Ronald Alvin Negray
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6'1" Weight: 185
Born: February 26, 1930, Akron, OH
Signed: Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1949
Major League Teams: Brooklyn Dodgers 1952; Philadelphia Phillies 1955-1956; Los Angeles Dodgers 1958
Ron Negray is the first Phillie in the 1956 Topps set, although many Phillies fans might not be familiar with his name. Negray sandwiched parts of two seasons with the Phillies in the mid-1950s in between stints with the Dodgers. Used primarily in relief, Negray had respectable ERAs of 3.52 in 1955 and 4.19 in 1956. He last appeared in the Majors in 1958, but he'd stick around in the minor league systems of the Dodgers, Indians, Braves and Angles through 1963.
Building the Set
December 18, 1994 in Winston-Salem, NC - Card #133
This was another college purchase and I bought this card from the first baseball card store I found in Winston-Salem, Tommy's Collectibles, which was relatively close to the Wake Forest campus. A quick Google search turns up no hits for a Tommy's Collectibles in Winston-Salem so my assumption is that Tommy has taken his wares and moved on. I remember Tommy (or a relative of Tommy) giving me a good-natured hard time during one visit because I was clearing him out of most of his Phillies cards. In general, baseball card dealers in North Carolina found it puzzling that there were Phillies collectors out there.
December 18th is a strange date for me to be buying baseball cards. The first semester of my junior year would have been drawing to a close and I would have had a car with me at this point in my college career. My guess is that I swung by Tommy's before heading out on my 7 1/2 hour drive home. I bought two 1956 Topps cards from Tommy on this day for $10 - this card and a card of fellow Phillie Herman Wehmeier (#78). I most likely bundled these two cards together as a Christmas present for my Dad for what we joked was "His" collection.
I'm hoping someone reading this can confirm, but I believe the stadium facade in the background is from old Connie Mack Stadium. This is Negray's rookie card and he'd have only one more major baseball card release in the following season's 1957 Topps set.
The first panel on the back refers to Negray's first season as a professional, pitching for the Dodgers' D Level team in Valdosta, Georgia. He'd never reach 21 wins and 242 strikeouts again in his professional career. The third panel references Negray's time with the St. Paul Saints which was the Dodgers Triple-A team at the time.
See below for a few details from Negray's 1956 season.
Negray came to the Phillies in a trade with the Dodgers on June 7, 1955 for pitcher Dave Cole. He made his Phillies debut a few weeks later, starting the first game of a double header against the Cubs on June 19th. He'd bounce between a starting role and the bullpen for the duration of the 1955 season, finishing with a 4-3 record over 19 games. In 1956, Negray was used mainly in relief, appearing in 39 games and pitching to a 4.19 ERA with 3 saves over 66 2/3 innings. Only relievers Bob Miller (#334, 122 1/3 innings) and Jack Meyer (#269, 96 innings) saw more action out of the bullpen than Negray.
Prior to the 1957 season, Negray, along with a player to be named later (Ben Flowers), Melvin Geho, Tim Harkness and Elmer Valo (#3), was traded back to the Dodgers for shortstop Chico Fernandez.
First Mainstream Card: 1956 Topps #7
First Topps Card: 1956 Topps #7
Representative Phillies Card: 1956 Topps #7
Last Topps Card (as a player): 1957 Topps #254
Most Recent Mainstream Card: 2006 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-RN
11 - Negray non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 11/11/15
Garvey Cey Russell Lopes
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.