The joy of a completed page. 1957 Topps with Teddy Ballgame and Yogi edition.

2018 Topps Update - Nick Markakis All Star US48 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I’m not sure there’s ever been a decent Braves player who gets me less excited than Nick Markakis. Maybe he’ll repeat last year. I think at best he will be replacement level. We’ll see.

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1956 Topps George Crowe 254 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

If you have a chance, read the SABR article on the life and career of former Braves first baseman George Crowe. Crowe was an excellent hitter who spent much of his career playing behind men like Earl Torgeson, Joe Adcock and Ted Kluszewski. He wouldn’t debut as a Major League player until he was 31 years old, but would play into his 40s.

He was Indiana’s first Mr. Basketball.

2012 Topps Active NL Home Run Leaders 192 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw! Chipper! Andruw!

1975 Topps Ralph Garr 550 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Can we take a moment and appreciate what a great baseball card this is? There are no bad baseball cards in the 1975 Topps set, but the cards with action shots are just the best. This shot in particular is better than the typical card because it captures Ralph Garr doing what he did best. Garr may not have been a great baseball player, but he was a “professional hitter”. You meet a lot of Braves fans from that era where Garr is their favorite.

I wonder is he had to take shit because of his helmet flying off his head all the time?

1982 Topps Traded Steve Bedrosian 4T - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I’ve always been fan of Bedrock and was super excited when he took home the Cy Young Award for the Phillies in 1987, even if he didn’t really deserve it. I’ve even forgiven him for the role he played in helping the Twins win the 91 series.

This is his first standalone Topps card and that is one awful photograph. Topps should really run these things by the players before they print them.

I also do a double take every time I see the back of a 1982 Topps Traded card. The red ink just does not work for me. It’s supposed to be green.

1997 Topps Terry Pendleton 319- Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Terry Pendleton’s first go around in Atlanta could not have gone better. Even if he didn’t really deserve the 1991 MVP, he was the leader and catalyst for the worst to first Braves of 1991. His second go-around? Woof.

1998 Topps Walt Weiss 456 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I’m not saying every baseball card set featuring lots of gold foil sucks, but if you wanted to say it, I wouldn’t disagree with you. And discussing gold foil is more interesting than discussing Walt Weiss.

I’m ready for baseball season. I’m ready to watch Acuña Jr play an entire season.

1948 Bowman Johnny Sain 12 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I’m only posting this card today because I posted my 1955 card of Sain as a Yankee the other day and his time in NY does NOT count.

1948 Bowman Sain 12a1948 Bowman Sain 12b

1952 Topps Earl Torgeson 97- Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Earl Torgeson spent the first six years of his career with the Boston Braves, and he was simply an excellent offensive baseball player. His reputation pegged him as a scrapper who would do anything to win, including fight. He would leave Boston for Philadelphia as a part of a four team trade that brought Joe Adcock and Jim Pendleton to the Braves.

1951 Topps Blue Backs Earl Torgeson 34 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Here’s the problem with this specific baseball card set. If this were my first Earl Torgeson card, he would be nothing but a name to me. At least with Spahn, Sain, and Jethroe, I came to this set with knowledge of who these players were. There were stories and legends associated with them. With Torgeson, most fans would have no clue.

Guess what? He was pretty good.

1965 Topps Denver Lemaster - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

So, I’m looking at this card thinking how cool is it to see a card of a player in the 1965 set who was still playing when I started collecting in the late 70s, but joke’s on me. I was confusing Denny Lemaster with the Giants light hitting, poor fielding infielder Johnnie Lemaster.

I should be smarter than this but old age is catching up with me.

1980 Topps Gene Garber 504 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Uh, Gene? Whatcha looking at?

1962 Topps Joe Torre 218 - Braves Card of the Day

With a modern understanding of defensive value and positional importance, Joe Torre would have won the 1961 Rookie of the Year award. That’s not taking anything away from the great Billy Williams who had a splendid season of his own. It’s just that Torre was better.

Speaking of Torre, does putting him in the Hall of Fame as a manager excuse the failure of the voters and various veteran committees from putting him in as a player? I don’t think it does.

1998 Topps Michael Tucker - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

The Braves traded Jermaine Dye for this guy! The Braves traded Jermaine Dye for this guy! The Braves traded Jermaine Dye for this guy! No really. The Braves traded Jermaine Dye for this guy.

1953 Bowman Color Jack Daniels 83 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

1953 Bowman is my favorite of the Bowman baseball card sets of the late 40s and 50s. In fact, it might be my favorite baseball card set of the 50s. I’m having trouble thinking of a baseball care set I like more.

It’s strange in that there’s almost nothing to the design itself. The front is simply a beautiful color photograph. Not the painted over B&W photographs that Topps used, but state of the art stuff. The Pee Wee Reese card set a standard for action photography that wouldn’t be matched for decades. It was, however, the simple shots of Warren Spahn and Stan Musial that really set the standard for what the photo on a baseball card could be.

The Jack Daniels card is a great example of what made the set great. The colors absolutely pop on the card, especially the red. The photo is in perfect focus and you get the real sense that you are seeing what the player looks like rather than just a vague sense that other cards from the era might give you.

And, if you’re Jack Daniels, and this is your only baseball card, at least you know it’s a beautiful one.

1997 Topps Mark Wohlers 404 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Mark Wohlers was the first Braves player to block me on Twitter, which is why I picked this ugly card as card of the day. To my great disappointment, I’m not blocked anymore! Dammit Mark.

1950 Bowman Sam Jethroe 248 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Sam Jethroe was 32 years old when he became the second Boston Braves player to win the Rookie of the Year award in 1950. I won’t insult your intelligence by stating the obvious of why he was so old when debuting in the big leagues. We all know. He could have debuted earlier though. He was a part of a sham try out for the Red Sox in 1945 that included Jackie Robinson. The workout was only done to get a city councilwoman off the team’s back and Jethroe was not offered a contract. (Instead of being the first team to integrate, the Red Sox were the last team.)

When Branch Rickey was ready to integrate the big leagues, Jethroe was under consideration. After choosing Jackie Robinson, Rickey did sign Jethroe to a minor league deal where Jethroe spent two years as one of the best players in minor league baseball at Montreal. The Dodgers would sell him to the Braves before the 1950 season where he would integrate the Boston NL team. He would light up the National League with two superb seasons for Boston, but problems with his eyesight and other physical ailments shortened his career. Truth is, by the time he debuted, his talent was already declining. (He did have several excellent minor league seasons before retiring.)

To compound the tragedy of segregated baseball, MLB would refuse to offer pensions to Major Leaguers who lost a portion of their career to the segregation years. They would relent in 1997 due to pressure from politicians and the public. The meager payments would help Jethroe in the later years of his life.

If you want to learn more about Jethroe, I highly recommend the terrific article about him on the SABR website. I think it’s time for the @Braves to consider honoring Jethroe’s legacy at Suntrust Park as well.

1950 Bowman Jethroe 248a1950 Bowman Jethroe 248b

⚾ The onslaught of 1955 cards continues …

1979 Topps Bob Horner 586 - Braves Card of the Day

On June 6, 1978, the Braves selected Bob Horner with the first pick of the first round of the MLB amateur draft. Eight days later, Bob Horner started at third base in Atlanta and in his third at-bat, smashed a home run off the Pirates’ Bert Blyleven. Despite playing in only 89 games, Horner would belt 23 home runs and became the fourth Braves player to win the Rookie of the Year award. ⚾

1971 Topps Rookie Stars 52 - Braves Card of the Day

After Earl Williams pinch hit late in a 4-0 loss to the Mets on May 23, 1971, he would catch for the first time in his entire career. A few months later, after a full season of catching, he would be the third player for the Braves to win the Rookie of the Year award. ⚾

Another great 1955 card I just received.

More 1955 Topps goodness. Getting closer and closer to finishing the set.

1949 Bowman Alvin Dark 67 - Braves Card of the Day

Not only did Al Dark end up with a nifty career that included several top 10 MVP finishes and All-Star Game appearances, he was the first Brave to win the Rookie of the Year award. He played a major role during the 1948 World Series season. He looked primed to hold the SS position in Boston for a long time.

Of course, he didn’t. It’s hard to figure why he was traded to the Giants after the 1949 season. It goes to show that the Braves have always had a tendency to make bad trades.