Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New custom card : 1955 Harry Agganis

I've been so busy with Standard Catalog Update posts lately that I haven't had much time to work on my custom card projects. I made time last weekend, however, to finish this 1955 All-American style card of Harry Agganis.

The card was made possible by finding a great photo of the "Golden Greek" in a recent auction.

If you're much younger than I am (and I'm sure most of you are), you may not have heard of Agganis. In the 1940s and 1950s he was a legend in the Boston sports world. And his legacy remains strong there. The arena at Boston University is named for him.

As summarized on my card back, Agganis was a left-handed quarterback high scool All-American at Lynn Classical High School in the late 1940s. He chose BU from among 75 scholarship offers so he could remain close to his widowed mother.

He played QB and defensive back for the Terriers and did their punting, settinhg a number of school records. In Agganis' three varsity seasons, 1949, 1951-52 (he was in military service with the Marines in 1950) BU had a 17-10-1 record, often playing out of their class against teams such as Miami and National Champion Maryland.

In the 1952 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns made him their #1 draft pick (12trh pick overall), but Agganis rejected what was reported as a $50,000 offer to play baseball for the Boston Red Sox.

Agganis started his pro baseball career at first base for the Red Sox' top farm club, the Louisville Colonels, in 1953. He hit .281 with 23 home runs and the next season was called up to Fenway. With the Red Sox in 1954 Agganis batted .251 with 11 home runs.

A month into the 1955 season, batting .313, Agganis was struck with a pulmonary embolism and died on June 27 at the age of 26. By the time most of us saw his rookie card in the 1955 Topps set, Agganis was gone.

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