Sunday, July 11, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1958 Topps #22 Hal Naragon

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, July 11, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1958 Topps #22.
  • Player Name, position, team: Hal Naragon, catcher, Cleveland Indians.
  • Major League Debut: September 23, 1951.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1957 stats (Indians): 57 G, 121 AB, 12 R, 31 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .256 AVG, 179 PO, 14 A, 2 E, .990 F. AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed by the Indians as a Free Agent before the 1947 season. Bats: left, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Naragon's third regular Topps card. The 1958 set was not necessarily unique with the use of cropped photography, but in the way that it was presented. Whereas the 1957 Topps set showcased the entire photograph, the 1958 set design cropped the entire background, leaving just the picture of the featured player in a colored background (whether it be red, blue, yellow, green, etc). Now cropping the photo may not be new to Topps (see 1954 Topps), but this kind of work could lead to missing elbows, bats, hands (as was the case on some 1958 Topps cards). But I digress. Hal Naragon was the Tribe's back up catcher (to Jim Hegan in the 1950's). And he was a rather decent catcher who could have caught on with other teams. But as he was a native Ohioan (from Barberton, OH, roughly 30 miles or so south of Cleveland), he stayed with the local club. Now the back of his card shows only two lines of stats (his previous year and lifetime stats) to make way for large cartoon snapshots of Naragon's career. Now for a role player who never played more than 57 games a season at the time, Topps really had to get creative to make Naragon look good to the many kids opening packs of 1958 Topps Series 1 cards and never heard of the guy. To wit: one cartoon depicts a really large batter hitting one out, and the caption reads "In 1955, Hal had a big year with a lusty .323 average." What it doesn't mention is that this was accomplished with him seeing 57 games worth of action, with 41 hits in 127 at bats. The second cartoon shows a catcher nose to nose to his pitcher with the words, "He's a fine fielder who knows how to handle hurlers." No arguments there. A career .991 fielding average shows that he's excellent with the glove. Hal went on to coach for the Twins and then the Tigers in the 1960's. And 50 years later, appeared in Topps' salute to the 1959 and 1960 Topps sets with an autograph cards inserted into both products.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $6.00-$12.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 0 cards.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card, but was able to get a crystal clean copy of the image from the from the Baseball Card Cyber Museum. So thank you Joe McAnally and the folks at the BCCM.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 2007 Topps #572. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Come on back then to see what the Topps Card Randomizer gets us to look at then.


JayBee Anama

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