Monday, April 17, 2017

Day Two - 1954 Topps Ed & John O'Brien #139

Day 2: A Card With More Than One Player On It

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the second of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - This was the first time* Topps put more than one player on one of their cards. They hadn't started putting team cards in the set yet, so up to this point every Topps card featured just one player. The O'Brien brothers were twins, both basketball and baseball stars at Seattle University. In 1953 the brothers were signed by Branch Rickey for $25,000 apiece to come play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Eddie was the short stop, Johnny the 2nd baseman. In 1954, both brothers served in the military, and returned to the Pirates and played sporadically for several more seasons. Eddie and Johnny returned to Seattle after their playing days - Eddie became the Seattle U. Athletic director and head Baseball Coach. In 2011, the University named their Athletics building the Ed and John O'Brien Center.

You may be wondering how it was that the 1954 Set, which is only 250 cards, had room for a pair of bonus babies like the O'Briens. At this point of the 1950s, there was still quite the competition from Bowman, as the two card giants fought over exclusive rights to the players. Topps had Ted Williams, but Bowman had Mickey Mantle - as well as Bob Feller, Roy Campanella, and several others. Topps filled its set with a combination of Managers, Coaches, and young players that had just started out (Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Al Kaline to name just a few).
Since these are basically one card posts, why not show the backs, too? Great info from the backs on 1954 Topps, and they found a nice way to share the stats between the two brothers.

Here are some honorable mentions:
Topps was the master of these in the 1960s - Alliterations like "Power Plus" or "Twin Terrors," as well as some favorite key phrases like "Fence Busters" or "Manager's Dream." In the 80s, the torch was passed onto Donruss and Fleer. Fleer's Super Star Specials became a personal favorite.

*Did you know that in 1948 Topps released several different multi sport and non-sport sets called Topps Magic Photos? The baseball series included a few cards with multiple players, some featuring the 1948 World Series, and one of Cubs Hall of Famers Tinker and Evers.

1 comment:

  1. That 54 card is an excellent choice for day two of the challenge!