Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random Listia autos - Part 1

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that a seller sent me about 100 random autographed cards with my "purchase" of a Michael Pineda auto/relic and a Phil Rizzuto auto. There is such a great assortment of cards, sharing them in random groups of five or so should prove to be pretty fun. If anything, it'll help me learn a bit more about baseball history, especially because some are guys I had never heard of or guys from the '50s.

If you have any more info or interesting anecdotes on the players featured here, please feel free to add in the comments section!

Here are the two from yesterday's post. There were actually a few from this set.
A couple 1953 Bowman reprints with autos of Bill Wight and Gus Zernial. Wight was a lefty who spent 12 seasons in the majors, actually starting his career with the Yanks, which I didn't know. In fact, he spent 1942 playing in Binghamton, my hometown and former Yankees affiliate. His best year was in 1949, when he won 15 games for the White Sox. After his playing days were up, he was a scout for 37 years with the Astros and Braves, and was responsible for scouting and signing HOFer Joe Morgan. Not a bad claim to fame. Wight passed away in 2007.

Zernial is a name many of us know. In 11 big league seasons, "Ozark Ike" was a HR-champ and an All-Star. He lead the AL in HRs and RBIs in 1951, with 33 and 129, respectively. He also hit 42 dingers in 1953. Sadly, Gus' career was delayed (as so many were in 1940s) with three years of military service from 1943-1945. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 87.

Now, on to five more randoms autos from this generous seller.
After looking at a few 1953 Bowman reprints, here's a more modern 2001 Topps Gold Label auto of Fernando Vina. Vina played 12 seasons in a career that spanned from 1993 to 2004, winning two Gold Gloves and representing the Brewers in the 1998 All-Star game. Most probably remember him best for his time with the Cardinals in the early 2000s. Post-playing days, Fernando has become a TV analyst. He spent time with ESPN in 2007, and I thought he actually did a fairly decent job on national TV. His career is marred by his inclusion in the Mitchell Report, and while he admitted to using HGH to aid injury recovery, he never admitted to using or buying steroids. Good luck with that, Fernando.
The next man needs little to no introduction. The long-time voice of the Tigers and Ford C. Frick Award winner, Harwell spent 55 years in baseball, and 42 of them were with Detroit. He's especially well-known for being the only announcer to be traded for a player. Could you fathom that now? I can't imagine many people would be calling Brian Cashman to check in on the trade availabilities of Suzyn Waldman or Michael Kay. Maybe David Cone would draw some interest. Anyhow, Harwell was beloved in Detroit and throughout baseball. He passed away in 2010, and the Tigers wore a black "EH" patch to honor him.
Oh yeah, time for some sweet Topps Archives. I believe this is from 1991. The first thing that struck me was the White Sox logo. What happened to that? It's pretty sweet. I love it when guys with a nickname include it in their signature, and that's exactly what Red Wilson did here. Wilson played for 10 seasons from 1951-1960, mostly with the Tigers. He was a talented enough football player to be selected by the Browns in the 1950 NFL draft, but decided to pursue a career in baseball. He passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 85.
The first auto of a current player is none other than Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers on this beautiful Topps Turkey RC. Somehow, Gallardo is in his 8th MLB season already, all with the Brewers. He's 89-60 in his career with a more than respectable 3.68 ERA. He's the definition of a solid mid-rotation guy, and he's on pace for another year of a low-3 ERA and double-digit wins. From 2009-2012, he struck out between 200-207 batters each season. How's that for consistency?
Last but not least, the infamous Bobby Bonilla. Bobby Bo was a six-time All-Star in 16 seasons and one of the most feared sluggers in the game for a long time. While he only spent about four total seasons here in NY, I will always think of him as a Met first and foremost. Maybe it's because they are still paying him through 2035! In 1990, he actually finished second to teammate Barry Bonds in the MVP race. You know it's a good year when teammates go 1-2 in the MVP voting. Bonilla won a ring in 1997 with the Marlins

So there's the first batch of autos, which I'll roll out in groups of a couple at a time.


  1. Wight pitched a couple seasons for the Red Sox. Represented as a redsox in the 52 Topps set.

  2. Looks like quite a haul! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest.

  3. The "Listia Autograph Affair" still gives me goosebumps. I have a vintage Zernial sitting around somewhere. Good prompt to find him and whip up an overdue sister-post! All of the cards look great; love the variety....particularly the '87 Bobby Bo & Turkey red.

  4. Hey. If you want to do a trade for any of these, shoot me an email:
    -Charlie @ Baseball Nation