Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day-1963 Topps Traded
Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from 1963 Topps, card #368 of All Star catcher Lonas Edgar Bailey, commonly known as Ed Bailey. I received this card in the mail from my good friend and fellow blogger Adam E of the Thoughts and Sox blog. The cards came in a GIANT box filled with paddle mailers and great cards. He had posted this card as trade bait a few months ago and I HAD to have it. There is something about vintage cards with writing on them that draws me in. This card was updated by its former owner after the Braves and Giants made a BIG trade following the 1963 season. The Giants sent Bailey and Felipe Alou, Ernie Bowman and Billy Hoeft to the Milwaukee Braves in exchange for Del Crandell, Bob Hendley and Bob Shaw. Bailey and Crandell were both catchers at the end of their careers, but the impact players were Alou who would lead the NL in hits twice as a Brave and Bob Shaw who would win 16 games for the Giants in ’65. Ed Bailey only played in 95 games for the Braves in ’64, a year removed from a 21 homer year with the Giants in ’63. Bailey only spent a single season in Milwaukee before making another brief stop in San Francisco and then in Chicago with the Cubs. He was signed by the California Angels in ’66 but was released after just a few pinch hitting at-bats thus ending his Nitty Gritty 14 year career. I was drawn to the card because of the writing on it. It fascinates me when people (kids presumably) write on cards. In this case it was an update to his new team, but the card’s owner failed to continue the updates as he was traded several more times in the next two years. The front of the card has some serious wear to it, like it was out a lot. The corners are decent and so is the back. I would think the owner really liked Ed Bailey and viewed this one often. I didn’t know too much about Bailey, but after getting this card I did my research and affirmed that Bailey was both Nitty and Gritty in the life and on the diamond. He spent more time in the military than he did in the minors and was a big leaguer the year he was released (as a September call-up) and never went back down over the next 13 seasons. He was 5 times an All Star and started behind the plate for the National League 3 times, the last time in ’63. In 1959 he and his brother, pitcher Jim Bailey, were battery mates with the Reds. That would be Jim Bailey’s lone trip to the show; he was 0-1 in 11 innings. Ed Bailey led the ’62 Giants to the World Series, but fell to New York. Ed Bailey was horrible at the plate, going just 1-14, but his lone hit was a 2-run homer. He was a platoon player most often, but he reached double figures in homers in 8 out of 14 seasons and topped 20 homers three times, the most coming in 1956 when he hit 28. As an All Star he batted .250 with 2 walks and an RBI. He was a power hitter first, but also a great arm behind the plate. Even as a part time player he led NL catchers in base runners thrown out once (in ’56) and placed in the top-5 six times. In 1957 he led NL backstops in base runners thrown out percentage and placed in the top-5 in that department 4 times. Over his career he threw out 191 would-be thieves for a 39% rating. The back of the card tells us he hit 3 homers in one game in ’56. He added an 8 RBI game in ’65. He was behind the plate for many of Juan Marichal’s wins including his no-hitter in June of ’63. He made two unassisted double plays and hit 8 pinch hit homeruns including 2 grand slams. Baseball reference shows his 162 game averages as .256 with 21 homers and 72 RBI. Those are pretty great numbers from a catcher with an arm who knows how to call a game and field his position. Even though it’s posed, I like the pic on the front and the “catchers finding Jesus” pose in the circle adds to the cards Nitty Gritty look. Thanks so much for all the great cards Adam E! Thanks also for inspiring me to learn about this soldier, ball player and City Councilman. If anyone else has any CUSTOM Topps Traded cards, I want ‘em! I love this game, I love its history, and I REALLY love this hobby! 47 years LATER.