Monday, December 6, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day!

Todays Nitty Gritty Card of the Day come from 1950 Bowman Baseball, it is card #224 of Brooklyn Dodgers relief pitcher Jack Banta. Banta began his professional career in the Dodgers organization in 1944 as a 19 year old starting pitching. He rose through the ranks and by 1948 he was 19-9 with 20 complete games and 194 strikeouts for the AAA Montreal Royals. This earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster for Brooklyn in 1949. Banta was a busy pitcher. He was a spot starter and a frequent reliever. He appeared in 48 games for the Dodgers, pitching 152 innings. He was 10-6 that year for Brooklyn and the young group won the National League Pennant. This was the Dodgers 3rd Flag in the 1940s, they lost in the World Series each time. Banta was on the mound on the last day of the season and won the game that clinched the NL and sent Brooklyn to the World Series. Banta appeared in 3 games in the Series in relief. The Dodgers fell to the Yankees in 5 games. A sore arm limited Banta to just 16 innings of work in 1950. That would be his final year in the Major Leagues. He attempted a minor league comeback, but retired from playing all together in 1952. He would become a coach and manager for the Dodgers farm system, but retired from baseball all together after the 1957 season. Banta looked to figure in the Dodgers plans for the future after 1949. The team would succeed and the group led by Robinson, Reese, Snider and Campanella would win 5 NL Pennants in the 1950s, capped off with World Series victories in 1955 and '59, but Banta would be a part of those teams. 1949 would be his lone full big league season, but it was a good one, he was 10-6 with a 3.37 ERA, 3 saves and 97 strikeouts. He passed away in his hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas in 2006. I love this game, I love learning about all those who played it and I LOVE collecting little cardboard reminders of past greatness. This card has been handled ALOT, and hopefully enjoyed and appreciated. It is well worn. I made the scan extra large to show all the details of this cards long life. I love 1950 Bowman. I love the images and the backgrounds. I love Banta's expression. So young, eager and unsure of what is to come. 60 years LATER.

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