Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vintage Fridays: George Kell, 1958 Topps #40

I only started collecting older cards (1950s-1970s) within the last year or so. Since I've gotten most of them from eBay and trades, I haven't picked up many Tiptons. You can find an excellent illustrated definition here, but in short a Tipton is a well-loved card. The George Kell you see above was sent to me gratis by reader Ed, and it may be the most beautiful example of a Tipton in my collection. Even without the inky embellishments, the card's shape is a little warped, the corners are neatly rounded, and the surface is fairly worn. There's a nice crease running at about shoulder level. But really, it's all about the ink.

I always wonder what the thought process is for the original card owner in a case such as this. "Sure, George Kell had a Hall of Fame career, largely with the Tigers. He got his start with the A's, and was an All-Star in both varieties of Sox. At the close of his career, he mentored a young third baseman who, like Kell himself, was from Arkansas. But darnit, he doesn't get nearly enough recognition for his managerial work at AAA Oklahoma City! Well, me and my pen (and possibly black crayon) have something to say about that!"

The most confounding thing is that George Kell never managed the 89ers...at least according to Baseball Reference, whom I tend to trust more than mysterious homemade cards. At various times, the team was managed by former Oriole coaches Lee Elia and Greg Biagini, and even by Kell's former 1956 O's teammate Grady Hatton...but I don't see George's name on that list. His various online biographies make no mention of managerial accomplishments either. Was this a simple flight of fancy by a bored Oklahoman? Could be. All that I know is that I'm the owner of quite probably the only baseball card in the world that depicts George Kell as an OKC 89er.

No comments: