Last Chance to Save! Spring Cleaning Sales Ends May 12th!

All Orders of $99 or More Ship Free!

Whether you’re using COMC Credit to make offers on items with your COMC account, or you’re using our shopping cart to complete an order as a member or guest, spend at least $99 or more during our Spring Cleaning Sale and your order will qualify for free shipping!

(Terms: All shopping cart orders and COMC Member shipment requests must contain at least $99 worth of items purchased during the Spring Cleaning Sales to qualify for the free shipping promotion. Sales tax, per-item shipping fees, duties paid, and shipping add-ons such as supplies do not apply towards $99 threshold. All items purchased in advanced reseller mode are still subject to their per-item shipping fees) 

Social Media Giveaways ALL Week Long!
Over $3000 in COMC Credit  & Cards Will be Given Away to Our Followers!

Our goal is to get the internet trading card community buzzing about our Spring Cleaning Sale. So with that in mind we’re going to be holding daily COMC Credit Giveaways and chances to win some pretty spectacular cards! Here’s how you can get in on the action:

Facebook:  Want to win COMC Credit to spend during the Spring Cleaning Sale?  Every afternoon from May 5th-10th on our Facebook page be on the lookout for your chance to win COMC Credit!
Twitter:  Every day at Noon from May 5th-12th on Twitter we’re giving our followers a chance to win one of eight incredible cards including an incredible Mike Trout autograph!
Instagram: Be sure to stay tuned to our instagram account for your chance to win three very hot cards of Giannnis Antetokounmpo, Baker Mayfield, and Juan Soto. Did someone say autograph? 

Win a $250 COMC Shopping Spree! 

To show our appreciation to customers and blog readers, we’re giving back to you! If you’ve made an order or shipment request that qualifies for our FREE Spring Cleaning Shipping Special, be sure to come back to our blog and leave a comment with your order number or shipment request number! At the conclusion of our Spring Cleaning Sale, all qualifying comments will be entered to win a $250 COMC Shopping Spree! Winner will be announced via our Social Media pages and notified on May 14th. 

Sign Up and Save! The benefits of a COMC Account!

Did you know that by simply signing up for a FREE account that you unlock all of these perks and many more:

  • Always save 10% to 15% more than COMC guests.
  • Make offers to sellers on cards for sale on the COMC Marketplace.
  • Keep Items in your online inventory until you’re ready to ship them home.
  • Choose additional shipping services that are exclusive for COMC members.
  • Sell Cards by sending in your own cards for consignment.
  • Flip cards sent in by other sellers by instantly by relisting at a higher price.

The COMC Spring Cleaning Sale is NOW LIVE!

(5/6/19 Update: The COMC Spring Cleaning Sale is NOW LIVE!)

Win a $250 COMC Shopping Spree! 

To show our appreciation to customers and blog readers, we’re giving back to you! If you’ve made an order or shipment request that qualifies for our FREE Spring Cleaning Shipping Special, be sure to come back to our blog and leave a comment with your order number or shipment request number! At the conclusion of our Spring Cleaning Sale, all qualifying comments will be entered to win $250 in COMC Credit to spend however you want! Winner will be announced via our Social Media pages and notified on May 14th. 

Get ready to save! The annual COMC Spring Cleaning Sale is coming May 6th – 12th, 2019!  This is the perfect opportunity for buyers and sellers to connect during our first big sales event of 2019!  This year we’re giving our buyers, sellers, and even flippers plenty of reasons to get excited!

Orders of $99 or More Ship Free!

While the best deals can be had by making offers and buying items using COMC Credit with your COMC account, no matter how you choose to shop, orders of $99 or more will qualify for our free shipping promotion! Whether you’re a COMC Member using COMC credit or our shopping cart to buy items, or shopping on COMC as a guest, your order of $99 or more will ship FREE!

(Terms: All shopping cart orders and COMC Member shipment requests must contain at least $99 worth of items purchased during the Spring Cleaning Sales to qualify for the free shipping promotion. Sales tax, per-item shipping fees, duties paid, and shipping add-ons such as supplies do not count towards the $99 threshold. All items purchased in advanced reseller mode are still subject to their per-item shipping fees)

Social Media Giveaways ALL Week Long!
Over $3000 in COMC Credit  & Cards Will be Given Away to Our Followers!

Our goal is to get the internet trading card community buzzing about our Spring Cleaning Sale. So with that in mind we’re going to be holding daily COMC Credit Giveaways and chances to win some pretty spectacular cards! Here’s how you can get in on the action:

Facebook:  Want to win COMC Credit to spend during the Spring Cleaning Sale?  Every afternoon from May 5th-10th on our Facebook page be on the lookout for your chance to win COMC Credit!
Twitter:  Every day at Noon from May 5th-12th on Twitter we’re giving our followers a chance to win one of eight incredible cards including an high-end Mike Trout autograph!
Instagram: Be sure to stay tuned to our instagram account for your chance to win three very hot cards of Giannnis Antetokounmpo, Baker Mayfield, and Juan Soto. Did someone say autograph? 

COMC Members Do and Save More!

Longtime COMC members agree that there is no better way to use COMC than with a COMC account. We offer a unique online inventory system that you won’t find anywhere else! Just take a look at a few of the things you can do by just signing up for a FREE account:

COMC Members Advantages:

  • Always save 10% to 15% more than COMC guests.
  • Make offers to sellers on cards for sale on the COMC Marketplace.
  • Keep Items in your online inventory until you’re ready to ship them home.
  • Choose additional shipping services that are exclusive to COMC members.
  • Sell Cards by sending in your own cards for consignment.
  • Flip cards sent in by other sellers by instantly relisting at a higher price.

Get Ready, COMC Sellers! 

Free Sales Promotion for all Sellers throughout Spring Cleaning!

Back by popular demand we’re waiving our promotion setup fee for all COMC sellers throughout the course of our Spring Cleaning Sale.Head on over to the Promotions Page and set up your FREE Sales Promotion now! But don’t forget – thousands of other sellers will be running sales also – so make sure to give buyers a deal too good to resist!

If you’re not already a COMC member, register for your free account today! We look forward to you joining us for our first big sale of 2019!

Guest Blog: Cardboard Therapy

(Editors Note: Please welcome COMC Member Jason1969 to the COMC Blog! This post comes to us thanks to the Call to Arms we put out earlier this month seeking guest writers. Jason enjoys writing about baseball and baseball cards for the SABR Baseball Cards Committee and on his personal blog. He can be found on twitter as @HeavyJ28.  His main collecting interest is vintage baseball, especially Hank Aaron, but he also boasts (and yes, that’s the right word) over 600 different playing career cards of Dwight Gooden cards, many of which he was able to obtain right here on COMC)

By Jason A. Schwartz

For my guest appearance on the COMC blog I will get personal. My hope is that most readers will never find themselves in my shoes, but I hope my experience can help any of those who someday do.

Just under five years ago I found myself in a near-empty apartment alone. In the basement was my guitar, in the kitchen was a coffee mug, and in my hands was a small cardboard box containing the top hundred or so cards I’d saved from when I was a collector back in the day.

For the first time in a decade I opened the box and flipped through the cards. The rush of memories was incredible. Sometimes it was of the player and how much I loved him (in a fan sort of way, please). Other times it was the recollection of where I was and who I was with when I bought the card. The one constant as I made my way through the stack of top loaders was joy, something I hadn’t felt for a while.

I hadn’t purchased a baseball card for 20 years, and I suspected a lot had changed in that time. Were the Beckett Monthly and the Kit Young mail-order catalog still around? (Yes.) Were there still local card shops in every neighborhood? (No.) Were my Jose Canseco rookie cards worth a lot? (No.) Had the Hobby moved to the internet? (DEFINITELY!)

By evening I had made an online purchase of three of the Hank Aaron cards I needed for his basic Topps run. There were important areas of my life where I felt powerless, but it turned out buying Hank Aaron cards wasn’t one of them. Ditto for completing my 1957 Topps Brooklyn Dodgers team set that had been one card short for more than two decades, and ditto for starting on the 1956 version of the same.

I may have gone a bit overboard at times, but man oh man did I love coming home to a #MailDay! Man oh man was it a thrill to frame my completed Hank Aaron run and hang it on my wall. And man oh man was it fun to become part of an online community of collectors who not only buy, sell, and trade cards but eat, breathe, and sleep cards as obsessively as me! (Okay, don’t take that last part completely literally.)

When we’re at low points in our lives we sometimes hear that “it gets better.” I’m here to bear witness that it does. There was a lot I did to get from there to here, and I won’t kid you that some of it—maybe most of it—completely sucked. However, one little thing I did that made a huge difference was getting back into the hobby I loved so much as a kid. In my case, pairing “cardboard therapy” with “real” therapy proved to be the perfect combination for rebuilding my collection as I rebuilt my life.

Retail Therapy – 2019 Topps Series 1 Baseball

Welcome to our first ever ‘Snowed In’ edition of Retail Therapy! With snow blanketing much of the Pacific Northwest and expected to continue for some time, we’re ripping away from the office this time around. While some people might prefer to stay inside under a blanket and watch their favorite series on Netflix, not us! We picked up a couple of blaster boxes of this year’s flagship Topps set before #Snowmaggedon hit the PNW, so we could bring this blog to you regardless of the conditions outside!

2019 Topps Series 1 was released on January 30th and features the standard 350 card base set and plenty of parallels, short prints, super short prints, inserts, autographs and memorabilia! While you might have to rely on Cardboard Connection’s short print variation guide for regular short prints, super short prints are a bit easier to spot as they all feature Hall of Fame players. Topps also celebrates their 1984 set with plenty of insert sets stylized after the 84′ design.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time for the big reveal! How does the flagship Topps design look this year?

Pretty good, actually!  Topps opted for a half-bordered design this year, with the player’s first name found within the color that wraps from the left edge of the card to the upper right. Our one complaint is that the gray last name on top of the color is prominent in the design, and does occasionally get lost in the mix between the white space and player’s photograph. The cards actually look much more sharp in person than they do in photographs or scans. On the other hand, the 1984 inserts are extremely sharp on the modern card stock. This is not the first time Topps has brought this design back. It was most recently included as part of the 2012 Topps Archives base set cards #151-200, and has been used many times over in Topps On-Demand products as well.

In addition to the 1984 inserts, the Grapefruit League Greats set really stands out for it’s absolutely gorgeous set design. Home Run Challenge cards return as well, and we were fortunate enough to hit two: Juan Soto and Gary Sanchez. We’ve polled our twitter followers to choose a date, and even though the odds are astronomical, if we’re lucky to win the trip to the 2020 Home Run Derby, we’ll be sure to take plenty of photographs and share!

Ballpark Evolution is another really fun insert set this year, which shows how far some of the game’s most legendary cathedrals have come over time:

For $19.99, Topps flagship series blasters almost never disappoint. The Topps flagship series are sets that appeals to a wide array of collectors. Sure, the amazing hits and chase cards can be found in hobby and Jumbo HTA boxes, but Series 1, 2 & Update are products that should be opened and collected to celebrate a time when the hobby was simple, and the rookie card was king.

With that being said, our only gripe with our two blasters was the inadequate collation of base cards, as each blaster yielded 6 RC’s and 3 future stars featuring all of the same players!

As always, we’ve saved the best for last! If you read our blog last month, you’ll know that a certain COMC employee (who may or may not also be ghostwriting this blog) enjoys manufactured patch cards. In commemoration of 150 years of professional baseball, this year’s retail manufactured patch cards feature a vinyl logo. The top card is numbered to /50 :

But if manufactured patch cards aren’t your thing, don’t worry! While there are a bevy of different ‘fake’ patches, there are several real ones to be found in the nosebleed of the stated odds section. Our resident Mitch Haniger collection was able to pick up this spectacular one-of-one Letter Patch card shortly after the product release:

RECAP:

All-in-all, in our 14 total packs (2 blasters) we hit two gold /2019 parallels, one foil parallel, and two unnumbered 150th anniversary stamped base cards. For inserts we hit four 1984 throwbacks, two home run challenges, six Grapefruit League Greats, two Greatest Moments, and one Ballpark Evolution. We also received both of our guaranteed patch cards. If you’ve been following along with this series, you’ll remember we’ve been snubbed on guarantees more than once!

That’s going to do it for this installment of Retail Therapy. We expect to start seeing 2019 Topps Series 1 cards find their way onto the COMC marketplace in mid-February, and in a few weeks, we’ll have plenty of base and insert cards in stock to help you complete your sets!

As always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the COMC_Breakhits account shortly! How much Topps Series 1 will you be breaking? Leave us a message in the comments below letting us know what you’ve hit so far, or what you think of the set this year!

Fresh Out of the Pack #6 – New Sets Found on the COMC Marketplace

Fresh out of the Pack #6

Check out what’s new on the COMC Marketplace….

In our ongoing series ‘Fresh out of the Pack’ , we shine the spotlight on the latest sets that have emerged on the COMC Marketplace. It’s been a little while since our last installment of ‘Fresh out of the Pack’, so a lot of products have

Fresh new inventory of these sets will be added for many months to come, so be sure to check back often!

2018 Baseball

2018-19 Basketball

2018 Football

2018-19 Hockey

2018 Misc. Sports & Non-Sports

Retail Therapy – Topps Holiday & Panini NBA Hoops Holiday!

Welcome back to Retail Therapy, an ongoing blog series where we test our luck and try to beat the odds while showing you some new products that should be available at a retail store near you. We’ve had some fairly miserable retail breaks in the past that you can check out here, so we were hoping to end the year on a high note.

In the spirit of the Holiday season, this time around we decided to bust a blaster box of 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball, and one 2018-19 NBA Hoops Holiday Box blaster as well. A recent trend in the industry has seen both Topps and Panini producing winter-themed products over the last couple of years. Topps actually produces a Holiday version of Bowman baseball as well that is far more festive, featuring Holiday Sweater parallels and Turkey Stamped Autographs. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the 2018 edition locally, so we opted for Topps baseball instead.

2018 Topps Baseball was up first, offering 10 cards per pack, 10 packs per box, and one guaranteed relic, auto, or relic auto per box. More likely than not a relic is to be expected, with the stated odds favoring the swatch over the pen.

 

For $19.99, the 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball is a fun blaster filled with plenty of big name stars and it’s fair share of rookie cards as well. Overall, there are 200 names in the main checklist, with only two parallels: snowflake (1:2 packs) and 1:1 gold snowflakes that drop one every 5,799 packs.

Will the Shohei Ohtani RC with a snowflake design go down in history as one of his most coveted rookie cards? Probably not, but it’s a fun low-end card for younger collectors and completionist player collectors.  The snowflake border pattern is much more festive this year in comparison to last year’s edition, which saw the snowflakes primarily on the upper right of the card.

However, the metallic snowflake parallel returns this year and is substantially worse than last year’s parallel. Can you tell which is which in the two Whit Merrifield cards above? In the card on the left you can see slightly raised texture snowflakes, indicating the parallel. This is in contrast to the 2017 Metallic Snowflake which threw a little bit of silver glitter in the winter pattern on the card. We received five of these parallels and they’re very underwhelming. In their place, we would love to see short prints of our favorite players wearing Santa hats or beards in 2019 – make it happen, Topps!

Oh, what is this? It’s a Holiday Miracle! We beat the odds and pulled a sticker auto of St. Louis Cardinals  Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Luke Weaver numbered to 10! With stated odds of 1 per every 297 packs, we beat the odds pretty good here for our first ever auto in the Retail Therapy blog series. The auto checklist includes the likes of Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Ronald Acuna Jr, but we’re not complaining!

Onto NBA Hoops, which to our surprise have a very well gift wrapping designed wrapper. Offering 8 cards per pack, 11 packs per box, and one auto or memorabilia card (on average) for $19.99, this winterized version of a Panini staple set should be a hit among casual collectors and younger fans of the game. The checklist features current stars, rookies, and legends of the past.

 

Overall, the card design lacks the holiday flair of the Topps Baseball design, as snowflakes can be found within the photography of the base cards and not around the border. This year’s hoops design is somewhat plain, but the set can usually be counted on for above average photography and it does deliver in this year’s edition. Our 11 packs yielded six rookie cards, with some packs containing two and most containing none. While we did secure a DeAndre Ayton RC, and the Miles Bridge RC should be of interest to COMC CEO and resident Charlotte Hornets Fan Tim Getsch, Luka Doncic was absent from our blaster.

Also absent from our blaster box was an autograph or relic! The Grinch known as (on average) reared it’s ugly head and denied us, taking away from some of the luster of our premium hit in the previous blaster. Each pack did contain an insert, most of which were well designed. We’ll echo our same sentiments about the NBA Hoops Purple Parallel that we did about the Snowflake parallels in Topps – they just aren’t festive enough, Panini! Is a gift wrapping border with a bow in the corner too much to ask for? We think not!

That’s going to do it for this installment of Retail Therapy. As always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the Blog_BreakHits account! Will some of these items be in your stocking this Holiday Season?

BEST OF 2018: Behind the Cards: The Fred Hutchinson Story

As 2018 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to look back at one of our very favorite posts that we have ever shared on the COMC Blog. A long time COMC user graciously submitted this incredible career retrospective of Fred Hutchinson. We’re hoping to be able to share his writing with as many sports fan as possible. This story was originally published on 03/09/2018 and is presented in it’s entirety in this blog as well

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(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.