The Quest for the 1960 Topps Set, Part XVII
October 12th, 2010 by slangon

These were 4 more cards that I was able to bang off the list as part of that haul of $0.30 and cheaper cards that I picked up a while back. No big names, but I’ve noticed that when you’re collecting an old set like this that tends not to matter as much as if you’re trying to finish out a newer set.

#90 Bobby Avila

According to Bobby Avila’s Bullpen page on Baseball-Reference, he is “the greatest second baseman to emerge from Mexico”. When I first saw this card Bobby’s Latin-ness never really occurred to me, mostly because they list his name as “Bobby” Avila, rather than the much more Latin (and cooler) sounding Roberto Francisco Avila Gonzalez. I’ve heard tell of several circumstances of Topps (and I’m sure many other card companies of the day) pulling off this decidedly un-PC maneuver, probably most infamously on Roberto Clemente’s cards from 1958-1969. What’s even weirder about that particular case is on his ’55 and ’56 cards they did list him as Roberto, not Bob. I’ve always wondered what brought about them not doing that any more. Did they just realize at some point that it was kind of messed up, or did a player finally complain about it? And if the latter, I wonder who it was? I can’t for the life of me remember where I read this, but I could swear that I read that Clemente was pretty furious about Topps making his cards say “Bob”. He was, after all, very proud of his Latin heritage. It makes me wonder that if Topps continued to print a guy like Roberto Clemente’s cards like that for so long when he was pissed about it, who could’ve possibly changed their mind by complaining?

#113 Bob Skinner

Here’s another Bob that I’m willing to bet didn’t care a lick that Topps listed him as Bob. Bob has himself a pretty nice little career. He played 12 seasons, mostly with Pittsburgh. He also spent time in Cincinnati and St. Louis. He was a 2 time All-Star and won 2 World Series, one with the Pirates (1960) and one with the Cardinals (1964). He ended his career hitting .277 with 103 dingers and 531 RBI. Obviously not Hall of Fame numbers, but I’d be damn proud if I ended a Major League Baseball career that way. Bob also went on to manage the Phillies and the Padres, making him and his son Joel only the second father-son tandem to manage in the Majors. The other pair was George and Dick Sisler. Also Both Bob and Joel Skinner played with Steve Carlton. Bob was on the Cardinals with him in 1965 and 1966 and Joel Skinner was on the White Sox with him in 1986.

#178 Woody Held

Just to give you an idea of Woody Held’s versatility, he is the only player in the history of the Major Leagues to have played at least 100 games at each of shortstop, second, third, center, left and right field. Also, to give you an idea of his popularity in Cleveland, where he played half of his 14 years in the Majors, he was voted by the fans as one of the 100 Greatest Indians Players of All-Time, despite owning a .240 lifetime batting average. Although, to be honest, he was better during his time with Cleveland than his lifetime numbers would lead you to believe. He his .249 during his time there.

#478 Frank Torre

Do you think Frank Torre secretly hates Joe? Maybe he should get together with Jim Perry. By the way, Braves manager Fred Haney’s decision to start Frank at first base over the much more productive Joe Adcock during the 1959 season was a key factor in Bill James naming that year as the worst-ever performance by a Major League manager. Take that, Joe.

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