Joe Cunningham

Cunningham57
1957 Topps

A two-time all star, Cunningham played 12 seasons in the big leagues, breaking in with St. Louis in 1954, then making a three-year stop with the Chicago White Sox, before retiring with Washington in 1966. Along the way he had a couple of outstanding seasons. His best was probably 1959 when he hit .345 for the Cardinals. He led the National League in on base percentage (.453) that season, earning his first trip to the All-Star Game and getting MVP votes in the process. A good hitter, Cunningham finished his career with a .291 mark. Following his playing career, Cunningham was a minor league manager and major league coach for the Cardinals.

Cunningham

Joe Cunningham – career stats

Bennie Daniels

Daniels59
1959 Topps

Daniels won 45 games and lost 76 during a nine-year career. He pitched one game for Pittsburgh in 1957 and eight more in 1958 but was a regular for the Pirates in 1959, pitching in 34 games and finishing with a 7-9 mark. His best season was 1961 when he went 12-11 for the Washington Senators. He threw 212 innings that year and recorded 110 strike outs. All of these were career highs. His ERA of 3.44 was also a career best.

Daniels

Bennie Daniels – career stats

Swings and misses

Scan 169
1959 Topps

Three more cards came back without completed surveys. Pete Daley was a backup catcher, mostly for the Boston Red Sox, from 1955-1961. A career .237 hitter, Daley played more than 70 games three times for three different teams (Boston, the Kansas City A’s and the Washington Senators.

Pete Daley – career stats

Scan 168
1959 Topps

Also a catcher, Romano had a different type of run through the majors, one that included two trips to the All-Star Game. A veteran of 10 seasons, Romano’s career hit its zenith in 1961 and 1962 when he was playing for the Indians. He hit .299 with 21 home runs for Cleveland in 1961when he earned his first all-star selection. He also received MVP votes that year. In 1962 Romano hit 25 home runs to go with 81 RBI and a .261 average, going to his second All-Star Game in the process. For his career, Romano hit .255 with 129 home runs. He was a member of the White Sox 1959 World Series team.

John Romano career stats

Scan
1959 Topps

A two-time 20-game winner, Jay pitched for 13 years in the major leagues. He was an all star for Cincinnati in 1961, going 21-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 247 innings pitched. Jay finished fifth in the National League MVP voting that season. He won 21 games the following year for the Reds as well. With the exception of an 11-11 campaign for Cincinnati in 1964, those were the only two seasons Jay’s win total crossed into double digits. He pitched for the Reds’ 1961 World Series team that lost to the Yankees. He is a member of the Reds’ Hall of Fame.

Joey Jay – career stats

 

Gil Coan

Coan52
1952 Topps

Coan spent 11 years in the big leagues, playing for four different teams from 1946-1956. He played over 100 games a season for the Washington Senators from 1948-1952. His best season was 1951 when he hit .303 for Washington with 85 runs scored and 62 RBI. He hit 25 doubles and nine home runs that season and finished with MVP votes. For his career, Coan was a .254 hitter in 918 big league games. Coan is currently the oldest living former New York Giant.

GilCoan,

Gil Coan – career stats

Allie Clark

clark52
1952 Topps

From 1947-153 Clark played in 358 games for four different teams. As a rookie, he was a member of the 1947 New York Yankees team that defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. Clark had a hit in two at bats in the the Series. He returned the next year with the Cleveland Indians and once again was part of a championship team as the Tribe defeated the Boston Braves. Clark hit .373 in limited action for the Yankees. He hit .310 in 81 games for Cleveland in 1948. The 81 games played was his career high. He was unable to continue his good work at the plate and spent the next four seasons bouncing around the majors from Cleveland to the Philadelphia A’s and finally to the White Sox where he played his final major league games in 1953. Clark remained in professional baseball until 1958, playing mostly for the Rochester Red Wings, the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to breaking into the big leagues, Clark served in the U.S. Army’s combat medical corps in the European Theater of World War II. He died in New Jersey in 2012.

ALClark

Allie Clark – career stats

Pete Castiglione

Castiglione52
1952 Topps

Castiglione spent parts of eight seasons in the major leagues, breaking in with the Pirates in 1947 and wrapping his career up with the Cardinals in 1954. A career .255 hitter, Castiglione hit his high-water mark for games played in 1951 when he appeared in 132 contests for Pittsburgh. He hit .261 that season with 62 runs scored and seven home runs. Both the runs scored and homers were career highs. Prior to his time in the big leagues, Castiglione spent three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He died in Pompano Beach, Florida in 2010. He was 89-years old.

Castiglione

Pete Castiglione – career stats

Bud Byerly

Byerly52
1952 Topps

Byerly pitched for five teams over 11 years in the major leagues, finishing with a career mark of 22-22 with a 3.70 ERA. Mostly a reliever, Byerly started just 17 games in 11 seasons. He pitched in 237 games for the Cardinals, Reds, Senators, Red Sox and Giants. He broke into the big leagues during World War II, pitching for three seasons for the Cardinals from 1943-1945. He was then out of the majors for five years before joining the Reds in 1950. His best season was probably 1957 when he went 6-6 with six saves and a 3.13 ERA in 47 games for Washington. The wins, saves and games were all career highs for Byerly. Byerly died in St. Louis in 2012.

Byerly

As he noted on his questionnaire, Byerly pitched in one game during the 1944 World Series which pitted the Cardinals against the St. Louis Browns. Byerly threw the final 1.1 innings of Game 3 of the Series. The Browns won the game 6-2, but St. Louis eventually won the Series in six games.

Bud Byerly – career stats

Bob Chakales

1952_topps_120_bob_chakales_fr (1)
1952 Topps

Chakales won 15 games over parts of seven seasons in the majors. He pitched for five different teams from 1951-1957, breaking in with Cleveland, then suiting up for Baltimore, the White Sox, the Senators and the Red Sox before his career ended in 1957. He appeared in 147 big league games compiling a 15-25 mark and a 4.54 career ERA. Primarily a reliever, he twice crossed the 40-games pitched threshold. His career high was 43 which he reached in 1956 for Washington.

This is one of the older questionnaires that I have. Chakales died in 2010 at his home in Richmond, VA. He was 82-years old.

Chakales

One other note, he actually kept the card I sent him to sign. It looked like the one pictured, but you may note that the card in the photo is not signed. That is because it is just a picture of Chakale’s 1952 Topps card. In return for the card, Chakales sent me two autographed note cards. They look like this.

Chakalessig

Bob Chakales – career stats

Al Bumbry

Bumbry79
1979 Topps

The American League Rookie of the Year in 1973, Bumbry enjoyed 14 seasons in the major leagues, 13 of which were spent with the Baltimore Orioles. His rookie season may well have been the best one of his career. In 110 games that season, Bumbry hit .337 and led the American League with 11 triples. He was a .281 hitter for his career with 1422 hits in 5053 at bats. Another solid season for Bumbry was 1980 when he earned his lone all-star selection. He had a .318 average that year and scored 118 runs. He finished 13th in the 1980 MVP voting. Bumbry was a solid contributor and starting outfielder for the Orioles in 1983 when they won the World Series. He is also a member of the team’s Hall of Fame. Prior to his baseball career, Bumbry played basketball for four years at Virginia State College.

I was very excited to see Bumbry fill out the questionnaire. I remember him playing when I was a kid and it seems the younger players are much less likely to fill out the survey. While his answers are certainly brief, it was very cool for me to get them.

Bumbry

Al Bumbry – career stats

Hobie Landrith

landrith
1959 Topps

A veteran of 14 major league seasons, Landrith served as catcher for seven different teams from 1950-1963. While not ever really a starter, Landrith did crack the 100 games played two different times during his career. The most action he saw came in 1956 when he played in 111 games for the Chicago Cubs. He hit .221 that year in 362 at bats, setting a career high with 32 RBI. In 772 big league games, Landrith hit .233 with 34 home runs and 203 runs driven in. In a bit of interesting trivia, Landrith was the first pick of the New York Mets in the 1961 expansion draft. He has one of the more complete and well documented Wikipedia pages of any baseball player I have ever come across. You can see it here.

Hobie

Hobie Landrith – career stats