Monday, February 8, 2010

1979 Cramer Phoenix Giants Baseball #5, Rocky Bridges

What did classic players do after their playing careers ended? Rocky Bridges followed 11 years of utility service for 7 teams in the 1950s with 21 years of minor league managing for 3 more organizations.

Although his teams won a little less often than they lost, he did pick up a couple of Manager of the Year awards along the way. Find entertaining details of Rocky's run in the title story for I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Badedited by Ball Four author Jim Bouton.

This energetic shot of Rocky appealing to the Southwestern sun sits in the middle of a 9-year managerial run for San Francisco's AAA affiliate, Phoenix. They finished 59-88 in 1979, under-performing their already dour Pythagorean W-L record by an amazing (and depressing) 5 games. Exhibit A for the angle "they played bad." (Mr. Bridges' minor league managerial record.)

Cramer Sports Productions kicked off with these 1970s minor league sets, occasionally in partnership with a local business like Phoenix's Valley National Bank. As mentioned in my 1978 Spokane Indians #5 profile, they eventually became MLB-licensed cardmaker Pacific and were themselves acquired by Donruss in 2004.

Value: Minor league singles of "common" players cost from $.50 to $2 on Beckett Marketplace. Many guides price them only by complete team, but more and more dealers list individual cards.

Fakes / Reprints: It's highly unlikely someone would fake or reprint minor league sets, unless they contain big-name major leaguers.


Mark Aubrey said...

When worlds collide...

I just saw the book, I Managed Good... at the used bookstore today.

And I used to bank with Valley National Bank when I lived in Arizona.

Carl Crawford Cards said...

Gotta get the book! Rocky is awesome. He did two ttms for me a few weeks ago. A great guy!

Matt Runyon said...

Rocky was a popular guy when he managed in Phoenix. Another quote:

Bridges, speaking about Albuquerque, "I can't spell it, but I sure can smell it."

Matthew Glidden said...

Wow, very cool! I remember Bridges for his "cheek of chaw" cards, like this 1961.