Wednesday, October 27, 2021

#556 Red Schoendienst MG - St. Louis Cardinals


Albert Fred Schoendienst
St. Louis Cardinals
Manager

Bats:  Both  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  170
Born:  February 2, 1923, Germantown, IL
Signed:  Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before 1942 season
Major League Teams:  St. Louis Cardinals 1945-1956; New York Giants 1956-1957; Milwaukee Braves 1957-1960; St. Louis Cardinals 1961-1963
As a Manager:  St. Louis Cardinals 1965-1976, 1980, 1990
Hall of Fame Induction:  1989
Died:  June 6, 2018, Town and Country, MO (age 95)

Amazingly, 67 of Red Schoendienst's 76 years in baseball were spent as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization.  Schoendienst was a 10-time All-Star, a steady hitter and an above-average defender who led all National League second basemen in fielding percentage in six different seasons.  He enjoyed his finest seasons in the early 1950s, batting over .300 three seasons in a row and hitting a career-high .342 in 1953.  He won his first World Series ring with the Cardinals in 1946 and he won the All-Star game for his league in 1950 with a 14th inning home run.  Schoendienst departed St. Louis in a highly unpopular trade with the Giants in June 1956.  A year later, he was dealt to the Braves and he won his second World Series ring when Milwaukee defeated the Yankees in seven games in the 1957 series.  Schoendienst led the league that season with 200 hits.

After three seasons as a back-up infielder and pinch-hitter back with the Cardinals in the early 1960s, he retired as a player and began his lengthy coaching and managing career.  In 2,216 career games, Schoendienst collected 2,449 hits while batting .289.  He'd manage his Cardinals in parts of 14 different seasons, over four different decades, winning the National League pennants in 1967 and 1968.  His lifetime managerial record was 1,041-955 with a World Series title in 1967.  He served as a coach for the Cardinals (1961-1964, 1979-1995) and Athletics (1977-1978) and won two more World Series rings as a member of the Cardinals coaching staff in 1964 and 1982.  Schoendienst was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, and the Cardinals retired his #2 in 1996.

Some text for this post originally appeared on my 1956 Topps blog.

Building the Set
June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #338
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show.  Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall.  The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes.  It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced.  I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile, this Schoendienst card, to give us 30 new cards total.  I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Schoendienst card was by far the most expensive at $20.

The Card / Cardinals Team Set
This post gives me the opportunity to tell my Mr. Mint story.  In the mid-1980s, my Dad and I became familiar with Al Rosen, Mr. Mint, as we'd see him every year at the Ocean City Baseball Card Show.  He'd sit at his table, with nothing on it but his business cards, looking somewhat bored and very smug.  Before one of these shows, a friend of my Dad's brought him a vintage, game-used Schoendienst jersey and asked my Dad to try to sell it for him at the upcoming show.  My Dad's friend was hoping to get at least $100 for the jersey, and I think his floor was maybe $50.  (These prices may not be accurate, given this is a 35-year-old story, but you get the gist.)  My Dad carried around the Schoendienst jersey, which was gorgeous and from the 1950s with two Cardinals sitting on a bat and bearing Schoendienst's #2.  His name was written on the tag sown into the jersey.

After an hour or so of walking around with the jersey, and asking dealers if they were interested in buying it, we came to the conclusion there was only one dealer present who would probably buy it from us - Mr. Mint.  We weren't fans of the guy, but my Dad didn't want to disappoint his friend, so we approached Rosen's table.  My Dad asked him if he'd be interested in buying the Schoendienst jersey and I don't think Rosen ever said hello.  There was no small talk.  Rosen looked it over begrudgingly and said, "$300" to my Dad.  My Dad agreed on the spot and Rosen tossed the jersey over his shoulder onto the table behind him.  He then opened his briefcase and counted out three crisp $100 bills into my Dad's hand and that was it.  No thank you, no conversation, no joy whatsoever.  And that was our first and last experience with Mr. Mint.  We'd see him at future shows and we'd occasionally joke about asking him if he still had the Schoendienst jersey.

As a postscript, my Dad's friend was thrilled.  My Dad made an elaborate show of handing over the proceeds, pretending as if he only received $100 but then telling a tale of exaggerated and lengthy negotiations that ultimately netted the $300 sales price.  He told his Mr. Mint story for years.

1965 Season
As the back of the card indicates, this was Schoendienst's first season as a manager, replacing the departed Johnny Keane (#131) who took the team to the World Series the year before.  The Cardinals struggled, finishing in seventh place in the league with a record of 80-81-1.  They'd slowly rebound, winning the World Series again in 1967 and winning the National League pennant in 1968.

1948 Bowman #38
1952 Topps #91
1957 Topps #154
1967 Topps #512
1990 Topps Traded #113T

Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1948 Bowman #38
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (24):  1951-1953, 1956-1962, 1965-1976, 1988, 1990
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2019 Topps Update Iconic Card Reprints #ICR-41

652 - Schoendienst non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/10/21.

Sources:  
1956 Topps Blog

Monday, October 25, 2021

#306 Bubba Phillips - Detroit Tigers


John Melvin Phillips
Detroit Tigers
Outfield-Third Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'9"  Weight:  180
Born:  February 24, 1928, West Point, MS
Acquired:  Sent from Stroudsburg (North Atlantic) to the Tigers in an unknown transaction before 1949 season
Major League Teams:  Detroit Tigers 1955; Chicago White Sox 1956-1959; Cleveland Indians 1960-1962; Detroit Tigers 1963-1964
Died:  June 22, 1993, Hattiesburg, MS (age 65)

Bubba Phillips was a high school and college football star in Mississippi, before opting to give up the gridiron for the baseball diamond.  He enjoyed his best seasons while with the White Sox in the late 1950s as their every day third baseman.  Phillips also appeared regularly at all three outfield positions in addition to his time at third.  He batted .269 in his four seasons with the White Sox and he experienced his sole postseason action in 1959 when the White Sox faced off against the Dodgers.  In three World Series games, Phillips batted .300 (3 for 10) while starting at third in Games 5 and 6.  The Dodgers would prevail in six games.

He was dealt to the Indians in December 1959 in a seven-player deal, and while with Cleveland he stopped moving around as much and settled in at third base.  Phillips hit career highs in home runs (18) and RBIs (72) in 1961, finishing 17th in the league's MVP voting.  He returned to his original franchise, Detroit, for the 1963 season where he spent one more year as an everyday player.  His final year in the majors came in 1964 when he served in a reserve role for the Tigers.  In 1,062 career games, Phillips batted .255 with 835 hits, 62 home runs and 356 RBIs.  He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1981 he played "Coach Hardy" in the made for TV film, Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige, starring Louis Gossett, Jr.

Building the Set
June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #337
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show.  Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall.  The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes.  It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced.  I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile to give us 30 new cards total.  I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Phillips card was about $3.25.

The Card / Tigers Team Set
This is the second "OF-3rd Base" position combination I've encountered so far while building the set, with the first being the card for George Banks (#348).  This is the first and only Bubba in the set.  Phillips was released by the Tigers on February 16, 1965, so by the time collectors were finding this card in their packs he had already departed Detroit.  This is his ninth and final appearance in a Topps flagship set and the back of the card contains his lifetime major league statistics.

1965 Season
Following his release from the Tigers, Phillips latched on with the Braves organization.  At 37 years old, and for the first time since 1952, he appeared in minor league games, ultimately playing in 111 games for the Triple-A Atlanta Crackers.  Phillips batted .230 with the Crackers, hitting four home runs and driving in 29 runs.  He'd retire after the season.

1955 Bowman #228
1957 Topps #395
1959 Topps #187
1962 Topps #511
1964 Topps #143

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1955 Bowman #228
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (9):  1957-1965
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1978 TCMA The 1960s I #192

40 - Phillips non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/10/21.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
SABR
The Trading Card Database
Wikipedia

Previous Card:  #305 Rico Carty - Milwaukee Braves

Saturday, October 23, 2021

#302 Al Stanek - San Francisco Giants


Albert Wilfred Stanek
San Francisco Giants
Pitcher

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Left  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  190
Born:  December 24, 1943, Springfield, MA
Signed:  Signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent before 1962 season
Major League Teams:  San Francisco Giants 1963
Died:  May 8, 2018, Springfield, MA (age 74)

Signed as a bonus baby by the Giants in 1962 after graduating from Chicopee High School in Sprinfield, Massachusetts, Al Stanek had to be kept on the club's roster for the entire 1963 season.  As a 19-year-old, he made 11 appearances for the Giants, pitching 13 1/3 innings.  Stanek had no record and a 4.73 ERA, and he was a bit wild during his brief time in the majors with 12 walks to five strikeouts.  He pitched a third of an inning of mop-up relief duty during an 8-3 loss to the Pirates on September 27, 1963, in what would be his final action in the big leagues.  Stanek spent the next four seasons pitching in the Giants' minor league system, hanging up his spikes following the 1967 campaign at the age of 23.  In five minor league seasons, he went 29-37 over 130 games with a 4.20 ERA.

Building the Set

June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #336
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show.  Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall.  The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes.  It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced.  I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile to give us 30 new cards total.  I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Stanek card was about $3.25.

The Card / Giants Team Set
Topps deemed Stanek worthy enough for inclusion in its set even though he hadn't pitched with the Giants at all in 1964.  Topps would bring him back again for the 1966 set.  The back of the card notes his control problems and highlights his league leading 220 strikeouts while pitching for the Tacoma Giants in the Pacific Coast League.  Wilbur Wood (#478), pitching for the Red Sox top farm team, the Seattle Rainiers, was a distant second in the league with 197 strikeouts.

1965 Season
Stanek spent the entire seasons back in Tacoma, going 8-10 with a 3.94 ERA in 32 total appearances.  In 144 innings, he struck out 83 but walked 71 batters.

1964 Topps #99
1966 Topps #437

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1964 Topps #99
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (3):  1964-1966
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2015 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-AST

7 - Stanek non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/10/21.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database
Wikipedia

Previous Card:  #301 Birdie Tebbetts MG - Cleveland Indians
Next Card:  #303 Johnny Orsino - Baltimore Orioles

Thursday, October 21, 2021

#298 Jim Stewart - Chicago Cubs


James Franklin Stewart
Chicago Cubs
Shortstop-Second Base

Bats:  Both  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  165
Born:  June 11, 1939, Opelika, AL
Signed:  Signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent, June 2, 1961
Major League Teams:  Chicago Cubs 1963-1967; Chicago White Sox 1967; Cincinnati Reds 1969-1971; Houston Astros 1972-1973
Died:  November 24, 2012, Tampa, FL (age 73)

Jimmy Stewart truly enjoyed a wonderful life in baseball, playing in parts of 10 seasons in the majors and then serving as a long-time scout for the Reds and Phillies.  He peaked in his sophomore season, appearing in 132 games for the Cubs in 1964 while batting .253 with 17 doubles.  He was valued for his versatility and he'd ultimately spend time playing every position except pitcher.  He was sold to the White Sox on May 22, 1967 and would languish in the White Sox minor league system until the Reds selected him following the 1968 season in the annual rule 5 draft.  He appeared in at least 100 games for the Reds in 1969 and 1970, where he earned his "Super Sub" nickname.  Stewart reached the postseason for the only time in his career in 1970, with the Reds falling to the Orioles in five games in the World Series.  He was sent to the Astros following the 1971 season as part of the blockbuster deal that saw Joe Morgan (#16) join Cincinnati's Big Red Machine.  In 777 career games, Stewart batted .237 with 336 hits.

Stewart rejoined the Reds organization in 1980, serving as either a minor league manager or scout until 1991.  He joined the Phillies organization in 1992 as a major league special assignment scout, a position he held until retiring in 2006.

From the 2005 Phillies Media Guide

Building the Set
June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #335
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show.  Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall.  The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes.  It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced.  I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile to give us 30 new cards total.  I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Stewart card was about $3.25.

The Card / Cubs Team Set
Stewart, or someone in the Cubs' clubhouse, wrote his uniform number 19 in the middle of the C on his batting helmet.  This is his first solo card, as he shared a Rookie Stars card in 1964 with pitcher Fred Burdette.  On the back of the card, Topps deems Stewart's 10 stolen bases in 1964 worthy enough to be called "daring."  That total tied him for second on the club with future Hall of Famers Billy Williams (#220) and Lou Brock (#540), with Billy Cowan (#186) leading the team with 12 stolen bases.

1965 Season
Stewart and outfielder Doug Clemens were the two Cubs bench players to make it into at least 100 games in 1965.  Stewart played in 116 games, batting .223 and he made 56 starts in the field.  He started 37 games in left field as the Cubs spent the season attempting to find a regular for the position.  George Altman (#528) made 42 starts in left, five more than Stewart, and overall the Cubs tried seven different players at the position throughout the season.

Phillies Connection
As mentioned above, Stewart spent 14 years working for the Phillies and the scan above is his biography from the team's 2005 media guide.

1964 Topps #408
1966 Topps #63
1970 Topps #636
1971 Topps #644
1973 Topps #351

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1964 Topps #408
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (8):  1964-1967, 1970-1973
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1973 Topps #351

36 - Stewart non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/9/21.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
SABR
The Trading Card Database
Wikipedia

Previous Card:  #297 Dave DeBusshere - Chicago White Sox
Next Card:  #299 Jerry Zimmerman - Minnesota Twins

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

#292 Larry Yellen - Houston Astros


Lawrence Alan Yellen
Houston Astros
Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  190
Born:  January 4, 1943, Brooklyn, NY
Signed:  Signed by the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent before 1963 season
Major League Teams:  Houston Colt .45s 1963-1964

Larry Yellen appeared in 14 games for the Colt .45s in 1963 and 1964, never getting a call-up after the team had changed its name to the Astros.  He made his big league debut on September 26, 1963, starting and pitching five innings in a no decision against the Pirates.  He retuned to the Colt .45s in 1964, appearing sporadically throughout the year and making 13 appearances, including one start.  Yellen appeared in his last big league game on October 3, 1964, pitching a pair of innings against the Dodgers in a 7-0 loss and recording a strikeout against Willie Davis (#435) as his final act in the big leagues.  Yellen pitched 26 total innings, had no record and recorded 12 strikeouts to go along with 11 walks.

1964 Topps #226
Building the Set

June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #334
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show.  Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall.  The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes.  It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced.  I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile to give us 30 new cards total.  I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Yellen card was about $3.25.

The Card / Astros Team Set
Yellen is wearing a Colt .45s road uniform here, and Topps went to the trouble to cover up the "45" on his cap.  This is his first and only solo card, as he shared a Rookie Stars card in the 1964 Topps set with catcher Jerry Grote (#504).  The write-up on the back of the card contains way more information than what's currently found on Yellen's Wikipedia page.  A native of Brooklyn, Yellen attended the same high school (Lafayette) as Sandy Koufax (#300) and Bob Aspromonte (#175).  Yellen signed a reprint of the card for the 2014 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs insert set.

1965 Season
Yellen spent the entire season in the minors, his last season playing professional baseball.  He appeared in four games for the Triple-A Oklahoma City 89ers and 27 games for the Double-A Amarillo Sonics.  Combined for the two teams, Yellen was 3-12 with a 4.82 ERA over 127 innings pitched.

Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1964 Topps #226
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (2):  1964-1965
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2014 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-LY

11 - Yellen non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/9/21.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database

Previous Card:  #291 Jerry Lynch - Pittsburgh Pirates
Next Card:  #293 Los Angeles Angels Team Card

Monday, October 18, 2021

#291 Jerry Lynch - Pittsburgh Pirates


Gerald Thomas Lynch
Pittsburgh Pirates
Outfield

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  185
Born:  July 17, 1930, Bay City, MI
Acquired:  Purchased by the New York Yankees from Greenville (Cotton States)
Major League Teams:  Pittsburgh Pirates 1954-1956; Cincinnati Reds 1957-1963; Pittsburgh Pirates 1963-1966
Died:  April 1, 2012, Austell, GA (age 81)

Jerry "The Hat" Lynch was one of the premier pinch-hitters of his day, accumulating 116 pinch-hits which places him currently 10th on the all-time list.  His 18 pinch-hit home runs are currently third on the all-time list behind Cliff Johnson with 20 and Matt Stairs with 23.  Lynch's best season came in 1961 with the Reds when he hit .315 over 96 games.  He had five pinch-hit home runs that season, driving in 25 runs.  His biggest hit that year (not a pinch-hit) was a two-run home run off Bob Anderson on September 26th to give the Reds a 6-3 win over the Cubs and helping the team clinch the 1961 N.L. pennant .  The Reds lost in the World Series to the Yankees, but Lynch's fine season earned him 22nd place in the league's MVP voting.

Playing in 640 games with the Reds and 544 with the Pirates in two separate stints, Lynch was a career .277 batter with 115 home runs and 470 RBIs.  He was elected into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1988.

Some text for this post originally appeared on my 1956 Topps blog.

Building the Set
June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #333
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show.  Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall.  The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes.  It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced.  I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile to give us 30 new cards total.  I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Lynch card was about $3.25.

The Card / Pirates Team Set
Lynch wore #14 during his earliest time with the Pirates between 1954 and 1956, and he assumed #24 when he returned to the Pirates in 1963.  The "4" on his back is peaking through in this photo and his 1966 Topps card features a photo from the same session, but less cropped.  The back of the card notes his proficiency as a pinch-hitter.  Lynch still holds the National League record with pinch-hit home runs with 18.  Gates Brown (#19) hold the American League record with 16, while atop the overall Major League leaderboard (both leagues) and as mentioned above, are Stairs and Johnson.

1965 Season
Lynch had this season and the next ahead of him before his playing days were over.  He appeared in 73 games for the Pirates, starting only 24 games.  Overall, Lynch batted .281 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.  As a pinch-hitter, he batted only .128 (5 for 39) with a home run and five RBIs.

1954 Topps #234
1959 Topps #97
1961 Topps #97
1963 Topps #37
1966 Topps #182

Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1954 Topps #234
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (13):  1954-1966
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1994 Topps Archives 1954 #234

67 - Lynch non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/8/21.

Sources:  
1956 Topps Blog
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database
Wikipedia

Previous Card:  #290 Wally Bunker - Baltimore Orioles

Saturday, October 16, 2021

#283 Fred Whitfield - Cleveland Indians


Fred Dwight Whitfield
Cleveland Indians
First Base

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Left  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  190
Born:  January 7, 1938, Vandiver, AL
Signed:  Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent before 1956 season
Major League Teams:  St. Louis Cardinals 1962; Cleveland Indians 1963-1967; Cincinnati Reds 1968-1969; Montreal Expos 1970
Died:  January 31, 2013, Gadsden, AL (age 75)

His Baseball Reference page notes when Fred Whitfield made his big league debut with the Cardinals on May 27, 1962, he became the 12,000th player in major league history.  He was dealt to the Indians on December 15, 1962 for Jack Kubiszyn and Ron Taylor (#568), and Whitfield would enjoy the most successful seasons of his career in Cleveland.  Between 1963 and 1967, he was the Indians' most used first baseman, hitting at least 20 home runs in 1963, 1965 and 1966.  Whitfield drove in a career-high 90 runs in 1965 and his big season resulted in him being named as the first baseman on The Sporting News American League all-star team.

Whitfield was dealt to the Reds following the 1967 season and he'd spend 1968 and 1969 in Cincinnati backing up Lee May at first base.  He closed out his big league career with four games with the Expos in 1970, having spent most of that season playing for Montreal's top farm team in Buffalo.  Whitfield was a career .253 batter with 578 hits, 108 home runs and 356 RBIs.

Building the Set
June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #332
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show.  Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall.  The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes.  It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced.  I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile to give us 30 new cards total.  I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Whitfield card was a little over $2.

The Card / Indians Team Set
Whitfield looks glum on most of his Topps cards, including this one, and he finally let lose with a smile on his final Topps card appearance in 1969.  The back of the card references his trade from Cardinals to the Indians in 1962.

1965 Season
As mentioned above, this was Whitfield's career year.  He appeared in 132 games for the fifth place Indians, starting 110 games at first base.  Chuck Hinton (#235) was the Indians' opening day first baseman, but with manager Birdie Tebbetts (#301) hoping to insert more power into the line-up, Hinton was moved to the outfield and Whitfield was inserted at first.  Whitfield batted .293 with 90 RBIs, second on the team to Rocky Colavito (#380) and his 108 RBIs.  Whitfield and Colavito were tied for second on the team in home runs with 26, behind Leon Wagner (#367) who hit 28.

1963 Topps #211
1964 Topps #367
1966 Topps #88
1967 Topps #275
1969 Topps #518

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1963 Topps #211
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (7):  1963-1969
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1969 Topps #518

36 - Whitfield non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/8/21.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
SABR
The Trading Card Database