Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vintage Fridays: Harry Brecheen, Lum Harris, Eddie Robinson, 1960 Topps #455

Let's just pretend I got this card scanned and posted before midnight, okay? It can be our little secret. This is one of my favorite vintage O's purchases of recent weeks. You really don't see enough coaches' cards these days. Back in the 1950s, Topps used to give individual coaches their own cards, with amusing results. Here, you see the cardboard powers that be marginalizing the entire staff to a single card in 1960. But at least they're still a presence, which is more than most coaches can say in the modern card era.

This trio represents manager Paul Richards' brain trust. At bottom left is Harry "the Cat" Brecheen, so nicknamed for his dextrous fielding of bunts during his pitching days. The southpaw won 133 games for the Cardinals and the Browns in parts of 12 seasons with a 2.92 career ERA. He retired in 1953 and soon caught on as Baltimore's pitching coach, spending more than a decade advising younger hurlers such as Milt Pappas, Steve Barber, Billy O'Dell, and Jerry Walker.

To Harry's right is Chalmer Luman "Lum" Harris, 1940's Athletics and Senators pitcher. He was not Brecheen's equal on the mound, walking more batters than he struck out overall and leading the American League with 21 losses in 1943.  He had made Paul Richards' acquaintance during the pair's minor league playing days, and they had a close working relationship for the next thirty-plus years. Harris was on Richards' staff for the latter's seven seasons with the O's, often coaching third base. When the skipper resigned in late 1961 to take the general manager's job for the expansion Houston Colt .45s, Lum managed the Birds on an interim basis. The following season, he was hired as a coach in Houston. Richards later gave him managerial posts with the Colts (now known as the Astros) and Braves.

Lastly we have Eddie Robinson, a former power-hitting first baseman and four-time All-Star who played with 7 teams in 13 seasons, chiefly the White Sox. His career wrapped up with a four-game cameo for the 1957 Orioles. He then went straight to the team's coaching staff, and was briefly promoted to a player  development system before Richards also poached him to Houston and later Atlanta. He worked as a farm system director and eventually replaced his ex-boss as Braves general manager. Eddie did a turn as Rangers' GM as well.

Contrary to what this card might lead you to believe, Brecheen, Harris, and Robinson were not in fact floating disembodied heads. At least I don't think they were.


Commishbob said...

This card is off the charts. I absolutely love the 1960 coaches' cards.

Eddie Robinson is alive and well at 90 and has recently had a bio published which I have on order. I've got one of his old gloves. He's a prince.

Kevin said...

Bob - I had no idea he was still around. Good for him!