Sunday, January 20, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1958 Topps #315 Bob Friend

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, January 20, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1958 Topps #315.
  • Player Name, position, team: Bob Friend, pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Major League Debut: April 28, 1951.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1957 stats (Pirates): 40 Games, 277 IP, 14-18, .438 Pct, 273 Hits, 121 runs, 104 ER, 143 SO, 68 Walks, 3.38 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Pirates as a Free Agent before the 1949 season. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 12. This is his fourth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "The ace of the Pirates pitching staff, Bob is one of the most widely sought players in the league. He came up to Pittsburgh after only one year in the minors, spent at Waco and Indianapolis, where he combined 14 wins."
  • Commentary: There is something about that red background that really makes the black and gold of Bob Friend's Pirate cap and jersey really stand out.  And he looks like he lives up to his last name to his teammates and off the field.  But against opposing batters, he was anything but a friend.  The true definition of a workhorse pitcher, up-to-this-point in his career, Friend led the league in ERA (2.83 in 1955), games started (42 and 38 in '56 and '57 respectively), innings pitched (314.1 and 277 in '56 and '57 respectively), and batters faced (1315 and 1148 in '56 and ' get the idea).  He was an All-Star (in 1956) and an MVP candidate (in 1955 and 1956).  So what does he do in 1958?  Have the best year of his career...that's what.  Friend finished the year with a spectacular 22-14 record, led the league in games started (38), completed 16 of them, had an ERA of 3.68, struck out 135 batters, went to his second All-Star Game, finish third in the Cy Young balloting, and sixth in the MVP race.  After a sub-par year in 1959, he rebounded the next season with an 18-12 record and his third and final trip to the All-Star Game.  The Pirates won the World Series in 1960, but Friend could not crack the tough Yankees lineup, going 0-2 with an ERA of 13.50 (9 earned runs in 6 innings of work).  In 15 seasons with Pittsburgh, Friend had a cumulative record of 191-218, an ERA of 3.55, 161 complete games, 35 shutouts, 1682 strikeouts, and had a WHIP of 1.292.  He was traded to the Yankees after the 1965 season, and although his time with the Bronx Bombers was brief, his stay in New York lasted throughout the season as his contract was bought by the Mets in the middle of June.  He was released by the Mets upon the end of the season, his final in the majors.  He is presently the only player to lose more than 200 decisions while winning less than 200 of them (finished with a 197-230 record).  It didn't help that during his tenure with the Pirates that the Bucs finished in last place five times.  His cards have surfaced in Topps' Heritage Buyback program since 2008, and he's had autographed cards appear in products like 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites and 2011 Topps Lineage.  Friend and his family still reside in Pittsburgh.  He served as the Allegheny County controller for eight years, worked his way up to vice president at an insurance brokerage firm.  
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $5.00-$10.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 2.
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 #513. 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

No comments: