Sunday, April 28, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1956 Topps #145 Gil Hodges

(Before I begin, I'd like to wish my daughter Lynn a Happy 13th Birthday. Geez, I'm getting old. It seems like it was yesterday that she was born.)

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, April 28, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1956 Topps #145.
  • Player Name, position, team: Gil Hodges, first baseman, New York Mets.
  • Major League Debut: October 3, 1943.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1955 stats (Dodgers): 150 Games, 546 At Bat, 75 Runs, 158 Hits, 24 2b, 5 3b, 27 H.R., 102 R.B.I., .289 B.Avg, 1291 P.O., 106 Assists, 14 Errors, .990 F.Avg.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Dodgers as a Free Agent before the 1943 season. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 21. This is his twelfth and final Topps card as a player.
  • Blurb on the back: n/a.
  • Commentary: The Topps Card Randomizer never ceases to amaze me. This is the first time ever in its history that it picked the same subject for two consecutive Retro Sunday segments. Last week, it chose Gil Hodges' 1963 Topps card, his final card as a player. For today, it's his card from 1956, from seven years earlier. Since I wrote a lot about Hodges in last week's segment, I'll just review his 1956 season today. The Brooklyn Dodgers had just won their first (and only) World Series title the year before and were the toast of the baseball world. Hodges was a bona fide All-Star (in 1955, he had made his seventh consecutive All-Star Team). The first baseman had hit 27 homers and drove in 102 rbi's, finishing the year with a .289 average and an OPS of .877 for the champions. In 1956, some of his hitting numbers may have been down, but on the heels of 29 doubles and 32 home runs, his slugging percentage went up seven points. He finished the season with a .265 average as the Dodgers had him playing not only at first and in the outfield, but he even took in a game at catcher, his first action behind the plate since 1948. This may have been an off year for Hodges because the following year (1957), not only did his batting average improve (back to .299), but he was named to his eighth (and final All-Star Team), and was awarded the first of his three Gold Gloves. The back of Hodges' card includes three large cartoons sketches. The first indicates that in 1955 "Gil Drove in over 100 runs for the 7th straight year." That streak would end in 1956, as he drove in 87 rbi's. The second says that "He's averaged 30 homers per year in 8 full seasons at Brooklyn." The third says that in 1950, "Gil hit 4 homers in one game." In an August 31st game against the Boston Braves, not only did he hit the four homers, but he went 5-6 that day, drove in 9 rbi's (three 2-run homers and a 3-run blast in the sixth), with the Dodgers winning in a 19-3 romp over Warren Spahn and company. Incidentally, the only Braves pitcher to have any success over Hodges that day (meaning did not allow a HR) was Mickey Haefner, who induced Hodges into hitting a ground out to the third baseman. 
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $35.00-$60.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 7.
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: 2009 Topps #77. 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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