Tag Archives: Washington Senators

Card of the Day: 1967 Topps Frank Howard

Man, are those some birth control glasses or what?

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Senators Friday: Bill Fischer

1960 Topps

Bill began his career with the White Sox, was traded to the Seattle Pilots, then traded back to the White Sox. He made his major league debut in 1956, spending his first three years there as a reliever before being traded to Detroit with Tito Francona for Ray Boone and Bob Shaw. He had a 7.63 ERA with the Tigers in 23 games, so they left him exposed on waivers. Washington claimed him, and slotted him into the starting rotation.

He shone as a starter; in 1958 he only pitched three games with the Senators, but he pitched well, and stuck in the rotation in 59. He went 9-11 in 59, but it was a pretty lousy team, and his ERA was 4.28. Not amazing by the day’s standards, but it was a 92 ERA+, a huge improvement over a guy who was posting 50-level ERA+s previously and sitting at the back of the Nats’ rotation. He had some flashes of brilliance, too, dueling against Jim Perry on May 24th.

He returned in 1960, but dropped off, falling to a 4.91 ERA and an 81 ERA+ with the Nationals before they shipped him back to Detroit for Tom Morgan.

He bounced around until 1964, producing a career 45-58 mark with a 4.34 ERA, good for a 92 ERA+. Could be better, could be worse; he made for a decent, though not outstanding, end of the rotation guy. You could get a whole lot worse.

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Senators Friday: Buster Narum

1966 Topps

Buster was another one of the Million Card Giveaway acquisitions, and I was completely unfamiliar with him before picking him up in one of my many trades back in August. Buster had a pretty short major league career; he debuted in 1963 with the Orioles, and was out of the majors by 1967, but he had a few good games on the way between those years, despite ending up 14-27 with a 4.45 ERA and an 81 ERA+. For example, on August 26th, 1964, he shut the Yankees down with a 5-hit shutout, the highlight of a year where he’d go 9-15 with a 4.30 ERA in an era of strong pitching.

1966 was his next-to-last year in the majors, and he only pitched three games, ending with a 21.60 ERA. So he was more common than common, but I still love this card, as it gets me one card closer to completing the 66 team set.

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Senators Friday: Bennie Daniels

1962 Topps

Bennie Daniels joined the Senators in December, 1960, when the Pirates traded him, R C Stevens, and Harry Bright for Bobby Shantz; he was regarded as a retread, a failed prospect who had never made good on his promise. He made his debut at the second Griffith Stadium on April 15th, losing 3-1 to the Indians. He went 7.1 innings and struck out 6 while walking 3, losing to Mudcant Grant, who had owned the Senators. Here’s a shot of Senators catcher Pete Daley tagging out Johnny Temple during that game:

The game was an apt preview of his 1961 season, as he would be a hard-luck loser, pitching well (a 3.44 ERA with a 1.245 WHIP for a 114 ERA+) and yet going 12-11. The Senators were not a good team.

1963 Topps

He went into 1962 as a pitcher who would split time as a starter and reliever, but regarded as having real promise to expand on the promise he had shown in 1961 and become a real breakout pitcher. Lots of people in the media tagged him as a pitcher to watch that year, and indeed was the opening day pitcher against the Tigers’ Don Mossi.

A Damned Handsome Man.

All in all, however, the year would be a disappointment: he ended up with a 7-16 record, 4.85 ERA, and 84 ERA+. He hung on with the Senators, though, pitching from 1961 to 1965, all told, ending his Senators career with a 37-60 record, 4.14 ERA, 1.351 WHIP, and almost 1 home run every game. 1965 was his last year with the team, at which point he seems to have dropped off the radar. I guess he retired? I don’t know, but my goal is to eventually have all the cards from his tenure with the team, just in the interest of completeness.

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Washington Senators Friday: Sam Mele

 

1952 Topps

 

Ah, my first 1952 Topps card. Hopefully not to be my last. And yes, it’s not pretty or in great condition, but I really treasure this card. But who is this Sam Mele? Well, baseball-reference has an actual photo of the guy:

So I’d say Topps’ artists got it pretty much right. Sam joined the Senators in 1949 and hit .242/.288/.337, pretty ugly for someone who played 1B and corner outfield.

Overall, Sam hit .269/.332/.413 in his years with the Senators, from 1949 to 1952, good for a 101 OPS+. If he was a fourth outfield type, that wouldn’t be too bad, but it appears he was used as a starter, so he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire.

In the end, though, I’m glad to have this card in my collection. Notch another Senator I’d never heard of before!

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Washington Senators Friday: Dick Bosman & Pete Craig

1967 Topps

That is one beaten card. But I wanted to take a look at this pair today, to see where their careers diverged. Let’s start with Dick Bosman.

Dick had been 2-6 with a 7.62 ERA in 13 games 1966, so of these 2, it looked like he might have the shorter career, but he ended up hanging on for 11 seasons, lasting up to the 1976 season. He stayed with the Senators up through their 72 move to Texas, then got dealt to the Cleveland Indians with Ted Ford for Steve Dunning. He ended up with a career 82-85 record, a 3.67 ERA, 757 Ks in 1591 innings, and an 8.8 WAR, putting him well outside the top 1,000 players to ever play. Of course, he ended up being a major league pitching coach later, coaching for the White Sox (1986-1987) Rochester Red Wings (1988-1991),  Orioles (1992-1994), and Rangers (1995-2000). He’s been a coach in the Rays’ system since 2002.

Pete Craig, in the meantime, he of the cab-door ears, had already been in the league since 1964 when this card was issued, and wouldn’t pitch in the majors in 1967. In fact, he wouldn’t pitch in the majors in any year after 1966. His major league career consisted of six games, an 11.50 ERA, and a 0-3 record with a -1.7 WAR. I have no idea what happened to him after that, but we have this small capsule of his career here.

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Washington Senators Friday: Karl Olson

1957 Topps

You’re looking at a man whose career was almost over at this point. Ole was signed as a free agent in 1948 by the BoSox, and would end up debuting with the team in 51 after start with “C” level San Jose and working his way up through the system. He wasn’t a particularly hard hitter until the 50 season, when he hit 23 home runs with AA Birmingham. He only played in five major league games in 51, then spent the entire 52 season in the military before coming back up with the Sox in 53. He would never be a full-time major leaguer, though. In fact, this card, representing his 56 season, would be the year he played the most games in the majors with 106.

Before that, though, he played in 101 games in 1954, hitting .260/.293/.344 with 1 home run for a 67 OPS+. He spent little time with Boston in 55 before getting traded with with Al Curtis, Dick Brodowski, Neil Chrisley, and Tex Clevenger to the Washington Senators for Bob Porterfield, Johnny Schmitz, Tom Umphlett, and Mickey Vernon. At least one of those names meant something. Washington gave him a shot in 56, and he didn’t produce much, hitting .246/.305/.329 for a 71 OPS+ and a -1.8 WAR. Understandably, the Senators didn’t stick with him very long in 57, and the Red Sox purchased him then flipped him to Detroit, where he finished the year and was done.

The Baseball-Reference bullpen also informed me that he hit into 2 triple plays in 279 career games and 681 at bats, the fastest player to 2 triple plays in history. Ollie Beard hit 2 in 331 career games and Chubby Dean hit 2 in 1047 at bats.

So here’s to you, Karl Olson. Where are you today?

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Weekend Pickups

I mentioned in several posts this weekend that I busted some Topps Value Boxes…four, to be exact, as I was looking to get the entire Chrome set that comes exclusively in the set and was lacking only the Ruth at the end of the day. This was the also the first time I’d gotten Topps Million Card giveaway redemptions, so I was giddy about those.

Here’s some of what I scored in the boxes:

Didn’t get to scan the Ruth card yet, but yes, I have the entire set now. And I’m very pleased with it. I’m a complete refractor whore, so I knew these were a must-have, especially with a National involved.

I also got a “hot box”, comparatively. The following all came from one box, the one with the Strasburg:

These copper cards are kind of cool, but the edges chip VERY easily, so they’re going to be incredibly condition sensitive as time goes on. But yeah, that was a pretty great box.

My other copper was a Paul Maholm:

I also got a big handful of Turkey Red, always welcome:

All in all, I give the Value Boxes an A+. I feel like I got more than $15 worth of material in those boxes, and the chrome cards are a nice addition. I’ll eventually cover my Million Card Giveaway stuff, but I’m in the process of trying to convert what I got to Senators, Expos, and Nationals. I have, however, already requested delivery on this card:

1968 Topps

That card began its life as a Jose Vidal 1969, then was transformed into a Denny Lemaster 1967 and ended up here. I’m always happy with a new 68 card! Thanks for these, Topps.

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