Friday, November 25, 2016

Ralph Branca, Bob Addis drop off 1952 Topps survivors' list

The recent deaths of Ralph Branca (Nov. 23) and Bob Addis (Nov. 15) brings the total of surviving players who appeared in the 1952 Topps baseball card set to 41. Branca was card No. 274 in the set, pictured as a pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Addis was No. 259, pictured as a Chicago Cubs outfielder.

Branca pitched 12 years in the major leagues: Brooklyn Dodgers (1944-53, 1956), Detroit Tigers (1953-54) and N.Y. Yankees (1954). His lifetime big league record was 88-68 with a 3.79 ERA. He was a three-time All-Star while with the Dodgers.

Best-known for giving up the Bobby Thomson home run that put the N.Y. Giants int the 1951 World Series, Branca pitched in two World Series, 1947 and 1949.

Around the turn of the century, Branca was a popular autograph guest at card shows, often appearing with Thomson.

Addis was drafted by the Yankees in 1943, and after two years in the military during World War II played in their minor league system through 1947, when the Dodgers took him in the post-season minor league draft.

After the 1949 season he was traded to the Boston Braves, with whom he made the majors in 1950. He played sparingly with the Chicago Cubs in 1952-53, and ended is big league days with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953. He was a lifetime .281 hitter

Addis was 91 at the time of his death, Branca was 90.

Addis' baseball card appearances with the major gum companies were limited to 1952-53 Topps and 1953 Bowman color. Branca appeared on Topps cards 1951-52, and Bowmans 1950-53 (b/w). He also appeared in many post-career issues.

Here's the current list of living players from '52 Topps.

PLAYER                     1952 TOPPS   BIRTH          TEAM
                        `           CARD NO.      DATE

Wally Westlake           38                    11/08/1920   SLC
Eddie Robinson           32                    12/15/1920   CWS
Sam Mele                    94                    01/21/1922   WSH
Gil Coan                      91                    05/18/1922   WSH
Red Schoendienst       91                    02/02/1923    SLC
Solly Hemus                196                  04/17/1923   SLC
Bob Kuzava                 85                    05/28/1923   NYY
Ed Fitz Gerald             236                  05/21/1924   PIT
Charlie Silvera             168                  10/13/1924   NYY
Irv Noren                     40                    11/29/1924   WSH
Wayne Terwilliger         7                      06/27/1925   BRO
Bobby Shantz              219                  09/26/1925   PHA
Ned Garver                 212                  12/25/1925   SLB
Bob Borkowski            328                  01/27/1926   CIN
Randy Jackson           322                  02/10/1926   CHC
Howie Judson             169                  02/16/1926   CWS
Bob Miller                    187                  06/16/1926   PHI
Bobby Morgan             355                  06/29/1926   BRO   
Johnny Groth              25                    07/23/1926   DET
Roy Sievers                 64                    11/18/1926   WSH
Carl Erskine                250                  12/13/1926   BRO
Carl Scheib                 116                  01/01/1927   PHA
Charlie Maxwell           180                  04/08/1927   BRS
Cloyd Boyer                280                  09/01/1927   SLC
Bob Kelly                     348                  10/04/1927   CHC
Tommy Brown             281                  12/06/1927   PHI
Dick Gernert                343                  09/28/1928   BRS
Joe Presko                  220                  10/07/1928   SLC
Bob Ross                    298                  11/02/1928   WSH
Curt Simmons             203                  05/19/1929   PHI
Ted Lepcio                  335                  07/28/1929   BRS
Ike Delock                   329                  11/11/1929   BRS
Del Crandall                162                  03/05/1930   BOS
Vern Law                     81                    03/12/1930   PIT
Johnny Antonelli          140                  04/12/1930   BOS
Dick Groat                   369                  11/04/1930   PIT
Bob Friend                  233                  11/24/1930   PIT
Willie Mays                  261                  05/06/1931   NYG
Tony Bartirome           332                  05/09/1932   PIT
Dick Brodowski           404                  07/26/1932  BRS
Bobby Del Greco         353                  04/07/1933   PIT

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Custom '56 Paige breaks silence

A follower of my blog recently wrote to inquire about the now six-weeks' absence of new postings; he was concerned about my health.

 I appreciate the concern for the fact is my health has played the major part in the lack of new material in this space.

However, I have not totally abandoned the creation of new custom cards. In the coming days I'll share my latest with you.

The first is an addition to my  "Donovan's Drive-Ins" series of minor league players in the 1956 Topps format.

Rather than rehash the "back story," I'll give you this link: Donovan's backstory .

With the number of Satchel Paige photos I have in my "futures file," I doubt that I'll ever run out of Paige custom-card ideas.

While the triptych cartoons on the backs of 1956 Topps make creating new cards challenging, the set was one of my favorites, so I'll continue to turn them out.

You can order this card. Unless otherwise noted, all of my custom cards are available to collectors for $9.95 each, postpaid. Complete checklists of all my custom baseball, football and non-sports custom cards were published on this blog in late May (football), July 6 (non-sports) and Sept. 19 (baseball). To order, email me at for directions on paying via check/money order, or to my PayPal account.