Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My '52 Logan custom fills gum companies' void

Back of Jan. 7, I shared here my 1955 Topps-style custom card of Johnny Logan. Today, I've got my take on a "rookie" card that could have been made a year earlier than Logan's actual baseball card debut.

I can't blame Topps and Bowman for not including Johnny Logan in their 1952 baseball card issues.

Despite the fact that Logan had been the Boston Braves' opening day shortstop in 1951, he'd spent most of the season at AAA Milwaukee (his fourth year with the Braves' American Association farm team). He appeared in only 62 games with the big club, batting just .219 with no power. 

Logan started the 1952 season in Milwaukee. Shortly after Charlie Grimm took over from Tommy Holmes as Boston manager, he called Logan up to Boston to replace Jack Cusick, who was hitting only .159. Logan had been part of Grimm's pennant winning Brewers team in 1951. Besides batting .301, Logan had smashed the American Association record for errorless games at shortstop, his streak of 46 more than doubling the previous mark.

Logan ended the season with a .283 average, second only on the team to Sid Gordon's .289 (which helps explain why the Braves finished seventh in the N.L. that year). 

In 1953, it was back to Milwaukee for Logan, but this time as a major leaguer. He remained with the Braves until mid-1961 when he was traded to the Pirates, ending his major league career with Pittsburgh in 1963.

Logan went to Japan for 1964, where he played for the Nankai Hawks, becoming the first ballplayer to win a World Series (Milwaukee, 1957) and a Japan Series. He died last year in Milwaukee.

Topps created Logan's rookie card for its 1953 issue. He continued to appear for Topps every year through 1963, except, inexplicably, 1955 (see my blog entry of Feb. 7). Bowman included Logan in its 1954 and 1955 sets.

My 1952-style Johnny Logan card fills the void left by Topps and Bowman. Photos of Logan in a Boston Braves uniform are not as ubiquitous as those with Milwaukee. Thanks to former SCD editor Tom Mortenson for providing the picture I colorized for use on my card.

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