Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day-1960 Fleer Baseball Greats
Greetings Nitty Gritty card collectors! Today’s card of the day comes from the 1960 Fleer Greats of the Game set. After making a Ted Williams set in 1959, F.H. Fleer returned in 1960 with this 80-card set of baseball greats. This set includes Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and many of the legends of the game to that point. The early Fleer sets, ’59 Ted Williams (80 cards), 1960 Fleer Baseball Legends (80 cards), 1961 Legends (152 cards) and the 1963 Fleer set, a 66 card set which included current players. The ’63 set has Maury Willis rookie card and also includes Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Carl Yastremzki, Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills rookie card. These early Fleer sets are still very affordable and the short checklists make the sets possible to complete. My personal favorites are the ’61 and ’63 sets which have appealing designs. I will be posting these cards periodically here and as I get more cards I will put together a wantlist. For now, today’s card of the day is #20 in the 1960 Fleer set of Eddie Collins, Hall of Fame second baseman, shown as a Philadelphia Athletics. He was born Edward Trowbridge Collins May of 1887. He was better known as Eddie or sometimes just Cocky. He attended Columbia University and signed with the Philadelphia A’s after college and went directly to the Majors (he did play a few games of A ball the next year) and became the A’s full-time second baseman in 1908 and in 1909 he batted .347. He would hit over .300 in each of the next 8 seasons. In 1910 he stole 81 bases, setting a major league record which stood until 1962. Collins scored 100 or more runs in a season 7 times and led the league in that category in 3 straight seasons. He hit .300 or higher 20 times, his best being .372 in 1920. His superstition was legendary and he would only use a bat made half of white wood and half of red timber. He credited his bat with his .333 career batting average (27th All Time). He sits in the top-ten in several offensive categories including 10th in hits (3,315), 2nd in singles (2,643), 7th in steals (744) and 10th in times on base with 4,891. He is the all-time leader in sacrifice hits with 512. The current active leader in this category is Omar Vizquel with 244. In other words, that record will not be contested any time soon. He shares the record of most steals in a single game with Carl Crawford, Otis Nixon and Eric Young Sr. Collins did it twice. He was a World Champion 3-times with Philadelphia and won another with the Chicago White Sox in 1917. In 1919 he was still a member of the Sox and played in the infamous Black Sox series. He was never charged with any involvement in the scandal despite only batting .214. He finished in the top-10 in MVP balloting during his career, winning the honor in 1914. His son Eddie Collins Jr. was born 2 years after he won the award. Collins Jr. signed with the A’s after graduating from Yale in 1939. He lasted for parts of 3 years in the big leagues, but never shared the success that his father had. Collins Sr. was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 with George Sisler and Wee Willie Keeler. Collins is regarded by some as the greatest second baseman of all time. For all of his success on the diamond, he is not the most photogenic man in the world. I have had this card for many years and his evil-imp look has prevented me from posting it. I think he would have benefited from a dual-flap batting helmet. Just saying. Stay tuned for more on these early Fleer sets, 1950s Bowman, 1965 Topps, 1964 Topps Giants and yes, someday 1978 Topps. I love this hobby! 50 years, LATER!!!