What would you pay for a vintage baseball card of the player that inspired Bernard Malamud's classic novel "The Natural"? What would that card be worth to you if it was from the classic 1952 Topps set?
1952 Topps #158 Eddie Waitkus
Without much effort you can get this card for under $10. Unfortunately this particular card has a huge TW stamped on the back, but it has a fine looking front and minimal wear. Really it is a beauty for any 1952 card, but this is a 52 Topps of a noteworthy player.
Yes, Eddie Waitkus is the inspiration for "The Natural". The novel was of course turned into the classic film by Robert Redford who also starred in the titular role.
Check the back of the card, which goes into a lot more detail about Waitkus then a contemporary card likely would (click to enlarge):
1952 Topps #158 Eddie Waitkus (b-side - Image swiped from Baseball Card Database)
There it is the Eddie Waitkus story. Really not the entire story that we know from "The Natural", but the crazy woman and the shooting is all there. There is also the mention of Waitkus' military service.
Near as I can tell Waitkus career didn't have a Knock out the Lights moment. He was a member of the 1950 Whiz Kids and did get to represent the NL in the World Series. Waitkus played 11 seasons in the majors. During his tenure he collected 1214 hits of which only 24 were homers.
And Yes, I finally did it, I sponsored a Baseball-Reference page. I figured for the amount of enjoyment and information that I have gotten from the site, I was overdue for a sponsership.
Only 2 people like the Eddie Waitkus Baseball-Reference Page. That is ridiculous. Go and Like his page.
Phun Cards - The Essential Collection
Phun Cards is basically my version Cardboard Appreciation. For all the reasons documented above, I deem the 1952 Topps #158 Eddie Waitkus card a member of the Phun Cards Essential Collection.