Wednesday, December 22, 2010

1956 Topps George Crowe

A Google search of old issues of Baseball Digest pulled up an article about today's subject, George Crowe, that was titled, "The Insurance Man Pays Off." Insurance Man was an appropriate name for Crowe, whom the Braves signed in 1949. Prior to his signing, Big George-as he was called-starred in another sport. While at Indiana Central College, he was a star on the basketball team that was a small college powerhouse in the midwest. After spending the next three years serving his country in the Army, Crowe went on to play professional basketball for the New York Renaissance- a team that was in one of the leagues that would merge together to form the NBA. During one of his offseasons Crowe was offered a job with the New York Black Yankees of the Negro National League, he took it and the rest, they say, is history. The reference to him being an insurance man is due to the fact that despite always hitting and being a run producer, Crowe just never got a shot as a regular. He found himself in roles backing up sluggers such as Joe Adcock in Boston/Milwaukee and Ted Kluszewski in Cincinnati, and ended up slugging 31 homers in 1957 after Klu battled a bad back.

Even though the pictured card is a 1956 Topps, where he is listed and shown as a member of the Milwaukee team, Crowes final season in the Braves organization was actually 1955. He was traded to the Reds on April 9th of '56 for Bob Hazel and a player to be named later. George would go on to hit .250 with 10 Home Runs in limited action (only 144 at-bats) that first year in Cincinnati.

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