Thursday, October 13, 2016

#24 Dick Groat - Pittsburgh Pirates

Richard Morrow Groat
Pittsburgh Pirates

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  180
Born:  November 4, 1930, Wilkinsburg, PA
Signed:  Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1952
Major League Teams:  Pittsburgh Pirates 1952, 1955-1962; St. Louis Cardinals 1963-1965; Philadelphia Phillies 1966-1967; San Francisco Giants 1967

Dick Groat was a five-time All-Star and the National League MVP in 1960, enjoying an extended period of success in the early 1960s.  He finished second in N.L. MVP voting in 1963 behind Sandy Koufax (#79) and he earned two World Series rings with the Pirates (in 1960) and Cardinals (1964). Groat made his debut with the Pirates in 1952, spending no time in the minor leagues.

He missed two seasons while serving in the military and he also briefly played in the NBA in 1953 for the Fort Wayne Pistons.  Groat was elected to the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 for his All-American career at Duke University.

Dad on his 62nd birthday, January 2006
Building the Set
December 3, 2005 in Ft. Washington, PA - Card #271
This was a relatively late edition to our set and one of eight cards we purchased at the 93rd Philadelphia Sports Card Show held at the convention center in Ft. Washington. With the Ocean City baseball card shows long gone by now, our only options for local baseball card shows were the "Philly Shows" held in Ft. Washington or the occasional mall baseball card show.

My Dad didn't like the drive to Ft. Washington, and this would have been one of only a few shows we attended together in this location.  Looking at my records of when and where we purchased our cards, a full year would go by before we'd add any more cards to the set.

The year-long hiatus in collecting the set came at a time my wife and I were expecting our first son and as we moved into our first real house.

The Card
I always thought this card looked slightly out of place with the other cards in the set for the sole reason that you can see Groat's shoulders, chest and left arm.  As Topps produced later series of the 1956 Topps set, the card designers got a bit more liberal with showing the players' shoulders in the large profile picture.  But in series one, Groat is truly an anomaly as most of the cards cut the players' portraits off at the neck.

We may never know if Groat was safe or out in the action shot, featuring a fantastic play at the plate with perhaps Roy Campanella (#101).  The aforementioned head and shoulders picture was previously used on Groat's 1954 and 1955 Topps cards.

1956 Season
In his second full season as the starting shortstop for the Pirates, Groat hit .273.  The rebuilding Pirates would finish in seventh place in 1956 and again in 1957 before reaching the World Series in 1960 behind Groat and fellow stars Roberto Clemente (#33), Bill Mazeroski, Vern Law (#252) and Roy Face (#13).

Phillies Career
Groat was traded to the Phillies from the Cardinals on October 27, 1965 with catcher Bob Uecker and first baseman Bill White for pitcher Art Mahaffey, outfielder Alex Johnson and catcher Pat Corrales. The starting shortstop for the Phillies in 1966, Groat appeared in 155 games and hit a respectable .260 with 53 RBIs.  On May 18, 1966, Groat collected his 2,000th career hit off former teammate Bob Gibson.

Groat appears on a few oddball issues with the Phillies (1966 Sports Service Phillies, 1967 Dexter Press Phillies, 1992 Action Packed ASG) but his only mainstream Phillies baseball card can be found within the 1967 Topps set.  That card is reprinted within the 2001 Topps Archives set.

Groat's 1967 season would be the last of his 14-year career.  Limited to only 10 games with the Phillies due to an ankle infection, he was sold to the Giants on June 22nd.  He appeared in 34 games for the Giants, hitting .171 and retiring following the season.

1952 Topps #369
1967 Topps #205
1975 Topps #198
2013 Topps Heritage
Real One Autographs #ROA-DG
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1952 Topps #369
First Topps Card:  1952 Topps #369
Representative Phillies Card:  1967 Topps #205
Last Topps Card (as a player):  1967 Topps #205
Most Recent Topps Card (post-career):  1975 Topps #198 (with Roger Maris)
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2013 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-DG

183 - Groat non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 10/12/16

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
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.

1 comment:

  1. That is my problem these days. I have to drive 120 plus miles to find a card show. I buy online from time to time,but I still prefer to go to shows. Really nice show every other month that I attend and buy 80% of my cards.