30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Scotch Tape and Balls

Do you know who Herb Washington is?  How about Wally Moon?  Billy Cowan?  Oscar Azocar?  Lowell Palmer?  Billy Ripken?  Don Mossi?  Bip Roberts?  Kurt Bevacqua?  If you answered "yes" to four or more of these guys, then there's a pretty good chance you're a baseball card collector... or you were at some point.

1952 Topps #31

The one thing they have in common is that it can be argued that one of their baseball cards made them famous more than their performances on the field.  

The same could also be said for former MLB outfielder Gus Zernial.  His 1952 Topps baseball card is one of those silly cards you see pop up from time to time.  But do you know the story behind it?

Last year, Zernial's name showed up in my 100 Things A's Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die book.  According to the author, the photographer attached the balls to his bat with Scotch tape in honor of the six home runs he hit in a three game span (5/13/51 to 5/16/51).  The day that photo was taken, Zernial would go out and hit another home run.

Those seven home runs were the first seven he hit as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics.  He had been traded by the Chicago White Sox two weeks earlier and hadn't hit a single home run in his first eight games with the team.

He wound up hitting twenty-six more that season to beat out the legendary Ted Williams and take home the American League home run title.  The book also mentioned that no other American League player hit more home runs than Zernial from 1950 to 1955.  And believe it or not, there were only two American League players who hit more home runs than him during the 50's:  Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.

Pretty interesting and cool, right?  But not quite as cool as his 1952 Topps card.  Let's take one more look at it:

That book motivated me to look for this card and two weeks ago I found this graded copy on eBay with an opening bid of $9.99 (+ $3 shipping).  I waited it out and put in a bid with 5 seconds to go... and wound up the lone bidder.

This is only the third 1952 Topps baseball card I have ever owned.  The first one was the Andy Pafko my aunt bought me back in the 80's, which I eventually traded away for a 1987 Fleer Tin set and some rookie cards.  The other is this mangled and torn Jerry Coleman:

1952 Topps #237

That means I only need 405 cards left to complete one of the most iconic card sets of all-time.  I'm not holding my breath though.  However I am holding one of the most affordable and coolest cards in the set.

Okay card collectors, here is today's question of the day...

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned nine baseball players who had one or more famous baseball cards:  Herb Washington, Wally Moon, Billy Cowan, Oscar Azocar, Lowell Palmer, Billy Ripken, Don Mossi, Bip Roberts, and Kurt Bevacqua.

Without searching them up on Google...

How many of these guys' cards were you able to visualize?

Had I not written this post, I would not have been able to picture Oscar Azocar, Lowell Palmer, or Bip Roberts.  I mean... I can picture a Bip Roberts card... but not his silly "hat" card.  I've also seen Oscar and Lowell's cards on numerous occasions, but I forgot their names.

Looking forward to seeing who beats my score.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. I could picture Washington, Moon, Ripken, Roberts, and Bevacqua - 5/9, not too shabby!

  2. I suck just 3 for me. Now I have to look them all up, lol.

  3. Herb Washington - yes
    Wally Moon - not quite though he's the old timer with unibrow right?
    Billy Cowan - not quite though he's the one with the 'Halo' on his card, right?
    Oscar Azocar - 1991 Topps?
    Lowell Palmer - not quite though he's the one with the sunglasses, right?
    Billy Ripken - yes
    Don Mossi - yes
    Bip Roberts - 1996 Score
    Kurt Bevacqua - yes

  4. I got 'em all except for Azocar. I looked him up and saw the card you're referring to. I'd forgotten all about that one. Looking further and I found he passed away in 2010 at the age of 45. :-(

  5. All of them ... and I've shown all of them on my blog (well, the Ripken was the black box one).

  6. Herb Washington, Wally Moon, Billy Ripken, Don Mossi, and Kurt Bevaqua.
    I'd be tempted to add Glenn Hubbard, Tim Flannery, Duane Kuiper, Claude Raymond, and Aurelio Rodriguez to this list too.

  7. I visualized all those guys as soon as I read their names. With Azocar I saw double, because both his '91 Topps and '93 Stadium Club are iconic cards for me. And cool Zernial! That one's been high on my want list for a while now.

  8. I think the only one I don't know for being iconic is the Azocar, I'll have to look that one up. Not sure which Don Mossi and Wally Moon cards we're talking about, but I know the distinguishing features.
    Nick V. mentioned some good ones, but don't forget the Billy Martin middle finger, or the Mickey Hatcher giant glove.

    1. Oh man, the '93 SC Azocar is incredible. The '91 Topps ain't bad either.

  9. I'm seven of eight because I don't know Azocar either. Too new I guess.

    I am the original Bipping victim. But oh yeah the sombrero.
    I only know Palmer and Cowan from blog postings.

  10. I had to go look most of them up! Ripken is the one that stands out the most for me.

  11. great post-of course Don was an A of MemoEARable fame-I mean his 1966 card is amazing and of Course Wally was a Redbird

  12. Matt - 5 for 9 is solid! Congratulations.

    Rod & GCRL - I'll be honest. The only reason I know Billy Cowan is because I see him every time I read one of Nick's (Dime Box) posts. He has that card featured on the right side of his blog.

    John Miller - I'm sure as soon as you did... you were like... I totally knew that.

    Laurens - You did awesome! Moon and Mossi actually have multiple cards... since they're more known for the looks in general.

    Commishbob - That's terrible. Had no idea. Way too young.

    night owl - Congratulations! You're the first person to score 100%.

    The Lost Collector - Billy Ripken, Don Mossi, and Wally Moon?

    Nick Vossbrink - Hubbard (snake), Flannery (surfboard), and Aurelio (batboy). Definitely know Kuiper, but had to look up the card on Google. Is it the 1983 Fleer card with the cracked bat? As for Raymond... I had to do some research. Finally figured out it was the famous zipper card. Totally forgot about that one. Very nice calls.

    Nick - I was referring to the Stadium Club card. Had to look up the 1991 Topps card. I don't think I've ever seen it before, but it's definitely a classic.

    Bru - I didn't have specific Mossi or Moon cards in mind. I mean, I have ones that I picture, but the fact is any of their cards are classics. As for Billy Martin... that's one of my favorite cards from the 70's. Frank Thomas also has a good middle finger card. Nice call on the Hatcher. Pictured it as soon as I read your comment.

    GCA - Bipping is a pretty popular term among card collectors these days, so that's quite the honor.

    SumoMenkoMan - I won't hold it against you. Your knowledge of sumo cards is second to none.

    B Man - The 66T Mossi is the first card I think of when I hear his name. Got one sitting in my vintage binder.

  13. Replies
    1. At least you tried. That's what matters the most.