Sunday, August 22, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1963 Topps #127 Bill Tuttle

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, August 22, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1963 Topps #127.
  • Player Name, position, team: Bill Tuttle, outfielder, Minnesota Twins.
  • Major League Debut: September 10, 1952.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1962 stats (Twins): 110 G, 124 AB, 21 R, 26 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 13 RBI, .210 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Tigers as a Free Agent before the 1951 season. Traded by the Athletics to the Twins 06/01/1961. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Tuttle's eighth regular Topps card (total includes regular cards only). The 1963 Topps set's unique design not only included the second picture in the round frame, but a full color border that goes across the bottom of the card. Imagine if you will an uncut sheet of cards with these colored bands going across them, and above and below each of these bands would be the cards themselves. It'd look like a surreal garden of baseball players' pictures. And Tuttle would be sitting alongside a bunch of other players with the same green-colored border. Now I don't know if Tuttle's card would be printed above or below the band, or for that matter, right-side up or upside-down. But that's neither here nor there today. The 1963 Topps design remains a classic, and in two years, will become the design for the 2012 Topps Heritage product. On to Mr. Tuttle. He was the Tigers regular centerfielder in for most of the 1950's, and by all accounts a really decent hitter. Not a power hitter by any means, but good for at least 130 hits and 55 rbi's a year. He was sent to the Athletics in a thirteen-player trade that saw him and six other Tigers off to Kansas City. While never part of the infamous Kansas City-New York Yankees trading circle, he did well enough during the 1959 season to be considered a candidate for the AL MVP award (okay, so he finished 23rd...but he at least got some votes). In the middle of the 1961 season, the Athletics sent him to Minnesota for cash and a player to be named later. One of the players involved in the trade, Paul Giel, was sent with Tuttle to Minneapolis, only to be sent back to KC as the player to be named later (he was an Athletic for ten days). Now when I first saw the numbers for Tuttle for 1962 on the back of this card, I thought that there had to be some kind of error. How could a guy, who up to this point was an everyday player, play in 110 games, and only have 124 at bats??? He couldn't have been relegated to pinch hitting duties could he? Well, actually, that was partially correct. Because the Twins had an outfield that consisted of Harmon Killebrew, Lenny Green, and Bob Allison, Tuttle was relegated to the bench as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement late in ball games. In fact, the logs indicate that in many games, he would come in during the 8th or 9th inning without an at bat. He did start a handful of games, but by the end of the season, he only made 148 plate appearances in 110 games. By the middle of the 1963 season, he was released by the Twins, ending his big league career. The back of his card, in easy to read yellow/orange and black colors, includes a cartoon that indicates that "Bill led the AL in putouts in 1955 and 1960." The cartoon is of a smiling player with outstretched arms (complete with gloves on both hands), catching a ball 400 feet from home plate. Now, if you notice on his card, there is this big bulge coming out of his left cheek. It turns out that Tuttle was a chewing tobacco aficionado. In many of his cards, because this was around the time Topps mainly used headshots, he is depicted chomping on the stuff (or whatever it is you do with it). Diagnosed with oral cancer in 1993, he became a spokesperson against the use of chewing tobacco, and did so until he passed away in 1998.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $1.50-$4.00.
  • 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: 1992 Topps #5. 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

No comments: