Saturday, October 12, 2013

Harry Hanebrink's new "rookie card"

Harry Hanebrink's 1958-59 Topps cards (his only Topps cards) were a childhood favorite. 

Besides being a new face among the Milwaukee Braves on my cards that year, Hanebrink looked so darn young. In reality, he was 30 years old when he made his rookie card debut.

Hanebrink had broken into the major leagues five years earlier, as a 25-year-old rookie when the Braves moved to Milwaukee.

His first major league hit was a home run. True . . .  it came after nine fruitless pinch-hitting appearances, and did nothing to alter the course of a 6-2 Braves loss to Robin Roberts and the Phillies, but it's one more big league homer than you or I have.

Hanebrink was a "good field, no hit" player in the Braves' organization for most of 10 seasons. After spending almost all of 1953 up with Milwaukee, he was relegated to AAA Toledo and Wichita for all of 1954-1956, and most of 1957, getting a September call-up. 

He stuck with Milwaukee for the 1958 season, and even got a couple of at-bats (0-for-2) in the World Series.

Prior to the 1959 season -- as reflected on the back of most of his '59 Topps card -- he was traded to the Phillies. He ended his pro career with Philadelphia's AAA team at Buffalo in 1959-61.

To expand on Hanebrink's baseball card legacy, I created this 1953-style "rookie card". 

Vintage card collectors may recognize the background as basically that used on George Crowe's '53T.

Purists may realize that while I gave my Hanebrink card one of the "missing" numbers from the high series, he is pictured with a Boston cap. By the time the high series was printed in 1953, Topps had changed player caps to an "M" logo and reflected the team's relocation to Milwaukee. I preferred the look of the Boston cap . . . my card, my rules.

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