Sunday, November 4, 2012

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1954 Topps #172 Hal Brown

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, November 4, 2012:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1954 Topps #172.
  • Player Name, position, team: Hal Brown, pitcher, Boston Red Sox.
  • Major League Debut: April 19, 1951.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1953 stats (Red Sox): 30 Games, 166 Innings, 11-6, .647 Pct., 177 Hits, 94 Runs, 86 E.R., 62 S.O., 57 Walks, 4.66 E.R.A.
  • Any special information about player: Signed by the Red Sox as a Free Agent before the 1946 season. Traded by the White Sox to the Red Sox 02/09/1953. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 11. This is his second card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Hal's 5-1 record in night games helped him post his best Big League record thus far. Called "Skinny," he was traded to the Red Sox by the White Sox in '53. Chicago brought him up to the Majors after he had a 16-6 mark at Seattle in '51. Hal's pro career started with Roanoke (Piedmont League) in '46 and in '47 he led the League with 19 wins."
  • Commentary: The 1954 Topps set is mostly known for its Ted Williams bookends, the colored headshot and cropped black-and-white action picture, and the borders on three sides of the card (unless you have a player with a white background, then can you consider it borderless???).  It was also the first year that Topps included cartoons on the back of the player cards.  What made them cool was that the cartoons were made to be unique for each individual player and they told a story that wasn't covered in the bio on the back.  In Harold "Hal" Brown's case, the three panel comic explains how he played for many of the Red Sox' minor league teams for years, being overlooked by the Boston brass before joining the White Sox (it doesn't say how he did it, but he was a rule 5 pick from Seattle of the PCL).  The story concludes by saying that the Red Sox saw that they lost a winning pitcher, so they had to trade for him to get him back.  It's confusing that Beckett, and even Topps, recognizes him as Harold Brown on this specific card, even though all of his other cards call him Hal.  Heck, even this card calls him Hal.  But his formal name of Harold appears when you look for this card in their database, and even Beckett thinks that this is his RC (they list him as Harold too), even though he has a real rookie card in the 1953 set. Hal went 11-6 in 1953, in spite of having a 4.65 ERA (even then, it was a high average).  In 40 games pitched in 1954, "Skinny" went 1-8, with an ERA of 4.12, striking out 66 to go with a high WHIP of 1.415.  He was sent to Oakland of the PCL before the Orioles bought his contract.  In eight seasons with the O's, he won 62 of 110 decisions, struck out 422 batters, and even his WHIP went down to 1.167.  He finished his career with a 2-game stint with the Yankees and a two year run with the Houston Astros.  Topps has featured him the last 5 years in their Heritage Buybacks program.  
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $7.50-$15.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: none.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card. And although the Baseball Card Cyber Museum has the reprint card from the 1954 Topps Archives set, I wanted to use a picture of the original card. However, thanks to Topps' Golden Giveaway (it used to be the Million Card Giveaway, and after that, the Diamond Giveaway), and after figuring out how to find a card by it's numeric ID, I was able to snag the image you see above. For the record, the card in Topps' baseball card library is #1055.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 1990 Topps #406. 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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