Monday, February 22, 2016

#18 Dick Donovan - Chicago White Sox

Richard Edward Donovan
Chicago White Sox

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  190
Born:  December 7, 1927, Boston, MA
Signed:  Signed by the Boston Braves as an amateur free agent in 1947
Major League Teams:  Boston Braves 1950-1952; Detroit Tigers 1954; Chicago White Sox 1955-1960; Washington Senators 1961; Cleveland Indians 1962-1965
Died:  January 6, 1997, Weymouth, MA (age 69)

Dick Donovan appeared in parts of four seasons with the Braves and Tigers in the early 1950s before establishing himself as one of the American League's best pitchers in 1955.  That season saw him win 15 games and make his first All-Star team.  One of his best seasons was 1957 when he went 16-6 with a league leading 16 complete games. He made two more All-Star teams in his career - in 1961 when he led the league with a 2.40 ERA and in 1962 when he won 20 games.  His stellar 1962 season gave him a placing of fifth in that year's league MVP voting.

Building the Set
December 3, 2005 in Ft. Washington, PA - Card #270
This was one of eight cards I purchased at the 93rd Philadelphia Sports Card Show, held in the Ft. Washington Expo Center.  I imagine most of my budget for this show went towards completing the 2005 Topps Heritage set, which used the 1956 Topps design.  My wife Jenna and I attended this show together and we would have been married less than six months at this point.

The Card
The back of this card contains an uncorrected error, indicating that Donovan threw left-handed. Donovan was in fact a righty, as evidenced by his photo on the front of the card.  Also, Donovan changed his number with the White Sox from 31 to 22 in 1955, meaning that that the action photo on the front of the card was taken during the 1955 season.

The final panel on the back mentions Donovan's hitting prowess.  In 1955, he finished the season with a .224 average (17 for 76) with a home run and five RBIs.  He'd finish his career with a .163 average and 15 career home runs.

1956 Season
Donovan was the White Sox number two starter in 1956 behind staff ace Billy Pierce (#160).  In 34 games, he compiled a record of 12-10 with a 3.64 ERA.  His WHIP of 1.155 led the entire American League.

1955 Topps #146
1963 Topps #370
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1955 Topps #146
First Topps Card:  1955 Topps #146
Last Topps Card:  1963 Topps #370
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1963 Topps #370

This most recent mainstream card is definitely subjective here.  Donovan has appeared on a number of extremely short-printed cut autograph cards over the past 15-plus years.  He appeared in a few TCMA collector sets following his playing days - 1979 TCMA 50's and 1981 White Sox 1959 TCMA.  Finally, as his career winded down with the Indians, Donovan was featured in the 1964 and 1965 Jay Publishing Indians sets and the 1964 Kahn's sets.  I'd consider all those sets to be more oddball than mainstream.

66 - Donovan non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 2/21/16

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.

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