Sunday, March 3, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1951 Topps Blue Back #17 Roy Smalley

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, March 03, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1951 Topps Blue Back #17.
  • Player Name, position, team: Roy Smalley, shortstop, Chicago Cubs.
  • Major League Debut: April 20, 1948.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1950 stats (Cubs): N/A (no statistics found on the 1951 Topps cards).
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Cubs as a Free Agent 01/15/1944. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 4. This is his first Topps card.
  • Blurb on the front: "Handling more chances than any NL shortstop last year, the Chicago Cub infielder took part in 115 DP's."
  • Commentary: In 1951, Topps jumped into the baseball card market with two series of 52 cards that were to be used to play a simple game of baseball. Each card, along with the black-and-white headshot of a player from one of the 16 teams in the majors, was a play that would determine the outcome of an at bat (ball, strike, home run, etc). If you and a friend were to play this game, and Roy Smalley was on the card, all you would get is a ball (and another life at bat, depending on the count of the at-bat). Roy Smalley, Jr. was an infielder for the Cubs in the late 40's to early 50's. He would be the last regular shortstop for the Cubs until the debut of a man who would soon be known as "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks. In 1950, Smalley had his best season to date, hitting a career high 21 home runs, driving in 85 rbi's. For a shortstop, 21 homers was a high number. He also led the NL in strikeouts that year with 114, which contributed to a .230 average. That would also be the last year that Smalley would appear in more than 100 games during a season. In 1952, Roy appeared in 87 games, hit 5 home runs, 30 rbi's, and hit for a low .222 average. He did have a decent glove, with a .952 fielding percentage (17 errors in 356 short). With Banks making his debut the following year, and taking over as the Cubs' shortstop, Roy Smalley was traded to the Milwaukee Braves, where he saw action in a mere 25 games. His contract was purchased by the Phillies at the end of April of 1955. In parts of four seasons in Philly, he appeared in 186 games, and hit a low .204, with 8 home runs and 56 rbi's. He was released by the Phillies in May, 1958, with the Cardinals signing him to a deal the following day. While he did not play for the big league team in St. Louis, he did get to play in 114 games with their AAA ballclub in Rochester. In 1959, his minor league odyssey continued through two soon-to-be major league towns (Houston and Minneapolis, both were AAA teams, with the Twin Cities a part of the Red Sox organization. He played in 67 games for the Dodgers' farm team in Spokane in 1960. In 1961, he was named the manager of the Dodgers' class-C team in Reno, Nevada. He led the team to a first place finish that season. In 1962, he inserted himself in the lineup for one game as the team slipped into third place. His son, also named Roy Smalley (which would make him Roy Smalley III) followed in dad's footsteps, playing for twelve seasons in the majors mostly with the Twins (who coincidentally was managed by Gene Mauch in the late 70's, Smalley Jr's brother-in-law, and Smalley III's uncle). Roy Smalley, Jr. passed away on October 22, 2011 at the age of 85 years old.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 0.
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: 1983 Topps #578. 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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