Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.
Last time I shared with you the unusual success that N.Y. Giants pitcher Dave Koslo enjoyed over the St. Louis Cardinals, winning 13 straight decisions between 1950-52.
But Koslo wasn't the only Giants pitcher of that era that enjoyed mastery over a particular team.
On July 26, 1952, Larry Jansen notched his 12th consecutive win over the Cincinnati Reds. It was a streak that dated back to Aug. 29, 1948, and gave him a lifetime 19-2 record against the Reds.
Cincinnati finally broke the jinx on Aug. 25, beating Jansen 3-0 and knocking him out of the box in the fifth inning.
That was the last time Jansen faced the Reds in 1952. Following that loss, he opened the 1953 season by running off five more consecutive winning decisions over Cincinnati, improving his record against that team to 24-3. The last time he faced Cincinnati, on Sept. 3, 1953, he lost 9-2, and lasted only into the third inning.
While Koslo was fattening his record on the Cardinals, and Jansen was beating up on the Reds, moundmate Sal Maglie was owning the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Between May 6, 1950 and June 6, 1952, the Barber had clipped the Bucs for 13 straight decisions. After losing 8-1 to the Pirates on June 6, he dropped a July 11 decision, following with a win on Sept. 11.
Maglie's first game against Pittsburgh in the 1953 season was a loss on April 21. He evened the record with a May 10 win, and his only other game against the Pirates had a no-decision on July 1.
In 1954 Maglie was perfect against the Pirates, winning twice and adding a save. In 1955, he was 2-0 in decisions against Pittsburgh before he was waived into the American League with the Indians.
The Dodgers brought him back to the National League in mid-May, 1956, and with Brooklyn he was 5-1 against the Pirates until he was picked up by the Yankees on waivers on Sept. 1, 1957.
In his brief return to the N.L., with St. Louis (June 22-Aug. 31, 1958), he lost 2-0 in his only appearance versus Pittsburgh. Maglie's lifetime record against the Pirates was 25-6. Interestingly, he had a better lifetime won-loss percentage record against the Chicago Cubs(15-2), but never had a real lengthy consecutive-win streak against them.