Card of the Moment #77
August 24th, 2011 by slangon

Todays Card of the Moment is brought to us by the letter P. And lumpy hats. And sour grapes.

1963 Topps #56 Dennis Bennett

I had randomly picked this card for todays Card of the Moment and I must admit, it pained me something awful when I saw it was a Phillie. For those of you who don’t pay any attention to 4th place baseball teams, my Mets have officially entered a final death spin and the team that is embarrassing them (or I guess it’s more accurate to say the team against which the Mets are embarrassing themselves) at the moment happens to be the Phillies. I will not, however, hold that against young Dennis. In fact, it’s actually sort of apropos that Dennis is representing the City of Brotherly Love.

Southpaw Dennis Bennett spent 7 years in the Major Leagues, pitching for the Phillies, Red Sox, Mets and Angels. Although he was primarily a starting pitcher, he also performed out of the bullpen on occasion. Over his career, he compiled 43 wins against 47 losses with a 3.69 ERA and 572 strikeouts. Although he played almost the entire 1962 season, this is his first Topps card.

In doing preliminary research on Dennis, it would seem that the thing he was most known for is being the brother of Dave Bennett. Wikipedia and Baseball Reference both have very short write ups about him that basically say the same thing. “Dennis Bennett is a former Major League pitcher and brother of pitcher Dave Bennett.” Even 3 out the 5 Topps cards that Dennis appears on mention his brother Dave. Oddly enough, Dave’s bio pages on those 2 sources are longer than Dennis’, despite the fact that Dennis lasted 7 years in the Majors but Dave appeared in exactly 1 game for exactly 1 inning.

Now, I’ve talked about sibling rivalry in baseball in the past, but that seems a little ridiculous. So what is the big hoopla about Dennis’ little brother? I’m almost a little loathe to discuss it. I mean, it seems Denny has gone through so much of living in Dave’s shadow despite achieving more than him in the Majors. Is it really fair to sully his moment in the spotlight by discussing his brother Dave? Well, since I can’t find too much to say about Dennis, I might as well, right?

Apparently, Dave Bennett’s fame comes about from a very strange and quite humorous copy error on the back of his 1964 Topps Rookie Stars card, which is one of only 2 Topps cards he ever appeared on, the other being a 1965 Rookies Stars card. Here’s the back of the ’64 card.

As you can see, in the little biographical paragraph, aside from mentioning that Dave is Dennis’ brother, it proudly proclaims “The 19-year-old righthanded curveballer is just 18 years old!” That’s it. That’s all. Because some scatterbrained copywriter at Topps wrote a ridiculously silly sentence on the back of Dave’s card 45 years ago, Dennis has had to suffer the consequences ever since. Although, thinking about it, that typo still doesn’t explain why 60% of Denny’s Topps card mention his brother Dave or why both of Dave’s cards mention Dennis.

Here’s the back of the card that we started with. As you can see, this happens to be one of the 2 cards that make no mention of Dave. Instead, it actually focuses on what Dennis has done in his professional career. One other item of note about Dennis is that before his career even got started, it was almost cut short. He was playing Winter Ball in Puerto Rico after the 1962 regular season was over. One afternoon, after attending a team picnic, he was driving to the ballpark with the team’s owner. During the drive, the owner caught himself a heart attack and died, wrecking the car and sending Dennis through the windshield. He suffered a shattered ankle, a broken pelvis and several facial lacerations and spent 4 1/2 months in the hospital. He also cracked his left shoulder blade, but the doctors didn’t catch that until nearly 3 years later because he was so banged up at the time of the crash. They told him he would never be able to walk right again, never mind pitch. Amazingly, he was back on the mound by June of 1963.

Dennis currently lives in Oregon, where he owns a bar called the City Club. Sounds classy.

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