Monday, December 05, 2011
A baseball card mystery: Ron Santo and who?Posted by Bruce Markusen
In honoring the rightful election of Ron Santo to the Hall of Fame, I’ll pose a question to which I already know part of the correct answer, so it still might require some research.
Santo’s 1972 Topps “In Action” card shows him batting in a road game, presumably during the 1971 season. There are three parts to the question, the first two parts of which I know the answer. In what ballpark was this photograph taken? And who is the opposing catcher?
Here’s the part that’s a bit more mystifying. There’s a third person in the photo. He is either Cubs third base coach Peanuts Lowrey, or the Giants’ third baseman (possibly Al Gallagher). Which one is it?
Santo, by the way, was one of 72 players and managers who were given action cards in 1972. Curiously, a number of these players were of the fringe variety; they were journeymen or even lesser known players, like Bob Barton, Curt Blefary, Jerry Johnson, Clay Kirby, and the rhyming Paul Schaal.
The list of action card also features a number of Hall of Famers, including Hank Aaron, Luis Aparicio, Johnny Bench, Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Willie Stargell, Billy Williams, and Carl Yastrzemski. By my count, Santo becomes the 14th Hall of Famer to have an action card in the 1972 set.
Suddenly, this 1972 action shot of Mr. Santo became a bit more valuable.
Bruce Markusen is the author of seven books on baseball, including the award-winning A Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s, the recipient of the Seymour Medal from the Society for American Baseball Research. He has also written The Team That Changed Baseball: Roberto Clemente and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates, Tales From The Mets Dugout, and The Orlando Cepeda Story.