Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vintage Fridays: Foster Castleman, 1958 Topps #416

Since the order of the week is obscure Fosters, here's the sublimely named Foster Ephraim Castleman. Sounds like he should be a member of British high society, or at the very least a Yale grad with a summer home in the Hamptons. The back of the card refers to him lovingly as "Foss", which is a bit adorable. But in reality, he was a humble Tennessee boy who served in the Navy and then had his major league career stunted by knee injuries. He was the Giants' starting third baseman for one year exactly, that being 1956. He tied for third on the team with 14 homers but hit just .226. He would've killed for that mark by 1958, his first season with the O's and his last as a big leaguer. In 98 games his average was a bone-chilling .170 and he mustered three homers and 14 RBI in 200 at-bats. By comparison, pitcher Jack Harshman hit .195 with six homers and 14 RBI in 86 trips to the plate!

But I don't want to bag on ol' Foss. Baseball-Reference allows me to look for the good in every situation. I can tell you that on August 30, 1958 he started at shortstop in Fenway Park, batting eighth for the Birds. His two-out, three-run home run in the top of the second gave the Orioles an early lead in a game they won 7-2. He also singled in the seventh and scored the sixth Baltimore run. It was one of just five multi-hit games for Castleman in an O's uniform, the most notable of which was a 4-for-7 outburst in a 15-inning win over those same Red Sox on July 3! He was a regular Sawx killer, hitting .286 (14-for-49) against them on the year with eight RBI in 17 games...that's over half of his run production. If only he could've been in some kind of Boston-and-Detroit (.273 in 12 games)-only platoon.


Jim from Downingtown said...

The names of some of these late-1950s players are amazing!

Foster Castleman
Vinegar Bend Mizell
Whammy somebody-or-other (that I saw posted recently on one of these blogs)

Commish said...

I love 1958 Topps. There is no aesthetic reason, I know they are fugly but they are the first cards I have any memory of from my youth. Those old school team logos are so great. Love the flying white sock especially.

Kevin said...

Jim - That would be Whammy Douglas.

Bob - They remind me of the Richard Scarry books, if you or your sons ever had them. I've noticed that all of the Orioles I have from this set are either blue or yellow, with the exception of Bob Boyd (green).

Commish said...

Kevin I flipped thru my '58 Orioles and the ARE all blue or yesslow with two exceptions... Bob Boyd whose card, as you noted, is green, and the only light blue with black lettering in the bunch... Brooks!

And those Scarry books were favorites of my kids.

Commish said...

"yesslow"? Sheesh.

Kevin said...

Bob - Thanks for the extra legwork! It's unsurprising that the Brooks is one of the holes in my set; I think that's his second-year Topps card.