Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#12 Andy Carey - New York Yankees

Andrew Arthur Carey
New York Yankees
Third Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  190
Born:  October 18, 1931, Oakland, CA
Signed:  Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1950
Major League Teams:  New York Yankees 1952-1960; Kansas City Athletics 1960-1961; Chicago White Sox 1961, Los Angeles Dodgers 1962
Died:  December 15, 2011, Newport Beach, CA (age 80)

Wearing #6, Andy Carey was the Yankees primary starting third baseman for five seasons between 1954 and 1958, a period that saw the Bronx Bombers win two more World Championships in 1956 and 1958.  Known more for his glove than his bat, Carey was instrumental in helping to preserve Don Larsen's (#332) perfect game in game five of the 1956 World Series.  Carey led the American League in triples in 1955 with 11.

The Yankees traded him in June 1961 (with Larsen) to the Athletics, and he'd play the final year and a half of his career with the A's, White Sox and Dodgers before retiring.

Dad - Christmas 2004
Building the Set
December 25, 2004 from San Diego, CA - Card #253
This is the first Yankee player to show up in the set, and I still remember the warning we'd receive from baseball card dealers in the late 1980s when my Dad and I informed them we were trying to build a complete 1956 Topps set.  Without fail, at every baseball card show, a dealer would warn us, "Good luck finding the Yankees."

A lot of collectors who grew up rooting for the Yankees were focused on building complete team sets from the 1950s Topps sets. For this reason, it was definitely difficult to track down single Yankees cards of their stars and commons as we were putting together our set.  Dealers who had commons for sale for $4 to $7 would regularly mark up their Yankees commons to $10 to $15, and we'd often pass on these cards.  (To a lesser extent, the same could be said for the Dodgers cards.)

This was one of six 1956 Topps cards my Dad gave to me for Christmas in 2004 and I never asked him how much he paid for the lot.  I do know that he ordered the cards from Kit Young Cards in San Diego, although unlike his purchase of the Ted Williams card, I doubt he actually spoke to Kit this time.  He would have given me these cards at the first house my wife Jenna and I owned, which we affectionately called The Crick.

The Card
That's most likely Carey in the action shot at third base, tagging out what I would guess to be a White Sox runner.  As is becoming the norm, the head shot was re-used from Carey's 1954 and 1955 Topps cards.  Our copy of this card is fantastic, with four sharp corners and not a crease to be seen.

1956 Season
At just 24 years old, Carey was firmly entrenched in the Yankees starting line-up in 1956, appearing in 132 games at third and hitting .237.  He struggled in the 1956 World Series, starting all seven games at third, but going 3 for 19 (.158) at the plate.  He's best remembered for contributing to two of the tougher outs during Larsen's perfect game.

In the second, he deflected a ground ball from Jackie Robinson (#30) to shortstop Gil McDougald (#225), who threw out Robinson at first.  If not for Carey getting a glove on the ball, it would have been a single to left.  In the eighth, he caught a low line drive off the bat of Gil Hodges (#145), again preserving the perfect game.

Phillies Connection
On December 15, 1961, Carey (along with Frank Barnes) was traded by the White Sox to the Phillies for Taylor Phillips and Bob Sadowski.  Carey refused to report to the Phillies in March 1962, as he preferred not to spend his final year in baseball on the last place Phillies and he intended to focus full-time on his growing California brokerage business.  The Phils received Cal McLish from the White Sox as consolation for Carey's refusal to report, and Carey was eventually swapped to the Dodgers where he finished his career closer to home.

For Phillies collectors, Carey is included within the 1962 Salada-Junket coin set, marking his only appearance with the team on any collectibles.  The set's creators originally released the Carey coin featuring him in a White Sox uniform, but the photo was updated to feature him in the Phillies hat and uniform he'd never actually wear.

1953 Topps #188
1962 Salada
Coins #86B
1962 Topps #418
2002 Topps Heritage Real
One Autographs #RO-AC
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1953 Topps #188
First Topps Card:  1953 Topps #188
Representative Phillies Card:  1962 Salada Coins #86B
Last Topps Card:  1962 Topps #418
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2002 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #RO-AC

50 - Carey non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 12/15/15

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
Gettysburg Times - February 27, 1962
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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#11 Chicago Cubs Team Card

Topps included full team photos in its baseball card set for the first time in 1956, having previously experimented with team cards in a limited edition 1951 stand-alone set.

Building the Set
December 4, 1999 in Raleigh, NC - Card #188
This is one of four cards I acquired at the "Holiday Sports Classic" baseball card show held in Raleigh in late 1999.  I paid $10 for the card and at the time it was the seventh (out of 16) team cards we had in our set.  Given the timing of this show right before holidays, I would have attended this show by myself but I most likely called my Dad back in Millville, New Jersey to update him on my purchases later that day.

The Card
The Cubs are shown in a photo taken during the 1955 season at some point after June 12th.  Owen Friend was purchased from the Red Sox on that day and he's included in the photo.  You can just barely see the ivy on the outfield wall to the left and right of the team.

  • Front Row
  • Howie Pollet (#262 with White Sox)
  • Jim Bolger
  • Paul Minner (#182)
  • Batboy Billy Phillips
  • Warren Hacker (#282)
  • Jim King (#74)
  • Walker Cooper (#273 with Cardinals)
  • 2nd Row
  • Hal Jeffcoat (#289 with Reds)
  • Jim Davis (#102)
  • Coach Ray Blades
  • Lewis (perhaps a team executive?)
  • Manager Stan Hack
  • Coach Dutch Leonard
  • Coach Ray Hayworth
  • Frank Baumholtz (#274 with Phillies)
  • Bob Rush (#214)
  • 3rd Row
  • Clubhouse Manager Yosh Kawano
  • Owen Friend
  • Clyde McCullough
  • Ernie Banks (#15)
  • Bob Speake (#66)
  • Gene Baker (#142)
  • Randy Jackson (#223 with Dodgers)
  • Dave Hillman
  • Eddie Miksis (#285)
  • Trainer Al Scheuneman
  • Back Row
  • Hank Sauer (#41)
  • Sam Jones (#259)
  • Lloyd Merriman
  • Solly Drake
  • John Andre
  • Harry Chiti (#179)
  • Harry Perkowski
  • Don Kaiser (#124, Daiser on card)
  • Dee Fondy (#112)
The Cubs still call Wrigley Field their home although capacity has increased to 41,160.  All the single season records on the back of the card still stand with the exception of home runs in a season.  The Cubs hit 235 home runs in 2004, eclipsing the 171 hit in 1930.

Most Home Runs - 235 in 2004
Most Runs Scored in One Game - 26 in 1922 and 1995
Additional Pennant Winning Teams - 1984, 1989, 2003, 2015
Additional World Championship Teams - N/A

The Cubs team card, along with the team cards for the Phillies and Indians, is available in three variations.  I have the "No Date - Centered Name" variation and the other two versions available are the "No Date - Left Name" and "1955" variations.

1955 Variation
No Year, Team Name at Left
1956 Season
The Cubs finished in last place in 1956 with a record of 60-94, 33 games behind the pennant winning Dodgers.  Shortstop Ernie Banks (#15) and right fielder Walt Moryn paced the offense.  Banks hit .297 with 28 home runs and 85 RBIs, beating out Moryn for the Cubs triple crown.  Bob Rush led the pitching staff with 13 wins.  Following the season, General Manager Wid Matthews resigned and the Cubs would not have a winning season again until 1963.

Cubs Cards That Never Were
I've always been very interested in the concept of "cards that never were" and my other blog, The Phillies Room, has been slowly tackling custom cards for the players who played for the Phillies but never appeared with the Phillies on a baseball card.  As I go through each team card from the 1956 Topps set, I'll highlight some of the team's players, managers or coaches omitted from the set.

For the Cubs, these are the 1956 Topps cards I'd like to see.
  • Stan Hack (manager) - Hack played 16 seasons with the Cubs between 1932 and 1947 and he was a four time All-Star.  He managed the team for three seasons (1954-1956) never finishing with a winning record and going 196-265 overall.
  • Pete Whisenant (center field) - Whisenant was the team's primary center fielder in 1956, splitting time with Solly Drake.  This was his only season with the Cubs as he was traded to the Reds in November 1956.  His rookie card (with the Reds) can be found in the 1957 Topps set.
  • Walt Moryn (right field) - Moryn enjoyed a break-out season in 1956, hitting .285 with 23 home runs.  He'd also appear in the 1957 Topps set.
  • Turk Lown (relief pitcher) - The team's closer in 1956, Lown saved 13 games but didn't receive a Topps card until 1957. 
  • Yosh Kawano (clubhouse manager) - The popular Kawano, featured on the team card, was with the Cubs from 1943 until his retirement in 2008.
  • Billy Williams (left field) - Certainly a stretch here, but the future Hall of Famer was signed as an amateur free agent in 1956.  He appeared in 13 games that season for the Ponca City Cubs of the Class D Sooner State League.
Baseball Reference
The Trading Card Database