Tag Archives: boston braves

Vintage Cuts – Tommy Holmes

FullSizeRender (25)

FullSizeRender (26)

 

Raise your hand if you know who Tommy Holmes is.  I feel like a teacher sometimes on this site.  It’s more of a history lesson, sports history that is.  The older I get the more in tune with history I want to become.  Maybe it’s a way to connect better with my father who grew up as a child in the 1940s or maybe it’s because at this age, I have just become more interested in history even if it is done at a rate of one player at a time.  Either way, I know that it’s keeping me busy and entertained so I will continue to do it even if no one reads my blog.

Class, today’s subject is Tommy Holmes.  Holmes played in the major leagues from 1942 – 1952.  Seriously love the story behind him.  He grew up in Brooklyn, and went to Brooklyn Tech.  For those of you who don’t know this school, it is one of the premiere math and science high schools in the country.  Meaning, Tommy was very smart.  Also he was very gifted in athletics as well.  The guy did one thing amazingly well, he could hit.  Signed by (who else) the New York Yankees, he raked in nearly 1000 hits in the minors before finally being traded to a team that could actually use him.  The Yanks at the time had an outfield of DiMaggio, Henrich, and Keller.  All were All Stars, none would be moved to bring up Holmes, so he stewed in the minors way longer than he should have.

He was traded to the Boston Braves in 1942 where he became an immediate fixture in the outfield.  His best years were from 1942 – 1948 where he hit on average 186 hits a season for a total of 1301 hits and a batting average of 0.308, leading the league twice in hits.  In 1945 he batted 0.352 with 224 hits and 28 home runs and 47 doubles (all league leading) and finished second in NL MVP voting.  He only played in one All Star game, however looking back at his career he was going up against Hall of Famers at the position he played.  He would go on to manage for a few years in the minors, before stepping away from the game for a few years.  He was lured back by the New York Mets in the early 70s as Director of Amateur Baseball Relations and would remain with the Mets for three decades.

Card No: VC-TH

Number of cards in the set: 8

Baseball Reference Stats: Tommy Holmes

Wikipedia page: Tommy Holmes

1950 Bowman Card:

18663_946x1598

 

Sport Kings Cut Autograph – Johnny Sain

Spahn and Sain and Pray For Rain

By: Gerald V. Hern

First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

That poem was written by Boston Post’s Sports editor Gerald Hern in 1948.  I found it while doing some research for this post.  Part of the fun of making these cards is finding some of what I like to call the hidden gems of baseball history.  Some of you who love baseball as much as I do, know who Johnny Sain is, but for the rest of you who have no idea, I’ll try and fill you in.

FullSizeRender (23)

FullSizeRender (24)

He was just one of those dominant pitchers of the mid fifties, but thanks to his participation in World War II,  the world never really got to see just how good he could have been.  He made it to the majors in 1942, then lost three seasons to just military service from 1943-45. He would have been 25-27 during those seasons.  As many of you know, that’s when pitchers usually start to peak.  Instead his career really started in 1946 when he went 20-14 with a 2.21 ERA with the Boston Braves.  He would end up with a career 139 wins over 11 seasons.  He even switched to a reliever later in his career and led the league in saves one season as a Yankee.  He remained on the Hall of Fame ballot until 1975 but never got more than 34% of the vote.

After his playing career, he became one of the most successful pitching coaches in baseball history.  He coached the A’s, Yankees, Twins, Tigers, White Sox and Braves from 1959-1986.  He finished with six World Series rings, three as a player and three as a coach. Three All Star appearances and the 1948 The Sporting News NL Player of the Year award.  I feel as though if he had those military years back, he would have been a Hall of Fame player.

Card Number: SK-JS

Number of cards in the set: 8

Player’s Wikipedia page: Johnny Sain

Player’s Baseball Reference page: Johnny Sain

Player’s certified autograph:

761-t3821434-

Player’s Rookie Card:

LYU48_1123_med

1948 Bowman