Sunday, February 27, 2011

1954 New York Giants

World Series Champs
Prior to the 2010 season, this was the last Giants team to win the World Series, sweeping the Indians. This was the World Series that Willie Mays made his catch that put him on the map. Willie Mays was the star of this team and the pitching was led by Johnny Antonelli.

The 1954 Collector
So far covering the early 1980s sets, the player selection for the main three sets can be summed up as follows: put together the starting lineup, starting rotation, and the top relievers from the previous season. These players will be in all three sets. After that Topps would go a little deeper on the bench simply because they had more cards in their set. You could collect just the Topps set in 1983, and get a pretty good idea who the main players were in MLB the year before. This wasn't the case in 1954. Card companies signed players to exclusive contracts, so if a person collected just Topps cards, they wouldn't get a Mickey Mantle card that year. If they collected the Bowman card set, they wouldn't get a Hank Aaron. Stan Musial came in neither set.

Purpose of this Project
So what is the purpose of this side project? To determine who maybe had the better set and determine a little about the player selection. There are two things I am going to keep score of here...the number of starters (at least 225 plate appearances in 1954), starting pitchers (at least 75 innings pitched in 1954), and top relief pitchers (at least 45 innings pitched) for each team in each set. I know as a collector opening up individual packs in say 1985, I probably cared more for getting a card of a player like Larry Herndon, one of the key players on the 1980s Tigers, than collectors in other parts of the country.

At the same time, I knew getting a Pete Rose or Dwight Gooden card (regardless of how their careers and lifes panned out) at the time was a big deal, even though they played on other teams. So I will keep track of Hall-of-Famers and 1954 All-Stars in each set.

Here are the scores for the Giants:
Exclusive players to that set are in italics
Topps Regulars (9): Wes Westrum, Hank Thompson, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Don Mueller, Johnny Antonelli, Ruben Gomez, Don Liddle, Hoyt Wilhelm

Bowman Regulars (11): Wes Westrum, Whitey Lockman, Davey Williams, Hank Thompson, Al Dark, Willie Mays, Don Mueller, Ray Katt, Johnny Antonelli, Sal Maglie, Hoyt Wilhelm

Topps All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (5): Johnny Antonelli, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Don Mueller, Hoyt Wilhelm

Bowman All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (5): Johnny Antonelli, Al Dark, Willie Mays, Don Mueller, Hoyt Wilhelm

In conclusion, Topps had four more Giants on the Giants roster and Bowman had three others not listed above. Bowman has just two more regulars than Topps. Neither company had a card for Marv Grissom, who was an all-star in 1954 or Leo Durocher who was the Hall-of-Fame manager. I would say both companies were pretty even on putting out 1954 Giants. Then, like now, New York was probably a key market to get into, so Bowman probably did their best to keep up with Topps, which was based in the New York area. We'll have two more New York based teams to compare.

__ TO 180 C Wes Westrum NYG
__ BO 153 1B Whitey Lockman NYG
__ BO 9 2B Davey Williams NYG
__ TO 64 3B Hank Thompson NYG
__ BO 41 SS Alvin Dark NYG
__ TO 3 LF Monte Irvin NYG
__ TO 90 CF Willie Mays NYG
__ TO 42 RF Don Mueller NYG
__ BO 121 C Ray Katt NYG

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 119 SP Johnny Antonelli NYG
__ TO 220 SP Ruben Gomez NYG
__ BO 105 SP Sal Maglie NYG
__ TO 225 SP Don Liddle NYG

SP Jim Hearn

Relief Pitchers

CL Marv Grissom
__ TO 36 RP Hoyt Wilhelm NYG

RP Windy McCall

Other Players
__ TO 170 LF Dusty Rhodes NYG
__ TO 99 IF Bobby Hofman NYG

3B Billy Gardner
__ TO 74 OF Bill Taylor NYG
__ BO 128 C Ebba St. Claire NYG

3B Foster Castleman

C Joe Garagiola

OF Hoot Evers

OF Eric Rodin

2B Ron Samford

IF Joey Amalfitano

PH Harvey Gentry

PH Bob Lennon
__ TO 200 SP Larry Jansen NYG
__ BO 137 RP Al Corwin NYG

RP Al Worthington

RP Mario Picone

RP George Spencer

RP Alex Konikowski

RP Ramon Monzant

RP Paul Giel


MG Leo Durocher

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