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Just some random card things for a Friday Afternoon

Updated: Jun 5

Sometimes I wonder why Topps did what they did back in the day. Remember how we had fun with Pancho Herrera. Well here are a few more things I always liked on Topps cards.

Let's start with Billy Harrell. Billy had a short major league career and I was listening to a 1958 Indians/Yankees game on You Tube in which he was playing. Billy is another with a short but interesting Topps history. His 1958 Rookie Card just looks like any other 1958 card except it was probably one of the cards removed so Topps could make more Mickey Mantle AS cards in the final 1958 series. This is one of the four short prints in the last series in 1958 and if anyone can say why these players were chosen, well your guess is better than mine.

But Billy will have another trick up his sleeve for the 1959 Topps set. Looking at the back of his 1959 card you get this beauty: Billy was optioned to a Triple-A team. There were plenty of Triple-A teams in 1959 and you made us try to figure out where he went instead of telling us. How much obscurity did you really wish on poor Mr. Harrell?

Billy will get one more taste of a Topps card in 1961, this was after two full seasons in the minors and the Red Sox brought him back to be an utility infielder. Needless to say, he hit worse in his 1961 career and thus ended any return to Harrell ot the majors.

At least we can see on the back of his 1961 card he had two nice years in Rochester before the final major league season. As an FYI he stayed in the minors through 1966 so it's obvious he loved playing baseball.

While Billy was ending his major league career with the Red Sox they had a couple of rookies in 1961 who had longer times in the majors. You might have heard of one of those 1961 rookies: His name was Carl Yastrzemski. They also had a second baseman and pitchers who had nice rookie years but never could quite recapture the magic of those early years; Chuck Schilling and Don Schwall.  But instead of those people I want to talk about someone who always fascinated me when I started looking at older cards way back in the day. Yep. Don Gile is the man of the moment. Haven't heard of him, well don't worry not too many other people have. Don has Topps cards in 1961 and 1962 and has, in my opinion, that really cool name and imposing figure. Gile was officially 6 feet 6 inches and weighed 220 pounds. Only one slight problem for Mr. Gile. in four different attempts at making his mark in the majors never came that close to even hitting his weight. And his final season in 1962 was by far his worst at the plate. Gile finished the season with 2 hits in 41 at bats for an average of .049 but that's not all. You see on the final day of the 1962 in a season-ending doubleheader Gile got his second hit of the season with a walk-off homer. Yep. Gile who spent the whole season with the Red Sox and batted so infrequently you would have wondered how he was with the team had the ultimate career capper.

Obviously, his career capper homer was not quite as famous as this one

And something I really miss on modern cards was how Topps back in the day as they did with the Billy Harrell card try to keep up with what was going on with the player. Sometimes, years later, you discover this was an important part of the player's career and Topps was correct to give him a special card number although it might have been accidental at the time. We'll end this with the 1968 Topps Jim Palmer card with this great 1st line about how he was sent to the minors to get his arm into shape. Well, Palmer sure did get his arm strength back and late became a Hall of Famer. But in 1968, who knew what the future held for this 22-year- old pitcher with arm issue.


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