Card of the Moment #36
June 28th, 2010 by slangon

Well, as I mentioned the other day, I ended up heading out to Citi Field on Saturday and was pretty excited to see Johan pitch against his former team. I was hoping that he would step it up a bit, as players sometimes do when facing their old teams, but that obviously did not happen. In fact he ended up giving up 4 runs in the first inning and the game was pretty much over before it started. Needless to say, it took a lot of steam out of me and made the rest of the game a bit hard to watch. Luckily, I was there with my wife and son as well as a bunch of other folks, so I still had a lot of fun. I was slightly concerned that after playing so poorly that game, the sting would carry over into the game the next day, but luckily Jon Niese kept up his impressive pitching and the hitters all seemed to find their home run swings. I’ll take a 4-2 home stand against the Tigers and Twins.

Anyway, here’s another card of the moment, courtesy of Project ’62.

1959 Topps #262 Hitter’s Foes

I really love these multiple player cards from back in the day. This one is especially cool being that it features 3 great pitchers from those great 50’s Dodgers teams. We all know that Drysdale went on to the Hall of Fame, but Podres and Labine were pretty legendary as well, if only amongst Dodgers fans.

By the time this card had come out, Johnny Podres had 5 years under his belt pitching for the Dodgers, 4 in Brooklyn and 1 in L.A. He kind of had his ups and downs, going 11-7 one year, 9-10 the next, then 12-9, followed by 13-15. Of course he is best know for being named the MVP of the 1955 World Series against the Yankees, which was the only Series title the Dodgers won while in Brooklyn. He won game 3, pitching a full 9 innings and giving up 3 runs. He then came back to pitch a clinching, complete game shut out 4 days later.

Clem Labine was a big cog in the Dodgers bullpen, 7 times ending up in the top 10 in appearances and twice leading the league in saves. It’s interesting that when he led the league in saves it was with 19 and 17. Compare that with the last 3 National League Saves Leaders which were 42 (Heath Bell), 44 (Jose Valverde) and 47 (Valverde again). Whats even more interesting is to compare that to the 1918 National League Saves Leaders, which was a 4 way tie between Fred Anderson (NYG), Wilbur Cooper (PIT), Joe Oeschger (PHI) and Fred Toney (CIN and NYG), who all had a whopping 3 saves.

Drysdale began his career with the Dodgers in 1956, when the team still called Brooklyn home. In 1959, the year this card came out, Don posted a nice 17-13 record with a 3.46 ERA and a league leading 242 strikeouts. He also started Game 3 of the World Series against the White Sox. He got the win after going 7+ innings giving up 1 earned run while striking out 5. Interestingly, he gave up 11 hits and 4 walks for a combined total of 15 base runners. That seems like a lot of guys to have on base while only allowing 1 run to score. As a matter of fact, out of those 7 innings he pitched, he did not have one clean inning. I guess it helps when you catch 2 guys stealing, get 1 ground ball double play, and a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play.

The other thing I love about this card, aside from the players on it, is the very simple, but cool looking design. I really like that rather than putting the photograph of the players in a circle cut out on a solid color background, like they did on the base cards from the ’59 set, they just put the silhouetted players on a solid background, but added the solid colored circle to the design. It makes the card stand out from the rest of the base cards, but still echoes the design. Nicely done, Topps Art Department. I also like that it kind of looks like the Japanese flag, which I always thought was one of the coolest looking national flags ever.

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