My blog – my choice – so I’ll do my team next 🙂 This is a fun comparison – the Reds in the early 60’s are comparable to the Reds of now. One MVP-caliber player who was a really big name, quite a few young players you had to feel good about, and the team was always competitive for the pennant – but never the odds-on favorite.
Card #422 – Dusty Baker / Fred Hutchinson
Let’s start with the fearless leader of the Redlegs. Dusty gets a bad rap – but he’s a pretty good manager. Is he the smartest bullpen manager – no, but that’s overrated. He rarely makes outright bad decisions – just some that you want to question. But nobody can coax more out of today’s ballplayer! I like this picture of him.
Dusty’s counterpart in the 1963 set is none other than Fred Hutchinson.
Honestly, this one isn’t a competition. I like Dusty and I give Heritage credit that they did the logo thing in the circle at the bottom for managers – just like in 1963. The logo is better, that sleeveless uniform is better, and it’s Hutch. If you don’t like this card, that’s fine – because if you’re not careful, Fred will ensure that’s the last thought you have. There are probably a bunch of things you don’t know about Fred Hutchinson:
- Fred Hutchinson can slam a revolving door.
- You can’t tell it from this picture here, but Fred Hutchinson is wearing #1. As in – he’s #1, don’t forget it.
- Fred Hutchinson counted to infinity. Twice.
- That number #1 has not been worn by any other Red player or manager since Fred retired – it hangs on the cement in Great American Ballpark. It was the first number the Reds ever retired.
1963 Topps leads, 3.5-2.5
Card #194 – Coco Cordero / Joe Nuxhall
I will say, I appreciate Cordero’s contributions to the Reds. We paid him a lot of money to be the closer here, in a time where the bullpen wasn’t very good. All of a sudden he came here – and a guy like David Weathers didn’t have to close, but he became one of the best setup men around. Arthur Rhodes was an all-star when Cordero was the closer. I think this trickle down effect gets underrated. His raw stats probably say he was slightly overpaid (but even those are close) – but I think that factor made him worth it – 4 years ago the team would have been lost without him because the bullpen would have been a weakness instead of a strength. The improvement since then maybe couldn’t have happened if not for that factor.
But nobody contributed more to the Reds than Joe Nuxhall. And this card is sweet. This is actually the biggest no-brainer I’ve had thus far – because Joe Nuxhall is awesome, the picture above is awesome. But, not only could nobody beat the old left-hander, but Cordero ain’t even on the team any more. If I could make this card worth 2 points, I would. But rules are rules.
1963 Topps leads, 4.5-2.5
Admit it – you’re scared of that black and white picture at the bottom. I am, too. If Aroldis somehow figures out how to break the cardboard dimensional barrier and come off that card, he’s hurling a 105-mile heater right at you. Breaking the cardboard dimensional barrier seems unrealistic – but nothing is unrealistic for a guy who throws a 105-MPH fastball.
Joey Jay was coming off back to back 21-win seasons after the 1962 season. I don’t know this for sure – but I’d bet this is the last time a Reds pitcher did this. Did you know Joey Jay won a game in the 1961 World Series. I bet you didn’t – because I didn’t scan the back of this card. But if I had, well you’d know.
Unfortunately, that was the only game those Reds won in the 1961 World Series. Maybe if Mr. Jay had a 105-mile heater in his pocket, we could have fared a little better against Maris and Mantle. Victory goes to Chapman – hopefully we can get him in the starting rotation someday.
1963 leads, 4.5-3.5
Card #90 – Joey Votto / Gordy Coleman
I like the symmetry of the poses on these cards. I also really like Gordy’s hat. Did I mention how much I like the Reds uniforms from that time frame?
I like Reds MVPs better. Votto takes this one. I’m tired and don’t need to explain any further.
Card #400 – Jay Bruce / Frank Robinson
I like Jay Bruce. Jay Bruce hit a walk-off home run that clinched the Reds first postseason birth since 1995. He also had the official Lifetimetopps card of the year.
But, as I said one card ago, “I like Reds MVPs better. I’m tired and don’t need to explain any further.”
Frank Robinson is happy that I can go to bed now, and he’s happy that he put 1963 Topps back in the lead.
1963 Topps leads, 5.5-4.5