Rich Reminisces: Roger Craig

One of the great aspects of my role with COMC is the freedom I have within my office. The way I’m able to work is with an oldies-based internet radio station, old radio air-checks, or old sports radio broadcast playing just about at all times. Of course, I do turn them off for the occasional work meeting or other important aspect, but since I’m in an office by myself most of the time, some background noise is very appreciated.

Out of all those sports radio broadcast stations available on sites such as youtube, my personal favorite is “Classic Baseball on the Radio:” This user posts exactly what his name is, which is old radio broadcasts, which have been preserved in many cases for more than 60 years. The person got most of his air checks from a person who lived in Upstate New York and thus the vast majority of the games are either New York Yankees or New York Mets games. Since I grew up watching those two teams, albeit a few years later than these recordings, there is a great pleasure in hearing about those players one never saw being brought to life.

In my GTS column, I have mentioned the work that the great Raymond Jones has done in helping us with the Adat Chaverim show. Raymond comes up whenever I receive a new donation and takes boxes with him to see if he can make sets based on what he notices in those boxes. I think Raymond made 20-30 sets for us for the last show and also did some yeoman work in verifying sets were actually complete. I mention Raymond because for a good 2-3 months Roger Craig seemed to be on the mound (or would come on in relief) in every Mets game. We’ll go through his career later, but yes, he pitched in a time when many starters would come in for an appearance. Try that in today’s baseball world and you would hear screams from every executive. For fun, check out Lefty Grove‘s statistics some time on Baseball Reference. You will see some interesting categories he led the league in during the same season.

So for those reasons, we agreed Roger Craig should be the official baseball player of the DFW COMC office. The only other athlete we (actually I) considered for this honor was WWE Superstar Alexa Bliss. Raymond and myself have a running conversation about whether we prefer ‘The Godess’ Ms. Bliss, or his favorite, ‘The Empress of Tomorrow” Asuka. If you have never seen this bit entitled a Moment of Bliss from a recent WWE Raw episode, you are missing the development of a future actress. Note how easily she delivers the line comparing herself to Nelson Mandela, or discussing herself as a 7-year old goddess while building up a match against rival Trish Stratus. She actually has a future in Hollywood if she does desire:

And now that we have finished with our digression about Ms. Bliss (and who would really object to focusing on her?), let’s return to Roger Craig. Roger’s rookie card are in the 1956 Topps set, and yes there are two versions available (White and Grey back). Those cards are very affordable and show the stats of someone who did help the Brooklyn Dodgers win their only World Series the previous season.

Roger would continue to be part of the Dodgers organization for the next several years. His best year as a Dodger was probably in 1959 when he tossed four shutouts to lead the National League and garnered the only MVP votes of his career. But after the 1961 season, his career would turn, and not in the best way. Whilst he only spent two seasons with the expansion New York Mets, he compiled an 15-46 record. Now the saying goes you have to be a pretty good pitcher to lose 20 games in a season, so he must have been a great pitcher to do that in consecutive seasons. Here is his first Topps card as a Met and just as with the 1956 card there are two varieties. We are picturing the Green Tint Topps card in the card on the right.

A side note on 62 Green Tints: When I was collecting a master 1962 Topps set way back in the day, it took me forever to get a Moose Skowron green tint card. To me, that card was probably harder to acquire than the now well-known 1961 short print Skowron card. But I think the bemused expression on Craig’s face presaged his next two seasons.

At the end of the 1962 season, Craig was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals and as if the gods were shining down, Craig pitched on another World Championship team.

Frankly, by the conclusion of the 1964 season, Roger’s career was pretty much concluded. He did spend the 1965-66 seasons with two different NL teams and completed his career shortly after his 35th birthday. His final card as a player was a 1966 Topps High Number which does make sense, since by that time in his career Topps was not always sure he would make a major league roster. As Sy Berger would note, Topps usually had a pretty good concept of who would make the team coming out of spring training. Not perfect, but pretty darn good for that era

But we are not done with Mr. Craig. Roger ended up as a baseball lifer and spent almost a quarter-century as either a pitching coach or a manager. He was the pitching coach for the 1964 World Champion Detroit Tigers and managed the 1989 San Francisco Giants to the World Series.

Here is a really cool Mother’s Cookies Roger Craig card with him in a traditional managerial pose:

Roger has continued to have cards issued almost to the present day. A few years ago, Topps Heritage included him in their 2015 Real One Autographs insert set. As they have done a “reprint” final year card was created so the player could autograph those cards for random placement in packs.

 

Quite a life for the nearly 90 year old Roger Craig and we are happy to show you some of the cards of Mr. Craig, the official baseball player of the COMC DFW office.

I would love to hear your comments and your suggestions for future blog post subjects. Reach me by email with your thoughts at RichKlein@comc.com.

Sets Revisited: 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects (baseball)

By James Good

Although I consider myself a lifelong collector, there was about a five or six year stretch through my teenage and early adult years where my trading card collection remained largely dormant.  The 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects set is near and dear to my heart because it was the first product that pulled me back into the hobby as an adult a little over ten years ago. That makes it a perfect candidate for this installment of Sets Revisited.

As close as a 90’s kid would ever get to the real thing!

As a 90’s kid in the hobby, I bought and traded cards not only because it was AWESOME to have a superior collection than my friends, but also because I was led to believe that one day I would be sitting on a goldmine of cardboard. Shout out to all the fellow 90’s collectors with hundreds of pounds of junk wax era cards who felt the same way! While that pipe dream has yet to pan out, 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospect was the first set that really introduced me to the prospecting aspect of the hobby.

In early 2008 I took a job at a sports card and memorabilia shop at the local mall. As I got reacquainted with the hobby, a lot had changed, particularly on the baseball card front. I was completely caught off guard that products containing primarily minor league players had leaped to the forefront of collector’s attention. I could not believe that the Ken Griffey Jr. and 90’s Mickey Mantle insert cards that I loved so much were worth so little, yet collectors were now crazy for kids who had yet to make their major league debut. The idea of a stock market like approach to collecting fascinated me, and I too quickly bought into the hype.

Before I get into the prospecting element of this blog, everyone likes a feel-good story, right? At the time in early 2008, my favorite baseball player on the planet was Tim Lincecum. ‘Lincy’ was a University of Washington pitching standout who I always felt belonged in Seattle Mariners uniform. But as fate would have it, my beloved Mariners instead took Brandon Morrow in the 2006 MLB Draft with the sixth overall pick instead, passing on names like Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer. I’ll save my grievances for a later blog. Regardless, in my very first box of 2007 Bowman DP&P, I pulled a monster rookie card of my favorite player:

2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects – Red Refractor Tim Lincecum #’d 3/5
(It kills me that I don’t have a better picture!)

That was all the excitement and enjoyment that I needed to keep ripping the product for the next several months. To this day, I have not hit a card from a product that I have loved nearly as much as I did that card. One of my biggest regrets in collecting was selling it when money was tight back in 2009. I’m hopeful that someday it will return to my collection, but for now a gold refractor version that I was able to snag for about $30 earlier this year on COMC will suffice.

As far as the prospects in the set, time is the one true constant in the world of professional sports, and time will always tell all. Enough time has passed that there is no more speculation to be had with 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects. Without further ado…

Who Were We Prospecting Back in 2008?

2007 Bowman DP&P was not a product that was popular for the autographs, but rather for the 1st Bowman non-autographed cards of several top prospects. We’ll get to them later. The set simply did not have a truly standout autograph class at the time:

BDPP111 Daniel Moskos
BDPP112 Ross Detwiler
BDPP113 Tim Alderson
BDPP114 Beau Mills
BDPP115 Devin Mesoraco
BDPP116 Kyle Lotzkar
BDPP117 Blake Beavan
BDPP118 Peter Kozma
BDPP119 Chris Withrow
BDPP120 Corey Lubke
BDPP121 Nick Schmidt
BDPP122 Michael Main
BDPP123 Aaron Poreda
BDPP124 James Simmons
BDPP125 Ben Revere
BDPP126 Joe Savery
BDPP127 Jonathan Gilmore
BDPP128 Todd Frazier
BDPP129 Matt Mangini
BDPP130 Casey Weathers

BDPP131 Nick Noonan
BDPP132 Kellen Kulbacki
BDPP133 Michael Burgess
BDPP134 Nick Hagadone
BDPP135 Clayton Mortensen
BDPP136 Justin Jackson
BDPP137 Ed Easley
BDPP138 Corey Brown
BDPP139 Danny Payne
BDPP140 Travis d’Arnaud

Looking at this list in 2018 is almost painful, and not just because none of the prospects who I invested in panned out. With the success of Tim Lincecum and the (at the time) raw potential of Madison Bumgarner, fellow Giants pitching prospect Tim Alderson seemed like a can’t miss prospect. While the latter two have multiple World Series rings and individual accomplishments, Alderson was never able to reach the bigs, logging nearly 800 minor league innings as of 2016.

I can’t recall if Todd Frazier was a hyped prospect back before his big league debut, but his name is one of two on this list that stand out as having solid big league careers. The other would be Ben Revere, who was one of if not THE top auto to hit in the product. Of the rest of these names, Beau Mills, Michael Main, Jonathan Gilmore, Michael Burgess, Kyle Lotzkar, and Nick Hagadone all had appeal and were considered the best of the rest.

As I spoke to earlier, the real appeal of 2007 Bowman DP&P came from the non-autographed 1st Bowman cards of several top prospects who would command top dollar from the day that the product was released. You can catch the full checklist for all 100 prospects in the set here. So who were the cant miss prospects of this set?

Matt Laporta and David Price were on EVERY prospectors radar. Laporta was generally seen as the safer option of the two, as even prospectors to this day would agree that prized pitching prospects are high-risk, high-reward investment opportunities. Obviously David Price has had a great career up to this point, so it’s always good to see a top prospect who does pan out. Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, and Freddie Freeman were also very coveted prospects who were hot sellers. Freeman  has an opportunity this season to become the first league MVP from this group, although in my belief he’s been passed up in that race as of this writing.

With Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, and Johnathan Gilmore, the Atlanta Braves were one of the most coveted teams in the forum group breaking scene. I opted to put my faith and dollars into the San Francisco Giants for the handful of breaks that I took part in.  Aside from Madison Bumgarner’s first prospect chrome and Tim Lincecum’s green-bordered RC, Nick Noonan, Wendell Fairley, and Henry Sosa were all above average prospects at the time as well.

Speaking of above average prospects, here are the five players that I recall being sleeper picks among prospectors. Do you remember any of these guys?

Of these five, I was most invested in Matt Dominguez, who was a machine in Single-A in 2008, cranking out 18 homers. He was never able to hit for both power and average the Major League level though, and it pains me to see that parallels of this chrome card can be had for a fraction of what they were worth back then.

Nobody had a clue about Kluber’s talent 10 years ago!

Lastly, I wanted to mention the one guy who I felt wasn’t on any prospector’s radar back then and who has had arguably the most accomplished career to date. That man would be Corey Kluber and his TWO Cy Young awards!  He remains the only base card in the set that consistently sells for above $5. The entire San Diego Padres team could be had in group breaks for just over double that price back in 2008.

2007 was a really interesting year for this product. The set list is broken up by draft picks, all depicted in professional uniforms, and prospects, who were photographed in action during the World Baseball Classic. Some collectors were put off by the fact that these players were depicted in their WBC country uniform, which really stunted the long term value of Clayton Kershaw’s card in the set among others.

That’s going to do it for this stroll down memory lane. Do you recall any fun memories from this set? Let us know in the comments below!

Rich’s Reminiscences: Bobby Bonilla

For those members of the COMC Nation who are not familiar with me, my name is Rich Klein and my current role in the hobby is that of a catalog maintenance expert for COMC. In performing this job, I see cool cards, many of which I have never seen before, and sometimes they trigger a thought about how interesting a card or a set really is. I’ve been in this hobby since the late 1970’s and set up at my first show at Montclair State College in New Jersey in 1979. Since then I’ve done just about everything in this business, and in terms or writing I’ve published had Rich’s Ramblings for Sports Collectors Daily for several years, and currently write a monthly column for GTS. These posts, as noted, will be about specific cards and/or sets, and we would prefer these posts be based on your suggestions rather than just what I think is interesting. I always credit our users and contributors and am grateful for anything you might send our way.

Now that was a long-winded way of saying: Welcome! This column was triggered by a card I saw yesterday while doing basic catalog work. The card which triggered this was a 1983 TCMA minor league card of Roberto Bonilla. We, of course, know him today as Bobby Bonilla, and every July 1st is lovingly known as Bobby Bonilla day because he receives more than one million dollars on said date each year. However, 35 years ago, he was just a young kid from the Bronx and we used his full name…

Bobby was such a prospect that when the Pirates lost him to the White Sox in the 1985 Rule 5 Amateur Draft, they traded one of their best pitching prospects midway through the 1986 season to bring him back to Pittsburgh. There he teamed up with fellow 1986 rookie Barry Bonds to lead the Pirates back to the playoffs after being dormant throughout the 1980’s. Those late 1980’s-early 1990’s Pirate teams were always knocking on the door but never quite made the World Series. Not that Bonilla had anything to do with this play, but this Sid Bream slide showed just how close the Pirates would come to the promised land:

By that point, Bonilla was already a member of the Mets, and the Pirates dismantling had just begun. Bonilla would bounce around a bit for the rest of his career but would still be an important player for the rest of the decade. In 1994, on the eve of the baseball strike, He offered to show a New York media personality the Bronx he grew up in. There was another incident as well which is still well know in the New York area:

But there were happier moments as well: If you watch the highlights of Cal Ripken Jr.‘s famed trot around the field after playing in his 2131st consecutive game, Bonilla is one of the players pushing him out of the dugout so he can enjoy the moment, and then two scant years later, Bonilla was a starter for the 1997 World Champions Florida Marlins. That is an honor his good friend, Barry Bonds was never able to enjoy. As his career wound down, the Mets asked to defer his salary at eight percent interest and pay him over a 25 year period between 2011 and 2035. So, this young kid from the Bronx who we originally knew as Roberto Bonilla, we now know today as Bobby Bonilla, patron saint of bad contracts. Quite a ride over those 35 years indeed.

I would love to hear your comments and your suggestions for future blog post subjects. Reach me by email with your thoughts at RichKlein@comc.com.

COMC x Seattle Mariners

Earlier last month, Topps unveiled their first-ever player curated set, ‘Topps x Bryce Harper’ . Topps worked with Bryce Harper to create “220: Second to None” , a box set containing not only players chosen by Bryce, but also cards designed by him as well. The base checklist includes Bryce Harper’s personally chosen fantasy starting lineup as well as five additional pitchers.

That set inspired us to curate our own set, appropriately named ‘COMC x Seattle Mariners’. In our set, we’re also creating our fantasy starting lineup and pitching staff, but we’re doing so using some cards that you’ve probably seen before. While Bryce’s team consisted of his favorite current baseball players representing all 30 MLB Teams, we’re focusing on just one team. So without further ado, here is our proposed set of favorite current and historical Seattle Mariners:

The Infield & Designated Hitter

1st Base – How could we possibly create an All-Mariners team and not include Mr. Mariner himself? First base has been a rotating door for the Mariners for the better part of the last twenty years. Alvin Davis provides consistency and power while hitting for average.

2nd Base – This was the toughest infield position to pick by far, as arguments could be made for former Mariners like Bret Boone, Harold Reynolds, and even Joey Cora. We went with current second baseman Robinson Cano, who’s three all-star appearances in a Mariners uniform, three hundred plus career homers, and continued production provide too strong of an argument to not include him on the team.

3rd Base – He only spent five of his 21 big league seasons playing for the Mariners, but future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre was an obvious choice at third base. Plus, we need someone to help keep Felix Hernandez (spoiler alert) in check, right?

Shortstop – Ask five baseball fans in 2018 what they think of Alex Rodriguez‘s baseball career and you might get five different answers. There were controversies and unhappy fan bases, but before the hundred million dollar contracts, it’s hard to find anything not to like about Alex Rodriguez. His time in Seattle produced nothing but good memories and huge stat lines.

Catcher – A case could definitely be made for Dave Valle, who spent ten years behind the dish for the M’s, but his successor Dan Wilson gets the nod on our All-Mariners team. Wilson embodied so much of the heart and soul that made the Mariners of the 1990’s so memorable.

Designated Hitter – The future Hall of Famer (mark our words) is an obvious choice to fill the designated hitter role on our team. A career .309 hitter with a WAR of 68.4 games, Edgar Martinez not only provides a ridiculously tough out in our batting order, but his grounded personality, leadership, and hitting knowledge is invaluable to this dream team.

The Outfield

Center Field – Was there ever any doubt?  If there was any other card than a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. RC to represent our center fielder, this blog would have lost all credibility. Ken Griffey Jr. is the cornerstone of our All-Mariners team.

Left Field – of the three outfield positions, Ichiro played left the least over his career.But we’re 100% confident that if Ichiro could play left in 2018 for the Mariners, he can certainly play it on our All-Mariners Team. With so many power hitters on the team, Ichiro provides speed at the top of the line up.

Right Field – It was difficult to leave Nelson Cruz off of our team, but Jay Buhner spent nearly 14 seasons in right field for the M’s. With over 300 career home runs, a cannon of an arm, and a huge fan favorite in Seattle, ‘Bone’ slightly edges our Cruz as our final pick.

Pitching

Three of our five starting pitchers were obvious no-brainer inclusions. We give the nod to Felix Hernandez as our Opening Day starter over Randy Johnson, while Jamie Moyer provides change of pace stability in the center of the rotation. James Paxton‘s career with the Mariners has been short up to this point, but we’ll speculate on his future returns. The fifth spot in our rotation could have went to a number of pitchers (Chris Bosio, Gaylord Perry, and Aaron Sele come to mind), but Freddy Garcia had three stellar seasons out of the five and a half he spent in Seattle, finishing second only to Carlos Beltran in the 1999 Rookie of the Year voting. The Mariners closing role has been a hodgepodge of good, bad, and ugly over the years, but with Edwin Diaz posting what might be the best year of any closer ever in 2018, that enough is reason for his inclusion on this squad.

So what do you think? Do you agree with our picks, or did we snub one of your favorite or deserving Mariner of the past or present? Let us know in the comments below!

Sets Revisited: Analyzing the 2012 Panini Contenders Football Rookie Autograph Checklist

One set that remains near and dear to my heart is the 2012 Panini Contenders Football set. Just a couple months before the set came out, I joined the COMC Team. This particular set has the distinct honor of being one of the first sets that I ripped with my fellow wax busting co-workers.

I’m not a big fan of a large autograph checklist, and the mammoth 145-card base and short print autograph checklist (not including insert autos) for this set was simply unbearable. Even though autographs drop at five per box for Contenders, more often than not your hits would wind up being 4 players who’s names you needed to google and one more desirable auto. We may never know the true print runs of base autos for sets like Panini Contenders, Topps Chrome, etc, but it’s realistic to believe that one would have open four or five cases (12 boxes per case x 5 autos per box = 60 autos per case), to acquire a complete set from a 145-card autograph checklist from this set.

Let’s look at who these 145 names were that made up this enormous set list from 2012 before we deep dive into what cards are worth actually investing in from the 2012 Panini Contenders set. For those who are playing along at home, be sure to tally the number of times you ask yourself, “Who?”:

101. Alfred Morris SP
102. Adrien Robinson
103. Andre Branch SP
104. B.J. Coleman SP
105. B.J. Cunningham
106. Bobby Rainey
107. Bobby Wagner SP
108. Brandon Hardin
109. Brandon Taylor
110. Bruce Irvin
111. Bryce Brown SP
112. Case Keenum
113. Casey Hayward
114. Chandler Harnish
115. Chandler Jones
116. Chris Polk
117. Chris Rainey SP
118. Josh Gordon SP
119. Coty Sensabaugh
120. Courtney Upshaw SP
121. Cyrus Gray
122. Dan Herron
123. Danny Coale
124. David DeCastro SP
125. Nigel Bradham
126. Deangelo Peterson SP
127. Demario Davis
128. Derek Wolfe SP
129. Devon Still SP
130. Devon Wylie
131. Dont’a Hightower SP
132. Dontari Poe SP
133. Dre Kirkpatrick SP
134. Bill Bentley
135. Jeff Demps SP
136. Josh Cooper
137. Fletcher Cox SP
138. George Iloka SP
139. Gerell Robinson
140. Rod Streater
141. Harrison Smith SP
142. Jamell Fleming
143. James Hanna SP
144. Janoris Jenkins SP
145. Jared Crick
146. Jeff Fuller
147. Jerel Worthy SP
148. Jonathan Martin
149. Josh Robinson
150. Juron Criner SP
151. Kellen Moore SP
152. Kendall Reyes
153. Keshawn Martin
154. Kevin Zeitler
155. Kirk Cousins
156. Ladarius Green SP
157. LaVon Brazill SP
158. Lavonte David
159. Luke Kuechly SP
160. Marc Tyler
161. Mark Barron SP
162. Jorvorskie Lane SP
163. Marvin Jones SP
164. Marvin McNutt
165. Matt Kalil
166. Melvin Ingram
167. Michael Brockers SP
168. Michael Smith SP
169. Mike Martin
170. Morris Claiborne SP
171. Mychal Kendricks SP
172. Najee Goode
173. Nick Perry
174. Olivier Vernon
175. Omar Bolden
176. Orson Charles
177. Quinton Coples SP
178. Rhett Ellison
179. Riley Reiff SP
180. Rishard Matthews
181. Ronnell Lewis SP
182. Ryan Lindley
183. Sean Spence
184. Shea McClellin
185. Stephon Gilmore
186. T.Y. Hilton SP
187. Greg Zuerlein SP
188. Tavon Wilson
189. Terrance Ganaway
190. Tim Benford
191. Tommy Streeter SP
192. Travis Benjamin
193. Trumaine Johnson
194. Tyrone Crawford
195. Vontaze Burfict
196. Whitney Mercilus SP
197. Vick Ballard
198. Vinny Curry
199. Zach Brown
200. Brandon Bolden SP
201. Andrew Luck SP
202. Robert Griffin III SP
203. Trent Richardson SP
204. Ryan Tannehill SP
205. Justin Blackmon SP
206. Brandon Weeden SP
207. Brock Osweiler
208. Michael Floyd
209. Kendall Wright
210. A.J. Jenkins
211. Doug Martin SP
212. Lamar Miller
213. Isaiah Pead SP
214. David Wilson
215. Stephen Hill
216. Mohamed Sanu SP
217. Bernard Pierce
218. Nick Foles SP
219. LaMichael James
220. Rueben Randle
221. Coby Fleener
222. Ryan Broyles
223. Dwayne Allen
224. Ronnie Hillman
225. Russell Wilson SP
226. Michael Egnew
227. Chris Givens
228. Joe Adams
229. Robert Turbin
230. Nick Toon
231. T.J. Graham
232. Brian Quick
233. DeVier Posey
234. Jarius Wright
235. Alshon Jeffery
236. Deonte Thompson SP
237. Justin Tucker SP
238. Damaris Johnson
239. Evan Rodriguez SP
240. Kris Adams SP
241. Daryl Richardson SP
242. Lance Dunbar SP
243. Blair Walsh SP
244. Miles Burris
245. Josh Norman SP

 

The Investment Group:

These four superstar quarterbacks need no introductions, as most should be household names at this juncture of their careers. Out of the gate, Andrew Luck was THE rookie autograph in the set that collectors were chasing, with Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III (more on him later) rounding out the big three autographs to chase from 2012 Panini Contenders.

Injuries in 2015 and 2017 have sidelined Luck’s stellar-up-to-this-point career. That hasn’t deterred his Contenders RC auto from fetching a premium however, as recent completed sales of Luck’s rookie ticket autograph have placed its value in the $550-$625 range.

A Seahawks Super Bowl victory in 2014 and a near repeat in 2015 propelled Russell Wilson to head of the 2012 Panini Contenders class before the ‘Hawks fell back down to earth in recent seasons. Raw copies of his base auto have settled around $225-250 for now, but PSA 10 copies of his white jersey variation autograph have seen sales of more than $600.00

The Kirk Cousins hype train is in full effect as he takes the reigns of the Minnesota Vikings in the upcoming season. RG3 was the Redskins QB to pull when 2012 Contenders was released, but now it’s Cousins that sits firmly as the third best QB in the set. Raw copies of his auto have sat in the $150-175 price range in recent weeks, with a Gem Mint BGS 9.5 hitting an all-time COMC high of $261.99 back in March. These prices should continue to rise, especially if he is able to achieve the same level of success that Case Keenum saw wearing a purple jersey in 2017, but more on him later.

It blows my mind how little love Nick Foles gets in the hobby. To steal a line from a certain NFL commentator, “Now here’s a guy…” who has a career completion percentage of 60.1%, has 61 career touchdowns to 29 interceptions, and oh yeah, a Super Bowl MVP to his name. All of this, and yet his 2012 Contenders auto is hovering at around the $50 range, a far cry from the all-time COMC high of $177.48 that it achieved in June of 2014. At just 29 years old, Foles has a proven track record and this card should be a strong long-term hold.

 The Up in the Air Crowd:

I’ve dubbed these four players the ‘Up in the Air’ crowd because even after nearly six years since product release, the jury is still out on their careers. These are players whose Contenders Rookie Ticket autos still have room to grow, but they will have to ascend upwards as they hit the prime of their careers.

Ryan Tannehill was sidelined by injury last season after leading the Dolphins to a 37-40 career record over his first five seasons. Case Keenum will be under center for the Denver Broncos, reunited with familiar coaches Vance Joseph and Gary Kubiak whom he spent time with in the Houston Texans organization. He led the Minnesota Vikings on a deep playoff run last season.

Alshon Jeffery has always had the talent to be a top-level receiver, but didn’t quite have the production output that the Eagles were looking for in his first year away from the Chicago Bears. With no shortage of talent in Philadelphia, a breakout season from Jeffery could add just another weapon to the team that will already give opposing defenses nightmares. T.Y. Hilton had his best pro season in 2016, but his production was limited in 2017 due to Andrew Luck’s injury. He’ll look to establish himself as a top receiver in the league – and should get plenty of targets to do so.

 The Value Menu:

These next three players have flown under the radar in terms of value in the 2012 Panini Contenders product, but that could all start to change in the upcoming season. Perhaps I’m a little bit partial here, but getting to watch Bobby Wagner play each week here in Seattle has led me to believe he is of the best linebackers in the league. He racked up nearly 100 tackles last season and continues to improve on a yearly basis.

No one has ever questioned Josh Gordon’s on-field abilities, but his actions off the field have led to limited action that saw him missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons completely. With renewed passion, and a seemingly new direction, if he can best his 87 reception, 1647 yard, 9 Touchdown performance in 2013, the Cleveland Browns will certainly be headed in the right direction as well.

Mohamed Sanu has always served his entire career as a very solid wide receiver who has lined up opposite of a superstar. On the Cincinnati Bengals he was overshadowed by A.J. Green, and now for the Atlanta Falcons he lines up opposite of Julio Jones.  He is one breakout season away from establishing himself as a go-to receiver. His Contenders auto can be had for less than $10 at time of writing. Taking a chance on this card could be a high-risk, high-reward venture. 

The Falls from Grace

When this product was released, these two autos were two of the top tier names on the checklist. The hype surrounding their rookie seasons was unreal. Unfortunately, no matter how bullet proof a player might look on draft day, dynamics can change in the blink of an eye.

On the field, Robert Griffin III was electric. By all accounts, his first two seasons showcased that he had all the potential to live up to the hype. However, injuries and concussions have derailed his career to date, and his 2012 Contenders auto has not come close to touching the $350 high watermark sale that it saw back in February of 2014.

Trent Richardson was taken 3rd overall in the 2012 draft by the Cleveland Browns, behind Luck and Griffin III.  A three-year college standout, his first season in Cleveland was not a total bust – as he averaged 3.6 yards per carry over 15 games while tying Jim Brown’s record of 9 rushing TD’s by a rookie running back. He was traded to the Colts the following season and averaged just over three yards a carry splitting time before being waved in early 2015.

 Those Coy Colts:

Thanks for the memories, Chandler Harnish and Coby Fleener! By memories, I’m referring to the number of times that my heart raced every time that I saw a Colts logo on one of autographed cards, only to realize that it was not the much-coveted Andrew Luck short print auto.  Harnish and Fleener were particularly painful to hit because Harnish had a similar pose as Luck, while Fleener’s photo was the same focal length as Luck. Both players were depicted in white jerseys as well. Dwayne Allen and Vick Ballard get a pass here for being depicted in their blue jerseys. 

Most in Stock:

If you read my last installment of Sets Revisited, you’ll know that I don’t like to say anything bad about the ‘hits’ in the product that just didn’t pan out at the professional level. At the time of writing, there were over 20 copies available of the players named above all in the $1 range. Let’s take a look at what these five accomplished in their NFL careers:

Devon Wylie (WR): Devon played six games for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 and two for the Tennessee Titans in 2013. Playing in six games in 2012, he caught six passes for 53 yards while primarily serving on kick and punt return special teams.

Bobby Rainey (RB):  Currently a free agent, Rainey suited up for nearly every game from 2013-2016 for three different teams. He’s averaged 4.0 yards per carry over 267 rushes as a commendable back up. Despite only playing 4 games in 2017, he did manage a 96-yard kickoff return for the Baltimore Ravens.

Brandon Hardin (Safety): We may never know what Brandon Hardin could have been in the NFL, as his career was derailed by injuries. In a preseason game in 2012, he was carted off the field with a neck injury and shortly after placed on injured reserve. In the final preseason game of 2013, he broke his scapula, further delaying his first appearance in the regular season. He has yet to make an appearance in a regular season game, but at 28 years old, is still considered as a free agent.

Josh Cooper (WR) – Undrafted out of Oklahoma St, Cooper played in 11 games over 2012 and 2013 for the Cleveland Browns. He caught 17 passes for 166 yards. He had a short stint with the Vikings in 2014 before being released.

Gerell Robinson (TE / WR) – Another undrafted player, Robinson played three games for the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns in 2014, but failed to register a reception.

Retrospective

Contenders has established itself as the home of the true rookie auto, and rightfully so. This flagship product is not without it’s flaws, however, as I will continue to fight tooth and nail that enormous autograph checklists are as much a pain to collectors as they are to card manufacturers in acquiring those autographs. 2012 was a particularly memorable Contenders product for myself and a lot of my fellow coworkers at COMC, as Russell Wilson had already taken over the QB job for a Seahawks team desperately in need of a direction. The chase for Andrew Luck rookie autos will remain a memorable history point in my time at COMC. I had much better results busting 2012 Panini Contenders than I did on 2012 Topps Supreme, but that’s a story for a different day.

Sets Revisited: Grading the 2017 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph Class

Welcome to Sets Revisited, a series where we take a look at sets of years past. This time around, we’re setting the way back machine to the Summer of 2017 to evaluate one of the hottest baseball sets in the last few years. The perfect storm of Aaron Judge in the East and Cody Bellinger in the West set the hobby ablaze. Long time collectors and new collectors returning the hobby simply could not get enough of these two sluggers. With a strong supporting rookie class, 2017 Topps Chrome was the highly anticipated pinnacle of the 2017 baseball season for Topps. Although Topps continued to release sets well into the off season, nothing quite captured the magic of 2017 Topps Chrome.

Do you have a set that is near and dear to your heart and want to write about it? We’re always looking for guest writers on the COMC Blog to share their passion for cards! Send an email to Staff@COMC.com and we’d be more than happy to chat about your blog ideas!

Please note that any price speculation, player or card evaluations in this blog are the opinions of the writer – James Good  in this case, and do not reflect the same views as COMC as a company.

The A Class – aka The Money Cards

It should really be no surprise to see this group of players leading the pack as the rookie autograph cream of the crop. While Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger went back and forth in the popularity contest while each running away with their respective league’s Rookie of the Year crowns, Alex Bregman and Andrew Benintendi quietly put together campaigns that would have put them in the running for those awards in most seasons. Meanwhile, Yoan Moncada and Ian Happ showed strong promise

Judge and Bellinger autos will set you back quite a few dollars, but both have the early makings of becoming iconic cards in the industry. If they’re anything like their fellow mega stars of the game (Giancarlo Stanton & Bryce Harper come to mind), their value should rise steadily for years to come.  Benintendi, Bregman and Moncada are all more economical investment options, and could yield higher returns overall than the big two, but at a slower rate. Happ remains the wild card of the group, but has all the makings of a star and plays for a big market team, hence deserving a spot in the A Class.

 

The B Class – aka The Investment Group

I’v dubbed the next ten best cards of the 2017 Topps Chrome Rookie Auto class as ‘The Investment Group’ because several of these players have a chance to break out huge over the next several years and join the ranks of standout 2017 rookies above. Trey Mancini came into the season with a buzz and did not disappoint. His stock could rise substantially in Baltimore with the speculative departure of Manny Machado. Mitch Haniger flew under the radar for the Seattle Mariners in 2017, and despite injuries produced a stat line similar to Bregman. It wasn’t until he cranked out 10 home runs in April 2018 that his hobby stock rose significantly and the price of his ’17 Topps Chrome Auto rose from $4 to $15.

Yuli Guerriel‘s age (32) played a factor in his hobby value, but like Bregman, did have a huge spotlight shined on him (both positively and negatively) as the Astros claimed World Series glory. Teoscar Hernandez only played 26 games last year, but did hit 8 homers for Toronto after being traded in a deal that saw Francisco Liriano head to Houston. The price of his rookie auto has steadily risen ever since and his base auto is currently sold out at time of writing.

Matt Olson generated his fair share of hobby buzz by smashing 24 homers in under 60 games, but his value has tapered off in 2018 with a slow start. Josh Hader has increased his stock dramatically as a dynamic reliever who is an absolute strikeout machine. It’s likely that a large amount of Hader autos can still be found in $3 and $5 boxes at your local card shows – scoop them up because the kid is young and can deal! Hype for Alex Reyes is starting to generate as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He is the Cardinals top-rated prospect. Tyler Austin, David Dahl, and Ryon Healy round out the group with similar long term investment potential as the rest of the B Class, but they’ve yet to put it all together at the big league level for a sustained period of time yet. Of the three, Healy has shown above average defense and pop in his bat playing for the Seattle Mariners as their everyday first basemen. Any of these three players can get hot in an instant and when they do, their chrome starts shining a lot brighter!

The C Class – aka High Risk, High Reward

Rookie Chrome Autos for starting pitchers tend to be somewhat polarizing in the hobby – they’re either very hot or very tepid. Highly touted pitching prospects often dominate Bowman prospecting speculation, yet fail to produce similar hype initially once they reach Topps Chrome. For that reason, I’ve dubbed this class as high risk, high reward.

The C Class is rounded out by two starting pitchers who have each shown that they deserve a spot in their team’s starting rotation, but have yet to show collectors a reason to invest with urgency. Luke Weaver and Carson Fulmer have all the makings of top-of-the-rotation pitchers, but are still developing at the big league level. Jessie Winker, Lewis Brinson, Bradley Zimmer, Hunter Dozier and Franklin Barreto have yet to really make a splash in the majors, but they show all the tools to be solid everyday players. Unfortunately, in an industry that is constantly chasing the next big thing, they’ll each have to step it up to gain recognition in the hobby beyond the local scale.

The D Class – A Couple of These Guys Will Prove Everyone Wrong

*Record scratch* *Freeze Frame*
Dansby Swanson: “Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up here in the D Class….”

I know that this is going to generate some buzz, and a lot of people are going to disagree with my assessment. I hope that I end up being wrong, because I fully expect at least two or more of these guys to put together great big league careers. I expect that a few of these guys certainly won’t stay in the $5 price range either. But for right now, this is where Dansby Swanson belongs. He has all the potential to be a B+ or even an A- player years from now, but he has a long road to redemption. To say that his career up to this point hasn’t gone the way that him and a lot of speculative prospectors would have hoped would be an understatement. With all the young talent that is flowing in Atlanta, Dansby is going to struggle to regain his footing in the hobby as players like Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies pass him by.Although he has shown flashes of brilliance at times this season, he is currently a bottom of the order hitter on a team stacked with younger, and wildly more popular talent.

Of the rest of the players in this group, I’d like to highlight Jorge Alfaro, Chad Pinder, and Hunter Renfroe as the three most likely candidates to break out of this group. Pinder has also shown to be adept with the bat – cranking out 15 home runs in 2017 but striking out around 30% of the time.

The F Class – Available in Bulk on COMC!

I’m not going to say anything bad about this group of players. Every Topps Chrome rookie auto checklist is rounded out by a crop of guys who simply aren’t buzz worthy in the hobby. Some of these guys will have decent careers or fit niche roles very well throughout their career. However, for now they will forever be the ‘hits’ that could have been. For every Aaron Judge auto pulled from a pack of chrome with excitement, there is a Joe Jimenez or Reynaldo Lopez auto hit elsewhere with little fanfare.

The good news is that if one of these players do happen to break out, a feeding frenzy of flipping (say that one three times fast!) will happen because these players are all available in bulk on the COMC Marketplace! For the sake of optimism, I’ll take Rob Gsellman and Pat Valaika as my two candidates who could shift the market with a single performance.

Overall as a whole, I’m going to give the 2017 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph class a collective grade of B+ This set has some serious potential to go down as one of the best in Topps Chrome history. Featuring two of the games most popular players with bright careers ahead, and several others with the ability to reach that level, this wasn’t a product where collectors were only chasing one big name. I highly enjoyed ripping my case of 2017 Topps Chrome in a hotel room while vacationing in North Carolina. Hitting a purple Judge auto at the height of his popularity will always be one of my favorite hobby moments, and the reason why this set is near and dear to my heart.

Behind the Cards: The Fred Hutchinson Story

(Note from COMC: The following post comes to us from the desk of Stan Opdyke, a lifelong fan of the game of baseball who started collecting cards over 60 years ago. He has an affinity for the Baltimore Orioles, his favorite team in his youngest days. Through his involvement in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Mr. Opdyke was inspired to research and write this brilliant look at the cards produced by the life and times of Fred Hutchinson. If you would like to submit your article to us for consideration to be published on our blog, please email us at staff@comc.com.)

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Fred Hutchinson

Fred Hutchinson, at the age of 18, began his professional baseball career in 1938 as a pitcher for his hometown Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. Baseball cards were relatively scarce items at the time, at least in comparison to what they would become after World War ll, so unsurprisingly no baseball card of Hutch was produced in his first professional season.

Hutch was sensational for the Rainiers in 1938. Pitching most of the season as an 18 year old, Hutch compiled a 25-7 won/loss record and a 2.48 ERA. On his 19th birthday on August 12, 1938, he pitched before a standing room crowd at Seattle’s Sick’s Stadium in search of his 19th victory. Hutch got the win in a game that stands with the Edgar Martinez double that defeated the Yankees in the 1995 post season as one of the most iconic baseball games ever played in Seattle.

Hutch’s superb season drew the attention of major league teams and one of the two major producers of baseball cards in the 1930’s. On December 12, 1938, the Seattle Rainiers traded Fred Hutchinson to the Detroit Tigers for four players and $50,000 Depression era dollars. The huge outlay of cash undoubtedly influenced the Goudey gum company to include Hutch in its 1939 Premium set. The other major baseball card manufacturer of the era, Play Ball, did not issue a card of Hutch in 1939. 

1939 Fred Hutchinson Goudey Premium

The 1939 Goudey Premiums are listed in the 2013 Standard Catalogue of Vintage Baseball Cards in two distinct series, R303-A and R303-B. The R303-A cards are slightly smaller but otherwise identical to the R303-B cards. Both series of 1939 Goudey Premiums are unnumbered. Hutch appears in the 303-A series. The 1939 Goudey Premiums are baseball cards in that they were issued by a gum company and depict images of baseball players. However, in other ways they are not like baseball cards at all. The smaller sized 303-A cards still measure a very large 4 inches x 6 3/16 inches, far too large to fit in anyone’s shirt pocket. The Goudey Premiums also differ from typical baseball cards because they are printed on paper stock that is about the thickness of a newspaper page. The 1939 Goudey Premiums have the look and feel of a small poster.

The photograph Goudey selected to use of Hutch is a portrait of a teenager sporting a warm grin. It is a rare photo of a smiling Fred Hutchinson. When he grew older, Hutch was given the nicknames “The Bear” and “Old Stoneface,” quite a contrast to the photo on his 1939 Goudey Premium card.

Hutch struggled in 1939.  His trouble began in Spring Training when he lost the ability to throw strikes. His lack of control would have undoubtedly cost him a major league roster spot had the Tigers not invested so much money in him. However, because of the huge cash outlay, Hutch began the 1939 season in the major leagues.

Hutch made his major league debut in one of the most significant games in baseball history. The New York Yankees played against the Tigers in Detroit on May 2, 1939, and for the first time since May 31, 1925, the name of the legendary Lou Gehrig did not appear in a regular season box score. The Yankees scored early and often without Gehrig in the line-up. With the Tigers trailing 13-0, Hutch was brought into the game by Tiger manager Del Baker. Nothing went right for Hutch. Pitching just two-thirds of an inning, he surrendered four hits, five walks and eight earned runs.

Hutch was sent to the minor league Buffalo Bisons of the International League after his disastrous major league debut. His traditional pitching numbers (won/loss and ERA) were better in Buffalo than in Detroit, but in both the major and minor leagues in 1939, his performance significantly lagged the excellent season he had for Seattle in the Pacific Coast League in 1938.

1940 Team Issued Fred Hutchinson Buffalo Bisons card

Hutch’s demotion to the minor leagues led to his second appearance on a baseball card. In 1940 the Buffalo Bisons issued a team set of baseball cards. The 1940 Bisons cards are printed on thicker paper and are much smaller then the 1939 Goudey Premium cards. The unnumbered 1940 Bisons Fred Hutchinson card shows him winding up as if he is about to deliver a pitch. The photograph was obviously staged because the picture was taken on the grass in front of a dugout rather than on a pitcher’s mound.

Hutch pitched for both Buffalo and Detroit in 1940.  Detroit won the American League pennant in 1940 and Hutch was included on the Tigers World Series roster. He pitched one World Series inning against a team he would one day manage, the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed one walk, one hit and one earned run.

In 1941 Hutch, pitching for the Buffalo Bisons, turned in a performance reminiscent of his sensational 1938 season in the Pacific Coast League. He won 26 games for Buffalo in 1941 and in 284 innings he turned in an excellent 2.44 ERA. With such a stellar season behind him, Hutch seemed destined to earn a spot on the Tigers major league roster in 1942. World War II however intervened.

Hutch enlisted in the Navy shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the Navy’s physical education program. Hutch pitched for Navy teams in Norfolk, VA, Seattle, WA, and Hawaii, so during the war he was able to keep his baseball skills sharp.

The baseball players who served in the military in World War II returned en masse to organized baseball in 1946. Hutch was part of the 1946 waive of ex-servicemen returning to professional baseball.  He spent the entire year in 1946 with the Detroit Tigers. It was the first time he spent a full season in the major leagues.

1991 Reprint of 1947 Tip Top Bread Fred Hutchinson Card

In 1947 Hutch appeared for the first time on a post war baseball card. The Tip Top Baking Company issued several regional baseball card sets in 1947 to promote the sale of Tip Top Bread. The unnumbered cards feature black and white pictures with the player’s name, position, team and league affiliation printed underneath the photo. Hutch’s Tip Top Bread card features a close up portrait of him wearing a Detroit Tigers cap.

In 1948 Hutch did not appear on a baseball card. In 1949 two gum manufacturers, Bowman and Leaf, produced baseball cards of Hutch. Fred Hutchinson’s 1949 Leaf card is his highest priced card. The 1949 Leaf set is extremely difficult to complete. About half the cards in the set are short printed and Hutch’s card is among the short printed cards. His 1949 Leaf card in excellent condition is worth $900.00. By way of comparison two other Hutch cards that are also difficult to find, his 1939 Goudey Premium card and his 1947 Tip Top Bread card, have much lower prices. His Goudey Premium card in excellent condition lists at $75.00 and his 1947 Tip Top Bread card in excellent condition lists at $150.00. (All prices are from the 2013 Standard Catalogue of Vintage Baseball Cards.)

In 1950, Bowman was the only gum company to produce baseball cards. Hutch is included in the 1950 Bowman set. His 1950 Bowman card is derived from a painting that was transformed into a baseball card. The painting depicts Hutch at the very end of his follow through after delivery of a pitch. Bowman got good mileage out of the painting because they used again in 1951. That same year, Hutch was named to the American League All Star team. He pitched three innings in the 1951 mid-summer classic.

In 1952 Hutch made his first appearance on a Topps card. Topps produced its first baseball card set a year earlier, but in its initial set the company did not issue a card of Fred Hutchinson.  Topps made up for its 1951 omission by producing a magnificent card of Hutch in the 1952 set. Bowman again used a painting to create the front of its baseball cards. The artist hired to paint Fred Hutchinson must have noticed the look on Hutch’s face after he had surrendered a long home run.

The Tigers had a miserable year in 1952, almost as miserable as the look on Hutch’s face on his 1952 Bowman card. On July 5th, with the club in last place, Tiger manager Red Rolfe was fired and Hutch was hired to replace him. Hutch remained on the Tigers active playing roster after he took over as manager. He continued in his dual role as a player and a manager in 1953.

Both Topps and Bowman included a card of Hutch in their 1953 sets. Topps took a page from Bowman by using a painting as the template for the front of its 1953 cards. Bowman emulated Topps by issuing a larger baseball card in 1953 than it had produced from 1948 to 1952. (Bowman did not issue a card of Hutch in 1948).  The 1953 Bowman set is considered by most collectors as one of the best baseball card sets ever produced. Hutch’s 1953 Bowman card is representative of the picture quality that exists throughout the set.

Hutch retired as an active player after the 1953 season.  He managed the Tigers for one year after retiring as a player. Neither Topps nor Bowman included managers in their 1954 sets, so 1954 marked the first time since 1948 that Fred Hutchinson did not appear on a baseball card.
After the 1954 season ended Hutch informed the Tigers he wanted a two year contract. The Tigers refused to offer more than one year. The impasse led to Hutch’s departure from Detroit when he refused to sign the one year contact he was offered.

Hutch was out of a job, but he was not out of baseball. In 1955 he returned to his hometown to manage the Seattle Rainiers to a Pacific Coast League pennant.  A year before Hutch”s arrival, the Rainiers began issuing baseball cards to fans who purchased popcorn at the team’s home games. Seattle minor league teams issued popcorn cards every year from 1954 through 1968.  It is hardly surprising that Hutch, the popular hometown manager, was included in the popcorn cards the team produced in 1955.

In 1956 Hutch returned to the major leagues to manage the St Louis Cardinals.  Topps was the only gum company that manufactured baseball cards during the three years Hutch managed the Cardinals.

 

Topps did not issue a card of Hutch while he managed in St. Louis. Topps  included few cards of managers in the sets it produced from 1956 to 1958. Brooklyn’s Walt Alston and Philadelphia’s Mayo Smith were the only managers Topps included in its 1956 set.  No managers were included in the 1957 set. In 1958 Topps issued only two cards of managers, a card of Reds manager Birdie Tebbetts with two of his players, Frank Robinson and Ed Bailey, and a card on which managers Casey Stengel and Fred Haney appeared together.

Hutch enjoyed some success with the Cardinals. In 1957, St. Louis finished in second place, fueling expectations that the team would contend for the pennant in 1958. However in 1958 the Cardinals played poorly, and as a consequence, Hutch was fired shortly before the 1958 season ended.

In 1959 Hutch returned to Seattle to once again manage the Rainiers. His second stint with the club lasted only three months. He was in town long enough though to appear in the 1959 edition of Seattle Rainiers popcorn cards.

In the middle of the 1959 season, Cincinnati Reds manager Mayo Smith was fired. Hutch was chosen to replace him.  Hutch managed the Cincinnati Reds to a 1961 World Series appearance. As was customary, he served as the National League All Star manager the following year. As a result of managing in the 1962 All Star game, Hutch became one of about a dozen men in baseball history (Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra and Alvin Dark are a few of the others) to manage and play in a World Series and manage and play in an All Star game.

Hutch remained the manager of the Reds until deteriorating health caused him to take a leave of absence in 1964. Hutch appeared in each baseball card set Topps produced from 1960 through 1964.

In late December of 1963 Hutch was diagnosed with cancer. He died of the disease eleven months after he was diagnosed. Between diagnosis and death, Hutch managed the Cincinnati Reds for most of the 1964 season. The determination and courage Hutch displayed during his last baseball season is told by Bruce Markusen in his excellent Hardball Times article, available online, “The Final Year of Fred Hutchinson’s Life.”

Hutch resigned as the manager of the Reds in a letter he sent to team owner Bill DeWitt dated October 11, 1964. Exactly one month later he died in Bradenton, Florida.