1954 Bowman: on the brink.

What about the pre-interesting Bowman baseball card year, 1954? There were 224 cards in that set, and the key cards include Willie Mays, Ted Williams,

and Mickey Mantle. Yogi Berra and Don Larsen maybe too.

If you build it, they will come. Out of that cornfield:

Wait a minute, Bobby. What uniform are you wearing? That's got to be the Polo Grounds:

Good baseball player name. Maybe not so much the Fred, but the Hat and the Field:
Mr. Maglie is discussed quite a bit by Jim Bouton in Ball Four, and never in a terribly upbeat way. Once and for all, is it pronounced MAG-lee or ma-GLEE?:

Love the NY logo on Mr. Mays' and Mr. M's hats. Once again, this must be the green green Polo Grounds:
The background here reminds us a bit of George Herriman's art (Krazy Kat and Ignatz):

Billy Loes (he's a pitcher, here doing the Full Hamlet with the object of his fretting) once said he didn't want to be a 20-game winner because "then I'd be expected to do it every year." Who needs that kind of pressure? His career high came in 1953, when he went 14-8 for the pennant-winning Dodgers. Mr. Loes is still with us. This photo depicts the greatest blue-eyed gaze in the history of baseball cards:

At another extreme, oh sweet dorkiness. Wait a minute. Is Tom Gorman even holding a baseball?:

Psst. Mr. Fox, you ARE holding a baseball. It is already in your glove:

Hatfield is a good name, as we said above, but Littlefield...hm, we got nothin':

Interesting that no one at Bowman thought to put much information on the front of the card, and yet took up considerable space with the sometimes legible, sometimes not so legible signatures. Also, much of 1954 Bowman seems to have a green tinge, but this one also has a yellow glow. This is the other Frank Thomas. Here is a link to this slugger's blog:
In 1953, Bowman produced cards of Radio and TV Stars, and that wrapper would be great to have just because the word "Radio" comes first. Who knew? By the very next year, 1955 Bowman baseball cards would show no pretext of interest in radio.


night owl said...

Great cards, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't appreciate them up until a couple years ago. I had a chance to purchase the Billy Loes card at a card show and PASSED. Ugh.

(Also, it's MAG-lie. I attended many games in a stadium named after him, in his hometown).

MattR said...

I wish I could afford to collect this set--those 50s cards are great! I'll have to settle for collecting the NY Giants of that year. Too bad Mays is so expensive.

Hackenbush said...

Love the Nellie Fox!

Chuck's Used Cards said...

Hackenbush beat me to it ... I love that Nellie Fox ... we don't see it often enough.

nice piece.