Card of the Moment #78
September 10th, 2011 by slangon

Today’s Card of the Moment is brought to us by┬áthe letter B. And icterus galbula. And rope.

1959 Topps #82 Bob Boyd

Robert Richard “El Ropo” Boyd spent 9 seasons in the Major Leagues, playing for the White Sox, Orioles, A’s and Braves. Before that, he played for in the Negro National League for the Memphis Red Sox. While playing for Memphis, he averaged .352 .369 and .371 between 1947 and 1949. Before the 1950 baseball season began, he became the first black player signed by the Chicago White Sox, but did not play a game with them until September 8, 1951 and even then he was primarily used as a back-up infielder and pinch hitter.

In 1954, the White Sox sold Boyd to the Cardinals, but he never played a game for them. In 1955, the Orioles picked him up from St. Louis as a Rule 5 draft pick. He spent the remainder of ’55 in the O’s farm system and saw sporadic playing time with them in 1956, finishing the year with 225 at-bats, hitting .311 with 2 home runs and 13 driven in.

1957 was a real break out year for The Rope. He played pretty much an entire season for the first time, getting 552 plate appearances. He did not disappoint, either, hitting .318 that year with 73 runs scored. Only 3 players in the American League out-hit him, those players being Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Gene Woodling. Some guys Bob out-hit include Nellie Fox, Moose Skowron, Minnie Minoso, Roy Sievers and Al Kaline. By hitting over .300 that year, he became the first Orioles player to do so in the 20th Century.

He kept up that pace in the 1958 season as well, hitting .309 that season. During a June 29, 1958 double header against Cleveland, he had 7 straight line drive hits, including 2 doubles. He also scored 5 times and drove in 3 that day.

Another claim to fame that Bob has, is that he was part of the only Opening Day triple play in the entire history of the Major Leagues. It was the bottom of the 5th inning with the Orioles behind the Senators 5-0. Hoyt Wilhelm had just come in to replace Baltimore starter Bob Hale. He started the inning off by walking Roy Sievers and then Washington right fielder Bob Allison got on safely with a bunt single. Next up was Senators catcher Ed Fitzgerald, who lined a shot that Boyd speared for the first out. He then threw to Orioles short stop Chico Carrasquel, who easily doubled off Sievers, who was running with the pitch. Carrasquel fired back to Boyd to finish the triple killing by getting Allison out before he could scramble back to the bag. The Orioles went on to lose that game 9-2.

The year this card came out was Bob’s last full season in the Majors, and it was the first season where he failed to hit better than .300. Maybe the cartoon on the back was responsible for jinxing him, but he only got to .265 that year. He played one more season with the Orioles where he got back up to .317, but only got 82 at-bats. After that year, he was part of the trade that brought Whitey Herzog from Kansas City to Baltimore. The A’s then sold him to the Braves mid-season. He only managed a .236 average between the 2 clubs and retired after the 1961 season. At the time he was the oldest player in the Majors, at 41 years old.

After he hung up his spikes, he drove a bus for the Dreamliner Bus Company before retiring in Wichita, Kansas. He passed away a day shy of 53 years after his Major League debut on September 7, 2004. He was 84 years old.

One Response to “Card of the Moment #78”

  1. It’s just a picture but he looks like a nice guy.

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