Sunday, May 5, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1954 Topps #65 Bob Swift

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, May 5, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1956 Topps #145.
  • Player Name, position, team: Bob Swift, coach, Detroit Tigers.
  • Major League Debut: April 16, 1940.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1953 stats (Tigers): 2 Games, 3 At Bat, 0 Runs, 1 Hits, 1 2b, 0 3b, 0 H.R., 1 R.B.I., .333 B.Avg, 13 P.O., 0 Assists, 0 Errors, 1.000 F.Avg.
  • Any special information about player: Obtained by the Yankees from Augusta (South Atlantic) as part of a minor league working agreement before the 1937 season. Traded by the Philadelphia Athletics to the Tigers 10/11/1943. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 3. This is his second Topps card and first as a coach.
  • Blurb on the back: "Bob went on the inactive list last year and retired to the Coaches' box. In Baseball since 1934, he came up to the Majors in 1940 with the Browns. After 2 seasons at St. Louis he was traded to Philadelphia and joined the Tigers in'44. Always a defensive standout, Bob led the American League Backstops in Fielding in 1948 with a .991 Mark."
  • Commentary: Is it weird to see Topps set aside a space in their set for a coach? Perhaps. I mean, the set 1954 Topps set only contained 250 cards, and two of them were of Ted Williams, who Topps was FINALLY able to sign to a deal to appear in their products. And perusing the checklist, there are at least 22 other cards of coaches that are scattered throughout the set. Now in later years, coaches, if they got cards at all, would be placed together on one card. So why did Bob Swift get a card? Because 1953 was his final year as a player, hence the lifetime statistics on the back are complete. Swift is depicted in one of baseball's famous pictures: as the catcher for the Tigers when Eddie Gaedel made his major league debut (and subsequently his lone plate appearance). But Swift had a productive 14-season career in the majors (1001 games, .231 average with 14 home runs, 238 rbi's, and a fielding percentage of .985 with 235 base stealers caught). And after being released from his contract as a player, was asked to stay on as a coach. He stayed with the Tigers in this position for two years, and then after a few seasons in the minor leagues to get some managerial experience, he returned to the majors as a coach for the Kansas City Athletics (1957-59) and Washington Senators (1960) before returning to Detroit in 1963. He did manage a few games in KC when manager Harry Craft was away, with the A's winning 13 of 15 games. In Detroit, when manager Chuck Dressen suffered a mild heart attack in spring training, Swift managed the Tigers to a 24-18 record in 1965. The following year, when Dressen suffered a second coronary, Swift again took over, credited with a 32-25 record. Unfortunately, Swift himself fell ill and during the All-Star break, tests revealed that he was suffering from lung cancer. Three months later, on October 17, Robert Virgil Swift passed away due to complications from the lung cancer. He was 51-years old.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $12.50-$25.00.
  • 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: 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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