Saturday, October 17, 2020

#70 Bill Skowron - Chicago White Sox


William Joseph Skowron
Chicago White Sox
First Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  195
Born:  December 18, 1930, Chicago, IL
Signed:  Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent before 1950 season
Major League Teams:  New York Yankees 1954-1962; Los Angeles Dodgers 1963; Washington Senators 1964; Chicago White Sox 1964-1967; California Angels 1967
Died:  April 27, 2012, Arlington Heights, IL (age 81)

The starting first baseman for the powerhouse Yankees teams of the late '50s and early '60s, Bill "Moose" Skowron enjoyed a 14-year career and tallied 211 home runs for the Yankees, Dodgers, Senators, White Sox and Angels.  He went to the All-Star Game in six different years, including five straight appearances with the Yankees between 1957 and 1961.

He appeared in eight World Series, winning four rings with the Yankees (1956, 1958, 1961 and 1962) and one ring with the Dodgers (1963) against the Yankee team that had traded him away.  In total, Skowron played in 39 World Series games, hitting .293 (39 for 133) with eight home runs and 29 RBIs.  Although he had struggled during the 1963 regular season, his first and only with the Dodgers, he came alive in the World Series against his former Yankees team, hitting .385 in the four-game sweep.  He found late career success with the White Sox, earning his final All-Star nod in 1965.

Skowron retired following the 1967 season, remaining active in his communities and frequently appearing at baseball card shows to sign autographs.

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

August 1, 2020 - Doug warms up
for some socially distanced baseball
Building the Set
August 5, 2020 from Cincinnati, OH - Card #138
In early August, I hit an eBay slump and lost out on every single card I had placed a reasonable bid on from a dealer breaking up a 1965 Topps set.  It seems to me a lot of former and new collectors have returned or entered the hobby as an escape from the pandemic, and I'm noticing card prices for these 1965 Topps cards continuing to increase.  I had bid on several cards up for auction from this set break, all graded EX+ or NM, with my highest bids being around $2.50.  Every single card went for much more than that, with final winning bids ranging from $8.50 to $18.  Again, these were all commons and from the relatively prevalent first series of the set.

Surprised by the outcome of those auctions, I turned to the always reliable Dean's Cards and the easier approach of clicking Buy It Now on four cards from the first series I felt were reasonably priced.  This Skowron card was mine for $8.75.

The Card / White Sox Team Set
Skowron is wearing a Senators jersey here, and the picture was taken at the same time as the photo used for his 1964 Topps and 1964 Topps Giants cards.  Topps would get an updated shot of Skowron in an actual White Sox uniform for his 1966 Topps card.  On the back, Topps highlights his World Series grand slam and that blast came during the decisive Game 7 of the 1956 World Series off the Dodgers' Roger Craig (#411).  Those were the last runs scored in that World Series, with the Yankees eventually winning, 9-0.  Curious as to who had hit the other nine World Series grand slams up to that point, and how many more there had been since then, I looked up the list:

World Series Grand Slams, up to 1964 (10):  Elmer Smith 1920, Tony Lazzeri 1936, Gil McDougald 1951, Mickey Mantle (#350) 1953, Yogi Berra (#470) 1956, Skowron (1956), Bobby Richardson (#115) 1960, Chuck Hiller (#531) 1962, Ken Boyer (#100) 1964, Joe Pepitone (#245) 1964.
World Series Grand Slams, since 1964 (8):  Jim Northrup (#259) 1968, Dave McNally (#249) 1970, Dan Gladden 1987, Kent Hrbek 1987, Jose Canseco 1988, Lonnie Smith 1992, Tino Martinez 1998, Paul Konerko 2005, Addison Russell 2016.

Kudos to Topps for updating the back of Skowron's card to count the two grand slams hit recently in the 1964 World Series.

1965 Season
Skowron came to the White Sox on July 13, 1964 with Carl Bouldin, with Joe Cunningham (#496) and Frank Kreutzer (#371) going to the Senators.  In his first full season in Chicago, Skowron was one of two players selected for the All-Star Game from the White Sox, along with pitcher Eddie Fisher (#328).  It was to be Skowron's eighth and final trip to the mid-summer classic.  As the regular first baseman for the White Sox, he appeared in 146 games and hit .274 with 18 home runs and 78 RBIs.  His RBI total led the team while he tied for the team lead in home runs with John Romano (#17).

1954 Topps #239
1957 Topps #135
1961 Topps #371
1964 Topps #445
1967 Topps #357
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1954 Topps #239
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (14):  1954-1967
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2018  Diamond Kings #51

341 - Skowron non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 8/16/20.

Sources:  
1956 Topps
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
SABR
The Trading Card Database

Previous Card:  #69 Bill Virdon - Pittsburgh Pirates
Next Card:  #71 John O'Donoghue - Kansas City Athletics

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