Sunday, April 25, 2010

50 Year Counterparts, Pt. 3

Topps Heritage #89 Martin Prado

One of the few bright spots thus far for the Braves in '10 has been the play of second baseman Martin Prado. It's hard to believe how his game has evolved over the course of the last 10 months-and I find it ironic that Martin may be battling the man he replaced (Kelly Johnson) for a spot on the N.L. All-Star team this summer. In 2009, Martin posted a superb .822 OPS, which was 5th highest amongst second-basemen in BOTH leagues. People in the Braves organization rave about Prado's hitting, and believe he will be a 20-HR guy- which is much needed, since this team has about as much pop as the average death metal band.

What's to like about this card? C'mon, it's Martin! This guy is about the only consistent player the Braves have fielded this year. Could do without the yellow/greenish background. Looks like he's visiting some strange planet. I do dig the empty seats in the background, though.

1961 Topps #335 Frank Bolling
Prado's 1961 counterpart was a first year Brave by the name of Frank Bolling. Known as a fine fielding second baseman, Bolling had won a Gold Glove in '58 with the Detroit Tigers and came to Milwaukee after the 1960 season in a six-player trade. Frank remained a Brave for the next six years and was with the team when they moved to Atlanta for the '66 season. While playing for the Braves, he led the NL in fielding during the 1961, 1962, and 1964 seasons. Bolling was also an All-Star in 1961 & 1962, as well as a Sporting News NL All-Star in 1961. A decent hitter, Frank twice hit 15 homers-which was a career high for him.

Since Bolling was traded after the 1960 season, Topps didn't have any photos of him in a Braves uni, thus the obvious air-brush job on the uniform. The poor guy's mug even appears to have been touched up- making for a horrible looking card. I almost think they would have been better off excluding traded players from these vintage sets because I can't recall many that are aesthetically pleasing.

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