincy in early summer 2001 when Bob was managing and ended up getting tossed by the umpire, while his son Aaron was standing in the infield looking at the whole thing unfold. I wondered what it's like playing for your dad and seeing him pitch a fit like that...

  2. Great post. Totally agree with Rob... three generations of MLB all-stars. Mighty impressive.

  3. It's funny because I always assumed Bob was very easy going. In every picture or interview I saw with him when I was younger, he was always smiling. Seeing him argue with an umpire was a strange sight!

  4. The Boone family was fine ball players all of them. However as a lifelong Reds fan. I have to say outside of Ray Knight in my lifetime Boone was the 2nd worst Reds manager. Price isn't much, if any better.