2009 Topps Heritage "Baseball Flashbacks" #BF-4 Paul Richards/Hoyt Wilhelm
Every once in a while, this hobby can throw you a curveball.
Sometimes, that change of pace is a good thing. There have been a few cases of that thus far in 2012. (Panini's Triple Play offering is a good example.)
Other times, it can just be downright confusing.
That's exactly what we have with this most recent "Mondays with Hoyt" subject.
Topps Heritage is one of the last sets from which I'd expect any sort of "curveball". You pretty much know what you're getting, year-in and year-out.
Yet, in 2009, that's precisely what happened.
One of their "Baseball Flashbacks" inserts featured a photo of a catcher's mitt. Nothing else. A catcher's mitt.
It's not your everyday mitt, though. This particular glove was specifically designed in 1960 by Orioles' manager Paul Richards, an attempt to aid his catchers in their efforts to corral Hoyt's dancing knuckleball.
It proved to be the last of its kind, as MLB banned oversized gloves after the 1961 season due to the complaints of opposing teams.
Although only Richards' name is shown on the front, the listing of this card on "Checkoutmycards" classifies it as a Richards/Wilhelm "combo" issue.
This card has been in my possession for the last three years, and I still don't know what to do with it.
It doesn't show Hoyt's face. Heck, his name isn't even on the front of the card.
Should it really be considered a piece of my Hoyt Wilhelm collection?
Then again, this does represent one of my favorite aspects of Hoyt's career. His knuckleball was so ferocious that it actually forced the hallowed baseball rulebook to be changed.
Before I started writing this post, it was tucked into the "team card" section of my Orioles binder.
Now, I'm thinking it should take its place with the rest of my Hoyt cards. It may look a bit out of place, but that's what makes this particular card so great, after all.
Like I said, baseball cards can toss a curveball when you least expect it.
As far as this one goes, I guess you could say that the hobby threw me a knuckleball.