Friday, March 20, 2020

#89 Norm Zauchin - Boston Red Sox

Norbert Henry Zauchin
Boston Red Sox
First Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  220
Born:  November 17, 1929, Royal Oak, MI
Signed:  Signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent before 1948 season
Major League Teams:  Boston Red Sox 1951, 1955-1957; Washington Senators 1958-1959
Died:  January 31, 1999, Birmingham, AL (age 69)

Best remembered for driving in 10 runs during a game on May 27, 1955, Norm Zauchin played for six seasons with the  Red Sox and Senators.  He made his debut in 1951 but then missed three seasons while serving in the Army during the Korean War.  Upon his return, Zauchin enjoyed a career year in 1955, hitting .239 with 27 home runs and 93 RBIs, and finishing third in A.L. Rookie of the Year voting behind Herb Score (#140) and teammate Billy Klaus (#217).  He was also a fine fielder, leading the junior circuit in fielding percentage for first baseman in 1955.  His 10-RBI game that season came against the Senators and he hit three home runs and a bases clearing double.

Zauchin was traded to the Senators before the 1958 season with Albie Pearson for Pete Runnels (#234), who went on to win two batting titles while with the Red Sox in 1960 and 1962.  Zauchin hung on with the Senators through the 1959 season, and wrapped up his big league career with a lifetime .233 average and 50 home runs with 159 RBIs.

Building the Set
December 4, 1999 in Raleigh, NC - Card #189
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 Cubs team card (#11) and another $5 for three commons - this Zauchin card, Alvin Dark (#148) and Chico Carrasquel (#230).  Given the timing of this show right before holidays, I would have attended 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
This is Zauchin's second Topps card, as his rookie card appeared in the 1955 Topps set and used the same head shot photo.  That's outfielder Jackie Jensen (#115) with uniform #4 making a cameo appearance and greeting Zauchin at home plate after presumably one of his 27 home runs during the 1955 season.  Looking at Zauchin's home run log for the season, my best guess is that this photo was taken after his home run on May 30th or after either of his home runs on August 14th.  Those were the only two games in which Zauchin hit a home run at home with only Jensen on base.  The "Red Sox" across Zauchin's jersey instead of "Boston" means this was a home game.

His SABR biography calls into question the cartoon in the final panel.  There was an article in the March 30, 1955 issue of The Sporting News noting that Zauchin had appeared in six games in the  minors as a pitcher, but available minor league records show him as strictly a first baseman and occasional outfielder for only the 1954 season.

Red Sox Team Set

1956 Season
Despite his successful rookie campaign, Zauchin lost his starting first baseman's job to Mickey Vernon (#228), acquired by the Red Sox in November 1955.  Vernon had a great season, hitting .310 with 15 home runs and 84 RBIs, and Zauchin was rarely used.  In 44 games, he hit .214 with a pair of home runs and 11 RBIs, only getting 84 at-bats.

1955 Topps #176
1957 Topps #372
1958 Topps #422
1959 Topps #311
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1955 Topps #176
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (5):  1955-1959
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1979 TCMA 1950s #252

11 - Zauchin non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 1/14/20.

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.

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