1969 Topps #398
I think most people would know Tito as the father of Red Sox manager Terry Francona. In his day though, Daddy Francona was a good player. Not a great player, just a good player. He was one of those guys who could really fill out a good ball team. He saw a lot of playing time with the 68 Braves and hit a respectable 286. The next year he would back up Rico Carty in LF and Orlando Cepeda at 1B. He put up a rock solid 295 through 51 games, but the Braves would sell him to Oakland. Unfortunately for Tito, he would never play in the post-season. If he had managed to stick with the Braves in 69, he would have gotten that chance.
I cannot stand older baseball cards that are in mint condition. They do nothing for me. Give me a card with bad corners, slightly off-center, a crease or two, a little writing on the back … that all it takes to make me a happy man. (I especially love marked checklists!) Yeah, I suppose part of the attraction is knowing that the only way I’ll be able to afford older cards is if they are in poorer shape, still, a beat up old card has character. I like character. I’m a character.