Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Hurricane Hazle custom in 1956 Topps format

On July 4, I presented the reworked version of my custom 1955 Topps-style card of Hazle with the Cincinnati Redlegs.

Two days ago I explained why I have now created three different "cards that never were" of 1957 Milwaukee Braves phenom Bob Hazle.

Yesterday I showed you my custom of Bob Hazle as a Detroit Tiger on a 1959 Topps-style custom card.

Today I'm bringing you my latest, and possibly my last, Bob Hazle custom card, in the format of 1956 Topps.

You can't fault Topps for not including Hazle in its '56 set. A week before the opening of the season he'd been traded from Cincinnati to Milwaukee for first baseman George Crowe. At that point, his entire major league career had consisted of six games with the Redlegs in 1955.

Hazle actually spent the entire 1956 season with the Braves' AAA farm club at Wichita in the American Association, where he'd batted .285 with 13 home runs.

Though Topps didn't produce a Bob Hazle card until 1958, I came up with this example of what a 1956 card might have looked like.

Also as promised, here's an edited version of a column I penned in the Dec. 2, 2005, issue of Sports Collectors Digest . . .

Meeting Bob Hazle
     I had the please of meeting Bob Hazle once at a late 1980s' card show in Chicago where he was making a rare autograph appearance.
He'd walked away from baseball completely after spending the 1959-1960 seasons in the Detroit Tigers' minor league system and was working as a liquor salesman out of Newberry, S.C.
     As he handed me back my autographed J.D. McCarthy postcard, I commented on how bright and sharp his World's Championship ring looked. He pulled the ring off and handed it to me for closer inspection.
     He said the ring looked so fresh because it was a replacement he'd had made several years earlier.
     Hazle said he'd lost his original 1957 Braves ring some years ago when he was throwing a beer can out the window of his pickup truck and the ring flew off with it.
     Is it any wonder Milwaukee loved this guy?
     Bob Hazle died of a heart attack in Columbia, S.C., in 1992, at the age of 61.

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