Card #111: Cincinnati Red Legs (checklist 89-176)
I had never really thought about it in the past when I looked at team cards, but there's an awful lot of players in this photo. So many that I decided to count them. There's 37 players in uniform, with maybe a handful of them having their faces defaced over time.
There is only one Hall of Famer on the '59 squad, Frank Robinson. I didn't see uniform #20 on any of the players, so I'm going to guess and say that he is 3rd from the left in the 2nd row from the top, standing to the left of Brooks Lawrence (#46).
Overall record: 74-80, 5th place in the NL, 13 games behind the division winning Dodgers.
- Hits: Vada Pinson 205. Pinson also led the team in runs, doubles and ABs (all 3 of those categories he led the NL), as well as batting average (.316) and steals (21). Team MVP, no?
- Homers: Frank Robinson, 36. Frank also led the Red Legs in RBI with 125.
- Wins: Don Newcombe and Bob Purkey had 13 apiece. Newcombe also led the team in K's, with 100 and complete games with 17.
- Saves: Brooks Lawrence had 10 saves, the number being so low because he also started 14 games.
The back is in very nice shape, no pen marks or lost paper at all.
I thought it very interesting that the checklist on the back was the 2nd series check list, instead of a team list. This intrigued me so much that I had to see if I had any other team photos (I do, the Senators) to see if there was a team list on the back (there wasn't, the Senators are the 6th series check list). The Blue Jays very first All-Star from 1977 also appears on this checklist, see if you can figure out who. (answer below)
There's a few interesting names on this check list...Bill "Moose" Skowron at #90, Felipe Alou #102, Stan Musial at #150 and Sandy Koufax at #163, none of which I own yet.
I also wondered where the name "Redlegs" came from. It appears that the "Reds" nickname was removed from the uniform between 1956-1960, because of the association of the color red with communism. Redlegs was once a derogatory term used to describe a group of poor white people that live in the Caribbean, mostly coming from Ireland and Scotland (reference here). The team became the Reds again after the 1958 season, maybe not in time for Topps to change the name on the front of this card?
Ron Fairly (card #125) was the very first Blue Jay to appear in an all-star game in 1977, hitting .307 at the break and finishing the season with a .279 average with a career high in homers with 19.
thanks for reading, Robert