Sunday, December 8, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1960 Topps #19 Felix Mantilla

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, December 8, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1960 Topps #19.
  • Player Name, position, team: Felix Mantilla, shortstop-second baseman, Milwaukee Braves.
  • Major League Debut: June 21, 1956.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1959 stats (Braves): 103 Games, 251 At Bat, 26 Runs, 54 Hits, 5 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, .215 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Braves before the 1952 season. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 11. This is his fourth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Felix played 60 games at short and 23 at second base last season. He is sure-handed and has speed to burn, and on the basepaths sees lots of action. When he is not in the regular lineup, Felix is frequently used as a pinch runner. In baseball since 1952, Felix joined the Braves in 1956. He can also connect for the long ball."
  • Commentary: When it comes to the 1960 set, most people think of Carl Yastrzemski's card, or Willie McCovey's card. We don't really get much exposure to what the actual design of the cards look like. Sure, the set was named by the readers of Topps Magazine as the best of the 60's, but unless you have the cards in your hands, not too many people discuss the nuances of its design. Like how the letters of the players' names are printed in alternating colors. Most people who follow baseball know that Harvey Haddix had his extra-inning perfect game bid ruined in the 11th inning on May 26, 1959. But what many people don't know (myself included until I began researching the career of today's Retro Sunday player) is how it happened. It turns out that in that fateful 11th inning, with Haddix' Pirates taking on the Braves, it was Felix (Lamela) Mantilla, who reached first on a throwing error by Don Hoak, ending the chance at the perfect game. After being sacrificed to second, and a young Henry Aaron walked intentionally, Joe Adcock hit a home run to right-center field. Because Aaron thought that Mantilla's run ended the game, Aaron rounded second and then headed for the dugout. Adcock was still running out his home run, and eventually "passed" Aaron on the bases. At that point, both hitters were called out and Adcock's homer was reduced to a double. The game ended 1-0 in favor of the Braves, with Mantilla's run counting as the only one for the game. Mantilla continued as the Braves' reserve infielder/pinch runner in 1960, appearing in 63 games, hitting for a decent .257, with 3 home runs, 11 runs driven in, and was 2 for 7 as a pinch hitter. Mantilla would spend one more season with the Braves before being selected in the Expansion Draft by the New York Mets. With the Mets, he would become the regular third baseman. Not known for power earlier in his career, a switch must have been hit because in 1964, as a member of the Red Sox, he hit a career high 30 homers and 64 rbi's and had an OPS of .910. Back to Mantilla's card though. Maybe in a bit of a preview of what would eventually come, the cartoon on the back mentions that "Last August, Felix went 3 for 4 with 3 rbi's against L.A." This caption is incorrect. Because while Felix did go 3 for 4 with 3 rbi's during a game in August, it was against the Cardinals on August 2, 1959, not against the eventual World Series champs.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $1.50-$4.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 40.

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 #285. 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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