Sunday, May 26, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1969 Topps #181 Mel Nelson

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, May 26, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1969 Topps #181.
  • Player Name, position, team: Mel Nelson, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Major League Debut: September 27, 1960.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1968 stats (Cardinals): 18 G, 53 IP, 2-1, .667 PCT, 16 SO, 9 BB, 2.89 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Cardinals as a Free Agent before the 1956 season. Contract purchased by the Cardinals from the Twins 11/29/1967. Bats: right. Throws: left.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 5. This is his fifth and final Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "An experienced and well-traveled hurler, Mel pitched himself onto the St. Louis staff on the strength of his fine 10-3 record at Denver in 1967. He was used as a starter and reliever and posted a respectable 2.67 earned run average. Last season, Mel got his first starting assignment on June 23 and he responded by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-1."
  • Commentary: What color would you use to describe the back of the 1969 Topps set? Salmon? Pink? It certainly wasn't red. But whatever you call it, it sure made it really easy to read the text on the back of the card. Melvin Frederick Nelson bounced between the majors and the minors throughout his playing career. But even though he had left the Cardinals' organization a handful of times, it seemed that he was always welcomed back with open arms. Case in point, after signing with the Cardinals in 1956, he traveled through the organization's minor league system, making stops in Rochester, NY; Billings, MT; York, PA; Houston, TX; Tulsa, OK; and Omaha, NE. By 1960, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and spent the year with their AAA team in Spokane with a 13-7 record and 3.69 ERA in 32 games. But he somehow was sent back to St. Louis, where he finally made his major league debut. It would be another three years before he would return to the bigs, spending his time once again in the Cards' farms system (Portland, OR, and Atlanta, GA). His contract was purchased by another LA team, this time the Angels. This time, he spent most of his season with the Halos, before being demoted to the Angels' AAA team in Hawaii (yes, Hawaii was an actual minor league stop...the travel must have been brutal) around the All-Star break before making his return to the majors in September. Nelson was traded to the Twins during the 1964 season. In 1965, Nelson not only made the team out of spring training, but he managed to stay in the majors for a full year for the first and only time in his career. After two seasons with the Twins' AAA affiliate in Denver, his contract was purchased by the Cardinals' organization again. It would be his third and final stint with St. Louis. In 1969, he spent time between the majors and Tulsa. He would appear in only 8 games for the Cards that year, finishing with an 0-1 record and an ERA of 11.81. It would also be his final season in the majors. He finished with a career 4-10 record, 4.40 ERA, and 98 strikeouts in 173.2 innings of work. The back of Nelson's 1969 card also has a cartoon sketch mentioning that Mel had won 13 games with Spokane in 1960. The player is holding up a sign with the number 13 and saying, "That's my lucky number."
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.60-$1.50.
  • 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: 1982 Topps Traded #13T. 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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