As big a fan of the Milwaukee Braves as I was as a kid in the late 1950s, John DeMerit really didn't register on my radar . . . because he didn't appear on a Topps baseball card until 1961.
I should have been all over DeMerit. He was a near-Milwaukee native and starred at the University of Wisconsin for two years before signing a $100,000 bonus contract with the Braves in May, 1957.
There no sense in my doing a baseball biography of DeMerit here, Steven Schmitt has authored a really excellent article for the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which you can find here:
John DeMerit bio .
I'm unsure why DeMerit didn't appear in the 1958 Topps issue. Another Braves bonus baby, Bob "Hawk" Taylor appeared in far fewer games for Milwaukee in 1957, and he has a 1958 Topps card. Taylor signed a week after DeMerit, but made his big-league debut nine days earlier. Maybe that made a difference in Topps being able to get photos, or some similar pragmatic reason.
When Major League Baseball changed its bonus rules in 1958, and made the changes retroactive, DeMerit was allowed to be farmed out. He spent virtually all of the 1958 season at AA-level Atlanta, hitting .257 with 13 home runs (including four in a row), before getting into three games with Milwaukee in the last week of the regular season.
That wasn't conducive to Topps giving him a card in 1959. DeMerit played most of the 1959 season at Class A Jacksonville, with two weeks at Atlanta and most of the month of September with the big club.
Again, there was no Topps card in 1960, and DeMerit spent the entire season at Louisville, the Braves' AAA farm club. He had a good season for the American Association champion Colonels, batting .270 with a dozen home runs.
DeMerit finally got his Topps card in 1961, and spent the entire season at Milwaukee. After the season he was picked by the Mets in the NL expansion draft. His 1962 Topps card pictures him capless in the Milwaukee jersey, but lists him with the Mets.
I could have chosen to make my DeMerit custom card in the 1958, 1959 or 1960 format. I chose the latter because the available supply of DeMerit-as-Brave color photos is extremely limited, and they didn't fit my vision for a 1958 or 1959 card.
I could also have chosen to make my 1960 DeMerit card in the style of the 1960 Sport Magazine Rookie Stars subset, but that seemed to be a stretch for a guy who had been in the bigs for parts of three seasons, so I went with the regular format, as presented here.