As I mentioned the other day, I am really starting to enjoy seeing a lot of the multi-player cards from the 50's and 60's. I haven't looked to see exactly how many of these are in the '59 set, but I do own 6 of them already, and I will say that they are an interesting diversion from the normal every day player card.
Card #17: Danny's All-Stars
How unfortunate was the timing of this card. I'm sure that plans are made the summer before to identify and get cards ready for production the following year, but Thomas was part of the big trade with Cincinnati that I mentioned on the Bill Hall post last Monday. By the start of 1959 Thomas was in a Reds uniform.
What's even more interesting is that Ted Kluszewski never made it to an All-Star game in a Pirates uniform, as a matter of fact he hadn't been to an All-Star game since 1956 when he was with the Reds. Ted's time in Pittsburgh didn't go all that well, and he was traded for two players in August of '59 who appeared in a total of 9 games for the Pirates.
There were certainly other star players on the '58 Pirates club. Names such as Dick Groat, Bill Mazeroski, Bob Skinner and Roberto Clemente all could have been used instead of Kluszewski on this card. I'm sure that Topps went with the two names that "packed a punch" with their bats. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?
Interesting to look at the back of the card, especially the last three lines that discuss Thomas' switch to third base. It probably could have said that it was a switch back to third base, where he had played regularly during the 1956 season. The Pirates moved him to 1st base in 1957, but with 15 errors in just 71 games at first, it probably made sense for Murtaugh to move him back to third, especially after acquiring Kluszewski, a natural first baseman.
It really would have been interesting to see what kind of lineup the Pirates would have had had they acquired Kluszewski during his big offensive years in the mid 50's. Unfortunately he only hit 6 HRs during his days at Forbes Field, and wound up giving up the 1st base job to Dick Stuart, who was a part of the 1960 World Series team.
Originally I wondered about giving so much of the back of the card to Murtaugh, but after thinking about it for a short time, I guess you could say it made sense.
The card is named Danny's All-Stars after all.
Thanks for reading, Robert