Saturday, August 7, 2010
Nitty Gritty Card(s) of the Day! 1965 Topps Traded, Traded to Me!!!
A few months back I got a surprise package from reader Deron in Atlanta. He had written me asking if I had any 2008 Topps. Hell yeah I did. I went crazy with 50% off blasters of that, but never tried to put a set together. I had about 100 cards he needed and shipped them right away. Since I didn't really care about '08 Topps I was just happy to find a good home for the cards and I wasn't expecting anything in return. Well, I did get something in return. Within a week I got the aforementioned surprise package from the ATL. It was a nice envelope full of 1965 Topps baseball, plus a few other bonuses. He had a note saying that he couldn't find my wantlist, but he knew I was working on the set. For anyone concerned, my wantlist for '65 Topps is HERE. I am collecting cards 1-272 right now. As I get closer with those I will extend my list and add more pages to the binder. After having the Steve Carlton rookie stolen within a week of buying it soured me on chasing the whole set, so I am taking baby steps getting back into. Anyway, for someone who couldn't find my list he did pretty darn well. He sent 8 1965's and I needed 6 of them, plus one that wasn't on my list turned out to be a nice UPGRAYDE. I will focus on 2 of the cards he sent, cards I have dubbed '65 Topps Traded. The first one is an excellant example of a horrible airbrushing disaster. It is card #404 of pitcher Stan Williams. People ask me what makes a card or a player Nitty Gritty. There are a lot of different things that get you that status, being an aggressive rough and tumble player, playing down and dirty, being a certified bad-ass, being a catcher in full gear or having a vintage action shot or just being cool. Having a cool name or nickname can sneak you in, too. Stanley Williams was also none as Big Daddy. I don't know where he picked the name up, but he was a big righthanded pitcher, he stood 6'5" and weighed 230 pounds, thats a big daddy! He was a part of the Dodgers World Championship team in 1959 (also Nitty Gritty) and from 1960-'62 he won 14 games or more for the Dodgers. He was 14-10 with 175 Ks in 1960 and made both NL All Star Teams that year. In '61 he topped 200 Ks for the Dodgers before being traded to the Yankees for Moose (also Nitty Gritty) Skowron after the 1962 season. He was the 5th starter on the '63 Yankees team that won the AL Crown and repeated with them in '64, but had moved down the rotation to a spot starter and reliever. He became expendable in New York and was sold to the Cleveland Indians in spring of '65, right before this card came out. They mention him being dealt on the back of the card, but were not able to take a photo of him on the Tribe, so this is his '65 Topps card. He is clearly wearing Yankees pinstripes, Topps didn't bother hiding the NY on his jersey or taking out the other Yankees behind him in this pic that was taken in the spring of '64. They did black over the NY on his cap, but it still shows through. He is labeled as an Indian on the card. Big Daddy spent 4 years with the Tribe. He won 25 games and saved 22 more splitting time between the rotation and the closer role. He won 13 for them in '68, but was traded again after the 1969 season. He and Luis Tiant went to Minnesota in exchange for Dean Chance. At 33 years of age Big Daddy had one of his top years on the mound for the Twins. He pitched in 68 games, all in relief and posted an amazing 10-1 mark over 113 innings. He had a 1.99 ERA and saved 15 games for Minnesota. They lost to the Orioles in the ALCS that year, but Big Daddy was dominant. He appeared in relief in 2 games and pitched 6 scoreless innings It was his final postseason, but over his career he never allowed a run in the playoffs or World Series. He totaled 11 innings, allowed 4 hits and no runs. Not too shabby. After the Twins he made stops in St. Louis and Boston before calling it a career in 1972. He posted a career mark of 109-94 with a 3.48 ERA, 1305 strikeouts, 11 shutouts and 43 saves. He won a ring with the Dodgers in '59 and played against them in a losing effort with the Yanks in '63. He was also a part of the Yanks team that lost to the Cards in the WS in '64. After retiring as a player he spent many years as a coach in the big leagues, most recently with the Mariners up till 1999. It all started with me being fascinated by a lame airbrush effort from Topps, but opened up a story of a very interesting big league career. The other card I am going to show off today wasn't one on my wantlist. I had this card, but I really appreciate the upgrade. It is card #162 of Boston's backup catcher Russ Nixon. After 3 years with the Bo Sox Nixon was traded to the Minnesota Twins, too. He went from backing up Bob Tillman to relieving Earl Battey. The original owner of my card had updated Nixon's team name to the Twins after he was sent to Minnesota in the spring of '66 in the deal that got the Sox Dick Stigman. Nixon spent 2 years as a Twin before returning to Boston in 1968 where he ended his big league career. Nixon spent 12 years in the Majors and played every inning behind the plate, catching for 5506 innings. That's alot of squatting! Nixon spent most of the 1970s managing in the minor leagues before he took over the job of being the Reds skipper in 1982. He would then replace Chuck Tanner as the Atlanta Braves manager before Atlanta ushered in the Bobby Cox era which began in June of 1990. Wow, this post went far longer than expected... Just think, I only posted about 10% of what Deron sent me! A huge thanks to Deron and to everyone who has helped me in my quest (again) for 1965 Topps! You can find my wantlist here, I am slowly chipping away and have several completed pages to show off. This is my favorite set of all time and I hope to have a binder full of it again! If you are collecting this set too, get in touch, I have a couple of dupes and I love to trade! I love this game, I love it's history and I LOVE THIS HOBBY!!! Thanks for reading, I hope to always keep it Nitty and Gritty. 45 years LATER!!!