May 12, 2012

The First 1953 Topps Phillies in My Collection: Stylized Portraiture

The 1953 Topps set is one that has had its praises sung by many others through the years. The unique portrait styles,the overall layout and tone all give it a sense of vintage card royalty (or regency).

I finally acquired my first cards of the Phillies variety from this set recently.    And only one of them was on the 1950 pennant winning team.  Player movement still existed in the free agency era, but usually not by choice of the player.

First, is Connie Ryan.  He was the starting 2nd baseman for the Phillies for the 1952 season and part of the 1953 season.  In 1952, he was 4th on the team with 12 HR, but had the lowest OPS+ among the starters (though a respectable 93 for a 2nd baseman).  He played every game in 1952 and was released for an unknown? reason in August 1953.
Ken Heintzelman was the player on the 1950 team, having played for the Phillies since 1947.  1952 would be his last season in the majors, having become a 36 year old relief pitcher after years of being a mid-rotation starter.  He still had one of his best seasons since 1949 with a 117 ERA+, though only pitched 42 innings over 23 games for the season.
Smoky Burgess arrived on the Phillies during the 1952 offseason in the same deal as Connie Ryan from the Cincinnati Reds, in which Andy Seminick and Dick Sisler were traded away.    Burgess was a young, good-hitting catcher with a great eye for the strike zone, drawing double or more the amount of walks compared to Ks in his three years as a Phillie.  In 1952, he threw out 49% of baserunners attempting to steal.  Then, during the 1955 season, he was traded back to Cincinnati (the Redlegs) for the same Andy Seminick (among other players).

The most interesting part of these cards is that all other teams had a logo.  Was "Fightin' Phillies"  really the logo they used at the time? Why not use the hat logo?  According to other sources, it was the baseball cap with the baseball circling it, which has been featured prominently on sets such as 1960 Topps.  Is this the origin of the Fightin' monker?  Inquiring minds want to know.

More vintage cards to come.

1 comment:

Commishbob said...

That link goes to a YouTube video of the Fightin' Phils song over an amateur vid of Shibe Park during the Series. Gives some background of the song, too.