Friday, January 20, 2012

1963 Topps Baseball Project - Obituary Free

I'll say this I'm really enjoying this vintage set building thing.  One of my goals for this set was to feature it here on the blog as I build it.  In the process, I wanted to do a little research on each player to provide a little meat to the post and in turn I get to learn some great baseball history and pass that on down.  If you've wandered over to my dedicated 1963 Topps Project page you know I set a few rules for myself in collecting the set.  First was no wax backs and the second was no filler.  My main goal was to put together a nice mid-grade set.  So that meant no crappy cards.  Now that doesn't mean in buying lots I won't get a few cards I consider sub-par for the set.  I will.  I know it, but I'm not knowingly going after cards under my desired grade which is EX+ or better.  I'm hoping to get the best centering possible with sharp corners, but this is 1960's Topps!  With that said I'm fairly happy with the cards I've acquired so far.  

I've also be posting in groups of three.  I think that's a good fit for the blog.  Just enough meat to fill you up, but not so sparse as to leave you hungry. And who knows when this is all said and done maybe we might just learn something too.  As always comments are welcome.

So enough blabbing here are 3 more cards from the shoebox.

#140 Frank "Taters" Lary

Actually when I started researching Frank he had a few nicknames.  He was also called Mule and the Yankee Killer.  Frank played 11 years in the Majors most of it with the Tigers. In 1964 he was traded to the Mets who then traded him to the Braves.  The Mets picked him up again in 1965 and traded  him away again to the White Sox where he finished his career.  Later Frank scouted for various teams and eventually retired completely from baseball and opened up his own construction business.  Frank is 81 and currently living in Northport, Alabama.

Next, figuratively and numerically we have #141 Manny Mota.

It's interesting to see Manny here labeled as a Colt .45, when he never actually appeared in a Colts uniform.  He was traded to Houston from the Giants, but was traded again in early April in 1963 to the Pirates.  Manny had a nice long career of 20 years and is probably best remembered as a Dodger, where he from 1969 to 1982.  In 1969 he was the first player selected by the Expos in the expansion draft, oddly enough a player's card I featured in the last 63 project post, Mack Jones was the second.  Manny is 73 and is still active in the Dodgers organization and is the longest tenured coach with over 32 years of service.  Manny also has two World Series rings one from the 1981 World Series were he was both a player and a coach and the 1988 World Series as a coach.

#152 Ron Nischwitz

Ron had a short career in major league baseball from 1961 to 1965, and not playing in 1964.  This was Ron's only year with the Indians and he only made 14 appearances going 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA.  He took the '64 season off and finished his career back in Detroit.  After baseball he became the head coach for the Wright State University baseball team for close to 20 years.  And as a nice change of pace all three of the featured players are still alive.  Ron is 74 and still kicking.