Sunday, November 11, 2012

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1959 Topps #163 Sandy Koufax

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, November 11, 2012:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1959 Topps #163.
  • Player Name, position, team: Sandy Koufax, pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Major League Debut: June 24, 1955.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1958 stats (Dodgers): 40 G, 159 IP, 11-11, .500 PCT, 131 SO, 105 BB. 4.47 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed by the Dodgers as a Free Agent 12/14/1954. Bats: right. Throws: left.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 12. This is his fifth card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Sandy's whistling fastball placed him NO. 6 in the N.L. strikeout department last year.  The native Brooklynite first signed with the Dodgers after gaining stardom at the University of Cincinnati.  The Dodgers paid him a reported $25,000 and they feel the youngster will more than repay their confidence in him.  For a speedballer, Sandy has good control and can hit the corners."
  • Commentary: If used today as a brand new design for a baseball card, this set would probably be mocked by most cardboard critics, especially because of the small circled picture used for the players.  But back in 1959, this was considered colorful and a well-designed set.  Two years removed after Topps used a full picture, Topps resorted to cropping the player into a completely colored background in 1958 and what you see above in 1959.  They are considered classics now, but it makes you wonder what Sy Berger and Woody Gelman were thinking back then.  Sandy Koufax's career can be split into two completely different halves:  His dominating run that began in 1961 through his final year in 1966, and whatever it was you wanted to call it before that.  With an ERA of 4.10 and a mediocre 36-40 record, Koufax wasn't really doing all that well for the Dodgers from his debut year in 1955 through 1960.  Sure, he struck out 683 batters in that six season stretch, but with a WHIP of 1.428 (405 walks + 583 hits in 691.2 innings) really wasn't doing him any favors with the organization.  But something happened after that disastrous 1960 season because the following year, he was on his way to becoming one of the best pitchers in the game.  But that would begin two years after this card came out.  In 1959, Sandy struggled with an 8-6 record and a high 4.05 ERA.  He had given up a career high (to that point) 23 home runs, but struckout a career high (to that point) 173 batters.  While manager Walter Alston's patience was wearing thin with Koufax, maybe in his mind it was adjusting to just the change of scenery that was holding back Sandy's true potential.  After all, being in LA is a serious adjustment if you're from the other end of the country and you're no longer playing in front of your hometown fans.  But the Dodgers did rather well for themselves in 1959, as the beat the White Sox in six games to win their second World Series title.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $90.00-$150.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 31.
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: 2006 Topps #23. 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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