Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1952 Bowman Baseball #5, Orestes "Minnie" Minoso

This is one of my favorite #5s ever. Even as Topps broke out with its larger, "modern" 1952s, Bowman polished their mini-painting concept to a shining diamond of excellence.

Card front

I've got 5 reasons to love this vintage jewel, one for each of Minnie Minoso's proper names. (Saturnino Orestes Armas MiƱoso Arrieta.)
  1. The man himself excelled in every available league from the 40s to the 60s and added 1976 and 1980 appearances for the ChiSox. (He batted for the St. Paul Saints as recently as 2003, making him a 7-decade pro.)
  2. Its background includes screening and dimpled padding, an intriguing card rarity. (Original picture from Shibe Park in Philly, the home to Bowman Gum--thanks to White Sox Cards for research help.)
  3. Minoso finished in the top 5 MVP voting several times, including his 1951 rookie year. (He barely missed the ROY award that year, finishing 2 vote shares behind Gil McDougald despite measurably better performance.)
  4. This is the last 1950s set before the Topps-led shift to stat grids. (See 1953 Bowman #5 for more details.)
  5. He's from Havana! Cuban players started signing in the majors after Jackie Robinson's debut. Minoso started in 1949 and went on to star for 4 teams, primarily Chicago and Cleveland.

Card back

I kinda miss "text" card backs, but acknowledge the shift to baseball stats also encouraged young collectors to learn about numbers and math. Score one for education!

Value: Minoso still has plenty of fans, so definitely costs more than "common" money. Low-grade versions run $10 to $20.

Fakes / reprints: People have reprinted the entire 1952 set, so be aware of "too-white" stock or cards with too much gloss.

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