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.
In cooperation with the commissioner’s office, on April 13, 1957, the NBC-TV network presented a 90-minute “Salute to Baseball” primetime extravaganza—live and in color.
Hosted by famed film dancer Gene Kelly (who had co-starred with Frank Sinatra in the baseball musical movie Take Me Out to the Ball Game in 1949), the program was intended as a salute to baseball, its players—current and stars of earlier days—fans, and the upcoming season in a variety show format.
While Kelly received a reported $25,000 for emceeing the show, the 18 current major league stars who appeared on the program received no cash remuneration.
Each player did, however, receive a 21-inch RCA Victor color TV . . . and each player donated his television to a hospital or other institution, with particular on facilities caring for children.
In a short item in the April 24 issue of The Sporting News,
columnist Dan Daniel listed the players and the recipients of the color TVs.
Pee Wee Reese, Brooklyn—Children’s Hospital,
Don Newcombe, Brooklyn—Hospital for Crippled Children,
Antonelli, New York— Northside Division General
Hospital, Rochester, N.Y.
Philadelphia—Home for Incurable, Philadelphia, Pa.
Ernie Banks, Chicago—Provident Hospital,
Pittsburgh—Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa.
St. Louis— Cardinal
Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.
Milwaukee—Children’s Hospital, Milwaukee, Wis.
New York— ,
N.Y. Lenox Hill Hospital, New York
Larsen, New York— U.S. Naval Hospital, , San Diego, Calif.
( Jimmy Fund
Building), Boston, Mass.
Eddie Yost, Washington—
St. Ann’s Orphanage, Washington,
George Kell, Baltimore—Methodist Children’s Home,
Little Rock, Ark.
Billy Pierce, Chicago—Children’s Unit, William H. Mabury Sanitarium,
City—Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo.
Hospital, Detroit, Mich.
Herb Score, Cleveland—Parmadale Children’s Village,
Fun fact . . . of the 18 players donating a color TV, 13 had appeared in the 1955 Bowman Color TV baseball card set.