Swings and misses

1960 Topps

Perhaps best known as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ third-base coach, Joe Amalfitano spent parts of 10 seasons playing in the big leagues. He came up with the New York Giants in 1954 for nine games and was back for 36 more in 1955. He returned to the minors in 1956 and stayed there until 1960 when he re-joined the Giants, who were now in San Francisco. He had his best year at the plate that season, hitting .277 in 106 games. He played in 109 games the next year and set a career-high in runs scored (64). The Giants lost him to the Houston Colt .45’s in the 1962 expansion draft. He saw a career-high in games played that season (117) but was traded back to the Giants when the year concluded. Amalfitano spent 1963 with San Francisco then joined the Chicago Cubs in 1964, which is where he stayed for the remaining four years of his career. Following his playing career, he briefly managed the Cubs and coached from 1967-1998, including 16 years with the Dodgers.

1965 Topps

Twice an all star, Frank Bolling played for 12 years in the majors, hitting .254 with 106 home runs. Bolling came up with the Detroit Tigers in 1954 and played in 117 games. He spent the next season in the military then returned to the Tigers in 1956. He hit .281 that season and finished 27th in the MVP vote. He picked up a Gold Glove in 1958, a year that also saw him finish 16th in the MVP vote. The Tigers dealt him to the Milwaukee Braves in 1960 and he was an all star for Milwaukee in 1961 and 1962. He remained with the Braves in Milwaukee as their starting second baseman through 1965. He went with the team to Atlanta in 1966 for the final year of his career. Interestingly, Bolling never played any other position than second base in the majors.

1971 Topps

Richie Hebner spent 18 years playing in the big leagues, hitting .276 with 203 home runs in 1908 games. After a two-game stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1968, Hebner joined the team in 1969 as their starting third baseman. He hit .301 that season and continued to be a reliable bat for the Pirates for the next seven seasons. He set career highs in home runs (25) and RBIs (74) in 1973 then scored 97 runs in 1974, which was also a career best. Hebner joined the Philadelphia Phillies in 1977, shifting to first base due to the fact Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt was locked in at third for Philadelphia. He moved back to third when he joined the New York Mets in 1979, then went to the Detroit Tigers in 1980. Hebner returned to the Pirates in 1982 before finishing his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1985. During his career, Hebner played in eight National League Championship Series and one World Series with Pittsburgh in 1971. The Pirates won that year, defeating the Baltimore Orioles in seven games.

Published by Chris

Writer, historian, father, intrepid traveller, journalist, aging punk ... I am actually in a Hall of Fame.

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