Wednesday, October 13, 2021

#279 Dick Tracewski - Los Angeles Dodgers

Richard Joseph Tracewski
Los Angeles Dodgers
Second Base-Shortstop

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  160
Born:  February 3, 1935, Eynon, PA
Signed:  Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before 1953 season
Major League Teams:  Los Angeles Dodgers 1962-1965; Detroit Tigers 1966-1969
As a Manager:  Detroit Tigers 1979

A light-hitting back-up infielder, Dick Tracewski won four World Series rings over a baseball career that spanned five decades.  Tracewski played in at least 100 games twice during his playing career, in 1963 and 1964.  He was the starting second baseman in all four games of the 1963 World Series, when the Dodgers swept the Yankees.  Tracewski was at second base for the Dodgers on September 9, 1965 when Sandy Koufax (#300) pitched a perfect game against the Cubs, and he also started four of the seven games at second for the Dodgers in the 1965 World Series when his club prevailed in seven games over the Twins.  On December 15, 1965, Tracewski was dealt to the Tigers for pitcher Phil Regan (#191), and his long-time connection with Detroit began.  He appeared in 90 games for the Tigers team that defeated the Cardinals in seven games in the 1968 World Series.  In parts of eight seasons, Tracewski batted .213 with 262 hits.

After managing in the Tigers' minor league system for two seasons (1970-1971), he began a 24-year stint as the first or third base coach with the big league Tigers.  He briefly served as their interim manager in 1979 before the arrival of Sparky Anderson.  Both Tracewski and Anderson retired together following the 1995 season, having won the 1984 World Series.

Building the Set
June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #330
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 Tracewski card cost a little over $2.

The Card / Dodgers Team Set
Tracewski's rookie card can be found in the 1964 Topps set.  He's in nearly an identical pose on his 1966 Topps card, except that he's swapped his Dodgers uniform for a Tigers uniform.  His four starts in the 1963 World Series are highlighted by the cartoon on the back of the card.  With Jim Gilliam and Nate Oliver (#59) getting the bulk of playing time at second base for the Dodgers during the regular 1963 season, Tracewski made only five starts at second base before the World Series.  But with Gilliam moving over to third for the Series, Tracewski's services were needed at second.

1965 Season
In his final season with the Dodgers, Tracewski appeared in 78 games and batted .215.  He made 43 starts at third base, filling in for Gilliam, and six starts at shortstop whenever Maury Wills needed a rare day off.

1964 Topps #154
1966 Topps #378
1968 Topps #488
1969 Topps #126
1973 Topps #323

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1964 Topps #154
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (7):  1964-1969, 1973
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2018 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-DT

45 - Tracewski non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/6/21.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database

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