Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XLI
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/21/2012
enjoyed (Ted Williams’)1958 catching me (for the batting crown) on the final day more than the later titles of 1960 and 1962 because of the great competition. Wasn't he capable!"
For most collectors and hobby enthusiasts, the 1909 T206, 1933 Goudey and 1952 Topps sets stand alone as the most historic and significant releases in history.
With post-war America booming, Topps executives recognized an opportunity and seized it fully with its oversized, well designed, brightly colored set, that captured the imaginations of baseball fans young and old, during a season that gave baseball a good look at both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.
Cards from the Topps set grading NM or above are quickly becoming rarities in the marketplace. High grade collectors have decimated populations of these pristine relics, leaving large numbers of average cards available, with fewer and fewer NM or better examples reaching the auction block.
Fortunately, cards like this fabulous Pete Runnels rookie still find their way out of the safes, vaults and secure storage of high grade hobbyists from time to time.
Runnels rookie is significant, particularly to Red Sox fans. A good glove man with a solid bat, Washington’s cavernous Griffith Stadium gobbled up many of Runnels’ would be hits early in his career. Then, in 1958, the slick infielder was traded to Boston and his fortunes changed. Ted Williams helped Runnels adapt his style to Fenway and what pitchers “gave him.” The rest is history.
With the Red Sox, Runnels won two batting titles and lost to Ted Williams on the final day of the season in 1958, as well. During his stay in Boston, Runnels hit .320 over five seasons and never ended a season with an average below .314.
During several seasons when Red Sox nation had little to cheer, Runnels heroics with both his bat and glove were reason for celebration. A true son of Texas, as Runnels’ career was winding down, he approached Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and asked for a trade so he could be closer to home. Not wanting to lose a star player, Yawkey still obliged the request, and the tiny infielder with the big bat, finished his days in the majors playing for expansion Houston.
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