The '54 Dodgers were coming off of back to back losing World Series appearances. 1954 was also the last year that the Dodgers franchise could say that they never won the World Series, as they would finally win it next season. This team was led by Duke Snider, whose line of .341-40-130 was the best season of his hall-of-fame career. Gil Hodges also had probably his best season with a line of .304-42-130. The pitching side was led by 18 game winner Carl Erskine.
The Cradle of Managers
1954 may be most noted for being the first season of Walt Alston's managerial career. He would go on to manage the Dodgers through the 1976 season. Of course, a little used relief pitcher on this team would go on to manage the Dodgers after Alston retired and manage the team through the 1996 season. You know I am talking about Tommy Lasorda. Another hall-of-fame manager, Dick Williams, was on this roster as a reserve outfielder. Don Zimmer, who may be most famous as the Yankees bench coach from the late 90s, but was manager of the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers, and Cubs was on this team. Gil Hodges, manager of the miracle Mets of 1969 was the starting first baseman.
Starter and Hall-of-Fame/All-Star Scores
Exclusive players to a set are in italics
Topps Regulars (10): Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Hoak, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Johnny Podres, Jim Hughes, Clem Labine, Bob Milliken, Preacher Roe
Bowman Regulars (13): Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Carl Furillo, Billy Cox, Carl Erskine, Russ Meyer, Billy Loes, Don Newcombe, Clem Labine, Preacher Roe
Topps All-stars and Hall-of-Famers (4): Gil Hodges, Tommy Lasorda, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider
Bowman All-Stars and Hall-of-Famers (5): Roy Campanella, Carl Erskine, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider
I am beginning to wonder how it was that Topps bought out Bowman. Topps must've had a better corporate background. They were based in Brooklyn, so it seems they should've had a hometown advantage here, yet Bowman beats them pretty good in both scores here. Topps big score is with Jackie Robinson, but the All-Star and Hall-of-Fame score is even worse when you consider that in 1954 kids were probably not excited about getting Tommy Lasorda in packs as his hall-of-fame career really doesn't start until over 20 years later when he becomes manager. I still am counting him here though. Nobody issues cards of future hall-of-fame manager Dick Williams, Sandy Amoros, who I listed as the starting left fielder only because he played more games at that position than anyone, but in reality was in a platoon situation with Jackie Robinson, and relief pitcher Erv Palica. I have to imagine that Duke Snider was the big catch for kids in 1954 anyway, and both sets had him.
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