Feb 8, 2015

1951 Bowman and Me or How to Be Crease Worthy

What would the general first reaction be to someone who said "I have decided to collect a vintage set"? It would normally be along the lines of, "excellent, you will love it." And then when they mention it's to be 1951 Bowman....well, that's a whole different reaction about which secret coffers are funding such a venture. Thankfully, to me when I'm speaking to myself about such endeavors, I realize there are no secret coffers and that pipe dreams are made to be split apart into the varied tapestry that we call collecting. If there was only one focus, where would be the fun in discovery? In color? In the view of a 100 binders ready to be cured and sorted? Therefore, the team collector hat is on for most of these vintage sets, which are from a time immemorial, before 162 game seasons and before packs of greater than 5 cards. As a purveyor of Phillies history, it is mostly cathartic to be immersed in successes of the past, no matter how fleeting or previously unconnected I had been. The 1950 team is especially of interest because it's the oasis in the mid-century destitution of fortune. And baseball cards were around to document that season, with the ever-iconic 1951 Bowman issue. I do not claim to have the whole set, but it's going to happen someday. Let's examine some of that team from days of yore (that sounds like some insert set from Allen&Ginter)
Russ Meyer and his arrival from Chicago from 1949 showed that starting pitchers could once again succeed wearing the Phillies uniform.  The 17-8 record with 3.08 ERA was an inspiration to the next season.
Mike Goliat had his only full season as a starter at 2B in 1950 and provided the youthful exuberance  at the keystone position.
Andy Seminick was one of the veteran statesman of the Phillies, having been with the team since 1943.  His power potential coming to fruition (24 HR and 143 OPS+) corresponded with his prime and the pennant-winning year.
Granny Hamner was cantankerous and young and just coming into his own as an up the middle all-star and MVP candidate.  The former bonus baby lent stability to the shortstop position.
Jimmy Bloodworth was a bench hitter at this point in his career with some pinch hitting prowess and one of the few players over 30 on the team.
Bubba Church was a rookie swingman who sported a 148 ERA+ and finished 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting.

The best part of this mini collection, besides the artistic majesty of their cards, is that they are reminders of childhood and days gone by (I wasn't quite alive then though....or my parents....so almost a reminder).

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