Sunday, February 20, 2011

1954 Ultimate Set

I am starting a little side project on this blog that I will run every Sunday applying the ultimate set concept to the 1954 sets. One of my favorite team collector blogs is The Phillies Room. Jim, who runs the site, has been reviewing every Topps set and the Phillies cards contained in them. He noted that the selection of Phillies in some of the years was lackluster as most of the good players seemed to be in the Bowman sets. Bowman was a Philadelphia based company, and my theory was that this had something to do with the lack of Phillies. So I am putting together an ultimate checklist for 1954. Maybe we can get an idea who and what teams were in what sets. Keep in mind that I own none of these cards, so I may have a few mistakes in some of the info in my checklist.

What sets are being used?
The Topps set will be the starting point and then players with Bowman cards only will be added. Regional sets will be used to round out the set. The Dan Dee set (noted as DD), a 29 card set given away in bags of chips is one of them. Since the company was based out of Cleveland, the majority of the players are Indians with a handful of Pirates and a few all-stars from other cities. Also being used is the Red Heart set (noted as RH), which was marketed with dog food. It was a 33-card set of all-stars, although the Cubs, White Sox, and Cardinals were represented more than other teams, so this may have been a regional issue. If you wanted a Stan Musial card in 1954, you had to get the Red Heart set. The third set that I am using is the Johnston Cookies set (noted as BJ). These were issued from 1953-1955 and contained only cards of the Milwaukee Braves.

Retired Players

There were a handful of retired players that appeared in these sets. These are players who would never appear in another game after 1954. They are listed below. One player that I am having some difficulty finding info about is Ben Johnson, who's only card is in the Johnston Cookies set. It appears that he may have never played a game in the major leagues. Angel Scull is another player that appears to have no major league career, but played on the independent Havana Sugar Kings in 1954. I will get to that team in a few minutes.

__ TO 57 RT Luis Aloma CHW
__ BO 171 RT Carlos Bernier PIT
__ TO 203 RT Harry Brecheen BAL
__ BO 215 RT Johnny Bucha DET
__ BJ 29 RT Paul Burris MLN
__ BO 126 RT Cliff Chambers STL
__ TO 228 RT Gene Hermanski PIT
__ BJ 12 RT Ben Johnson MLN
__ BO 151 RT Pat Mullin DET
__ TO 104 RT Mike Sandlock PHI
__ TO 204 RT Angel Scull WSH

Players in the Military
Here is an issue that I haven't had to deal with compiling sets from 1981 on. But 1954 was one year after the Korean War came to an end and military service was still a requirement. There were a handful of players who would have decent major league careers, but served in the military and didn't play a game in 1954. These include:

__ TO 221 MT Dick Brodowski BOS
__ TO 43 MT Dick Groat PIT
__ TO 13 MT Billy Martin NYY
__ TO 249 MT Vinegar Bend Mizell STL
__ BO 185 MT Daryl Spencer NYG

Players on New Teams
In the 1980s, players appear in traded sets, so a list is created of the cards of players on their old teams. There was no traded set in 1954, but due to the nature of both Bowman and Topps issuing their cards in series, a few players appear on a 1953 team in one set, and a 1954 team in another set.

A few exceptions I made here is for Saul Rogovin and Paul Smith. Rogovin played for the White Sox in 1953 and reappeared in the major leagues in 1955 with the Baltimore Orioles. Paul Smith played for the Pirates in 1953 and didn't reappear in the majors until 1957, again with the Pirates. Where did they both play in 1954? For the Havana Sugar Kings. The Havana Sugar Kings were an independent team based in Cuba in the International League in 1954. I am not sure what kind of relationship the Sugar Kings had with the major leagues that year, so I placed these two players on this checklist since they would reappear in the majors again.

__ BO 163 OT Dave Philley PHA
__ BO 140 OT Saul Rogovin CIN
__ TO 11 OT Paul Smith PIT
__ BO 109 OT Roy Smalley CHC

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