Thursday, September 23, 2010

'60-'09 Counterparts

The 1960 Topps design is one of my favorites from that decade, and I thought they did a great job with the Heritage release of 2009. The one complaint about the cards I have is that they do not have the year by year stats that we have come to know and love-opting instead for the previous season's stats, as well as the player's lifetime numbers. That being said, I do like the Season Highlights and the paragraphs included on the back, not to mention the cartoons and the tidbits of info they provide. Kicking off a comparison of the two sets will be the first Braves to appear in each set:

1961 Topps #3 Joe Adcock

Known mostly for his power (he hit a total of 336 homers for his career), Adcock was also a very good gloveman. He led the N.L. in putouts by a first baseman twice, including the year of our card. At the time he retired, Joe had the third highest career fielding percentage for a first baseman (.994), and at 6'4 he definitely gave a good target for his infielders to throw to. As the front of the card indicates, Joe also played in the outfield, where he would appear in 305 games during his major league career. It's too bad that Ryan Klesko wasn't on the Braves in '09, because, except for their defensive reputations, these two would compare better to one another than Adcock and ...

2009 Topps Heritage #3 Casey Kotchman

Casey Kotchman was drafted thirteenth overall in 2001 by the team that Adcock ended his career with (Angels). At the time, Casey's dad, Tom, was the manager of our local professional team (the Boise Hawks, the Angels then Short Season A team)- and so I had an interest in how his career turn out. As it has turned out, I would say that Casey's career has been somewhat of a disappointment, at least offensively. He was highly touted as a hitter, but has managed only a .259 career batting average, .326 OBP, and a .393 slugging percentage. And yet, Kotch does put the ball in play, as he is a very tough strikeout. Where Kotch does shine, however, is on defense- where he is tied for the single season record with a 1.000% fielding percentage. Casey is also #1 in career fielding percentage for first basemen at .9982- and has committed an error only once every 521 innings (which translates to 9 total for his career). Surprisingly, with numbers like that you would think he's a perennial gold-glove winner, but the man has never won one. Probably due to not enough innings or chances in order to qualify?

Looking at the two cards, you find some of the similarities that are often found on the counterparts: same color scheme in lettering, background colors, not to mention the batting cages behind the hitters. That's where they end, though. Joe's Season's Highlights includes: Blasts 440-ft HR vs. Pitt. Casey- Slaps tie-breaking 2-run double. Joe-Pinch hits homer vs. Cards. Casey- Breaks open scorelss game in Kansas City with RBI single... Cartoon fact- Joe: In a game with the Dodgers in '54, Joe hit 4 Homers and a single. Casey: Casey's pop, Tom, has managed in the minors for 30 years.
As cool as having a successful manager as a dad is, sorry Casey- but, ADVANTAGE: Joe Adcock

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