Dec 6, 2012

Two Random Vintage Phillies: A Look into New Players

I do love when vintage Phillies worm their way into my collection. Whether by land, sea, or air, the gray, creased versions of bygone players bring to life the nostalgic voice inside my head. Remember when? Can you see the filtered sunlight?  Why are there palm trees in Philadelphia?  How many splinters can you pick up by sitting in the bleachers?

The ironic part I wasn't alive for any of that.  I've always considered myself a person that had baseball history interest first and that expanded into card collecting.  My first exposure to the deep inner workings of baseball was through a book my dad bought for me in Cooperstown when I was 8.  I don't remember the name, but it was edited by Donald Honig.

It had one or two pages for every year's happenings and photos from every decade of baseball history.  It was amazing.  I read that book so much that the pages started falling out.  This is where I learned the names of Ferris Fain, Stan Coveleski, Fred Clarke, Karl Spooner, Jim Lonborg, Sandy Amoros, Rube Waddell, and more.  I also learned that the most impressive accomplishments were to win 20 games in the season and win the batting title.  Things have changed a bit since when that book was written in 1989 or 1990.

Even with the comprehensive overview of baseball history (since 1900) under my belt, there are always players that are not as recalled.  Even for one's favorite team, is it really possible to name all those players during your lifetime?  The answer is no,  So it's not surprising, that there are Phillies from the '50s that I'm not familiar with....especially pitchers.
Jim Owens was a Phillie from 1955-1962.  Oddly, he took a year off for military service in 1957.  It's only odd because the majority of major leaguers that were off for military service were during the Korean War in the early '50s.  The highlights of his career with the Phillies were few, but the 1959 season was one.  He reached .500 on the awful teams from that era, had 11 complete games, and a career best 135 K.
Ron Negray had a short Phillies career spanning 1955-1956 and 130 innings or so.  He did have 3 saves in 1956 in a time when saves weren't the stat chaser that we all know and love today.  He also went 3 for 7 with a .929 OPS, leading the team, but.....sample size. Still a fun fact.

Amazing, these two only crossed paths for two months over these two years.  But we cross paths with players as we sort through cards to create memories of players we have never seen play.

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