2012 Bowman Platinum #BPP70 Tyler Pastornicky and BPP76 Andrelton Simmons
Charlie Cozart- 1945 Boston Braves
I'm currently reading The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age by Robert Weintraub, a great account of the 1946 baseball season. That was the year, of course, that saw the return of major leaguers who had served our country in the war. During the war, however, there were a number of ball players who filled roster spots vacated by those enlisted players. One such 'replacement' player was Charlie Cozart, a pitcher from North Carolina who had pitched in the minors for three seasons prior to his short stint in the majors.
Cozart's brief time in the bigs was spent during the 1945 season, in which he appeared in five games for the Boston Braves. His major league debut came on April 17 as the Braves hosted the New York Giants. Coming into the game with his team trailing 7-2 in the ninth inning, Charlie managed to walk two of the first three batters he faced (along with a sacrifice bunt) before catcher Ernie Lombardi homered to make it a 10-2 game. A groundout would follow, but then New York would hit three consecutive singles to make in an 11-2 game before Cozart retired the final hitter.
Charlie pitched much better in his next outing three days later- picking up the only decision (a Win) of his major league career- against Philadelphia, throwing two scoreless innings without allowing a base runner. His final three big league appearances would be disastrous, as he threw a combined five-innings while allowing six hits, 7 runs (5 earned) and walking 13 batters.
That this autographed index card came while I am reading the aforementioned book just adds to the overall awesomeness of this trade. Also, the fact that there's not that many living Boston Braves players (19 as of this past summer, according to the Boston Braves Historical Society) means that it's becoming increasingly difficult to obtain signatures. The back of the card has 2/2004 written in pencil- meaning that was either when Tom received the card back, or when he sent it out. Whatever the case, it was signed during the former player's final year on earth- he passed away December 31, 2004.
Joey Jay: 1953-1966 Braves, Reds
Jay did not exactly live up to the billing of 'bonus baby' while a member of Milwaukee. He didn't pitch that poorly- it's just that, as is so often the case, with high expectations came plenty of room for a fall. Inconsistency, lack of run support and injuries would all play a role in his struggles during his time with the Braves. A trade to Cincinnati following the 1960 season would give his career a jumpstart, and he would win 20 games in each of his first two seasons there. He would also have pretty good success against his former team, with a record of 11-7 and an ERA of 3.44 against the Braves in 24 games. His twentieth win of the 1960 season also came against his former teammates, with a 1-0, four-hit shutout, in which he struck out Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron and Joe Adcock in order to end the game. Jay would return to the Braves organization during their first year in Atlanta, after being traded for pitcher Hank Fischer on June 15, 1966. That would be his final season in the majors, thirteen years after debuting at the age of seventeen.
Johnny Logan- 1957 World Champs!
This is actually my third Logan auto, as I had received a couple others from a friend. Doesn't matter, this is different from the others, so it's a welcomed addition to my collection! As a young major leaguer, the late Johnny Logan was taken under the wings of a man whom he would become a lifelong friend of- Mr. Sibby Sisti....
Sibby Sisti: 1939-1954 Boston/Milwaukee Braves
Another former Boston Brave. Woohoo!! And, I might add, one of the best examples of alliteration found in a ballplayer's name.
Like so many other major leaguers, Sisti lost three years to the war- serving in the Coast Guard. Upon his return to the majors in 1946, new Braves manager Billy Southworth sent Sisti down to AAA Indianapolis, where he punished opposing pitchers. He would go on to win the Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year award that season, leading all Triple-A players in average (.343), hits (203) and triples (14). Sisti would return to Boston the next season, where he would spend the next eight years as a 'super-sub', playing a number of defensive positions for the Braves teams. And although he was only a career .244 hitter, Sibby would later be inducted into the Boston Braves Historical Society's Hall of Fame.
Ernie Johnson: 1950-1959 Braves, Orioles
Former Braves player, executive, and beloved broadcaster, Ernie Johnson was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2001. As a member of the Braves family for over 50 years (and one of a few with Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta ties), Johnson's auto is the one I'm most excited about in this lot. For many of us fans, Ernie was a big part of our lives- entering our homes via broadcasts on TBS. His passing came on August 12, 2011, on the same day that the organization inducted manager Bobby Cox into its Hall of Fame.
Jerry Royster: 1976-84, 1988 Atlanta Braves
A beautiful signature of a player with ties to my childhood. Royster was the 'super-sub' of the early 80s Braves team, which was the time that I first became a fan of the team. Acquired from the Dodgers in the November, 1975 trade which sent Dusty Baker to Los Angeles, Royster spent a total of ten season with the Braves.
John Rocker: 1998-2000 Atlanta Braves
Obnoxious. I guess that's the word that I would use to describe Rocker. At one time I had a different auto of the lefty, a minor league card I had sent to him while he was still a prospect in the Braves system. It was part of the big 'purge' when I got out of the hobby in the early 2000s.
Thanks again, Tom, for the trade. The signatures have caused me to seriously think about getting back into the TTM part of the hobby.