Friday, March 29, 2013

Virgil Trucks 1917-2013

Earliar this week the baseball world got the sad news that Virgil Trucks had passed away. 

1953 Topps #96 Virgil Trucks
Virgil Trucks, a star of the 1940s and 50s, was not a Hall of Famer but is noteworthy throughout the hobby largely because he was known as an enthusiastic TTM(Through the Mail) signer of autographs.

I have never gone delved into the TTM area of collecting and cannot really speak to its signficance. Fortunately the terrrific blog Foul Bunt covers both TTM and Virgil Trucks and put together this farewell posting for Mr Trucks.

Another noteworthy baseball autograph signer and baseball collector, Pat Neshak marked Virgil Truck's passing via Twitter:

Nice praise from a member of the current generation of players, who gets how important the fans are to his profession.

Neshak also noted that he once wrote to Trucks for pitching related advice - Trucks returned a four page letter filled top to bottom. 

On The Field
Virgil Trucks won 177 games and would have likely won more had he not spent two of the early years of his career in the service. He was a member of the 1945 World Champion Detroit Tigers and made a pair of All-Star teams. In 1952 Trucks threw 2 no-hitters - both games were won by a score of 1-0.

For more in depth analysis of Virgil Trucks career check John Autin's column at High Heat Stats.

For he Collector
the 1953 Topps card is a bit of an anomaly in the catalog of Virgil Trucks cards, he only played one season for the Browns and it was the last season ever for the team.  In 1954 they moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. I am not sure what this beauty went for, but  yes it is in loved condition and quite a bit off center. Still Virgil Trucks is a star and I also consider the rare St Louis Brown card a bonus.  For 1953 Topps cards in the low series in questionable condition I typically look for a price point of $2, add a dollar premium for it being a St Louis Brown and another dollar or two for Mr Trucks being a star and a gentleman - I could see this card being found for $4 - $5.  Indeed the recent low eBay sale for a 1953 Topps Virgil Trucks in signficantly better condition then the one above was $2.61.  On the other end of the scale a graded (PSA EX-MT 6) card went for $29.24.

Phungo two cents
Even though his career ended long before I was born, it is important that we remember people like Virgil Trucks. MLB and all of sports could use more alums that remember that the most important element of sports and entertainment is the fans.

One final fun note I found, Virgil Trucks is related to musician Derek Trucks - The Derek Trucks Band and Susan Tedeschi have been on my radar as bands to see for a while, but really haven't made it to any of their shows at least partially due to being so obsessed with baseball.

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