Saturday, August 21, 2010
The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day
Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is card #25 from the 1965 Topps baseball set featuring Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Al McBean. McBean was at the peak of his career when this card came out. In 1964 he was 8-3 with a 1.90 ERA and 22 saves. He was named the Sporting News National League Relief Pitcher of the Year, an Honor that was awarded from 1960-2004. The year prior he was 13-3 in relief and pitched a streak of 22 straight scorless innings. 1963 was his first season in the bullpen-in '62 he was a part of the Pirates rotation and posted a 15-10 mark as a starter. McBean was born in the Virgin Islands and one of the first big league players from there. In fact, 50 years after his debut he is still the ONLY big league pitcher to hail from the Virgin Islands and is one of only 11 players from the Islands to make it to the Majors. At 5'11" and 165 pounds he looked more like an infielder than a pitcher and although he never played the position as a professional in the US, he was quite a shortstop and fielded that position during batting practice to the delight of everyone looking on. I love this game, I love it's history and I love all the stories behind every character to play the game and appear on a card in the hobby I love. 45 years LATER!