Monday, June 18, 2012

Mondays with Hoyt, Episode VII

1971 Topps #248 Hoyt Wilhelm

Today appears to be one of those days where I stare at the computer and can't think of anything to write.

I've come down with a case of "blogger's block", if you will.

I want to write, but nothing's happening. It happens from time to time. I'm sure it's happened to all of us at some point. But there's enough greatness in this card to get me past my "affliction", or so I hope.

So without further ado, let's move on to the seventh installment of "Mondays with Hoyt". (Once I can get the ball rolling.)

This is one of the first vintage pieces I added to my Hoyt Wilhelm collection.

I snagged it off Ebay a short while after I got back into the hobby. Considering the condition it's in, I couldn't have paid more than a buck or two for it. 

The blogosphere has certainly played a role in my shift of opinion on 1971 Topps. While I'm still not a big fan of black-bordered cards, I've come to appreciate the '71 set a whole lot more than I did before I started this blog.

It is truly one of the most iconic sets in Topps' long history.

However, I tend to think of guys like Reggie Jackson or Oscar Gamble whenever I decide to conjure up images of 1971 Topps. (It happens more than you'd think.)

I associate Hoyt more with his days as a New York Giant in the 1950's more than his later career, which makes this card a bit odd to me for a couple reasons.

For one thing, I'm not sure many people even knew he played for the Cubs. I don't blame them. His career on the North Side of Chicago consisted of just 3 2/3 innings over three innings near the end of the 1970 season. A September waiver pickup from the Braves, Hoyt posted a bloated 9.82 ERA in his brief time with the Cubs. 

Kudos to Topps for actually getting a non-airbrushed shot of Wilhelm in a Cubs jersey. It's the only one I've ever seen. (He'd be dealt back to Atlanta before the start of the '71 season.)

But let's stop and take a look at the big picture of Wilhelm's career.

I don't know that there's many other players who can say they had cards in both the 1952 and 1971 Topps sets. (Wilhelm had a '72 issue as well, which will appear in a later "episode".)

The range of his career is one of the things that first drew me to him. So much changed, both in baseball and the rest of the world, and yet Hoyt Wilhelm was a major league pitcher through all of it.

His career started before anyone knew who Elvis Presley was. By the time it was over, The Beatles had already broken up.

Another interesting tidbit is the fact that he served in World War II, yet he managed to last in the bigs until the 1970's. 

It really is amazing once you stop and think about it.

1 comment:

Jeff Wilk said...

Man - 3 less innings pitched and this would be a zero year card for you.