Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tricky Tacks

Well oddball items just keep popping up from the 1960's Rookie Banquets Topps used to throw every year.  Take a gander at the baubles below: a tie tack and cuff links purportedly given to J.C. Martin, a 1961 Rookie All Star award winner (even though he had a card in 1960 he only had cups of coffee in 1959 and '60) who must have led the AL catching field in a weak year.  In 1961 Martin played in 110 games while batting .230 and knocking in a whopping 32 runs in what may have been his best offensive season.

Here is JC's 1962 card, showing his major prize:

Here is the full set:

I was hoping the back views would show manufacturing details but it only looks like patent pending stamps were impressed:

As you can see, the motif is taken from the actual trophy:

Here is a closeup of the tack, it's got some slight damage but I like it just the same:

While he may not have been a slugger, he was a whiz with the glove and got himself some additional hardware with the 1969 Mets, who directly benefited from a lucky play of Martin's in Game 4 of the World Series.  With the immortal Rod Gaspar on second base in a 1-1 game, Martin pinch hit for Tom Seaver in the bottom of the 10th.  He bunted and the pitcher fielded the ball and threw it to first, hitting Martin, running to the inside of the baseline, in the arm. The Orioles cried interference but the ump said JC had not intentionally done so and the run counted.  The tally put the Mets up 3 games to 1 and they never looked back.  This play allegedly led to the creation of the running lane to the outside of the baseline, commencing 45 feet away from the bag, for the 1970 season.

Topps immortalized the play, although not with the end result but rather the beginning, on a World Series card in the 1970 set:

Now I was (and am) a huge Mets fan and remember quite well the final out of the World Series that year, having just come home from school in time to witness it in glorious black and white, but I've always preferred his regular 1970 card; I just think it looks sharp:

JC was gone by then though, traded to the Cubs in the offseason.  Did you know the Mets carried three catchers on their postseason roster in '69?  Yep:  the starter Jerry Grote, Duffy Dyer and ol' JC.


Eric C. Loy said...

"who must have led the AL catching field in a weak year"

He didn't catch that season...he only played first and third.

toppcat said...

Sheesh, that's even worse!

Commishbob said...

The non-interference interference play and the Jeffery Meier 'catch' have scarred me for life.

Cool post though. Love to have a set of those award cufflinks!