Sunday, December 29, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1954 Topps #213 John Fitzpatrick

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, December 29, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1954 Topps #213.
  • Player Name, position, team: John Fitzpatrick, coach, Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Major League Debut: n/a.
  • Last Line of Statistics: n/a.
  • Any special information about subject: Joined the Pirates coaching staff in 1953.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 1. This is his first and only Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "John, starting his 29th season in Baseball, joined the Pirates as Coach in '53. A former Catcher and 1st Baseman, he hit .306 at Portland (PCL) in 1932 and in '35 he helped Oklahoma City win the Texas League Crown. As player-manager at Olean in '44, he hit .342. John also managed Pueblo and Newport News, and coached Hollywood from 1949 thru 1952."
  • Commentary: Although John Arthur Fitzpatrick never played in the major leagues, the Pirates hired him as a coach thanks to his nineteen plus seasons as a minor league player and player-manager. It also helped that he had a long association with the Bucs' manager Fred Haney, who made sure to include "Foghorn" in his inner circle. And how many people can lay the claim as not to strikeout even once during a season, let alone a season-and-a-half (as it stated in one of the three cartoon blurbs below the stat box)? Granted, he had 391 at bats in 127 games, but you have that luxury to get in the game when you're a player-manager. He must have been some kind of coach to be given one of the 250 elusive spots in Topps' eponymous set. Heck, skipper Haney even got a card in this set (#75). So did Topps include Coach Fitzpatrick as a tribute to his long professional career? Or was it because of their battle with Bowman that Topps (note that one Mickey Mantle wasn't in this set) that Topps filled their set with whoever they could sign? Who knows. What we do know is that the Bucs were 50-104 in 1953, and 53-101 the following season. Jeez, it makes the Cubs of 2012-2013 seem like world-beaters, huh? Maybe I should simulate a series with these two franchises and see who'd be the best among the worst. Fitzpatrick stayed on with the Bucs until after the 1955 season, and then followed Haney to the Milwaukee Braves (where they fared a bit better). A baseball lifer, John Fitzpatrick passed away on November 19, 1990 at the age of 86.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $7.50-$15.00.
  • 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: 2004 Topps Traded and Rookies #T81. 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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