Saturday, April 30, 2016

1976 ASG +40: Bob Lemon 1956 Topps #255

The Phillies are hosting their first Home Inter-League Series of 2016 this weekend. The rare meeting with the Indians gives us the opportunity to discuss Hall of Famer Bob Lemon as part of our 1976 All-Star Game Anniversary coverage.

1956 Topps #255 Bob Lemon

The 1976 inductees for the Hall of Fame were Pitchers Bob Lemon and the Phillies own Robin Roberts.

As part of the All-Star game festivities the two were made honorary captains for the squads. Lemon who spent his entire career with the Indians was affiliated with the AL while Roberts repped the NL.

Bob Lemon was a borderline Hall of Famer who had been on the Ballot over a dozen times prior to being elected in 1976. His resume is by a World Championship with the 1948 Indians. Lemon recorded 2 wins in the series including the game six clincher.  The seven time All-Star garnered AL Pitcher of the Year honors from the Sporting News three times, He won 20 games seven times and lead the AL three times. Lemon was a durable starter leading the league in complete games five times, innings four times and Strikeouts and Shutouts once each. 

Lemon spent three years during the early part of his career in the Navy. The time lost was likely a significant consideration for Hall of Fame voters. 

1956 Topps #255 Bob Lemon (b-side)

I want to start with the last cartoon. I like how they point out Bob Lemon moved from the infield to pitching. The switch was made following Lemon's return from the service. Note that the cartoon has the hitter batting left-handed and the pitcher throwing righty, which matches the description of Mr Lemon.

Now I want to take a look at the middle panel. In the politically correct 21st century I am not sure we would see this cartoon on the back of a baseball card.

Getty Got It
According to the Getty Images archive the posed action shot was taken on September 28 1954, the day prior to game one of the World Series. However, I doubt the accuracy of that info as Lemon is wearing Home White on the card and in the photo and game 1 of the '54 series was played at the Polo Grounds.

However, if the photo is from prior to 1954 Game 1 it is connected to this card in the 1959 Topps Set. Yes that is correct, that is the game in which Willie Mays made "the Catch" at the Polo Grounds.

The Bob Lemon Action Shot is from the Otto Bettmann Collection.

Bob Lemon HoF Index
1978 Topps #574 (As Player/As Manager)

Sources and Links
1976 ASG 40th Anniversary Index
YouTube - 1976 All-Star Game
SABR Bio Jon Barnes
baseball almanac
Getty Images 

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a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions