Friday, October 23, 2020

#120 Richie Ashburn - Philadelphia Phillies

Don Richard Ashburn
Philadelphia Phillies

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'10"  Weight:  170
Born:  March 19, 1927, Tilden, NE
Signed:  Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent before 1945 season
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 1948-1959; Chicago Cubs 1960-1961; New York Mets 1962
Hall of Fame Induction:  1995
Died:  September 9, 1997, New York, NY (age 70)

2006 Toyota Phillies Wall of Fame Postcards
The pride of Tilden, Nebraska, Richie Ashburn is one of the most beloved Phillies players and broadcasters of all-time.  In 12 seasons with the Phillies, and as one of the best lead-off hitters and defensive outfielders in the game, Ashburn helped lead the team to the 1950 World Series and went to the All-Star Game in four different seasons.  He led the National League in hits three times (1951, 1953 and 1958), in triples twice (1950 and 1958) and in batting average twice (1955 and 1958).  He finished in second place for the batting title twice (1948 and 1951), both times behind Stan Musial.  Ashburn concluded his 15-year playing career with a lifetime average of .308 and with 2,574 hits.  Among all-time Phillies players, he ranks third in games played (1,794) and hits (2,217) behind only Mike Schmidt and Jimmy Rollins in both categories.  He holds the Phillies franchise record for consecutive games played with 730.

Following his playing days, "Whitey" joined the Phillies broadcast team in 1963 and he was paired up with his good friend and partner Harry Kalas for 27 seasons between 1971 and 1997.  Ashburn had his #1 retired by the Phillies in 1979, the same year he was elected into their Wall of Fame.  He joined the Hall of Fame in 1995, the same year as fellow all-time Phillies great Schmidt.

Building the Set
June 25, 1988 in Ocean City, NJ - Card #58
We purchased this card, along with the card of American League President William Harridge (#1), at the Ocean City baseball card show held inside the Music Pier on the Ocean City Boardwalk.  The show was officially called the "Seashore VIII" by the organizers.  My records show we paid $14 for the card.  This would have been a few months before the start of my freshman year in High School, and I was about a year older than my oldest son is now.  What wonderful memories I have of those baseball card shows.

I've scanned here the one-page brochure we would have received upon paying our admission fee.  There are 54 dealers total, and I definitely recognize some of those names.  Ken Dolinick was better known to us as Diamond Dust, and shortly after entering each year's card show my Dad would at some point say, "I'm heading over to Diamond Dust."  Steve Weiser was the owner of Temdee Collectibles in Turnersville, NJ, which finally closed down several years ago and is now a Domino's Pizza.  Pre-pandemic, I'd pass by that location every day on my commute home from work and I was sad when I first saw the storefront darkened.  Alan Rosen was "Mr. Mint" and we had a few funny encounters with him, and when I get to the Red Schoendienst (#165) card, I'll need to recount the time we sold Rosen a vintage Schoendienst jersey at one of these Ocean City baseball card shows.

My Dad and I were never big autograph hunters, so the show's two big name signers - Brooks Robinson and Bob Lemon (#255) - wouldn't have interested us.

The Card / Phillies Team Set
Our card is definitely off-centered, and there's a noticeable scuff at the bottom, but I'd still consider it a steal at $14.  I've never entertained any thoughts of upgrading the card either.  The umpire hasn't made his call yet, but I'm going to assume Whitey was safe at the close play at third.  The head shot used is the same from Ashburn's 1954 Topps card and he was omitted from the 1955 Topps set, perhaps due to a contractual obligation with Bowman at the time.

The back of the card pays tribute to his 1955 batting title and his six times hitting over .300 so far in his career.  A wonderful and speedy baserunner, the final panel highlights his skills on the base paths.

1956 Season
Ashburn was the Phillies' every day center fielder in 1956, appearing in all 154 games and patrolling the outfield with primarily Del Ennis (#220) in left and Elmer Valo (#3) in right.  He led the club with a .303 average and with 190 hits.  He finished second behind Stan Lopata (#183) for runs scored with 94 to Lopata's 96.  The 1956 Phillies were not a very good team, finishing with a 71-83 record and in fifth place in the National League.  Ashburn's SABR biography notes the team held a Richie Ashburn Day on August 14th, and I can only presume this was designed to try to increase sagging attendance.

Phillies Career
There's not much more to add based on my summary at the top of this post.  There would probably be more of a debate these days given the Phillies' dynasty between 2007 and 2011 and the play of Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  But if the Phillies were to commission their Mt. Rushmore for the franchise covering the start of the franchise through the mid-2000s, the four players featured would undoubtedly be Ashburn, Robin Roberts (#180), Schmidt and Steve Carlton.

1949 Bowman #214
1951 Topps Blue Backs #3
1957 Topps #70
1959 Topps #300
1963 Topps #135
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1949 Bowman #214
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (11):  1951-1952, 1954, 1956-1963
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2020 Panini Diamond Kings All-Time Diamond Kings #ATDK-24

372 - Ashburn non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 10/14/20.

2020 Phillies Media Guide

Friday, October 16, 2020

#119 Larry Jackson - St. Louis Cardinals

Lawrence Curtis Jackson
St. Louis Cardinals

  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  175
Born:  June 2, 1931, Nampa, ID
Signed:  Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before 1951 season
Major League Teams:  St. Louis Cardinals 1955-1962; Chicago Cubs 1963-1966; Philadelphia Phillies 1966-1968
Died:  August 28, 1990, Boise, ID (age 59)

One of the most underrated National League starting pitchers for 14 seasons, Larry Jackson won 14 or more games 10 times, leading the league in wins with 24 in 1964.  His 194 career wins are the most for any right-handed pitcher since 1900 who never played for a first place team and therefore never reached the postseason.  A reliable workhorse, Jackson made the All-Star team in 1957, 1958, 1960 and 1963.

1950-1969 Phillies Postcards
He led the league in games started (38) and innings pitched (282) in 1960 and topped the league in 1966 with five shutouts.  He was also an outstanding fielder, as demonstrated by his perfect fielding percentages in 1957, 1964, 1965 and 1968.  Pitching for mostly bad teams, Jackson nevertheless compiled a lifetime record of 194-183 with a 3.40 ERA.  Drafted by the Expos in the 1968 expansion draft, Jackson chose to retire rather than report to Montreal.  He'd later serve four terms in the Idaho House of Representatives and ran for governor of the state in 1978.

Building the Set
March 31, 1994 in Vineland, NJ - Card #126
This is one of two cards my Dad and I purchased at the Cumberland Mall Baseball Card Show held in late March 1994.  I would have been home on spring break during my sophomore year of college, and the proximity of this baseball card show would have been too tempting to pass up.  We paid a steep $9 for this card, along with $6 for the Arnold Portocarrero (#53) card.

The Card / Cardinals Team Set
The price seems steep, but the card is in pristine shape.  In the early 1990s, the rookie card craze was in its waning years and as this is Jackson's rookie card maybe that's the reason the card was so pricey.  Flipping to the back, there's reference made to Jackson starting 25 games as a rookie in 1955.  At this point, the Cardinals weren't sure if he'd be a reliever or a starter for the team and it wasn't until 1959 that he became a full-time starting pitcher.  The middle cartoon panel references his fantastic season with the Class C Fresno Cardinals and the final panel highlights two no-hitters he threw during a high school double header.  I couldn't find any reference to that feat, but his SABR biography does mention him pitching both ends of a double header in 1951 for Boise Junior College.  He won both those games, pitching a no-hitter in the second.

1956 Season
Jackson actually served as the Cardinals' closer in 1956, saving 10 games and finishing fourth in the league in that category.  Over 51 appearances, he went 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 85 1/3 innings pitched.

Phillies Career

The Phillies acquired Jackson and Bob Buhl (#244) from the Chicago Cubs on April 21, 1966 for three questionable prospects - John Herrnstein, Adolfo Phillips and Fergie Jenkins, who would go on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career.  He slid into the Phillies pitching rotation behind Jim Bunning and Chris Short, recording a 41-45 record over three seasons with a respectable 2.95 ERA.  He led the Phillies staff with a 2.77 ERA in 1968, but the team decided to leave the 37-year-old veteran unprotected in that offseason's expansion draft.  Selected by the Expos, Jackson held true to a promise he had made to retire unless he was playing for a west coast team.  As compensation for losing Jackson, the Phillies sent infielder Bobby Wine to the Expos, who became the team's first regular shortstop.

Jackson appears with the Phillies in the 1966, 1967 and 1968 Topps sets and he also received a few Phillies photo cards and oddball cards from that era.

1957 Topps #196
1959 Topps #399
1962 Topps #83
1964 Topps #444
1968 Topps #81

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1956 Topps #119
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (13):  1956-1968
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1978 TCMA The 1960s I #286

71 - Jackson non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 10/6/20.

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.

Friday, October 9, 2020

#118 "Nellie" Fox - Chicago White Sox

Jacob Nelson Fox
Chicago White Sox
Second Base

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'10"  Weight:  160
Born:  December 25, 1927, St. Thomas, PA
Signed:  Signed by the Philadelphia Athletics as an amateur free agent before the 1944 season
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Athletics 1947-1949; Chicago White Sox 1950-1963; Houston Colt .45s 1964; Houston Astros 1965
Hall of Fame Induction:  1997
Died:  December 1, 1975, Baltimore, MD (age 47)

Hall of Famer Nellie Fox was a perennial All-Star for the White Sox throughout the 1950s, leading the American League in hits in four different seasons.  He never struck out more than 18 times a season and his 42.7 at bats per strikeout is tops all-time in the modern era.  Fox was named to the All-Star team 11 years in a row between 1951 and 1961 and went back in 1963 too.  A fantastic fielder, Fox won three Gold Gloves for his work at second base in 1957, 1959 and 1960.  He was the A.L. MVP in 1959 when he hit .306 with 70 RBIs, helping the Go-Go White Sox reach the World Series for the first time since 1919.

Fox played 19 seasons in the majors, hitting .288 with 2,663 hits, which is currently 75th on the all-time list.  He's also high on the all-time list for singles (2,161 for 28th place), runs scored (1,279 for 138th place) and triples (112 for 121st place).  Fox served as a player-coach for the Astros in 1965 and then a full-time coach with the team in 1966 and 1967.  He also coached with the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers between 1968 and 1972.  Sadly, skin cancer claimed Fox in 1975 at the way too young age of 47.  One of the greatest second baseman of his era, Fox had his #2 retired by the White Sox in 1976 and he was elected by the Veterans Committee into the Hall of Fame in 1997.

Building the Set
December 7, 2001 from Lockport, NY - Card #229
This Fox card came from an eBay auction won in December 2001 for $12.  Like the Red Sox team card (#111) before it, this purchase is an anomaly, and I wish I had more information in my notes about how and why I decided to head to eBay in late 2001 to purchase this particular card.  The post-9/11 time period is one that was filled with fear and anxiety and as best I can guess, I felt the need back then to randomly buy an old baseball card or two from eBay.  eBay was still a relatively new thing back in 2001, and I had established my account in January 1999 for the sole purpose of buying baseball cards and Beatles bootlegs.  Not surprisingly, I don't have any pictures from this time period to share here as some context for the purchase.

The Card / White Sox Team Set
That's a phenomenal action shot on the front of this card, and I'm going to assume Fox either snared a line drive or threw the runner out at first on the play.  The cartoon panels on the back highlight Fox's strengths - getting hits and making outs at second.

Presumably because he had an exclusive contract with Bowman, this is Fox's first Topps card.  The card was reprinted in the 2001 Topps Archives and Topps Archives Reserve sets.

1956 Season
Fox was right in the middle of his run as one of the best second baseman in the game in 1956.  He appeared in 154 games for a White Sox team that finished third in the American League with a 85-69 record.  Fox hit .296, driving in 52 runs and struck out 14 times in 721 plate appearances.  His regular infield mates consisted of Walt Dropo (#238) at first, rookie Luis Aparicio (#292) at short and Fred Hatfield (#318) at third.

1951 Bowman #232
1954 Bowman #6
1957 Topps #38
1959 Topps #30
1965 Topps #485
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1951 Bowman #232
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (11):  1956-1965, 1975
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2018 Panini Diamond Kings #17

379 - Fox non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/16/20.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
National Baseball Hall of Fame
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.

Friday, October 2, 2020

#117 Virgil Trucks - Detroit Tigers

Virgil Oliver Trucks
Detroit Tigers

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  198
Born:  April 26, 1917, Birmingham, AL
Signed:  Signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent before 1938 season
Major League Teams:  Detroit Tigers 1941-1943, 1945-1952; St. Louis Browns 1953; Chicago White Sox 1953-1955; Detroit Tigers 1956; Kansas City Athletics 1957-1958; New York Yankees 1958
Died:  March 23, 2013, Calera, AL (age 95)

With the exception of the year he missed while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Virgil Trucks spent every season between 1938 and 1974 in professional baseball either as a top starting pitcher in the American League, as a coach or as a scout.  Trucks helped the Tigers win the World Series in 1945 and while he only appeared in one regular season game, he started two games of the Series pitching a complete game in Game 2.  He was an All-Star in 1949 when he went 19-11 with a 2.81 ERA for the Tigers, while leading the league in strikeouts with 153.  In 1952, he threw two no-hitters - against the Senators on May 15th and against the Yankees on August 25th.  He won 20 games in 1953 and went back to the All-Star Game in 1954 as a member of the White Sox.  Trucks went 19-12 with a 2.79 ERA that season, leading the league with five shutouts.  Over his 17-year big league career, Trucks went 177-135 with a 3.39 ERA and 1,534 strikeouts, a mark that's currently 204th on the all-time list.

Following his playing days, Trucks won his second World Series ring as a coach with the Pirates in 1960.  He'd later serve as a roving scout for the Pilots, Braves and Tigers, retiring from baseball in 1974.

Building the Set
October 7, 1988 in Millville, NJ - Card #117
A few days after my 15th birthday and adding the cards of Ray Moore (#43), Dean Stone (#87) and Jake Martin (#129) to our set from (most likely) the baseball card show held inside the Millville YMCA, my Dad and I went to Brokell's baseball card store and bought this Trucks card for $4.  This would have been on a Friday, and my best bet here is that my Dad and I needed some cardboard therapy after the school week, so we headed to the lone baseball card store in Millville at that time, located on High Street.  My Dad and I frequented this store, and this was one of four cards for our 1956 set we purchased from Brokell's that year.

As an eighth grader in 1988, I realized the need to start tracking these cards as my Dad and I added them to our set.  I wanted a record of where and when and how much we had paid for each card, and so I created a tracking schedule using our very sophisticated Commodore 64.  This was a complicated process, involving typing out the checklist, printing the checklist, taking those pages to the library and using the photocopier to shrink the size of the pages, and then rubber cementing the pages to another piece of paper.  I have two pages similar to the one shown here for this tracking exercise, which I seemingly quickly abandoned soon after finishing this arts and crafts project.  Eventually, my tracking got even more sophisticated as I graduated to a word processing document on our new Commodore 128.

The Card / Tigers Team Set
The action shot is impressive, as it appears to show the veteran Trucks covering first base on a play.  This is also only the fourth green-orange color bar combination in the set so far, following Gene Freese (#46), Jose Santiago (#59) and Chuck Stobbs (#68).  I'm assuming Trucks had an exclusive contract with Bowman, as this is his first Topps card since his appearance in the 1953 Topps set.

The back of the card has his birth year off by two years.  The cartoon highlights pay respect to his two Major League no-hitters, his four minor league no-hitters and his proficiency as a strikeout pitcher.

1956 Season
Trucks returned to his original team when the White Sox traded him on November 30, 1955 for Bubba Phillips.  The most veteran player on the Tigers' roster, Trucks used his new knuckleball to try to stay effective but injuries limited his playing time.  He appeared in only 22 games, making 16 starts and going 6-5 with a 3.83 ERA.  He was wild too, with 63 walks to 43 strikeouts over his 120 innings pitched.  Following the 1956 season, Trucks' reunion with the Tigers ended when he was part of an eight-player trade with the Athletics on December 5th.

1949 Bowman #219
1952 Topps #262
1953 Topps #96
1957 Topps #187
1959 Topps #417
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1949 Bowman #219
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (6):  1952-1953, 1956-1959
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2011 Topps Lineage Autographs #RA-VT

58 - Trucks non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/16/20.

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.

Friday, September 25, 2020

#116 Eddie O'Brien - Pittsburgh Pirates

Edward Joseph O'Brien
Pittsburgh Pirates

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'9"  Weight:  165
Born:  December 11, 1930, South Amboy, NJ
Signed:  Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent, March 19, 1953
Major League Teams:  Pittsburgh Pirates 1953, 1955-1958
Died:  February 21, 2014, Seattle, WA (age 83)

Eddie O'Brien and his twin brother Johnny (#65) played together for parts of five seasons with the Pirates in the mid to late 1950s.  Eddie appeared in fewer games than Johnny with the Pirates - 231 to 283.  On May 10, 1953, the O'Brien's became the first twins to play on the same team in the same game, and they also were the first of four brothers to serve as double play combinations on the same team.  The others being Garvin and Granny Hamner (#197) in 1945 with the Phillies, Frank and Milt Bolling (#315) in 1958 with the Tigers and Billy and Cal Ripken in the 1980s with the Orioles.

For his career, O'Brien hit .236 with no home runs and 25 RBIs.  He served as the bullpen coach for the Seattle Pilots in 1969, their only year of existence.

1998 birthday haul, including
1998 Topps factory set
Building the Set
October 10, 1998 in Winston-Salem, NC - Card #167
In what had to have been a post-birthday purchase, I spent $52 in the Season Ticket baseball card store in Winston-Salem for 10 1956 Topps cards.  This O'Brien card cost me $4.  I say it had to have been a post-birthday purchase as I didn't have a lot of disposable income back then, but I made sure that any birthday money from my parents went towards something fun and not towards something practical.

I spent 5 years living in Winston-Salem, but I still managed to get lost driving around in those pre-GPS days quite frequently.  Season Ticket was one of the few locations in the city I memorized and I could drive to without having to ask someone to remind me of the directions.  I mean no disrespect to the former owners, but the place was a glorious dump.  Baseball cards were stacked precariously and haphazardly throughout the store, there was hardly any flat surface without something piled on it, nothing was ever in order and if you asked for something specific the owners may or may not remember the general direction of where they had last seen it.

And I loved it in there.  I took my Dad a few times when my parents visited me, and he couldn't wait to get out of the store and back into some fresh air.  Sadly, a recent Google Maps search shows that Season Ticket has gone the way of a lot of hobby shops, and there's now something called Beauty Touch in its place.  But I bet there are still random stacks of baseball cards hiding in a nook or crevice somewhere in the shop.

The Card / Pirates Team Set
This is O'Brien's third Topps card and his second without his brother.  It looks as if the Giants runner at second is out and O'Brien is attempting to turn the double play.  If it is a Giants runner, my best guess for the game date is September 20, 1955.  That's the only date O'Brien faced the Giants during the 1955 season during which he played shortstop.  He appeared as a center fielder or pinch-runner in his other appearances against the Giants that season.  My best guess is the player sliding is Hank Thompson (#199).  But based on the incomplete data from Retrosheet, there's no indication Thompson reached base after the sixth inning, which is when O'Brien came into the game, so who knows?

This is the only instance of the "SS-Outfield" position combination in the entire set.  On the back, O'Brien's college basketball exploits are highlighted as is his then rare position combination.  For his career, he played 108 games at shortstop and 62 games in the outfield.

1956 Season
O'Brien was a super utility player for the Pirates in 1956, playing every position except catcher and first base.  In 63 games, he hit .264 (14 for 53) with no home runs and 3 RBIs.  He pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Cardinals on July 31st, relieving his brother (!) who had also pitched two scoreless innings of relief (!!).

Apparently, his pitching appearance wasn't an anomaly as Topps listed his position as "SS-P" on his 1957 card.  Amazingly enough, following the 1956 season, his next four (and final) big league games, all in 1957 and 1958, came as a pitcher.  In five total games pitching, O'Brien went 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA over 16 1/3 innings.  He started the first end of a double header on September 14, 1957 against the Cubs, pitching a complete game 3-1 victory while allowing only one run.

1953 Topps #249
1954 Topps #139
1957 Topps #259
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1953 Topps #249
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (4):  1953-1954, 1956-1957
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2006 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-EOB

11 - O'Brien non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 8/17/20.

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.

Friday, September 18, 2020

#115 Jackie Jensen - Boston Red Sox

Jack Eugene Jensen
Boston Red Sox

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  180
Born:  March 9, 1927, San Francisco, CA
Acquired:  Traded by the Oakland Oaks (PCL) with Billy Martin (#181) to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later (Eddie Malone) and cash, October 13, 1949
Major League Teams:  New York Yankees 1950-1952; Washington Senators 1952-1953; Boston Red Sox 1954-1959, 1961
Died:  July 14, 1982, Charlottesville, VA (age 55)

Jackie Jensen was a two-sport star, appearing in the Rose Bowl with the University of California, and reaching his peak with the Red Sox in 1958 when he was named the A.L. MVP.  Jensen was the first athlete to play in the Rose Bowl (1949), the World Series (1950) and the MLB All-Star Game (1952, 1955 and 1958).  A good fielding right fielder and a threat on the base paths, Jensen also demonstrated power throughout his 11-year big league career.

Traded by the Yankees to the Senators in 1952, he saw modest success until taking off with the Red Sox in the mid-1950s.  Jensen led the league with stolen bases in 1954 with 22 and triples in 1956 with 11.  He led the league three times in RBIs in 1955, 1958 and 1959.  Jensen was one of the Red Sox players featured in the Norman Rockwell painting, The Rookie, which I covered in the post for Frank Sullivan's (#71) card.  In his 1958 MVP season, Jensen hit .286 with career highs in both home runs (35) and RBIs (122).  A steady defender, he won his only Gold Glove in 1959.

He initially announced his retirement from baseball in January 1960, citing an intense fear of flying and his desire to spend more time with his family.  He returned to baseball in 1961, but retired for good following the season.  Despite multiple forms of therapy, Jensen could not overcome the anxiety and panic attacks he'd suffer prior to each airplane flight.  For his career, Jensen batted .279 with 199 home runs and 929 RBIs.

Building the Set
October 3, 1999 in Raleigh, NC - Card #185
We bought this card on October 3rd at the Raleigh Sports Card Show, and it ended up being part of a birthday present to me from my Dad.  I was still living in Raleigh in late 1999, and my parents made the trip south to visit me for my birthday.  We bought 8 cards that day (that I knew about) paying $5 for seven of the cards, including this Jensen card, and $2 for the Grady Hatton (#26) card.  Unbeknownst to me, my Dad also purchased the Sandy Koufax card (#79) but he squirreled that one away until Christmas morning 1999.

From the back of a checklist from this time period, my notes show we were simultaneously collecting the 1972 Topps set during this timeframe.

The Card / Red Sox Team Set
Topps recycled the main photo from Jensen's 1954 and 1955 cards for this card too.  On the back, I continue to be impressed with how much thought and effort the Topps' cartoonists put into these panels.  Jensen's 116 RBIs in 1955 tied him with the Tigers' Ray Boone (#6).  His 22 stolen bases in 1954 were four more than White Sox outfielders Minnie Minoso (#125) and Jim Rivera (#70), who both had 18.  Jensen makes a cameo appearance on Norm Zauchin's (#89) card, greeting Zauchin at home plate presumably following a home run.

1956 Season
Jensen had another solid season, manning right field for the Red Sox and roaming the Fenway Park outfield with Ted Williams (#5) in left and Jim Piersall (#143) in center.  Jensen appeared in 151 games, starting 150 of the Red Sox' 155 games in right.  Faye Throneberry (4 starts) and Gene Stephens (#313 and 1 start) accounted for the other five starts in right whenever Jensen received a rare day off.  He hit a career high .315, second on the team only to Williams and his .345 average.  As mentioned above, he led the league in triples with 11, while hitting 20 home runs and 97 RBIs.

His SABR biography mentions that in August 1956, Jensen agreed for a film of his life to be produced with Jensen himself making a cameo appearance at the end of the film.  Younger actors played Jensen throughout his young football and baseball careers and the finished film was primarily screened in high schools.

1951 Bowman #254
1952 Topps #122
1954 Topps #80
1958 Topps #130
1961 Topps #540
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1951 Bowman #254
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (10):  1952-1959, 1961, 1975
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2001 Topps Archives Reserve #37

88 - Jensen non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 8/5/20.

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.