Sunday, June 2, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1960 Topps #377 Roger Maris

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, June 2, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1960 Topps #377.
  • Player Name, position, team: Roger Maris, outfielder, New York Yankees.
  • Major League Debut: April 16, 1957.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1959 stats (Athletics): 122 Games, 433 At Bat, 69 Runs, 118 Hits, 21 2B, 7 3B, 16 HR, 72 RBI, .273 Avg.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Indians as a Free Agent before the 1953 season. Traded by the Kansas City Athletics to the Yankees 11/11/1959. Bats: left. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 11. This is his third Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: n/a.
  • Commentary: Topps first standard-sized set (2½" x 3½") that utilized horizontal fronts, the 1960 set was named by Topps Magazine readers as the set of the decade. It truly was unique in that regard. Now, I don't know what controversies there were with collectors in the 60's (or were there any...compared to now anyway), but it seems that Topps put this set out to market just before spring training (at least their Series 1 product anyway). How else would they have been able to include Roger Maris, who played for the Athletics just the year before and was traded on the KCA-NYY pipeline on December 11 (or December 13 if you believe the back of the card), as a member of the Yankees? Complete with an airbrushed (crudely by today's standards) NY logo on his cap? I guess it made sense for Topps to take tons of pictures of players without their caps. How else could they put many of these players in cards with their new teamsif they moved during the off season? Because so much has been written about Roger Eugene Maris (Maras), and you can learn more about him thanks to the SABR BioProject, the commentary will be about his 1959-1960 seasons, with a dash of the famous 1961 campaign and his final totals as a Yankee. Taking full advantage of their Kansas City A's connection, the Yankees sent Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Norm Siebern, and Marv Thornberry to the A's in exchange for Joe DeMaestri, Kent Hadley, and KC's All-Star outfielder Roger Maris. Now while DeMaestri and Hadley really didn't have much to contribute during their brief stays in the Bronx (Hadley appeared in 55 games in 1960, never played in the majors again; DeMaestri played sparingly in 79 games over two seasons, and then his MLB career was over), it was Maris that the team really wanted. An All-Star just the year before, the Yankees knew that Maris would be reaching his full hitting potential (he was 25 when the 1960 season started) right at this time. Inserting him into a lineup that included the likes of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Bobby Richardson, and Bill Skowron could only help build on his first All-Star campaign. Sure enough, Maris did thrive. In his first year in pinstripes, Maris hit for a .283 clip, hit 39 home runs, drove in 112 runs batted in (led the league), hit for a league leading .581 slugging percentage, and returned to the All-Star Game. He was awarded his first and only Gold Glove that year on the heels of a .985 fielding percentage (4 errors in 273 total chances). He was also voted as the American League MVP (his first). Although the Yankees would fall to Pittsburgh in the 1960 World Series, Maris contributed with 2 solo home runs among his eight hits in 32 plate appearances. It can be argued that his 1960 season was better than the following one that would put Maris' name into the stratosphere. We all know how he did that year (61 home runs, 141 rbi's, 132 runs scored all led the AL and a .269 average to boot). He would be named to his third All-Star Team, controversy with a certain * aside, he would be named the AL's MVP for the second year in a row. During the 1961 World Series against the Reds, he hit .174 with a homer and 5 rbi's as the Yankees made quick work of the Reds winning in five games. Maris would play with New York for seven seasons, hitting for a combined .265 with 203 home runs, 547 rbi's, an OPS of .872, three All-Star Game rosters, a Gold Glove and two World Series rings. He was traded to the Cardinals on December 8, 1966 for Charley Smith. In St. Louis, he helped lead the team to two consecutive World Series appearances, winning the 1967 Series over Boston in seven games with a postseason best .385 average, one home run, 7 rbi's, and an OPS of .972. After he retired in 1968, he worked with the Busch family and set up a beer distribution company in Florida. It proved to be a very successful enterprise as by 1983, he was able to ease back on the travelling that had kept him occupied in the years previous. All the while, he was placed on the ballot for enshrinement into Baseball's Hall of Fame. In fifteen years however, he would reach no higher than 43.1% in his last eligible year (1988). Sadly, Maris would pass away on December 14, 1985, due to complications with lymphoma. He was 51 years old. On the back of the card, there were five season higlights listed from Maris' 1959 campaign: May 10: Has 2 HRs, 5 RBIs vs. Det.; June 22: After being out for 30 days, Rog hits 2 doubles vs. Yanks.; July 11: Drives in 3 runs against Chisox; July 23, Hits HR, double and single against Orioles.; July 27: Blasts grand slam homer to beat Washington 7-6. The last highlight? December 13: Rog is traded to Yanks. The cartoon depicted on the card shows a ball going over the fence saying (yes the ball is talking) "Roger and out!" The caption below says that Rog (yes, ROG) hit 28 homers for K.C. in 1958. In 2010, Topps included a copy of this card in the series 2 edition of their Cards Your Mother Threw Out insert/reprint set. This card will forever hold a place in my heart because it was the last one that I needed to complete the massive 174-card Original Back reprint set.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $50.00-$100.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 47.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card (I do own a reprint of it as mentioned in the commentary), 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 #493. 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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