Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One more test run

After some comments from last night's post, I decided to try another post in preparation for the '59 set build.

This time, I decided to grab a rookie cup card from the '62 Topps set to feature.

1962 Topps #154  Lee Thomas

Career beginnings:

Signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees in 1954, the Angels acquired Thomas in a five player trade on 5/8/61 (according to baseball reference).  The back of Thomas' card states that the trade was a 6 player trade.

Awards/League Leaders/Titles:

  • finished 3rd in rookie of the year voting in 1961
  • was an All Star in 1962; also received MVP votes in both '61 and '62
  • did not lead in any offensive statistical category during his 8 year career
  • Thomas was director of player development for the Cardinals during their success in the 80's, and was part of their World Series championship management team in 1987.
  • Voted Sporting News executive of the year in '93 as a member of the Phillies organization.

Military service:  None that I could find.

Career Line:  .255 average, 847 hits, 106 HR, 428 RBI in 8 seasons

Loved to face:  Ralph Terry (20/48, .417 average, 4HR, 11 RBI)
Hated to face:  Jim Kaat  (6/45, .133 average, 14 Ks)

How did he do in 1962

  • .290 average, 26 HR, 104 RBI.   All 3 categories were career highs for a season.  The Angels were 86-76 that year, 76-70 in games that he started.
  • Had a 5 hit game on 5/6/62, driving in 4 runs and scoring twice during a 15-7 win over the Orioles.
  • His longest hitting streak was 13 games, and his longest on base streak was 34 games.
  • Had a home batting average of .330
Lee had the nickname "Mad Dog", because of his temper.  He was the GM of the Phillies during their '93 World Series loss to the Blue Jays (yes, I had to get that in), but this story that I found shows that he could foresee the future.  During game 6 of the Series, the Phillies were up 6-5, and Lee Thomas turned to his wife and told her he wanted to leave.   She was confused as to why.  Lee knew what was coming, and couldn't bear to watch as Joe Carter hit a 3 run HR to win the series. 

To be honest, I had no idea who Lee Thomas was before today.   A little bit of research, and a baseball card, and I learned quite a bit.

I think I'm going to enjoy this....

thanks for reading, Robert


  1. You are going to be able to answer a lot more baseball trivia after you finish this project.

  2. Robert... I'd completely forgotten about the Baseball in Wartime page. He has an extensive list of players who served in WWII. I didn't see anything about Korean vets which make up a large percentage of guys in the '59 set who served.
    But this is a start:


    1. I actually did a little bit of digging for the '62 post last night and found the two websites you mentioned!

      I already have them bookmarked for future use...

      If you need me to send something your way for the cards via Paypal, please send me an email and we'll work something out. I do appreciate you thinking of me!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Don't want anything for the cards, just wanted you to know they were coming.

  3. Bingo:


  4. Learning about the players is always cool, but don't forget to talk about the card, too. Like, what do you think of the photo? What stadium is that? What do you think of the write-up and cartoon on the back. I always like getting a blogger's personal take on a card, not just a bio on the player.. but maybe that's just me. Another cool thing is when set blogs try to link players together.. like, "this guy was later a teammate of (the last guy)." And with 59 Topps, you might want to do stuff like keep a running count of the different border colors. Maybe a quick evaluation of the facsimile signature on each card? Just some ideas throwing out there.

    1. Gavin, points well taken. My limited knowledge of older stadiums limits my ability to identify them for this set.

      Keeping track of the borders is a pretty good idea, similar to the Night Owl's 75T blog.

      My first post is going to be this Saturday, so I have a couple of more days to tweak the post lineup.